Friday, May 21, 2010

The Accidental Perfect Husband: A Tale by Emily Barton

Once upon (a not very long) time (ago), three princesses set out in search of a Perfect Husband, and decided he didn't exist. Thus, because they are all three so wise, they gave up the folly of searching for the Perfect Husband and decided to spend all future quests in pursuit of Perfect Days, which are much easier to find, especially when the three princesses join forces rather than trying to seek out such days on their own. Perfect days seem to be around every bend when they do that.

Last Friday, late afternoon, Princess Emily's (electronic) messenger delivered the happy news that Princesses Marcy and Becky had indeed begun the long journey from the kingdom of Connecticut to the kingdom of Pennsylvania where the three would gather to see if a Perfect Day could be had in these parts. Princesses Becky and Marcy were quite convinced of it. Princess Emily, although she loves her castle, wasn't quite so sure, having encountered multitudes of, let's just say "less-than-perfect" days in her kingdom. She knows that perfect days can be had here, that she has, on occasion, experienced them, but that they often tend to be quite elusive and surely are not as abundant as Less than Perfect Days. Princess Emily has a sneaky suspicion, though, that Princesses Marcy and Becky encounter all sorts of Less than Perfect Days in the Kingdom of Connecticut and that they need her to help them find Perfect Days up there, so she was quite sure that they could help her catch an elusive perfect day in the Kingdom of Pennsylvania. That's why she was so happy that they were on their way.

However, almost as soon as the messenger had delivered the happy news, all sorts of things began to happen that did not bode well for discovering a Perfect Day. First of all, Princess Emily's castle decided to suffer a few drainage problems. To be specific, the basin and washtub in the upstairs privy refused to drain properly. Princess Emily is hopeless when it comes to such matters, but luckily, the castle comes with its own crew of men to fix such things. If Princess Emily had managed to find the Perfect Husband, all she would have had to do was to ask him to call that crew to send people over and the drain problem would have been fixed in no time. However, Princess Emily is married to Prince Bob, who is lovable, but let's face it, is far from perfect. He laughed at the notion of calling in the crew to fix something as simple as clogged drains. He fixes such things all the time. Have no fear: he would fix it before the other princesses arrived.

Princess Emily was somewhat dubious, but she has witnessed his drain-fixing abilities in the past, so she decided not to worry and headed off to the local market to buy (the infamous Amish) sticky buns for the next day's breakfast. Princesses Marcy and Becky would still be recuperating from their long journey the next morning and would need such sustenance to accompany their coffee. Princess Emily arrived at the market only to discover, much to her dismay, that they were out of sticky buns. What? She'd never heard of such a thing! She had never arrived at the market to discover a bare spot on the counter where sticky buns ought to be (and she has frequented this market on numerous occasions to purchase sticky buns). She was informed that she would have to come back the following morning if she planned to get any sticky buns. She left that market empty-handed and carried on to the other market to purchase some last-minute items for dinner and to take her evening walk before getting together with members of her church to practice the service they would be holding on Sunday.

During all this time, Prince Bob was busy working on the drains. Princess Emily did not pay much attention to him, now worried as there had been tornado watches posted, and a sudden storm had blown up, causing the (electric) candles to flicker in the church while they were practicing. How could she and Princess Marcy and Becky possibly discover a Perfect Day if they lost power or (worse) were hit by a tornado? The storm passed, though, and she walked back into her castle to be told by Prince Bob that he couldn't fix the drains. As a matter of fact, after doing what he normally does to fix them, they actually seemed to be worse than ever. He was obviously demoralized in the way only A Man Who Can't Fix It And Has To Call Someone Else can be. He had called on the crew, and someone would be coming to fix it Saturday morning. So demoralized was he that, shortly before Princesses Becky and Marcy were to arrive, he found himself with a migraine and had to go lie down in the dark.

Princess Emily, I am sorry to say, was not very sympathetic. She was searching for a Perfect Day and a husband, sick in bed with a migraine, does not for a Perfect Day make. She decided to ignore him and focus on cooking, something she loves to do, something certain to set the stage for a Perfect Day. Unfortunately, it did not. The casserole she had planned to make was one she'd made plenty of times, one that is always a crowd pleaser. However, she had got it into her head that she wanted to make this "pesto soup" idea she'd had for some time, which would be the starter. The problem is, she ran out of ingredients. As she began making the soup, she realized that what she really needed was 2 cans of garbanzo beans, not the one she had thought she'd need. She only had one. She substitued a can of black beans, which probably would have been okay, if she had not then put too much salt in it. It was one of those cooking lessons well-learned, so that next time she decides to make the soup, she can make it perfectly. However, it was not a lesson one wants to learn when making soup for guests.

By the time Princesses Becky and Marcy arrived, here was what we had: drains that were still clogged, meaning no one could use the upstairs privy (which was also now a mess, because everything that usually lives in the cupboard under the basin had been removed and put on the floor), a tornado watch in effect until midnight, a husband up in bed with a migraine, soup that was not what it could have been, and no sticky buns for Saturday morning's breakfast. Could a Perfect Day be salvaged from this mess? Well, Emily had just uncorked a bottle of wine. Perhaps that might help ease the pain if the Perfect Day was never found.

(To Be Continued)


Violette Severin said...

Funny, funny but is Bob a good name for a prince? He should be Roberto or Robertino, don't ya think?

Stefanie said...

Oh no! A cliffhanger! Don't leave us hanging too long or I won't have any fingernails left!

Pete said...

Loving the story, Emily. I'm guessing from your title that the poor migraine-inflicted Prince Bob makes a recovery sometime soon and saves the day?