I am a caged animal, strapped into a hot, sweaty sling, with a healing wound on my shoulder. It’s too hot to sit outside when a girl can’t swim, and I’m too cheap to sit inside in the air-conditioning for long. So I pace back and forth. I bead, and read, and pace again. I’m eager to go somewhere and don’t feel like it either.

Know who’s happy? Tom. I’ve stopped noodging him about going on outings. He’s doing all the cooking so we’re enjoying his version of daily nutritional needs: bread, ham, cheese, and beer. Though we can’t get any good movies on television we get lots of NASCAR and moto.

For the first time ever, while pacing, I get to observe what Tom does when he’s doing nothing, and I am really impressed. I’ve written love letters before on the subject of his inner four-year-old, and here is another one.

Tom examines his ant hill.

Tom examines his ant hill.

He found an ant colony at the edge of our lawn. Every day he watches the progress of the little creatures, as they carry twigs and make a nest in the shape of a nuclear reactor cooling tower.  Panic struck this morning when the man with the bug spray did his rounds. Tom watched from inside, nose to the window, not wanting to inhale the stuff, but fretting. “This is my ant farm,” he says. “That guy better not get ‘em.”  We discuss ways of blocking off the ant hill, maybe a sand bucket with a little sign that says “No moleste.” Later he checks on the critters: they’re fine.

Yesterday he brought home a coconut that had fallen from a tree. It is big, hard and green, not at all like the brown hairy things you get in the supermarket. What to do with it? He watched seven YouTube videos from around the world of people smashing, peeling, paring, and milking coconuts, using everything from pointy rocks to a butter knife. He is getting ready. Doing research.

When he does open his coconut, he’ll want a video of it. He spent all yesterday afternoon searching for video editing programs that will work on his tablet.  After testing them all out, flailing and failing, he announced that he had settled on a good one, and that we would soon be producing a coconut flick, using a tripod on the patio.

What a gift it is that he has, to be absorbed by little things that come along, researching to the nth degree, plunging in with unembarrassed curiosity and full enthusiasm! Tom  always says he’s never worked a day in his life. Everything he ever did was fun, even if it happened to pay money as well.

If one must be stuck in a sling in a hot place, there could be no more inspirational company. Can I tell you how terrific it is to be married to a man who never gets bored and never gets boring? Usually when I get this cabin fever, I just go somewhere, leaving Tom to do whatever it is he does. Now I know. I’ll put up with any number of ham sandwiches just to see what he’s going to think of next.