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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Blog (10/20/11)

TITLE: Stewing over Stu
By Rachel Phelps
~1st Place


He can’t be serious.

The DIY projects I can deal with. The sudden jogging obsession kept me in my size 6 slacks through last winter. I even encouraged it when he started volunteering at the rescue mission for the afternoon shift. He’s been talking about taking on a Sunday School class, and I haven’t said a single word against the idea, even if my dear engineer of a husband has yet to effectively communicate with anyone with an IQ under 145.

But over my dead body is our summer vacation going to be dictated by my husband’s blog.

My friends call it an adjustment phase. But it’s been nine months since he was let go, and I’d like to think the adjustments are coming to an end. Instead, I receive an email with a link to Stuart’s Stewings – and when I call and inform my dear Stu that his email seems to have been hacked, he tells me, “No, Carol, it’s my new blog!”

Blogging. Not only does my husband spend his mornings in the garage tinkering on our old bikes and jog two miles before meeting me at the office with his specialty turkey-provolone on wheatberry sandwiches for lunch, now he trots home and plunks himself in his chair and expounds on things like the fungibility versus liquidity and the sustainability of wind farms.

I’ve done my best to encourage him. Really. I even visited the site a few times. He seems to have gathered a dozen followers or so, and they chat about the economy and the newest GPS models to their hearts’ content. Well, even geeks need their outlets. But this week their talk has turned to practical ways to help those hit by the economic downturn. I’d have thought we fit into that category, since our income is less than half what it once was, but these guys have found the perfect way to ruin summer vacation.

Rather than our abbreviated weekend at a B&B that has been planned since the tax return came in, Stu now wants to drive to Joplin, MO, in the middle of summer and spend three days clearing debris and building sheds, and sweating, generally. Not my ideal vacation environment.

“But I’ve already told my readers we’re going,” Stu reasons, leaning away from his laptop to look at me.

“But you told them before you told me – the wife,” I counter, striving to keep my voice sweet. “My vote cancels theirs.”

Oh Lordy, he’s actually weighing that!

“True,” he says slowly. “But there are 17 of them, and one of you – so democratically speaking…”

“Since when is marriage a democracy?”

“You’re the one who’s always encouraging me to do more service projects. I just thought we could do this one together.”

And then he smiles. That sheepish, geeky, eyes twinkling behind the glasses smile that melts me every time. Looks like we’re going to Joplin in July.

I really would have preferred a hotel. I even told Stu it would be helping the local economy if we stayed in one, but he insisted the experience wouldn’t be complete without the church dormitory. He seems fine with sleeping in Sunday School rooms on opposite ends of the church. He even blogged about the effective usage of church square footage last night whilst I attempted to brush my teeth without being bombarded by frighteningly friendly fellow volunteers.

I’d comforted myself with the idea that we would be helping families, really impacting people. My camera was ready to capture every heartwarming moment. Imagine my shock when Stu comes jogging up to me outside the church.

“I signed us up for the storage shed construction team.”

“I don’t know the first thing about shed construction.”

“Yeah, but all the street clean-up and clothing distribution teams were full up. There’s only four of us going to this site – and the guys want to know what supplies are needed for rebuilding.”

So here I sit, de-nailing boards collected from the debris. Real life change happening here. I can feel my brain numbing. Stu is over with the other volunteer– laughing in that slightly awkward geeky way as they pound mortar off bricks. I think I heard someone mention fungibility a few minutes ago.

“Isn’t this great, dear?” Stu asks, coming over to give me a sweaty peck on the cheek on the way to the water cooler.

Really? Stu the engineer is enjoying this? What am I missing?

Maybe I should read his blog to find out.

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 11/04/11
Oh, I love this. Joplin hits close to home for me, since I'm a Missourian.

My only gripe (and it's a very minor personal one. :) ) is I wish the wife had come around a bit sooner and we had seen her positive response. But I realized you did paint a very realistic picture.

Great job! I really enjoyed this.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/05/11
This is delightful! As the wife of a geek I could really relate to the MC. I think you did a great job covering the topic in a fresh, fun way.
Sarah Elisabeth 11/07/11
haha, this was fun! Great descriptions and characterizations, awesome job.
C D Swanson 11/09/11
Funny stuff! Good job with this. I really enjoyed it.

God Bless~
Noel Mitaxa 11/11/11
Love the humour here, and the love that drives it; and being set in Missouri, this is clearly "Show Me - don't tell me - material.
Well done.
Kristine Baker11/14/11
Your first line drew me in. I wanted to know what was going on here.

Very well thought out with humor. I could visualize this story very well.

Nailed the topic.
Glynis Becker11/17/11
Superb! I love everything--the dialogue, the sense of humor, everything...congratulations on a well-deserved win!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/17/11
Congratulations on your win for a very creative and cleverly written story. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the long-suffering wife and her husband's choice of vacation.
C D Swanson 11/17/11
Great job! Congratulations on your win! Fabulous.

God Bless you~
Bonnie Bowden 11/18/11
I had a good laugh over this story. I could relate to the wife's perspective.

Congratulations on your win.