Me and James

I’m confessing to all of you that there is another man in my life. He comes to my house early in the morning after Greg has gone to work. He is dressed in his uniform and I meet him at the door in my gown and robe. He comes inside and I give him full access to my home. He knows things about me that I don’t share with even my closest friends. His name is James and he is my Terminix man.

I realized today that our relationship is way beyond appropriate.

When people show up at my house before 10 a.m., there is a good chance that they will find me in a pre-shower/make-up free/morning-breath state of being . . . that is if they can find me at all. The last time the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to witness, I ducked below the line of sight from the front windows and crawled behind the couch. I have no desire to discuss eschatology, millennialism, and the divine trinity or to field invitations to their local Kingdom Hall in my gown and robe.

(I’m hoping that the angel who plays trumpet in Heaven’s band has a late gig the night before the rapture and doesn’t show up to sound the coming of the real Kingdom until about mid-afternoon.)

My neighbor came by early a few weeks ago and I sent the kids to the door while I picked up the phone and carried on a conversation with a dial tone in my laundry room.

Image my panic one Saturday morning when my pre-showered/make-up free/morning-breath self looked up to see a preacher friend walking across our porch. I sprinted to the bathroom and stayed there for 20 minutes while he talked to Greg. After he left, I spritzed a little windex around the bathroom to make it smell like I had been cleaning and pretended that I hadn’t heard the man’s voice from 15 feet away.

But when James showed up unexpectedly this morning, I just cinched the belt of my robe a little tighter and met him at the door with my best crud-breath smile. The man has seen me in my gown and robe so many times, he could catalogue my sleepwear by size, color and state of threadbareness. Way beyond appropriate.

I also realized that I’ve let James into areas of my life where no one, other than immediate family, has ever gone. . . like my kitchen after the remains of a 50-person Christmas party were left to compost overnight . . . like my bedroom after littering it with two weeks of dirty clothes and the vacation debris of seven people . . . like that same bedroom in the same shape four weeks later . . . like Peter’s room any day of the week . . . like Peter’s bathroom where he likes to collect toothpaste spit and small, chin hairs in the sink.

(This is disgusting; but could be useful if we were to ever leave him somewhere for a period of years and needed DNA to prove his identity.)

You can bet that what James has learned about me and mine as he has crawled over our messes and wandered through our mayhem is more than any man who I’m not legally or genetically tied to ought to know.

Boxers or briefs? James has seen them all laying (clean and not-exactly-clean) on the floor of every male bedroom in the house. Do I or don’t I color my hair? Only my hairdresser and James know.

If James has looked under our beds, he knows that Peter sleeps with a stuffed animal named Bubba, Micah has a crush on Rosemary Clooney and Greg hasn’t thrown anything away since 1980. This information passed inappropriate a long time ago and is closing in on mortifying.

I can only hope that our contract with Terminix includes a confidentiality clause.