To recap the first part of the story: It’s mid-morning Valentine’s Day and Spouser has run out at the last minute to buy me flowers, a card and a music CD. When he walks in, I notice he’s also holding a box. When queried, he simply says it’s “a little something” for himself. I don’t know what that little something is yet, but I’m about to find out…

Getting ready for our dinner date, I quarantine myself in the bathroom for the big transformation. I begin with a relaxing bubble bath. The tub already filled, the room seems oddly clear, not steamy and hot as usual. I realize when I put my foot into the water that something’s very wrong with our water heater. It has burned out, and the bath water is about the temperature of the Rio Grande in February.

Spouser knocks on the door several times. “Can I come in? Where’s my blue shirt? Where are my brown shoes?”

“No, don’t come in. I’ll be out when I’m ready,” I reply. “Did you check your closet?”

I press my toes together and shove them down into the black leather stilettos. I inspect my red lipstick in the mirror and then round the corner to the living room where Spouser awaits. My ankles tilt this way and that as I try to walk straight.

“Now that’s SEXY!” he exclaims.

“Thank you,” I reply before realizing he’s talking about the oversized domino thingamajig he has just pulled out of its wrapper. “What’s that?”

“Apple iPhone,” Spouser responds hypnotically, turning the thing over and over in his hand like a numismatist examining a coin.

“Phone? But there are no numbers on it.” I move in closer for a look, but he jerks it to his chest.

“Wait until I turn it on,” he replies.

“Looks like it has already done the trick for you,” I respond, gathering my sweater and pulling a rose from the bunch to take with me. Spouser places his new thingamabob in his coat pocket, and I realize I’m going to have to stop this Jezebel before it goes any further.

Now, after more than 240 months with this man, I’ve learned that laying the head on the chopping block and swinging a sharp ax is the best way to end an argument.

“Give it to me now!” I order, hand outstretched and pulsating.

“No! I’ll leave it here,” he says, sliding it out of his pocket and placing it back in its box.

“Will you promise, dear, to leave Jezebel alone for the rest of the night so we can have our evening together like we planned?” I ask sincerely.

“Absolutely,” he says matter-of-factly. “And, by the way, you look cute!”

Thanks. That’s the kind of compliment a girl gets when she’s 10 and dances in the Mickey Mouse Club.

Two hours later, dinner is all I imagined and more: a romantic setting by candlelight, live guitar music, a meal fit for a king and queen. I have all but forgotten about Jezebel until we’re back home, sitting in the living room and watching Spouser’s idea of a romantic movie: W.

By the end, I’ve nodded off several times, my head falling backward, mouth open like a PEZ candy holder. But then, what’s this in Spouser’s lap? I can’t believe my eyes. It’s none other than Jezebel!

Movie over, I’m defeated and too tired to say so. “Aren’t you coming to bed?”

“Nah, go ahead,” he replies. “I’m going to stay up a while and fidget with this thing.”

After more than 7,300 days with this man, I’ve learned that sometimes he can still surprise me. I look at the beautiful flowers, put on my new CD and begin to dream about our lovely dinner together as I fall off to sleep with my dog Cheech. Spouser will spend Valentine’s night with a new love I call Jezebel. I’ll let it go because that’s what those who want to keep a relationship going do: we concede.

The next morning Spouser sleeps in, no doubt tired from time spent with his new iPhone. I’m about to pour the coffee when suddenly I hear Spouser shriek like a girl from within the shower walls. It dawns on me that I have forgotten to mention the problem with the hot water heater.

I realize the universe has a way of evening out the score. And I’m glad.

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