My husband and I have a mixed marriage. The disparity isn't race, religion, politics or college football loyalties. It's not even that I'm a lark, up before the sun, and he's an owl, wide awake until there's nothing on TV but infomercials.
It's that a grasshopper married an ant.
Remember Aesop's fable? A grasshopper spent the summer singing while the ant worked to gather food for the cold months ahead. Come winter, the ant has his storehouse of groceries while the grasshopper finds himself dying of hunger. Aesop's moral: "It is best to prepare for the days of necessity."
A few weeks ago, we had a tornado scare. Our weather alert radio kept blasting a ear-piercing signal followed by that strange robotic voice giving tornado warnings for areas all around us.
Before I could say, "I hope we don't lose our Internet connection." my husband, Arthur, had gathered up his "go" kit containing flashlights, batteries, a portable ham radio, first-aid kit, even a bag of pretzels. He was ready for us to head under the house.
I don't know what we were thinking when we bought a house without a basement. The short answer is: We weren't. Now when extreme weather threatens, we have the alternative of hunkering down in the walk-in closet or slithering into a muddy, spidery crawlspace.
All you potential homeowners out there, learn from our mistake. Forget the bonus room. Hold out for a basement.
There are now reality shows that take Aesop's admonition to heart. "Doomsday Preppers" on the National Geographic Channel and "Doomsday Bunkers" on the Discovery Channel profile people who go to extreme measures to plan for a possible, or as they view it, inevitable, apocalypse. Some predict natural disasters, others, nuclear war or economic crises.
One couple is convinced that the North and South Poles are going to shift, causing severe climate change. Others are preparing for earthquakes or an oil crisis.
One episode of "Doomsday Preppers" featured a mild-looking, middle-aged couple who had stockpiled enough guns and ammo to start a small revolution. They also had a huge cache of whiskey which they planned to use as barter come the apocalypse.
I was beginning to think they had chosen the wrong barter medium after I read an article in that bastion of journalistic excellence, Fox News online. It revealed in breathless detail a new form of street currency: Tide detergent.
According to the report, "Theft of Tide ... has become so rampant that some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it and retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid."
Tide was being traded for drugs. A veritable grime wave, if you will.
For a short time there, I felt less like a grasshopper and more like an ant. I may not be a big fan of "Doomsday Preppers," but I'm all over "Extreme Couponing" like wet on water.
Not too long ago, a high-dollar Tide coupon coincided with a huge markdown on Proctor & Gamble products with Tide being one of them. I quickly snagged enough detergent to stock a laundromat. Or, it now appeared, see us through the aftermath of a direct hit from a meteor.
Ah, but it wasn't to be. A few days later, Fox's headline read, "Police say reports of nationwide spike in Tide thefts doesn't wash."
A spokesperson for CVS told the news outlet: "We are not experiencing a ‘wave' of Tide thefts. In a few markets, we've placed security devices on Tide bottles that will trigger an alarm if a shoplifter tries to remove it from the store without paying. However, theft of Tide is not a new issue in the retail industry."
Meanwhile, shortly after he watched an episode of "Doomsday Bunkers," I came across Arthur gazing out the back window. He speculated that since the girls are grown, maybe we could turn the swimming pool into a storm shelter.
Have at it, Mr. Ant. Then Ms. Grasshopper will have someplace to store all that Tide.
Teressa Glazer is a Gainesville businesswoman. Her column appears biweekly on Fridays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint.