Keeping the spark – and the dark – in marriage


When I was a little girl, a common advertising icon was Reddy Kilowatt. He was an electrical sprite of undetermined origin who flittered about representing the magic of electricity.
I was always somewhat fascinated with the little guy, so imagine my surprise to discover that I am, in fact, married to him.
Yes, Reddy has been reincarnated in the flesh and come back to haunt me in the persona of my husband.
Normal. Granted, he seemed almost completely normal at first – the only exception being his eagerness to marry me. Nonetheless, we lived many happy years squandering natural resources with nary a thought.
We used lights and appliances both large and small with reckless abandon. Those were good times.
Wasteful. Only after reaching a “certain age” did Mr. Wonderful turn into my own personal meter man, his mind ever spinning as he ticks off the myriad ways we are wasting energy.
Fans, five televisions and blow dryers – oh my! My electric dryer – a luxury, didn’t our ancestors use a clothesline, he suggested (but only once, he’s energy conscious – not foolhardy).
He has made turning out lights somewhat of a hobby (acceptable). He has further made categorizing, calculating, and keeping us all abreast of how many lights WE failed to turn off a greater goal (unacceptable).
I think that heat misers are made, not born.
He grew up in a household much like mine in a decade that made “keep it at 68” (household degrees that is) seem like our civic duty.
While previous generations had victory gardens and scrap drives to prove their patriotic mettle. We had wool socks, sweaters, and mittens we wore in the house all winter long.
Later we came of age in a time when energy was blessedly affordable and like gluttons long denied our fix, we used it with wild abandon. Sometimes going as far as to become completely hedonistic and do crazy things like run the microwave and the toaster at the EXACT SAME TIME!
Conserve. Those were the days my friend. Energy rates have skyrocketed again and Mr. Wonderful and others of his ilk have had their inner switch flipped to “conserve.”
Now life for the rest of us has never been the same.
He enters the house and stares, aghast.
Why do we have three televisions on at the same time? Why five bulbs in each light fixture? Why, oh why, in the name of all things good and pure, is there a radio playing in an empty room and a video game purring away unattended in the corner?
That’s easy. In case I have to move from room to room, I can’t miss a minute of Oprah now can I?
You wouldn’t want me to be woefully uninformed about, say, Jennifer Aniston’s latest romance?
High bills. I have even succumbed to his madness from time to time. Horrified at one of the higher bills this season, I telephoned the electric company and indignantly demanded an accounting of how my balance could possibly have grown to rival that of a small, yet highly industrialized, nation?
As I insisted that I didn’t even use much electricity – we have no air conditioning after all, my words fell on deaf ears.
No matter how I insisted that electricity must be LEAKING OUT somewhere, they simply wouldn’t listen to reason. Instead they began to ask me, blandly – almost bored – to list all the things in my life that may, just possibly, be using electricity.
Well, let’s see, there was the usual array of household things that heat and toast and blow and boil and bubble and light up and sound off and such. Then there was the dehumidifier, the pool filter, a personal computer, eight fans, an electric fence, floodlights, an air compressor and


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.