In a house move blunder, I’ve blown it with my wife. Can I scapegoat the delivery men?

My wife and I rarely have a proper argument, so it came as quite a shock to both of us when one did come along. I would describe it as less of an argument and more of a calm conversation during which she pretended to be less annoyed than she really was and I tried to do that annoying thing men do: to be logical about how annoyed she was feeling (which is a really effective way of turning somebody’s anger into pure rage).

It was actually entirely my fault, the insertion of “actually” being entirely unnecessary, to be honest, as it usually is my fault. I’m not saying that in a woe-is-me-aren’t-I-a-put-upon-husband way. It really is almost always my fault (the insertion of “almost” there… you get the idea).

We are moving house. In an attempt to make the transition as smooth as possible, we are trying to get the house as close to good-to-go as we can. This means we have a lot of conversations that start with my wife saying something like, “The new coffee table arrived.” Then I say yes, and my wife asks me to describe the coffee table as some sort of test for me to fail.

Verlede week, she had to go to the new house to wait for some furniture she had ordered. This meant sitting in an empty building for three hours. I was at home doing Zoom meetings, the importance of which I exaggerated later in order to make myself look less culpable. (Before we get into what happened next, I would like to clarify: I am aware this does not make me look great.)

About an hour after she had left, I was in the middle of another Zoom, when the doorbell rang. I answered it to find two men outside with two boxes containing large pieces of furniture. I don’t know why – and will be wondering why for the rest of my life – but I accepted the delivery. I helped the men into my house, told them where to put the boxes, and thanked them for their help. I then decided to phone my wife to let her know that she needed to get some praise ready for me because I had been a good boy.

I can’t quite explain her reaction. She was obviously and understandably in complete disbelief at what had happened – and the fact that her husband was almost wilfully idiotic. All it took from her was one question to push me into what I would describe as emergency mode: “And what do you think I have been waiting here for?”

Oh God. I realised I had undone 12 years of solid marriage. I considered strategies, and decided that the only thing for it was to attempt to throw the delivery men under the van. “I don’t know why they would have brought it here,” I said, hoping we could get angry together at them.

“They probably weren’t sure, and then when you told them where to put the stuff, assumed they’d got it right.” Oh shit. I had presented her with an open goal. I know some arguments revolve around pushing the idea that you are in the right. I was miles away from that. I was closer to asking her not to leave. It was then that I got desperate, and used the “let’s try and look at this from a distance” approach.

'Wel, I didn’t do this on purpose. But if you want to get angry with me for being busy and a bit silly, well then, go ahead.” She took that invitation with great enthusiasm.

Nou, on a completely unrelated note: can anyone lend me a van?

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