Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 567: Cookies/cookie jar

SH: Hey! Did you have some of my non-pareils?*

Me: Yes.

SH: Hey! Non-nonpareil eater!

Me: I had two. [out of a two-pound bag]

SH: Do you wonder how I know?

Me: Because I don't close the bag right.

SH: Yes! You don't close the bag the same way I do!

Me: Nope.

SH: Maybe I shouldn't be wasting my mental energy on things like that?


* Which is the only present his mom sends him that he likes. She sends a bottle of maple syrup every Christmas, even though we live in a place where it is possible to get good local maple syrup. As in, she pays to ship a liquid bottle in glass. SH has given up on trying to talk to her about her gift-giving habits.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 124: I favor the Henry Ford model

SH: We need to put limes on the Cermak list.

Me: Go ahead. It's in my purse.

SH: The limes we have are going bad.

Me: OK.

SH: Look!

Me: I do not want to be involved in this decision.

SH: But look! These are going bad!

Me: So throw them away.

SH: They are fermenting! Smell!

Me: I don't care. Throw them out. Leave me out of it.

SH: But you have to smell!

Me: I do not want to be involved in this decision!

SH: You need to be involved! It's a Togetherness Decision!

Me: I do not want togetherness!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wisconsin 101: We don't think knives are so awful

SH and I went to Pittsburgh for the New Year. Traveling has become easier since I got my TSA express lane pass (or whatever it's called). Getting the pass was a pain in the neck - I had to go to the TSA office and wait and be interviewed and questioned about my multiple trips to the Grand Duchy of Fenwick as if I had actually WANTED to go to GDF, which I did not. I was stuck going there for work with my former Bad Boss who thought that someone spending Thanksgiving weekend flying 16 hours from Atlanta to GDF was not something worthy of giving someone a few comp days upon her return.

No, this was the man who proudly proclaimed that he had spent X hours flying back from China and was at work the next day, as if there is some big Work Olympics where people can win medals for going to work after spending a weekend flying across a dozen time zones.

"But I never make big decisions on those days," he warned.

Anyhow, I got the express land pass so I could skip the regular security line and go into the fast line and not wait.

It is totally worth $100 and an afternoon at the TSA not to have to stand in line.

Except when we got in line this time, there was a family ahead of us - husband, wife, two little girls.

"They got the pass for their kids?" I hissed to SH. I was not surprised - when I was getting my pass, there was a family there. I asked the mom about it and she said that it didn't do her and her husband any good to have the pass themselves if their kids didn't also have the pass and that made sense.

However, I was kind of annoyed because I was having to wait. And then I was getting the sense that the kids did not have the pass because it was taking forever and sure enough, the TSA guy escorted the family to the other line, the regular people, long, have to wait line.

Which was still not so bad as getting in the end of the line.

And honestly, TSA, as much as I do not want kids in this line unless they go as fast as adults, what are the odds that a kindergartner and a second grader are terrorists independent of their parents. I do not know many little girls who spend time flying around to dangerous countries, cavorting with terrorists, on their own.

So we finally got in line and I was all happy that I did not have to remove my shoes - yet another reason it is worth it to pay $100 for a lifetime pass.

I was all happy and ready to move on to get my airport treat coffee when I realized my bag was stuck in x-ray.

That was when I remembered that I had forgotten to remove my Swiss army knife from my purse.

It is usually a part of my routine. I have not lost a knife for over ten years now. But I had changed from a purse to a large tote bag and had thrown purse stuff inside the bag. My routine was off and I did not do it right.

Crap.

The TSA guy asked to whom the bag belonged. I sighed and admitted it was mine. "My Swiss army knife, right?" I asked.

He asked if there was anything in the bag that could hurt him.

"There are pens," I said. "And the pen is mightier than the sword."

He shook his head slightly and whispered, "Say the Swiss army knife."

"Swiss army knife," I answered obediently.

He found the knife and removed it from my bag. "The customer service people will mail it back to you," he suggested. "It would cost about three dollars. A new knife would cost twenty dollars."

SH and I actually had slack time at the airport. That almost never happens, as SH's philosophy is he would rather risk missing an airplane than spend one extra second at the airport.

"I'll mail it," I said. I had time.

The TSA guy walked me out of security. "I hate that I have to take it from you," he confided. "I make knives. My daughter and I are going to start a knife business."

We got to the edge of security. He handed me the knife and pointed toward the customer service booth.

I walked over to the booth and presented the knife.

"Oh, dat one will cost about tree dollars," said the 80-something woman at the booth. I read the sign - the booth is staffed by volunteers.

"Just fill out dis envelope and I will drop it off at de post office on my way home," she said. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "We are not supposed to do dat, but you know. I do it anyhow."

All I had was a twenty. She didn't have change. There was a Starbucks across the hall.

"What kind of coffee do you like?" I asked her. "And what's your name?"

"Oh, just black," she said. "My name is Esther."

"Thanks, Esther," I said. "I'll be right back."

I ran to Starbucks and waited behind the couple who could not decide between a no-foam soy latte and a soy mocha and then had to pick the right muffin and I was ready to put my hands around their necks and squeeze because all I wanted was change and I was not even going to get a coffee for myself, which is one of my usual airport treats, because the money I would have spent on coffee was now being spent on returning something to myself, even though humankind had been flying with Swiss army knives for millennia with no problem but our TSA theater had screwed everything up.

I finally was able to get Esther her coffee and three on-dollar bills.

"OK, den," she said as she sealed the envelope. "I'll drop dis off today and it will be dere in few days."

And it was.

And I thought wow, there sure are some nice people around.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 762: I want a sister wife

SH is 49.

I sent him this story

It's about the age when men are most likely to cheat.

We have had many conversations about cheating. SH likes to go out. I do not. He likes people. I do not.

Wait. I like people. I just don't want to be around them all the time. Or even most of the time. I love having convenient virtual relationships online. I love facebook because I get to keep up with what everyone is doing and I do not have to go.

At my birthday, my sister went to Las Vegas with some friends. At first, I was all mad because I thought, "Hey! You're my sister and you should be inviting ME to Las Vegas!"

And then I realized, "Duh. She's my sister. She knows me. She loves me. She knows that the last thing I want to do is to

1. go to Las Vegas
2. with people
3. and stay up late."

I made some comment on her facebook posts about the trip and her response was something like, "Your birthday present is that I didn't invite you. Love you."

SH, however, likes being around people. He likes just hanging out. I like having a point. I want there to be a point and I want to get to it and then I want to go home.

I hate Going Out, as in going to a bar for no reason other than to go to a bar. Go to dinner with friends? I'm there. But just go to a bar? At random? To hang out?

Kill me now.

SH goes out alone. His friends have asked him if I am concerned that he might cheat.

Really?

A man - a person - who will cheat - will find the chance to cheat no matter when. SH would have a far easier time cheating during the day when I am at work. Sure, he could cheat at night, but that would involved planning and logistics.

But during the day, I am at work. He doesn't always have the car, but the Other Woman could come to our house.

"But if she is here," I said, "she has to clean the house and get supper ready."

And that, actually, would be fine with me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wisconsin 101: What we do in the winter when it is below zero and we do not drink

You guys know I am lazy and that when I come home from work, I don't want to do anything other than vegetate, right? Some people have energy and want to be around people and are social and go out, but not me. The last thing I want to do is to be around more people after a day at work where I am around people.

I am even around really nice people at work. I am finally back in a good work situation. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop - my previous job still has me a bit traumatized - but perhaps there is no other shoe. Perhaps the previous job was a one-shoe job. Was an amputee.

Whatever. The old job is gone. And one of my nemises (is that the plural of nemisis?) has been fired! I feel vindicated! (Is there a better feeling than watching one's enemies be vanquished?)

But even though I like my job and work with great people, I still want nothing to do with more people when I get home from work. Even SH. Even though I love him.

SH is lonely all day at home by himself, so when I get home, he wants to chatter, but I do not want to talk. This is a conflict. I have resolved it by deciding that it is important for me that my husband be happy, so my expectations now are that my first 45 minutes home will be devoted to preparing my clothes and lunch for the next day while I tend to my marriage.

Usually, after 30 to 45 minutes, SH has had enough and returns to whatever it was he was doing. (Yesterday, it was cleaning the bathtub, which is the first time he has done that chore since we married. I have to say there are some advantages to having a spouse who does not have a money job, although really, I would rather have the money and clean the tub myself, but we go to war with the army we have.)

Once SH is busy again, then I do my thing, which is usually to cook or to read or to watch DVDs.

My latest show, thanks to a recommendation from our friend Jeff Abbott (whose books you need to read and I would say that even if he were not my friend) is The Blacklist.

You guys, you have to watch this show. First and really the only reason - James Spader.

James Spader. There. I said it again. He is the only reason you need. He is not as handsome as he was when he was younger, but he still has as much pull as he ever did. Looks do not last, but personality does.

James Spader is enough to make me overlook the eye-rolling dumb things the writers put in the show. Honestly, have none of the writers ever had a job? I mean, writing is a job and it would be really hard to write a TV show, week after week, but some of the things they say are things you would never say if you had worked at a regular job for a little while or had done anything like read a newspaper.

These are the three things that jumped out at me over the course of season 1. I think I am right about all of these, but if I am not, I will feel pretty darn dumb.

1. One episode was about a life insurance company that was cancelling life insurance policies because people had gotten sick. I worked for an insurance company for five years. As far as I know, the only reason we could ever cancel a policy was if someone didn't pay the premium. Otherwise, why would anyone bother to buy life insurance, knowing it could be cancelled if you got cancer?

2. Liz, who is an FBI agent, is thinking about taking maternity leave when she and Tom (spoiler alert: he turns out to be a bad guy) adopt their baby. Tom says, "But you could lose your job!"

Hello. There are maternity leave laws that apply to larger companies. I expect that the FBI is not exempt from federal law about maternity leave. There is no danger that Liz would lose her job for taking maternity leave.

3. Liz and her FBI fellows are always busting into houses and buildings looking for clues. No warrants. I don't think they are allowed to do that. I don't think law enforcement is allowed to just break into a house without a warrant. I base my knowledge on reading lots of crime novels and on a shallow study of the US Constitution.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chats du jour: Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?


  • 1/8, 12:15pm
    SH
    Laverne likes biscuits.
  • Annette Mertens
    1/8, 1:12pm
    Me
    Laverne likes almost everything
  • Chris Rockwood
    1/8, 1:12pm
    SH
    I decided to have part of a biscuit with my coffee, so I got the bag out and left it on the counter while I made the bed. By the time I finished, Laverne had almost chewed through the bag.
  • Annette Mertens
    1/8, 1:13pm
    Me
    She is naughty!!!
  • Chris Rockwood
    1/8, 1:13pm
    SH
    Then I cut off part of the biscuit and left it in a bowl on a different part of the counter while doing something else. She hunted the biscuit and had it on the floor.
  • Annette Mertens
    1/8, 1:13pm
    Me
    I am laughing out loud
    She is relentless
  • Chris Rockwood
    1/8, 1:13pm
    SH
    She went to time-out in the basement. I was mad!
  • Annette Mertens
    1/8, 1:14pm
    Me
    OMG
  • Chris Rockwood
    1/8, 1:14pm
    SH
    (I had already tried time-out in the bedroom, but she bothered Shirley when I shut her in there.)
    And Shirley wants to be warm, so she has been burrowing under the blanket on the bed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 875: No use crying over cookies in spilt milk

Me: You bought gluten-free cookies?

SH: Yes.

Me: Why? They look awful. They use sorghum flour and a lot of weird stuff.

SH: They were on sale!

Me: How much?

SH: Twenty five cents! For that whole box!

Me: Is it possible that the reason they were on sale is because nobody wants them because they are awful?

SH: Possible. But only twenty five cents. Worth a try.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 176: Mon petit chou

SH: Are you done with dinner?

Me: Yes.

SH: So I can put the cabbage rolls back in the fridge?

Me: Yes. But why don't you put a few in this  bowl while you wait for the rice to cook? [I had mine without rice is why.]

SH: But it's a Sickness Bowl!

Me: You've already been sick. This will save a dirty dish. And letting the meat come to room temperature is probably not a bad idea - less time in the microwave.

SH: But the rice isn't done!

Me: So?

SH: The rice is supposed to go under the cabbage rolls!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 72: How to have a Man Cold vs How to have a cold

If you don't know what a Man Cold is, please watch this video before continuing.



How to have a Man Cold
Whimper
Moan
Ask to have "Soft Kitty" sung to you
Stockpile kleenexes on the nightstand. Fold them neatly with the intention of using them again. Any good environmentalist can get more than one blow out of a napkin.
Whimper
Moan because you have lost your sense of smell and hence your sense of taste and therefore cannot taste any of the great food that your best friend and his wife are making for their New Year's Eve party
Say that it's unfair. Unfair!
Take drugs, even though you never take drugs when you are at home and your wife suggests such a radical solution. Indeed, you accuse your wife of being a hypochondriac because she always suggests drugs. (By the way, that is not the definition of a hyphochondriac.)
Take drugs again.
And again.
As your wife marvels - in three days, you have taken more drugs than she has seen you take in the nine years you have known each other.
Whimper.
Sleep during the day.
Ask your wife to take your temperature. "I have a fever, don't I?"
Wife does not know if you have a fever.
"But touch my forehead! It's hot!"
Wife notes that as she does not have children, she does not have forehead-touching fever-detection skills and even if husband did have a fever, so what?
Moan



How to have a cold if it is not a Man Cold
Get a cold
Blow your nose a lot
Go to work but try to stay away from your co-workers, which is not easy in these days of open plan, one of the greatest evils ever perpetuated on humankind

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 123: In hot water

SH: Here's where you and I have different thought processes: these dishes have to go into the drainer in a very specific pattern.

Me: Right.

SH: This is where this new thing [that restricts the water flow and makes it take forever to fill a pot for boiling pasta] on the tap is working. See?

Me: What?

SH: I'm already using less water.

Me: But you could just use less water by not washing the dishes as long.

SH: It doesn't have to do with how long you wash them or the intensity of the water. It has to do with the swishing of the wand. It's fine to use less intensity of water.

Me: We live by a great lake.

SH: So?

Me: You've never been worried about water before.

SH: It's not water. It's hot water.

Me: You could just wash the dishes faster.

SH: Then they would  be less clean.

Me: No they won't!

SH: They're cleaner when I wash them than when you do.

Me: Oh like you've ever gotten sick from my dishes.

SH: No of course not. But my standard is higher than not getting sick.

Me: My dishes are not dirty.

SH: You're sick right now. Maybe it's because someone didn't do dishes properly.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 346: Goose/gander, part 46

Marriage 701, Lecture 346: Goose/gander, part 45

Me: Wow. You really need to get reading glasses.

SH: Yeah, but what do I do with them?

Me: What do you mean?

SH: Where do I put them?

Me: You keep them by your computer.

SH: No. When we go out.

Me: In your pocket.

SH: They won't fit in my pocket!

Me: Then roll them up in your sleeve, like a pack of cigarettes.

SH: I can't do that.

Me: I don't know then. A lanyard?

SH: That would look dumb!

Me: Dunno.

SH: When we go out, you can carry them for me in your purse.

Me: Sure. I guess I need to get a new purse to be able to do that.

SH: No! No new purses!

Me: Then no glasses carrying, I guess.

Friday, January 02, 2015

The working life: Someone agrees with me, without question, without hassle

You guys, I had the oddest experience at work the other day. It was about 10:00 a.m. I was still wearing my big fluffy down coat, even though I was inside, because I was cold.

I am almost always cold.

I live in the wrong place.

So I was wearing my coat and I walked over by the copy machine. Madeline, the admin for the VP, saw me and asked if I was cold.

I told her I was.

She asked if she should call maintenance and have them turn the heat up.

Stop.

Think about that.

She asked if she should have the heat turned up.

She did not tell me it was not cold.

She did not tell me I was not cold.

She did not ask how I could  possibly be cold.

She just believed me that I was cold and tried to solve the problem.

SHE BELIEVED ME THAT I WAS COLD.

She did not try to tell me not to feel cold. She did not try to convince me that I was not cold. She did not try to invalidate my experience.

And it was so odd. I am so accustomed to people not believing that I feel what I feel. (I am looking at you, SH, who has the metabolism of a blast furnace and is never cold.)

I told Madeline no, I did not want her to call maintenance - that even if I am cold, most people are usually comfortable. (The last time the doctor took my temperature - this was for a physical, not because I was sick - it was 95.6. I definitely live in the wrong place.) But I was so happy that I did not have to argue with her that YES! I was COLD! She just agreed and wanted to help.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Marriage 701, Lecture 764: Not the right answer




You guys know I love love love SH. I think he is fabulous. He makes me crazy, but it's not like he makes me crazy because he is filthy and lazy and mean. He makes me crazy because he takes five times as long as I do to wash dishes - but the dishes are always clean when he does them - and because he takes longer to make the bed - but he does make the bed - etc, etc, etc. He makes me crazy with an abundance of painstaking attention to detail. I am a big picture person, SH is an ultra-detail, micromanaging person. There could be worse combinations and there could be worse husbands.

He is an engineer. He states the facts. He is not good at watching soap operas, like Friday Night Lights or House of Cards. He doesn't understand subterfuge or trickery - he is straightforward. A thing is what it is. I have to explain why each character is doing what he is doing. I get hidden motives. I was an English major - that's all I did - try to figure out why the characters were doing what they were doing. Engineers look for the objective, correct answer. It's there. They just have to find it. English majors make stuff up.

I am telling you all this as background to this story because I do not want you to get mad at him. I am not mad at him, but there are times when I wish he would lie just a tiny little bit. Just a wee little white lie.

And this is the time I wish he would lie instead of being honest.

Me, after watching a Denise Austin yoga video, she with her six pack, and after watching Zoe Barnes half naked on H of C. Me, after seeing this beautiful fit slim bodies and then making the mistake of looking in the mirror when I was changing into my pajamas: Oh man. I hate my body. I look awful.

SH: What do you mean?

Me: Look at this! It's all flabby! It's all fat! It's never going to change! I am never going to be fit and taut and toned. Ever.

SH [arms around me from behind, looking at my tummy]: Well, we are getting older. And you haven't been going to the gym as much with your new job. You haven't been able to go to classes. And you have been cooking a lot of good food lately.

Me: That is so not the right answer.

SH: But you are a really good cook! I am really lucky to be married to you!

Me: Still not the right answer.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Marriage 701, Lecture 123: Goose/gander

 



The great thing about purses is they don't care if marriage has been very, very good to you. They don't care if your thin jeans fit or if everything is going loose. A purse looks great and it doesn't care what size you are and it won't make you feel all ick because it doesn't fit but it used to fit and man, it's a good thing there are no full-length mirrors in your house.

The only purses I have bought in the past 15 years have been on eBay or in consignment shops.  I am not a big-money purse spender. But I last year, I bought what was supposed to be a nice Cole Haan purse on eBay and not four months after I got it, it started to fall apart. The straps tore out a few times. I took the purse to the leather repair shop and the woman sewed them back on for me, but she warned me that every time she put new holes in the straps, it weakened them. Then I took the purse to the shoe guy and he put rivets in the straps and they stopped tearing out when the purse would get caught on something and I would keep moving.

Then the piping wore through and left the little curly wire underpinning visible. Then the stitching started wearing off the sides of the straps.

SH is pretty detail oriented, but women's fashion and accessories is not his thing and he is a guy. Even he noticed that the purse is falling apart.

I wrote to Cole Haan. They told me that I could return it to the place I bought it or send it to them for restoration (at a price). I wrote back and said the problem was that they had not used the proper materials - that I had purses much older than this one that were still in excellent shape.

They never answered.

Cole Haan, if you are reading this now, I was not impressed with your response and I am even less impressed with the quality of your product. 

That's when I thought it was time for me to buy a purse at retail again.

But not any purse. (And for sure not Cole Haan!)

I wanted something that would last me a good long time. This will be at least a five-year purse. I can't justify spending a lot of money on a purse to use it only for a year or two.

I started looking for purses made in the US. I found this - Libby Lane, in west Texas.

Not inexpensive.

It took me almost a year to make the decision to buy one.

I bought one.

It arrived.

It was way bigger than I thought it would be. Still gorgeous.

But you can't return for cash.

So I kept it. It is now my briefcase - takes my lunch and gym clothes to work - and I love it. It feels so elegant. So much nicer than the black nylon giveaway bag I used to use. Want to know something interesting?

Cat hair does not stick to leather!

But I still need a main purse.

So I continued the hunt.

I found Stash in Houston. Koch Leather in I think Arizona. Love 41 in Mexico.

I wanted them all.

Is that wrong?

Is it wrong to have more than one purse? Buying a purse is not akin to marriage. We do not have to commit ourselves to just one. Wait. It is like marriage, but it as if we are renegade Mormons and the purse buyer is the husband and the purses are the wives.

Is there a culture where the women have more than one husband?

Hmmm. Not sure that would be something I would want. But a few sisterwives might not be so bad. Share the housework, the cooking, etc. Get a trust fund sisterwife and a super detail-oriented sisterwife - we could cover the money and all the picky stuff SH cares about. I could have the vacation SH who plays tennis.

This could work.

Where was I?

I wanted all of those purses. All of them. Even though they all look sort of alike.

Again. Is that wrong?

It went like this.

SH: You can't get two more purses! A purse is something you need one of, maybe two! One for summer, one for winter. I don't have multiple wallets.

Me: How many watches do you have?

SH: That's different.

It's not different. 

It's not different at all.