Monday, August 31, 2009

Chats du jour: Fat cat

Laverne is getting fat. She has had chubster tendencies since we got her. She is gorgeous no matter what, but the vet warned against too much Milwaukee roll because of health issues. So we have tried to keep her weight reasonable, even though she would eat all day long if she could. As in, she would keep me company while eat. As it is, she sits at my feet and glares accusingly at me, her eyes saying, "How come you get to eat while I starve? How come you get to eat and it's not even 5:00?"

My friend Michelle's son is feeding the cats while we're gone. We were gone six days until yesterday and leave tomorrow for 12 days. I told Billy that Laverne was a big fat liar and would act like she hadn't eaten at all and that she would try to steal Shirley's food. You have to feed them both, then pull Laverne away when she is done eating because Shirley the slow eater still has food and Laverne's attitude is that if it's still there, it's fair game. Shirley "Let's just talk about this" just steps aside and lets Laverne eat. If I were Shirley, I'd use a quick claw to the nose, but she is a pacifist. Anyhow, Michelle emailed me that Billy was playing with Laverne while Shirley finished eating, so I don't think Laverne was being overfed*.

But last night when SH picked up Laverne and began to baby talk to her because he missed her soooo much ("They're lonely when we're gone!"), he noticed that she was even fatter than before. And indeed, she was: he weighed her and she has gained 1/2 to one pound. That's a lot when your starting weight is 8 pounds. Harder to be more specific because our scale rounds to the half pound. We just changed brands of cat food before the trip and have theorized that the new food has more calories per cup than the old stuff. When we get back from the trip, we are all going on a diet.

*When I was in Miami, my neighbor's son Rudolf fed my cats. I was very clear that they got 1/4 cup of food. That's it. When I came home, the bowl was overflowing with food and the cats were blissfully stuffed to the gills. "But they were 'ungry!" Rudolf the sweet Haitian boy told me. "They are liars!" I told him. "LIARS!"

Monday report

SH and I leave tomorrow morning for England and Germany. He has to go there for work. Really, he does. It's not like earlier in the year when I announced that we were going to England and Egypt and then we didn't go. We leave tomorrow.

AND I get to fly first class because it was going to be 110,000 miles for a coach ticket and 135,000 for first class and who knows what United will be doing with its miles program in the future so why not use them up? I will sit in the seat on the way over and SH will sit in it on the way back.

I will get to go into the fancy lounge in Frankfurt, where I will fill my purse with those little Nutellas.

The best part is we will get to see my friends Debbie and Dominic from grad school who live in London. I am sad that I won't see my friend Heidi* from grad school in Germany, but she lives five hours from Munich. I am also sad that SH will not be able to go on the BMW factory tour. I tried to get us in for next Friday, but it is full.

* Her favorite thing about Germany so far (she moved there last year with her husband, who is in the air force) is that everyone knows how to spell her name.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mad Island 2

The weather was crummy at Madeline Island.

So Patrick made fresh mozzarella.

We ate.

And watched the fire.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dating advice

This is not necessarily targeted at anyone in particular. But if it applies to you, heed my words. And yes, I would say this to your face.

1. If the guy you are dating leaves you at the bar, takes your car to your house to get his car, then leaves you locked out of your car and without a way home because he took the car and house keys with him, it is time to break up.

2. If the guy you are dating does all of #1 and then pees on your bed, it is time to break up.

3. If the guy you are dating does #1 and #2 and then tries to blame it all on your niece, who was telling him he was being a jerk to you, it is time to break up.

Just saying.

Madeline Island 1

SH and my uncle Denny argue about politics but agree about steaks.

We are here and have almost no internet. SH drove into town (8 miles away) last night at midnight to get online and worked until 3 a.m. because he got an email yesterday morning about our trip to England next week and had to get everything resolved, so he was a little bit cranky. Justifiably so, if you ask me. What part of "out of office" emails do people not understand?

We spent the Tuesday night with Gary and Bonnie at their lake house. Wednesday night with my aunt and uncle in Medford, with a visit after to my cousins at the sausage plant. Angie took SH and me shopping in the walk-in freezer and SH didn't want to put on the parka she offered. She shrugged her shoulders and we walked into the freezer. Which is a freezer. A device that freezes food. SH, in his shorts and thin shirt, exclaimed, "It's cold!" and left, which meant I alone had to decide which brats, sausages, rolls and freezer jams I wanted to take. All of them, but that would have been greedy. So I didn't. Plus we didn't have room.

The ferry terminal at Bayfield.

Oh no! Guns!

At my aunt and uncle's, we slept in the guest room/gun room. SH slept next to the guns. It was very difficult for a committed liberal/anti-gun-rights person to be so close to bitter clinger acoutrements, but he survived. Plus my aunt and uncle are so nice and were already predisposed to like SH because he is my husband and how could I make a bad decision and then of course after they spent some time with him, really liked him. The cognitive dissonance for a sometimes liberal though. "They have guns! But they're sooo nice! And they seem intelligent! It doesn't fit!"

My aunt also gave me a bunch of freezer jam -- strawberry and raspberry, so I don't have to share with SH.

Making challah with Ilene.

Finished product.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 129: It's complicated

Me: Now that you trust me to do your expense reports, maybe you'll let me make your travel arrangements.

SH: No. It's too complicated.

Me: I once reduced a two-inch high stack of data at 3M to a spreadsheet with four decision rules.

SH: It's too complicated!

Me: Why?

SH: I know what airlines I want to fly.

Me: That's not that complicated.

SH: When I fly Northwest, I don't want the 727 because it's harder to get an upgrade.

Me: I think I can remember that.

SH: But it's more complicated than that!

SH: I didn't say "727."

Me: Whatever.

SH: NOBODY flies 727s anymore.

Me: Whatever.

SH: Except maybe FedEx.

Me: Ummhm

Gary [also an engineer, reading the original post]: SH didn't say "727!" I can't remember the last time I flew in a 727.

Then he and SH proceed to discuss their 727 stories.

Marriage 101, Lecture 468: Your money or your wife, or, Til death do us part

Packing the cars for the trip to Gary and Bonnie's. Remember the Corvair is going into their garage for the winter, an act that is reducing marital tension considerably as I think it is a Waste of Money to pay to store a car that has been driven maybe five times since SH and I met. I am driving the red car, SH is driving the Corvair.

Me: Do you want me to put your computer bag in the red car?

SH: No. Let me keep it with me.

Me: Why?

SH: Because if you get rear-ended and die, I still have to work and I can't work if the computer is crushed.

Going off the grid

SH and CheeseGuy like it because they get to play with fire.

SH and I are about to leave for the Apostle Islands (via Bonnie and Gary's for a night, then my aunt and uncle in Medford) for a long weekend with CheeseGuy and BohemianDoc, whose house was hit by a tornado last week, but they are troopers! and will be there!

I might not be posting much because it is difficult to get to the intertubes, which will put me through withdrawal, but is good because it will force SH not to work.

We will stay in this cottage again. Well, the cottage with this view. It's a gorgeous view, but man, Lake Superior is noisy.

Old stuff

I got my alumni magazine yesterday so of course I have spent today feeling like a complete failure. I always go straight to my class year to see what my classmates have been doing since 1985, then slip into a funk afterwards.

The rest of the story here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chats du jour: Gourmet

Do you see the evil lurking in those blue eyes? The cat, I mean. Not the man. He's no EvilDoer. He's a hottie. And has never destroyed any of my personal electronics.

SH: Are you still mad at Shirley?

Me: You mean am I still mad at the cat who turns up her nose at the food we feed her, who leaves half her meal in her dish, who's not hungry, but who thinks the antenna from your clock radio and the cord from the TWENTY DOLLAR EARBUDS for my mp3 player are just yummy? Am I still mad about that?

SH: Yes.

Me: Yes. I am.

SH: But she's cuuuuuuute!

Me: What IS it with you men? You'll forgive any bad behavior in a female if she's "cute."

Marriage 101, Lecture 635: You'll take my trash out of my cold, dead hands

Me: Hey! Just so you know, I'm throwing away this LLBean catalogue from 2006!

SH [running down to the basement]: Wait! What are you doing?

Yes. Random photos from our trip to New Orleans a few years ago. They do not take up a lot of storage space in the basement.

Me: I was moving these boxes so I could get to the dresser and this one opened. It's full of old junk mail.

SH: Stop! Don't throw anything away!

Me: Why? Do we really need the Franklin School District 2007 calendar?

SH: Stop!

I stop for a second as I think about the difference between SH and me. He has moved only a handful of times, I moved ten times (maybe more?) before finishing high school and had to discard stuff each move because we had a weight allowance. The military does not like to waste taxpayer money by moving old newspapers or bills across the Atlantic Ocean. You will never open my mother's closet and find a paper bag full of random newspapers from ten years ago that she moved from San Antonio. Or the phone bills from 1996. SH is a gatherer, I am a shedder.

You would think that through the magic of marriage, I would have more control over what junk is allowed to stay in our house, but no.

Me: Or the Valu-Pak coupons from 2005?

SH: Why do you have to mess with this now?

Me: Because I saw it and I'm tired of having all this crap in my basement.

SH: Why are you stressing me out like this? Can't we leave this until later?

Cafe du Monde waiters goofing off instead of waiting tables. I finally bussed our table and went to the counter to place our order.

Me: This box has been here for 14 months. It's time.

SH: Nooooooooooo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 85: Your kiss is on my list

Some like it hot

He especially hates being in my house in the summer. “Why don’t you use your air conditioner?” he pleads. Because I hate to be cold, that’s why. I think people should learn to live with the seasons. That means in the summer, you wear lighter clothing, move more slowly, and drink a lot of lemonade.

And because I am a thrifty Slovak who would rather watch all my blood drip out of my body drop by drop than pay for something as ridiculously extravagant as air conditioning.

Go here for the full story.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lutherans #409

ELCAers aren't the only ones who hyphenate.

For the church picnic tomorrow, the bulletin says,

Each family is asked to bring a dish according to the first letter of their last name:

A-H: Veggie Salad, Veggie Tray
I-Q: Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Coleslaw
R-Z: Jell-O, Salad with fruits, plain fruit

As if. Who takes "plain fruit" to a picnic? Who takes a veggie tray?

These liberal Lutherans (the kind where the female pastors and even some of the male ones have hyphenated last names -- it's a requirement). So healthful. You sure wouldn't find this nonsense at a synod Lutheran picnic.

Or maybe it's just that this is the Wauwatosa Lutheran church and not the one in a blue-collar neighbor where SH and I got married.

You see here some of the food at St Stephen's, where we still go occasionally. None of this veggie tray nonsense. The plain fruit is just because someone got lazy and picked up the tray at Pick and Save, not because there was any concern about having Healthful Alternatives.

We're taking zucchini bread. Chocolate chocolate-chip zucchini bread. SH says that's a vegetable.

Marriage 101, Lecture 652: The sausage rules

SH: There are only two sausages left!

Me: So?

A full English breakfast with my own sausage.

SH: That means you've eaten five! I've only had one!

Me: I guess you need to move faster.

SH: But this is an egalitarian household.

Me: No, it's not.

SH: Then I should get more because I'm bigger.

Me: I thought you were a liberal.

English pub snack.

SH: Then I should get half.

Me: I'm not a liberal. So I don't care about your rules.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Good Socks

Years ago, Juanderlust's sister in law, Marsha, who is wonderful --

Let's just pause here and think about how nice it would be to be able to keep the families of former boyfriends in our lives. Juanderlust's family is fabulous. FABULOUS. (Explains why he is fabulous as well.) I lurved them. I miss them. If only there were some kind of in-law choice program that would let us keep those great people.

Cute little old Italian guy in a North End bakery in Boston.

Anyhow. At Christmas one year, Marsha gave me socks. Now, that family has a tradition of giving odd but useful gifts (I actually used the small clips and of course I still have the mega super-duper Swiss Army knife Juanderlust got me as a joke but was even better than the earrings that were my real present), but I still thought, "Socks? Socks?!"

"These are special socks," she assured me. They were the Good Socks.

And man if she wasn't right. Have you ever worn Thorlo socks? It's like you are getting a foot massage while you attempt to run a mile. They are the best socks in the world.

Just goes to show you can be a smart person in Cambridge and still be dumb as a post.

Well, my TJMaxx socks have gotten threadbare and seeing as my hobby as a gold-digger is spending SH's money, I thought I would buy some new athletic socks. The Marsha Thorlos have worn out after just seven years.

So I went to the google to seek more Thorlos.

They cost $12.99.

A pair.

I can get four pair of Gold Toe socks from Target for $7.99.

How much are my feet worth?

What do you think? Do I get the Good Socks?

The rest of the story #78

I knew it was going to be a bad day yesterday when I got out of the gym shower after my morning constitutional in the pool and discovered I had forgotten to pack a bra in my gym bag the night before. I had my shoes, my pantyhose, my suit and my blouse – just no bra.

Go here for the rest.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elvis has left the building

Talking to the old German guy (shirtless, tan, diamond earring in left ear) with the heavy accent I met last night as I walked to book club.

Me: Where are you from?

Old German Guy: Germany.

Me: Oh! I'm going there next month with my husband. He has to go for work.

OGG: You're married?

Me: Yes. Are you hitting on me?

OGG: Yes. I might ask you out if you are not married.

Me: Well, I might have said yes.

OGG: I go out dancing and close de place down, but den dey arrest me for drifing drunk in my own Gott-damn driveway! Now I can't go out.

This is Juanderlust and his band playing on Beale Street.

OGG: I came here from Germany in 1958 (?) and a year later I vas drafted. Then dey send me back to Gott-damn Germany.

Me: Oh my.

OGG: I vorked with Elvis.

Me: You did?

OGG: Oh yah. He rented a villa -- is dat what you call it? a fancy house? -- for his moder and fader. I meet them.

Me: Really?

OGG: He met Priscilla when she is 16. Her father is a colonel in de air force stationed at Weisbaden. He tell her father, "When she is 18, I am going to ask her for your hand." I mean, "ask you for her hand."

This is a mural close to my former house (I loved that house) in Memphis.

Me: We're going to Munich.

OGG: Munich! Dat's where I'm from. Let me tell you, dey say Milwaukee is de Gott-damned beer capital of de world, but it's Munich. You have to go to de Hoffbrau. Dere are six -- no, sefen -- floors and each one is more expensive. De first floor is clay and you sit there and drink beer and eat radishes. You know how people eat peanuts here? De Germans eat radishes and throw de top part on de Gott-damn floor. And you eat weisswurst.

Good thing nobody goes to England

Yes, SH has to go to England for work and I am going with him. For real this time.

Countries that are on the drop-down list on my credit card company's website on the place where you tell them not to cancel your card even though there are charges coming from a foreign country:


Locations that are not:

British Isles
Great Britain
United Kingdom

Ethical question du jour

Just what is the etiquette and/or legal status of food left in the break room refrigerator? You know – stuff that has been in the fridge long enough that it appears that the owner has forgotten about it?

Go here to see what I decided.

Marriage 101, Lecture 634: Laundry. Again.

SH: Did you move my shirts when you took that photo?

Me: Yes. So?

SH: I had those in order!

Me: What do you mean?

SH: Some of those shirts had been worn only once but weren't dirty but will have to be washed the next time they are worn.

Me: If they aren't dirty, why does it matter? Can't you tell if a shirt is dirty just by smelling it?

SH: No! That's not the right way to do things!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Let this be a lesson to us all

Me: I usually keep a box of emergency Pop Tarts in my trunk.

My friend Jen from the gym: Stay away from the Fiber One pop tarts.

Me: I saw those on sale the other day at Sendik's, but I told myself, "Just keep walking."

Jen: I bought some.

Me: They didn't taste good?

Jen: It's not the taste. It's the after effects.

Me: The after effects?

Jen: Just remember, a serving is one pop tart. Not the entire package.

Marriage 101, Lecture 428: Doesn't like surprises

Dialogue 1:
Me: The people down the street are re-doing their yard and I got the extra dirt!

SH: What?!

Me: Yeah, they're even bringing it over here.

SH: What? Where? Stop!

Me: There -- on the flowerbeds.

SH: Wait! Why?

Me: Because nothing will germinate there and I think it's because there's almost no topsoil.

SH: But! But!

Me: Do you know how much dirt costs? Do you know what a pain in the neck it is to either get it delivered or to buy it by the bag and then bring it home?

SH: Wait!

Me: This is free. I gave the guy some zucchini bread and some pear bread and I'm going to give him a ten, but we still come out way ahead.


Dialogue 2
Me: The people down the street are re-doing their yard and I got the extra dirt!

SH: So?

Me: Yeah, I've been looking into getting more dirt for the flowerbeds and I saw these guys working and asked if they had gotten dirt delivered and if they needed it all and if not, could I buy some and they told me this was extra dirt they were removing before re-sodding and I could just have it for free.

SH: Wow, honey, that's great!

Me: It is! Do you know how much dirt costs and what a pain it is to get it?

SH: No, my darling, I do not, but I trust you completely to make the right decisions about our yard. After all, my recent housing experiences have been an apartment since I moved to Milwaukee and then a townhouse when I was married to Imelda, so gardening and landscaping are really not within my experience. Besides, you always make good decisions, especially when it comes to ways that we can save my hard-earned money. I thought those free shelves that our neighbor was throwing away were a stupid idea, but once we cleaned the rust from them and I tightened the bolts, they were just fine. I was wrong about the shelves. I will never question your judgment again.

Me: I gave the guy some zucchini bread.

SH: That's a good idea. You make delicious zucchini bread and my goodness, it's not like we don't have enough zucchini!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wisconsin 101: Wisconsin nice, #78

wiThis is the guy who is installing a new yard for my neighbor dumping the extra dirt from digging up the old yard onto what I hope will be my flowerbed next summer.

Free. Just because oh sure, we got extra dirt here and we were just going to haul it away anyhow. You betcha.

Marriage 101, Lecture 785: Fashion

My friend Lois and I are both married to fashion-forward men who take great risks with their wardrobes. Look. Each closet contains at least two shirts that aren't blue. Or white.

I am married to an engineer.

Lois is married to a surgeon.

PS The non-blue/white shirts? Lois and I had to buy them. SH took them under duress, telling me that they would look horrible on him. They don't. They look great. Lois said her husband fought the pink, but now will hardly wear anything else.

Just another existential whine

from the past. I am a little embarrassed about some of these old posts, but it is what it is.

It's like when Nike released the "Incubus" shoe. Did it occur to anyone to see if that was a real word that might mean the being conceived when the devil rapes a woman in her sleep? This is why the business world needs more English majors. Something like that would never have gotten by if one of us had been around.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 752: Victory is sweet

Last week
SH: What is that?

Me: The guy down the street was throwing these shelves away.

SH: They're crap! Look! They're rusted and loose!

Of course, just stacking boxes of old phone bills, old computer parts, and 21 gimme hats on top of each other is also a solution. This stack of boxes? If SH's plane crashes, this is all going straight to the curb. I am not even opening them to see what's inside. My theory is that if he has gone seven years without opening them or dealing with them, they are not essential to life.

Me: I can clean the rust and maybe paint. Can't you fix the loose parts?

SH: Why do we need these?

Me: Because we need more shelf space in the basement and these are FREE.

SH: Look! I bolted the shelves to the wall and tightened the loose [parts -- he used the technically correct term and I don't remember what it waas].

Me: Wow!

Thank God the beer is safe.

SH: And now there's room for my beer.

Me: Who knew?

The next challenge? Getting rid of this guy, who now lives on the top shelf. SH: But Doug* gave that to me! It would be an insult to get rid of it. Me: If we can't sell it or give it to Goodwill, then why don't you give it back to him next year? If it's that great a gift, surely he would want one just like it.

* The same Doug who gave SH a paper towel rack a few years ago and was not insulted when SH said, "I already have one of these."

Chats du jour: Managing the workforce

So hard to get good help these days.