Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 301: Carrot and stick, part 2

SH: I guess there's no point in my taking a shower now.

Me: Why not?

SH: You're not going to wxyz because I didn't work on the taxes.

Me: Nope. I'll never withhold wxyz. I'll withhold tennis, but not [wxyz].

Chats du jour: The picture of elegance

Marriage 201, Lecture 875: Carrot and stick


SH: Let's play tennis.

Me: OK, but only after you send the email to your boss telling her we are going on vacation in July.*

SH [deep sigh]: Fine.**


SH: Let's play tennis.

Me: OK. After you spend half an hour on the taxes, OK?

SH: You want to negotiate over playing tennis?

Me: I finally have something you want. And it's a big refund.

* Because we have to make a 50% non-refundable deposit and if his company is going to come back later and say he can't go on vacation then, they I want backup that they said these dates were OK and the company needs to reimburse us the deposit.

** Like it's so hard to send an email. We talked about this a few days ago and he still hadn't done it. It's three sentences!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 992: Just desserts

Me: I'm trying to have a no-dessert day. But I already had half a donut.

SH: That's not dessert. That's a breakfast food.

Me: I'm not going to have pear crisp.

SH: That's a fruit.

Me: Oh for pete's sake.

SH: I can justify anything.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 440: A bitter pill

SH: I need more spare time.

Me: I could get Dr B to write you a note [so you don't have to do that thing I can't talk about here].

SH: He already gave me an infection.*

Me: Well then wouldn't the note make up for that?

* No, he didn't. SH's leg probably got infected because we used a seam ripper from my sewing box to remove the stitches.

Marriage 201, Lecture 883: Keep talking old man I'm taking notes

Me: I got a lot of work done on my book while you were gone. But I'm having some problems with the plotline. There just isn't enough material in the main story.

SH: You could come with me [on his forced march to a place that shall be unnamed here] to get more material.

Me: Or I could make something up.

Chats du jour: Oh yes!

I'm getting hits from Twitter on this post. Who tweeted me? I'm curious.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chats du jour: True love, true hate

Shirley watches as SH vacuums.

And vacuums. I brushed them with the Furminator this morning. Their third brushing this week. Hair everywhere. Spring is coming, at least to their coats. No, I don't want to do it outside because I can't brush them with their harnesses on and I don't want them out there unrestrained.

Laverne waits until it's safe to return to the kitchen.

Chats du jour: Saturday morning nap

Friday, March 26, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 603: Reunion

SH: Ouch!

Me: What?

SH: My lips are really chapped and I'm pulling off bits of skin and it hurts.

Me: Are you trying to make me hot?

Just open my veins why don't you?

Am I the only one who gets excited over finding a new tax deduction? So excited she can't sleep?

The other night - when I posted at 11:00 p.m., I was up because I had been in bed for an hour unable to sleep, bitter that we could not deduct the money we use to pay for SH's ex-wife's COBRA. We can deduct the alimony, but he agreed to pay her COBRA directly.

Then I started thinking that maybe we could deduct it. And how cool would that be? Because we are talking some cash here. And I am not a big fan of paying taxes and I am especially not a big fan of paying taxes we do not have to pay.

So I got out of bed and went to the google and guess what?

You can deduct it.

You can.

We are already expecting a big refund. (I hate big refunds - I noticed on the Wisconsin tax refund we got last year that there is a space for "Interest paid on refund" but they didn't give us any interest. Like that will ever happen - the government pays you for the money you have lent to it.) We got a refund last year and SH increased the withholding, but not enough, apparently.

Now we get some more. More! That means new shoes!

Actually, it means more paid toward our mortgage. More stockpiled toward SH maybe taking a sabbatical next year.

I stayed up for a while, playing with Turbo Tax, trying to do my 1040X for 2008 but to no avail.

So I went back to bed. Where I was unable to sleep because now I was thinking, Maybe we can take the home office deduction.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chats du jour: Pit bulls! Hawks! Dingoes!

When I was out running today, I saw a gorgeous bluepoint Burmese cat lounging in a driveway. Untethered. The cat's owner was working in the yard, so I, always eager for an excuse to stop exercising, stopped to talk about the cat. This is not something cat owners often get to do - talk about their cats. Or at least not in the cat's outdoor presence. Cats are uncooperative, contrary animals and are seldom found near their owners (or "staff," as SH and I are known in our house) when they are both outside.

But this cat was sitting, although he refused to come near me. I am not the Cat Whisperer. SH is capable of seducing just about any cat out there, although he is not so good at listening to instructions like, "Don't pick up my cat. I mean it. It freaks her out." He has always had good luck with cats so what he hears is, "Everyone else is forbidden to pick up my cat but you may do it." Then what happens after he picks up this random (Lilah, The Bodacious Red-headed Pediatrician's cat) cat, the cat does indeed freak out because the BRHP knows her cat better than SH does. But SH, being a liberal, is full of good intentions and in his world, that's what counts. Fortunately, he also a major hottie and I am crazy about him. Enough to overlook the politics.

Laverne is a killer even when she is on a leash. Good cat.

So I stopped to talk to the owner of the cat and asked if he - the owner - was not worried about pit bulls eating the cat. He told me the cat is ten years old and has been an outdoor cat since they got him. He also noted that the cat has never been eaten by pit bulls and are there even any pit bulls in our neighborhood?

I don't know. When I am talking to my backyard neighbor Bill, who also lets his cat out on a leash attached to the clothesline, Bill says that the only dog he knows about is the arthritic, white-snouted dog that lives two doors down from us. He does note that there used to be a hawk that lived around here and a hawk could get a cat.

We both fall silent as we contemplate the image of a hawk getting our cats. "She'd be on a leash," I say.

"Oh sure," Bill answers. "The hawk would have to drop her after about 20 feet."

Well. That's OK then.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 45: Absence makes the heart grow fonder but being together can be stressful

SH has been gone since Saturday morning. Oh, that was a fun trip to the airport. He had said we needed to leave at 10:15 but then he wasn't ready and told me not to worry, that was with a two-hour check-in time and he wasn't even sure if that applied because he was flying from Milwaukee to Atlanta and then to Germany so does that whole two hours thing matter?

So. I am sitting around, ready to go since 10:15 because that's how I roll. If someone gives me a time to be ready by, I am ready by and even early. I always believe people (=SH) when he gives me a departure time and then we never really leave at that time.

He does not appear to be in any hurry. He has waited until the last minute to shower, shave and dress and then to turn off his computer.

Which does not want to shut down.

And then gives him an error.

All I know is he flies downstairs, shouting, "We have to leave RIGHT NOW!" He is putting on his coat as he is saying this, gathering his bags. I tell him to get the car out of the garage (where he had put it the night before because of course it is SNOWING and the ROADS ARE ICY and he knew it was going to snow and did not want snow on the car because he had just washed it) and that I will get the bags, but when he is in Full Panic OH NO! Mode, he hears nothing, so I just get my coat, lock the door and follow him. I am not following quickly enough for him because he is all hyperventilating and OH NO!ing and I don't understand what the problem is because it's 11:10 and his flight isn't until 12:30 and he never leaves this early for a plane.

Nobody is driving fast enough for him and he is yelling at the other drivers and I tell him that I am going to die of second-hand stress. He asks me to pull his computer out of his briefcase and try to start it up because he doesn't know if it will start because of the error and I say, Well even if it doesn't start, they can just give you another one at your office in Germany and that will be OK because you have all your work backed up on your company network, right?

And he glares and says that no, he has not backed his work up and it's all on his laptop.

The computer starts, we get to the airport on time, and I drop him off and relax. And miss him.

But while he is gone, I do enjoy the following things:

1. Not having to have any political discussions
2. Going to bed before 11:00
3. Not cooking
4. Eating beans, foods with That Orange Flavor, and rutabaga
5. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 873: Commando, part 2

My email conversation with SH yesterday.

SH: This hotel is wonderful. I got a room by 10:00, and I took a nap for about 1 1/2 hours followed by a quick shower. I feel much better.

Me: Did you change back into your dirty u/w after your shower?

SH: Yes, I did put the dirty underwear back on! It didn't surprise me that you asked.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 872: Commando

SH [packing - he left Saturday and returns Friday]: I am trying to decide how many pairs of underwear I need.

Me: Depends if you want clean underwear every day. If you do, it's obvious.*

SH: I don't. So five.

* I of course am thinking Duh who wouldn't want clean underwear every day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 592: The nag

I send an email to SH asking him to cancel the group legal plan.

SH: You're nagging me. You're not supposed to nag me until I get back from my trip.

Me: What?

SH: To cancel that legal plan.

Me: What? It's so hard? Just send an email to your HR lady.

SH: That might not be the right way to do it.

Me: So? If it isn't, she'll tell you. What do you have to lose by sending an email?

SH: I think I have to log into the employee portal and do it there.

Me: Why can't you just send an email? That way, if there's anything you have to sign, she can mail it to you and it will be here when you get back.

SH: I don't think that's the right thing to do.

Me: Oh Lord.

Chats du jour: La toilette, deux

SH: Did you see that weird thing in the toilet this morning?

Me: Yes! It looked like poop* and I was mad that you didn't flush.

Not the mouse that was flushed, but a sibling.

SH: Did you flush it?

Me: Um yeah.

SH: It was the cats' mouse. They knocked it into the toilet.

Me: So why didn't you pull it out?

SH: That's gross! I would never stick my hand into the toilet** like that.

Me: Oh for pete's sake. You can wash your hands. Don't you think it would have been better not to flush that thing?***

SH: It wasn't that big. Other things [he elaborates] are bigger.

* Very odd poop, I have to say.

** I apologize for grossing anyone out, but we don't flush for #1 at night so that we don't wake each other. Plus I have lived and traveled in way too many places where water is scarce, so I am a - how shall we say it? - conservative #1 flusher.

*** Especially after we just paid $178 to have our sewer line snaked.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 391: What to do with free time

SH [who leaves for Germany on Saturday and has been slammed with a lot of work]: How would you prioritize the following activities: tennis,* wxyz, and [my] going out?

Me: Wxyz, going out and tennis.

SH: You don't want to play tennis?

Me: You don't want wxyz?

* We have played tennis twice this week. The snow is finally gone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 409: I love him because he's so sophisticated

SH: I think someone might be poaching our internet. I'm going to change the password.

Me: Whatever.

SH: You know what it was before, right?

Me: Butthead.

SH: Yeah. Can you guess what I'm going to change it to?

Me: Oh for pete's sake. You are not.

SH: It's the perfect password.

PS Yes, I know I am giving out password information online, but I am assuming that my readers who know where I live are not going to bother to sit in my driveway just to poach my internet after guessing what SH is changing it to.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chats du jour: At the zoo

Four year old boy: Where's the daddy tiger?

Mom: I don't know.

FYB: Maybe he's getting fixed.

Marriage 201, Lecture 96: The List

Me: Look. Kate Winslet is getting divorced.

SH: Uh-huh.

Me: She's available.

SH: I know!

Marriage 201, Lecture 34: Lessons in gold digging

Me: Can we change the divorce decree?

SH: I don't want to. She's old. What's she going to do?

Me: That's not my problem. But if she's getting [social security] disability, we ought to be able to reduce the alimony.

SH: It's not in the decree.

Me: I think the lawyers were on her side. There's nothing in the decree about her making a good faith effort to find work and apparently, that is a standard clause to include.

SH: We shared the lawyer and this was a standard document.

Me: No, I think they were on her side. The next time you get divorced, you need to get your own lawyer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chats du jour: La toilette

Dear Midwestern store that is not Menards (we'll call you The Farm Store):

I know your store brand kitty litter, TFS kitty litter, is not carried anywhere else but The Farm Store. That's why it has your brand name on it. It would be silly for Wal-Mart to carry something branded with a competitor's name, wouldn't it?

But I'm pretty sure that you do not have a factory somewhere that makes just TFS kitty litter. Actually, I'm positive.

Which is why, when I sent you my email, I asked who manufactured your product, not where I can buy TFS kitty litter.

Because I already know that I can't get TFS brand kitty litter anywhere else but The Farm Store, which happens to be 60 miles from my house. But I suspect that I can get it under another store's brand.

We only got this kitty litter because we were visiting friends near your store and stopped in so SH could buy his 24' inflatable penguin.

Oh yes. We are all about class and sophistication in this house.

So. Let me ask you again: Who makes your kitty litter? This doesn't need to be a big secret because even if you don't tell me, I am not going to drive 120 miles round trip to get TFS litter. I will go to Wal-Mart* instead because Wal-Mart is ten minutes from my house and even though their kitty litter is inferior, I am not that dedicated to the welfare of my cats that I am willing to drive that far to get The Good Litter for them.



* Actually, I might not go to Wal-Mart because SH is boycotting them. Again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Life, death and cookies

When you order cookies for a memorial service but don't specify that they are for a memorial service, the bakery will assume they are for a St Patrick's day party.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 482: Because he would ask if he could

Me: Do you know where you're going?

SH: I'm not sure. Maybe.

Me: I'm getting tired of walking. Do you know or not?

SH: I don't think I know. But I can't call Pete [for directions] because my phone is dead.

Me: You can use my phone.

SH [silence]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 442: She's not my friend

Me: Have you asked that girl* for the cookie recipe yet?

SH: No.

Me: Why not?

SH: Because I'm not really her friend.

Me: Just ask for the darn recipe! Why is this so hard for you?

SH: It seems weird to ask her for a recipe when I don't even know her.

Me: Even though you friended her and you didn't even know her? Just tell me her name. I'll do it.

SH: No! You gave up facebook for Lent.

Me: Then ask for the recipe. Just ask. Sheesh.

* SH and I went to a fundraiser for the Brew City Bruisers a few weeks ago - a spaghetti supper with a bake sale. The cookies and the cappuccino cupcakes were fabulous. SH went on to facebook to find the baker. He sent her a message, asked if she had made the cookies, and then sent her a friend request when she answered that she had indeed made them. This was two weeks ago.

Marriage 201, Lecture 365: Confirmed bachelor

SH: For a while, I was trying to get shirts with huge flowers.

Me: Uh-huh.

SH: Some people questioned my manhood but I'm secure.

Me: I'm not questioning your manhood. I'm questioning your taste.

Marriage 201, Lecture 341: You are not the boss of me

SH: Why don't you wait to do the laundry until we get back? I already told you that's the best way.* You should do it my way.

Me: [traditional gesture of disagreement]

SH: You don't like it when I try to micromanage how you run the house. Why not?

Me: Go away.

* SH thinks that because we will be gone for a few days that I should skip washing the sheets, which I usually do on Thursday, and just wait until next week, but I don't like how the sheets get stretched out after a week.

Wisconsin 101: Yes we have crazy people here

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Chats du jour: Starving, or, It's all about me

I am all stressed out because SH and I are going to Pittsburgh on Thursday and we'll be gone until Sunday and always it's the cats. What to do about the cats? Once they are dead, they will not be replaced for this very reason. Once SH is dead, he won't be replaced either. One and done.

Usually our neighbor Regina feeds the cats and I get her a bottle of wine. I used to try to find her something from wherever we visited, but I always think of getting food and she's on a diet. So it's wine, which she likes, so it works for us.

Anyhow. I emailed her last week to ask if she would feed the cats only it was one of my typical long emails where the request was buried in a lot of gossip about which neighbors shovel their sidewalks and which ones don't and she might have gotten tired by the time she got to the cat question. Or she might not have even read the email. Not everybody is a slave to email like I am.

I didn't hear anything back from her.

So I left her a phone message this morning.

And didn't hear anything back.

We leave Thursday.

I have sort of left this to the last minute, which is not like me, but Regina has always been a sure thing, plus I was sure I had backup.

So no problem. I call my Plan B, the kid who fed the cats last fall when we were in England and Germany. Not that Regina wouldn't have fed them then, but when you are gone for ten days, it's a little much to ask your neighbor to do that as a favor. I'd rather pay someone.

And the kid tells me he doesn't know - he'll have to check his schedule.

He's in seventh grade.

What kind of schedule does he have?

Crap. Now it's Tuesday night and we leave at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday and I don't have anyone to feed the cats and doesn't Regina want to be my friend any more? Why hasn't she called me back? I thought she liked me. I thought we were cool. But I don't want to nag her by calling again. What if I call her and she says, "Oh. It's you. What do you want?" in a dead voice.

That would be awful.

So I call our 80-year-old neighbor who lives two houses down from us. I ask if he'll be the backup cat feeder. I hate to ask him but I don't know who else to ask.

Then SH points out that not everyone listens to phone messages, especially on cellphones.

Like me.

Who only turns on my phone when SH is out of town.

"They're home," he says. "Just go next door and ask her."

Ha. Will he have a door slammed in his face? Easy for him to say.

But I think maybe she is like me and never checks her messages because everyone in the world knows that I am an email person, not a phone person, so the only people who leave me phone messages are people trying to sell me something.

Regina's husband opens the door. She is in bed with a migraine. But of course they'll feed the cats. Of course. No hay de que.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 39: Terminator Engineer

SH: The crummy underwear is for traveling because they fold up small. The nicer ones are for at home because I wear them longer.

Me: I didn't know you had a system for your underwear.*

SH: Of course I have a system. There's a system for most things in the mind of an engineer. But there's not a system for jeans. Wait. I have a pair for traveling. And if I go out, I wear whichever ones I've already worn to the bar. So I guess I do have a system.

* I have a system for my underwear, of course, but I didn't think SH had any reason to have a system. He's a guy. He does not face the same issues I do, such as which underwear shows a panty line in my gym clothes?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Where there's a will

Dear Attorney Jane Doe,

I am firing you as our lawyer because you are the worst lawyer I have ever worked with. Not that I have worked with many, but I have used a lawyer on all of my real-estate transactions and consider that money well spent. King Self in Memphis was wonderful. Maybe he set the bar too high and I am expecting too much, like a lawyer who actually prepares documents correctly, uses my name when he writes to me, and does not keep me waiting for 20 minutes for an appointment.

You might think I am over-reacting to what you said was "a simple typo," but if you had actually proofed the will before you sent it to me as the final document that you wanted SH and me to come in and sign and emailed to me only at my insistence, you would see that not only that you had put my name as "Mary Factotum," but you would also notice that you had put Serious Honey's name as "Serious Halibut."

But yes. Those errors would have been reasonably easy to fix, although sitting in a conference room with my always too much work to do husband while a secretary made those adjustments would have annoyed the heck out of me, both because SH would have been going nuts thinking about how he wasn't getting any work done and also because I would have taken these simple typos as an indicator of a general level of sloppiness that would make me concerned about the rest of your work.

I am one of those annoying people who reads an entire document before I sign it. Crazy, I know, but I found a huge mistake on the papers when we bought our house and no, I was not willing to let them take care of it after we signed and then just send us the updates because I did not think it was a good idea to let SH be listed as the sole owner of the house, especially as we were not married yet, so I'll just sit here while you call down to the county records clerk and get this all straightened out, thank you very much. I don't care if you have other things to do, it's your job to make sure things like WHO OWNS THE HOUSE are listed properly.

So. Attorney Jane Doe (because that is how you identify yourself in phone calls as if I couldn't figure it out based on your name and the context of the call). It wasn't just the names. It was the fact that you did not get a single item correct on the will. Even though I sent you everything in writing. And all you had to do was check what you put in against what I sent you to make sure they matched.

Is it that hard? You couldn't proofread a simple document?

The other reason I am firing you is that you didn't use my name in an email until after I called the group legal plan to complain about you and get the name of a new lawyer and they must have called your boss who must have told you that you better fix this problem right now. Customer Relations 101, honey.

I don't care that you did all that work and now won't get paid. SH has had this group legal plan for over five years now and has paid about $700 in premiums. For that much money, I want an error-free document. Actually, what I want is all that money back. I will never again use a lawyer who does not come without a recommendation from a friend.

Sue me.

Class Factotum

Marriage 201, Lecture 65: The laundry, or it's not always nagging

Me: I'm going to do a load of darks. Is all your laundry down there?

SH: Let me check.

Me: You've known for the past 24 hours that I've been planning to do wash. Why would there be anything dirty still in your closet?

SH: There are things that I might be able to wear again but if you're doing laundry, I want washed.

Me: No. You've known that I was going to do laundry. When you unpacked, you put your dirty clothes in the laundry. Why would you have anything else still to go in?

SH: I don't know but I'm glad you asked me. It's not nagging if you remind me that you are doing laundry.

Me: I should not have to remind you.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 97: Priorities

Me: What are you doing? You know it makes me nuts to have the freezer open like that.

SH: Look at how you have these small things in big ziplocks. It's not efficient.

Me: So what? Why are you wasting time re-arranging the freezer? Don't you have better things to do?

SH: It's important to have everything in order.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 67: For better or for whining

SH: I didn't have anyone to listen to me whine while I was in Minneapolis.

Me: I still had the cats.

SH: So you had Laverne the whiner. I had a whine-free week but you didn't.

Me: If a man whines in the forest, does anyone else suffer?

Chats du jour: Cinderella

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 68: Because humans use tools

SH: Hey! Would you help me?

Me: What?

SH: Would you move the bath rug over here?

Me: Why didn't you put it there before you got into the shower?

SH: I always forget.

Me: This has happened before?

SH: Uh huh.

Me: What do you usually do?

SH: I use the towel to pull it to me.

(The bath rug lives by the toilet at night because I want my feet to be warm when I have to get up in the middle of the night.)

Finally to the good stuff

Yeah. I finally meet and start dating SH on my old blog. And I am appalled to find that he likes Britney Spears. And owns a CD of her music. And is not even ashamed of it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wisconsin 101: Of course they have a fish fry

And karaoke.

What they do not have is a decent Vietnamese sandwich. Alas. It's an OK sandwich. They put mayonnaise and bacon on it and let's face it, is there any food that is hurt by the addition of bacon? But they don't use a fresh baguette and that is the key to a good Vietnamese sandwich. Maybe I should not expect to find such a food item in Milwaukee, although the owner of the Vietnamese grocery where I buy our too salty, processed, not brewed, soy sauce says they are opening a new store on the south side that will have a food court with fresh baguette sandwiches so we shall see.

I stopped at this place yesterday after taking SH to the airport because the food critic at the paper suggested I try their sandwiches. When I arrived, I realized that SH and I had already eaten there, so I went to the little Colombian place down the street instead. Platanos maduros. Arepa con queso. Is this the bus to Cartagena? Siiiiii.

Marriage 201, Lecture 353: Taking each other for granted

SH: Well it's not like you try to be sexy for me.

Me: At least I bathe every other day.

SH: You told me not to bother to shower yesterday.*

Me: Yeah. At 9:30 at night. Before you were going out to a bar.

This yesterday was actually several days ago.