Saturday, July 31, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 593: Just desserts

Lake Superior.

Me: Rats! This dress [which I wore five months ago] is too tight.

SH: Does that mean you are not going to make dessert any more?

Dear customer service

Dear AAA aka the American Automobile Association,

When my car wouldn't start and you sent a regular truck instead of a tow truck, I wrote to you about it on your website. It took you a week to give me an autoreply.

Within a few days of my post about the problem here, though, one of your customer service reps left a comment on my blog urging me to contact him about the problem. So I sent him a copy of the same letter I sent via your website.

That was over two weeks ago.

I have yet to hear boo from you.

I am even more upset now than I was when you messed everything up in the first place. My husband has paid more than $100 a year for the membership for the past five years.

Yet you 1. can't send a tow truck when required and 2. can't even answer my email.

Don't ask me to email you or comment on my blog if you are not going to address my problem. It's better if you ignore me from the beginning.


CF, who might be mollified with five years of free membership but maybe not even that because we don't want to belong to a service that doesn't do what it's supposed to do. I'd rather have a refund for the past five years with the price of the service call deducted from the refund.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 87: On a mission

Important things I have learned at the cottage on Madeline Island.

1. If you don't have an internet connection at the cottage (but can get one by driving into town and camping out in the hotel lobby, not that we do that too much, but we are nerds), you can't look up the weather forecast on your computer. Which means that when you finally go to play tennis at noon, it will start raining at about noon oh two, which will make your husband blame you for not wanting to leave the cottage earlier, even though there was no indication that it might rain.

What you will realize the next day is that even if you can't look up the forecast and see the radar on your computer, all you have to do is turn on the television and that exact information will be available there. Who knew you could learn about the weather on TV? Not me.

2. Once you turn on the TV in the cottage, you will discover that Remote #1, which you use to control the channels, cannot be used to mute the sound. That function is reserved for Remote #2, which is just fine with you because one remote, two remotes, whatever.

But your engineer husband will decide that if he cannot work at his paid job, he will program the remotes properly because he just can't stand to not have it working right, and will spend the next half hour of his free vacation time on that project.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 488: On the road

On the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island.

Me: That guy has got to be a liberal.

Edward, the dog belonging to Bonnie and Gary's neighbor, and the stick he fetched for me to throw.

SH: Why?

Me: He's wearing birkenstockish sandals, he's driving a Volvo, and he's smoking, even though it's against the rules. He's smoking American Spirit cigarettes.*

SH: Could be. But he's breaking the rules!

Me: The rules are for other people. I give it 90%.

SH: Are the cigarettes organic?

Me: Yes! They are! OK, 95%.

* The cigarettes that made liberals feel good about smoking again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 76: Not the boss of you

At Bonnie and Gary's, on our way to Madeline Island.

SH: I want to go out in the kayak.

Me: OK.

SH: Wait! Where's my swimsuit?

Me: I don't know.

SH: I didn't pack it! Why didn't you tell me?

Me: Me? I'm not in charge of your packing.


Me: Are you going to take a shower?

SH: Yes.

Me: Should I leave my shampoo in the shower?

SH: Is it that gold-digger shampoo that makes your hair brown?

Me: Yes.

SH: I don't want to use that! Why didn't you pack regular shampoo?

Me: This is what I use. You should have packed your own.

SH: But when I travel, I just use the shampoo in the hotel. You should have reminded me!

Me: I'm not the boss of you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 484: The rights of man

SH: Should we move [the stuff in the kitchen that we are taking to the cottage in four hours]? The cats might get into it while we're at tennis.

Me: No. Let's just lock the cats in the basement.

SH: Why don't we just put it in the dining room?

Me: Because that takes it further from the car and then we'll have more work to load.

SH: But the cats have had a hard couple of days! They've had to deal with their box being moved and with those kids. I don't want to put them in basement!

Wisconsin 101: 40 days and 40 nights

At Puhl's True Value hardware store.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chats du jour: Getting high

SH is concerned that Shirley will fall from her new perch. But the only way to keep her out of the upstairs and off the ledge is to keep the stairs door closed and we can't do that because we had to move the litter box from the basement to the upstairs bathroom so we could seal off the basement to dry it.

Marriage 201, Lecture 396: You shouldn't have

On the agenda for today:

Getting rid of this gift that SH's friend gave him last year. SH's mission is to sneak it back into the friend's van sometime while they are here for supper tonight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 23: Two by two, or, Deja vu all over again

Rather than re-type everything, I will refer you to this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post.

For "my mother," substitute "SH's best friend from high school, his wife and their three kids, visiting for the first time since we moved here." No need to substitute anything for, "they were remarkably cheerful and helpful and it was lucky for us but not for them that they were here because SH's friend helped him move the sofa, which is too heavy for me to lift."

For, "let's try stuffing rags and an aerosol can in the drain so the water can't get out," substitute, "you can't get around the laws of physics and guess what, you might have cracks in the concrete under the carpet where the water will find egress."

For "2:00 a.m.," substitute, "right before we were going to make supper."

For, "tried everywhere to find a water-sucking machine," substitute, "I have the hardware store on speed dial and called them two minutes after we saw the water coming out of the drain to reserve a water-sucking machine and it's a good thing I did because by the time I got there, there were no more machines left."

For "while my mother visited for a few days," substitute, "two days before we are supposed to leave town for a week and more rain is coming."

For, "I'll call you guys in three years," substitute, "I will be calling the city to complain because we think it has something to do with the storm sewer drain that is right in front of our house."

PS If you don't feel like clicking on all those links, just click the "basement flood" label just underneath this post. That will bring up all the links at once.

Marriage 201, Lecture 845: Entertaining

Hello my peeps. I have been busy getting us ready to go to the cottage on Madeline Island on Saturday and to have SH's high school friend and his family here for supper tonight and tomorrow night. We leave here Saturday morning.

The big issues: do I even bother to wash the kitchen floor knowing that

1. It has been raining

2. There will be five extra people in the house tonight and tomorrow night, three of them children. Young children.

I vote no because why bother?

But then I think yes because I cannot bear for someone to think I am a bad housekeeper. It's not like I don't have time to have a clean, neat house. And I know my house skills will be evaluated. It's what women do. I do it. Yes. I judge. If your house is a disaster, I notice. I won't say anything, but I notice. You get a pass if you have very very young children, but after that? Your bathroom needs to be clean. The kitchen counters should be visible - they should not contain a month's worth of mail and newspapers.

Some people don't think a clean house is important. Whatever. It's your house, you get to do what you want with it.

But I will still judge. Just as I expect to be judged when I do all my chores in my sweaty gym clothes because I am too lazy to go home, shower and dress properly before doing the shopping, going to the post office and library, etc. I know I look like crap. I know I can look better. But I am lazy. People can figure that out about me. I am not proud of this quality, but there you go.

But my house?

Clean. Tidy. Despite the cats.

The small issues:

1. What do we feed the kids? If the grownups are having steak, should the kids get steak? How much Good Food should we make for little humans who think Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is haute cuisine?

2. How do I avoid getting pulled into a political and/or religious discussion? SH and his friend do not agree on almost anything and both find a spirited (to put it lightly) argument to be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I hate arguing about politics. SH and I do not agree on most things.* I am all, "Let's just agree to disagree," and SH is all, "But I must convince you of the error of your ways and enlighten you as to the superiority of mine!"

The good news is that after seeing our friends Bonnie and Gary on Saturday and my aunt and uncle and some cousins on Sunday, we will be without internet access (I hope) for four straight days, which will mean that SH cannot work. You would think that being "on vacation" would imply not working, but remember that SH was up until 4:00 a.m. on the first night of our honeymoon in Madrid.

* We do both like bacon, watching movies, and playing tennis, so why not focus on those things, I say?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 339: Moral issues

SH: Wait! How come you get to buy orange juice and I'm not supposed to get ketchup?

Me: Because the juice was on the bargain counter for 99 cents, we don't have any, sometimes you like orange juice and we have a chest freezer now. We have seven years worth of ketchup in this house.

SH: Well, I want to keep the new ketchup and get rid of the old stuff. Look! The old ketchup has high fructose corn syrup in it! The new ketchup doesn't have any. By buying the stuff without the corn syrup in it, I am taking a stand against high fructose corn syrup.

Me: Can't you take a stand against it by just not buying the ketchup that does have it?

Marriage 201, Lecture 422: Tag team

How it works at our house:

1. I go to bed at 11:00, which is two hours later than I did pre-SH.

2. He stays up late working because an account executive sent him an email late Friday afternoon that a customer needs help using their software in a way that the software doesn't work and the customer has been told that the software doesn't really work that way and the AE hasn't brought up this problem to the engineers over the past few months because he "didn't want to rock the boat." Instead, the AE waits until 5:00 Friday afternoon to demand instant help on the issue and then schedules a conference call with the customer - and SH, because the engineer assigned to this customer left on vacation at 4:30 Friday afternoon without solving the problem* - at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Without asking SH.

3. SH comes to bed at about 3:00 a.m.

4. I get up to see a man about a dog.

5. I return to bed, eyes closed, feeling my way, because I do not want to wake up because if I wake all the way up in the middle of the night, I have a hard time falling back to sleep.

6. SH says, "I can't sleep!"

7. I try to ignore him, but I feel sorry for him because he is the one who works his butt off so I can be a gold-digger.

8. I ask him if he wants me to rub his back.

9. "Maybe." He turns on his side so I can reach his back.

10. "I hate my job," he moans.

11. I rub. He whines. This situation is whineworthy.

12. He falls asleep.

13. I lie in bed awake for at least an hour before I fall back to sleep.

* SH was up working until 4:00 a.m. on the first night of our honeymoon in Madrid. You know, because he had things he had to finish before taking vacation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 490: The thrill of the hunt

Me: What's this?

SH: Ketchup. It was on sale.

Me: We don't need it.

SH: It was only 78 cents.

Me [yanking open the fridge and pulling out the bottle of ketchup that I brought from my house in Memphis IN 2008 and is still HALF FULL]: Look. We don't use that much ketchup.*

SH: But it was a bargain!

Me: It's not a bargain if we DON'T NEED IT. We use ketchup at the rate of one bottle every five years.

SH [mutters]: It was a good deal.

* Plus there is another bottle in the pantry.

Marriage 201, Lecture 903: Whining in stereo

SH: You would never get rid of Laverne.

Me: Oh yes I would. If your plane crashes, I am throwing away your crap in the basement without even opening the boxes and then I am giving the cats back to the crazy cat ladies.


SH: You love Laverne! And she keeps you company when I'm gone.

Me: She whines. So yes, when you're gone, she's the designated whiner. When you're home, I have to hear it in stereo.

Marriage 201, Lecture 439: Barfly

SH: I wish you liked to go out with me.

Me: I hate bars and I hate staying out late.

SH: There's no smoking any more.

Me: I'll go with you if I can take a book.

SH: I'll make fun of you.

Me: I don't care.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 834: For lazy

SH [from the basement]: Sweetie, will you do me a favor?

Me: If it doesn't involve moving.

SH: It does.

Me: Then no.

SH: You won't???

Me: What is it?

SH: Would you bring me the power adapter in my computer bag?

Me: Can't you get it?

SH: No. Shirley is sitting in my lap.

Marriage 201, Lecture 306: For worse

Me: Quit whining, you whiner. It's pathetic.

SH: I can whine freely now that you're stuck with me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wisconsin 101: Don't mess with the librarians

Because they are serious about overdue fines here.

Marriage 201, Lecture 392: My People Do Not Waste

SH: Have them change the oil while the car is in the shop.

Me: But I didn't give them the oil in the basement [that SH gets on sale and is a lot cheaper than using the garage's oil].

Waiters at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans texting and ignoring customers and tables that need to be bussed.

SH: It's only $25 extra for their oil.

Me: Why don't I just take it back next week with your oil?

SH: It's only $25 extra. It's not worth it.

Me: It's worth it to me.

SH: You have to drive down there and wait. To save $25? No.

Me: It's TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! That's a casual meal out. Or a pedicure and brow waxing at the beauty school.

SH: Oh just pay it.

Me: This from the man who sends in the $2 rebates to Menards.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Car wars

Hello my peeps. It's an expensive day here at chez Factotum-Engineer. Car repair. Ouch.

I can live with the repair (I don't have any choice, do I?) but let me tell you about the Drama of getting the car to the garage. Hint: I am more than ticked off at AAA.

Here's the scene: I am leaving tennis last night and the car won't start. It's not the battery. How do I know that? Because I've had a dead battery and when you have a dead battery, your radio doesn't work and the windows won't open.*

This was the starter. I have had starter problems before.

I called SH, who is out of town, to see if he had any ideas. "Try to get a push start," he suggested.

I walked to the corner bar, right past the thin guy talking on his cellphone, and found two big, beer drinking, smoking men. I looked like heck, all sweaty and gross and not even in my cute tennis skirt but just in shorts, but when I asked if they would push the car, they got up immediately.

Men here are so polite.

We tried the push start but no luck. I left the car parked in a one-hour parking between 9-7 zone and walked the mile home, gnashing my teeth.

When I got home, I called AAA. Said I needed my car towed to the garage. Realized maybe I could do it right away if I could reach the garage, which was about to close. I told the AAA girl that I had to call the garage to see what provision they had for leaving a car at night - I didn't want the tow truck driver to have my car key and no place to put it. "Most garages have key drops," she said.

I called the garage and they were closed.

I called the Police State of the City of Wauwatosa to advise that my car would be left on the street overnight. Overnight street parking is illegal here. The call took 15 minutes and involved two separate people. I do not know why. It's not that complicated. But they were so confused at the location of the car.

Them: What's the address?

Me: It's on 74th street, right by the Lion's Club.

Them: The address?

Me: It's on the side of the Lion's Club. The Lion's Club address is 2336 St James. I'm around the corner. There's no address for where my car is.

Them: What?

Me: The car is at the intersection of St James and 74th.

Them: So 2336 St James?

Me: No! That's the front of the Lion's Club. I am On. The. Side.

Them: OK. If you're in a one-hour parking zone, they'll tow you in the morning.

Me: What???!!

I called AAA back. Different rep, so I had to tell him my story again. Asked if we could schedule a tow for this morning at 7. Unfortunately, no - they don't schedule pickups. I have to call when I need it.

I set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. and had nightmares about oversleeping and the car being towed, but not towed to where I wanted it to be towed.

At 6:18 a.m., I called AAA again. Would they send a truck?

AAA: Are you at your car?

Me: No, I'm at home. It will take me half an hour to walk there.

AAA: You have to be within 5 minutes of your car.

I walk to the car. I call again. It's 6:48. I wait.

A truck arrives at 7:40. That's 52 minutes later, if you don't want to do the math. As in, they could have dispatched someone before I left my house.

It's not a tow truck.

It's just a regular truck with a guy who wants to give me a jump start.

Let me make a little digression here:

1. It wasn't the darn battery. I told them that when I first called.
2. What kind of idiot calls AAA for a jump when she is parked in a neighborhood or otherwise near other cars? All you have to do - unless you are in the middle of nowhere - is remove the cables from your trunk and ask someone to bring his car over to yours. Negative to negative, positive to positive. It takes five minutes.

I ask the AAA guy why he's not a tow truck. He shakes his head, sighs, and tells me that this happens All. The. Time.

He calls for a tow truck, but says in the meantime, let's try that push start again but with the truck.

The push start works. I take the car to the garage, then they shuttle me home, which eats an hour and a half of my precious time.

At 8:18, the tow truck driver calls me to say he'll be there soon.

Garage calls to say it will cost $1,600 to replace the starter (which I knew was the problem) and repair the oil leak that caused the starter to go bad.

* Because we have power windows, not crank windows, which are what I want in case I drive the car off a bridge into the water. You die if you have power windows because the electrical system shorts out and do you have a rock handy to bust the window? No you do not. With manual windows, you open the window a bit, let the water in until the pressure equalizes, then Poof! You open the door, grab your purse and swim to the surface.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lowe's vs Sears

Already Lowe's is winning the customer service war about the chest freezer that SH and I have been debating for two years.* It is supposed to be delivered this afternoon. I got to pick my delivery time when I bought the freezer last week. I got a phone call last night from the local delivery service reminding me that the freezer would be delivered today and asking that I call them if there were any changes. They will call half an hour before they arrive.

Now contrast this to our washer and dryer buying experience from the Sears scratch and dent center two years ago.

No, our house seller did not leave the washer and dryer, even though we offered him money to do so. I just didn't want to go through the hassle of buying appliances, plus they were red, which I really liked. He, the man who did not cover his food in the microwave for the entire year he lived here so obviously knows or cares nothing about appliances, just had to have the washer and dryer.

We bought a washer and dryer. White. Red is extra and I am too cheap for that. The most Sears could promise us on delivery was that we could call the day before to see if they were delivering in our zip code. I could not request a date or a time; I could only take an available time once offered.

I finally picked a time: afternoon of whatever date. As in, after 12 but before 6.

They didn't come. They didn't come.

This might not have been such a big deal except we had not yet moved into the house. I had no food there except several cans of tuna, which gets pretty boring, nothing to read, no place to sit.

I called (many times) to ask where my major appliances were.

Sears referred me to their delivery service.

The delivery service asked if I was "being in Milwaukee City?"

"Where are you?" I demanded.

"I cannot be telling you for security reasons."


1. Because a Sears delivery service is a prime terrorist target.
2. Because the call center was in India.
3. Because if I knew where it was, even India, I still would have found a way to get there and choke the CSRs I dealt with over the next six hours as I waited from noon until NINE PM to get my washer and dryer delivered.

* Is it worth it? What would we put it in it? Oh, my uncle Larry's venison bratwurst, which is fed to only the most special of guests or to people SH wants to feed it to against my will. A quarter of a grass-fed beef. Miller's pretzel rolls when I find them on the day-old shelf for half price. Tomatoes from my garden because freezing is easier than canning.

Yes it has taken us two years to decide. On a $300 purchase.**

** We thought about getting one used. I looked at craigslist and the used ones are not that much cheaper than new, plus we would have to borrow Regina and Eric's minivan to retrieve it and how much is SH's very limited free time worth? We would have to carry it into the basement ourselves and we wouldn't even know if it worked. So. New it is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 543: Which leads to plumber's butt

As we are at the bank adding SH to the safe deposit box contract, an act he said was a waste of time because I should have waited until he was ready so we could just go together and get the box together ("A joint marital decision," he said) instead of my getting the box on my own FOUR MONTHS AGO and then returning to the bank to add him, to which I said BS because if I had waited until he was Ready to Go to the Bank, it would be 2015 and our house would have burned down in a fire along with the copies of his divorce decree and our passports, which means we would have had to pay the increased passport fees to replace them plus his ex-wife would have asked for more money and we wouldn't have been able to prove that SH had paid according to the decree.

Plus we would have had to pay $20 plus $3 for each additional copy of our marriage certificate, a document that United Airlines wants an original copy of to change my name on my frequent flier account but is not at all necessary to change any of my banking and investment information, ie, adding SH to my mutual funds.

SH: What do you mean you forgot the key [to the safe deposit box]?

Me: I forgot it.

SH: But don't you carry it on your keychain?

Me: No. Why would I do that?

SH: So you have it!

Me: Why would I carry a key I use twice a year?

SH: That's like saying why would I carry all my credit cards if I am only going to use them occasionally.

Me: No, it's not. It's pretty easy to plan when we're going to get something from the box.* When we need our passports - once a year, maybe - and that's it. If we lose the key, that's really bad. Better to keep it in the safe deposit file.

SH: I can't believe you don't have the key. This is so inefficient.

Me: Oh like you care about efficient processes. Besides, you're not the one who has to come back here to get the stuff out of the box [because he doesn't like that I put things in there without his approval and wants to examine them all because he is a CONTROL FREAK and it's not like I DIDN'T RUN MY OWN LIFE FOR 42 YEARS BEFORE I MET HIM]. So as long as it's not any extra work for you, why do you care?

SH: You're not doing it right.

* Plus the bank is only two blocks from our house so it's not like forgetting the key and having to go back home to get it is such a big deal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 948: Thrifty

Me: Maybe we could buy you some new athletic socks.

SH: It would be a waste to buy new socks.

Me: There's a hole in the toe.

SH: As long as I wear it on my right foot, it's OK.

Me: Yet we have 40 gajillion candles and you have 85 blue shirts.

SH: The important thing is to buy things when you need them. Or when they're on sale.

Me: So you think we can use all those candles before we die?

SH: I dunno. What if there's a power outage? There's something more satisfying about buying something because it's a great deal, whether you need it or not. It's not as much fun to buy it just because you need it.

Marriage 201, Lecture 324: A life of loud desperation

SH: These mosquito bites are itching.

Me: Do you want some calamine lotion?

SH: I don't know. Maybe.* Do we have any?

Me: I think so.

SH: Where?

Me: Somewhere in that bin [under the bathroom sink where I keep all the medical supplies].

SH: [silence]

Me: [silence]

SH: I'm not going to rummage through that.

Me: Why not?

SH: I don't know what it looks like.

Me: It's in a bottle. It's pink. It says "calamine lotion" on it.

SH: If you're not going to get it for me, I'll just whine instead.

* "Maybe" is as close as SH gets to "yes" on this sort of question.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 448: Working for The Man

SH: I have to do some paperwork.

Me: OK.

SH disappears into his office.

SH comes back downstairs for cookies and Culver's frozen custard, which is not as good as Kopp's or Oscar's but will do in a pinch, especially when it is their version of death by chocolate.

Me: All done?

SH: No. I've been making a spreadsheet of all the songs I sing instead.

Me: Well, that's productive.

SH: It is! I carry all these scraps of paper around with song titles written on them. This is better.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Wisconsin 101: Where the women are strong

My great uncle died the other day. He lived a long and I expect happy life: seven nice kids, a great wife, a ton of grandkids, including one who was awarded the Air Force Cross last year, which is a big deal.

I don't remember seeing uncle Arnie much because he was a commercial truck driver.

Until he was EIGHTY YEARS OLD.

That's right.

He drove truck until he was 80. Then I guess he had to slow down.

When he was home with my aunt Madge, in whose house my third cousins (or whatever - I cannot keep those relationships straight - Madge was their grandmother and the sister of my dad's father) Dana and Mary Liz and I liked to climb through the laundry chute in the bathroom down to the basement and drop to the floor and then climb out of the attic window to the roof, he sat at the kitchen table, sipping his coffee and not saying much. He probably poured his coffee into his saucer to cool the way my grandfather did. Madge did enough talking for both of them - I say that in a good way. I always made sure to visit Madge when I was in town.

My grandma Sylvia died at 96 or 97. She lived on her own until she was 95. She was a smoker. (Oh no!) Even in the nursing home, she would sneak out back for a cigarette. If you can't smoke when you're 96, when can you? I plan to start smoking, drinking and gambling when I'm 70.

The email I got from my aunt said only "the funeral is at 11 on Saturday." She knew I would know where it was. My mom and dad are from a small town with no stoplights. (This is the town where Arnie lived.) There is one Catholic church in town. Of course that's where the funeral is.

I used to be able to send mail to my grandma Johnson addressed to "Helen Johnson, Dorchester, Wisconsin." It would get to her. Once when I needed cash, I went to the bank and asked if they would cash a check. For whatever reason, I didn't have the proper ID.

"Oh hey that's fine," the teller said. "You're Helen's granddaughter, right? Those are her paintings on the wall."

Indeed. The bank was displaying about five of my grandma's paintings.

People who live long, sturdy lives and who all know each other. Not too shabby.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Chats du jour: Playing possum

It's been a while since I posted a cat picture. Oh. Wait. It's been only a couple of days since I posted a cat picture. But that was a rerun.

Shirley is sprawled in the place I sit to work on the computer. It's her new favorite place, probably because she gets to inconvenience me.

I am putting up this photo because I am too lazy to write. Today is the day I do housework, so I have been busy slaving for The Man, cleaning the bathroom and doing the laundry and hanging it out because I Care but my Caring does not count because I Care for the wrong reasons, i.e., I don't line-dry my clothes because I am an environmentalist but because 1. I am cheap and 2. I like the smell.

Then there is the washing of the floor and the annual Cleaning of the Thingie at the Bottom of the Refrigerator. Plus the all too frequent Removal of the Hair from the Bathtub drain because my hair is still falling out, even though I stopped taking that stupid drug two weeks ago. My hairdresser told me it might take a few months before I stop losing hair. Great. I will be bald and chunky for my 25-year college reunion in October because really, I am too lazy to diet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 549: The art of The Nag

Me: Rats. We forgot to spray the [pear tree with brown-spotted pears] tree again.

SH: It's your fault.

Me: Why is it my fault?

SH: Because you didn't nag me.

Me: I thought I wasn't supposed to nag you.

SH: You're supposed to nag me on something like this where I was going to do it but I forgot.

Me: When am I not supposed to nag you?

SH: To do the 1040X.

Me: You mean I can nag you about something that takes ten minutes to do but not about something that would bring us one thousand dollars?

SH: Yes.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 430: Men's work

SH [as we are working in the yard]: Hey! There's a dead mouse!

Me: Wow. Laverne is good.

SH: Do you want it in the compost?

Me: No.

SH: What are you going to do with it?

Me: Me?

SH: Yes.

Me: Nothing.

SH: Well you can't leave it here.

Me: Put it in the trash.

SH: Why me?

Me: Because taking care of dead rodents is man's work.

Marriage 201, Lecture 902: Nobody is to blame

SH: Where are the scissors?

Me: I don't know.

SH [frustration as he looks in the drawer where the scissors live]

Me: You probably left them someplace.*

He goes to the basement, where the scissors are right where he left them yesterday when he was assembling the TV stand he bought from Menards months ago and I hate because it's a cheap Chinese product of pressed wood but it was that or a nice Chinese antique for $500 in which we would have had to drill holes in the back for all the cables and wires from SH's electronoics, plus we would have had to pay someone to put it on our basement, the stairs of which are not to current code, which means not a lot of headroom and very narrow, potential broken bones stairs.

SH: Got 'em.

Me: I told you it was your fault.

SH: I can probably find a way to blame you.

* I always put things back where they belong, which is why I can always find things. Unless SH has left them someplace, of course.

Marriage 201, Lecture 446: The Zaxes

Me: Why did you do X?

SH: Because of Y.

Me: But I wanted to Z.

SH: But Y.

Me: Why don't you ever assume that I have a reason for the things I do?

SH: I do, but what I want to do is more important.

Marriage 201, Lecture 599: Le long weekend

It's been a quiet week here chez CF and SH. We started by going to Ravinia, just north of Chicago, in the suburb of Highland Park where even the used purses at the consignment store start at $168, to watch the Prairie Home Companion broadcast with our friends Rob and Lenore.

The show was fun, although many of the audience did not seem to understand or at least put into action the proper procedure for optimizing the seating process, which is to minimize the annoyance to other customers.

To wit, the process should work thusly:

1. When you find your row, look at your seat number.
2. Look at the row and identify the midpoint.
3. Is your seat before the midpoint or after the midpoint?
4. If your seat is after the midpoint, look at the seats between you and the midpoint. Are they occupied?
5. If they are occupied, then go around the back of the auditorium and approach your seat from the other side. Do not make everyone from your original position and past the midpoint stand to accommodate your refusal to walk a few extra yards, especially if the spacing is narrow between the rows and the seated customers are elderly and/or large.
6. Repeat this process at intermission, by which point you should be fully aware of the location of your seat.

I was a bit lonely at the show, though. Two references to Chicago met with opposite responses. One invoked cheers; one did not. One reference was to McDonald vs Chicago; the other to a Chicago native who is the current White House resident.

My reaction was the opposite of the crowd's and that's all I'll say about that.

Our town's Fifth of July parade is happening as we speak. SH is still sleeping, so we probably won't make it. Our Fifth of July fireworks are tonight. Apparently, there is some new research finding that the Declaration was actually signed on the Fifth and we have been celebrating incorrectly all these years. Thank goodness my town has the courage to stand boldly against tradition and Do The Right Thing.

SH is exhausted because he painted the porch - I mean, sealed the balcony - on Saturday and then we played tennis last night. Sealing the balcony is an ordeal that involves

1. Getting the sealant from the basement, opening the can and inspecting it. Is it still good? Yes, it is, I told you it would be because we sealed it really well last time so there is NO NEED TO BUY ANOTHER CAN AT $25.
2. Going to the hardware store to get a new brush because it's pretty hard to salvage paintbrushes that have been used for varnish, so you might as well just buy a cheap one and toss it when you are through.
3. Coming home without the brush because you (=SH) found a Good Brush for Sealant (it is thicker and has a guard between the handle and the bristles to keep the sealant from running down your hand while you are working on the underside of the balcony) but it costs $10 and you remembered that there was a 40% off coupon from the store at home.
4. Saying to your wife, "I guess I could have just asked for the discount rather than coming home" and your wife telling you, "You wouldn't even have to ask because we are in their preferred customer program so when we use your credit card, which is linked to the account, I think we get any discounts automatically." But that might not have been the case and the store is only a mile from the house, so it was worth a trip home to save $4.
5. Deciding it's too late to get started and we'll wait until the next morning.
6. Sleeping late. Getting up. Reading the paper. SH reluctant to start because he hates this job. My telling him (again) that I will be glad to do it if he doesn't want to. His telling me I Won't Do It Right. My saying Just how complicated is it to put sealant on a balcony and didn't I do it the first time two years ago?
7. Me thinking, There's no way he'll finish in time before we have to leave for Chicago. Getting stressed. Then deciding that if he does not finish or doesn't even start that I will just do it myself the next time he goes out of town.
8. Getting the ladder out of the garage. Assembling the ladder - one of those fancy fold it many ways ladders.
9. Finding the painting clothes, which involves looking in every closet and chest of drawers in the house, then opening many boxes in the basement.
10. My postponing my shower until I have assurances from SH that he does not need me to help in any way.
11. My taking a shower.
12. SH asking me to come out and hold the ladder.
13. My demanding Why didn't he say something ten minutes ago before I took a shower?
14. His asking, You took a shower already?
15. My answering, Yes I just told you I was going to.
16. His promising he would not drop any sealant on me.
17. But having to wear a hat on my wet hair ruined my hair for the day.
18. SH finishing the balcony and then noticing that the gutters on the north side of the house have trees growing out of them.
19. SH deciding now is a good time to clean the gutters because he already has the ladder out and he does not want to go through the three-minute ordeal of putting the ladder away and getting it out again the next day.
20. My being torn because I am thrilled he is doing these chores but I want to make sure we get to Ravinia on time.
21. Meeting our friends at Ravinia one minute - exactly one minute - before the agreed-upon time.

The End

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 447: In Japan, we pee for accuracy

Me: You owe me. I've gone to Summerfest with you [and put up with obnoxious crowds and horrible and loud music] and we spent an hour arguing about politics today.

SH: What do you mean?

Me: Now you have to do something for me. I want you to paint the porch tomorrow.

SH: Paint the porch? What are you talking about?

Me: Don't give me that! We've been talking about this for weeks! You know exactly what I'm talking about!

SH: No, I don't! We have never talked about painting the porch.

Me: The balcony! Staining and sealing the balcony!

SH: That's not painting the porch.

Me: It is the same class of things! Porch and balcony are both things that protrude from the house and do not have a roof. Painting and sealing involve the same action using a paintbrush.

SH: But you said "paint the porch" and that is not the same as "seal the balcony."

Me: Are you deliberately trying to make me mad?

SH: I am very precise.

Me: Oh good grief. Can't you think in concepts for a change?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Oblivious, not deaf

Conversation with the old lady who was blocking the produce bargain shelves with her grocery cart. She was standing in front of the day-old bread.

Me: Excuse me [as I try to get to the produce].

Old lady: What?

Me: Could I squeeze in here, please?

OL: What?

Me [a little louder]: Could I squeeze in here by the produce, please?

OL: What?!

Me [louder yet and pointing to her cart]: Could I squeeze in here?

OL: What?!!


OL: What??

Me: Never mind. [I put my hat and basket on the corn bin next to the shelves and squeeze in.]

OL [slightly impatient]: You can look as much as you want.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 303: Priorities

SH: I'm going to find a woman who appreciates wine.

Me: What about a woman who appreciates you?

SH: [long pause] Maybe that's better.

Marriage 201, Lecture 310: Being and Time, part 93

Me: Are you ready?

SH: Yes. We're going.

I turn off my computer, get my purse, put on my sunglasses. And wait. And wait. And wait.

SH is still upstairs, where I thought he went just to get his keys and wallet.

Me [shouting up the stairs]: I thought you said we were going!

SH: I'm just finishing up some work.

Me: Oh good grief. You need to tell me if it's CF going or SH going.