Sunday, February 27, 2011

Driving me crazy

Here are the important things to remember before driving from Milwaukee to Chicago for a funeral:

1. When SH drives to Chicago or to almost anywhere, including the arduous ten miles to downtown Milwaukee from our house, he uses a radar detector and he speeds. I do not use a radar detector. I do not speed.

2. "Chicago" means "the Chicago area," which means a huge area that is far bigger than just the 84 miles from my door to my friend Lenore's door in Morton Grove. A funeral in St Charles is not just next door to Morton Grove.

3. Even if SH looks at the google map of the funeral location and says offhandedly, "When I go to Schaumburg for work, it takes me about an hour and a half," it is important for the person who is actually going to the funeral to check the mileage from our house to the church because guess what, it's not just an hour and a half, it's 140 miles, which is <> to an hour and a half of driving, even at SH speeds.

4. Just because something is a "highway" does not mean it is faster than a "road." Illinois State Highway 31 meanders through towns at about 25 mph. Randall Road might not be a highway, but it's straight with few stoplights and a speed limit of 40 mph. I learned this after the funeral, not before, when it would actually have been useful information.

5. Everyone speeds on Chicago highways, especially the people who are right behind me, even when I am in the right-hand lane. I am not speeding because 1. I have Wisconsin plates, which are as a magnet to Illinois law enforcement and 2. I am always the one who gets caught. Always.

All of this means that when I was in the wrong lane in my exit from 294 to 90 and couldn't get into the proper lane to go west instead of east because the proper lane was full of 18 wheelers and what did they care that I needed to get into their lane? Hahahaha lady you should have thought of that before even though there was no notice that one had to be in the far-right lane to get onto 90 west. I ended up on 90 east and not only was I on 90 east but I was also in the cash lane for the toll road instead of the I-Pass lane so I had to stop at the toll collector booth and tell him, "I'm late! I'm late for a funeral! And I'm going the wrong way!" He told me to take a deep breath and asked where I was going and told me that I just needed to take the second exit and that would let me turn around which was true but I was delayed even further because in Chicago, YOU CAN'T TURN RIGHT ON RED in many places because why? I don't know! Is turning right on red a bad thing? No! Make people wait! Make them wait!

But being in the wrong lane and ending up going the wrong direction didn't even matter because I wasn't three minutes late for the funeral, I was 40 minutes late. I made increasingly frantic calls to SH, asking where the stupid highway was and had I missed it and WHERE WAS HIGHWAY 31?

It was wayyyyyy down the road. Wayyyy down Highway 90. I found the church at 1:30 p.m. The funeral started at 1:00 p.m. I walked in after communion. Is there anything more tacky than being late for a funeral?

Wait! Yes! There is! Being late for a funeral, sneaking into the back, sitting down and have your stomach growl so loudly that the people in front of you turn around to see what the noise is.

Marriage 301, Lecture 607: Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

SH: I'd like to take those cookies with me [to Madison].

Me: Sure. I'll put some in a bag for you.

SH: I want to take all of them.

Me: What?

SH: So I can give some of them away.

Me: No!

SH: What do you mean?

Me: No you cannot give my cookies away to protesters.

SH: Why not?

Me: Because I do not support your cause.

SH: But they're just cookies. And you don't want too many of them around the house anyhow.

Me: Fine. They're not even chocolate. Take them. I don't care.

Marriage 301, Lecture 650: The universal remote

SH: I'm going to start a blog. Then you won't have to see all my posts on facebook.

Me: Sweetie, I wasn't going to tell you this, but I've blocked you on facebook for now.

SH: What? You've blocked me?

Me: I want out of all the political stuff. I need some distance.

SH: You've blocked me?

Me: I'm trying to have a peaceful, politics-free weekend. That's all I want. Just some peace.

SH: I can't believe you've blocked your own husband!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 685: Sleeping with the enemy

We need a cat picture today.

SH: If I ran for public office, would you vote for me?

Me: Nope. I would not do anything to undermine you ever, but I wouldn't vote for you.

SH: What?!

Me: I don't agree with your positions!

SH: But you wouldn't vote for me just because you love me?

Me: Would you vote for me if I ran?

SH: Of course! You really wouldn't vote for me?

Me: Maybe you could convince me. If you got elected, maybe I could influence your votes and get you to do the proper thing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 640: Look for the label, part XXI

SH: I'm going to Madison again and I'm going to spend the night this time.

Me [resigned to SH's new mistress of political activism and my secondary status as The Wife]: Are you at least using points for the hotel room?*

SH: No! I'm not going to waste 25,000 points on a room!

Me: You're spending cash?

SH: Yes, but it's only $X.

Me: That's not an only.

SH: How about this? You go buy some shoes that cost $X.

* No he is not going to take a sleeping bag and sleep on the marble floor of the Capitol. He is not an ideeot. We might not agree on many of the issues, but we do agree that we want to be comfortable and sleep in a bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 965: Look for the label XIXIXI

Random political chit chat between SH and me with our usual disagreements about the proper role of government.

Me: High speed train. Subsidy! Collective bargaining. Single payer.

SH: That's not really exciting me, you know.

Me: I thought political stuff turned you on.

SH: Intellectually, it does. But it's not doing anything for me for [wxyz].

Me: So if we [wxyz], we can't talk about politics?

SH: I guess.

Me: Well that works for me. We'll just have to have more [wxyz].

Marriage 301, Lecture 559: Dishwashers union

SH: Would you darn this sock for me?

Me: I don't know. What's it worth to you?

SH: What? What if I asked you what was in it for me to wash the dishes?

Me [shrugging]: I don't care if you do the dishes. I don't mind doing them. You're not doing me any favors.

SH: But you don't do it right!

Wisconsin 101: A Packer Christmas

This is what we are buying to go with the inflatable illuminated snowman.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 607: Not my first but my last

Me: So anyhow, this guy Mike took the commuter train to Miami from Fort Lauderdale, then the light rail to the stop near Coconut Grove, then walked a mile to my house. He wouldn't let me pick him up at the station. Then he repaired my washing machine. Then he took me out to dinner.

SH: I thought I was the first one to fix your washer!

Me: Nope. There have been washer repairers before you. Sorry.

Marriage 301, Lecture 702: What are the odds of getting sick on a Saturday? Like a thousand to one?

Me: Shouldn't you be taking a shower [instead of re-arranging the cloth grocery bags in the car] so we can go [to the restaurant before we go to the 7:30 lecture about Milwaukee history]?

SH: Quit nagging me!

Me: I'm not nagging.

SH: Yes you are. I get tired of having to be someplace.

Me: OK. Whatever.

Later, at the restaurant.

Me [looking at the long line as SH parks the car]: Uh oh.

Random waiting guy: Yeah, it's a loooong wait!

Me: Well rats. [to SH] Not a chance. There is no way we can eat here and get to the lecture in time.

SH: What? But we're here early! What are all these people doing here on a Saturday?

Me: Yeah, what are the odds of people wanting to eat out on the weekend?

SH: What are they all doing there? It's early [6:20]!

Me: This is Wisconsin. People here get up early. This is not New York City.

Marriage 301, Lecture 620: Doing the Right Thing

Me: Maybe you should take one of the cloth bags [that I have been using since 1990] with you [as you walk to the grocery store and to the library]. It's easier to carry than the Sendik's [plastic] bag.

SH: Plus it's the Right Thing to Do.

Me: But more importantly, it's easier to carry because you can put it on your shoulder instead of holding it in your hand. Especially if you have heavy stuff.

SH: No, comfort and convenience don't matter. What matters is that cloth bags are morally superior to plastic.

Me: You're saying that you don't get environmental street cred for carrying a cloth bag because it makes things easier for you? That it is better if you suffer in some way?

SH: Yes. It's not supposed to be about comfort. It's supposed to be about Doing the Right Thing.

Me: Your side is nuts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chats du jour: The Inspector

Here is Shirley looking at the new lamp that SH bought after he got tired of seeing me take the pretty lamp with the red lampshade and prop it up on the headboard so the light shone more directly on my book. Are my eyes getting even worse? Or is it the Damned Spirally Lightbulbs That Don't Shine Brightly Enough?

SH hadn't been to Menards in weeks, so he welcomed the chance to make a trip to his mecca, although he is not so keen on them since learning that one of the owners is a complete jerk. Yet he votes with his pocketbook, as do certain "We hate Wal-Mart but we shop there because they force us to because of the low prices but darit, we are FOR working people unless it's inconvenient for us!" others who cannot be named here.

Note that the lamp still has the plastic cover on the shade. This is not a style choice, although would we not all agree that plastic covering on furniture is a completely legitimate option for grandmothers who do not want their sofas to be stained by grandchildren's dirty hands?

Rather, it is a "I want to make sure I can live with a lamp that does not match my bedroom decor because really, form is far more important than function to me and I would rather worry about knocking over the cute red-shaded lamp that is tilted against my headboard and pillow than have a lamp that actually provides sufficient light but is not pretty."

SH maintains that it is a nice-looking lamp and I suppose that on its own, it is. It just doesn't match, not that I am all matchy matchy, but I do like a unifying theme and that theme usually isn't, "Actually functions and will keep me from going blind or getting a headache."

Naturally, it is made in China, so we also have the issue of do we support undoubtedly prison or prison-like labor just so we might have cheap consumer goods?

SH also ended his boycott of Target because we were running out of toilet paper and they had it on sale.

Chats du jour: Scene of the crime

Just some non-partisan cats, going about their business.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 670: Sick day

SH: I want to go to Madison [to see the protests].

Me: I could go with you and keep you company. We could eat at that great schwarma place we found last time.

SH: No! You can't go if you're not going for the right reason. Going there for food is the wrong motivation.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 604: Working 9 to 5

SH: I want to quit my job and become a revolutionary.

Me: OK. As long as it pays enough to cover the alimony. Otherwise, I guess we'll have to wait two more years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wisconsin101: You can't get there from here

At the polling place yesterday where I was volunteering. The other volunteers were four older ladies who had been doing this together for years. Their main non-vote related activity was going through a huge bag of coupons one of them had brought. They very generously offered to share their coupons and their baked goods with me. I declined on the coupons but of course accepted a piece of chocolate chip pound cake because what, am I dumb?

One of them had a little notebook I admired. She had bought it at

Nice Old Lady #1: The Lang outlet, out on Blue Mound, in Brookfield.

Me: Uh huh.

NOL1: Past the Random Store 1. You know where that is?

Me: Nope. Is it near Kopp's [Frozen Custard, which OF COURSE I know]?

NOL1: No. There's also the Random Store 2. They have a big sale every year on calendars but not until January. I tell my husband don't buy me a calendar at Christmas. My birthday is January 12, so I tell him just get me a calendar for my birthday after they've already cut the price.

Nice Old Lady #2: You know, Random Store 1 doesn't discount their calendars, even in October! I asked them about it and they said oh sure lots of people buy their calendars in October. But I don't believe it.

Me: Hmm.

NOL2: It's past Calhoun, I think.

NOL1: No, no, no. It's by Pilgrim.

Me: I can google it. Thanks!

NOL1: It's just there by Random Store 3.

NOL2: I got the nicest pajamas there. Two for one!

Me: I don't know where that is.

NOL2: By the Random Store 4.

Me: I know where the Lands End outlet is.

NOL1: OK, if you go there, then turn around, you'll be on the right side of the street.

Me: I can google it. It will be easy to find.

NOL2: No, you just have to go to that Random Restaurant 1 and it's right there.

NOL1: Oh they have good fish fry.

NOL2: I know! We ate there last week!

NOL1: But the outlet has really nice stuff. At good prices, too!

NOL2: I've never been there.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 512: Bad Bacon Eater, Bad Cabbage User, Bad Oreo Eater

SH: Hey! Did you eat my Oreos?

Me: What do you mean [thinking I had buried the evidence in the trash really well but I guess I didn't poke the bag and middles down far enough]?

SH: You ate them and you didn't even eat the middles!

Me: That's because the middles taste awful. They're disgusting. I can't believe you eat them.

SH: You're not supposed to eat them if you're not going to eat them right. They're my Oreos.

Me: There are plenty more.

SH: But you're a Bad Oreo Eater!

Me: The day that there are no Oreos in this house, I will get in the car immediately and go to the store to buy you more.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 608: Save Big Money by returning to Menards

SH: Ha! Now I really can return that deadbolt to Menards [that he bought almost two years ago].

Me: Why?

SH: You laugh at my Leaning Tower of Visa [all his credit card receipts, stacked on his desk behind his computer monitor], but it was there. I found the Menards receipt.

Me: I guess that's good.

SH: I keep a separate stack of Menards receipts. So it was really easy to find.

Marriage 301, Lecture 601: Snowshoeing uses dedicated muscles that hurt the next day and SH whines, whine, whines his way onto the TV

This is how it works at our house. Five weeks before an event, I ask SH if he wants to participate. For example, in January, I emailed him the link to a story about a snowshoeing/critter tracking class being held at a park. "Do you want to do this?" I asked. "I think it looks like fun." Which I do - I want to be able to identify all the animal tracks in the snow in our back yard.

SH agrees that indeed it would be fun and we should do it. He even picks the date, seeking a Saturday early enough in February that there will still be snow (hahahaha) and late enough that it won't be too cold (also hahahaha).

Through a series of unfortunate events, we end up taking our groupon Palermo Pizza tour this Friday (which ended with two huge pieces of really good pizza apiece and why didn't we buy the Biscuits and Gravy pizza while we were at the factory and had the chance?) and we get play tickets for this Sunday.

Saturday morning, SH wakes up and starts to whine that he doesn't feel good he doesn't want to go snowshoeing can't he ever just have a lazy weekend and relax?

Fine! I snap. You don't have to go, whiner! But tell me right now that you're not going so I can call Dawn or [my neighbor's 12 year old son] to use your ticket.

I dunno, he says, and drinks more coffee as he flips through one of his many car magazines. Honestly, how can there be a magazine completely devoted to cars? The equivalent magazine for me would be a magazine devoted to shoes or purses and guess what? Such magazines don't exist! And if they did, they would be boring. Because the fun thing about shoes and purses is using them - and admiring them as they sit on the shelf in your closet in the tiny little space that you get behind the 132 blue shirts - not in reading about them.

At noon, I tell him he is going because it's too late to call someone else.

Fine, he says. But I'm not taking a shower.

We get to the park and sit through a slightly boring lecture on the history of snowshoes. We are bored and the seven Girl Scouts who are in the class working on their Winter Activities badge are even more bored. Then the naturalist tells us about different kinds of animal tracks and we all perk up for that is why we are there.

There is a man with a TV camera. His station is doing a series on fun things to do in Wisconsin in the winter besides eat fried cheese curds to give yourself a Milwaukee Roll and reduce your heating bill.

In the group are seven cute Girl Scouts, four Women of a Certain Age, and SH.

Who would you rather see on a news story?

Me, too. A cute Girl Scout.

And guess who was dying to be on TV? That's right. Cute Girl Scouts.

So whom does the lazy reporter interview?


Who smiled as he said that he was taking the snowshoeing class because he was looking for a way to exercise in the winter and no, the snowshoes didn't feel odd because he's a skier and yes, this was his wife's idea but he thinks it will be really fun. No whining. Not one single whine for the benefit of the cameras. Fiction TV.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Marriage 201, Lecture 483: Who's the rememberer now? Number 252

SH: Wait. Write all that down.

Me: Write what down?

SH: The things you want me to get out of the freezer.

Me: You can't remember?

SH: I'm not going down there right now. It will have to be later.

Me: Can't you just wait until you actually go and ask me to tell you that you need to get the pesto?

SH: And a hot dog bun! And the breakfast sausage! And a steak!

Me: Fine. I'll write it down.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 596: He's not responsible, Part 350

SH: I made a reservation for the restaurant [that is 16 blocks from our house]. If it's nice, we can walk.

Me: I don't want to walk!

SH: But it would be good exercise.

Me: Yeah, but if I have to walk, that limits what I can wear. [No leopard print teal heels with the tangerine ribbon. Ten steps is the limit with those.]

SH: Then it's your fault that I'm not getting any exercise.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wisconsin 101: Wisconsin nice

SH claims that Wisconsin people are the nicest he's ever been around. I agree that people here are very very nice, although I think there are nice people to be found everywhere in the world. Harpo, my boyfriend before SH (and before the Gomez Idiocy What Was I Thinking?), thought the same thing. He came with me to my grandmother's 90th birthday party/family reunion several years ago and commented on how nice those people were in northern Wisconsin.

Maybe I'm just spoiled. Maybe I'm just used to living in places with nice people. It all seems normal to me. Here's the encounter I had with the lady at the Green-Bay-decorated Sendik's:

Me (on the phone): Hi. I just bought a box of clementines this morning. As I was unpacking them to put them in the fridge, I discovered that at least seven of them have started to rot.

Sendik's lady: Oh no!

Me: It was a big surprise because I always get good produce from you.

SL: Well, just bring it back in and we'll get you another box.

Me: I wasn't planning on going there again until Friday [two days from now]. I usually go after I go to the Y [which is across the street from Sendik's].

SL: Let me just get your name then and note it on the log. What's your name, dear?

Me: Class Factotum.

SL: You just tell them Joyce told you it was all set. And if you want to eat a few of the good ones before Friday, that would be fine.

Wisconsin 101: The Pack is back in Titletown

I never understood sports excitement. We lived abroad for most of my childhood. I went to a college with a crummy football team: we didn't win one game after my freshman year. Or maybe we won one or two. Then I worked in Houston, which had a pro team, I guess, but nobody I knew ever talked about it. I moved to Austin - they talked about the Longhorns but who cared? Then I was in the Peace Corps and some people talked about soccer, but again, who cares?

In Miami, they had pro teams, but I was working until 9 p.m. almost every day and busy hating hating hating my job. The VP gave out pro tickets occasionally but we wouldn't take them because sheesh who wanted to go to a baseball game at 7 p.m. if we could go home instead for a change?

Memphis - nothing. Then I was forced as a taxpayer to pay for a new arena for a pro basketball team and let me ask you, is there anything more dull than pro basketball? WHO CARES?

Then I was tricked into moving to Milwaukee. I heard rumblings about the Packers. And the whole Brett saga. Vince Lombardi. Smallest city to have a football team. Community-owned. Packers rosaries.

There was history here. Drama. Who wouldn't be interested in the Brett soap opera? I didn't know the scores of the games, but I knew what was going on with Will He Or Won't He Brett because it was a great story with an apparent villain - Ted Thompson! wait! It's Brett who's the villain! - and some good guys and lots of suspense.

And then - the Chicago game. Oh man the drama there. An admission that maybe Ted hadn't been a villain after all. Charlie Sykes, a local radio talk-show host, devoted 15 minutes of one show for listeners to call and say they were Wrong About Ted.

I watched Aaron Rodgers and couldn't decide whether I had a crush on him or wanted to be his mother. What a cutie. We are all crossing our fingers that he stays nice and doesn't send photos of his stuff to anyone's cellphone.

And then the Superbowl.

My grocery store draped green and yellow streamers by the registers. Stores and the Y closed early Sunday evening. Theatres canceled Sunday play performances. The librarians were wearing Packer jerseys. Churches canceled their Sunday evening services. The plow came through at 2 p.m., even though it hadn't stopped snowing yet. They wanted to be home by kickoff.

I watched the game with my heart racing until the last nail-biting seconds, threatening more than once to go upstairs to read my book because I just couldn't stand it.

And then the giddiness of victory. The victory is all anyone here can talk about. Packer flags hanging from houses and mounted on cars. At the store, at the Y - Did you see that game? OMIGOSH! More than one person has said, "I don't usually watch football but I watched this."

Fifty thousand people went to the victory party at Lambeau Field yesterday afternoon. Outdoors. It was cold. Three degrees. Fifty thousand people in a town with a population of about 100,000.

I get it now. I get it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 593: Snowbound II, or, Snow Means You Never Have to Shower

SH: I don't know. Maybe I do want to go that play on Sunday. [He had asked me to find someone else to go with me because he is traveling four days this week and wants some down time this weekend.]

Me: You don't have to decide right now.

SH: One of the things that helps is that for that thing on Saturday -

Me: The tracking class? [We are taking a class on identifying animal prints in the snow - we have all kinds of critters that go across our back yard, including rabbits, squirrels, mice and deer.]

SH: Yes. The tracking class. That's outdoors, in the snow. I won't have to take a shower for that. So maybe I'll be able to go to the play.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 659: Pig in a poke

SH: Hey! You didn't count out the toothpicks!

Me: So?

SH: There's going to be leftovers.

Me: So?

SH: Well I don't want to put them back in the box now [after you used a bacon-grease covered hand that had been wiped clean on not one but two towels before reaching into the box].

Me: You're paranoid.

SH: You're going to wash that dishtowel now, right?

Marriage 301, Lecture 569: An excuse for new shoes

SH: Look at this ad. You can pay $140 for running shoes.

Me: Yep.

SH: Guess I'll need to buy some if I'm going to run that half marathon.

Me: What?

SH: I do have those that I've hardly used. [The last time he went running was 2006. Once.]

Me: Those will be fine.

SH: But then I might need to get some new ones.

Me: I think that one pair that you already have will be just fine.

SH: You replace your shoes fairly often.

Me: Yeah! Every six months! And I go to the gym four times a week and I run!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 596: He's not responsible

SH: When you get cones for at home, you can get the smaller ones.

Me: Why?

SH: These encourage me to eat too much custard.

Me: Nobody is making you fill the entire thing.

SH: But if I don't, the cone/custard ratio is wrong!

Me: Nobody forcing you.

SH: It's your fault.

Marriage 301, Lecture 537: The Teevee

I have been meaning to write about this and had forgotten and now it's not timely. I only remembered because on the torn-out magazine subscription form on my nightstand where I have been scribbling notes for ideas for supper (pesto mashed potatoes!) and for my memoir that will be published once certain events have come to pass, I also had written something that looked like, "Sh amId."

I had no idea what it meant. "Sh amId?" What was that? Was it important? I often scribble notes to myself as I am about to fall asleep because that's when I get all my best ideas. But this one might have been scribbled under the influence of Excedrin PM, which I take for occasional sleeplessness or strong SH snoring, as there was last night. He snored and snored and snored, bless his exhausted working until 2 a.m. the night before heart. Even with earplugs, I couldn't fall asleep so finally at 11:33 p.m., I was forced to drug myself into submission, which meant that at 8 a.m., when the cats started whining, I awoke to a sleeping pill hangover.

But anyway. After looking at it and saying it out loud, I realized that it was "SH American Idol."


I had meant to write about the Milwaukee American Idol tryouts last week. We watched them with our new antenna on our cable-free TV. Ha to you Time Warner! We were fools, fools! to be paying for cable TV all this time. Paying not to watch TV. We can see everything we want to see - the superbowl and American Idol in Milwaukee - on network TV.

SH got indignant every time there was a bad singer. Even the sight of Jennifer Lopez was not enough to calm him.

"Why do they let bad singers get to the judges?" he moaned. "Why?!" He was being tortured, he was convinced. Because it's all a vast conspiracy to make him listen to bad singing. "I sing better than that!" he snapped when the Civil War re-enactor guy sang.

He put his head in his hands in pain. "Why why why?"

I was bothered by the bad singers for another reason: it seems rather mean-spirited to put someone on national TV who can't sing knowing that person will be mocked and publicly humiliated. At the same time, surely someone must have warned them - a friend, a relative - "You know you really don't sing as well as you think you do." I would want someone to keep me from humiliating myself nationally. I would.

But SH was just bothered by the idea of forcing people to listen to bad singing. "They shouldn't be allowed to get that far," he proclaimed.

"But that's the part people want to see! They want to see the judges slap these people down," I explained.

"What about the good singing?" he moaned.

"This show is not about good singing," I told him. "It's about selling advertising and people like to feel superior and they can't do that if everyone is good. You should never become a TV executive."

Wisconsin 101: Packer Nation III


In the great Pittsburgh-Milwaukee debate, we compare mostly the food.

Frozen custard

Primanti sandwiches with french fries on top

It's a tough decision. Those sandwiches are really, really good

Let us not forget, on the Pittsburgh side, Flashdance, the greatest movie ever about a dancing welder.


PS Churches have canceled their evening services tomorrow and funerals have been scheduled around the game.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 750: What the meaning of "is" is

I used to think this was a lot of snow. Ha.

Me: Did you see the survey in the paper about if you'd rather watch the superbowl or have sex?

SH: No.

Me: Most women would watch the game. Men are split half and half.

SH: Uh-huh. [He is busy pouring coffee, packing for an overnight to Chicago, and trying to decide if he really really needs to take a shower before he goes - his customer visit isn't until the next day.]

Me: So what would you rather do?

SH: Rather what? [Now he's putting the half and half back in the fridge and then looking for the car coffee mug that I found sitting on the sidewalk at Walgreen's. Yes, I washed it. No, I didn't take it at first. It was in front of my car when I parked and still there 30 minutes later when I left, so I surmised it had been abandoned. Don't look at me like that. It is one of the good metal ones.]

Me: Sex or the superbowl? What would you rather do?

SH: It would depend on who's playing.

Marriage 301, Lecture 582: Snowbound, Part Deux

What we learned in our Very Important Post-Blizzard Snow Clearing:

1. If there are blizzard-force winds, including gusts up to 50 mph, it will blow the snow away from certain spots on your driveway and build drifts on others. If it would be better for the snow to blow on the south side of your driveway (right side in the photo) because you shovel it onto the 18" strip of garden next to your neighbor's house anyhow, it will blow on the north side, blocking your back door, which means you have to go out the front door, which also is blocked, but not by as much snow. The wind will not blow the snow away from the garage, which means that SH has to shovel a path to the garage to get the snowblower out.

2. We (I, really, as I am chief shoveler in this casa) are always the last people on our block to get our butts out to shovel. Which means someone else has usually already shoveled out the fire hydrant next to our driveway. Love. Our. Neighbors.

3. When you drive ten miles to the Sears parts store to pick up the Briggs & Stratton Shear Bolt .25-.20x for the snowblower, you should buy as many as they have in stock because when your husband finally gets to the garage and the snowblower and actually looks at it, he will discover that the bolt on one of the augers (ha! I know the technical terms! don't I sound smart?) has sheared (another technical term! Oh, I am so impressed with myself) and must be replaced before the blower will be effective.

4. Also you should get as many Briggs & Stratton Shear Bolts as possible because guess what we discovered yesterday? Snowblowers will not throw big rocks. According to my facebook friends, a snowblower will throw small rocks through windows, but a rock the size of two fists? Gets pulled up behind the augers and wedged between them and the drive train. Which shears another shear bolt. Which won't come out because the auger has spun and - um - well, now it's stuck. And the rock won't come out because it's wedged in.

And then SH starts to swear but he does not panic. He saves panicking, drama and The Song of Something Bad Happened for little things, like a tiny scratch on his car or burned toast. But when it comes to the Big Things, he just deals with it. Which is nice.

I asked him if he wished I had been the one to run over the rock and he said yes because then he could blame me instead of himself.

SH tries gentle persuasion to remove the rock. We try and try to remove the sheared shear bolt so we can rotate the auger so we can loosen the rock. Nothing works.

Then he has a brainstorm. He goes to the basement and returns with a hammer and a chisel. He chisels at the rock and chips away just enough to give room for the auger to move just enough so we can remove the shear bolt. Then he hits upon the really good solution: he hits the rock with the hammer, which, in addition to being incredibly satisfying, is also the right tactic, because the rock moves and voila! I take it out. He puts in the penultimate shear bolt, starts the blower, crosses his fingers and yes! It works!

The Song of Something Bad Happened.

4. It takes 3.5 hours with two people working, one with a snowblower and one with a shovel, to clear our driveway and our sidewalk. It takes 30 seconds for the plow to push snow poop (plow poop? plow poop!) back onto our driveway. It takes two people with shovels another 40 minutes to shovel, lift, and carry the plow poop away from the 5' pile of sludge on the non-fire-hydrant side of the driveway to a place where there is room for it.

5. No matter how many times you hear your beloved husband cuss as he slips on the icy driveway on the SAME EXACT PATCH that he just slipped on, it will be funny.

6. Even snowplows get stuck in blizzard snow. Almost everything closes after a blizzard because you can't get out of your house. Even UPS closed. I have had a few experiences with mail not being delivered because of PO incompetence, but I have never not had my mail delivered because of snow. We did not get our mail yesterday. It wasn't that we didn't have mail: Wednesday is grocery store mailer day. We didn't get anything. Nada.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Chats du jour: Sunday nap

All present and accounted for. Too bad this wasn't today.

Marriage 301, Lecture 582: Snowbound

The view from our front door.

Every muscle in my body hurts because the only way to train for snow shoveling is to shovel snow and apparently, three times a week or even twice in two days (including my elderly neighbor's driveway) is not enough to get me in show-shoveling shape. Even when you throw in the really crummy part of shoveling the wet, heavy crap at the end of the driveway that appears after the plow has gone by.

I hate that, especially because I have to lift a shovelful of sludgy snow, hold one end right by the blade of the shovel and then push with my other hand on the far end of the shovel to take some of the weight off the blade hand, and walk it ten feet before I find a place to put it. There is a fire hydrant on the south side of our driveway, so we can't put snow there, which means that the north side of the driveway gets piled really high, which means I can't toss snow there unless I toss it - and "toss" is not a word that one uses with heavy, sludgy snow - above my head.

We have more to shovel today. SH will even get the snowblower out. But first, he will have to dig his way to the garage. Which he will whine about, because he has been slammed at work and working even later than usual, partly because his Egyptian colleagues are literally offline (we hope they are safe - the three I met at a party in San Jose are super nice), which means SH and the other stateside guys have to pick up the slack. Business in Europe does not stop just because of a revolution in Egypt.

During the blizzard last night, there was snow thunder, which made the cats wake briefly. Shirley was quite puzzled, giving me a, "What happen is that?" look, but Laverne just rolled her eyes, yawned, said, "Yeah I've heard that before," and went back to sleep.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Wisconsin 101: Packer Nation II

Closing early on Sunday:

1. All three of the grocery stores I use
2. The YMCA

Probably every business in town except the bars.

I can't credit this photo. I found it on my neighborhood association's FB page.