Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 110: Feedback

My sweet husband brought me the US Magazine that was left on his flight from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. He says it was just for me, but I suspect he flipped through it. One of the Kardashians was on the cover. In a bikini.

This is the conversation I think SH and I had last night at 2 a.m., after he stayed up late looking for a copy of his resume, which he has not updated in over ten years.

I had been in bed since midnight, which was late for me, or later than I like, anyhow, but SH had won tickets to the musical Rock of Ages and then didn't want to go, so I went with my friend Dawn (whose mother has the Packers rosary) and the show was long and then there was traffic on the way home at 11 o'clock at night - traffic! 11:00! at night! - and I had to tell SH all about what he missed and wasn't he sorry now that he hadn't gone?

He wasn't. He was too busy. But how could you not want to see an ensemble dance as they sing "Here I Go Again?" I like my generic 80s rock. Sometimes the popular stuff is the good stuff.

Side note. Parents. Did you not read the advisory on the website before you bought your tickets? This is not a children's show. Not. What part about "musical about rock music, musicians, strippers and bars in the early 80s" gave you the impression that this would be something appropriate for kids? Have you never watched a music video or seen an album cover in your life? Sheesh.

Back to the lack of updated resume. SH has been with his current employer for over ten years - hence our blu-ray player, which was his ten-year anniversary gift from work - so I can sort of understand his resume inactivity, but I always had a current copy of mine hanging around because I never knew if I was going to be unemployed. Not that having a current resume really helped me that much. SH, on the other hand, was losing jobs all the time 10-15 years ago because he was all caught up in that Silicon Valley stuff. He'd work for a startup and they'd go out of business and he'd get a job with another startup - when he felt like it.

That's the difference between English majors and electrical engineers. EEs* get new jobs when they feel like it. English majors better know how to type. And nobody even cares about typing any more.

SH: I found some old emails from ten years ago.

Me: Mmmf.

SH: I was really unhappy back then. I wrote these angry rants to [my boss]. I'm surprised I wasn't fired.

Me: Mmmmf.

SH: I love you, sweetie. We have a really good life together. I'm really happy with you.

Me: Mmmf?

SH: I am! Don't I seem happy?

Me: You don't like that I won't argue about politics with you.

SH: I like arguing about politics! It makes me happy.

* This is also the case with nurses and nurse practitioners, like my sister. Years ago, when I was still looking for a job and about to go on an interview, my sister asked me how much the job paid. "I don't know," I told her. She was appalled. Why on earth would I go on an interview before I knew that? What if it didn't pay enough? Nurses, NPs and EEs are in a position to be choosy is why. English majors are not.

Marriage 301, Lecture 628: Taking each other completely for granted

Me: How come it's only when you travel that the number of your underwear matches the number of days?

SH: Because when I travel I take a shower every day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 351: Let there be insufficient light

Me: I hate this stupid lamp. I want a brighter lightbulb.

SH: You mean like a 100-watt bulb?

Me: Yes! I hate this stupid spirally lightbulb.

SH: But if I put a regular lightbulb in there, with as much as you read, our energy costs would go up.

Me: For a bedside lamp? How much?

SH: Like a dollar a month!

Me: What - I'm not worth twelve dollars a year?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A French love story

My glamorous Aunt Mary Ann and her glamorous French boyfriend, Serge, who started it all.

The stylish and witty Tish Jett has very generously allowed me to be a guest poster at her blog today, a blog you need to be reading anyhow to see comme il faut in France aujourd hui. She writes about fashion, food and life for Women of a Certain Age. If you are not of a Certain Age now, you will be someday. One hopes.

Go here to read my story about my experiences with men and France. Some of you may know the Moroccan Millionaire Drama, some may not. Some may know the Belgian accountant drama, some may not.

Fortunately, I had a successful trip to France with SH last fall.

Vite! Over to Tish's site!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 621: In training

SH: I need to get back to running.

Me: "Back to?"

SH: It has been a couple of days.

Me: And only three times since 2006.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 638: Goose/gander/sauce

SH: Are you going to buy another purse?

Me: Maybe. Are you going to buy more wine?

SH: Wine is different. It's a consumable.

Me: So are purses.

SH: They are not! I don't know why you would need more than a summer purse and a winter purse.

Me: I don't know why you would want more than a summer watch and a winter watch. [Have I not mentioned SH's vast watch collection? He has a couple dozen, although he has stopped accumulating them since we got married and acquired a mortgage and cats.]

SH: A watch has value even when it's not being worn! And my watches are cool!

Me: So are my purses.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 740: In love and trial

Me: You snored last night! And you farted - in your sleep!

SH: I'm sorry!

Me: It was not pleasant.

SH: It was probably the fart I was holding in before I came to bed.

Me: Why were you holding it in?

SH: Because I didn't want to be rude.

Me: Yeah, but then you sprung it on me.

SH: I couldn't help it. I'm sorry.

Me: Next time, you need to go into your office [upstairs] and get it all out before you come to bed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 520: "Freaks out when bird poops on head" is SH's Indian name

The Song of Something Bad Happened.

Step 1: Define the problem

SH [as I return from my walk that was supposed to be a run but I just didn't feel like running]: Shirley's gone! I can't find her!

Me: Oh. Well, she's around here somewhere.

SH: No! I've looked all over! I think she got out!

Me: I don't know how she could have.

Step 2: Assign blame

SH: You must have let her out when you left!

Me: No, I don't think so.

Step 3: Freak out

SH: Where is she? I've shaken the food box. I've looked all over. She's gone! Our cat is gone!

Me: Shirley isn't a runner. Did you look in the basement?

SH: Yes! She's not there!

Me: She's around here somewhere.

Step 4: Demand shared freaking out

SH: You're not looking! Where is she? Oh no! OH NO!

Me: Here she is.

SH: What?! Where was she?

Me: In the closet. Didn't you look there?

SH: Yes, but she wasn't there.

Me: Yes she was. You just didn't do it right.

Step 5: Deconstruct

Me: Were you panicking while I was gone?

SH: Not out loud because you weren't here. I had ten minutes' worth of freakout stored up when you got home.

Me: If you ever run for office, your campaign slogan can be, "I panic so you don't have to." Your song can be "Le Freak."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 225: I ask him why he didn't marry one of his own kind

SH: So you're going to meet this guy [a reader of my blog who lives in my town]?

Me: Yes.

SH: At least when I go to political meetings, I don't go to meet women.

Me [thinking of some of the frumpy true believers, bless their hearts]: Well obviously.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 520: It could be a tumah

Ever since we took away Shirley's cigarettes, she's been hitting the sauce pretty hard.

Me: I wish I had a brain tumor.

SH: A brain tumor? Why?

Me: That was causing my headaches.

SH: But!

Me: That could be operated on.

SH: But a brain tumor could be fatal!

Me: An operable, non-fatal brain tumor. That's the kind I want.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 356: You can't hide chocolate

SH: Hey! You ate some of my [chocolate chocolate chip] cookie!

Me: So?

SH: They're supposed to be for me!

Me: Says who?

SH: Says me!

Me: I baked them.

SH: They're for me! I'm going to hide them.

Me: Yeah good luck with that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 442: Plan B from outer space

Me: Their hours aren't on their website. Shouldn't that be the first thing you put on a restaurant website?

SH: They're a bar. They're probably open [at 3:00 on a Sunday].

Me: Maybe we should call.

SH: They're a bar. They'll be open.

Me: But I should call. Don't you want a Plan B?

SH: Plan B is to whine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 631: The Tax Man Cometh

After the lab, Laverne will be tested on centripetal force.

SH: I cleared the crap off the stairs.

Me: I saw that.

SH: I bet you know why.

Me: No, not really.

SH: Because I need to be working on the taxes and I'd rather go through my junk mail instead.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 678: The best party of all

SH: And then the Stripes Party did thi-

Me: I don't want to talk about politics.

SH: Don't you CARE?

Me: Nope. Don't care. Done done done. I am done with politics.

SH: But - don't you CARE?

Me: I am going to start my own political party called the "Quit Nagging Me About Politics" Party.

SH: You don't care.

Me: I am going to start the "Shut Up and Stop Whining" Party.

SH: You don't care.

Me: I am going to start the "I Will Perform [a - favor] for You if You Will Shut Up" Party.

SH: That sounds good.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chats du jour: Sick kitty

Laverne in her normal noisiness. Here, she was Stuck! stuck!

Usually, Laverne is my puppy cat: she follows me around all day, demanding attention, crying if she doesn't get it. Her usual routine is this:

7:00 a.m. until I finally surrender: Cry at the kitchen door from the basement where she has been locked since about 4:00 a.m. until I get out of bed and feed her

After I feed her: Cry until I put her harness on, take her outside, and attach her to the clothesline so she can hunt

Ten minutes after I have put her out: Cry to come in

Once she is in: Cry until I pet her, stand between me and the computer until I pet her, sit on my lap until I pet her - you get the picture.

3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.: Cry and sit between me and whatever I am doing until I feed her

After she eats: Cry until I put her outside

What she did yesterday:

Hid under the thick wool movie-watching blanket on the sofa downstairs
Kept her mouth shut

It was really nice. The house was so quiet. It was like a normal house. There was no crying. There was no headbutting. There was nothing between me and the computer screen or my book or on the counter while I was trying to cook or in the sink or trying to bite the pears in the fruit bowl.

It was a cat-free existence. Wow. How nice.

And then I looked at the clock. It was 5:15.

5:15 and nobody had bothered me.

I got a little worried. I went looking for Laverne. She was still in the basement. Under the blanket. Quiet.

The last time Laverne missed a meal we called the vet right away and were told to bring her in ASAP. The vet gave her a shot, saying she had probably picked up a bug from being outside.

This time, I was not so eager to spend $109 on a vet's visit.

Still, I was concerned. SH would be very unhappy if we were reduced to a one late cat and one live cat family, as he is very attached to the cats and indeed often finds his only consolation in a cat break in the afternoon.

I had an appointment to take the cats for their shots two days hence, so if she were still odd then, I would mention it to Dr Z.

An old photo of Shirley at the vet.

I went back upstairs and saw Shirley staring at me accusingly. She glanced at the clock, then looked at me, shooting daggers with her eyes.

"It's 5:18, beeyotch," she said, "and suppertime is at 5:00." She took one last drag on her cigarette, which she keeps finding even though we keep putting them in new hiding places - that cat can find things for sure, pulled it out of her mouth, and tossed it to the side. Then she blew a smoke ring into the air and meowed.

Shirley is not the talker in this house. SH, Laverne and I never shut up, but Shirley just keeps her mouth shut and listens. If she wants something, she lets Laverne do the talking. Laverne is the designated talker for both of them. For Shirley to meow, the situation was indeed serious.

She narrowed her eyes at me. "Meowing is not even my job," she hissed. "I am not supposed to have to remind you about mealtime. I'm filing a grievance with my rep."

I rolled my eyes - is everyone in my house a political activist? - and fed her. The sound of the food hitting the bowl brought Laverne bounding up the stairs immediately.

She ate, but returned to her little cave in the blanket. SH was worried. I was worried. But not worried enough to call the vet.

"I think it's something she ate outside," I told him. Last time, SH thought I acted too quickly. I would not make that mistake this time.

Laverne stayed in her cave. Normally in the evening, after the cats chase their toys for a little while, they come into the bedroom to hang out with me. Shirley scratches the chair by the door - one of the chairs from my grandmother's house - then jumps onto the chair and from there, onto the dresser, where she preens in front of the mirror for a little while before calculating the distance to the bed and making a long jump.

Laverne comes straight to me and places herself in the position most inconvenient for my book reading.

Not so this evening. Shirley came into the room, but then went into the basement, sat by Laverne, and yowled. Laverne needed her. I went down to check and Laverne was fine, just standoffish.

No dead cats. No dead cats. is my new mantra, but what do you do when you think your cat just has a stomachache from indiscriminate outside eating?

I finally went to bed sans Laverne. SH was still up, as he had a conference call with some Indian engineers. At 1:30 a.m., I awoke to powder my nose. SH heard me from his office, where he was finishing up his call. He came downstairs and nagged me about the clothes that were still on the clothesline, which I had done on purpose and certainly did not want to discuss at that hour. Then has asked about Laverne.

No Laverne in here, I told him. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Didn't want to talk about laundry and the leaving of outside overnight. Didn't want to talk about a maybe sick cat whose sickness was actually making my life more pleasant. Didn't want to talk about anything. Wanted to sleep.

He disappeared. Returned three minutes later with a cat. Tossed the cat on the bed. It was Laverne. (But you knew that, even without the foreshadowing just because you have powers of deduction and reason and knew it was extremely unlikely that he would get another non-Laverne or Shirley cat in the middle of the night.)

She trotted over to me, rubbed my nose, curled up next to me, and purred so loudly I couldn't get back to sleep, then kept climbing over me to find the most comfortable position. For her, that is. Not for me.

SH threw the cats out a few hours later. At 7:00 a.m., I heard Laverne crying for her breakfast. She's back to normal. Oh joy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 563: Death and taxes

SH: Thank you for not nagging me about getting the taxes done.

[Because chez nous, even though I am the one who

1. Worked at the IRS
2. Has an MBA with a 4.0 GPA and the highest score in my class on my finance final
3. Has filed my own taxes every year of my W-2/4* life, early, and with the smallest refund possible,

SH is not confident of my abilities to do taxes and wants to, in his engineer fashion, go over everything I have done in TurboTax to make sure I have done it right. Even though if you make a mistake, you can always file a 1040X, which takes about ten seconds. This wanting to review my work is not such a big deal except that SH runs on football time, in which "a minute" means "half an hour" and "soon" means "one minute before the filing deadline after I spend all night and I do mean all night working on it." I like to file my taxes and get my refund as soon as I have all the paperwork. Why make an interest-free loan to the government, I say.]

Me: You're welcome.

SH: Why aren't you nagging me?

Me: Because it doesn't do a darn bit of good.

SH: It doesn't make you feel better?

Me: All I want is for you to do what I want you to do [that is, file the taxes as soon as we have all the documents] and nagging doesn't accomplish that.

SH: You don't like to nag just to nag?

Me: Nope. All it does is tick me off that you're not minding me.

* I know a guy - super nice, hardworking guy - who did not know what a W4 was until after he completed college. He got a summer job between college and grad school and didn't know what he was supposed to do with that form. He had never had a job before in his life. Bless his heart.

** I have another rich kid friend - again, super nice, hardworking guy - we are still friends - who one day at work showed me his very nice expensive shoes that he was going to have to throw away because they had a hole in the sole. "The cobbler can't fix it?" I asked.

"What is this 'cobbler' of which you speak?" he asked.

He did not know that shoes could be repaired. He was thrilled - he took the shoes to the little Haitian shoe guy on Calle 8 whom I recommended. The shoes were re-soled and, even better, polished. POLISHED. Which he had never done to his shoes before. "They look like new!" he said. He was so happy. I said, "You rich kids. Think you just throw shoes away and buy new ones."

*** I had another friend who was upset that she was going to have to buy new boots this winter because the new boots she had bought the year before had a scuff in them. "You couldn't polish it out?" I asked.

Again. "What is this 'polish' of which you speak?"

Nope. She didn't know you could polish shoes. She was not a rich kid. She was a military brat like me, which is why I was so surprised at her ignorance. When I was a kid, one of my chores was polishing my dad's shoes. I still do a mean shoe shine.

Marriage 301, Lecture 250: Viva la revolucion and don't forget the milk

Me: You're going to that [political] thing in Steven's Point?

SH: Yes.

Me: You can stop at the Fleet Farm there and get some kitty litter.

SH: No! I'll be busy!

Me: It's right there on the highway. We pass it every time we go up north.

SH: We don't need any kitty litter. We still have a bunch from when Bonnie and Gary brought us some. [Our friends who have a lake house - Gary calls it a "cottage" - about an hour north of here brought us several bags of kitty litter when they came to our house for dinner at Christmas. We had intended to pay them for it - they did us the favor of stopping at the Fleet Farm near the lake to get it for us - but they refused our money, telling us the kitty litter was a hostess gift. Probably the best hostess gift I have ever received, although the Bodacious Red-headed Doc's Imitrex samples are also very high on the list.]

Me: We always need kitty litter.

Marriage 301, Lecture 638: Medicinal foods

SH: Hey! There's mold on these apple dumplings [that I bought yesterday from the day-old shelf].

Me: Really? Oh no! I should have put them in the refrigerator.

SH: I can't eat those now!

Me: Sure you can. Let me scrape the [little tiny dots of] mold off.

SH: No! I'll get sick!

Me: Don't be such a big baby. At the worst, it will cure your strep throat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 637: He could be having an affair*

SH: I'll be gone this Saturday. And then the last weekend this month [at his Viva La Revolucion meeting]. And then you'll be at your mom's in May.

Me: Yes.

SH: So it's your fault we're not getting to spend enough time together?

Me: Obviously.

SH: It could be worse.

Me: How?

SH: I could spend every single weekend working on the Corvair and taking it to shows.

Me: Except you wouldn't expect me to talk about it.

* With another woman. Or, as my friend Jeff points out, he could have become a model train enthusiast. I guess politics is not the worst thing that could happen to SH.

Marriage 301, Lecture 630: Still hot, or, as of and to this present moment at a state of high temperature

I love my husband. I do. He is wonderful. We are very different people, he and I, in almost every way. We shouldn't work but we do. For me, it's because he's such a hottie and because he is the best sport in the world about this blog.

I don't know what his excuse is for me but there you go. Someone for everyone and apparently, his someone is me.

The things we agree on:

1. Tennis
2. Food
3. Our friends
4. My family, even though they disagree with him politically but they are polite about it and have long, deep conversations about The Issues and nobody comes out crying instead we get an invitation to come back next year and next time by gosh stay longer. We also get bratwurst.
5. Friday Night Lights
6. wxyz

The things we don't agree on are too numerous to list, but I will note one of them here:

1. Brevity is the soul of wit

Some people (=me) think this is true.

Some other human beings who live in this house (=SH) would argue what is "truth" is anyhow and who can say what is truth and why should we trust that person's judgment over someone else's and besides it is far better to explain everything in excruciating detail and explaining it in excruciating detail makes it funny.

So on Sunday evening, as I was minding my own business figuring out how to make a chocolate martini out of Kahlua, Patron coffee liqueur, coconut flavored rum and a ton of half and half (I like liquor-flavored fat - is that wrong?) - wait, I guess it was a coconut coffee martini - and SH was outside grilling the steak we had bought at the Italian grocery store on Brady Street where the butcher convinced us to buy two because dang, at $7.99 a pound, they were dirt cheap and a heck of a lot cheaper than the veal I got last week to make stuffed veal rolls that turned out to be not all that and what's the big deal with veal anyhow that people pay SEVENTEEN DOLLARS A POUND for it?

I will never be one of those people again.

1. It doesn't taste as good as steak or as the trout we got for $5.99 a pound and
2. maybe it would be OK if I hadn't overcooked it but I still don't think the flavor is that great. If I am going to mess up a recipe, I want it to be with meat that is cheaper per pound than Italian shoe leather. If I am going to make leather, it's going to be inexpensive leather.

Where was I?

Oh. Digging in the liquor cabinet in the dining room looking for Bailey's or whatever for my coffee martini and wondering why there was a can of Coke stuck way in the back - "It's a collector's can from when Boston won the World Series!" SH told me - and thanking my lucky stars that SH is not an alcoholic and drinking us out of house and home, although that wine habit is going to give me a shoe habit because fair is fair, when I heard SH come into the house and say calmly, "Don't worry. I'm just getting the fire extinguisher."

As this is the Drama King who panics when I put dishes away wet or when I leave a tiny bit of non-toxic dish soap on a plate, I took his calm tone to mean, "I am getting the fire extinguisher to show to our next door neighbors because we are having a fire extinguisher conversation," not to mean what it really meant, which was, "I am getting the fire extinguisher because the grill is on fire."

When I emerged from the dining room and after I had constructed my coffee martini, which was pretty darn good and the remains of which I had at breakfast because hey, it's dairy and coffee, which is what I usually have for breakfast, SH came back into the house and announced that it takes only one little squirt of the fire extinguisher to drown the flames emerging from the vents of the closed gas grill and it was a good thing we had a fire extinguisher because the vents don't close so there was no way to smother the fire and it was a good thing we had a fire extinguisher because what if the propane tank had exploded.

I asked if his death from exploding propane tank would count as accidental for Accidental Death & Dismemberment purposes on his life insurance because if he were to die now, that extra AD money would sure come in handy.

He said he did not know and glared at me.

Then he announced that he had gotten the steak out first. Thank goodness.

The hair on his arms was singed a tiny bit. Just enough to give off that nasty burnt hair smell that we all remember so well from the days of bad curling irons.

We tried the steak.

It was beyond delicious. Seared to the perfect doneness.

"It's like what you get at Ruth Chris," SH said. "We never cook that hot."

Back to brevity.

Here is how I noted the event on Facebook:

Two pluses to the event: SH got to use our fire extinguisher and we have a beautifully seared steak.

Here is the explanation SH added because he was convinced nobody would know what I was talking about but I know our friends are pretty smart and can figure things out:

During the first round of outdoor spring cleaning yesterday, I knew that the grill was full of grease from a long winter of cooking bacon-wrapped foods but thought the grill cleaning could wait another week or two. In this case, procrastinating was not a good idea. It is a bit scary when the flames in the gas grill are coming from the entire grill, not just the burner--but on the positive side, I've never had a fire that hot before and the steak is awesome.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 613: I rest my case

Post cleaning with steel wool and Brasso.

No cleaning at all.

Marriage 301, Lecture 602: One and done

There are many ways to have a mixed marriage. There can be a political mixed marriage (I am in one), a religious mixed marriage (I am in one), a when we go to bed mixed marriage (I am in one).

There can also be a brass switchplate theory mixed marriage and there can be mixing within the mixing.

I am also in a brass switchplate theory mixed marriage.

There are several theories about brass switchplates. I will let you try to guess where each of us stands on each issue.

1. Dirty oily smudgy dull brass switchplates are bad.

2. No who cares about smudgy oily dirty dull switchplates that have never been cleaned since they were installed several years ago.

3. Bright shiny switchplates are good even if they have tiny little almost unnoticeable scratches on them from the steel wool required to remove the oily fingerprint dirt after the old standby Brasso failed.

4. OMG! OMG! Look! Tiny little scratches on the brass switchplates from steel wool! Steel is harder than brass! Steel scratches brass! Oh no! Oh no! We have to replace these! Go to amazon! Find replacements!

5. Oh for pete's sake they'll get dirty again and the dirt will cover the scratches.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 533: So satisfying when you can say, "I told you so"

This is how we (=SH) look for socks chez nous.

First, though, you must know that SH has an entire drawer full of socks. Nothing but socks. Blue socks and black socks and one or two tan socks. I confess that I, too, am a sock hoarder, but only half of my drawer has regular socks. The other half is sports socks and pink, brown, and blue with leopard print edging fluffy socks. You can't do without fluffy socks in Wisconsin in the winter, just as you can't do without that extra ten pounds unless of course you want your heating bills to be even higher than they already are. Lots of clothes and a good layer of fat is the key.

SH loves the socks. Loves them. He has an entire drawer full but that does not mean he doesn't have his favorites. He wears the same four pairs over and over. And over. Until they need darning, which I do, darning them as I darn, darn socks. There are socks in that drawer that he has never worn.

I, too, have never-worn socks, but they will be worn once the regular socks have lost their usefulness and have become rags.

So although SH and I are both sock hoarders, there are some key differences between us:

1. I don't have as many socks as he does.
2. When mine are worn out, they become dustrags. They are not darned.
3. If I can't find a particular pair of socks in my sock drawer, I just take another.

SH, on the other hand, goes all sock crazy and demands to know where, WHERE are his socks? The ones he wants to WEAR? WHERE ARE THEY?

I shrug. In your sock drawer, I tell him. That's where I put them after I did the laundry.

I return to my cooking magazine. My work here is done. I have advised him as to the location of his socks.

He doesn't believe me. He tears through the drawer. Then he looks in my drawer.

He is starting to annoy me because he is forcing me to become involved in his Sock Search.

Just take another pair, I tell him. Sheesh. They are SOCKS. Fungible. Blue. Big deal.

Oh no another pair will not do. He wants THESE BLUE SOCKS.

He doesn't believe me that there are no socks in the laundry chute. I did all the darks yesterday, I tell him. There isn't anything there.

He has to check for himself. Goes downstairs. Looks in the chute. In the baskets. In the dryer. On the drying rack.

Nothing. No socks.

I just want the noise and the commotion to stop because hello, I am trying to concentrate on my magazine.

He stomps back upstairs. Where ARE they? he demands.

Don't know. Don't care. They'll turn up.

He exhales loudly. Opens his sock drawer again. Rifles through the blue fungible socks.

Sheepish grin. Oh, he says. Here they are. In the drawer. I just didn't see them.

I roll my eyes. I win.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 693: How can I miss you if you won't go away?

SH: We could get video chat [on my new smartypants phone].

Me: Why?

SH: When I'm on a business trip so we could see-

Me: What? You want video [wxyz]?

SH: No! So if the cats were doing something cute, you could show me.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 497: Drama King

SH: You're not doing it right!*

Me: Then I can fix it.

SH [three minutes of Airing of Grievances]

Me: Shut up. Let me fix it or stop complaining.

SH: But I have to complain! I have to Air the Grievance! It's the Honey family way.

Me: Can't we just solve the problem?

SH: Nope. I have to Air the Grievances first.

Me: Whatever.

SH [after he has jury-rigged the situation and declined my offer to solve it]: Now I have to suffer.

Me: As long as you suffer in silence.

SH: No! Part of the process is that I have to complain!

Me: Hush. I don't want to hear it.

SH: Isn't life more fun with a little bit of drama?

Me: No.

SH: You don't like drama at all. You hate drama.

Me: Yep.

* Making pancakes. I offered to make a new batch of batter that he could cook to his satisfaction.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 400: My name is Inigo Montoya

I have a pretty good idea of what my death will look like if I am in a black pickup truck borrowed from our friends Stephen and Leigh and SH skids and drives up over a curb. I have a pretty good idea of what SH's death will look like if I am in a black pickup truck borrowed from our friends Stephen and Leigh and SH skids and drives up over a curb.

A sudden death by borrowed black pickup truck will look a lot like any sudden stressful incident SH and I encounter together: SH will go straight to panic mode and then to Engineer Deconstruct What Happened and Assign Blame and I will calmly watch and try to think of ways to solve the problem, not caring what the source of the problem is.

An example of typical reactions:

We were driving to the airport on a Saturday morning and encountered traffic we did not expect near the state fairgrounds. It was not state fair time. It was late fall and we had dropped off SH's Corvair, which now lives in our garage for free, thank goodness, at its winter home in the extra garage slot behind a small apartment building. From there, we were going to the airport and we were not on our usual route.

When we encountered the traffic, SH

1. panicked that we would be late
2. pounded the dashboard (well, symbolically, anyhow)
3. wondered loudly why, why, WHY? was there traffic on a Saturday morning?
4. WHY?????????
5. was there something going on at the fairgrounds?
6. was there an accident on the highway?
7. were the traffic lights broken?
8. was there a corpse in the road?
9. WHY????

When we encountered traffic, I

1. suggested we take a different route

Different styles. Different approaches. I do not care why the problem exists. I just want to eliminate it. SH wants to solve the puzzle. It's a good thing he's the engineer and not I. My guess is that most engineering problems cannot be solved by the liberal dispensation of chocolate whereas most of the business problems I faced could.

Back to our near-death experience.

Our Memphis friends Stephen and Leigh lent us their little black pickup truck so we would not have to rent a car while we were in town.

How did we repay them?

We wrecked their truck.

Well, not exactly "wrecked," but we did not return it to them in the condition it was when we got it.

Shame on us.

On the way to the Bosco's beer tour, we skidded as we went around a corner on a slick street. Trucks with nothing in the bed handle differently from a small car with snow tires. It didn't help that SH was already annoyed that the exit he had planned to take was not there. I had told him he couldn't get to that exit from highway 240 after Union, but he didn't believe me because I only lived in Memphis for eight years and google maps told him he could take that exit.

Oh google why must you lie? When my mother drove from Colorado to Memphis to see me, I told her how to get to my house from the highway. I gave her explicit instructions, instructions that she ignored to her peril and to her arriving three hours late, which had me almost calling the highway patrol. I am going to get that woman a cellphone.

When she arrived, she showed me the three-ring binder where she had placed the google maps of every place she planned to visit.

I pointed out that the map to my house did not include the fact that the Madison exit was CLOSED BECAUSE OF CONSTRUCTION which was why I had given her very clear non-Madison exit directions to get to my house.

The truck skidded. SH tried to correct but the back swung around hard and we went up over the curb.

SH was panicking and cussing.

I was thinking, Well this might be where I die. Either I'll die or I won't die. I'll know in a minute. If I die, then I will find out if there is a heaven.

I did not say a word.

SH turned to me. "Oh s***! Oh s***! Oh s***!"

I thought, If I die and there is a heaven, I sure hope SH and I get there.

The truck stopped, the front wheels on the median and the back wheels on the road.

Well this was a nasty situation.

But - reverse worked. SH got us off the curb. The truck seemed to drive fine. We got to Bosco's a minute before the tour started - SH doesn't care about being late to a haircut but he is very worried about being late to a beer factory tour - and examined the left front wheel, which was the one that had gone over the curb first and far faster than you want to go up a curb, even with a truck.

There was a scratch on it. No dents, but scratches.

I tried to comfort SH. "If the worst thing that happens to us is that we have to pay to repair this truck, that's not too bad."

But engineers hate to make mistakes, so he was not happy.

We got into the tour. And, as happened in almost every place we went during our four days in Memphis, I saw someone I knew. Two friends of Stephen and Leigh were also on the tour. I said hi. They said, How's the truck? We were going to borrow it this weekend.

I explained we had wrecked it.

They said, Oh you have no IDEA what that truck has been through! Don't worry!

Stephen and Leigh said the same thing. Don't worry! Don't worry!

But we insisted that they let us know if problems developed so we could pay for the repair.

And I still wonder if there is a heaven.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 583: Hospital for sinners

After Mass at my former church in Memphis, whose congregation consists of Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants and some homeless people who come to church to get warm, which doesn't really bother anyone. This is the church where SH and I had our pre-marital counseling with Fr Joe, who gave us the same advice he gave to our friends Steve and Megan when they had their counseling.

SH: I didn't shake that guy's [the guy who I think is a homeless man who hangs out at the church] hand [at the sign of peace - a handshake - that Catholics and other denominations do] because his nose was dripping.

Me: Jesus would have shaken his hand.

SH: Jesus was a better man than I am.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 229: Competition

That is the lunch at the Calvary Episcopal Waffle Shop - the Friday special of fish pudding, which tastes far better than it sounds. Also included are fried potatoes, coleslaw, and cornbread. Yum.

After driving around Memphis for an afternoon.

Me: Oh! That's where that Jamaican restaurant is! Remember when we ate there?

SH: You never ate there with me.

Me: I didn't?

SH: No.

Me: Oh. Maybe I ate there with J [my boyfriend before SH].

SH: See!

Me: Oh! That great Greek breakfast place is up the street. Remember?

SH: No.

Me: Yes you do! We got those really good omelets there.

SH: I never ate there.

Me: Oh. Maybe I ate there with J.

SH: How come you ate at all the good places with J and not with me?

Me: Were you not well fed when you were in Memphis?

SH: No.

Me: Well, then. Stop complaining.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 399: I'm AT THE AIRPORT

At least I was not the person driving this truck.

SH and I went to Memphis to see our Memphis friends and my cousin and her cute new baby. The baby wasn't quite up to visitors - she doesn't talk yet - but she is still cute and it is fun to hold her.

But the drama of getting to Memphis from Milwaukee. Sheesh.

SH deliberately booked us on an 11:00 a.m. flight so we wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport. I don't mind getting up at COD, but I have to go to bed at the Crack of Dark to get enough sleep and SH does not pack for any trip until two or three hours past Crack of Dark.

Marriage has been a series of compromises I never anticipated, including staying up much later than I would like and much later than I would ever do if I were alone. I am not a late stayer upper. SH is a late stayer upper. More than our political differences, our bedtime differences cause stress and tension.

Take that, Journal Sentinel reporter who did a story on how the Madison Drama was affecting relationships and added the adjectives "strained" and "tense" to describe our marriage. SH pointed out that she just added those words to make the story better. I pointed out that a reporter is supposed to report the facts. Not add or enhance or exaggerate to make the story better. That's what bloggers (= me) do.

Another big compromise that has come with marriage is sharing the covers when it's cold. I will finally be all warm and about to fall asleep (I cannot fall asleep if I am cold) and SH will get into bed and turn over or do something where he pulls the covers with him rather than doing what he needs to do without involving the covers.

He rolls over with the covers, which means all of a sudden, the covers rise and cold air is let under them, thus negating my get warm efforts of the past 30 minutes.

Back to the story. He had scheduled us on a decent flight and we were both happy that we would not have to rush to get to the airport.

Two days before our trip, we read in the paper that there was no parking at the airport. The lots were full. Spring break. Who knew? What kind of recession is it if enough people can afford to fly somewhere for spring break?

The one advantage to getting to the airport early was we got to watch this truck drama. She (the driver) got a good ten feet into the covered area with a truck that was taller than the roof. If only she'd had a faster start.

We panicked. What would we do? We don't really have any drive us to the airport friends in Milwaukee. We know some really nice people, but nobody whom we could ask to drive us the 16 miles to the airport.

We thought about taking a cab. But cabs are not so reliable here. Thought about parking at a park and ride and taking the city bus to the airport. That would have meant leaving the car in an unattended parking lot for days, plus we would have had to rely on the veracity of the online bus schedules and after our experience in New Orleans where the trolley just didn't show up one evening and we had to pay $15 for a cab back to the hotel (an email from a city employee told me basically oh yeah sometimes the trolley doesn't show up even though it's scheduled), we were skeptical.

We do have a friend (Dawn, whose mother has the Packers rosary) who lives near us and works downtown. After my facebook appeal for a ride was unsuccessful, I very reluctantly emailed her to ask her if she could drop us off.

Sure, she wrote. But she would have to pick us up at 7:15 a.m. so she could get to an early meeting.

Well rats. So much for not getting up at the crack of dawn and a relaxed morning. SH suggested that we could monitor the airport's parking lot website and decide in the morning if we needed Dawn's services. I pointed out that she was already going to get up early and if we called her to tell her we didn't want a ride after all, she might be annoyed. He asked wouldn't I rather not have to take someone to the airport even if I had gotten up early than have to take them there and I had to admit he had a point.

The morning of our flight, SH looked at the parking website. Available parking had gone from 4% to 7%. We decided one in 14 was good enough odds for us and called Dawn at 7:00 a.m. to tell her never mind.

We found a space in very short time once we had driven past the full lots and the cars parked illegally on the street.

Then we sat in the airport waiting for our flight for three hours. Which I didn't mind, because I like to get to the airport early and every other time I have gone on a trip with SH, he has cut our time right down to the last second, which causes me untold stress, but his attitude is better that he wring out every second of time at home and then be a little bit late for things, including haircuts, which is one of the reasons I didn't want to share Carol my stylist with him as his lateness reflects poorly on me, but I sure would have liked to have slept past 6:00 a.m. and been able to wash and dry my hair.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 403: No toes for you

I saw these cute shoes on a lady at the Calvary Episcopal Waffle Shop in Memphis. I asked if I could take a photo, assuring her I did not have a fetish. The second I showed the photo to my friend Leigh's five year old daughter, Sophia, Sophia squealed, "Those are pretty!" Sophia and I get each other.

SH: Let me tell you about this new connector [something to do with my fancy new smartypants phone].

Me: No.

SH: But it's interesting! Look how they've changed the design and improved-

Me: I don't care.

SH: But I want to tell you!

Me: I don't want to hear it.

SH: But I want to!

Me: Remember how you didn't want to hear about my toenail polish? Well, I don't want to hear about the connector.

SH: But it's interesting. Your toenail polish is not interesting.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 401: The toes knows

SH has been known to wear the Fluffy Socks.

For a man who has two dozen watches (including one with a Packers face) and two gajillion blue shirts, SH does not appreciate fashion the way he ought. Sure he will notice when I wear something new, but he doesn't care. He doesn't care that I wear my Lands' End Outlet red and white striped knit pants, his mustard-yellow Beer Bike long-sleeved t-shirt from college and my pink fluffy socks to bed.

He doesn't care if I wear makeup or if I don't. Doesn't care if I wear jewelry or don't, although I at least wear my wedding ring when he is around. When he is gone - well, it cramps my style so in the drawer with the toothpaste and bite guard it stays.

On the one of the hands, I suppose it is a good thing that I have a low-maintenance husband who accepts a low-maintenance wife and still finds me attractive enough for [wxyz], at least when he is not too busy with La Revolucion.

On the other of the hands, if I can't impress my husband, whom can I impress?

That's not to say he's not impressed when I dress up, but - he doesn't care. And he doesn't share my excitement when I bring home a new accessory, which takes out some of the fun. I am accessory and makeup challenged - my sister, who did my hair and makeup for my wedding, which caused SH to look at me and say, "Wow! You look different!" - which I did - got all those genes, along with the shall we say Comfy Upper Half of the Torso gene, if you know what I mean.

But the other day I came home with something new and fun and even on sale at Walgreen's, which I think most of us, at least those who do not have a big stash of cash somewhere, will appreciate because the less we spend on makeup items, the more we can spend on shoes and purses. And who doesn't want more or nicer shoes and purses?

I think the Chocolate Brown looks cool, even on my pudgy feet.

I came home with two bottles of nail polish, one orange and one chocolate brown.

Oh yes I am hip and edgy. I am au courant.

All my other polishes are pink and red.

But when I got to Walgreen's with my $1 store coupon burning a hole in my pocket, I saw the "Sale! 99 cents!" sign next to the Hip and Edgy nail polish and thought, Those are hideous.

But then I thought, Now wait a second. Maybe they're not so bad. I like chocolate brown and I like orange in other settings.
I drew closer and thought, They're Hip and Edgy. I'm Hip and Edgy! Voila!
I tested them on my thumbnails. Oooh! It looked Hip and Edgy!

I bought both bottles but paid ONLY $1 for the two! Brought them home. Slammed them triumphantly in front of SH and waved my orange and brown thumbs in front of him.

Look! I told him. Look what I got!

He glanced my way, his eyes barely stopping on the bottles.

Orange nail polish!

"I don't care," he said, as he kept opening junk mail that should have been discarded immediately.

But it's so cool! I told him.

"Don't care," he said. "Do. Not. Care."

But look! Hip! Edgy!

"Don't care."

I could not make that man care. How can he not care about something so neat? How can someone who is so picky about his shirts and his hair and his watches not care about nail polish? What is wrong with him?