Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 667: The art of the whine, part 45

SH: Ouch. My calf muscles really hurt [after we ran 8 miles as part of our half-marathon training and every single step was miserable why did I ever agree to this?].

Me: A normal man would use Ben Gay.

SH: No, a normal man guts it out or whines about it.

Me: A normal man does not whine.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chats do jour: Because you're better at it

SH: You haven't cleaned the cat vomit [on the basement rug].

Me: You saw it, you clean it.

SH: But I cleaned the last vomit [a few days ago] and you're the one who saw it.

Me: That's because I had already cleaned three vomits in the four days before that. It was your turn.

SH: You're changing the rules!

Me: Yes, I guess I am.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to prepare for book club

1. Dust and vacuum the living room for the first time since. Since. When was the last time we had company? We never use the living room or the dining room when it's just us because in the winter, they are too darn cold and we are too darn cheap to heat them. Since a long time.

2. Iron the lacy white linen tablecloth. Why did I ever think it was a good idea to buy a 1. white 2. linen tablecloth? It's not like I have servants any more and actually, my cleaning lady in Chile wasn't exactly trustworthy (I refer you to the vegetable brush/toilet incident). My cleaning lady in Memphis let her little girl scribble all over my white sofa. And then didn't tell me about it. I discovered it when I moved the three pillows and discovered that the backside of each had blue ink lines. The odds of all three pillows being turned with the ink side down just randomly are only one in eight, which made me think that perhaps they had been turned deliberately. Anyhow, it's so hard to get good help these days, which is why my house now is not in top shape and which is why I don't wear my glasses indoors because really, who needs to see all that dust or the dead bugs resting in the bottom of the ceiling light fixtures?

3. Pick snacks that are within the bookclub lexicon but will impress the other members. What? You think I'm competitive? Well maybe I am. Snacks turn out to be cupcakes from the new place in the mall - there was a Living Social coupon for a dozen for about $15. Which is still too much to pay for cupcakes, but not as much as the $4.10 apiece you pay at the counter. You pay. Not me. I will not ever pay more for one piece of dessert than it costs for a pound of butter. Unless it's really fancy and at a restaurant and even then, I am reluctant to shell out the bucks, as I like to bake and it's not hard to make a good dessert.

I also make the Memphis Junior League onion dip that is so yummy and so easy:

24 ounces of cream cheese (I use the lowfat, so really, this dip is not fattening at all)
One lb chopped onion (one large onion) - the trick is to chop it, freeze it, thaw it and squeeze the juice out of it
1/2 cup mayonnaise (again, I used the lowfat - this dip won't add to your Milwaukee Roll at all)
2 cups or so of grated parmesan cheese.

Mix it all up, put it in a shallow dish, and pop it in the oven until it's heated through and browning on top. Serve with chips. Or just scoop up with your finger and eat straight out of the container. But don't do this in front of people or they will think you are uncivilized.

4. Most important: hide the brain candy books I've been reading (I didn't realize that Susan Elizabeth Philips counts as a Harlequin romance type writer, but the fact that the basic setup of most of her books is the

a. strong-willed, independent yet alone in this world (either orphaned or has been cut off by her wealthy parents) woman, who is also gorgeous but unaware of it
b. who meets the handsome but flawed alpha male (wealthy, of course) who
c. drives her crazy and vice versa but even so they
d. almost sleep together but then don't at the last minute but does that mean the chemistry between them diminishes? no it does not and after
e. some drama he
f. resolves his flaws and grows into a Fully Realized Human Being and she
g. realizes she is not unattractive and gains some confidence and then they
h. end up together, married to live happily ever after)

and replace them with serious, intellectual books (an analysis of FDR's Supreme Court, a history of mathematicians) so my book club friends will not think I am a lightweight.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 668: Die by the sword

SH: Laverne is whining. She must be stuck.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: You need to go [outside] and untangle her.

Me: Why's that?

SH: You're in charge of her.

Me: Why?

SH: Because you're the one who put her out!

Me: No I didn't. You did.

SH: Oh. Crap. You're right.

Me: Hoist. Petard. Etc.

There is no discipline at 9 p.m. with a freezer full of frozen custard

Y'all, I don't want to mock addicts, especially addicts who are trying to get straight, but any of you who have had any experience with addicts know they are not the most responsible people. As in, would you hire an addict? For a responsible job, I mean? I sure wouldn't. The active addicts I've seen are selfish and manipulative and even if they could do a good job, who wants to deal with those little side personality benefits?

So don't take what I say as mocking - I don't want the wrath of commenting about how I don't understand addiction and it's a disease. BS. I know some addicts who have made the very difficult path to being dry or whatever and it's been through their efforts and willpower. You can't willpower your way out of cancer now, can you? No. Addiction = choice.

Where am I going with this? I saw Steve the acupuncturist again. (Yes I know I changed his name. I just did, OK?) Steve is great. He is funny and interesting and smart. Steve is also a new experience for me because he is an orthodox Jew who will be spending some time in the south next year so we talked about the difficulty of getting a decent bagel in the south and of getting kosher food there altogether, which reminded me of the famous Yom Kippur incident at Whispering Pines Conference Center in northern Mississippi, where I went for an all-day meeting once that started with breakfast. A breakfast - this was on Yom Kippur - of cheese and sausage on a bagel. Which is so wrong in so many ways, the least of which is that it didn't even taste good.

I have not talked to many orthodox Jews, especially orthodox Jewish men. I think the rules are that they are not supposed to talk to women they're not related to, but I might be wrong on that. I am pretty sure they are not supposed to hang out at the deep end of the pool, running in the water, taking up a perfectly good lane, and then ducking their head underwater every time a woman gets to the end of the lane so they can watch her make her flip turn, REDHEADED GUY AT THE JCC POOL IN MEMPHIS. That's creepy for anyone and even more so when you think they are not supposed to be ogling women.

So Steve is my first experience with talking to an orthodox guy. I was worried yesterday when I got to the clinic, which is owned by a Hasidic Jew. There is a mezzuzah on every door. The docs are all wearing yarmulkes and have the fringe coming out from under their shirts, which I think is what the orthodox guys do. I think.

I was worried because as I walked in, I realized I was wearing a rather low-cut top in celebration of temperatures above freezing and you know, maybe that wasn't appropriate. Except I have nothing to cut to, if you know what I mean. Too late, anyhow and then I realized that he was going to be touching my bare feet when he stuck in the needles, which seems far more intimate that glancing at the smooth, almost flat expanse that makes up my bosom. No mountains these. Definitely prairie.

Steve practices out of a drug rehab clinic, something I didn't know until I arrived for my first appointment and didn't see the name "Steve" on the directory but saw only "ABC Drug and Mental Health." I think I might be the only non-rehab patient there. I am pretty sure I am the only one who would be thrilled if they would turn the TV off. Even the other adults in the waiting room didn't seem to be bothered by Barney and friends singing that stupid, stupid song.

This, too, is evidence that I am the only non-high person there because if you are on heroin, does Barney bother you? I bet not. Maybe the TV is a test of sobriety? The other patients give a urine sample every visit, apparently, but I argued against that little requirement for myself and won. But maybe while they wait for the test results, they have the patients watch TV and if they show any annoyance at Barney, the docs know that the patient is sober.

Back to Steve. He advised that I try yoga as a way to prevent my headaches and I have taken his advice. Here is what I have found:

I thought running was the dullest exercise on earth. Until I tried yoga.

But - I have not had a headache since my second acupuncture session and since I started the yoga. Coincidence, probably. It is not unheard of for me to go a week without a headache. Not usual, but not impossible. I will wait for more evidence before I go from coincidence/correlation to causation.

After Steve poked the needles in my feet yesterday, we talked about Next Steps. He doesn't think I should have acupuncture every week - maybe once a month in what he called a "California tuneup" if it appears to be working. He is convinced that it is the yoga, anyhow.

Then he told me that I am obviously a very disciplined person and he is comfortable that I will continue the yoga.

Which made me think that maybe he has gotten too used to dealing with addicts if he thinks I am "disciplined."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How not to make friends and influence people

This is not how you make new friends. Watch me and learn. I am the living proof of the truism that if one can't be a model of good behavior, one can at least serve as a warning to others, much as I would make an example of the rodents that want to eat my tomatoes and lettuce by jamming their little heads on pikes that would surround my garden.

Only there is no decapitation involved in this situation.

I go to the Y a few mornings a week. I have made my Y friends, but everyone can use more friends, right? Nice ladies here but I am still in search of the Milwaukee equivalents of Leigh, Lindley, Claire and Megan, my Memphis friends with whom I could happily spend hours just goofing off, although I suppose that even if I were still living near them, such halcyon afternoons might not be an option as they all have 1. jobs and 2. children, both of which are the biggest inhibitors to adult friendship known to woman.

So there are the Y friends I talk to and the Y women I know by sight, enough that after three years, we greet each other with a friendly nod and a smile, that is, once I am close enough to see them for of course I do not wear my glasses to aerobics or yoga or weights class. I do not need to see myself reflected in the giant mirror in front of the class. I know full well the impact of age, sun, and too many donut holes on my skin and buttocks.

We smile. We roll our eyes at the instructor running around adjusting everyone's step. Well, I roll my eyes. I can't see anyone else's eyes to judge, but really, who doesn't get a little impatient with the overly enthusiastic teacher trotting around ordering people to move their towels and to adjust the risers? Where is her bossiness when the class is really crowded and people won't move their steps just 8 inches to the side so another student can fit? Not a word then.

After three years, I know enough of my fellow students by sight that I can even recognize them out of context. You know that's not always so easy. On my flight to Dallas a few weeks ago, I glanced at the man sitting in front of me. He looked very familiar but I couldn't place him. I had to review every place I had been in the previous week before it hit me. He wasn't the manager at Sendik's. He wasn't the bartender at the restaurant. He wasn't the usher at church. He was the tennis teacher I had at my first class of the season.

(A class that I should note left me so sore that my ankles hurt and that reaffirmed my belief that there is no such thing as cross training, as one can do aerobics, weights and yoga and run up to seven miles and shovel snow but one will still be brought to one's Ben-Gay'd knees upon spending 90 minutes with a physical activity one has not done for seven months. And then if one goes two weeks before the next class because of rain cancellations, one will be just as sore following Class #2 as one was following Class #1. Which seems rather unjust. But I am not in charge of these things. Obviously.)

I was lucky that I had time to think of what to say to Tennis Teacher. At the end of the flight, after I had had over an hour to think about it, when we stood to get our luggage and deplane, I asked, "Aren't you Coach Bob?"

He answered that indeed he was and he and his wife and I had a lovely short chat about tennis and traveling and the horrible weather in Milwaukee, although I have to say that at least up north, the women do not get that leathery spotted skin on their necks and chests as some of the women I saw in DFW. Not because they wouldn't want to, but there just aren't enough days in Wisconsin where that flesh can be exposed without risking frostbite. So there's an advantage to winter: you don't get over-tan.

Anyhow, I didn't say anything stupid to Coach Bob and I was relieved because saying something stupid is often my MO.

This weekend, SH and I went to a play. As we were standing in line to pick up our tickets, I recognized the woman in front of us. She turned and saw me. One would hope I look a little better cleaned up and out in public than I do at the Y, like to the point I would be unrecognizable, but she did furrow her brow a tiny little bit.

"Hi!" I said to her.

"Don't I recognize you from someplace?" she asked.

"From the gym. Omigosh I KNEW you were French!" I blurted out. "Or Canadian!"

I had to add that "Canadian" bit hastily because I didn't want to insult her. English-speaking Canadians get insulted when you meet them abroad and ask if they are American, so when I was traveling in South America, my default question upon hearing a North American English voice was to ask if the speaker was Canadian. Americans don't care if you think they might be Canadian, but Canadians get a little touchy about the issue. I didn't know if French Canadians don't want to be mistaken for French or not, but I didn't want to take any chances.

If she had been speaking French, I might have recognized that Quebecois accent. Or not. It's been a while. My friend Steve was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chad, where he spoke French. After he was done with the Peace Corps, he and another volunteer went to Paris. They were in a bakery, speaking French to each other, and confusing the heck out of the clerk, who kept looking for the Africans. My French is probably not refined enough to distinguish among all the variations, but Quebec French? Pretty distinctive.

So I blurt out to her that I KNEW she was French because 1. the filter between my brain and my mouth is broken and 2. she has a French face. Or a Canadian one. She looks a little bit Celine Dion-ish, with a very French profile.

You say But CF, how can you tell what ethnic background someone is just from looking? and I say, If you ever go to Europe, it's pretty clear who the Swedes (tall, big, pink) are versus the Greeks (shorter, dark curly hair, olive skin), especially when they are standing right next to each other. Somalis look different from west Africans. Berbers look different from other Moroccans. We Americans might be a mix of everything in a bucket, but in Europe? Not so much.

She looked startled. Did not confirm or deny my assessment, but I know a French accent when I hear one.

The logical next step or the logical instead step would have been for me to have said, "Yes we are in the step aerobics class together. How are you?"

That opening would have led to a nice while we wait in this interminable line conversation, but when you announce someone's ethnic/language background to her, the conversation shuts down very quickly.

As happened with this conversation. She gave me a polite smile. I went on to my next brilliant observation. "Your hair. It's usually up in a ponytail."

She nodded, wondering how much more I was going to say about her 1. voice and/or 2. hairstyle. Would I comment on her outfit? Her body? Who knew what delights awaited?

She explained, in her charming accent - who doesn't love a French accent?- that she has to put her hair up in class or else the enormous fans in the corners of the room blow it in her face.

And that was our conversation. Finis. She got her tickets and turned away without another word, probably thinking, "Whew! Glad that's over!" or more probably, "Zuts alors!"

I didn't even get a chance to redeem myself with a better thought out question today, like, "What did you think of the play?" or "Could you hear the old lady sitting next to me who should have known better smacking her chewing gum all of act one?" because she wasn't in class this morning. I want a do over so she can see that I am not an overly-personal weirdo.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 560: Taste test

SH: Hey! Why did you buy this [Kashi Honey-Kissed Seven Wholegrain Pillows] cereal?

Me: Because it is the on-sale, allegedly healthful version of Cap'n Crunch [which I love with an unhealthy passion].

SH: The second ingredient is organic evaporated cane juice syrup.

Me: Sugar for people who never took chemistry but who think they are so very aware of what they are eating.

SH: And donut holes! Why did you get donut holes?

Me: Because I got those chocolate donut holes last week that we thought tasted funny but then I thought how can we really know if the chocolate ones taste funny without doing an authentic side by side taste comparison?

All in vain

I don't know about you guys, but I have to admit it bothers me a little tiny bit when someone I am trying to friend on facebook does not want to be my friend back. It has been over 20 years since we last spoke, so it's not like we're close or anything, but did I do something to make her mad at me? Were we never friends? I thought we were sort of friends. She was always very nice to me. Maybe I wasn't nice to her. I don't know.

I know she is ignoring my friend request because facebook very helpfully lets you know when a person whose friendship you have requested has accepted other friend requests. With people who are not you. As in, "Reese Witherspoon is now friends with Joe Blow," the obvious subtext being, "But not with CLASS FACTOTUM HAHAHAHAHA!"

I shouldn't be so bothered, I know, as I myself have repeatedly mashed the "Ignore" button for a friend request, muttering to myself that Really? REALLY you think we can be friends after what YOU did?

And then SH asks me why I am carrying a 20 year old grudge and is it possible that I misinterpreted this person's actions?

Not that I have ever said or done anything stupid. Nope. Never have words left my mouth that I immediately wanted to grab back and stuff down my throat but it's too late they have already, to paraphrase the guy from A Christmas Story, woven a tapestry of dumb words that to this day floats over Lake Michigan, eternal in its stupidity.

Twenty three years ago, I sent a card to a colleague congratulating him on his new baby. In a what I know now vain attempt to be funny, I said that it was a good thing the baby didn't take after him. Meaning his wife was gorgeous and the baby was gorgeous but easily read as, "You are not that attractive, mister, and you sure married up."

I just looked for the guy on facebook. First, he wasn't unattractive. Not my type, to be sure. I was just trying to be funny. He now has four children, all nice looking, with two gorgeous girls. Who look like their mother. But I shouldn't have written what I wrote. Fortunately, I suspect he's over it by now. He's probably not like me and has better things to do than to dwell on ancient wrongs done to him by people who were never that important in his life anyhow.

When I was in college, I never wore my glasses because who needs to see the chalkboard when the prof is explaining how to take the derivative of whatever it is you take the derivative of? Not me! Who needs glasses when the prof is explaining how to balance a chemical equation? Not me! Who needs glasses when the prof is explaining how to calculate torque? Not me!

Which is why in the middle of my sophomore year, I changed my major to English. You don't need to see the board for English. My grades did improve. They also really improved once I started preparing for and attending class every session.

When a person doesn't wear her glasses and when a person is nearsighted, a person might not see someone waving at her across the quad. Or someone smiling at her on the sidewalk.

A person might appear to be very conceited and ignoring overtures from other persons.

The truth is a person is just very vain with bad taste in glasses.

So if I was that person who said something stupid to a new dad or who may have ignored friendly gestures because of my own stupid vanity, maybe the people who have said dumb things to me or who might have ignored me weren't really out to get me.


And maybe I need to lighten the heck up and accept their friend requests now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 633: You're not doing it right, le merde

SH: When's the last time you scooped the kitty litter?

Me: I don't know. A few days ago.

SH: It seems pretty full. You didn't do it while I was gone?

Me: I was saving it for you. Because I don't do it right.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 679: Whine does not get better with age

As SH is driving home from Cedar Rapids, where he has been for work, and where he was unable, because the darn customer who pays his salary, actually needed him to work, to go to Sykora Bakery and load up on poppyseed kolaches for me (the only two places I've found kolaches outside of my grandmother's kitchen are central Texas and Houston and Cedar Rapids - why aren't there kolaches in Milwaukee?). This is his fourth "I'm bored this drive is boring" call to me, even though really, it's just the Illinois part of the drive that's boring once you get past Galena. Sorry, Illinois, but that's the truth: flat land used for corn is not exciting scenery. My foreign boyfriend flew to Cedar Rapids for work once and was then coming to Memphis. Rather than fly from CR to Memphis, he drove because he really wanted to see the scenery. I tried to warn him, but he did not believe me.

SH: I'm going to whine.

Me: Now what?

SH: Haven't you missed my whining?

Me: Nope.

SH: You'll get to hear even more of it this summer [because he is taking a three-month sabbatical from his job] when I am home all day [which he already is, except usually he has work he should be doing].

Me: No I won't. You won't be working. You won't have anything to whine about.

SH: I'll find something.

Me: I need to get a job.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 664: Optimizing scarce resources

SH: Are we going to [wxyz] tonight?

Me: I think we should.

SH: But that means I have to take a shower.

Me: Well yes.

SH: But I have to take another shower tomorrow [before he leaves on a business trip].

Me: So?

SH: That's just inefficient to take a shower at night and again the next morning!

Me: Since when have you been concerned with efficiency?

SH: It doesn't make sense.

Me: Fine. We don't have to [wxyz].

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover but admit it you do

Part of my training regimen for the Summerfest half marathon I am running (and I use that word lightly) with SH is to you know, run. SH and I ran together on Sunday for the first time in five years. We ran five miles and did it without stopping. He was a lot faster than I am, probably because 1. he is six inches taller so even with the same number of strides, he covers more ground and 2. running is all he is doing. I go to the Y four times a week and take weights, aerobics, and yoga.

The yoga is a recent addition on the advice of my Steve, who said that it might possibly help reduce my headaches. Here is what I have learned about yoga:

1. It is a lot harder than it looks. (I have also learned that about playing golf and about cutting hair.)

2. It looks like you spend all your time lying on your back or just bending over, but yoga is the only class I have taken at the Y that has made me sweat.

3. Some yoga instructors never shut the heck up, so while they are advising you to Fall into Being and Find Your Authentic Self in the Stillness and Quiet, you are gritting your teeth and screaming inside your head, "Shut up! Shut up! There is no Stillness and Quiet!"

SH and I ran together once when we first met. He was faster then, too, so I told him I would prefer to exercise alone thankyouverymuch. I don't need to be mocked or passed by someone whose main form of exercise is climbing down the basement stairs to get the Dill Pickle Pringles he has hidden from himself.

But when he announced a few months ago that he wanted to run the race, I said I would do it with him because it is important for us to have some hobbies in common, not that exercising is a hobby it's more like torture, and I want to encourage this kind of health-advancing activity. We may still end up strolling the entire 13 miles, smoking cigarettes* and drinking beer, but we will finish.

Anyhow. I went out for a four-mile run yesterday after I had gone to yoga in the morning. I plod along very, very slowly, which gives me plenty of time to watch what is going on in the neighborhood.

Four blocks from our house, across from the cemetery, I saw a beat-up old car parked on the side of the road. Inside the car was a guy with dreadlocks.

I was suspicious.

We do not live in a dreadlock neighborhood. We live in an old people and young families with kids neighborhood.

Let me also say this:

I have yet to see a white person with dreads who does not look like his hair is just dirty. I have seen many a nice set of dreads on black people - my friend Thea's dreads are just cute - but every white person's dreads I have seen has looked nasty.

I am not making a categorical statement that dreads on white people always look bad. Just on the white people I have seen.

I turned and looked at the license plates as I trotted by. I've got my eye on you, buddy, I was thinking.

I turned to look again. Dreadlock guy got out of the car. Crossed the street. Walked into the yard. Up to the front window. Pushed it open and climbed into the house.


"Excuse me!" I yelled, thinking of my next-door neighbors who had been robbed in broad daylight. "Excuse me!"

Dreadlock guy stuck his head out of the window. "Oh, it's OK! This is my dad's house."

I wasn't quite sure how to take that. First, someone who is willing to break into a house is probably willing to lie about it. Second, any time I have had to break into my own house or my parents' house, I have used a back window specifically so I could prevent awkward conversations like this one.

I jogged up the driveway of the house two doors away. A man was working in the garage. "Do you know your neighbor up the street?" I asked. "Because a guy with dreadlocks just went in through the window." Dreadlock Guy could be telling the truth. He could be lying. It wouldn't hurt to check. Trust but verify is what I always say, although what that really reduces to is Don't trust, which is also fine in this kind of situation.

Dreadlock Guy ran down the sidewalk, a pit bull in his arms. "It's OK! Really! It's OK! I locked myself out." The dog had not accompanied him on the breakin and had not been in the car.

I shrugged. "Fine," I said.

"You don't need to be upset!"

Oh now that's something that makes me mad. When men tell me how to feel. Plus I wasn't upset - I was out of breath from running up the hill.

But - the garage neighbor did know him and Dreadlock Guy seemed so sincere and so concerned and up close, he had a very sweet face although I know (Ted Bundy!) that you cannot judge on looks and really, if he were breaking in, I suppose he would have tried to get away rather than reassure me. And if the resident pit bull was not bothered to see this guy, maybe he was OK. So I decided not to be mad.

And yes I know I was totally judging him because of the dreads and the beat-up car, but I think I would be suspicious of anyone climbing in through a front window.

In one of my Shakespeare classes in college, Dr Huston had the class cast the plays as if we were going to make a movie. For Othello, he asked us who should play Iago, who is the bad guy who convinces his best friend, Othello, that Othello's wife is cheating on him, which she is not. But Othello believes Iago and kills Desdemona, which even if she had cheated on him was a bit of an overreaction if you ask me.

We wanted an ugly actor to play Iago. I can't remember now whom we picked, but after we had suggested a few names, Dr Huston told us he would cast Robert Redford, who used to be quite the looker (if you like blonds which I do not) before all his time in the sun caught up with him.

"Evil," he said, "is beautiful and seductive. If it were ugly, nobody would want it."

If I ever decide to take up a life of crime, I will make sure I am well groomed and nicely dressed because people do make assumptions.

* Steve, Megan, Leigh and I ran in a 5K in Memphis put on by the American Heart Association. We got to the warmup and saw people at the starting line in jeans, smoking cigarettes. Megan looked at them, then turned to us and announced confidently, "We're going to win this race."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 635: The Right Thing to Do #9105

Me: You are not the Boss of The Right Thing To Do.

SH: Maybe not in the entire universe, but there is a hierarchy. I might not be the boss of Al Gore-

Me: Oh there's a moral authority-

SH: But I am the boss of you. [He's not.]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 320: Affairs of the Fart

SH: I farted. I'm sorry.

Me: You don't have to announce it, you know.

SH: But I should apologize when I fart. It's rude to fart and not apologize.

Me: But what if I don't notice? Then you've apologized for nothing.

SH: I don't say anything if I don't think you'll notice. If it's a stealth fart. But when I think you'll notice, I apologize.

Me: Just don't say anything. I'll let you know when you need to apologize.

* Thanks to Tish Jett for the title.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 527: To purse or not to purse, whether is nobler to retaliate

Me: I took my purse to the leather shop to be repaired. The lady there makes purses.

SH: Did you see anything you liked?

Me: Oh yes! But it cost $495.

SH: So?

Me: That's a little much.

SH: How much did the Retaliatory Purse cost?

Me: That was $40 on eBay.

SH: So what would it take for you to buy a $495 purse?

Me: The $40 Retaliatory Purse was for a 47-minute transgression. You would probably have to do a month's worth of stuff I didn't like for a $495 Retaliatory Purse.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chats du jour: Fair is a place where men in overalls throw cow chips for prizes


SH: Hey! You gave Shirley a lot more food than you gave Laverne.

Me: Oh well. Laverne has taken enough of Shirley's food that it all evens out.

SH: When I feed them, I put the bowl on the counter and very meticulously make sure they each have the same amount.

Me: Do you want to be in charge of feeding them?

SH: No.

Me: Well then.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 521: To bitch or not to bitch

After SH and I are together in the house for the first time in about two weeks (because of my trip to my mom's and his work travel). He is throwing a general freakout because the stupid dehumidifier is leaking and we don't have any pipe cleaners to clean those bendy tubes and where do you buy pipe cleaners, anyhow? The cigar shop down the street does not have them. And because he has all this work to do before his sabbatical starts in ten days and because he has a haircut at 3:30 and that is such a commitment and he wants to take stuff to the post office. And because we are together which is the ideal time to throw a freakout because is it a true freakout if there is nobody to witness your freak?

SH: Hey! You put away all the lunch stuff!

Me: That's because I ate an hour and a half ago, Mr Food Safety Nitpicker.

SH: Well now I have to get it all out again!

Me: You are such a baby. Do you want me to make your lunch for you? Or do you want to do it yourself and bitch about it?

SH: I want to do it myself and bitch about it. It's more fun that way.

Marriage 301, Lecture 336: Any port in a storm

SH: I should have gone to visit Pete [our mutual friend] when he lived in Cincinnati [late 80s] so we could have met then. [I was living in Cincy at the same time.]

Me: We'd be $X richer [for not paying alimony.] But I might not have liked you.

SH: Why not?

Me: I was not a big fan of burping and fart jokes.

SH: I wasn't some drunken frat boy!

Me: Or of Beavis and Butthead imitations.

SH: But you are now?

Me: No, but I have a higher tolerance level. I overlook more.

SH: Maybe you're just more desperate.

Me: Yep. I dropped my standards.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 606: Freakout if you do, freakout if you don't

Hello chickadees. Sorry for the delayed posting. I've been busy making SH's birthday desserts: a tiramisu tart with 12 oz of cream cheese but I used lowfat cream cheese so it's not that indulgent and a chocolate mousse that has eggs so it's almost like breakfast, right?

Actually, no. I am not going to feel guilty about eating dessert. If I were hit by a bus and were lying on the road, my life ebbing away, my last thought would be, "Damn. I should have had dessert last night." Life is too long not to eat well.

Plus I had to try the cookbook my mom gave me. It's a chocolate cookbook with luscious photos in it. Mom says she has looked at the photos for years but never made anything so it was time that the book actually be used. This is in her honor.

How many of you guys leave your mom's with more stuff than you had when you arrived? I thought my carryon bag - because I am not going to pay $25 to check a bag - would be lighter on my return because I toss my Goodwill/library sale paperbacks after I have read them. I can go through a book or two on a flight plus one layover, although I don't read as much when the people watching is good and here is what I have to say to you folks at DFW and I say this as someone who wears her gym clothes for most of the day but who knows how to dress for going out in public:

First, Texans, please don't shame me like this.

Second, your bedroom slide-in slippers with the cute fur edging are for your bedroom, not for the airport.

Third, skinny jeans are not a good look for men.

Back to my mom's. I thought my suitcase would be lighter but no, it was even heavier when I returned home because my mom gave me

1. a pair of fluffy pajama bottoms that are too warm for her
2. flower bulbs from her garden that she had gotten from my grandmother's yard originally
3. the chocolate cookbook
4. a bunch of handkerchiefs and dishtowels that my grandmother had embroidered
5. some coffee that she didn't like after all
6. a big lunch

So I've been cooking. I also prepared some Parmesan-cornmeal coated chicken that I will bake later. And mashed potatoes and cauliflower with pesto I made last summer and that I better use up before this season's harvest starts. I am on a big inventory-reduction cooking program. That new deep freezer has to be cleared out before SH and I go north again this summer. My cousins and aunt and uncle are very generous with their venison bratwurst.

But the big drama today has been that I had to back the car out of the garage.

Why is that a big deal? And why did I have to do it?

SH is in Boston. He is the usual car backer outer. I hate backing it out from the garage because the garage is located at the north end of the Driveway of Death after the Straits of Narrow Driveway Surrounded by Brick Walls. Maybe when they built our house, cars were skinnier. Or maybe the owners had a horse. Don't know. But there is a 12' stretch between the garage and the street that has about 3" of clearance - unless I drive up onto my neighbor's flowerbeds, which is not a nice thing to do.

It was maybe supposed to hail yesterday. I waited and waited but the forecast didn't change so I finally surrendered and pulled the car into the garage, which of course is the easy part. Then I spent the night dreading today when I would have to remove the car from the garage.

Of course it did not hail.

But if I had left the car out, it would have hailed, maybe at 1:00 a.m.

This morning, I had to back it out. SH complains that I back up wrong and he might have a point because I am the one who bumped that van guy's fender and SH does not have accidents, although I am always prepared for death when I drive with him because he does like his speed.

It took about three times as long to back out as it did to get in and well, those hostas will never be the same, but the car is unscathed.

SH called to see if I had gotten the car out safely.

SH: You know I would have freaked out either way.

Me: I know. I was totally screwed.

SH: If the car had gotten hail damage, I would have freaked out.

Me: Yep.

SH: And if you had scratched it, I would have freaked out.

Me: I know.

SH: Although I would not have freaked out as much about hail damage as I would have about scratches. Because the hail damage is from something you didn't do. But the scratches would be because you don't back up properly.

Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Be nice to me if you want tiramisu tart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 140: Driving me to therapy

Last week, I went to an acupuncturist, whom we shall call Steve and I don't think he's a doctor and I do not want to call him "doctor" if he is not truly a doctor and I also do not want to spell the word "acupuncturist" every time I want to refer to Steve.

Last week, I went to see Steve. My neurologist blah blah blah who really wants to hear about someone else's health issues? It is boring. I will leave it at acupuncture was suggested and I decided, after the withdrawal from lyrica, the latest of the Drugs that Do Not Work For Me but at least this one did not Make My Hair Fall Out, although the insomnia, nausea and back pain from the withdrawal was no picnic, that I had nothing to lose with acupuncture. And my insurance covers it (although I was just going to pay my own darn money) probably because SH's employer is headquartered in Portland.

When I made the appointment, I was advised to be ready to give a urine sample, which puzzled me because I didn't think Steve would be doing any doctor-type diagnosis. Plus I already know what my problem is.

The receptionist handed me a cup along with a clipboard holding 40,000 pages for me to read and sign.

As I read, I realized that Steve worked at a mental health and substance abuse center. I had found him by looking for Steves, so didn't know what the other guys in his practice did.

Drug abuse, apparently.

One of the 40,000 papers was a contract stating that if I missed more than two sessions, I would be fired as a patient. Another authorized my insurance company to be charged for urinalysis.

No. Nononono.

First, I hate that stupid peeing in the cup. I don't care how big it is, I always miss and I'll leave it at that. I might be the only person who is bad at that or the rest of you, at least the women, are nodding your heads saying, "I hear ya, sister. Hate those things myself."

Second, I am not signing a contract for a service I do not want.

Third, I am not going to have my insurance company pay for a service I do not need. Unnecessary treatment drives up everyone's costs. I am looking at you people who take your babies to the ER for a diaper rash or ear infection.

The receptionist told me I had to give the sample and I told her I did not. She was a smart lady and realized that this was not the hill she wanted to die on, so she shrugged and said I could discuss it with the Steve.

Who agreed with me that no, I did not need to give a urine sample.

And who then stuck me between my forefinger and thumb and it didn't even hurt.

Don't know if it will work. Hope so. Seems kind of silly that it might but I am out of options.

That was last week Monday.

I left town on Wednesday, got back Sunday night.

SH showed me the mail that had arrived.

There was a letter from the insurance company advising me how to seek information on depression, alcohol abuse, and ADHD. There was also a wellness assessment for me to show to my therapist. The assessment asked me how I felt about these statements:

I feel good about myself
I can deal with my problems
I am able to accomplish the things I want

Then it asked how much I'd had to drink in the past week and if I was bothered by nervousness, feeling blue, feeling hopeless, etc, etc.

I was puzzled. "What the heck is this?" I asked SH.

"I don't know," he answered. "I opened it because it was from the insurance company."

We both cocked our heads thoughtfully and looked at the letter, wondering what had come to pass in our lives. Was our insurance company doing an intervention on me? Except the problem is that I 1. feel pretty good about myself, although I wouldn't mind if my Milwaukee Roll would disappear, 2. am not blue and 3. can deal with my problems. Actually, I am convinced I can also deal with everyone else's problems. Just let me run things. Really, the world would be a much better place if I were In Charge.

And I drink very rarely. Really. I know a lot of people lie about that, but booze does nothing for me. For the calories, I'd rather have butter.

Then I realized what was going on. "The Steve I saw - he works out of a drug clinic," I told SH.

He exhaled. "I saw the part authorizing you to see a therapist and thought you were so frustrated with my political stuff that you had decided to get counseling," he admitted.

"What!?" I laughed. "Oh no. No! Your political stuff is annoying, but the idea that I would pay money to talk to someone else about it when I can just tell you to your face that I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS! is to laugh."

He looked at me. I looked at him. He laughed. I laughed. Oh how we laughed.

And then we ripped up the letter and tossed it into the recycling.

The End.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chats du jour: Hunting season has started

Don't worry. We practice a catch and release program here, even though rabbits are nasty little varmints who eat my tomatoes. There was no blood. No punctures. The rabbit got away. Well, after I made Laverne drop it and held her back while the rabbit ran. Laverne is not happy with me.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 651: Next, it's a chartered jet

After I returned home from a five-day visit with my mom.

Me: You did laundry!

SH: Yes.

Me: Did you hang the clothes on the line?

SH: No. Just my shirts. I put them on hangers and put them outside.

Me: What did you do with the rest of the stuff?

SH: Put it in the dryer.

Me: But!

SH: Yeah, I know I am the environmentalist and the Oh We Should Conserve Energy! person, but I didn't have time for that.

Me: No time?

SH: I was busy. I swept the basement and cleaned the dehumidifier and cleaned the cat box.

Me: So basically, saving energy is something other people should do.

SH: Yes.

Me: You tell them what the right thing is to do and they do it, but you don't have to do it yourself.

SH: That's right. I'm busy.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 703: Packaging design and optimization

SH: Where's that little marmalade jar you had?

Me: I finally threw it away.

SH: What? You're supposed to save things like that!

Me: I'd had it for two years and hadn't used it. Why do you want it?

SH: I wanted to put some aspirin in it [to take to Florida with him].

Me: Put it in a ziplock.

SH: No! That's too big!

Me: No it's not. You can fold it.

SH: I was looking for an elegant solution and you're going to force me to accept a sub-optimal one.

Friday, May 06, 2011

We got the real estate, they got the music

Remember how I have griped and griped about how crummy the music is in the Catholic church and if I ever convert, it will probably be so I can get some good music like the Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians have? Baptists have good music, too, but that might be going a little far for a Catholic girl.

And remember how I have griped about how the music when I was a kid was not so bad and why is it so bad now? I really didn't remember being subjected to Marty Haugen and David Hass and the Gather hymnal when I was a kid. I didn't. I don't have that great a memory, so I thought I was just remembering wrong, but now I know I WAS RIGHT.

I am at my mom's in Colorado Springs. She had a minor outpatient surgery yesterday and is just fine, thank you, although I cannot take her out in public because it looks like she has been beaten with a tire iron and I don't want anyone to call the po-po on me.

Oh. While we are on the subject of minor outpatient surgeries, let me say this:

1. If you want me at your stupid surgical center at 6 o'clock in the a.m., then by golly, make sure you are ready for me at 6 o'clock in the a.m. Do not make my mother and me sit and twiddle our thumbs while you turn on your computer and the TV which we don't want anyhow as neither of us are big TV watchers and actually like public places especially at 6 o'clock in the A.M. to be QUIET. Do not make us wait while you find her paperwork. Do not make us wait until 7:15 a.m. to take her into the next room to wait for the doctor, who is not even there yet.

2. Better yet, tell us to be there at 7:30 a.m., which is [Actual Surgery Time of 8:00 a.m.] - [Thirty Minutes of Paperwork and Prep]. We do have better things to do at that time of day, like sleep.

3. If you are going to make me be at your stupid surgical center at 6 o'clock in the a.m., then have some coffee waiting. Not saying you have to offer coffee, but if you do have it and if you did tell my mom that you would have it, then have it ready, please. At 6:10 o'clock in the a.m. at the latest. And would a small container of half and half or milk break the bank? I don't think so. That powered stuff is vile. I have already cut diet Coke out of my diet. The doc said to try gluten free. So I am without crispy refreshing cold caffeine and without bagel. I want some darn coffee.

Back to the music. I did not remember the abysmal atrocious horrible drivelly Gather hymnal from when I was a kid and guess what? It's because we were not subject to it! I was poking through my mom's bookshelves and found the Book of Worship for US Forces - the hymnal put together by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board.

No wonder we had good music when I was a kid! We were sharing a hymnal with the Protestants!

The way church works on a military base is that there is a chapel. The chapel is used by the Catholics and the Protestants. I don't know if the Jews used it, not because there would have been a problem from the Christian side but because I don't know if there were enough Jews on base for a minyan. I think that's the right word - basically, a quorum for the service. Which I also don't know if is necessary for every worship service. But I knew only one Jewish family who lived near us. I babysat for them and they were so excited when I mentioned that we had new neighbors with a daughter named Sabra. They thought that the neighbors might be Jewish. They weren't - they just liked that name.

Anyhow, when there is a Protestant service, they put a cross behind the alter. After that one is over, they replace the cross with a crucifix. All the other decor is not specific to any religion. Nothing else is switched out - hymnals, whatever. Well, the chaplain is switched out. You, as the taxpayer, wouldn't want separate supplies for each service anyhow because that would be a bit wasteful.

So that's it: that's why we had good music when I was a kid. Marty Haugen and David Haas must not have anything on the Armed Forces Chaplains Board because there is not a single Marty Haugen or David Haas song in that hymnal. The only reason I can think of why anyone would buy anything written by those guys is that they have no other choice.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 660: Sick

SH: I think I'm getting sick.

Me: Oh no.

SH: I'm going to have to whine.

Me: It's a good thing you're leaving on a trip, then, so I won't have to hear you.

SH: I shouldn't have gone running last night.

Me: Yeah. It was the running that did it. Not the staying up until 3 a.m. every night for the past two months.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 530: Tit for tat, Trois

SH: It cost $59 to fill up the car.

Me: I'm so glad you spent that money to drive to [that political thing].

SH: Don't forget the hotel.

Me: Oh great.

SH: You did buy a Retaliatory Purse.

Me: That purse cost $39. So it's only about 60% retaliation. Or less, with the hotel. Which means I need to buy another one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 661: Tit for tat, Deux

SH [after he returned from a weekend away for The Cause after a week away for work and is going through the fridge, opening every single container]: What's this?

Me: Soup.

SH: What's this?

Me: Chicken.

SH: What's this?

Me: Why does it matter? There's fish for supper. Do you want it or not?

SH: I want to know what we have.

Me: Fine. Go through everything in there. You're using the [wxyz] time up.

SH: But! But! I thought we agreed on [wxyz].

Me: We agreed on [wxyz] from 6:00 - 7:21.

SH: I thought the purse buying was your retaliation.

Me: The purse buying was the retaliation for 6:00 to 6:47. The [wxyz] is for 6:48 to now.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 230: Tit for tat

SH [on phone]: I'm not going to be home at 6. [It is 6:47.]

Me: I figured that out.

SH: I'm on my way now.

Me: OK. See you in a bit.

SH: I'm sorry I didn't come home when I said.

Me: That's OK. I used the time to buy a new purse [on eBay].

SH: Hey!

Me: Be late at your peril.