Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chats du jour: Tricked

SH: Last night, when I got up to put the cats in the basement, Shirley hid under the bed. So I got the red dot and tried to lure her out.

Me: Did it work?

SH: I got her to come out as far as the edge, but she wouldn't come any further. She knew.

Me: So what did you do?

SH: I had to resort to the yardstick.

Me: Maybe we should just put them in the basement before we go to bed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 365: World enough and time

SH: Don't move those! [Coke cans with the word "Coke" in Arabic]

Me: Why not?

SH: What if they explode and the liquid goes all over?

Me: Then let's throw them away.

SH: We got those in Morocco!

Me: Then let's empty them.

SH: Not now!

Me: When?

SH: Later. Decisions like that need to be made in isolation!

Me: You NEVER want to make decisions!

SH: Decisions like that should be made some afternoon when we have nothing else to do.

Me: We NEVER have nothing else to do!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 25: He who hesitates is in a hurry

SH: Maybe I should take a shower now. [to prepare for a meeting he has at 8:30]

Me: Maybe.

SH: On Monday, when I was in the hotel, I took a shower first thing when I got up and that worked out really well.

Me: Did it?

SH: But on Tuesday, I dawdled and then I was in a big rush.

Me: Really!

SH: Maybe I should take a shower now instead of waiting.

Me: I think that's a good idea.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 698: Gaslighting

SH [as he is packing for a trip]: Where are my jean shorts?

Me: I don't know.

SH: I can't find them.

Me: I thought I washed them the other day and put them on your dresser.

SH: They're not here.

Me: I don't know.

SH: What did you do with them?

Me: I would have left them on your dresser.

SH: Did they get mixed in with your things?

Me: No. Did you put them back in the laundry?

SH: I'll go downstairs and check.

[Note. What I am not able to convey here is the sense of drama and urgency about recovering these shorts. Maybe I should be writing in ALL CAPS and using LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!]

SH: They're not there!

Me: I don't know, sweetie. Why don't you just take your khaki shorts instead?

SH: Because I have to know what happened to the jeans shorts!

Me: Well, there has been a rash of robberies a few blocks over.

SH: Are you saying someone stole my shorts off the clothesline? And nothing else?

Me: It could happen. It happens in murder mysteries all the time.

SH: Maybe I left them at my mom and dad's last week.

Me: That's probably it.

SH: No. I bet they were stolen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 635: Shopping alone, II

SH accomplished the meat mission in record time, but then had to revert to type with his trip to Target later last night.

I got a phone call from him while he was there. "What color hair dye do you use?"

"Twenty four clove," I said. "But I have enough."

"No!" he said. "It's on sale for $7.99 and I have a coupon for $8 off two! That's less than half price for both of them!"

OK. Fine. Buy them.

Then I got up this morning and saw what else he had brought home.

Four boxes of razors. "On sale and I had coupons," he said.

A bottle of dish soap.

Two sticks of deodorant. "If I bought those, I got the dish soap free!"

The hair dye.

But wait. There's more. In the car.

"What's in the car?" I asked.

"Toilet paper."

Raised eyebrows.

"And paper towels. Which we'll use. Someday. Eventually."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 668: Shopping alone, 1

I have already written a post about a shopping expedition I took the other day. It won't appear for a few days because I don't want to jinx things, but don't worry, it will appear.

Part of the post was my whining about how SH takes forever and ever to choose bacon.

Which is one the many reasons I hate to shop with him.

But yesterday, a miracle happened.

We went into the store, got a steak, a flank steak, and kosher salt all in four minutes. Then SH walked the wrong way - he just wanted to see what was going on in the bacon case, he said.

But the cats! I reminded him. It's 7:05 and the cats haven't been fed and Shirley will have knocked everything off the kitchen counter in her kitty rage. They eat at 5. They know when 5:00 is. They are not stupid.

This will only take a second, he told me.

He glanced at the bacon. Oh look! Patrick Cudahy double thick smoked bacon! I wonder if that's any good?

Probably, I said. We have yet to get bacon we don't like. There is some bacon that is better than others. I feel bad for anyone who can't get Pinter's bacon but oh well. You have to know someone.

He picked a package up. Looked at it.

And here's the miracle: HE PUT IT IN THE BASKET!


That was it.

He took the first bacon he picked.

Maybe he's sick. Maybe I should send him to the doctor.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wisconsin 101:The interview save

I had a job interview this week. As I'm sure everyone does, I stopped drinking about two hours before I left the house because I didn't want to worry about having to use the ladies' in the middle of things.

Drinking water, I mean. The booze should be saved for after the interview. Although maybe a little shot would help me relax. I don't know. I'm not much of a drinker. It would have to be a very little shot because just splitting a chocolate martini with SH when we go out for his birthday is enough to make me woozy. And unless a hiring manager is specifically seeking woozy, it's not a quality I want to exhibit when I am trying to convince someone to give me money to spend time at their place of work.

So I'd had no water for two hours when I arrived, except for a gulp from the water bottle I keep in the car - nothing like hot, stale water to refresh you - and I realized that I might have dehydration-related bad breath, the prospect of which terrifies me even under ordinary circumstances but rendered me panic-stricken as I contemplated the interviewers backing away from me in horror.

There was a hotel next to the office where I was to interview. I ran in to their gift shop to check for breath mints.


Had I wanted to clip my nails or shave or eat breakfast, I would have been well supplied, but there were no breath mints to be found.

I looked around. I didn't see anyplace that looked like they might have breath mints in their inventory. I went into the office building and found the security guard.

"Is there anyplace around here that would sell breath mints?" I asked him. "I have a job interview."

He answered. "There's a Walgreen's across the street."

"What time is it?" I asked him.

He looked at his watch. "Two forty eight," he said.

"Rats! The interview's at three. I don't have time." My shoulders slumped. How could I not have thought of this before? I should have had a supply of emergency breath mints in my purse, next to the emergency aspirin, emergency tums, and emergency granola bars.

He held up a finger. "Wait!" he said as he ran around the corner.

I followed him. He went into the office behind the security desk, rummaged around, and emerged, holding something small and white in his fingers. "Here," he said as he handed it to me. "Have a lifesaver."

Then he put his arm around my shoulders and we walked out of the stadium. The End.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 525: The rat race

SH should be almost at the finish line of the Summerfest half marathon. The race started at 7. I am assuming he got there in time. I was not involved in anything to do with the race. I was going to drive him there this morning so he wouldn't have to worry about finding parking, but then we saw in the race packet that there is free parking for runners. So he got up at dark o'clock and I kept sleeping.

At least it's not 200 degrees and 100% humidity like last year. They got some sense this year. Why they had none last year I do not know. If I were going to put on a race, I would call people who had actually put on races to ask, "How much water should I have? How many port a potties?"

Even without talking to anyone, I think I could do a decent job of estimating. 6,400 entrants? Let's assume that each runner will drink at least one glass of water every two miles at a minimum and stock accordingly. Let's assume people will need the portapotties more at the beginning of the race than at the end. If we can't put portapotties on the bridge, and if our first potties aren't until three miles into the race, perhaps we should have more than four of them. For 6,400 people.

SH actually ran the entire race last year. He also trained for the race last year. This year, he didn't train so much. "But I got three Summerfest passes with the entrance fee," he said. "So it's worth it."

I'd rather sleep late, not run, and buy something else than spend $60 to run 13 miles. I can be miserable for free.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 114: You don't worry enough

Me: Would you print that stuff for me?

SH: But your interview isn't for two hours!

Me: I know, but it would reduce my anxiety. Now, I am thinking, "What if the printer breaks? I'd have to run to the library to get the prints. Which would take extra time."

SH: You are a worst-case scenario-er!

Me: Yes. Which is why I never actually have worst-case scenarios.

SH: I don't do that.

Me: Nope. You never allow time for bad things, which is why they always happen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 122: You're not doing it right #gajillion

Me: Hey! The bag with the coffee filters is empty.

SH: So?

Me: You used the last one and didn't refill it. I can't reach that cabinet.

SH: [As he pulls the filters down from the top cabinet]: You're not doing it right. You're supposed to buy the unbleached filters. Look. These aren't unbleached.

Me: If I get a job and you quit yours, then you can be in charge of buying the coffee filters.

SH: At least then I'll know it's being done right.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 339: Airing our laundry

Me: You have only two pairs of boxers for the wash?

SH: Yes.

Me: But you've been gone for six days.

SH: I was at my mom and dad's. We barely left the house.

Me: That's still gross.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 269: What is love?

A few days ago on facebook, a friend noted that her husband had done something very romantic for her. She asked us what our husbands did like that. (Not in a snarky, "look what MY husband did, you losers!" way but in a "Hey isn't this cool and let's share our experiences" way.)

I had no tales of flowers or perfume (which I don't wear) or jewelry (which I hardly ever wear). I had no tales of surprise trips to another city to see my favorite band or of a romantic weekend away at a little B&B.

But was I whiney? Was I depressed when I read what the other women posted about their romantic husbands? Did I despair that I had married the most unromantic, meanest man in the world Who Didn't Care? Did I think, "I could have stayed single and gotten this much romance, plus I wouldn't be doing laundry for another person?"


I did not.

Because I remembered what SH did a few weeks ago when the city dropped off our new trash can.

We put the old trash can out at the curb for emptying. It wasn't due to be collected for another week.

After trash day, we pulled the can back by the garage to wait until the can pickup. The city had asked that the trash cans be empty. We took a look inside the old trash can.

The newspaper bags full of cat poop were still stuck to the bottom of the trash can.

Why I do not know. The bags were sealed. It must just have been that there was enough sticky stuff on the bottom of the trash can to hold the small plastic bags. The magic of physics or chemistry or whatever science covers how one kind of bag can stick but not the big Glad bag that weighs a lot more. This is materials science or it's just logic.

Anyhow. Is it reasonable to expect the people who are taking care of the old trash cans to clean the cat poop bags out?


It is not.

That is above and beyond the call of duty for anyone. You clean up your own (or your pet's) poop. You don't leave it for someone else. Which is why I get so annoyed when I see dog leavings on the street or the grass. What kind of jerky dog owner doesn't clean up after his pet?

I had neighbors in Memphis who had three dogs. The dogs used the back yard as their toilet, which is usually how it works with dogs. Which is fine. Except the neighbors did not police the area. Which meant I could smell it.

People. Dog poop + summer = Your neighbors will hate you. Even if you don't mind the smell, please think about the rest of us.

Back to my story.

We couldn't leave the cat bags in the can for someone else to clean out in a hot week or two later. That would be just too mean.

But we didn't want to deal with it at that moment. Without speaking, we looked at each other, let the lid close, and walked back into the house. I resigned myself to cleaning the can out in a day or two, before putting it back on the street for collection.

The day before the can was to be put out, I put on my big-girl pants and went outside to do the deed.

But when I opened the trash can, it was empty.

I looked in the new trash can.

There is was. The cat poop had magically migrated from the old can to the new can.

I went inside and found the poop fairy. "Did you move the poop?" I asked SH.

"Of course," he said.

"You didn't leave it for me?"

"No!" He was horrified. "I wouldn't make you do something like that! I moved it." Then he went back to work.

And that, my friends, is why I don't care that I don't get flowers or perfume or fancy dinners. Because I don't have to move the poop.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sometimes, you think, "Maybe violence IS the answer"

I just have to share this with you. This is for real - I got it from someone I know and trust completely, plus I have been hearing about this lady (the president) for a while. For example, she insists on heating the association outdoor pool late in the season (well after summer), when she is the only person to swim in it - but everyone has to pay the bill and watch the steam come off the water.

What I don't get is how she got re-elected. Maybe she wasn't. Maybe she's still in her first term.

From person 1:

I live next to The President of the HOA. I have had to listen to the the drone of their air conditioning that sits on their patio right next to mine and runs all summer almost 24/7 for the last 5 years. I have had a couple of conversations with them indicating if there is possibly a solution to this problem as the covenants clearly state that air conditioners are to be on the ground next to the house.They are the only ones at 123 Main Dr that have their air conditioning on their patio. I cannot enjoy my patio and can never have any guests over because their air conditioning is so loud.

If anyone knows a solution to this problem I would appreciate some feed back.

I politely went over to their house this evening to ask if possibly they could not run it as much because they run it with the windows open and even when there is a nice cool breeze outside. This is the response I got from [the president]. This is not a HOA where everyone should be treated and represented equally...we all pay the same dues...but a dictatorship! I'm ready for a change are you?

The unedited (except for the names) response from the president of the HOA:

Friday, 9pm
This is to END any communication between you and the 3 of us regarding the AIR CONDITIONER.

You will not speak to any of us if you see us outside nor will you ever again rap at my front door.
There will be NO COMMUNICATION between you and us - ABOUT ANY SUBJECT - from this point forward.


You are truly obsessed with this issue and there is no other way to deal with you - How dare you tell us when we can run our air conditioner!

Sue is only trying to be "nice" to you and frankly, it just needs to end - it is what it is and there is NOTHING we are going to do about it - PERIOD. Your passive-aggressive badgering is not going to continue to cause stress in my family. It ends now.


End correspondence

PS I want to know what "nice" is and how it is different from nice.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 638: You're not doing it right #8,243

SH: Ooops. This groupon expires this weekend.

Me: We'd better go.

SH: But I'm going out of town. And we have tennis. And you can't do takeout with this one.

Me: Well how did that happen? You shouldn't have bought so many!

SH: You're the one who made the spreadsheet of all the groupons so we could keep track.

Me: Yeah, but you're the one who bought so many! You bought this one in December and we're just now using it?

SH: It's your fault.

Me: My fault? Why is it my fault?

SH: Because when you made the spreadsheet, you took ownership of the problem.

Me: Oh no. Don't you push this off on me, groupon buyer. You're the one who overbought.

SH: Nope. You're the one who put herself in charge of keeping track.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 665: Double indemnity, or, Hey you guys! Watch this!

SH: If I had fallen to my death, then your life would be a lot easier.

Me: I know. But watching you die because you put a ladder on the second-floor balcony to trim the tree is not how I want that to happen.

SH: But if I were dead, you'd get the insurance money and the whining in your life would decline 50%.

Me: Oh, I know! I've thought about it. But I don't want you to die doing something where I am watching and thinking, "That's not a good idea." I don't want to be involved.

SH: Not involved?

Me: It needs to be a car accident when I'm not in the car and you're hit by a drunk driver. Then I wouldn't have to feel guilty.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 689: Full of eels

SH [as he is labeling one of the boxes that moved from his office to the basement]: Have you ever been to [our friends] basement?

Me: No.

SH: It's stuffed with boxes of stuff. Way worse than us. This conference? [indicates a box of stuff] T has been to it for 25 years. I'll bet he has everything saved from it.

Me: You know if you drop dead I'm going to throw away all your crap without even looking at it.

SH: Of course. It doesn't mean anything to you.

Me: It doesn't mean anything to YOU any more, either.

SH: Sure it does! I could spend hours looking through this.

[Comes back upstairs]

SH: Look! Look at the cool things I found! Look at this coffee mug! And these things [that make noise]! This stuff isn't even made in China!

Me: A coffee mug? Just what we need.

SH: It might come in handy. I might have three or four boxes full of things like this!

Me: Yay.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 252: Bonus

SH: So if you have a list of chores for me with ten items and one of those items is to get you a binder and I get you six binders, does that mean I get to cross six items off the list?

Me: Nope.

SH: But I exceeded the objective!

Me: Yeah, but it's still only one item.

SH: Is it good for extra partial credit?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 766: Saver vs tosser

Me: Forget it. I'll just buy a binder at the store.

SH: No! I know I have some here!

Me: What's in that box?

SH [removes box from stack in corner of his office]: It's got the packing materials for my work computer. If I quit my job, I'll have to mail it back to them.

Me: And that box has to live in your office why?

SH: Leave it alone!

Me: What about that one?

SH: It has binders. From when I started this job.

Me: What year?

SH: 2000.

Me: So they're 12 years old.

SH: Yes. Here. You can have the binders.

Me: Wait! You're keeping the content?

SH: I might need it.

Me: But it's 12 years old!

SH: I still have this job.

Me: When is the last time you opened that box?

SH: A few years ago.

Me: So you've gone two or three years without opening that box but think you might need 12 year old training materials in the future?

SH: Maybe.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 752: Polyandry

SH: I got these free passes to PolishFest.

Me: But you'll be gone that weekend.

SH: I know. You'll need to go with someone else.

Me: But I can't take the polka lessons with Dawn.

SH: You need to get a Dancing Husband. I have multiple wives. You need extra husbands.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 133: Sweet talk

After SH has been gone overnight.

Me: Maybe we could [wxyz].

SH: Maybe.

Me: Good.

SH: It's hot outside.

Me: That's why I have all the blinds closed.

SH: It's global warming! Wisconsin doesn't have summers this hot!

Me: Wow. You just go straight into the sexy talk.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chats du jour: Dinner and dessert

I let her lick the plate that had the hamburgers on it. Oh, don't nag me. She never finishes her food and she has flaky skin, which makes me think she's not getting enough fat. Laverne, even though I try to watch, will steal Shirley's food while she's eating. Shirley can take a little extra.

However, I did not invite her to jump on the counter and continue her meal with the bacon grease in the frying pan. She decided that all on her own. No, I didn't let her stay. I took the photo and then plonked her on the floor. She was not happy.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 633: Gross

Me: I see you brought the leash in last night.

SH: Yes! It was hanging outside the back door.

Me: Were there still slugs on it?

SH: What?!

Me: Well, you don't think I just left it outside for no reason, do you?

SH: I wondered about it, because you don't usually do things like that.

Me: Yes. There were slugs on it when I brought Laverne in, so I left it outside.

SH: I thought you were just doing it wrong.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 788: Cream in my coffee

SH: I brought these little cream things back from the hotel.

Me: Why?

SH: I got them because I was going to have more coffee and then I didn't. They're not even really cream.

Me: Maybe you should just throw them out.

SH: That seems wasteful.

Me: Mr Won't Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup? Wanting to eat this stuff? It's crap! Do you want to eat it?

SH: What if we run out of half and half?

Me: Has that ever happened? Don't I do a good job of keeping the fridge stocked?

SH: I guess. But there could be a half and half emergency.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wisconsin 101:This is how we cook - the winters are long and harsh here

I know I told you guys I wasn't going to cook this weekend (I am writing this on Sunday, even though it's not going up for a few days), but I lied. I made oven-fried chicken and rosemary whole-wheat bread. I started making the chicken after a late breakfast on Saturday when I hadn't washed the breakfast dishes yet, which makes SH nuts.

"You just can't stand to have a clean kitchen, can you?" he asked.

I don't know why he cares so much. If he thinks there is too much chaos in the kitchen, he can leave. Besides, as I have reminded him, if he wants to eat good food - and who doesn't? - then someone has to cook it. I don't like going out that much because it takes so long to get everything done. The inefficiency of eating out makes me crazy.

And I will not buy prepared foods from the grocery store. Except hummus. If it's on sale. But most of that stuff is crap. I am a far better cook than Sara Lee or Kraft or whoever makes those half-cooked things.

And while we're on the subject - have you noticed how hard it is to find just plain canned tomatoes these days? You can get diced tomatoes with basil or with Mexican seasonings* - because it's so hard to add your own basil to whatever you're cooking? People! COOKING IS NOT THAT HARD!! If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Where was I?

Oh. Right. I was pulling the skin off some of the chicken because I usually don't eat chicken skin. Not because I don't like it but because I have already outgrown my pre-marriage wardrobe and enough's enough.

I left the skin on half the thighs, though, because SH has the metabolism of a blast furnace, which makes me seriously doubt the existence of God.

So I had all this chicken skin and it was Sunday and trash pickup isn't until Wednesday. I didn't want to put it in the trash outside because that would be just gross and our poor trash guys suffer enough what with the kitty litter, which reminds me, I need to get them a case of beer as an almost-summertime tip.

Then I saw the frying pan on the stove, the pan we had used for bacon. I had poured off most of the bacon grease in the bacon grease jar that lives in the fridge (don't make me tell you again how you need to save your bacon grease - what else are you going to use for cooking your mustard greens?), but the pan still had a little bit of grease in it.

So I did what any rational person would do: I fried the chicken skins in the bacon grease and made a fried chicken-skin sandwich for SH.

And he loved it.

* Of course there is the Ro-Tel exception because Ro-Tel tomatoes are an essential ingredient in Ro-Tel dip.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wisconsin 101:The great pho hunt

SH and I discovered the Hmong parish. It hadn't even occurred to me that there would be one here, but why not? There are a lot of Hmong here. My church in Memphis was headed by a Vietnamese priest and half the congregation was Vietnamese, which meant we had some very tasty church suppers.

Today was their soup fundraiser: pho in the basement, for $6 a bowl, which is not cheap, but less than you'd pay in a restaurant and, apparently, they were giving free refills. I couldn't even finish mine, though. SH and I usually share a bowl when we go out for Vietnamese food.

I noticed plastic cups of what looked like tapioca pudding on another table. I asked one of the church ladies if there was dessert. Yes, she said, but it was all sold out.

Then she spied the four cups of dessert on the table. She jogged over to the table and spoke rapidly to a man standing there. She looked at me. "He give you some dessert. He has too much."

I laughed and told her that no, I had no intention of taking someone else's dessert. The man looked relieved.

SH and I got our basil and bean sprouts and lime and sat. A few minutes later, the church lady marched over to our table and set a cup and two spoons down. "I find dessert for you," she announced. "You try. You like."

And I did.

A big vat of pho broth.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 323: He who does not work shall not eat

SH: I want to quit [my job].

Me: I want to find a job.

SH: I thought you were dreading finding a job.

Me: I'd rather work than listen to you whine.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 132: The gold digger strikes

SH: Hey! You're not cutting the rosemary right!

Me: Whatever.

SH: You never do it right! You don't cut close enough to the branch.

Me: It's too much work. Easier just to get more rosemary.

SH: You need to learn to be frugal.

Me: I know. All I do is spend, spend, spend and waste, waste, waste.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 258: Tricked into marriage

SH: Sometimes you wish you hadn't married me.

Me: Maybe.

SH: You could be living alone in your little house in Memphis and not have anyone annoying you.

Me: Yes. I think about that.

SH: It doesn't help that not only am I annoying but I am proud of being annoying.

Me: Yeah, that doesn't help.

SH: Part of it was that I concealed how annoying I am. And how much of a whiner I am. You knew I was a freakouter, though.

Me: I didn't know all of this. You lied.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Marriage 401, Lecture 113: Why it's useful to have a smart, handy husband

SH: I hate my job. I want to run away.

Me: Me too.

SH: I can't run away, though.

Me: We could fake your death and collect the insurance and then we could both run away. Except it's not enough money unless you die in an accident.

SH: I could make it look like an accident.