Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 764: To nag or not to nag


SH: It looks like I got out of vacuuming today.

Me: No, you just didn't do it.

SH: Because you weren't nagging me.

Me: It's not my job to nag you. It's your job to do what you're supposed to do, without nagging.

SH: But if you'd nagged all day, I might have done it.

Me: I'm not going to nag. You know what you need to do and you should do it. Am I supposed to wait for you to nag before I do my chores?

SH: Maybe you should.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marriage 510, Lecture 542: Rain man


Me: This is so aggravating! I can't believe Delta made it so hard for me to give them a compliment!

SH: What do you mean?

Me: I mean I had to give them my country code! It was a mandatory field! I don't want them to call me and even if I did, couldn't they figure out the country code with the country information I'd already had to give them?

SH: That's why you should have logged into your skymiles account like I told you.

Me: Oh yeah Mr Smartypants? How am I supposed to log in? I don't have my number with me [we were visiting friends in Pittsburgh] and I don't know it by heart.

SH: I know it.  I know lots of numbers.

Me: You do not know my skymiles number by heart.

SH: 22654201.

Me: You are bizarre.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 652: Oldies but goodies

SH: What is that?

Me: That's the classic country station on jango.

SH: That is not classic!

Me: You're right. It's Blake Shelton. He is not classic.

SH: Now what are you changing it to?

Me: Hits from the '70s.

SH: That's my favorite music.

Me: Yeah, me, too. I think most people like the music of their youth the best because it reminds them of what seem to have been simpler, happier times.

SH: And it's just better than music now.

Me: That, too.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 21: Which is why I spend 20 minutes of take-home pay on coffee‏

As I have told you many times before, SH and I are in a mixed marriage. 

One of the areas where we disagree is on the proper function of timekeeping devices in a bedroom.

I prefer a spare, lean look in my bedroom. My dresser is clear, except for a few family photos. I used to keep my favorite jewelry in a bowl on top of the dresser, but then we got cats. I keep my library books on the shelf of my nightstand. On top of my nightstand, I have a lamp, a candle, and my alarm clock. Which is not digital. Which does not shine in the night. Which is pretty and not ugly, which, by definition, all digital clocks are. All of them. You cannot prove me wrong on this. There is no such thing as an attractive clock that has to be plugged in. I might even go as far as to say there is no such thing as an attractive anything that has to be plugged in. I would have to think about that, but I do not find TVs, stereos, refrigerators, or microwaves to be esthetically pleasing. They are necessary evils. (Except for the TV. That is not necessary at all. Except to watch your "Friday Night Lights" DVD.)

SH, on the other hand, likes to have stuff available. He has clothes, magazines, mail, and cats stacked on top of his dresser. There is a rabbit fur we got for the cats at the state fair last summer that the cats couldn't care less about. There is a crumpled foil toy for the cats that they do care about. A Rachel Maddow book. A CD. A wooden puzzle of a penguin that is lying flat because if it is standing, the cats attack it. A box we got in Morocco. A cat brush. He has two years' worth of car and airplane magazines stacked under his nightstand, along with two pairs of shoes. He has another dozen magazines on top of his nightstand. He also has a lamp and a digital clock.

Which he does not need, as I have a clock on my nightstand.

But SH likes to know what time it is when he wakes up in the night.

I do not.

I do not want to know what time it is when I am sleepless or when I wake up to use the bathroom. I don't want to know how many precious hours I have wasted tossing and turning and I don't want to know how few hours of rest I have remaining. I want to believe I can sleep as long as I want to, that the alarm will never ring. I never look at his clock. I cannot. If I know I have been up, sleepless, for two or three hours, I will get so depressed about not sleeping that I can't fall asleep at all. If I know I have only an hour until the alarm goes off, my body says, "Why even bother going back to sleep?"

I don't want to know what time it is.

Last night, SH was in the middle of his existential/middle-aged crisis. The one where you wonder where your career can go and if you can change it at this stage in your life. The one where you worry about the demands that your elderly, in poor health parents are making on you. Where you wonder what the meaning of your life is and have you taken the right path and is there any choice left ahead of you. The one that keeps you - and your spouse - up late.

I don't know why I couldn't sleep. I just couldn't. It wasn't that SH was having his crisis loudly. But I realized he had not fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, which is usually what happens, so after my second trip to the bathroom in what seemed like ten minutes but I discovered later was much more, I asked him what was going on. 

(How come when I have fluids in the morning, I need to pee right away, like while I'm on the bus to work? But when I have them at 5 p.m., my body holds onto them until 11?)

He told me and we talked. I wasn't sleeping anyhow, so I thought I would act like a supportive wife and listen to my  husband in his time of need and despair.

Then we finally decided to try to sleep, as I get up at 6 for work.

I didn't know how long we had been up. We had turned out the lights at 10.

SH got up and picked up his phone. Turned it on. Cast a blue light into the bedroom.

Me: You know exposure to computer light actually stimulates some kind of brain wave that makes it hard to sleep.

SH: Just this little bit won't bother me. Besides, I want to check woot.

Me: Why do you have to check it now?

SH: Because they always post their new stuff at midnight.

Me: What? What did you say?

SH: They post their new stuff at midnight.

Me: Omigod. I cannot believe you said that. I cannot believe you told me what time it was.

SH: Oh no.

Me: Now I know that it's been over two hours since we turned out the lights and over two hours of trying to fall asleep. Now I'll never get to sleep.

SH: I'm sorry.

Me: You've ruined it. You've ruined the entire night for me.

SH: I am so sorry, sweetie.

Easy for him to say. He fell asleep in a few minutes. I lay awake. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 231: Priorities 2

Me: Are you going to get that wire cutter for me* or am I going to have to do it myself?

SH: What? Are you threatening to go into my tool area?

Me: Yes.

SH: You can't do that!

Me: Then you need to get it for me.

SH: Fine. When I get around to it. You have to give me notice.

Me: I asked you four days ago. I told you I would want to do it this weekend.

SH: Yeah, but that was when we weren't home. You need to ask me in the moment.

Me: Fine. I'm asking you now.

SH: But you're cooking! You can't do it now!

Me: I'm busy. You're not. So you can get it for me.

SH: I am so busy. I am reading the paper.

* So I can cut off the ends of the metal studs that are supposed to keep the decorative buttons attached to the top of my boots. Unfortunately, the manufacturer did not test what would happen to the buttons if the boots were put on chubby American legs or if they brushed against anything. What does happen is the buttons pop off. Sometimes, they pop off when the user is aware, but most recently, they popped off in an airport. At which point I said to heck with it, I'm removing all of them and sewing the little thingies to the boot.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 236: Just say no

SH: I feel crummy.

Me: Is it because you haven't gotten enough sleep? [Because he went out to sing two nights in a row - work nights.]

SH: Maybe.

Me: I'm sorry sweetie.

SH: And maybe because of the two shots of whiskey I had.

Me: Ah. So it's all factors completely out of your control.

SH: Someone bought me one of them!

Me: So?

SH: I can't turn that down.

Me: Sure you can. I don't understand - you have no problems resisting peer pressure in all other areas of your life.

SH: Maybe,

Me: You never do anything just because I want you to do it.

SH: That's because you never want me to do anything fun.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 34: Priorities

SH: Uh oh. I'm late.

Me: Yes you are.

SH: I was supposed to have been on my way over an hour ago. But I still haven't left.

Me: Nope.

SH: But I have to get cat food today. We're out.

Me: I know. You've been saying you would get cat food for three days now.

SH: But I didn't.

Me: Nope.

SH: And now I have to.

Me: Yep. And if you don't do it before we go to the play, I am not going to the store with you after. You will have to drop me at home and shop alone.

SH: If I'm not back in time, does that mean that the party [some political friend's fundraiser that SH wants to visit on our way to the play] gets cut first?

Me: Yep. And [wxyz] gets cut second.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 423: Coat of many colors

SH and I went to Pittsburgh over New Year's. Had the usual great fun visiting our friends, although there is always the Damoclean sword of, "If you can visit them, why can't you spend more time with us?" threatening SH's vacation time.

But fie on them.

Minimal drama, except for the flight there. There, we had drama.

This was after we had spent 15 minutes in the Delta lounge, trying to figure out how to snag the little Nutellas, which the Milwaukee Delta lounge people very wisely now keep on the front desk where they can watch them. I might be a shameless little Nutella snatcher, but I am not shameless enough to do it under the watchful eye of a middle-aged midwestern lady and in front of a sign that states that snacks are to be enjoyed in the lounge, please.

But snag we could not, so we settled for Delta lounge coffee, which is not very good, but which is enhanced considerably by the addition of Bailey's.

Which is not kept in front of the Delta lounge people. Which makes no sense to me because hello this is Wisconsin and booze is valued more than chocolate here.


We flew to Detroit to get a connection to Pittsburgh. The passenger behind us on the Detroit flight was very anxious about making his connection. He kept asking the flight attendant which gate the flight to Boston left from. Would he make his connection? Would he? Would he?

The flight attendant kept trying to reassure him that our flight would arrive on time and if he had scheduled the entire trip through Delta, they would have allowed enough time for his connection.

But no. He wanted her to ask the pilot what the Boston gate would be. Please please please please pleasepleaseplease.

I'm sorry, sir, she repeated. We can't get that information any more. But our flight is on time.

When we landed (on time), the guy jumped up, grabbed his things, and rushed to the front of the plane. At least, he rushed as much as you can when the doors are not open. As in, there is no point in rushing because you can't leave until the doors are open.

SH and I waited. He had scheduled a two-hour layover just in case. SH is smart that way.

We let the people ahead of us leave and then we stood to leave.

SH reached for his coat.

He grabbed a coat. The one remaining coat.

It wasn't his.

SH started to freak out.

I, of course, remained calm. As is my wont.

SH freaks out, I stay calm.

Which of us do you want around in an emergency?

So. SH is freaking out. I am saying, "We'll ask the gate agent to call the gate for the Boston flight and get the guy."

Which I tried to do, but the agent said that the Boston gate was just three gates away and I could walk there just as fast. Which made me roll my eyes. I knew I was going to have to go there anyhow, but would it have killed him to call?

No it would not have.

SH started to hyperventilate.

"This coat is not nearly as nice as my coat! This is a cheap coat! What are we going to do?"

"Calm down," I said. "We'll get it back one way or another."

SH moaned. "He'll want to keep my coat. My coat is nicer."

While SH waited for his gate-checked suitcase, I strode briskly to the Boston gate. Everyone was in the pre-board, haven't gotten anywhere near to boarding disarray. I looked for the guy. Even though I had no idea what he looked like.

So I did what was necessary.

I said, in my loud, outdoor, also useful for getting children to stop doing what they shouldn't be doing, commanding the attention of a crowd voice:

"Who's the guy who just got off the Milwaukee flight?"

Heads popped up, startled eyes looked at me.

Nobody answered.

I sighed.

I lifted the coat into the air and spoke again.

"You took my husband's coat by mistake."

A man came forward. He was holding no coat.

Crap. Maybe it wasn't the guy behind us who had taken the coat. Maybe it was somebody completely different whom I would never identify. SH would be very cranky.

The man shook his head. He looked distracted.

"Oh no!" he said. He looked at the coat I was holding. "That's mine!"

He reached for it. I pulled it away. Not so fast,  buster.

"Oh," he said, chagrined. He turned to a teenage boy standing behind the seats. "Get me that coat."

The kid handed him SH's coat. We effected the exchange. Nobody was harmed. I walked back to our arrival gate. Met SH, panicked, half way. Showed him the coat. He melted in relief. I asked him why he couldn't just trust me to get things done. Honestly. I am very good in a crisis.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 657: Togetherness

SH: It's not that you're a bad dishwasher. You're bad dishdrain stacker. You don't try to put items of similar size and shape together. You don't try to nest items.

Me: Whatever.

SH: You're not doing it right.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: But at least we have togetherness. And that's what togetherness is in my family: criticizing each other.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 235: Sizing and nothingness

SH: I was at Banks and there was this really nice shirt on the sale table. But the collar was half an inch too small.

Me: That's too bad. [I return to my book for a minute, then realize that I have a question about what he said.] I didn't even think they made men's shirts that way any more.

SH: That's why I can't  buy dress shirts at Macy's now. They come in average sleeve lengths and they're either an inch too short or an inch too long.

Me: Oh.

SH: They come in 32/33 or 34/35, which means they're 32 and a half or 34 and a half.

Me: This is really boring.

SH: But my true length is a 33 and a half.

Me: And yet you keep talking.

SH: But it just so happens that medium-sized sport shirts are 33 and a half. Because they're only small, medium, large, or extra large.

Me: You keep talking.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 522: No free lunch

Me: What on earth?

SH: What?

Me: All I wanted you to get was grits, parsley,  milk, eggs, and celery root.

SH: That's what I did. They're all there.

Me: And this bottle of wine? [That I hold aloft, very, j'accuse.]

SH [shrugging]: If you send me to the grocery store, there's a price. You can't expect me to walk past the wine section at Sendik's and not buy anything.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 32: And a man shall leave his home

SH: I don't have enough lazy time.

Me: I know.

SH: I want more.

Me: Then quit wasting so much time visiting your parents. [That is, a five-day visit right before Christmas.]

SH: I can't!

Me: Then quit complaining.

SH: You're not very sympathetic.

Me: I've used up my sympathy and I've moved on to practicality.

SH: You're mean!

Me: What do you want from me?

SH: Sympathy.

Me: What, do you want more, "Poor SH! Poor baby!"

SH: Maybe.

Me: I've used all those up.

SH: What about "Soft Kitty?"