Sunday, March 31, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 752: Hoarders

Me: What are you doing?

SH: Looking to see what's in the freezer. It's all a mess! You're not doing it right!

Me: What are you talking about? That's fine!

SH: What's this?

Me: Bread. Rye bread that I made in the bread machine. You didn't like it that much.

SH: What's this?

Me: Soup. Do we have to go through this every time you return from a trip?

(SH is compelled to analyze the contents of our upstairs freezer to see what we have, what we don't have, what might have appeared.)

SH: What's this?

Me: I don't know. Oh! It's chocolate chip cookie dough! I had completely forgotten about that!

(How someone can forget there is chocolate-chip cookie dough in the freezer I don't know. It seems like it would be impossible not to hear the siren call of that salty/sweet combo wafting from the kitchen to the bedroom.)

SH: What's this?

Me: Let me see. Oh man. This is that smoked turkey skin you brought home from Doug's party two years ago. No. It might have been three years ago. Let's throw it away.

SH: No!

Me: What? Why not?

SH: I don't want to clean out the freezer right now.

Me: Who said we would clean it out? I just want to throw away one item - a meat product that has been in there for at least two, if not three years. It's not fit to eat.

(My stupid fault for not tossing it last month when I was looking for desserts I might have forgotten about. Obviously SH had forgotten about it, just as he has forgotten about the phone bills from 1997 that he imported from California to Wisconsin and that I have stealthily discarded since then.)

(Maybe the next time he goes out of town, I'll get rid of the old meat.)

SH: Not now! I don't have time for that.

Me: You don't have time to make a decision about throwing away old turkey?

SH: I don't want to deal with it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The working life: Having to scold other peoples' children

You don't have to be a parent to recognize bad parenting when you see it and you really don't have to be a parent to know when a kid is being completely rude and obnoxious.

The question with the elevator kid in Elbonia is was his rudeness because he's a jerk or because he was raised  to be a jerk in a culture where women are second-class citizens? That is, is he to blame for his behavior or is he like a fish who doesn't realize he is in water? A fish who sees nothing but other fish treating women with disdain and so that's how it's done?

I don't know.

What I do know is I wanted to slap this kid to kingdom come.

I didn't, of course, but I did scold him, which I have done to children in my presence even if their parents are around. Because really? Your kid is opening and closing every cabinet door in my kitchen and messing with the blinds and you are saying nothing? Yes, I know that by saying, "Ripper, in this house, we do not open and close all the cabinets like that" I am implicitly criticizing the mother, who is sitting right across from me, but you know what? I am OK with that because she is the one who should be telling her kid to stop it, not me. She is a bad parent! Good parents teach their children to behave when they are at other peoples' houses.

Go ahead. Let the ripping begin. But I think a seven year old is capable of behaving.

With a toddler, you just move the stuff you don't want touched and you don't let him out of the kitchen unless his hands are empty. He's a toddler. He doesn't know better. But a second grader knows better and so should his parents.

Back to Elbonia. I was at the hotel, waiting for the elevator. There was a kid in front of me. He was maybe ten or 11. He was wearing traditional Elbonian clothing, i.e., the long white robe and the white scarf on his head. He was talking on a cellphone. I didn't hear him, so I don't know if he was speaking Elbonian or English.

We stood by the elevator. There was a sign: "Unaccompanied children not allowed on the elevator."

Good, I thought. This kid won't be able to go on.

But when the elevator arrived, he ignored the sign and got on the elevator anyhow.

I wanted to say, "Hey! You're not allowed!" but realized I was not the Elevator Police and it was not my job to tell him he couldn't get on the elevator.

He got on and immediately pushed the "close doors" button.

As I was trying to get on.

Which meant the doors were halfway closed before I even stepped across the elevator threshold.

Yes, that is the one bit of technology that Elbonia has mastered that seems to have eluded the West: a "close door" function that actually works in less than two minutes. I think those buttons are merely decorative on Western elevators.

I had to wave my arm through the door to stop it from closing. Which, in retrospect, was not such a smart thing to do because how could I be sure there was actually that laser that senses a human body part in the door and stops the doors from closing anyhow, pinching the arm or the leg off the body?

Fortunately, the doors opened again. I stepped in and they started to close. I pushed the "open door" button quickly because there was another woman waiting to get in.

She stepped in and we both stared in disbelief at the Elbonian kid. This lady looked Ethiopian. I don't think she was Elbonian.

The kid looked nonchalantly past us.

My jaw dropped in disbelief. No expression of penitence. No apology. Just impatience that his ride was delayed.

I snapped at him. "That is rude!" I said. "It is impolite and rude to close the doors before everyone is in!"

I got no response from the kid. Not even a shamed look. Not a hanging head.

It could be that he didn't speak English, but the tone of my voice was clear. My cats are Siamese, so they don't speak English, but they know when they are in trouble.

Maybe this kid is not as smart as my cats.

He should have known he was being scolded. I just shook my head and wondered how Elbonian society really expected to advance if this was the culture.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 787: It's SH's fault for leaving


There. You have been warned.

The saga of the missing fingertip returns.

It's been a week and a day since I neatly sliced off a 1/4" by 1/2" piece (I measured) of my right little finger. As far as body parts go, this is probably one of the least important, but it has been surprising to me just how many activities that finger needs to be involved in, even if it is not performing any useful function. But by virtue of being attached to my right hand - and I am a right-handed person, the right little finger is involved. It is not useful, but it is still part of my body. Just like in that reading where all parts of the body are equally important in the Body of Christ. If I were Baptist, I could quote you chapter and verse. But I am Catholic, so all I can tell yu is I think we read it in the past year. Definitely in the past three years, as the church is on a three-year cycle with the readings.

So. When I cleaned the wound and put on a bandaid, I did not apply any anti-biotic ointment, as this did not seem to be a good thing to do with raw flesh.

I just put on a bandaid and then went to the bed and lay down with SH as we tried to recover from the trauma and the drama.

According to the medical experts online,  I should have sprinkled turmeric on the wound. That's supposed to help, although I think all it would have done would have been to give me a yellow finger and yellow sheets.

I tried changing the bandage on Monday, but it wouldn't come off. I realized the gauze had been sucked up into the scab and fluids.

On Wednesday, I tried soaking my hand in warm water so I could remove the bandage. I asked SH for help - I needed him to trim bandaid number two away from the wound. (I had a primary bandage and then another one over the top of my finger just for extra protection.)

I would have trimmed it myself but as we all know, a right-handed person cannot operate scissors successfully with her left hand.

SH did as I asked, but he almost passed out. "I keep thinking about that fingertip, sitting on top of the fennel," he moaned.

For indeed it had been fennel that I had been slicing when I sliced my finger. I had been making a fennel-orange salad with hazelnut oil vinaigrette and pine nuts.

It was delicious. I asked SH on Sunday if he wanted the rest of the Fingertip Salad. He was not amused.

I almost passed out trying to remove the primary bandage. I took my hand out of the sink and sat on the bathroom floor. Then I thought, "Maybe I would feel better if I were to lie down."

So I did. And remembered that I had been meaning to wash that bathroom rug for a week or two now.

I asked SH to bring me a bowl of water and a book so I could sit in the bathroom and soak.

Unfortunately, five minutes of soaking didn't do the trick. I decided I was just going to keep the same bandage on there until it healed.

Which would have been fine except for -


Last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought, "My hand stinks. I thought I washed my hands after taking the hambone out of the soup, but maybe not." It was not a pleasant odor. It did remind me of raw meat, which is a smell that turns my stomach. One time, after making a few dozen hamburger patties for a party, I went without hamburgers for a year because I was so grossed out.

Then today, my finger hurt a little bit. I happened to get a whiff of it.

Oh my.

It stank.

As in, putrid.

I cut off Bandaid #2 as well as I could - I used my sewing scissors, which are sharper than the junk drawer scissors.

Yes, I would have asked SH, but he left town on Thursday for a week. Conveniently so he wouldn't have to deal with my finger and also just ahead of the snowstorm that left five inches of snow in our driveway.

Then I wondered how to get the attached gauze off. What remained was gauze and some latex hanging off a pus-y, stinky, red wound.

It had to come off.

I tried calling my sister, who is a neo-natal nurse practitioner.

She didn't answer.

I tried calling my friend Ilene, the former blogger and the Bodacious Red-Headed Pediatrician. (Who had very cute twins five months ago.) She didn't answer.

All right, I thought. It's to the internet I go.

I had completely forgotten about my Aunt Pat, who is a nurse, and my cousin Kim, who is a nurse, and Mrs S, my parents' long-time friend, who is a nurse. All these nurses I could have called but I decided that the internet was better.

Only I couldn't find good advice. Salt water, regular water, ER. amputation. The options were vast.

Then I remembered I could call my insurance company nurse line.

I called. It took me an entire minute - I timed it - to get to a nurse after going through all the stupid menu options. Honestly, Blue Cross, if you don't want people to talk to a nurse, then don't have a nurse line.

Then it took a good ten minutes - maybe 15? - before I could get any useful information from the nurse. She was a nice lady, but after I told her that I had 1. cut off the tip of my finger 2. a week ago and that 3. there was some pus and a bad smell and 4. the bandaid gauze was still attached, she insisted on going through the decision tree with me.

As in, she still asked if the wound was on my leg, arm, or torso.

No, I said through gritted teeth. It's my finger.

Was it bleeding?

No, I said. This was a week ago. The issue is that the gauze is stuck.

Then I made the mistake of asking if she would please just tell me how to get the gauze off and she went off on a little speech about how she had to ask all these questions because even though they didn't apply to me, they might apply to someone else.

I wanted to scream, "Are you completely incapable of hearing what I told you and using your brain?"

Then I thought, "Does Blue Cross think its nurses are so stupid that it has to give them this decision tree? And if they have to ask all the questions anyhow, why pay a nurse? Why not just hire someone who is barely literate?"

We finally got to the point, which was her telling me I should call my doctor or maybe go to urgent care.

Not with a $2,500 deductible, sweetheart.

Oh yes. My great employer-provided benefits. During the benefits presentation last fall, the insurance guy spent 20 minutes explaining Obamacare. That, coupled, with our horrible benefits, has me convinced that the company plans to dump us all onto Obamacare next year. Yay.

I asked how I could get the bandaid off in the meantime, as I do not think I need to have a medical professional remove a bandaid.

She advised me to soak it in warm, soapy water, then put on antibiotic. And then call the doc.

I rolled my eyes. Soaked the bandage. Had a book on the counter next to me. Every time I finished a chapter, I would pull a little on the  bandage. After six chapters, it finally came loose. I swished my finger in the water and pressed the pus-y part a little.

Then I went to facebook to complain about the nurse.

Which was when I remembered that my friend Brian is engaged to a nurse. She gave me instructions on what to do after asking that I send a photo of the wound.

Taking a photo of the outside of your right little finger using your left hand is not so easy.

I explained that the white, puffy skin was because bandaid #2 had been wet since Friday because I had been doing dishes and not doing a good job of keeping my finger out of the water, even though I had it daintily lifted upward.

She told me that SH needed to do the dishes.

I would post a photo here of the finger but that would be gross. I'll leave it to your imagination: Imagine a photo of a finger with the nail painted bright red.

Only it's not the nail.

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 768: You say potato

SH: And now I have to worry about maybe having to go to North Carolina next week.

Me: Stop worrying!

SH: But I have to.

Me: Worrying does not affect the outcome. You're always telling me not to worry about stuff.

SH: That's because you worry about hypothetical things, like driving over a bridge into the water.

(NB For the record, this is not a hypothetical at all! There was a story in the paper just this week about a guy in a truck who went over the rail into the river and HE DIED. Because he COULDN'T GET OUT. PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE ELECTRIC WINDOWS THAT WOULDN'T WORK!)

Me: That is not hypothetical. Neither is the possibility of being penniless when we are old. You are worrying about maybe having to take a business trip but worrying isn't helping.

SH: OK. You're right. I'm not worrying. I'm whining.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The working life: More of the glamour of travel

I guess I must have the best hearing in the world, a quality that is completely lost on me as I wish everyone would just shut up so I could have some peace and quiet.

For months, I have thought I must be hearing things because it seemed like my computer at work was singing to me. I would be the only one in my section of the office and yet I could hear these faint talking and singing sounds. I thought maybe it had something to do with electricity and magnetic fields or whatever - it's been a long time since I had physics 101, but there is some relationship between electricity and magnetism and right-hand rules. Who knows if sound is involved? It could be.

I am one of the people who hears The Hum. If you hear it, you know. If not, you are lucky.

Then, last week, the sound was louder. I got up - closed my eyes - starting walking to the sound. It was coming from behind me. I walked a few more steps. The sound got louder.

It was from a radio on a co-worker's desk.

The co-worker was not there.

She works part time.

I stood there, looking at the radio, thinking, "You are my gaslight."

Then the co-worker returned. I asked if she would mind turning down her radio. She gasped. "You can hear that? I can hardly hear it!"

I assured her that yes, sadly, I could. "Would you mind turning it off when you're not here?"

I mean, I would have turned it off for her, but it seemed polite to ask.

She said of course and I moved on.

When I was in Elbonia, our first night, late, after we had gone to sleep, I was awakened by distant, bass-heavy music. I put in my earplugs but of course earplugs don't do much for the lower registers. They filter out some of the sound, but if you can feel the sound, it doesn't matter if you can hear it. Earplugs are also completely ineffective against the sharp, irregular cries of an infant on a transatlantic flight.

The next morning, I asked at the front desk what the noise had been. The clerk flipped through the books, then apologized. "There was a wedding here last night."

Well OK, I thought. A one off. Fine.

The next night, I was awakened by music again. I called the front desk. They were confused. Told me they didn't know what it could be but they would send someone up to my floor - the fifth floor - in case it was another guest.

I put in my earplugs, pulled a pillow over my head, and tried to sleep.

The next night, there was music again.

I called. "It is an event," they informed me.

"Then ask them to turn down the music!" I said.

"But it is not loud!" they protested.

"I can hear it. It woke me up. It's loud." I was ticked. "I cannot believe the other guests are not complaining."

"No, madam!" the clerk assured me. "Nobody else has complained."

I truly could not believe it. How could I be the only one who was bothered? 

On Day Four, I walked up to the desk. "Are there any weddings tonight?Any events? Anything that will make noise?"

The clerk flipped through a book, then got on the computer. "No, madam," he smiled. "Nothing."

Late that night. After I was asleep. The noise. I called. "Oh yes, madam," the clerk said. "It is the restaurant."

I seethed. "You mean the restaurant plays loud music every night?"

"Oh no, madam! Only until 2:00 or 3:00!"

I wanted to scream.

"We can be putting you in a different room, madam," he offered.

"I don't want to move to another room!" I hissed. "I want this one to be quiet!" I slammed the phone down. Who wants to move to a different room at 1:30 a.m.?

The next night, by which I mean my last night, I felt like crying as I drifted off to sleep. I knew I would not get to sleep all night long. I knew I would be interrupted. I knew that the next night, I faced a 16-hour flight in coach and that I probably would not be sleeping well. 

All I wanted was to sleep. Undisturbed.

But it was not to be.

The music woke me. I got up, walked into the bathroom. Walked right into the doorframe. Hit my head, with the edge of the frame bisecting my face neatly so I was left with a bruise that ran from the top left side of my head right through the middle of my left eyebrow and then across my left cheekbone.

That did not put me in a better mood.

I called the desk.

"Please ask the restaurant to turn down the music," I asked.

Blah blah blah we'll move you to another room.

No. I did not want to move rooms at 1:30 a.m. I hadn't wanted it the night before. Why would I want it now? And no, it had not really been practical to move during the day as I was at work during the day. Plus I really didn't think I should have to pack everything to move to another room just to get a condition that one should take as a baseline in a hotel room that costs $250 a night before taxes, i.e., quiet.

Incidentally, the place was like a tomb during the day. It was just after midnight that it came alive, not unlike the hospedaje I stayed at in Antigua, Guatemala. I arrived at the bus station in Antigua. Grabbed my backpack, clutched my South American Handbook to me, its pages opened to the "Fs" in Antigua. I found the place. It was quiet. Clean. Not expensive. At two in the afternoon, it was about as sleepy and peaceful as you might dream of.

It wasn't until 10:00 that night, when I was trying to sleep, that I discovered that this hospedaje was next door to a disco that didn't get rocking until late in the evening. And then stayed rocking until the early hours of dawn.

I am totally against the death penalty - I don't like the state deciding who lives and who dies, among other reasons - but I am not against locking someone up and throwing away the key. If I am ever on the jury for the guy who played loud music all night and all day, I'll throw his butt in jail. Accordingly, if I am ever on a jury for the person who shoots the guy whose car alarm went off for hours while the owner was elsewhere, I won't convict. You disturb the peace? You get put away.

When I declined the offer to change rooms at 1:30 a.m., the clerk suggested that perhaps I might like a checkout later than noon the next day. "Why do I not give you a checkout at the hour of six p.m.?" he asked. "Then you can sleep late tomorrow."

I took it but I was cranky. And if I ever stay at that hotel again, I will ask for a room away from the restaurant.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The working life: Getting a pedicure in Elbonia

I had finished my work early. My plane didn't leave until 11 p.m. I knew to be at the airport three hours early. It would take ten minutes - maybe 15 - to get there. So I had to be ready to leave the hotel by 7:45.

I had to check out of my room at 6:00, a super-late checkout brought about over my complaints about the loud music that woke me past midnight every night.

More on that later. But honestly, if I have to have a highly acute sense, could it be vision instead of hearing? I work around the noisiest people in the world. Nice people, but noisy. I sometimes put in earplugs while I'm at work, but that doesn't really help. I need an office. I want an office. I cannot bear the decline in status in my work life of going from an office to a cubicle. Yes, I know I am shallow. Tell me you wouldn't be bothered that you once had a window office on the 8th floor and now have a cubicle next to the chatty granola-eating, apple-crunching, keyboard-pounding, work doesn't require any concentration people.

Back to the hotel. I had finished work early, so went out to do some tourist stuff (which, I admit, included going to the mall and buying some t-shirts and a skirt at Zara - on sale). On my way to the metro, I passed a salon. It had only male stylists and male customers, but so what? I don't care. I saw a sign that they did pedicures. I walked inside and asked how much.

"Thirty dirhams," they told me, which is about eight dollars US. Which is not too bad. Then they told me I would have to wait 30 minutes because their pedicure guy wasn't in just now. I told them I would come back later that afternoon after my touristing was done - you can't exactly get a pedicure and then put your tennies back on right away, can you?

Oh yes. The tennies. I have finally surrendered. I have given up my quest for nice-looking walking all day shoes. I said to heck with it who am I trying to impress anyhow? I'm almost 50 years old. I'm invisible to men. I might as well be comfortable. So I put on my running shoes for my touristing and you guys, it was a great decision. I don't care how bad white running shoes look with jeans. All I care about is that my feet didn't hurt after walking several miles on cobblestones.

I spent the afternoon touristing around and returned to the salon at about 3:45. Had to be out of the hotel room by 6:00, needed to pack, wanted to shower before the 16-hour flight, not to look great (although my vanity is strong despite a basis for vanity) but to keep from getting smelly. Oh if only the other passengers would think to themselves, "Perhaps a quick bath and some clean clothes would not be out of order. After all, I have not used deodorant for a week and have not bathed in that time, either." Alas, such was not the thinking of the woman who sat next to me. She was ripe. She also remained in her seat the entire 16 hours. As in, she did not get up one single time to use the bathroom.

How does anyone go 16 hours without using the bathroom? I want that bladder.

I popped into the salon. "I'm here for my pedicure," I announced cheerfully.

Seven male heads swiveled in my direction. Eyes widened. Jaws dropped.

I smiled at the man I had spoken to in the morning. "Is he here?" I asked. "The guy who does the pedicures?"

The guy looked uncomfortable. "Yes, but he is with a customer."

"Oh," I said. "Will he be long?" I looked around for the nail polish so I could start thinking about a color.

There was no polish.

"Perhaps. But you know that this is for men only," he said.

I shook my head. "What?"

"This salon. It is for men."

"But you do pedicures," I asked.


"For men."


"But not for women."


"But this morning when I asked, you didn't say this."

He looked uncomfortable and cast a glance at a heavy, bearded man who sat in one of the waiting chairs, a big pinky ring on the hand that spilled over the armrest.

Armrest hog.

"Let me see," he said.

He walked over to the pinky ring guy and spoke quickly in Elbonian.

He returned. "We usually do not take women, but we will make an exception for you. But the man who does the pedicures is busy right now." He nodded toward a stylist in the back who was carefully shaving a young man.

BTW, these male salons were all over the place. SH and I had noticed an entire strip of them on one street. Men getting shaved, men having their hair deep conditioned, men getting facials. It was outside these salons, while I was in a coffee shop asking for directions because SH was too mortified to ask - "It makes me look stupid to ask for directions!", an assertion I dispute as who expects a foreigner to know his way around Elbonia and even if it does make you look stupid, so what? You're in Elbonia. You don't know a soul there.

It was outside these salons that SH was propositioned by a prostitute.

He declined, insulted, telling me afterwards, "Do I look like a man who needs to pay for [wxyz]?"

"Charlie Sheen says that you don't pay for the [wxyz], you pay for her to go away when you're done," I pointed out.

"But I don't want you to go away!" he exclaimed.

I wanted to hug him for that, but Elbonia frowns on PDA and I didn't want to have to bite the tongue off my jailer.

But may I say something? There is nothing like being told you can't do something to make you want to do it more. All I wanted to do when SH and I were walking around was to hold his hand. Which is not something I think about that much when we're at home. I should think about it more.

I looked at the clock. It was almost four. "I don't think I can wait," I said. "Is there somewhere else?"

He exhaled in relief. "There is a ladies' salon a few doors down," he said as he pointed.

"Fine. I'll go there." I leaned in and whispered to him. "But this rule about men only? It's stupid."

He smiled and nodded slightly.

I went to the other salon. There were two Filipino women in there, wearing blue smocks and watching a very dramatic soap opera in what I think might have been Tagalog but I'm not sure. It wasn't Elbonian.

I knew it was dramatic because there was a lot of dramatic music and a lot of people hurling themselves across beds and sofas and tearing at their hair and weeping.

The two stylists were entranced.

I smiled and asked if they spoke English. They did. Did they do pedicures? Yes. How much? Sixty dirhams, twice the cost at the men-only salon. Unfair.

Seriously. As if women aren't screwed enough in that culture, they have to pay twice as much for their foot care?

But what was I to do? I sighed, looked at the clock, and sat. I had time.

I thought I had time.

My stylist kept casting lingering glances at the TV. This must have been her favorite soap opera. She started to buff my callouses but kept turning at key moments on the soap. I watched the clock nervously.

She switched to trimming my cuticles. Very, very, slowly, again, with frequent stops to keep tabs on the heartbroken teenager who was sobbing across her bed while the mother in full makeup, big, teased, Dallas hair, and evening jewelry, even though it was daytime on the show, gingerly patted her back and threw in the occasional phrase in English, such as, "There will always be men."

"Maybe you don't need to trim the cuticles," I suggested. "Just push them back."

She ignored me and kept trimming. Perhaps she didn't speak English after all. I looked at the clock. Still time if we kept on schedule.

But by 4:40, she hadn't even started to paint my nails. I was getting nervous. The hotel was just on the next block, but I wanted time in the salon for the polish to dry. I didn't have flip flops with me. I had no interest in being the rude American tromping around barefoot in public.

At 4:42, she got out the polish and indicated I should pick a color. I picked red. Of course. Why bother with any other color if you are having a professional do it?

She picked up the bottle, rolled it vigorously between her hands, and opened it. Dipped the brush in. The polish was clumpy.

This was when I should have told her I would take pink instead. But I didn't do that.

She ambled to the counter, picked up a bottle of thinner, and poured in a few drops. Rolled the bottle again. Inserted the brush. A little better.

She returned to my feet. Painted the first toe. Frowned. Rolled the bottle. Returned to the desk. Poured in more thinner. Rolled again. Painted the second, third, and fourth toe. Rolled her eyes and rolled the bottle. Painted the fifth toe. Whew.

It was too late for me to choose another color, but maybe we could get this show on the road.

Then she did something that I found utterly baffling.

Rather than paint the toenails on Foot #2, she started to put the second coat on Foot #1.

Which makes no logical sense whatsoever. Don't you want to minimize total drying time? And isn't that goal best achieved by maximizing the time that each subcoat is exposed to air? She was doing it all wrong!

I was aghast. However, I speak no Tagalog, so I was unable to say anything.

She finally finished Foot #1 and moved on to Foot #2. It was 4:53. I was stressed.

We repeated the Foot #1 process.

Then she put a coat of clear polish on top of both feet.

4:48. I stood, handed 70 dirhams to the stylist at the counter, grabbed my purse, tied the laces of my shoes together, stuffed the socks inside the shoes, grabbed my Zara bag, and ran.

I kept my head down so I wouldn't have to make eye contact with anyone who might see me running barefoot on the sidewalks of Elbonia.

Then I kept my head down in the hotel as I rushed to the elevator. I lifted it enough to see a bevy of girls - maybe eight or nine - wearing fluffy white dresses and full makeup. Full makeup! It is a creepy sight indeed to see girls wearing full makeup. Who does that? Who puts a girl in full makeup? Who sexualizes a nine year old? Sick, sick, sick.

I made it to the elevator without making eye contact. Got to my floor. Ran to the room.


With red toes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 630: Traveling together

SH stayed in Elbonia for two days, which is probably why he didn't get as jet lagged as I did and didn't slice his finger off with a mandolin.

Still, he was a little high strung.

Which made our final journey to the metro stop a little more dramatic than it needed to be.

Yes, the metro. He was determined to support public transportation and take the metro back to the airport rather than a taxi.

"The metro is 90% less than a taxi!" he said.

"But a taxi is only ten dollars!" I argued.

I am a fan of metros if they are convenient. If I don't have to haul my suitcase, which is usually full of 20 lbs of chocolate, up and down lots of flights of stairs and I'm talking to you, Paris, and you Madrid. What do people who can't walk do in those cities? How do you go up and down those stairs in a wheelchair? 

I am a fan of metros if they are convenient, if I can have my own space, and if the people around me do not smell bad.

Anyone who has ever ridden a metro knows that those conditions are rarely filled.

I am a huge cheapskate, but I am willing to spend nine extra dollars not to have to deal with crowded, smelly, lots of stairs transport.

SH was unswayed. He wanted to take the metro. He had mastered the system during his short visit to Elbonia. He had his ticket. It was only two stops to the airport. He was ready.

I told him I would walk with him to the metro stop. I had finished with my conference call with HQ that was supposed to be a ten-minute meet and greet and tried to turn into an hour-long "but how will we label the taps in the bathrooms" and "should our mission be to serve Mapuche women or young Mapuche women?" drama that I had to nip in the butt by suggesting diplomatically that perhaps I could meet with the VPs when I got home and we could review the details then rather than on a transatlantic call at the end of the day for the seven people in the Elbonia office, the three of us who had traveled there and were jet lagged, and several VPs at the home office. If you calculate the salaries of everyone involved, an hour of time becomes expensive. (Well, except for my time, which is quite cheap.) Although if we're all salaried, why does the employer care? We still have to get all our work done, even if it means working longer hours. So who cares if we waste time on a call?

But anyway. I had called from our hotel room, so SH had been able to hear. "I've never heard you work before," he marveled.

"I am capable of it," I admitted.

We set out. The sun had already set.The streets were only dimly lit, with the occasional streetlight casting shadows on the cobbled sidewalks, which are not the best surface for a wheeled suitcase, so SH had to keep veering into the road. However, this was not a busy area and there were almost no cars.

There were almost no people, either, and the few men we saw loitering did not look savory.

No cats. No dogs. I have not seen a single dog in Elbonia, although a woman in our Elbonia office said she wants one as a pet. She is not Elbonian.

He walked confidently, veering on and off the sidewalk as circumstances dictated. I followed. I paid no attention to where we were going because hello, this was his deal.

We heard the call to prayer, then walked past a mosque, men running in, carefully laying their shoes on the sidewalk before they entered.

"I don't remember a mosque," SH mused.

I shrugged. I hadn't walked this way before. I didn't know.

We hit a dead end.

"Wait! There's not supposed to be a dead end!" SH looked around. "Where are we?" he asked.

I shrugged again. "I don't know."

"How can you not know?"

"Because I'm not the one who looked at the map. I'm just following you. I thought you knew where we were going."

He turned frantically. "I don't know where we are!"

I pointed. "Don't we need to be on that big street over there?" Through the buildings, I could see the lights and the traffic on the main drag, which was where the metro stop was.

"But this isn't the street where we're supposed to  be! I wanted 34th street! This is 39th! When did we pass 34th?"

I shrugged again. "If this is 39th, then we must have passed 34th. But don't we just need to turn and walk that way?"

He turned left and walked rapidly. I had to skip to keep up. We walked a block and the street ended. We were forced to turn left, back toward the hotel. We walked another block. The street ended and we had to go left again. Now we were going away from the main street.

I wasn't worried because I could still see where we wanted to be. I actually have a very good sense of direction, even though nobody ever believes me. But SH was sweating. "I can't believe this! Why is this happening? Oh no!"

"Sweetie, it's right there! We just have to make our way there!"

"But this isn't how it's supposed to work out! How did this happen? Why didn't you say something?"

Note he was hitting all the steps in the process: assigning blame, doing a root cause analysis.

Note I was following my usual process: solve the problem at hand.

We got to another street. Turned right. Went a block. Street ended. Turned left, toward the hotel again. In half a block, there was a short street. We turned right, going toward the main street. But the street didn't go through.

SH moaned. "I'm going to miss my plane!"

I scoffed. "You are not! The street is right there!"

"But this street doesn't go through!"

I squinted. There was a path cutting through an empty lot. "We can go this way."

"This isn't how it's supposed to be! I don't want you to see me like this!"

"You mean, panicking? Because I've never seen that before." I sighed. My husband. Mr Panics in a crisis.

Although the few times we have had a real crisis - like when the grill caught on fire and was about to set the garage on fire, he was dealt calmly with the situation. He hasn't dealt calmly with the situation when blood is involved, but he has still dealt with it.

Fire, he is good.

Blood, not so good. But he still does what needs to be done. Unless it's help me change the bandage on my sliced finger, in which case he gets deathly pale and has to leave the room.

We trotted up the path. It hit the main street. We were exactly where I thought we would be. SH exhaled. "I thought I was going to be late," he admitted.

"I noticed," I said. "It's not too late to take a taxi."

"No!" he answered. "I already have my metro ticket!"

When I took the taxi to the airport, I discovered it was really only five dollars. We had taken the Pink Lady Taxi to go to the hotel from the airport and they charge twice as much as the ordinary taxi.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 785: Last will

SH: Laverne is whining.

Me: As usual.

SH: She's worried she won't get supper.

Me: I know. Because we forget to feed her all the time.

SH: It could happen.

Me: It could.

SH: She worries about it.

Me: Because it could happen.

SH: You worry about things. Things that might not even happen.

Me: Like financial destitution?

SH: Yes. And about my going on a business trip and not coming back.

Me: Well, not so much on a business trip.

SH: Why not?

Me: Because if you were killed on a business trip, the insurance would be really good.

SH: So it's not my death that bothers you, it's the prospect of being left penniless?

Me: Yes.

SH: At least if I died, you wouldn't have to listen to my freakouts any more.

Me: Or your whining.

SH: But you would still have Laverne for whining.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 787: What to do with the leftover drugs you can't sell on the street

SH: So you're not going to use any more of that melatonin.

Me: Nope.

You will remember that melatonin plus me is not a good combination. If there is a side effect to be had from a drug - hair loss, weight gain, nausea, dizziness - I will get it. I will get that side effect without getting any of the therapeutic benefit, as well. I will note that if weight loss is a side effect, I will not get that one.

SH: What am I supposed to do with it?

Me: You take melatonin.

SH: Yeah, but these are [tiny little amount] milligram tablets. It's a super-small dose. I take a [six times the dosage] tablet when I take it.

Me: Can't you just take six of the tiny ones?

SH [rolling eyes]: No!

Me: Why not?

SH: Because I'd have to chew six of them! And the pill with the larger dosage is actually smaller than these!

Me: So we're just going to waste them?

SH: We can give them away.

Me: What, in the bag of little hotel shampoos and soaps that we give to the homeless shelter?

SH: Maybe.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The working life: The glamor of travel

This is what it's like to enter the unspecified Middle Eastern country, hereafter referred to as "Elbonia."

You get off the plane after a 13-hour flight. You walk and walk and walk. You get on the moving walkway and try to continue to walk, but apparently, the concept of "Walk left, stand right" is strictly a western one. "Stand left, stand right" seems to be the approach in Elbonia. You get off the moving walkway and walk on the regular floor instead and go a lot faster than the people standing on the moving walkway.

You get to passport control. You look at the lines. It is a single server, single line setup (the McDonald's model) as opposed to a multiple server, single line (Wendy's, US passport control, anyone with any sense).

You try to figure out which line is moving fastest. This is important. Single server, single line is a very unfair system and your speed through the process depends completely on the efficiency of your server. If you pick wrong, you could wait a lot longer than the people in other lines.

I always pick the wrong line.

My Elbonian co-workers told me always, always to pick the line where a woman is working. The men, they said, are there to hang out. The women are there to work.

Apparently, the job of passport control agent is reserved for Elbonian nationals. It must be considered a Good Job. "They take breaks, they do the cheek kiss, they chat. They don't hurry," my Elbonian co-workers explained in disdain. My Elbonian co-workers are not Elbonian nationals. They are Indian and they hustle.

China might be a military threat to the US, but while we're busy buying their cheap consumer goods made with prison labor and worrying about the trade imbalance, Indian professionals are quietly taking over the world.

But they make good movies, the food is excellent, and they speak English, so it could be worse.

As SH and I stood in line, we realized we had of course picked the wrong line. Occasionally, a man in a long white robe would open a new line, but rather than taking people who were at the front of their lines and redirecting them, he would take people from the ends of the lines.

Which is totally unfair.

During the long wait - it took us 45 minutes to go through a line that was about 40 feet long, ads for Burberry flashed above us on large screens.

I had already decided that Burberry has gone the way of Tommy Hilfiger and Polo with the giant logos and become the brand of choice for drug dealers, but being subjected to those ads for 45 minutes sealed my decision never to buy anything made by that brand ever.

Here's what it's like to leave Elbonia:

You get to the airport. You see the security line as shown above. You sigh, move your computer bag from your shoulder to rest on top of your suitcase, and you wait.

And then you see an airport official letting seemingly random people cut the line.

When you grab the guy and ask him how you can cut line, he asks if you are on the Air Thailand flight.

No, you say. You are not.

He shrugs. Those people are on that flight and the flight is closing so they have to get through security.

You gasp. Wait! Do you mean that you are letting those seven people cut line because they showed up at the airport less than an hour before their international flight was to depart and OH NO! it wasn't enough time to get through the FIVE DIFFERENT SEARCHES/CONTROLS one must endure to leave Elbonia?

He shrugs again.

So why bother to show up three hours early as everyone knows is the standard for international flights, especially international flights leaving from airports in countries like Elbonia?

He shrugs again.

If I had shown up late, then I would be able to cut? you ask. But because I showed up on time, I have to stand in line forever?

He nods sheepishly.

You want to scream.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 232: Assign blame and move on

Me: I'm sorry, sweetie. I left all those dishes in the sink.

SH: That's OK.

Me: It's just that it's hard to wash dishes and keep my finger dry.

SH: I'll do them.

Me: But my cut finger is my fault. Should you be accomodating me?

SH: I think I can do the dishes for a few days so you don't have to aggravate your finger.

Me: But I shouldn't have cut it in the first place.

SH: I know, but I love you and I'll do the dishes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marriage 501 Lecture 723: Step 1 assign blame

Again, at 3:00 a.m. Or maybe 3:30 a.m. Or 4:00 a.m. I was awake until 6:50 a.m., noting that the sun was up and it would be nice to be able to walk to the bus stop in the light instead of in the dark. Then I finally fell asleep until 10:00. It is going to be a long day. (I am writing this on a Sunday.)

I have to revisit the Drama of The Finger.

SH: I've had a hard day.

Me: I know. The vomit. My finger.

SH: I know!

Me: You know, you weren't particularly helpful this afternoon.

SH: What do you mean? I kept you from falling when you fainted!

Me: Yes. Thank you for that. But when I first asked you to get me a bandaid, you didn't exactly hurry.

SH: How was I supposed to know I needed to hurry?

Me: Maybe because I've only asked you to get me a bandaid one other time and that was also when I had a bad cut?

SH: But all you said was, "Please get me a bandaid." There was no urgency to your message.

Me: The message itself was urgent! The fact that I asked you!

SH: You should have said, "Would you please get me a bandaid? I've just cut my finger very badly."

Me: I was too busy watching blood run out of my body and concentrating on not passing out.

SH: How was I supposed to know it was an emergency?

Me: How about this? For all future requests, please assume it is an emergency.

SH: What if you ask me for a glass of water? Should I assume you'll die of thirst if you don't get it right away?

Me: How often do I ask you for water? Like twice since we met?

SH: I don't remember. [This is a lie. He remembers everything.]

Me: I don't remember asking you for water, but I suppose if I did, it would be because I am in bed with a splitting headache and don't want to get up to get the water for washing down my painkillers.

SH: Maybe.

Me: Let's focus on the bandaids.


Me: Future requests = emergency.

SH: OK, sweetie. I'm sorry. I was freaking out when I saw you. Your face was completely white. I didn't know what to do!

Me: I also like how you went straight to assigning blame as soon as I had come to and put on the bandaid. [Which I put on my finger, as SH was about to pass out himself at the sight of the raw flesh. The problem with us is that he is good with his own blood and not with other people's blood. I am good with other people's blood but not my own. That is not a good combination.]

SH: I'm sorry, sweetie! That's how my family rolls!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marriage 501 Lecture 876: Stress upon stress

SH: I've had a stressful night.

Me [up at 3:00 a.m. thanks to jet lag]: Did you get a ticket?

SH: No!

Me: Did you wreck the car?

SH: No!

Me: OK. So what else is there?

SH: I was at the bar, watching Paul's band perform. You should have gone with me. He asked about you.

Me: This would have been the night to do it. I wasn't sleeping anyhow. [See: I can't take melatonin or else I get a melatonin hangover and cut the tip of my finger off.]

SH: So there was this young woman there who was celebrating her 21st birthday.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: And I had left my coat on the table by her. I should have put it over my chair, but I thought it would be OK on the table.

Me: Yes.

SH: I looked at her. She'd been drinking all night. I thought, "She looks like she's about to throw up."

Me: Uh oh.

SH: And then she did. She threw up.

Me: Gross.

SH: I thought, "At least my coat is on the table and not where she's throwing up."

Me: Uh huh.

SH: And then I looked and my coat had fallen to the floor. Into her vomit.

Me: Crap.

SH: Yeah. It's just been a crummy day.

Me: Did you freak out?

SH: No. I thought about it, but I was in a public place, so it would have been embarrassing.

Me: Wait! You mean you can control your freaking out?

SH: Of course!

Me: Then why do you always freak out around me? If you can control it, I want you to control it around me!

SH: But it's fun to freak out around you!

Me: Not for me.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 621: To drink or not to drink

Me: Could we get rid of these wine bottles?

SH: Why?

Me: Because! They are clutter!

SH: I think they add a certain ambiance to the dining room.

Me: What? The "We are winos?" ambiance?

SH: Is that bad?

BTW, this ambiance fits very well with our wedding theme. I was reading a magazine or novel or something - can't remember - that outlined potential wedding themes, like pirate or hang gliding or goth.

Me: We didn't have a theme to our wedding.

SH: Yes we did.

Me: Well, I guess "wedding" was the theme to our wedding.

SH: No, it was a "Consume lots of alcohol and get drunk" theme.

Me: Oh. Right. Only not everyone followed the theme.

SH: Nope. Just my side.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 678: Who's in charge?

SH: The cats don't get enough attention with your working and my being on a business trip.

Me: Nope. This was all your idea. I don't like this two-career couple thing.

SH: Me neither!

Me: Except your idea is for you to quit working, not me.

SH: Yep.

Me: I don't like that, either.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 732: I married a panicker, Part 2


Where was I?

Oh. Fingertip garnish on sliced fennel.

Bleeding fingertip.

Very bleeding fingertip.

My mandoline cuts slices about 1/8" thick.


There you go.

I grabbed my finger, squeezed it, turned on the faucet (cold water), put my bleeding finger under it, and yelled for SH.

"Get me a bandaid!" I shouted.

Then I remembered who I was dealing with.

1. There was going to be an interrogation and
2. SH is a bit squeamish.

I squeezed my finger, held it high, turned to the counter, flipped the mandoline, grabbed the fingertip, and put it in the trash. Which, fortunately, has a foot pedal for opening.

My Engagement Trash Can: preventing smelly kitchens and disasters for almost five years now.

SH came downstairs. I yelled at him again, asking for a band aid. He came into the kitchen to see what's what.

"Just get me a bandaid!" I said.

"You've cut yourself!" he said. "Oh shit! Oh shit!"

I gritted my teeth. "Please. Just. Get. Me. A. Bandaid."

"Oh no! Oh no! OH NO!"

"Band. Aid."

Then I started to feel woozy. There wasn't even that much blood coming out of the finger, mixing with the cold water, and washing down the drain.

But I had made the mistake of looking at my finger. I had seen the raw flesh.

I was getting that woozy feeling.

I know that feeling.

I know that I am about to pass out feeling.

That's what happens when blood leaves my body against my will.

Or when I get my belly button pierced.

I pass out.

I know that passing-out feeling.

SH was in the bathroom, looking for a bandaid, telling me that we were almost out of bandaids and did I intend to do something about it.

"I'm about to pass out," I shouted. "Maybe you should come in here."

Then I tore off a piece of paper towel (disposable and sanitary, as compared to the dishcloth right in front of me), wrapped it around the bleeding finger and squeezed, sat on the bench by the computer, and passed out.

Have you ever passed out? I think it might be impossible to describe the experience to someone who has not passed out. Imagine really fast, hyper-intensive dreams. Hours of them. They happen in a minute. When you come to, you have no idea who you are, where you are, or what happened.

All you know is your husband - wait - some strange man - is in front of you, saying, "Oh shit! Oh shit! OH SHIT!" (Sorry, Mom.)

I sat up. My left hand was still wrapped around my finger. I saw a bandaid on the table. I looked at SH. He was panicking.

I reached for the bandaid, removed the paper towel - "Oh no! THAT'S BLEEDING!" SH shouted - and put the bandaid on my finger. Squeezed, squeezed, squeezed.

That's when the post-cut analysis started. How could I let this happen, etc.

I interrupted SH. "Could I just have a little sympathy right now?" I asked.

"I'm torn between panicking and wanting to know how this could happen!" he said. "I am very, very careful when I cut things! And now I might have to finish all that cooking! You're only halfway through with the onion and the green pepper for the ropa vieja! I hate chopping vegetables!"

I rolled my eyes.

"It is a great comfort to me to have a husband who is so good in a crisis."

"Your face!" he said. "There is no blood in it! You're completely white!" [Except for, I imagine, all the spots from the sun damage I did to my skin as a tanning teenager.]

"That's because I passed out. Let's go lie down. I think I should lie down."

We moved to the bedroom. He continued. "That shouldn't have happened!"

"I know," I said, "but for now, could I recover a little bit? And may I ask you to not be such a panicker and maybe just get me a bandaid when I ask?"

"I helped," he protested. "When you were passing out, I didn't know what to do. But then it looked like you were going to fall onto the floor, so I held you up."

"Thank you for that," I said. "And the screaming was a particularly effective method of getting me to come to."

"And I was slapping your face gently," he added. "Don't forget that. I didn't know what I was going to do if you didn't come to."

I lifted my finger. The blood was still soaking through the bandaid and the paper towel. SH paled. "It's still bleeding! Do we need to go to the emergency room?"

"Why?" I asked. "What would they do? It's not worth it to re-attach such a small piece of flesh."

"Your flesh! What happened to it?"

"I put it in the trash."

"But the mandoline! It has blood on it!" He jumped up, ran to the kitchen, and washed the mandoline. I squeezed my finger.

He returned. "I hope there's no blood on the fennel," he said.

"I appreciate your concern for me," I said.

"Well, I am concerned, but it's hard for me to be too sympathetic for a problem that could have been prevented."

"So blame the victim?" I asked.

"You weren't being careful," he said.

"You were no help."

"I kept you from falling to the floor! And I got the bandaid!"

"Yeah, but you didn't put it on my finger."

"Blood makes me squeamish," he admitted.

"It's a good thing we don't have kids," I said.

Then I got up, walked to the kitchen, saw blood on the floor, bent down to clean it, and realized it was fresh blood, not old blood. Which meant my finger was still bleeding. Which freaked SH out even more.

"Please do not consider a career in emergency medicine," I asked him.

Then I went downstairs and watched two episodes of "Big Bang Theory" with my hand elevated, squeezing my finger, which was enough time for the bleeding to stop.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 732: I married a panicker, Part 1


Perhaps the moral to this story is that I should not cook when I am jetlagged. Or hungover from melatonin. If there are side effects to be had, I will get them. Dizziness, nausea, and disorientation? I got it! That, plus jet lag plus not enough sleep, is what I think - as opposed to traditional carelessness - led to my injury.

I am usually quite cautious around things that can hurt me, like fire, sharp edges, and pointy points. Usually.

But not today. Today was the day that I did not respect the mandoline. It only takes once.

I will write more about my trip to an unspecified Middle Eastern country later. (It's unspecified not because I care if you guys know where I went but because on the off chance that one of my co-workers stumbles across my blog, I want to be less recognizable. Not that I trash my co-workers or my job here - at least, I hope I do not, because that would not be wise or nice PLUS I LIKE MY JOB AND EVERYONE I WORK WITH SO DON'T FIRE ME!)

I'll write more about it later and there will be plenty to write about because SH accompanied me this time and because I had a pedicure that took forever because the ladies were watching their Filipino soap opera where I didn't even have to speak the language to know what was going on and then SH and I got lost on the way to the Metro for him to go to the airport and there was drama.

Anyhow. I got back yesterday  morning from my trip and slept all afternoon and then went to bed at 9:00 p.m. and slept just fine until midnight, when I woke up and couldn't fall asleep again until 4:00 a.m. I took a risk and took a melatonin. I had done that once, in 1995, and had such a horrible reaction - have you ever felt like you are about to jump out of your skin? I have. And I don't like it.

But SH swears by it and it was a tiny dose and I thought, "Heck, I'm already awake. It can't make me any more awake, can it?"

So I took out my sexy mouthguard and chewed the tiny melatonin tablet and got back into bed and eventually, I fell asleep. Then I woke up at 8:40 a.m. because 1. Laverne would not shut up and 2. I was starving, despite my 1:00 a.m. snack of Aldi Baked Cheese Squares and bok choy.

I started making coffee and oatmeal after I fed the cats, but then felt so dizzy and nauseated that I went back to bed. I woke up again at noon, feeling slightly better.

Man. I am not even at the main story yet. I can ramble, can't I?

SO. The whole point is that I don't think I should be blamed so much for what happened unless you want to say, "CF! You should have known better than to start with the sharp objects! For dumb!"

And you would be correct. I was not doing it right.

I started the ropa vieja in the crockpot. Peeled and cut the carrots to roast them in butter to make carrot soup. Didn't get as far as the soup because the little roasted carrot bits were so good by themselves.

Then I started cutting the fennel on the mandoline. I have used this mandoline for over a dozen years. I have never once cut myself. I am always very careful. I do the first bit with my fingers, then use the finger guard as the veg gets smaller.


The fennel was falling apart. I guess - I know - my little finger - of the hand that was holding the fennel - got close to the blade.

Close enough that I thought, "Hm. I think that in addition to slicing fennel, I just sliced my finger."

When I lifted the mandoline, I saw that I was correct: A perfect little oval piece of CF finger lay on the top of the sliced fennel. A little fingertip garnish.

Then I looked at my finger. Which was now relieved of its tip.

OK. I am getting woozy here. I have to stop. I'll write the rest of this for the next post.

I will say in my defense that even if I should not have been around sharp objects, I still handle a crisis better than SH does.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 674: The essence of beaniness

 SH: I did something today. We'll have to see if you like it.

Me: Oh no. What did you buy now?

[As in, how many toaster ovens do we need?]

SH: I didn't buy anything. But those black beans you made? I cooked them for another three hours.

Me: Why?

SH: Because I don't like beans that are so - so - so beany!

Me: What do you mean, "beany?"

SH: I like them cooked down and mushy, not recognizable as individual beans.

Me: Oh for pete's sake.

SH: Why didn't you cook them down to mush? Don't you know that's how I like them?

Me: I can't keep track of all your food rules.

SH: Haven't you noticed that I only like beans when we go to a Mexican restaurant and they are cooked down?

Me: Nope.

SH: How can you not notice?

Me: Like I said, it's too much to keep track of.

SH: Taste them. I think they're better.

Me: I can't taste any difference.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 521: How we spend

Me [perusing eBay]: I think I might buy another purse.

SH: What? You already have a purse! You told me you get compliments on it!

Me: So?

SH: So you don't need another one. You already have one.

Me: We had a toaster oven! Yet you bought another one!

SH: That's different. I bought the new one as a placeholder until I could find a good one.

[We had a perfectly fine toaster oven that needed a tiny repair - a new heating element, but SH decided to buy an entirely new toaster oven. So he bought one at Aldi - without consulting me - and I don't like it. But I have made my peace with it and learned how to make sure that the shelf does not fall out of the slots when I am pulling something out. But hear me, toaster oven designers: I should be able to bake brownies in your product and not worry about everything falling because you didn't want to make adequate slots for the sides of the shelf.

So. I had made my peace. But then SH saw a toaster oven on and again, without my input, he bought it. A new new toaster oven. A new toaster oven to replace the other new toaster oven. This is not how My People operate. We make do with something until it is unusable any more.]

Me: We did not need a new new toaster oven.

SH: You'll like this one better. I promise. Man, I wish I had seen this price when I bought that toaster oven for my parents.

Me: I don't even want to talk about how much money you spend on your parents with no reciprocity.*

SH: Sometimes you just have to get the deal. But why get another purse when you have several good, expensive purses already?

Me: Why buy more wine?

SH: That's different! Wine is consumable.

Me: So are purses.

* They think it is reasonable to send SH a link to garden lights that cost $100 with the instructions, "This is what your mother wants for Mothers Day." My mom gets a card. His parents send us gifts like a framed photo of themselves. Deep breath. I am not going to get into this.