Friday, June 28, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 62: More crap to throw away when SH is dead

Me: I want to ask you something and I don't want you to get all "Wooo!"

SH: What?

Me: Can we get rid of some of those empty wine boxes in the basement?

SH: Don't ask me that now!

Me: I just want you to think about it. You don't have to do it right now.

SH: But you can't expect me to remember that sort of thing! You have to ask me when I can actually do something about it.

Me: I just want you to start thinking about it because I know how long it takes you to make a decision.

SH: I won't remember.

Me: You know, I could get rid of them. All you have to do is decide.

SH: No! You won't do it right! You don't know which ones to discard! [They are ALL empty boxes.]

Me: Oh Lord.

SH: Ask me on a weekend sometime.

Me: Fine. I'll ask you on Sunday.

SH: Maybe I can get rid of two-thirds of them.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 43: The Honey-Do-Someday List

Me [on the phone with SH]: What are these giant boxes in the living room from? They look like giant pizza boxes.

SH: From those suits I ordered.

Me: Oh. So they can go in the recycling.

SH: No! I want to keep those!

Me: Why on earth?

SH: They're a good size for sliding under the car. [To collect any oil drips and keep them from getting on the garage floor.]

Me: OK. Fine. But this box - from the knife that you ordered. I'm putting that in the recycling.

SH: No!

Me: Yes.

SH: But you won't do it right.

Me: Because putting a box in the recycling is so hard.

SH: Why don't you just leave it for me to do when I get home?

Me: Because when I leave things for you to do, they never get done.

SH: That's not true. I do things that you want me to do all the time.

Me: Name one.

SH: All the time.

Me: Just one.

SH: The other day, I got rid of all of that stuff on the stairs.

Me: You put it in the guest room. That does not count.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 21: The problem with "I told you so"

 You know how you always want to say "I told you so?" but you can't?

Maybe you don't want to. Maybe you are a far better person than I, who never gloats with the delight of being right. Maybe you are nicer than I am and I am just a mean person.

But I like to be right. And when I'm right, I like to gloat, although it is so rarely that I can gloat out loud because I treasure my relationships more than I treasure the momentary triumph of being right and having the other person, WHO WAS WRONG, know it.

So I usually gloat inside. That's also where I correct peoples' grammar. Inside my head. I don't dare do it out loud because

1. It's mean and petty and it just hurts peoples' feelings
2. I make so many typos that I am hardly in the position to make public comment on other errors I see.

Still. SH and I both like to be right. He is right more often than I, so I rarely get to gloat.

We left for my mom's house last Wednesday. Big birthday celebration.

He was supposed to pick me up from work at 1:30. At 1:30, I was in the lobby, waiting.

At 1:45, he called. He was on his way. "I'm not doing it right," he said. "It took longer than I thought to do all those trip things that you used to do before you were working."

"What trip things?" I asked.

"I had to scoop the cat box and take the trash out and take care of the rest of the chicken in the fridge and put the living room lamp on a timer and make sure all the dishes were dry and put away--"

"I don't care about leaving dishes in the drainer," I said.

"But that's not the right thing to do!" he said.

I rolled my eyes.

He arrived at my office at 2. "Maybe you should take the Lakefront Parkway," I suggested. "It might be faster."

"No," he assured me. "I just saw the highway. It's all clear."

He started driving north. "We're going away from the airport," I reminded him. I knew he knew that but I was compelled to point out the obvious. "Maybe we should take the Lakefront Parkway. It's shorter."

"No, no. The highway will be faster."

Two minutes later, we were on the highway, heading south.

Traffic stopped. Cars stopped as far as we could see.

We stopped. We inched ahead. We stopped. We moved ahead an inch. We stopped again.

SH started to panic.

"We're going to miss the plane!" he said.

I tried to remain optimistic. "Maybe not."

"But to check the bag, we have to be there by 2:25. It's 2:10 now. I can't see the traffic moving!"

I got out my phone and looked at the traffic map. Sure enough, the road was red for the next two miles.

I tried to be zen. "We can always get a plane tomorrow."

"But I have these flights all worked out! I got the first class upgrades! It would be a mess!"

Now I am going to stop describing the next ten minutes because I don't think I can take the stress of reliving the event. Suffice it to say that I thought, "Well, if SH has a heart attack while we're sitting here, at least the car won't be moving."

We spent ten minutes inching through the jam. Finally broke out of it when we passed the accident that must have occurred two minutes after SH picked me up. Booked it to the airport parking garage, where it costs twice as much as short-term parking. Jumped out of the car. Pulled my suitcase, which I had packed the night before, out of the trunk. Grabbed my gym bag from the back seat. Dumped the contents of the gym bag into the trunk. Grabbed my t-shirts, jeans, underwear, and topsiders from the suitcase. Stuffed them in the gym bag. Left the wine, the running shoes and clothes (I know, I know - who goes running ON VACATION? I always remain optimistic, though). Grabbed the insulated bag with the cheese curds and summer sausage and baby arugula from my garden. Took off my eBay Ferragamo pumps and started to run.

Have you ever run on the moving walkway at the airport?

If you have, have you ever done so in bare feet?

Moving walkways, I discovered, are not designed for bare flesh.

However, I had given myself a pedicure the night before, so at least I didn't have to worry about the world seeing gnarly toes.

We ran and ran and had bits and pieces of luggage - purse, insulated bag, gym bag, hat, computer bag, wheeled suitcase - about to fly off our bodies.

Ran through security - fortunately, we didn't get stuck behind amateurs who don't know that you can't take a full-size bottle of shampoo on a plane - ran down the hall - ran to the gate - ran right up to the counter - flashed our tickets and boarded with two minutes to spare.

It was SH's fault. All of it. And I got to say so.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tree, apple, Part the Second

 SH: Look. Look at this.

Me: What?

SH: Your mom's saran wrap drawer.

Me: Yeah? What about it?

SH: Ours is just like it!

Me: I know.

SH: But you're just like your mom! You arrange the drawer just like she does! You have the washed ziplock bags folded neatly in a corner and the saran wrap and the wax paper and the tin foil arranged neatly.

Me: Because that's the right way to do it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tree, Apple, Part the First

So we're at my mom's to celebrate her 70th birthday, which actually happened in February, but traveling to Colorado in February is not the smartest thing to do unless you don't mind flight delays. Flight delays are bad enough when you have all the time in the world, but when you have only limited vacation time because you are now working for The Man and those limited vacation days must be carefully allocated to the most important events, a flight delay becomes almost unbearable, because all you can think is, "I get hardly any vacation and I am WASTING IT in an airport!"

So we're all here: my brother, my sister, my sister's fiance, whom we shall call "M." I don't remember what I called him last year when we first met him, but if you have a better memory than I and are thinking, "But CF's sister's fiance is called DYLAN! Did she break up with Dylan and pick up with someone new? WHAT HAPPENED?" you don't need to worry. M is the same fiance from before. It's just that I am too lazy to review my archives to see what I called him.

So we're here: siblings, mom, M, SH.

And SH is getting a real kick out of comparing me to my mom.

Which is annoying, not because there is anything wrong with being like my mom - she is a lovely person who does interesting things. She is nice. She is generous. She is an amazing cook and is about the most organized person I have ever met.

She does not treat me badly. She does not gossip about me to my siblings or about my siblings to me. There are no sighs of, "Your sister is such a disappointment to me. " There are no complaints of, "When are you going to visit again?" There are no angry emails telling me I am a Bad Daughter.

I am very lucky to have my mom. She's a good mom.

But I am my own person!

Only I'm not.

We were at the restaurant. My mom and I were in the ladies. Found the table where everyone else was waiting. One side of the table faced a huge window with the sun shining in, the other faced a small window to the other, shady direction.

I pulled out the chair next to SH.

"Is this going to be OK with you, sweetie?" he asked. "There might be too much glare."

"No, it's fine," I said.

Two seconds later, my mom walked up. My sister motioned to the chair next to her, which was across from me. "Sit here, Mom," she said.

My mom shook her head. "Oh, no," she said. "There's way too much glare on that side.

SH started laughing. "You are EXACTLY like your mom!" he said.

I rolled my eyes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wisconsin 101: My people call it "spring"

SH: I'm going to turn the heat off.

Me: Noooooooo!

SH: But it's not supposed to get that cold tonight! We shouldn't need it!

Me: Then it won't click on. But what if it does get cold? [As it has been since last October.] I don't want to wake up to a freezing house.

SH: But what if we forget to turn it off before we leave for your mom's?

Me: Then if it gets cold, which it probably will, although actually, the weather will probably be perfect while we're gone, the heat will come on so the cats won't freeze.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wisconsin 101: This is how we do hats

Ever since I started my job last year, the lady who works at the office by my bus stop has come out to chat occasionally. She has always admired my hats.

I wear a hat not for fashion, although I think hats are neat, but because

1. I get a headache from glare and
2. I don't need to age before my time. Ladies, a tan looks great on a young woman, but you do not want that leathery skin when you get older. (Remember - tanning is what we do to the hides of dead animals - with aged urine, in the old days - to turn them into shoes and purses.) Although if you are a smoker, don't bother with a hat or with sunblock, because that cigarette smoke is going to give you leather lips before you're on social security.

But this lady is stylish and she thinks I am stylish, too, so I let her think that, although I did finally have to admit to her that I wear a hat because the skin of white ladies of northern European descent does not do as well in the sun as does the skin of black ladies.

Tina Turner.

I rest my case.

So she laughed. Told me she has tons of hats and never wears them and she is going to give them to me.

We talked about the hats that the COGIC ladies wear and wondered why Catholic women don't wear Good Hats to church. The Protestants rule on hats and on music.

We talked some more. Introduced ourselves. She can't remember my name so calls me "Miss Libby."

"You look like a Libby," she says, which I take as a compliment because I really like the name Libby. Indeed, I like it better than my name. (Sorry, Mom.)

I can't remember her name. I can, however, remember that she used to be a flight attendant for Midwestern Airlines, a job she loved but then you know. No more chocolate chip cookies for anyone.

Today, three seconds after I got to the bus stop, the door to her office flung open. She ran out, holding a big plastic bag in front of her. She held it out to me. I didn't know what she was doing.

And then I realized.

At long last, the hats had arrived.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 62: Mystery food

SH is home after being gone for one night and is going through his traditional "What's in the refrigerator and what's going to happen to it?: review.

For the blissfully ignorant, this involves holding the fridge door open, pulling out every single container of food, opening the lid, asking, "What is this?" and then querying me as to when said item will be eaten.


SH: Is that still the mole you made last week?

Me: Yes.

SH: Why haven't you finished it?

Me: Quit asking me stupid questions.

SH: When are you going to eat it?

Me: I don't know.

SH: Are you going to eat it for lunch?

Me: I don't know. Shut up.

SH: Are you cranky?

Me: I am now.

We go through the expanded version of this exercise when he's been gone for more than a day or two. That's when he goes through the freezer and wants to know what everything is, including the smoked venison and the fish skin he brought back from his friend Matt's party three years ago and that every time he identifies it, I suggest that perhaps now is the time to throw it away, seeing as it is three years old.

"I don't know," he always says. "You always ask me when I'm busy!"

"Busy" being defined as "looking at everything that is in the freezer," which I think would be the perfect time to make decisions about what's in the freezer, but no. The objective of this exercise is to identify food, not discard it. Why do something that might actually be useful?

Which is why when he was gone last week at Matt's party (I don't go because 1. Matt doesn't like me and 2. Matt's house is complete chaos, with three little kids and clutter everywhere, I threw the freezer-burned venison/fish skins away.

And when he came back from Matt's party and added new venison to the stash, he didn't even notice that the old stuff was gone.

So maybe I should learn from that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 765: Hoarders, SH style

SH, coming into the kitchen with a stack of newspapers in his arms, newspapers he has brought downstairs from his office: What if I got rid of some newspapers?

Me: That would be so great that I [would reward you handsomely].

Note that the newest paper on the stack is November 2011.

The newest.

SH: But what if there is something important in there?

Me: What if you walked straight out to the garage and put them in the recycling?

SH: What if I miss something?

Me: Then the world will surely come to an end.

SH: But what if I miss something?

Me: By definition, if it is from 2011, it is no longer news.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 125: You can't have your pudding if you haven't eaten your meat

Me: Oh man. You still have some beer left. You said you would be ready for bed in 20 minutes. You're already late and you haven't even finished your beer.

SH: It won't take long for me to finish.

Me: That's two inches of beer! That's 20 minutes of beer!

SH: No it isn't.

Me: Use some of it for taking your vitamins.

SH: But I haven't brushed my teeth!

Me: So?

SH: That's not the right order!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 642: Tomato, cucumber

Day 1

SH [on the phone on his way to Chicago]: Hey. Have you noticed that the washer has water dripping into it?

Me: No. But I don't usually look inside it before I put the clothes in.

SH: There was about an inch of water in it. I spun it out,  but it might still be leaking. We might have to buy a new washer.

Me: Can't we just fix it? [We bought this washer less than five years ago. It's the one that had the little delivery adventure.]

SH: Maybe. I guess we could turn off the water that goes to it.

I go into the basement and check. Indeed, the washer has about an inch of water in it and more is continuing to drip from the hose at the top back of the machine. This is a new problem. I would have heard the drip before.

I get a flashlight, a mirror, and my glasses so I can inspect the hose more closely. It is a hose with holes  in it, designed for water to drip out of, so finding a leak is not that easy.

But I remember that I was able to diagnose the problem with my very old Kenmore that lasted me for ten years and I bought it used. I called Sears (back when they weren't crap) and Keisha helped me diagnose the problem and then my former boyfriend Harpo went online and found the instructions for repair and emailed them to me and SH flew to Memphis from Milwaukee even though I had told him I didn't want to see him and he fixed my washing machine - and my dryer, which had broken the same day - which is one of the most romantic things anyone has ever done for me.

The way to a woman's heart is through home repair, guys.

So I went online and googled "LG top loader washer leak" and got all sorts of information, like if we have hard water, there could be mineral build up, or there could be some other kind of dirt and/or obstruction in the hose.

I messaged that encouraging information to SH with the comment that it didn't look like this would be difficult to repair and went to bed.

I did wonder why SH hadn't turned off the water to the machine.

Day 2
SH got home from Chicago. I brought up the machine and bragged how I had googled "LG etc."

SH: But it's not an LG.

Me: Oh. OK, so--

SH: It's a Fisher and Paykel.

Me: Right. So anyh-

SH: So it might not even be the same thing. You have to search on the right name and the right model number.

Me: It's a WASHING MACHINE that LOADS ON THE TOP and HAS HOSES. Remember how our problem with the furnace a few years ago was with hoses that need to be cleaned? This could be the same thing! How darn complicated can it be?

SH: But that's not the brand.

Me: But it's the SAME PRINCIPLE. Lord have mercy, would you look at the big picture just for once?

SH: But I'm a Honey! It's our way to pick at the tiniest nit and ignore the real issue! That's how my family rolls. And now you're one of us.

Me: I will never be one of you. [Shuddering.]

Monday, June 03, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 21: Teeth > Love

My dentist and I were comparing notes on how our significant others responded to our dental accessories.

Me: I wear my biteguard even if I'm just sitting in bed reading because it feels so much better than clenching my teeth.

[Clenched teeth is my natural state of being, which explains why my ear, my neck, and my shoulder are sore so often. Clenching reaches from inside my whole mouth, which is full of sore teeth and gums, to way down my body.]

Dr H: I had just gotten out of dental school and had just gotten my braces off. I had just met my husband. At first, I worried about wearing my retainer around him.

Me: I know! My husband hates my biteguard! It grosses him out. It's like that scene in Date Night where Tina Fey pulls her biteguard out and all that drool is on it.

Dr H: Exactly! So I wouldn't wear it around my boyfriend,  but then I thought, "Screw it. These are my teeth!"

I  nodded in agreement. "Husbands and boyfriends come and go, but you're going to need your teeth until the day you die."