Friday, May 30, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 32: Trees/forest, etc, etc, etc

Me: The CEO has started this new feature where he recognizes people once a week. He calls it "Heroes of the Revolution."

SH: Which revolution?

Me: What?

SH: Which revolution?

Me: I don't know!

SH: The American revolution?

Me: I don't know! That's not the point! The point is that he is giving public recognition to people who do a good job and that's neat.

SH: But I wonder which revolution he means.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wisconsin 101: Texans are everywhere

I was in TJMaxx, escaping work for a few minutes as I waited for a meeting that doesn't start until 5:00, and looking for some pajamas that

1. Cover my arms, legs, and neck, and
2. Do not make me look like a sack of potatoes

SH finds me so appealing in the jersey elastic-waist pants with the horizontal red stripes (one size too large because I got them at the Lands End outlet and they didn't have anything smaller) and his mustard-yellow long-sleeved t-shirt from college.

The pants are wearing out at the waist - the fabric is wearing away. Yes, it happens when you wear and wash something enough times. It starts to disappear.

The t-shirt has holes at the neck and the wrists where the seams are.

I don't look good in yellow.

The clothes are too big.

They are falling apart.

Not the recipe for El Sexy.

However, my main concern at night is being warm, not sexy.

(Remember how when we were young, we would think, "Once I am married, I will [wxyz] ALL THE TIME?)


So I was in TJMaxx, trying to find something that would fit and keep me warm and perhaps not make my husband laugh every time he sees it.

As I was browsing through the pajamas, I thought I heard a southern accent. Two southern accents.

Then I thought, No, I am just hallucinating in my desire to escape to warmer climes.

Then I heard it again.

Definitely two voices speaking with southern accents.

Me: Hey! What are y'all doing this far north?

Woman 1: We're flight attendants on layover.

Me: From Texas?

Them: Yes. Are you from Texas?

Me: I moved here from Memphis but I went to school in Texas.

Woman 2: Which school?

Me: Rice and UT.

Woman 1: My daddy went to Rice!

Woman 2: I went to UT!

I hooked 'em and smiled.

Me: I never see Texans around here!

I told them the story about the guy with the Texas jacket.

Woman 1: Yes, any time you get away and wear something with "Texas" on it, people will find you.

Me: I almost never see it. I miss it. What airline are you with?

Woman 2: Southwest.

Me: Oh! My high school boyfriend who turned out to be gay flies for Southwest! I see him any time he has a layover here.

Both women laugh.

I laugh.

Me: We all have a boyfriend like that in our past, don't we? The Boyfriend Who Turned Out To Be Gay.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 765: Waiting for Godot

SH: What are you doing?

Me: Folding towels.

SH: Aren't we going to leave for the restaurant soon?

Me: Yes. I'm ready. I'm waiting for you.

SH: Then why are you folding?

Me: So I'm not wasting time.

SH: Why can't you just stand around and wait?

Me: Why should I waste my time?

SH: Can't you just enjoy the process of waiting for me?

Me: You never do that for me.

SH: That's different.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 621: Maybe we start a line of appliances called Lazarus

SH: It's at times like this that I wish that pod coffee maker still worked.

Me: You mean the one that's broken?

SH: Yes.

Me: And that's still in the basement rather than in the trash?

SH: Yes.

Me: And we can't throw it away why?

SH: I still maintain hope that some day, I will plug it in and it will work.

Me: You mean that some kind of magic will heal an electric appliance.

SH: Yes.

Me: Does that happen a lot?

SH: Sometimes. Sometimes things work intermittently.

Me: And sometimes they are just broken.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 761: All roads lead to wine

In the basement, where SH is sorting through his wine and the boxes and moving wine from one box to the next and lamenting the poor state of his wine boxes, of which he claims not to have enough because I have made him get rid of extra wine boxes and it's all my fault and I point out that there is one corner of the basement that has nothing but empty wine boxes and he says they are not the RIGHT KIND of wine box.

Me: Hey! Is that a box of Girl Scout cookies?

SH looks over at me: Yes.

Me: Hey! You have been hiding Girl Scout cookies down here?

I examine the box more closely. It is not even the good kind of GS cookies - they are just plain. I don't even remember which kind and I am too lazy to go back downstairs to look at the box again.

SH: They've been here for months.

Me: But you've been hiding them from me?

SH: I don't know. They're probably no good any more.

I open the box. Half a sleeve of cookies has been eaten.

Me: They've been here for months? I should probably throw them away.

SH: No! I actually have them there to keep that wine box closed!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 765: Forest/trees

Me: Wow. These boy scouts found Ann Curry while they were hiking. She had a broken leg.

SH: Where were they?

Me: Hiking.

SH: What was Ann Curry doing there?

Me: I don't know.

SH: How did she break her leg?

Me: I don't know.

SH: Did she fall?

Me: I don't know. The story is about the scouts, not about how she ended up there.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 98: If a man whines in an emtpy house, does anyone feel sorry for him?

SH: Now that we're both working, we have money but we don't have any time. We had time when you weren't working.

Me: No. I had time. You still didn't have time.

[Because SH is a procrastinator and has been a procrastinator and will be a procrastinator.]

SH: But at least when you weren't working, I could come downstairs and whine or talk to you. I had company during the day.

[Another key difference between us: SH wants to be around people all the time and I do not. It's not that I don't enjoy being with people I like. I do. I love my friends and my family. But it takes energy and I have to be by myself to recharge. SH, on the other, draws energy from being around people. Yet he is the one who works from home and I am the one who goes to an office full of people every day. Which means that when I get home after work, all I want is to be alone and all he wants is to be with me. You see the problem, right?]

Me: Yeah. That part was great for me.

SH: I had someone to whine to when I needed it. Now I have to save it all up until you get home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wisconsin 101: This is Wisconsin people here get up early

SH and I need some work done on our house. Last fall, we got a new roof Merry Christmas to us.

A few years ago, we got a new driveway. Who wouldn't rather have a new driveway than a trip to Italy?

Now we need to have the garage painted and the exterior window trim done and various little things and it's going to be a pain in the neck but when you own a house, you can't ignore this stuff or the rot will spread and pretty soon the mortar is cracking and then the rain gets into your house and ruins the plaster and your ceiling falls and ruins the floors and you just have to nip this stuff in the bud.

I got on Angie's List and found some guys and made appointments. We had two guys come over last night to give us estimates. It was 5:50. I was doing something in the kitchen and SH came down from his office and said he should probably put on something more presentable and I said Oh he won't be here for ten minutes yet and SH said This is Wisconsin I bet he shows up early.


It was like it was scripted:

SH: I bet he shows up early

[doorbell rings]

SH got all cranky because the guy was early but I was happy because I hate waiting for people.

The guy came and went, after saying, "Better to be early than late!"

SH told me grouchily that no, it is better to be late than to be early because who's prepared for someone to be early?

I said Yes but I hate waiting for people so being late is really worse.

SH wouldn't know what it's like to wait for someone because he is never the one who is waiting. He is the late one and I am the prompt one, so in our relationship, the waiter/later relationship works in his favor. He never has to wait because I am always ready when I say I will be.

The second guy was supposed to come at 7.

At 7:00 exactly, the doorbell rang. SH still wasn't super happy, but he pointed out that at least this guy was not early.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 875: For worse and whiney

SH: I'm overwhelmed. I have too much to do.

Me: You do have a lot going on.

SH: It's too much!

Me: You are  just going to have to set some boundaries.

SH: It's hard!

Me: You never have a hard time saying "no" to me.

SH: That's because you're stuck with me and have to put up with my crap.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 85: Hoarders, redux

So the other day, I was moving some winter clothes from downstairs to the guest room, which serves as my overflow room. I was moving winter clothes in the vain hope that if I get rid of the winter clothes, I will not need them any more, which is stupid, because there is no surer way to bring snow than to put your shovels away. SH and I have learned that sad lesson.

Still. I was moving my clothes.

There is chest of drawers in the guest room where we put our sweaters and long  underwear. Right now, it holds summer clothes.

But as I removed my summer clothes (hello, tennis skirts!) and tried to install my winter clothes, I realized there was just not enough room. How could that be? I have been switching in and out of this dresser for six years.

But so has SH. And I realized that with each season, he has annexed a little more space. In three different places, he had boxer shorts that were still in their original packaging.

This dresser is not the staging area for never-worn clothes. If you buy new underwear, then some of the old underwear has to go. That's the rule. Everyone knows the rule. You don't buy new underwear and keep using the old underwear and keep the new underwear upstairs for a Special Occasion.

SH is not doing it right.

I also noticed blue jeans.

SH just bought two new pairs of jeans to go with the several pairs he already owns and keeps downstairs. Why are there other jeans up here? Jeans are not season specific. There is no reason to store jeans in the off-season dresser.

I yelled at him. "Can I give these jeans to charity?"

I already had a big pile on the floor for Goodwill. My rule is that if I have not worn the item in five years, it's not going to happen. It is time for those size six jeans to go. I will never be ten pounds lighter again. I just won't. I am married and living in hostile territory, i.e., an environment with cheese and frozen custard and cookies.

That is my dilemma: I want to be thinner, but I already  have a husband - a husband who tells me all the time that he likes how I look, so why do I need to reach a weight that I consider attractive and optimal?

Can someone explain that to me, please? I still get looks from men, especially when I wear my orange skirt and my black jacket that ties at the waist and gives me an hourglass shape that I do not actually possess. So why do I care about those ten pounds?

Time for the jeans to go.

And a lot of other stuff I haven't worn in the past two years and I am not going to wear. That is my decision rule: If I haven't worn it in the past two years, it doesn't matter how much I like it (and if I really liked it, why haven't I worn it?), it is gone.

There. A decision rule for keeping or discarding. This is not hard.

But SH panicked. "No!!!!!!!" he yelled from his office. "DO NOT GET RID OF ANY OF MY STUFF!"

"Come on!" I said. "You haven't worn this stuff!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" he shouted again. "DO NOT TOUCH MY STUFF!"

I went into his office. "You are hogging all the room."

"I don't have time to deal with this now," he said. "You will have to ask me sometime when I'm prepared to make a decision."

"You are never prepared to make a decision!" I said.

"When you don't know what to do, the best decision is to make no decision," he stated.

"You are so wrong. No wonder you never get anything done! You won't make a damn decision!"

"Don't touch my stuff," he warned.

Later that evening, I asked him. "Why is this so hard for you?"

"Why is it so easy for you?" he countered.

"I have had to move too many times," I said. "I am not attached to my things. It's just stuff."

"But your mom has stuff."

"My mother is nowhere near your mom and dad. My mom has stuff, but it is organized. Your parents are hoarders. The only reason they haven't put things on the ceiling is it's too hard for them to get up there."

"I am not as bad as my mom and dad."

"No, you are a lot better. Their house is a disaster. But our house would be bad if I didn't fight you every day on this."

"But I get nostalgic about my things! I might want to look at them. I like opening an old box and remembering, 'I used to work on this!'"

I shook my head. "I completely do not understand that at all. I have two boxes and that includes things from second grade. But only two boxes. You have stuff all over."

He continued. "I look at my old clothes and remember how much I liked wearing them and I think I might be able to fit into them again someday and maybe even wear them again."

I shook my head again. "We are nothing alike. You know that if you die first, I am throwing all your stuff away, right?"

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 761: Saturday morning whiner

Saturday morning. SH is up because he has to give a speech at a political thing. It is 7:50 a.m. He has to leave the house at 9:00. I am up even though I don't want to be. I am not attending the speech.

When I first started dating my musician boyfriend, Harpo, I used to go to all of his shows. I noticed the other band members' girlfriends/spouses only showed up occasionally. "How disloyal!" I thought.

And then - after a few months of sitting by myself at the bar waiting for the band to set up and then waiting for them to play and only caring about hearing when Harpo played and sang, I thought, "You know I think I'll skip this one."

And thus began my time of Not Attending Every Boyfriend Event. And it was good. (Even though I still really liked - and still like - hearing Harpo play. But now I listen to him on the occasional clip he posts on facebook.)

When I met SH, I was already primed not to be a Supportive Girlfriend/Spouse/SO. He started with all this political stuff and I said "Well that's nice see you later I'm going to read my book."

And it was good.

So I am not part of the drama this morning - the speechwriting last night, the anxiety this morning.

I am sitting here, reading my favorite blogs and the newspaper.

SH [big sigh]: I don't know what to do about breakfast.

Me: [read paper]

SH: The breakfast pastries [that I get at Wild Flour Bakery, which is owned by my dad's cousin and his wife, so I shop there often - they have a shop right by my office] are gone.

Me: [read paper]

SH: It just seems like so much work to make eggs.

Me: [read paper]

SH: But eggs would be good. And toast.

Me: [read paper]

SH: I don't know what to do.

Me: [read paper]

SH: [long silence]

SH [big sigh]: I guess I'll just have some cold cereal.

He pours himself some cereal and goes upstairs. Half an hour later, he returns.

Me: You wanted me to offer to make breakfast for you, didn't you?

SH: Yes! You are a Not Breakfast Maker!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

BIO: The top five things that make me crazy

Marsha has given us the topic for May - the top five things that make you, which is me, crazy.

This will be so easy to write.

1. Waiting. I hate waiting. Hate it hate it hate it.

It's not so bad if I have something to read, but most of my waiting is for SH, who will have said, "I'm just going to get my keys and then we can go," which really means, "I am going upstairs to get my keys. While I am there, I will check my work email and facebook to make sure I am not missing anything. I usually am, so I will probably spend a few minutes answering an email or correcting someone who is WRONG on facebook."

But I do not hear the actual meaning. I hear, "then we can go," which means I should put on my coat and turn off my computer and put my book away. Once the coat and the nice going-out clothes are on, sitting back down on the bed to read more is not an option, as I do not want to get cat hair on clothes that leave the house.

I also hate waiting for the bus. What is the point of a schedule that says the bus will be at 37th Street at 7:14 a.m. if it almost never arrives until 7:19? The bus people have robbed me of five minutes of my life every time I have to wait. That is time I could be sleeping or drinking another cup of coffee. But I dare not assume that today, the bus will be late, as it almost always is, because the day that I am not at the stop at 7:14 is the day the bus arrives on time.

2. Perfume and anything else that I can smell on or around another person. Here's a hint about perfume and scented lotions: You might think other people want to smell them on you, but we don't. If you want to smell scent on yourself, that's fine, but do not wear so much that anyone else can smell you. I do not want to smell your perfume. I do not want to smell your hand lotion. I do not want to smell anything on you except clean.

You might not think you are wearing too much perfume, but you are. I am talking to you, lady at the Gallery Walk last week. I didn't see you at the MSOE museum, but I sure smelled you. You stink. Knock it off with the perfume.

In addition, I would rather not smell microwaved fish in the breakroom at work.

3. Talking on the phone. I do not like it. I would much rather just send an email to someone and wait for the answer and then email again. I do not like talking on the phone. It's too inefficient. It is much easier to communicate information - and much faster - via email.

I have to talk on the phone (or on skype, more likely, at work). That's not so bad because as much as I hate talking to people, I hate being at work even more. So I would rather talk than work. But I would rather read a book than talk. Unfortunately, it is frowned upon to read in the workplace.

4. The bathroom light at work. It is on a sensor and comes on only when someone enters the bathroom. It is supposed to stay on for a set amount of time, which it does, only the set amount of time is very short. That, or I take an unusually long time to pee. More than once, I have been alone in the bathroom, minding my own business, when the light has gone out and I am stuck in utter darkness. I try waving my arms to hit the sensor, but the sensor does not go inside the stalls. This is not convenient.

5.  Getting cat hair off things. I believed when I read that cat hair is one of the most electrostatic substances in the world. I love my kitties, but I wish I could take them to be shaved every few months so I could actually touch them while I am wearing work clothes.

6. Wait! No! Not cat hair! Being cold! I hate being cold! It is May and I am still wearing my winter coat (not the down coat, but still a winter coat) and gloves. Shouldn't I not need a winter coat by May?

7. Another one! I was at the dry cleaner's yesterday and noticed that the men's shirts all had long tails on them. Why can't they make women's shirts with long tails? I am so tired of having my blouse always pull out of my waistband. Are there any clothing manufacturers who care about what women actually want in clothing? Ie, have any of them considered that we might like

1. pockets
2. long tails
3. clothes that are sized properly so we could buy them without even trying them on? SH will come home with jeans and shirts and I will ask how they looked on and he will tell me he doesn't know because he didnt try them on before buying them. He can do that because men's clothes are sized in inches so HE KNOWS IF THEY WILL FIT.
4. 5/8" seams so we can let the dress out a scooch in the hips once we accept that hey, unless I am willing to starve which I am not, this is it.

8. And this is way more than five, but I thought of this at work the other day, when the Big Boss called a sudden meeting ten minutes before lunch - a meeting without an agenda, a meeting that ran all through lunch and hence my spin class, a meeting I did not know was going to last an hour or I would have gone to the ladies' first, a meeting that was not an emergency unless you consider learning that the company is going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on frivolous stuff but no way are we going to pay people a penny more than it takes to get them in the door, even if it means turnover of 40% in my office alone, including one guy who just didn't come back after lunch. And people, these are not temp or unskilled labor jobs. These are jobs that require a lot of training and need smart people with good judgment. Treat people crummy and that's what happens - 40% turnover.

Oh - so what makes me crazy? Meetings. Stupid pointless meetings. When I have a meeting, I invite only the people who need to be there. I prepare an agenda beforehand. I send the materials to everyone. During the meeting, we stay on the agenda. We discuss problems and possible solutions. We decide on next steps. I send out meeting notes detailing what we decided and what needs to be done and who is doing it. My meetings do not waste people's time.

I do not like other people's meetings because they waste my time and now that my grandparents are all dead, I can't even write them letters during the meeting just so I am not totally wasting my time.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 987: The taxonomy of the whites

As we are folding laundry in preparation for making the bed, still with flannel sheets. Still. SH was all ready to make the bed but discovered there were other items mixed in with the sheets, which he felt was scope creep, as he had committed only to making the bed, not to folding other things. But fold he did, admitting, "You do the laundry so the least I can do is fold."

Me: Hey! Stop! What are you doing?

SH: What?

Me: You put a [folded] washcloth on top of that [folded] handkerchief!

SH: But they are the same shape and size!

Me: That is not how you classify laundry!

SH folds a dishrag and puts it on top of the washcloth.

Me: Now you are really doing it wrong!

SH: They are all the same size and shape!

Me: But they don't get stored anywhere near each other! They are not in the same categories!

SH: Same size and shape.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 12: Smoke signals

SH: What do you want me to get at the store tomorrow?

Me: The fish. And some ground pecans.

SH: How am I supposed to remember all that?

[NB SH's nickname is "The Rememberer" because he forgets nothing. Nothing. He admits that one of the issues in his first marriage was his tendency to recite a list of every single thing his ex had ever done wrong any time they were arguing. They did go to marriage counseling - the counseling, plus his very strong desire not to be a jerk like his dad - cured him of his recitations. He remembers everything he reads and everything he does. When some politician was being grilled by a Senate committee and couldn't remember what he'd been doing on a certain day a year before, SH snorted. I said, "Oh, like you can remember what you were doing a year ago." He said, "November 3, 2005 - I was in Cedar Rapids working with a client."]

Me: If only there existed a mechanism to preserve and transmit information across time without losing the integrity of the information.

SH: I'm not supposed to be the grocery list maker in this house! You are!

Me: I'm not the one who wants the flourless pecan chocolate torte.*

*Well I do of course want this torte, but I do better at not eating fattening things when they are not in my house. If I were not married, I would never make something like that. I wouldn't have potato chips in my house. Or cheese. Or frozen custard. SH can eat those things in moderation. I cannot.