Friday, August 29, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 123: The clothes probably wouldn't have fit

SH: Wow. You look really hot in that outfit.

[It is the gym pants I wear to ride my bike to work. They are not bike pants - they are regular gym pants with a wide leg. Wide legs do not work well on a bike.]

Me: I know.

SH: So what do the people at work think when they see you?

Me: I don't know. But hey! They are almost all engineers, so they don't make eye contact.

SH: But they still look at your feet.

Me: Oh man. So they see the binder clips attached to my cuffs to hold the pants in. They're probably thinking, "What a dork!"

SH: Nope. They're engineers. They're thinking, "Hmmm. That's a good idea."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 764: Respite for abused husbands who help around the house but do not get enough warm fuzzies

SH: Hey! You've been ignoring me!

Me: What?

SH: I've been doing things!

[He has taken out the recycling, has vacuumed the kitchen - which is one of his chores, and has trimmed the cats' nails. I have done two loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, made macaroni and cheese and potato salad and onion-blue cheese tart, cleaned the cat box, gone to the farmers market, done this big financial report thingy for SH's project, and other stuff.]

Me: OK.

SH: I need affirmation!

Me: Oh really?

SH: Instead of saying, "Thank you - that's enough for a while," you're saying I should do more. That's mean.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goth Girl and Goth Boy, 12

Goth Girl was On The Bus today. Sitting in my seat. My seat. I had to sit two seats behind her in one of the side seats, which meant that every time the bus lurched, I was thrown from side to side rather than from front to back. Side to side is much more uncomfortable than front to back.

Her hair was pinned back with a black leather bow. She was wearing black leggings with lace at the ankle, a purple knit miniskirt, and a gray hoodie. As usual, she looked great because she is 15 and at 15, everyone looks great, even the girls who think they don't.

Goth Boy got on the bus. I saw him from the left and noticed that he has a hoop earring in his left ear. He left his earbud in his left ear so the right ear could hear what GG was saying. It might behoove him to remove both earbuds to concentrate on her fully. There is almost nothing sexier than getting someone's full attention.

I couldn't hear what they were saying very well. There was something about German shepherds and then something about unions - how unions protect you against discrimination and pay you when you've been injured on the job.

I should not expect a 15 year old to understand employment law, so I will not criticize her for being wrong on those issues, but honestly.

I could have heard more if they had talked when the bus was stopped, like the two minutes it took for the driver to help the passenger using the wheelchair get off the bus. (The wheelchair has to be locked onto the floor of the bus during the ride, so getting a wheelchair user on and off the bus takes a little time.)

But they talked only - she talked only - when the bus was moving. She looked straight ahead. He kept turning his head to her. Even though I could see only the back of his head, it was a yearning look, I am sure. 

Maybe some progress? She was laughing and pulling away, saying, "Stop!" I couldn't see what was going on, but was he tickling her or squeezing her knee? Physical contact! Maybe there is hope.

GB, get rid of the earbud. Let her see that she has your complete, undivided attention.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 764: Tomayto, tomahto

SH: Hey! Are you going to make me a tomato salad?

Me: Maybe. Are you hungry?

SH: No.

Me: So???

SH: But later?

Me: Maybe.

SH: Are there ripe tomatoes?

Me: Yes.

SH: But are they the Good Tomatoes?

Me: No.

SH: But I want the Good Tomatoes!

Me: You didn't dig up the back yard for a garden. You didn't plant the tomatoes. You haven't been weeding. you have not done anything to create the Good Tomatoes.

[The other tomatoes are the farmers market tomatoes, which are not bad, but they are not as good as the tomatoes from my garden.]

SH: I don't hog all the good food!

Me: I'm not hogging. But I am the one who put all the work into these tomatoes.

SH: You need to share.

Me: This is not Cuba. There is no forced sharing.

SH: When I make steak, I don't keep all the good parts for myself. I share it with you.

Me: When you start raising and butchering the beeves yourself, you can keep all the Good Steak for yourself.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 234: Clutterers anonymous

You guys, I think the well has run dry. I don't have anything to write about that I can write about. There is stuff going on - new job, SH's projects - but it's not a good idea to write about work and husband's projects online.

Well, I guess I can write about the impact of SH's big project. Where do you guys stand on clutter? Is there a designated clutter space in your house? I have mentioned before that I grew up in a clutter-free environment whereas SH was raised by hoarders in a house where every surface except the ceiling is covered with tchotkes.

The house of SH's parents is a nightmare. I just read the book "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chast. I recommend it. She talks about caring for her aging parents and the problems of getting them into assisted care and cleaning out their apartment, where they had lived for over 50 years. They were collectors. They never threw anything away. Roz had to clean it all out. Actually, she sorted through almost everything, took the few things she wanted, and then left the rest for the superintendent -

Note to those of us who have never lived in an apartment in a big city - I have learned that the superintendent is the person in charge of the building, doing repairs and whatever. This is the sort of knowledge you get from living in New York. This and knowing what a taxi medallion is. If you have not lived in New York, you do not know this stuff. In flyover country, we do our own repairs or we beg our landlord - if we are renters - to repair. In flyover country, we do not take taxis because it is too hard to get a taxi. We drive.

Where was I? Oh! She left most of the junk in her mom and dad's apartment for the superintendent to deal with. I wish SH and I had that option with his parents.

My mom has a lot of stuff, too, but her stuff is organized. Also, my mom is not the kind of person to leave her mess for other people to deal with. My mom will make sure that her house is lean and mean in 24 years, when it might be time for her to move.

NB - My sister's husband has told SH and me that "when it is time, Mom is coming to live with US." My mom is a good houseguest and does not expect to be waited on hand and foot. She entertains herself and does her own dishes. She would be a good person to have as another member of the household.

SH's parents, on the other hand - well, they expect a higher level of service.

And I have gone so far from my main point that I can't even see it any more. What I was getting at was that SH has a clutter problem. The walls of his office shrink a little more each year. It's his office - his space. I don't dictate what happens there.

But when the clutter spills into the rest of the house, I have a problem with it.

His clutter is like a virus, stealthily invading the hallway, the stairs, the guest room, the dining room, and the living room.

SH's defense is that as long as we are not having people over for dinner, the dining room does not have to be clutter free.

I maintain that the dining room should be maintained in its state as a dining room. That I should be able to look at the dining room table and see nothing but table.

He disagrees and of course he is so so wrong. He points out that our house looks better than his parents' house does and I reply that that's setting the bar really low.

So my question - what is the rule in your house? Where is clutter allowed to accumulate? Whose clutter is it? Where do you throw a bit of a fit and insist that this mess be dealt with? Is it when you find your husband's suit hanging from the rocking chair? Even though YOU HAVE A CLOSET? Is it when the pile of empty corrugated boxes in the basement falls over? Is it when you can't walk up the stairs because they are so full of junk mail and things you want to throw away but SH says he can fix?

What say you?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goth Girl and Goth Boy, 11

Saw my favorite bus driver, Gwen C, this afternoon. We always chat. She is the nicest lady in the world. She is the one who waited for me the day I was at the stop by City Hall that was actually closed and I hadn't noticed because I was too busy trying not to freeze to death. I noticed about ten seconds before the bus was supposed to arrive that I was in the wrong place and an entire block away from the next place the bus really would stop, so I started running in the snow with my heavy coat and snow boots and gym bag and purse and the bus pulled up and then passed me and stopped way ahead on the corner. I thought I was going to miss it and be stuck downtown in the cold for another 30 minutes, but the bus waited. And waited.

When I got to the bus, out of breath, I saw it was Gwen driving. I thanked her for waiting and she said, "I recognized you all the way back there. Of course I waited for you."

So she is my bud and I saw her today because I was on an early bus. I asked her if she ever drove GG and GB home. I see them only in the mornings - I have never seen them in the afternoon. Gwen drives an afternoon shift, so it's possible that she might have seen them.

I described them and their situation - they had been together but now they're not and it looks like she's been punishing him - "Oooh, he's in the doghouse!" Gwen said - but might be relenting a bit.

"Why do you think they broke up?" she asked.

"I don't know," I told her. "Have you seen them? We need more information."

No, she has not seen them. But she wants to know what's going on.

"You wouldn't believe the things people tell me," she said. "They get on this bus and tell me things about their lives and I just go um, um, um."

"You're like a priest," I said. "You're anonymous and safe."

She laughed. "They just need someone to tell their troubles to, I guess."

She will be on the lookout for GG and GB.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wisconsin 101: Not always so nice here

SH and I were returning from downtown and stopped at a traffic light kitty corner from the police station. As usual, SH was being a bit cranky because the light was taking too long and oh man why does it always take soooo long?

SH sometimes thinks that the laws of the universe should not apply to people who are in a hurry.

I just turned the radio up and watched the oncoming traffic. A car to our left turned right in front of an oncoming SUV. It is not a turn I would have made - there was not enough room - and the SUV driver had to slam on her brakes.

Naturally - wait, not naturally - this is Wisconsin and people here are pretty nice or pretty passive aggressive - pick your poison - and it is rare to hear a horn honk. Really. You almost never hear any one honk a horn. If someone is not moving and not moving when the light turns green and it goes on more than a few seconds, you will not hear blaring horns from all the cars behind but one polite quick tap of the horn that says, "Excuse me but perhaps you didn't notice the light has turned green. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind lifting your foot off the brake and touching the gas?"

It is a very demure honk.

I don't honk unless someone is not moving or unless the rare occasion occurs in which I encounter a complete idiot. That seems to be the practice here.

The SUV driver honked.

Rightfully so. It was a "Did you really do something soooo stupid and dangerous that I was compelled to give a real honk? Honey this is not New York City. We do not drive crazy here. We do not drive rude. We have time to get to where we are going. Your behavior is unacceptable."

It was a righteous honk of the horn.

The driver of the car slammed on her brakes. Stopped the car with the back end of her car in the intersection, forcing the SUV to stop IN THE INTERSECTION.

The car driver flung open her door. Got out of her car. Marched back to the SUV, shaking her fist and (apparently - the radio was still turned up) screaming.

"Did you see that?" I gasped to SH.

"See what?" he asked.

SH remains focused on the task at hand almost all the time. We were walking through the airport in Milwaukee once and two monks in saffron robes approached us. "Did you see that?" I asked after they had passed us. It wasn't like I could say, "Hey! SH! LOOK AT THE GUYS IN THE SAFFRON ROBES!" That would have been rude.

"See what?" he asked.

"The two men in saffron robes who JUST WALKED PAST YOU!"

He shook his head. He had not seen them. I do not get it.

"Look at the woman over there!" I said as I pointed.

He looked.

The drama continued.

The car driver continued to scream and then stomped back to her car, leaned inside, marched back to the SUV, and THREW A BOTTLE AT THE SUV.

My jaw dropped.

I expect this kind of drama in the movies or in New York, which has people from cultures that express their emotions, not Milwaukee, which is filled with Germans and Scandinavians. We don't do any dancing that involves moving our hips and we certainly don't scream and throw bottles at people who have offended us.

Oh sure we march east and invade small, defenseless countries. Iowa, do not get on our bad side. But we do not throw bottles.

I gasped again. I keep thinking that I have seen all there is to see in daily life but I am continually proven wrong.

Our light turned green. SH took his foot off the brake and put it on the gas.

"Wait!" I said. "I want to see how this turns out!"

"Are you crazy?" he asked. "I want to get out of here."

Which made me remember that he is not concerned with plot at all. And which makes me think this post should have been about how engineers look at everyday occurrences and deviations from everyday occurrences and how English majors look at such things, but that means I would have to rewrite this and I am too lazy to do so.

So. Take what you will from this, as we do not know how it ended. People here are not nice all the time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wisconsin 101: The tell-tale heart

Yesterday (I am writing this a few weeks before this post will appear - essential to the plot, as you will see) was the last day of my old job. I have not written much about my job here as I do not think it is prudent to air one's dirty work laundry in a place where it is possible - albeit remotely - that one may be identified. The first amendment, contrary to what many people who think they are educated believe, does not protect one from one's employer. An employer can legally and constitutionally - as long as the employer is not the government - fire someone for snarking about the employer.

I am glad to leave the old job. I liked most of the people I worked with, but the CEO was impossible. I have read about people in horrible job situations and always thought they were exaggerating or perhaps they were the ones at fault and that might be the case, but I can tell you that I have lived it and it is real.

It's kind of like I never believed in-laws could be so horrible until I got some of my own. Now I get it. There are some mean people out there. I guess I am lucky to be so shocked at this kind of thing - bad bosses and mean relatives. It means that I have had good bosses and good relatives up to now.

Anyhow. Last day of the old job and it was the first of the month.

I take the bus to work. I buy a monthly pass that is validated electronically every time I use it. I cancelled it as of the last of July because I did not want to pay $67 to ride the bus on August 1.

That meant that I had to pay for my ride with cash on the last day.

But I thought, "I should see if the pass works."

In the back of my mind was, "And if it does, maybe I won't pay the $2.25."

But also in the back of my mind was, "But if it does work and They know I used it even though I canceled it, I will be charged the monthly fee because that's what I would do if I were in charge of the passes."

Behind all that was, "What if I can just wave the pass at the driver and not touch it to the pad? But that only works if the regular driver isn't there. Some drivers make you touch the pass, others don't."

I sighed, remembering that the morning driver always makes me touch the pass to the pad, and got $2.25 out of my wallet.

The bus arrived. I got on.

It was a different driver.

My lizard brain (ie, the brain without a conscience) took over. I put the cash back into the pocket of my purse and pulled out my pass instead.

I waved it at her. I started walking back to My Seat.

"You need to touch the pass to the pad," the driver called at me.


I touched the pass to the pad.


They had cancelled it. I was kind of surprised because I did not expect that level of efficiency from my company's HR department, which seems to spend all of its time looking for more ways to cut benefits and disadvantage the employees.

I put the pass back in my wallet and got the $2.25 out from the pocket of my purse.

"Oh, don't worry about it," the driver said as she waved her hand.

"But I need to pay," I said weakly, because I wanted her to convince me not to.

She shook her head. "Just make sure you get it straightened out when you get to work."

I put the money back in my purse and walked to My Seat.

The whole ride, I thought, "I got away with it!" and "I'm going to get caught" and "I am not doing the right thing."

I couldn't stand it. When we got to my stop, I went to the front of the bus.

"I really need to pay," I told her. "My card was supposed to be cancelled. It's my last day of work and I was curious to see if it would work or if my HR had messed up."

"Oh, OK," she said.

I had put the money back in my wallet. I pulled it out of my purse and tried to unzip it. It wouldn't unzip. There was a dollar bill caught in the zipper.

The light turned green. "Don't worry about it," the driver said.

"But I need to!" I tugged some more. I finally got the wallet open and pulled out the dollar. It was torn. I tried feeding it into the machine, but the machine wouldn't take.

"Really!" she laughed. "Don't worry about it. Have a great last day!"

Well OK. I will.

On the way home, I got on the bus - I no longer had a pass because I had surrendered it to HR, along with my badge - and pulled out my wallet. I knew the driver - I had seen him off and on for over a year. He saw me getting out my wallet and waved it away.

"I don't have a pass any more," I said. "It's my last day at this job and I had to turn it in. I need to pay cash."

"Nah," he said. "Don't worry about it. I gotcha."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Goth Girl and Goth Boy, 10

Goth Girl and Goth Boy were on the bus today. She was wearing black and gray. He was wearing black and gray. He removed his backpack before sitting, which is not his usual practice. Why today? Why the change in habit? Did he finally think, before sitting, "You know, I might be more comfortable if I don't have a backpack behind me, pushing me forward?" Who knows what happens in the mind of a teenager?

GG didn't talk. She was scribbling furiously with her left hand in a green, spiral-bound notebook. GB looked ahead, listened to his music. He coughed, yawned. He was unshaven. 

It was a companionable silence, not a tense one. The kind of silence I imagine that couples who have been married for a while have. The kind that couples who are not like SH and me have. SH and I do not have companionable silence. We have times where I am trying to tell a story and SH just wants me to get to the point already and I explain that the story is the point. We also have times where SH is talking about politics (ie, always) and I am trying to get him to stop talking about politics and reminding him that he tricked me by not telling me before we married that he would become this involved in politics.

However, we also do not have the silence described in the movie "Best in Show" where Jennifer Coolidge (aka "The Bend and Snap Chick") is married to a very, very old man who doesn't talk. "We can talk or not talk," she says. "We have a lot in common. We both like soup."

Where was I? So GG and GB sit quietly for about ten minutes and then he bumps her with his shoulder and she bumps back and they repeat. Then she scratches his back with her right hand and smiles. 

They return to stillness, but 30 seconds later, GB reaches over and tickles GG's leg and she laughs and grabs his hand. 

We reach their stop. GB grabs one of GG's bags and then lifts his backpack with the same hand and carries both items off the bus. Gallant.

Full Best in Show quotation:

Sherri Ann Cabot: [Discussing her 80 year old husband who's 44 years her senior] Leslie and I have an amazing relationship and it's very physical, he still pushes all my buttons. People say 'oh but he's so much older than you' and you know what, I'm the one having to push him away. We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

Minnesota 101: Sleeping late on vacation - not

Y'all, I have something to say about dogs. I like dogs OK. I am a cat person and I take dogs on a case by case basis. I usually prefer big dogs - don't like the little yippy ones - and I don't like to hold dogs. They are not soft and pliable the way cats are. And they usually don't smell very good. But I have met some very sweet dogs in my life and am not at all anti-dog.

What I am is anti-owner.

And what I am going to complain about is something that I am sure you will all join me in condemning, because I can't imagine any of you guys allowing this to happen.

SH and I were on vacation. We took a little tour of the northern shore of Lake Superior, spending a night in Duluth before driving up the shore to Split Rock lighthouse. We had been up late the night before we went to Duluth because we were lucky enough to get to visit our friends Patrick and Ilene (the blogger formerly known as the Bodacious Red-Headed Pediatrician and now known as the Mother of Those Darn Cute Two Year Old Twins). By the time we got to our motel in Duluth, we were a little bit tired. All we wanted to do was sleep. After we ate, that was.

It was an old-fashioned motel. It was on what used to be the highway to Duluth but is now a minor road. Cute little place with a cool neon sign in the front, a friendly-owner who explained about the continental breakfast - Cheerios and Lenders bagels, and a worn but clean room that someone had gamely tried to decorate with a wreath of dried flowers over the bed and a flowered bedspread over flowered sheets.

It was fine. All we needed was a clean, quiet place to sleep. We had seen the Harleys on the way to our room, but they were parked in front of another section of the motel.

We thought we were safe.

We went to bed at 11, which is super early for SH and late for me. But we both thought we would sleep in the next morning. Our plan was to drive to Split Rock lighthouse, which was only 100 miles or so away - could be more, could be less, but I don't want to look it up right now - after visiting the Duluth Farmers Market. (That turned out to be a bust. Nothing was ripe in Milwaukee - what made me think it would be ripe in Duluth? Although they were selling purslane, which is the bane of my garden existence here and which I have used deadly chemicals on to no avail.)

We were going to sleep late.

And we would have, had the dog - yes, THE DOG, in the next room not started to bark at 6 o'dark a.m.

People. I like dogs. I like cats. I have cats. What I do not do with my cats is inflict them on other people. We have the noisiest cats in the world. We would never - unless we had absolutely no other choice - take our cats into a hotel room with us. First, they are destructive and they shed and we would not want to do that to someone else's property. Second, they whine and cry as soon as the sun is up and they are loud enough to wake the dead. We would not be so rude as to have the cats in a place where they could wake up the people around us.

And if we did, once the cats had started making noise, we would not just lie in bed hoping they would shut up.

No. We would remove them from the room so they would not disturb other hotel guests at 6 o'dark in the morning on a Saturday, when most people still want to be sleeping.

The people in the room next to us did not have the same approach to animal noise. They apparently were traveling with a dog, a dog that started barking at 6 o'dark a.m. and that continued to bark until 7 a.m., which is not dark but is still too early to inflict barking on the people who do not love the dog.

They were rude, rude, rude, which is not at all the impression I had of people from Minnesota, whom I thought were supposed to nice the rest of us to death. My only guess is that they were not from Minnesota. Where in this country is it socially acceptable to let your dog bark super early in the morning? I would really like to know because I want to know where not to travel.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 764: Waste not, want not

How many of you have this problem? Raise your hand if you are married or cohabit with someone who hates to throw anything away.

Now raise your hand if you have done the math in your head for how long it would take to be paroled, assuming any jury in the country would find you guilty after you smothered said spouse/cohabitor with some of his 30 year old college t-shirts or 20 year old phone bills. Nobody who has ever lived with a collector would be able to, in good conscience, find a defendant guilty of anything other than just wanting not to have crap all over her house.

Not saying that SH is a hoarder. He is not. I have seen photos of hoarders.

And, as he always points out, he is not as bad as his parents. However, that is damning with faint praise indeed, as the only surface in his parents' house that is not covered with tchotchkes is the ceiling and that is not for esthetic reasons but because they can't reach. If they could reach the ceiling, it, too, would have junk all over it and dusting it would be just one more chore on the list of things SH is expected to do when he visits, as apparently, a person hired to clean a house does not do any of the hard things like dust the ceiling fans or open closet doors to vacuum inside the closet.

(Speaking of vacuums, have you guys seen the "Dear Kitten" video? Go watch it. Now.)

Where was I? SH just walked in and announced that he had not gone to get frozen custard as planned because we have a ton of dessert at home. I started thinking about dessert and got distracted.

Now SH is trying to get Laverne to chase a rabbit. SH does not respect the time or the silence that an artiste needs to create. He narrates his own soundtrack. When he is in the house, he talks all the time. I asked his best friend from college, with whom SH lived for a year, if SH ever shut up when they lived together. Pete told me only when SH was sleeping or drunk.

Now he is chastising Laverne for caring more about sitting on a plastic grocery bag on the counter than for chasing the big fat rabbit that is lounging in our back yard.

OK. Here is what I wanted to talk about. When you live with a hoarder in training, it is almost impossible to throw anything away. If you want to throw stuff away or put it in the recycling, you have to sneak it into the neighbor's trash or wait until the HIT goes out of town for work.

I tried to throw away a plastic jar that had contained peanut butter. I put it in the recycling.

The next morning, I found the jar back on the kitchen counter.

I put the jar back into the recycling.

SH removed it.

Me: I want to get rid of this jar.

SH: But what if we need it?


SH: I don't know. It could be useful. Look! It has a really nice lid that screws on. And it's plastic!

Me: I. Know. It's recycling now. It is junk. It is not something we need.

SH: It might be good for holding nails. Or something.

Me: Whatever.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 762: This is how we optimize trunk space

SH and I just returned from vacation and have the post-vacation blues, the blues that go, "Why wasn't I born rich? Why wasn't I born a trust-fund brat? I would not waste the family fortune on cocaine. I would still work hard but I would take more than ten days of vacation in the summer and I would spend it all at the cottage on Lake Superior."

We have desponded over our lack of wealth and lack of vacation time. But while we were at the cottage, we enjoyed every single second of it, even the first two days when we had to build a fire (in the fireplace) because it was so darn cold.

Yes. A fire. In July. I also have been wearing my light coat to work in the mornings. It is coolish here and my tomatoes and nasturium can't figure it out. I can't figure it out. Shouldn't global warming make it, you know, warmer?

So what happened was we were supposed to leave the cottage on Sunday and we were so depressed on Saturday night that we could hardly sleep. We got up on Sunday and listlessly packed the car and then SH got online and discovered there was nobody else checking into the cottage that night. He called the front desk and asked if we could have a late checkout time, which they gave us.

Then he started to wonder if we should maybe just stay at the cottage one more night.

We are not spontaneous people.

This was a crazy, crazy idea.

We do not make last-minute vacation decisions.

1. It is not inexpensive.
2. We had already packed the car. (Commitment escalation.)
3. I had already made plans to see my aunts and uncles on the way home. One of my uncles is about 85 years old and his health is not so great. I worry that I might not see him again. Plus I really like my aunts and uncles and wanted to see them.


1. My husband was going through severe vacation withdrawal and marital health trumps all.

So we decided to stay the extra night.

Which meant we unpacked the car.

Which meant that SH had the whole evening to think about how to re-pack the car in a better way. Even though the initial packing had gotten everything into the car with room to spare. It's not like we looked like the Joads.

But packing is one of SH's things. Getting rid of stuff is not. Arranging the stuff he has is. I would rather optimize space by getting rid of useless things, like old phone bills, but SH is scared to throw anything away and is happy just to arrange and re-arrange his stuff.

(I will hear him in the basement, moving his wine around. He will spend 30 minutes at a time reorganizing the wine.)

SH takes great pride in his packing. Earlier in the trip, he packed some restaurant leftovers into the cooler. I urged him to get on with it already. He had to move a case of Minnesota beer that apparently one cannot get in Wisconsin and then shift the tennis rackets and then get into the cooler and then unpack the cooler and re-pack it with the leftovers

I urged him to hurry his butt up we had places to go and honestly what could possibly be taking so long with putting leftovers in a cooler?

He answered, "You just want me to hurry up and be done with it and I want to admire my handiwork."

The photo is in Cornucopia, on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin.