Friday, January 31, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 764: Out of sight, out of mind

Me: Man, I really need to wash the bedspread.

SH: Why? That seems like a lot of trouble.

Me: I'm not asking you to do it.

This is often my response to SH's comment that "it seems like a lot of trouble." Apparently, he gets very stressed when his routine is interrupted, even if that routine is his sitting in his office two floors away from the washing machine. Just the idea of something going on that means oh no change! makes him almost hyperventilate.

Almost every Sunday morning, we have a variation on this conversation that entails the following:

SH: What are you doing?

Me: Cooking.

SH: But you're making a mess! [Note that "mess" means "getting some dishes dirty"]

Me: Yes. But cooking is how we get food in this house.

SH: But I just want peace and quiet!

Me: And if I am going to spend time chopping onions and sautéing, I want to do it early in the day while you are in the kitchen so I can have company. Plus I want to do the work first and relax later.

SH: All those dishes!

Me: You don't have to wash them.

SH: But you won't do it right.

So you see - this is his pattern. When I informed him that I planned to wash the bedspread, he got close to freaking out. Well, maybe 50% of freaking out.

SH: But why do you need to wash it?

Me: Because there is cat hair all over it! And one of the cats vomited on it!

SH: Can't you just turn it upside down?

Me: No. I cannot just turn it upside down. That is not a solution. That is disgusting.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wisconsin 101: This is how we make tamales


You guys, I have always wanted to go to a tamalada. That is an afternoon - and, apparently, an evening - spent making tamales.

I had my chance recently when Christina the Nighttime Wife's mom Mrs B said she was going to make tamales. I met Mrs B when she cooked the heart and tongue that our friends Bonnie and Gary gave to us last summer when they bought half a beeve that came with all the organs. I took the heart and tongue because my mom, who grew up on a farm where nothing was wasted, wanted them, but then my mom ended up not visiting and I was not going to put organs in the mail to Colorado so I gave them away to the first bidder on facebook, although I have to say the bidding was not that stiff.

It probably won't be long before some trendy hipster with a narrow goatee and a fringe of hair growing from under his chin, a wool hat, and spikes through his ears opens a restaurant devoted to nothing but organ meats and becomes super popular and rich. I will think, "I had my chance but I blew it."

But Mrs B was happy to have the meat and invited SH and me over to dinner to enjoy it. I am not a fan of weird things, even though really, tongue and heart shouldn't be that weird. Let me say that a different way: I am not a fan of unusual textures, like the texture of the surface of the tongue, and I am not a fan of gaminess, so organ meat is not for me. (But hog jowls are delicious - it's really just super thick bacon.) It was at the tongue and meat dinner that she invited me to make tamales.


Photo: Y la salsa.
The two salsas - one for the pork tamales, one for the chicken.
Photo: A tamalear.
 
The mise en place for the tamales. There are dried corn husks, masa harina, and cooked pork that we pulled and chopped for the filling.
I was really excited. When Christina gave me the date, I mentally booked three hours. After all, Mrs B had said it only takes a few hours.

I forgot that Mrs B is Mexican and she runs on the same time system as SH does, which is like football time: two minutes in football time is like 20 minutes in real person time.

Photo: Mas tamales.
The Nighttime Wife and SH dry the cornhusks.
SH dropped me off at Mrs B's house. The idea was he would leave me there at 2:00 and return at 5:00 to eat.

But he walked in to say hello and ended up being impressed into prepping cornhusks. Meanwhile, Mrs B was working on the sauce. She put me to work shredding the pork into small pieces.

Then we started making the masa. SH left, thinking he would return very soon to a meal of fresh tamales.

Mrs B poured 15 pounds of masa harina into a huge pot. She directed me to dump a big bowl of lard into the pot. She threw in some salt and some baking soda, then rolled up her sleeves and plunged both arms into the mixture. She told me to get some of the broth from cooking the pork and dump it in the mixture. I poured it in and she mixed.

Let me note for the record, Mrs B is not a young woman. She is older than I am and probably does not go to the gym to lift weights. Yet when I took over the mixing for a while, I lasted about half as long as she had. She insisted that I stop and rest while she continued. She put me to shame.

Photo: We're still not done.

She finished mixing the masa while Christina and I watched TV. Then she brought us some snacks because we were so weary.

It was time to go to the filling step. Mrs B mixed the red salsa with the cut-up pork. She showed us how to smear some masa on a cornhusk. Her smears were perfect. Mine were awful and took me three times as long as hers.

But she and I smeared while Christina filled and folded.

We filled and folded an entire table full of tamales. Then we loaded them into the huge kettle for steaming.

Photo: Getting there.

It was now 5:30. How long does it take to steam them, I asked.

Oh, only 20 minutes, Mrs B said breezily.

Christina snorted. Mom, you know it takes longer than that.

But I was happy. It had been a long afternoon. I called SH and told him to be here in half an hour for supper.

Which of course was completely wrong.

We waited. And waited. Mrs B waited for the tinfoil covering the pot to get to the appropriate point. It didn't. And didn't.

Finally, I said that maybe SH and I should just go home. Mrs B insisted we take some raw tamales with us and steam them ourselves. Which we did - and it took over an hour. Her huge pot of tamales took over three hours.

So. I have been. I have done. And I can check that off my list.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wisconsin 101: When your grandfather and the butcher's father were friends and your uncle and the butcher are friends and the butcher knew your dad, you get the Good Meat

Photo: Shirley is interested. 

You guys know that SH and I have been getting steak from the butcher in the town where my mom and dad are from, right? Every summer, when we go to the Apostle Islands, we go to their hometown, spend the night with a set of the aunts and uncles, and then drive the remaining four hours to Bayfield the next day before we take the ferry to the island for a blissful week of waves crashing on the shore of Lake Superior.

We stop at the butcher, whose name shall remain a secret because I do not want to share my llama, to load up on porterhouse steaks, bacon, and ground llama. The prices are great and the meat is all local, grass fed, etc, etc, etc.

This summer, we got no llama because there was none to be had. I asked the young woman who is the office manager - Carly - to let me know when there would be more. She has shipped llama to me before. I knew she was good for it.

But I didn't hear from her and didn't hear from her.

Then my mom sent me an email. She had been to northern WI to a class reunion and had seen the guy who owns the butcher shop. She had told him - we will call him John - what a fan SH and I are of the meat. John had told her to tell me that the next time I ordered, I should tell Carly to tell John that Lloyd's daughter (that is me) was putting in an order.

Turns out that my dad's brother, my uncle D, and John almost went to butcher school together, but then my uncle D went into the family business with my grandfather instead.

The building where John has his operations used to be my grandfather's and great-uncle's garage - the auto repair business they started in 1937, which has since turned into an auto repair/auto dealership owned and run by two of my cousins.

So the families go way back.

Of course, the families go way back with everyone. The butcher shop is in a town that has no stoplights. The current auto repair/auto dealer place is in a town with one stoplight. Wait. There might be two. So it is not hard to know everyone in town in a place like this.

Still. I hadn't heard from Carly. I finally sent her an email and asked if there was any llama. I mentioned that my mom had told me that John had told her to tell me, etc, etc, even though I didn't really think I needed to because she had shipped to me before.

Oh yes! she told me. She had been holding it for me, waiting for the weather to get cold enough to ship it.

Hit play, I told her. Send it.

Two days later, it arrived: 46 pounds of ground llama. And she undercharged me for the shipping. Again.

Our deep freezer is full again.

It's nice to Know People.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 765: And we almost never watch TV

Me: Oh - the remote is broken.

SH: What?! Why didn't you tell me?

Me: I turned the dvd on with the machine.

SH: But you should have interrupted me! This is awful!

Me: No it isn't. We don't watch that much TV.

SH: No! What if we have to buy a new blu-ray player? Or a new remote?

Me: Or what if we just turn on the TV and the machine by hand?

SH: This is horrible! You should have interrupted me!

Me: You mean like if the toilet were overflowing or the car were on fire? Or if the furnace had stopped working? This is that kind of emergency?

SH: Maybe.

Later

SH: You weren't doing it right! You were just happily watching TV! With a broken remote!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 623: SH has competition

I found this note in my junk message box on facebook. I think my work here is done and I will run away with this guy. Or at least be friend.

I like how he will "tell u more later" about British History - because I don't know about British history.

Wow........i am certainly speechless....what manner of beauty bestowed on one person. You must have been created on God's resting day...I couldn't control my adrenalin while surfing on your profile.
The name is Brian...I was looking through a list of profiles when i found your profile too. i looked at it carefully and found out that we have lots in common, especially in the area of smiling like no one is watching, as your picture suggested that. That is a very sexy picture you have there. it reminds me of the likes of the duchess of castle bridge, lady Jane who was made queen of England cos of her charming beauty, most catching enough she was a maid to the former queen Anna Boleyn when King Henry sited her in court (British History...tell u more later)lol. Hope you don't mind my humorous comparatives as i couldn't think of a better comparative than this.hehe. They were all damn beautiful. lets be friend.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 711: Priorities

Me: (PS Please water the kitty grass upstairs)

SH : https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/y4/r/-PAXP-deijE.gifThis is not a good time to remind me.

Me: Just do it the next time you're in the bathroom

SH: I may not remember.

Me: (rolling eyes)  
 you are The Rememberer

SH: It's supposed to be someone else's job. I don't think of it. 


Me: Quick - Sheena Easton's top hit

What year did you see Toto?
SH: I think of getting out of there.

Morning Train (9 to 5).
2006.
Remembering to water the kitty grass is different!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 456: I am a woman of constant sorrow

SH: Look what else I am taking downstairs.

[I gripe at SH for walking right past laundry baskets, cleaning supplies, and plastic bags that are staged for going from the kitchen to the basement. If you are going downstairs anyhow, you might as well take the laundry basket with you. But SH claims he doesn't even see these things. Yet he can see - from 20 light years away - a tiny drop of water on a dish that I am about to remove from the dish drainer and put in the cupboard.]

Me: What?

SH: This cork.

Me: Oh yahoo.

SH: Hey! I'm not leaving it here by the sink!

Me: I guess just throwing it away is not an option.

SH: I have a whole bag of corks in the basement!

Me: They can't be thrown away?

SH: No. I am accumulating them for no particular purpose.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 23: The secrets of happy couples

SH sent me this link today, noting the first item - that happy couples go to bed together.

We almost never go to bed together. SH gets to work at home, so does not have to get up at 6 a.m. to take a shower in the cold and try to open the front door, which has frozen shut, to walk to the bus stop in the cold and then wait in the cold and then get to work and have to sit in a half-cube that affords no privacy and no quiet and smell the curry that someone has warmed in the break room and listen to someone's phone call on speakerphone.

He does not have to put up with people but I do. And he's the extrovert. I am the introvert. Put me on the jury for someone who has snapped at work and assaulted the person who will not stop eating those carrot sticks and the dry granola and I will acquit because it is justifiable as far as I am concerned.

SH can go to bed when he wants because he can sleep as late as he wants.

I have to get up.

So we argue about this all the time because he wants me to wait for him to go to bed but I do not want to wait. I want to sleep. And he always lies. He'll say he'll be downstairs in five minutes but five SH minutes are like five football minutes.

We had this conversation last night:

SH: Will you wait for me for 40 minutes? The article says we should go to bed together.

Me: No.

SH: Thirty minutes?

Me: No. No because no matter what you say, it's longer. And then I get really angry at you. I don't want to be angry at you. I want to go to sleep.

SH: I was on time yesterday when I picked you up after work.

Me: No, you weren't. First of all, I sent you a message at 5:15 that my meeting had ended early so you could pick me up early and you hadn't even taken a shower!

SH: But I got there at 6:06. And I was supposed to be there at 6:00. So I was on time.

Me: You were not! You were late!

SH: Not if I'm an airline. Anything within 15 minutes is on time.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

For new readers

A friend just asked if "SH" stands for what he thinks it stands for.

Well it stands for Serious Honey, I thought. Duh.

Then I started running "SH" through my head. What else could it stand for?

Oh. Oh! That had never occurred to me, even though it should have, as it is what SH's father calls his mother. Not exactly a term of endearment, but then you never know what goes on in someone else's marriage. (However, SH's dad is mean to his mom in other ways, so calling her "SH" - the other definition - fits.)

But just so you know. No. Not what you might think. It's "Serious Honey" and it's how I referred to my sweet albeit sometimes cranky husband when we first started dating, as I have a no real names policy in my blog. Mostly. My sister really is Jenny. And my brother really is Greg. But when SH and I were dating, I didn't know if it would last and I wanted to protect his privacy, even though all my friends knew who he was. So I guess it was a pointless attempt.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 764: Tomayto, tomahto

Me: Darn it. The button doesn't work on my phone. I mean, it's sporadic. It doesn't work so well in the cold.

SH: I don't have a problem with my ["new Android tablet," as he instructed me to call it]. Some people are having quality problems with it but I have not.

Me: Oh. [I return to my book because my commentary is done. I have advised SH of the problem and I want him to fix it but I do not want to discuss the process for fixing it.]

SH: Look. It has a soft key. Your phone doesn't. [My phone has a mechanical key.]

Me: I don't care.

SH: But this is interesting! Look--

Me: I don't care. It's technical and it's boring.

SH: No it isn't! Besides, you talk all the time about boring things.

Me: Nope. My stories are good.

What this all really reduces to is that I, apparently, am Jewish and SH is not. Who knew?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 745: The clothes wouldn't have fit

image enlargement

I am on a quest for the dress my sister wore to her wedding rehearsal. It is the dress above. She found it the night before the rehearsal at the mall in Colorado Springs for only $40. If there is anything I like more than a nice dress - a dress with sleeves, which means I can wear it to work --

Hear me, designers and retailers. Maybe in TV world, it is appropriate for professional women to go sleeveless to work, but in the real world, it is not. Not to mention that for many of us, it is too cold to be sleeveless.

We do not all live in Los Angeles with its perfect year round sleeveless climate. And even though we work indoors, it is never warm enough in our offices to be sleeveless. Most of us have the Secretary Sweater draped over the back of our chair. Some of us have a blanket in our desk drawer so we can wrap it around our legs. Our employers don't provide coffee - what makes you think they would provide heat?*

 So Jen wore this dress - that she got on super sale - to her rehearsal and it looked great on her. My sister is quite amply endowed. She has A Shape. Me, not so much. But I thought, it still might look good on me. There is shape cut into the dress itself.

I couldn't convince Jenny's maid of honor to take me to the mall. So I went online to find the dress. They didn't have it.

When we got home, I went to the mall here. Not only did they not have the dress, they had not even heard of it. Nope, the saleslady said as she shook her head. We haven't had any dresses with sleeves this season.

I looked at my big fluffy Michelin Man coat, my fluffy snow boots, and the multiple layers that the saleslady was wearing, and sighed. The Coasts might sneer at the lack of style in the Middle, but I dare the Coasts to come here, dress off the rack and not freeze their butts off. It's easy to be stylish when it's 75 degrees and there is no snow, slush, ice, or salt outside, but try to look nice while accommodating the realities of living in a frozen wasteland.

Then I went back online. Miracle! The dress had appeared! And it was free shipping. Was that not a sign?

I ordered it. But I made a mistake. I ordered it in a six, which is what I usually wear (how can I be a six now when I was a 12 in high school but have not lost any weight - net - since high school?). I should also have ordered it in an 8 and a 10 because you never know.

It arrived. I tried it on.

It did not look like it did on Jenny. It did not look like it does on the model.

Me: It's a little tight.

SH: I like tight things on you.

Me: Yes, but for public it's too tight.


SH: Are you planning to lose weight? Because then it might be OK.

Me: I am always planning to lose weight.

Isn't that the story of my life and of many women's lives? "I am planning to lose weight."

I have an entire wardrobe of I am planning to lose weight. I have had this wardrobe for years and I continue to add to it. I am building a wardrobe for a life I do not have and will probably never have. For a theoretical life that does not really matter because nobody is telling me that if I do not lose weight, I will not be loved.

Me: I will return it.




* Note also that overheating an office is as bad as underheating it. My library is overheated and I have to start ripping my clothes off after a few minutes inside.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 734: Can you hear me now?

This is how SH operates. He will say, "Sweetie? Will you do me a favor?"

And then he waits.

For an answer.

Now, this is not the improper way to ask for a favor when that favor is darning his socks. (Darn socks!)

But it is the improper way to ask when he is standing by the back door holding a plate with a newly-grilled steak on it and he wants me to take the steak from him so he can remove his shoes so as not to track snow in the house.

 As in, it is not the proper way to ask for a favor when there is urgency.

When there is urgency, you just ask. You just say, without preamble, "Sweetie, would you please take this plate from me?"

Because if I hear, "Would you do me a favor?" I am thinking, "Is this a hypothetical? This must be sometime far into the future so I can ignore this request and keep reading US Weekly online through my library website." And then I do ignore the request because of course I will do SH a favor so why does he even need to ask?

Remember when I cut off the tip of my finger in the Mandoline Accident? SH thought I was asking for a slow favor, like he does, when I asked him to get me a bandaid. Except I didn't say, "SH, would you do me a favor?" and wait for feedback. I asked immediately for what I wanted. I didn't waste time.

SH likes to waste time and go through all the niceties. For example, when we go to Pittsburgh to visit his best friend Pete, I will say, "Have you told Pete what time our flight arrives?"

SH will say no and I will suggest that perhaps informing the person who is picking us up what time we will arrive might be a good idea and SH will agree, but instead of getting to it and sending a quick text that says, "We arrive at 10:16 p.m. on Delta 123. Meet you outside baggage claim," SH has to write a treatise that starts with the appropriate salutation followed by an expression of concern for Pete's family and the status of the Steelers and that finally ends, 20 minutes later, with the critical and only necessary information.

After I finished grad school and while I was waiting to go into the Peace Corps - a fun experience but in retrospect, not as smart a career move as going to P&G, which is probably what I should have tried to do - I would not be in a cubicle today had I done that, I had a temp job at IBM in the testing group. This was where they brought in people to test the user manuals to see if the instructions were comprehensible to the normal person. (No, I am not making this up. They really tested their user guides. And they were still horrible.)

We were doing some project with keyboards. There used to be a feature on computer keyboards - boy, am I dating myself - a button you could press so the keyboard sounded like a typewriter. Because people were used to typewriters and didn't want to have a completely silent typing experience. We were testing some keyboards that were not as noisy as a typewriter but still made sound.

The guy who was running the project had a PhD in psychology and explained to me that most people didn't want a completely silent keyboard because we as humans need audible feedback as confirmation that a task has been completed. Hence the beep you hear when you lock your car with your little remote lock thingy. If you didn't hear any feedback, you might wonder if the door had actually locked.

SH has a high need for audible feedback, apparently, although I don't know why the feedback of my actually performing the favor he has requested wouldn't be enough. This is why he always has to ask if I will do a favor and then wait for my response, which is usually yes but is becoming more and more often no just because I want to mess with him, before he will ask the actual thing. I think he was raised on typewriters.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 123: Don't bother me while I am watching TV

I have been on a TV-watching binge. I should be doing intellectual things, like reading the book about the history of 500 years of imprisonment in the US, or working on my novel or writing for the blog I have (or had - I have decided that I am not going to write for free unless it's here) with the local paper or doing other  things that improve my community or my mind.

But instead, I am watching TV because I am a lazy slug who gets home from work and doesn't feel like using her brain and just wants to be entertained.

I hang my head in shame.

In the meantime, though, I have to comment on what I saw on season four of The Good Wife. Note that I know it is fiction and that nobody else but me probably cares about these things.

1. Did they really have an entire episode about a bunch of coders and the firm's secretaries wanting to unionize because they didn't get paid overtime even after working 60 hours in one week? I think that is what I heard. I have already returned the discs to the library (and have moved on to Scandal), but I am pretty sure that's what one of the big issues was. Should they get OT for working more than 6o hours in one week?

Now am I going to go into a Dumb Hollywood rant. The same people who think it is a reasonable plot point to have middle class couples dying without life insurance and having appointed guardians for their children without ever having spoken to the guardians (Raising Helen, Life as We Know It) now bring you a complete misunderstanding of labor law.

Wait. Let's return to the life insurance/will thing.

Please raise your hands if you have minor children. Now, leave your hands up if you have life insurance. Leave them up if you have a will and have designated a guardian for your children. Put your hands down if you named a guardian for your children in your will but never discussed this subject with the guardian.

I will bet that everyone who raised a hand in Step One still has a hand raised. Why? Because NORMAL PEOPLE are not so STUPID as to name a guardian for their kids without EVEN ASKING THE GUARDIAN.

And normal people make sure they have life insurance once they have kids because they care about what might happen to their kids if they die.

Back to labor law.

The plot point was that the secretarial staff and the coders wanted to negotiate contracts where they would get OT after working 60 hours in one week.

Had not a single person involved in the making of that show ever had an hourly job in high school? Or any salaried or waged job where the law is clearly displayed in the break room?

a. It is federal law that non-exempt employees (ie, people who are not exempt from getting OT, a situation I have not had for many years, which just means that when I work more than 40 hours in a week, I have the privilege of not getting paid extra for it. The usual line is, "Well, you already make the big bucks and that includes long hours and weekends and 16-hour flights to Elbonia," but I would dare anyone at my current job to look me in the eye and tell me I am making "big bucks") be paid OT after 40 hours.

Period. The law is not that employees may collectively bargain for that level of pay. The law is that the employer has to pay it. Hadn't anyone in that episode ever read the materials in the break room where it clearly states that OT must be paid after 40?

Now, as I am thinking about it, perhaps both groups want additional OT after 60 hours. Perhaps I have completely misinterpreted the situation and the writers knew exactly what they were talking about. However, my next point makes me think that the writers have no clue about reality and that I am correct in my interpretation.

2. The show takes place in Chicago. Alicia Florrick and her colleagues are always dressed beautifully. She wears gorgeous shoes and has an entire wardrobe of coats. I agree that one needs more than A Winter Coat when one lives this far north. When I was in Memphis, I had A Winter Coat. I had no shovels.

Now I have a Complete Suite of Winter Outerwear and a Complete Suite of Snow Removal Equipment. One winter coat is not enough. You need your church winter coat, your shoveling snow winter coat, your walk to the bus stop and wait for the bus in four below winter coat, your it's not that cold but I need something winter coat, etc, etc.

Here's what I can tell you: Only one of those coats will be pretty.

All of Alicia's coats are pretty. I have never seen her wear her walking around the wind tunnel that is known as downtown Chicago and bitterly cold winter coat.

I have never seen her wear her coat that makes her look like the Michelin Man.

I have never seen her wear her walking in snow, slush, and salt shoes. Her beautiful heels would last about two seconds outdoors. No traction. Expensive leather that would be marred in a second. No coverage of her legs, which do get cold - when it's really cold, I wear sweats over my tights until I get to work, which is when I change out of my walking to the bus stop boots and into my nice shoes. I have four pairs of shoes and a pair of nice boots at work.

I was worried on Christmas Eve that I would look too crummy at church. But it was too cold and there were nine inches of snow on the ground - I decided I was not going to sacrifice my comfort that much to look good.

When I got to church, I realized I was with My People: Practicality rules. Nobody was wearing Alicia Florrick heels or a coat. We were all wearing our Michelin Man coats and our Sensible Boots. We are not TV People.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Wisconsin 101: All I got for Christmas were my two front teeth

I was going to buy a $600 purse to celebrate my promotion at work, but then I decided I would rather have teeth.

Or gums. I decided I would rather have gums.

My teeth have never treated me well, although I have been nothing but good to them. Even when I was in grad school and didn't have dental insurance, I went to the dentist for my cleanings and paid for it out of my own pocket. When you are paying your medical and dental costs yourself - no or high-deductible insurance, you make different decisions. Or I do. I had a high-deductible policy after I was laid off from my job and I was highly motivated to call around to get prices for various things, not that a doctor's office will necessarily tell you everything. I would have appreciated knowing that I can diagnose a UTI with a $13 kit from Walgreen's, for example.

At my last checkup, my dentist looked at my teeth and frowned, which is never a good sign, and informed me that I needed gum grafts on 24 and 25. I went to the endodontist for an estimate and walked out with a treatment plan that cost almost as much as our new roof did.

Yes. Ten thousand dollars worth of dental work.

And I wouldn't even get good-looking teeth out of it. Gum grafts are the gym socks of dental work: you have to have them but people only notice if they are gross. Nice gym socks don't really elevate your look. They just keep you from looking bad.

Ten thousand dollars.

Our roof was $11,000. We got three bids to settle on that price.

Perhaps a second opinion from another endodontist. I don't know about your dental insurance, but mine pays only $1,000 of benefits a year, so if you have two cleanings and a cavity, you are pretty close to the limit. At that rate, I would need to stretch the work out over five years.

Also, $10,000 seemed high to me, although I have no problems with compensating professionals for their knowledge. I am not paying my dentist for the ten minutes he took to fill my cavity: I am paying him for the years of post-college education and experience he needed to be able to do it.

But I really wasn't interested in paying for the aquarium, the free coffee, the free soda, the waterfall wall, and the high-tech computer system at Endodontist #1.

I called Endodontist #2. Made an appointment for 8 a.m. on Friday. Had to wake up and leave early to allow time for the ice-covered streets. Got to the office. It was a very basic office- no waterfall, no free soda, plain chairs in the waiting room. Low overhead.

E2 was not there. I waited. Waited some more. Receptionist called E2 to discover he had forgotten he had an 8 a.m. appointment. I gritted my teeth and took a deep breath. I am not a person who throws a tantrum. First, I am from a low-drama background and my people do not throw tantrums. It is considered tacky. Second, I have found that one rarely gets what one wants when one throws a tantrum. When I was working at Macy's in Ladies Finer Sportswear, I was never inclined to be more accommodating to tantrum throwers. You don't have the coupon? And you show up at the register at midnight oh five? And then you ask me to do a price check on five items? And then want me to give you the coupon discount anyhow?

No. I will not do that. I will work to rules in that situation.

So. I try not to be the after midnight pain in the neck customer.

But I explained to the receptionist that I had just started a new job the day before and I didn't want to look bad coming in so late on day 2, even though I had told my boss I had this appointment. She was super apologetic. But E2 was still late.

He showed up at 8:30. Did a quick but very thorough exam. Told me what needed to be done. I showed him the estimate from E1. He told me E1 used to work for him and that she was good, but he would take a slightly different approach. As in, procedure the first would be X instead of Y, as E1 had suggested, and should cost $800 instead of $1,600. I could spend more money, he told me, but because of a, b, and c, it really wasn't necessary.

Then he apologized again for being late and told me he would not charge me for the consultation. Which endeared him to me forever, because I have been kept waiting by many a medical professional but not once has one ever offered to waive his fee.

I cancelled with E1.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 898: Don't turn your back

Me: Watch it, buddy. Step away from the bellybutton.

SH: Can't I put my finger in it?

Me: Nope. You have 45 years to go.

SH: What if I don't want to wait?

Me: Too bad. And you probably won't live long enough to reach our 50th anniversary.

SH: Why not?

Me: You don't have good genes. Look at your mom and dad. I have great genes.

SH: I could just stick it in now, you know.

Me: I know.

SH: But I don't.

Me: Because you want to convince me to let you do it.

SH: Yep.

Me: Plus if you did that, I would punish you. I would extract revenge.

SH: OK.

Me: I mean it.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 98: Go forth and don't multiply

So SH and I were talking and as it sometimes does, the conversation turned to children and how we don't have any and never will and maybe that's not such a bad thing at our age, given the risks of birth defects plus the fact that we are so darn tired and things ache that didn't used to ache. A person can't even shovel snow for an hour now without feeling it the next day. A person can't even take a few flights of stairs without getting winded, which is sad indeed, as this person goes to the gym at lunch almost every work day, but apparently this person keeps her bike level at a number that is low enough that she can read People magazine without dripping any sweat on the pages so maybe this person needs to reconsider her exercise routine.

Anyhow. I suggested that perhaps at my age, it is no longer necessary to use chemical intervention to prevent the possibility of pregnancy. Not that it is costing us any money for said chemical intervention, although if the government sees fit to decide which chemicals should be provided to consumers without charging the consumer, I would rather they decide that imitrex and relpax should be free of charge to the consumer. (Note I am being very careful about using the word "free," as there is a cost involved in producing all of this and someone, somewhere has to pay for it.) Or insulin. Or asthma medication. There are just a lot of drugs I would put ahead on the list of things I or anyone should not have to pay for.

I suggested that chemical intervention was no longer necessary.

SH: No! You can't stop taking the pill!

Me: Honestly. Do you really think I am going to get pregnant at my age?

SH: Maybe I could have a vasectomy instead.

Me: But what if I die and you remarry some young thing who wants children?

Let's pause here to think of the proper response to that question. How about, "My darling, when you die, I will brick myself inside the house and die of loneliness." Or, "I would never even consider remarrying once you are gone. I could never love anyone else as much as I love you."

No. Neither of those. Not even something similar.

What I have heard from him in the past is, when I have asked why he married me, is that I am not irresponsible or flaky or an emotional mess. And I can cook. And mend clothes. All of which are true - I am very responsible - I had a will when I was 25 - although a lot of my responsibility comes from a certainty that the worst is about to happen so I must prepare. Considering SH's romantic past and his ex blessherheart, I can see why he would seek someone responsible who can do things. It's not like I looked for a flighty wastrel who couldn't hold a job. One must think of these things. Although the main reason I married SH is because he is a hottie.

Not a romantic hottie, but a hottie. I married an engineer, not a poet. Most of the time, I am very grateful to be married to an engineer, as engineers can fix things and are employable. Poets say pretty things but I like being able to pay my mortgage and I like not having to hire a handyman when there is a problem.

But still.

SH: A vasectomy can be reversed.

Which indeed it can.