Archive for the ‘John’ Category

Muebles-Agradable

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Years ago, before John and I moved in together, I had some concerns about whether we’d be able to find a shared aesthetic. His room in his cooperative house was charmingly snowed in under towers of books, papers, plants, theater props, and bicycle parts. And while I found his mess appealing from a potential-partner point of view (he embraces life, he has a lot of interests, he likes to take care of things that grow), I worried about living with it. I’m not only obsessively neat; I’m also almost frighteningly specific about decor.

The initial months of living together required some negotiation, but because we each had a bedroom (yup—successful transitioning tactic), he had space to continue piling, and I had space to streamline and organize. We stayed in that lovely home for quite a few years. We were happy there, but because it was a rental, I settled on a good-enough approach to furnishing. And the walls, for the most part, remained white. (With one exception: Our dear friend O, the landperson, had very generously painted my bedroom bubblegum pink pre-move-in. Those pink walls were a ceaseless source of pleasure for me.)

Then we bought a house. And moved into the master bedroom together. And had significantly more space. Finally, I faced the appealing task of manifesting my personal aesthetic, but I was also conscious of not wanting to subject John to a world he wouldn’t have chosen for himself. For instance: The master bedroom. Not pink. (It’s aquamarine and cream, with accents of navy and tangerine.) He still has some space to himself (an office, albeit it a small one), where he is free to recreate the rainforest effect. But in all of the shared space, I was hoping to at long last unleash the mid-century modern/CandyLand/Gothic chic that is my joy zone. And you know what? John let me. He kindly, generously, agreeably let me.

Years later, I’m still working on it, of course. There’s only one room (dining) that is definitively Done, while everything else is a WIP. Cue a recent evening, when the steel nightstand from CB2 had arrived and been placed on John’s side of the bed. I was standing there, pondering.

J: Do you like it?

M: I don’t know. Maybe it’s *too* modern.

J: Huh.

M: Or maybe the problem is that we need two of them?

J: Really, two?

M: I don’t know. Normally I’m against matching sets. But nothing else in this room is a set, so . . . maybe?

J: Huh.

M: I don’t know. I can’t tell.

J: We can just live with it for a while and see.

M: Yeah, thanks. That’ll help.

[Some time passes as John begins to stack his magazines on the nightstand's shelf and arrange his clock radio and light on the surface. I walk over to the bed and sit down next to him.]

M: Do you like it?

J: It has a drawer!

M: Yeah.

J: And it’s bigger! Than that last one. So I have more room!

M: Nice! So you do like it?

J: Works for me!

M: [Hugging him.] Aw. Thanks, Sweetie. You’re so agreeable.

J: I am! I’m muebles-agradable!

M: You are! You’re furniture-agreeable!

Of course, John is agreeable about more than just furniture, but I’m truly grateful for this willingness in him. I’ve watched enough decor television to know that when both people in the couple have strong preferences, the process can be sticky and even painful. Speaking of which: We have a small front yard. I want a succulent garden. John wants fruit trees. What happens next? I think we hire a landscape person to somehow give us both?

Professor of Gender Studies

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Here’s a new monster. Same process as the previous: just started working the wool and seeing where it took me. Definitely did not mean to make a figure this large. In fact, I ran out of the orange for the skin and had to make boots instead of feet. Then s/he/it looked naked, so I had to add clothing. A turtleneck vest was clearly the best option. And shorts. After which:

“It looks professorial, doesn’t it?” I said to John.

“Yeah,” he said, “a Professor of Gender Studies.”

Indeed.

Professor of Gender Studies

Professor of Gender Studies

Check out the fingers! Haven’t done fingers before. Not easy. Also, you’re not getting a close-up on those, because they aren’t actually finished.

Jaunty Angle

Jaunty Angle

Okay, here’s a close-up. But not that close. You can see bits of white under-wool showing through the fingers.

Guest Room Dresser

Guest Room Dresser

I think the professor looks particularly fetching atop the guest room dresser, although the colors aren’t true to life. The wall is much more pistachio-colored (less yellow, more green apple), and the professor is not quite so electric.

Shelf o' Felt

Shelf o’ Felt

Here you can see what’s going on in the felting cabinet: I’m growing out of it. I keep making creatures too large to fit. I think maybe some new office shelving is in order, but . . . am I about to become the person who has shelves of figurines? If so, can I console myself with the knowledge that I made them myself?

Also, at this remove (of time, mostly, but also space), I can see that I made a mistake on the skin tone of the standing woman. I didn’t have anything remotely skinlike at the time and went for white, but wow, is that white. Lesson learned.

On to the next project!

 

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Exposition: For the past seven weeks, I’ve been doing a no-grain, no-sugar, no-a-lot-of-other-things thing where I have to shop and cook and shop and cook all the time, and it’s kind of exhausting but also supposedly going to be great for me. We’ll see, my friends. We’ll see. Aaaanyway . . .

Cue a recent evening, in which John and I are both in the kitchen, cooking. I notice that he has pulled out a muffin tray.

M: You’re making MUFFINS?

J: Yeah.

M: NOW?

J: Yeah.

M: WHEN I CAN’T EAT THEM?

J: Sorry, yeah.

M: FOR 13.5* YEARS, YOU HAVE NOT MADE A SINGLE MUFFIN. Now, when I can’t eat muffins, YOU’RE MAKING MUFFINS?

J: They’re only corn bread. They’re not really muffins.

M: They’re corn bread muffins!

J: It’s just faster than making a big tray.

M: I love corn bread! I love muffins!

J: I’m sorry, Sweetie. Really. I just want some corn bread.

M: Why did it never once occur to you, in the past 13.5 years, to make muffins, and yet now, muffins are suddenly something you make?

J: I didn’t know how much you love muffins.

M: I do love them. I love them immensely. Even more than cupcakes.

J: How is that possible?

M: Because cupcakes are almost impossible to eat, and you can never get the ratio of frosting to cake right without a fork and a plate, and if you don’t have a fork and a plate, you’re basically burying you face in frosting. They’re maddening!

J: I see your point.

M: But muffins—it’s all right there.

J: And you can pretend they’re good for you!

M: Absolutely!

J: And sometimes they are pretty good for you.

M: Not the kind I like.

J: What kind do you like?

M: Reeses Peanut Butter Cup muffins. Do you make those?

J: I don’t have a recipe at hand, no.

M: I would also take Snickers muffins and Oreo muffins.

J: Banana walnut?

M: Banana chocolate chip.

J: That does sound good. What about lemon poppyseed? I have a recipe for that.

M: Okay, yeah. You can make me those.

J: Just think how great that’ll be!

M: Yeah, thinking about it is JUST like tasting them RIGHT NOW.

J: It’s only two months!

M: Oh, God. [Watching him pour the batter into the muffin tray.] HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME?

J: I just—

M: AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! [Runs from the room.]

A week after that? He MADE THEM AGAIN. And I sidled up to him in the kitchen and sang this song:

Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man? Yes, I know the muffin man, and he went for thirteen years without making muffins, until one day when his wife couldn’t eat any muffins, he decided to make muffins, and then a week later he decided to make more muffins, and now there are muffins, muffins, everywhere, nothing but muffins, 24/7 muffins, all muffins all the time, it’s a world of endless, non-stop muffins. I am married to the fucking muffin man, and my life is nothing but forbidden muffins!

*I just noticed that my last two blog entries have referenced the amount of time that John and I have been together. Yeah, I’m kind of obsessed with that. You’d think I would have stopped counting at some point, basically accepting that we’re going to keep doing this relationship thing for perpetuity. Time will accrue, we’ll still be together, etc. Nope. I keep ticking off the half-years.

Sweetness and Light

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Had an impromptu photoshoot with sweet, sweet friends yesterday at brunch. Here’s one of us I love:

Green Blue Love

Green-Blue Love

And one of them:

Bunny Secrets

Bunny Secrets

 

(Even More) Scenes from a Marriage

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We have a refrigerator. That refrigerator has a problem. Or a sometime problem, anyway, which is that occasionally it decides to start freezing food. Cleverly (as is his way), John discovered that the mechanism of the freeze involves a little interior door between the (side-by-side) freezer and fridge. This dollhouse-sized door sometimes cakes with ice and then freezes open, letting in freezing air. We can melt the ice with hot water and close the door manually, but if the problem keeps occurring, which it had begun to do lately, we’re left nursing the fridge on a daily basis, turning it off for spells to unfreeze the food and losing some good vegetables in the process. And that ain’t good.

Here’s the thing: We know the immediate cause of the freezing, but what’s the underlying cause?

I had a (friendly, honest) repair guy out to see what he could determine. He wasn’t sure. It could be the seal on the doors (nope, good seal), or . . . how’s that seal on the door? He then suggested calling Amana directly to see what they had to say and whether we should replace the part. Hence began my campaign to get John to call Amana*, my opening salvo of which was to write a reminder on a sticky note and put it on the kitchen counter. From there, he stuck it to the top of his computer.

Day #1: I ask John to call the following day. John moves the sticky note from the top of his computer (a laptop) to the interior. And doesn’t call.

Day #2: I ask John to call the next day. John tells me that he will call the next day. And doesn’t call.

Day #3, in bed in the evening:

M: Did you call Amana today?

J: No, sorry.

M: How many times am I going to have to remind you to call Amana?

J: That depends on how long you wait between reminders.

M: [Hysterical laughter.] Wow, Sweetie. That’s really genius. I couldn’t myself have imagined a way for you to deny responsibility and put it on me, but you really succeeded there.

J: [Joining in the laughter.] It’s true, though!

M: [Still laughing uncontrollably.]

J: It’s not that I forget. It’s that I’m too busy. I can call only in the morning, because they’re on the East Coast.

M: [Silent, pondering.]

J: Well, it’s a combination of being too busy and forgetting.

M: [Laughing.] Well, thank you for your honesty.

J: I’ll call tomorrow.

M: Really? How are you going to remember to call tomorrow?

J: I have the sticky note!

M: The same sticky note that you moved from the top of your computer to the inside, because you literally could not see it?

J: [Chuckling.] Yeah. That sticky note.

M: [Also chuckling.] Okay, so that should work.

J: Yeah, I think that’ll work.

M: I can’t think of how that wouldn’t work.

J: I’m on top of it!

Day #4, in bed in the evening:

J: I forgot to call Amana.

M: You were right!

J: What do you mean?

M: I waited to remind you, and you told me instead! So, one less time for me to remind you!

J: It worked!

M: Success!

[Hugs.]

[Fin.]

NB: By this point, our refrigerator actually seems to be back on track, perhaps because John did indeed clean out the grille. So Amana may never get that call . . . and everything seems to have worked out anyway.

*I would be more than happy to call Amana myself, particularly as I would do it immediately, but I’ve been down that road before. There’s always some kind of technical question I can’t answer and have to call John about, so now we just start at the horse’s mouth. Unfortunately, the horse is not great at remembering to call.

Car Repair, a Prickly Personality, and John’s Refusal to Believe 3 Sources Who Say Exactly the Same Thing

Friday, May 9th, 2014

A few weeks ago, when I was preparing to take the car in for an oil change, John pointed out a problem I hadn’t noticed.

“Can you get them to fix this?” he asked, showing me the latch at the bottom of the driver’s side door. The screws had come loose—they had come entirely out, it seemed—and the latch was no longer fixed to the frame of the car.

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll tell them to handle it.”

Alas, the guys (and one woman!) at my repair shop told me that they couldn’t do it. I wasn’t 100% sure why, as we’re dealing with two layers of language barrier: a) I understand almost nothing mechanical; and b) they speak English with thick Chinese accents. What I gleaned was that the problem wasn’t simply about screws being loose. There was something the screws had to attach to that had come unattached and . . . couldn’t be reattached? By them? Because, and here was the bigger news: There was no entry point for them to get inside and do the work. Apparently, I would need a body shop to drill a hole through part of the frame of the car.

I took the car to a body shop. How did I choose a body shop? I looked for places  within walking distance of my house. There are two: Official-Looking Big Clean Place, and Scary-Looking Broken-Down Place. Naturally, I chose the former, although it DID occur to me that I might be using faulty logic. Because when it comes to body shops—and things that have to be jerry-rigged and drilled and maybe even blow-torched, which would have been exciting—maybe you want the quick-and-dirty guy who’ll do anything to get the job done, as opposed to the place where they have clipboards and pre-printed forms?

Anyway. The guy at Big Clean Place didn’t look happy about the job. “You should take it to the Honda dealer,” he said. “See if they have a recall on that latch. Because that is poor design.”

I drove over to the Honda dealership. They shook their heads. “Yeah, you have to take it to a body shop.”

“I did,” I said. “They said to come to you.”

“There’s no recall,” the guy assured me. “And I’ve seen this before. You have to drill a hole.”

Bizarrely, he told me that my insurance might pay. “Because it’s wear and tear,” he said.

“Isn’t normal wear and tear precisely what insurance doesn’t pay for?” I thought, correctly, but didn’t say. (I later called Geico, and yup. Although to the phone guy’s credit, he seemed very willing to believe that I may have been in an accident, if only I would suddenly remember having had one.)

So, back to the body shop, where the guy seemed, again, not entirely happy to see me. “I can’t work on this now,” he said. “First opening is in two weeks.”

“That’s fine,” I said. “Just put me in the schedule.”

“I’ll have to call you later today,” he said.

He didn’t call. So the next day, I called him and got on the schedule.

“Do you have an estimate for me?” I asked.

“I’ll have to call you later,” he said.

He didn’t call. So a week later, I called and got an estimate.

“It’ll be about $250,” he said.

“Fine,” I said. “I’ll see you next week.”

Now, at this point it was pretty clear to me that he didn’t want the job—either that, or his customer service was in the toilet. And either way, I understood, the signs weren’t good. But I didn’t want to take the car to Scary-Dirty Place, and I didn’t want to take it somewhere where I’d have to sit and wait. Sitting is not my best thing, as many of you know. So I figured, I’m going to see this through.

Reckoning Day arrives, and I take the car into the shop, leave it there, and walk myself home in a quick five minutes. A few hours later, he gives me  a call.

“Bad news,” he says. “The something something may actually not be strong enough to hold the bolts once we something something, and we may have to get a new part, and the labor is 8 hours. So, best case scenario, you’re looking at $889, and it could go up to $1200. You should really take it somewhere else and get another estimate.”

I was dumbfounded. I mean, how hard could it be, drilling into the frame and screwing some bolts back in? But I didn’t have any leverage, and if they believed that a new part probably had to be ordered, that’s what they believed. It wasn’t as though he was trying to swindle me into paying; he was actually trying to get me to take my business elsewhere. Although . . . why? Because either way, weren’t they going to get their money? I went and picked up the car. And immediately drove it a block down, to Scary-Dirty Place.

“We can’t do an estimate today,” said the guy through the little glass window. “Come in tomorrow at 1:30.”

That night, as John and I ate dinner, I told him the story.

“How is that possible?” he said.

“I know,” I said. “It’s insane that they think it will cost that much. But if they really have to drill in there and then order another part for the frame because the frame isn’t strong enough or whatever . . . ”

“That just does not sound right to me.”

“But it’s what they said. The regular guys, the body shop, and the dealership. They all said that.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Okay, but they all said it. Three shops.”

“Maybe we should take it back to the Honda dealership and demand that they fix it for free,” he said.

“They’re not going to do that.”

“But if it’s an issue with poor design, they should.”

“I mean . . . that’s not . . . it doesn’t work that way.”

“Maybe it does.”

“Okay,” I said. “If it comes to that, we can do that. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘you.’ But let’s see what these other guys have to say tomorrow.”

The following afternoon, I pull into Scary-Dirty Place, where there’s a new person huddled inside the tiny, closed-in office to the left of the drive-in opening. I knock on the window to get her attention. “I have an estimate at 1:30?”

She walks out without saying a word, pad of paper in hand (no pre-printed forms here!), and opens my car door to get the VIN number.

“Need the mileage,” she says, holding out her hand.

I give her the keys, and she hands me the pad. “Name, address, and phone number.”

While I’m writing, she returns the keys, says, “It’s so cold here,” and walks outside to stand in the sun.

So . . . customer service maybe isn’t their thing, is what I’m thinking. I walk out with the pad and hand it to her. “Should I stay while they do the estimate?” I ask. “Or leave my car here?”

“Just stay,” she says. “I’ll go get him.”

She walks over to a guy in the back of the garage, says something, and then he’s quickly moving toward me, head down, eyes on the floor.

“What’s wrong with your car?” he barks.

I show him the latch. “You have to drill a hole,” I explain. “There’s no other way in.”

“Who told you that?” he barks again.

“Three different shops.”

He shakes his head. “You should really be smarter,” he growls, “than the machine you’re working on.”

“So, you don’t have to drill a hole?” I ask.

“I hate money,” he says. “That’s why everybody says that about me. I just hate money.”

“Sorry?”

“Got a minute?” he asks the car, and I say yes.

He blows by me, grabs something from the other side of the garage, and returns, crouching at the opening of the car door with a flashlight in his mouth and a screwdriver in either hand. I watch as, ever so gently, he nudges the plates inside the latch into alignment and then begins to turn the screws.

“Are you fixing it?” I say as I watch, incredulous.

He’s silent.

“What was wrong, though?” I ask. “There wasn’t a weld that had broken?”

“You really should be smarter than the machines you work on,” he growls again. Then he stands up, job obviously done. “How much were they going to charge you for that?”

“Anywhere from 900 to 1200 dollars.”

“I don’t know how anybody can get away with that,” he says.

“But I don’t think they wanted to fix it. Or maybe they didn’t know how?”

“Who sent you here?”

“Nobody,” I said. “I saw your place from the road.”

“Nobody wants to give business to me.”

“I do,” I said. “How much can I pay you?”

“How’s 25 bucks,” he says.

“How’s 50,” I say, handing him a $50 bill.

“No way,” he says.

“Yes way,” I say.

“Give it to her,” he says, pointing to the woman in the office and walking away from me.

I find the door and start to hand the woman $50.

“She’s going to try to give you $50,” the guy says to the woman, suddenly appearing behind me.

“Oh, honey,” the woman says. “Just keep it. We can’t take that.”

“You should take it,” I say. “I’m really grateful.”

“No,” she says. “You keep it. It’s just ’cause he knows how to do things.”

“I know how to do things,” I say, “and I like getting paid for it.”

She pets her dog, a sweet little dachshund sitting behind her on the office chair.

“How about 20?” I ask. “Will you take 20?’

She begrudgingly accepts it. “He’d be happy,” she says, “if you just got him a bottle of wine.”

“You can buy wine with $50,” I say.

“This is fine,” she says.

“What’s his name, anyway?” I ask.

“Him? Oh, that’s Michael, and I’m Kimberly. Let me get you a card.”

She hands me a card, and on the way out, I read it: same last name. They’re married! And they own this place!

As soon as I get home, I Yelp the crap out of these folks. Unsurprisingly, the results are split: Half the reviews say that the place is a godsend, Michael is a master craftsman, and you can trust him and Kimberly with your life. The other half are written by people who didn’t actually get any work done, so horrified were they by the initial customer service. Witness:

Sorry Bob’s.  How can you possibly be in business with an insanely human-repellant [sic] attitude like that?  You SERIOUSLY need to fire that guy, or make him NEVER responsible for giving estimates, and Science have mercy if that man is you, Bob, the owner.  If you hate your life that much, you need to find a new job, take some vacation and/or medication, get professional help, etc, NOT work with people in a service role, and certainly not drive away your own business and take your emotional issues out on other completely innocent people.  You need help.

I think I know who that was, Yelp poster. I think it was Michael. And he is a freaking MASTER CRAFTSMAN.

Also, he might have Asperger’s. Or maybe just rage?

Anyway, CAR FIXED! 20 BUCKS! And JOHN WAS RIGHT JOHN WAS RIGHT JOHN WAS RIGHT! 3 unique shops got it wrong. One unique shop got it right. Bob Motter Auto Body, you have my business for life.

 

Introducing . . . Captain Green Man and his Faithful Sidekick Greenboy!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

A quick look at John’s Halloween costume, which we invented and put together in about a half hour last night:

Smart

Meet the Captain

Captain Green Man and his faithful sidekick Greenboy!  Ready to begin their day of  ridding the world of environmental degradation!

Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff

Fly, Captain, fly!

Don't Mess with the Captain

Don’t Mess with the Captain

FIERCE.

Destiny Awaits

Destiny Awaits

Go forth, Green Men, and conquer! (Or, er, stop the conquering!)

When Worlds Collide

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Cue scene:

I’m lying on the bedroom floor, stretching post-exercise. John joins me as we discuss plans for the day.

J: Hey, can you pick something up for me on your walk to the bank?

M: I decided not to walk. But maybe I can pick it up anyway.

J: No, don’t worry about it. It can wait another week. It’s already waited a year.

M: Really? What is it?

J: Iron-on patches.

M: Iron-on patches for what?

J: I have holes in my jeans.

M: And you’re planning to cover them with iron-on patches?

J: Not on the outside. On the inside.

M: Yeah, that can’t happen.

J: What? It’s very functional.

M: What do you think this is, 1978? You think those are Toughskins? Jeans look good with holes. They’re supposed to have holes.

J: I’m worried that they’re going to fall apart.

M: They won’t fall apart.

J: But I want them to last a long time.

M: Okay, but you can’t use iron-on patches.

J: Why not?

M: You’re hurting me. Your idea is painful to me.

J: I don’t understand the problem.

M: The problem is NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

J: Then what am I supposed to do?

M: Cut up a bandana.

J: And sew it on top?

M: No, behind.

J: I don’t have time to sew.

M: Give it to me.

J: You have other things to do.

M: Just give it to me.

J: But you have a whole list—

M: What is a wife for, IF NOT TO MEND HER HUSBAND’S GARMENTS?

J: Seriously? You’ll do it?

M: Find me the sewing kit, get me a bandana, and hand over the jeans.

J: Wow, thanks, Sweetie.

M: We should have put that in our marriage vows. I VOW TO NEVER TO USE AN IRON-ON PATCH. ON ANYTHING. EVER.

And My Pride

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Nellies, it has been a week of bloggable events. Two books, four movies, three calling birds, a spa visit, Thanksgiving here with friends, and a highly objectionable episode of Radiolab (not that all of them aren’t, in some way, objectionable) that I’d love to publicly upbraid.

However. Time is limited. And as le topic plus preferré at this blog is “Funny Conversations with John,” I’m going to open with that.

We were driving—and not merely driving but navigating the highways en route to our pre-holiday destination, our favorite spa in Calistoga. We hadn’t made this drive in a couple of years, as last year at this time we were enduring the final, harrowing hours of the most grueling escrow period on historical record, so we were a bit rusty on the specifics.

Now, I am normally extremely attentive to detail. But because I ride lying down in the back of our car, for reasons that most of you understand and which future clients (let me assure you) do not need to worry about, I often give over navigation to John. In this case, before we left I said, “You remember how to get there, right?” And he got a look of intense concentration on his face as he said, “Yeah. I’m running through all of the exits right now.”

Cue an hour later, when we’ve exited 80E.

J: Crap. I think I just took the wrong exit.

M: Yeah?

J: I think so. The construction got in the way.

M: Okay.

J: I couldn’t tell what was happening.

M: Well, we’ll just turn around, right?

J: I guess. Wait, is this the right exit?

M: I don’t know.

J: That’s the Jelly Belly factory, over there. I think I got confused because we used to exit there all the time.

[Editor's note: We used to go for the free jellies, but then they hosted a major campaign speech by Rick Santorum.]

M: Huh. Well, I guess we’ll just turn around.

We turn around.

J: This could be right, actually.

M: Okay, great!

J: I’m not sure, though.

M: Well, we’ll see, I guess.

J: Maybe it’s not right.

M: Either way, I kind of have to use the bathroom. So if we’ve exited anyway . . .

J: I’ll know in a minute whether this is right.

M: Okay, sounds good.

J: Darn it! I just exited in the wrong place.

M: Oops.

J: I think I got off too early to find you a bathroom.

M: Oh, well, let’s find a bathroom then.

J: But this doesn’t look like a good exit.

M: Bummer. There should be something, though.

J: Oh, there’s a gas station up there.

M: Great! When we get there, let’s ask for directions.

J: No, let’s not.

M: No, let’s. Because it’d be really nice to actually know what we’re supposed to be doing instead of just guessing.

J: I don’t want to. We don’t need to.

M: Well, I want to. It can’t hurt, anyway.

J: Yes, it can.

M: It can?

J: It hurts me, a little.

M: Oh. I’m sorry, Sweetie. I’m not trying to hurt you.

J: Okay.

We pull into the gas station and get gas, and then I head inside to go to the rest room.

J: Are you going to ask for directions?

M: I was hoping you would, since you understand better what’s happening.

J: Well, do you just want me to ask for directions, or are you actually interested in the truth?

M: [Cracking up.] Wow, Sweetie. You sound angry.

J: I guess I am, a little. I feel like you want me to ask for directions just because, but I have a map that will give us the answers.

M: You do realize that we’re reading from a script called Marriage right now?

J: [Almost inaudible chuckle.]

M: Okay, let’s look at the map.

We look at the map. It seems pretty clear. Then we go inside and use the rest room, buy some gummy snakes (They were called Hissy Fits!), and get back in the car. As soon as we pull out of the gas station, John curses.

J: I can’t turn the way I want, because of the median.

M: Sorry.

J: And now it’s going to take us all the way in the other direction.

M: That sucks. Maybe there’s a better way to do this. Why don’t we go back inside and ask for directions?

J: No.

M: But we could just get the answer so easily. They must have the answer.

J: No. I’m pretty sure I know where we are! I do not want to ask for directions!

M: Okay, but directions can be really helpful.

J: DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE ASKED FOR DIRECTIONS AND GOTTEN BOGUS ANSWERS? BECAUSE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! AND THEY WILL TELL YOU ANYTHING! AND THEN YOU WILL BE EVEN MORE LOST THAN YOU WERE BEFORE! BECAUSE OF THAT, and my pride, I DO NOT WANT TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS!

M:  [Hysterics.]

J: [Silence.]

M:  [Hysterics.]

J: [Silence.]

M: Oh my God, Sweetie. Oh my God, that was genius.

J: [Little chuckle.]

M: You heard that, right? About the pride?

J: Yeah.

M: That was really, really good.

J: Yeah.

M: I love you. And your pride.

J: Thank you. I’m getting back on the road now. And taking us to Calistoga.

M: Sounds good.

Loop of Misery

Monday, October 1st, 2012

As a rule, John is  an up-beat person. He likes people. He likes nature. He likes adventures. He likes life.

What he does not like is box stores. And strip malls. And shopping.

(Ikea in particular is a five-minute meltdown. Five minutes! Until John implodes! You can’t even get past the couches!)

Ergo, we avoid those things as much as possible. But every once in a while, we can no longer avoid those things, and Saturday was one of those days.

This was my plan:

  1. Lump all shopping and box stores into a single circuit so as to bunch the pain
  2. Call it the Loop of Misery
  3. Cheer

Every time we got out of the car, I pumped my fist in the air and yelled, “LOOP. OF. MISERY!” And then proceeded to laugh myself into a stupor.

John’s cheer was much more feeble, especially as the day wore on and he melted into gelatinous John-clump. Halfway through I had an insight: He actually was miserable. The “Loop of Misery” cheer is kind of fun only if you aren’t actually miserable.

Ah, well. Can’t blame me for trying.