Please Behave…

 

It was thought to be one of the most important social events of the decade, although I had no idea why. The entire community had been talking about it since it was announced, yet I seemed to have absolutely no interest in attending.  400 guests were invited to watch Mark & Monica promise each other a lifetime of fidelity, love, and ignorance, at was proudly announced as a white wedding. This was not the first time I had been to such an affair. They all seemed pretty much the same; a crowded room filled with loud, obnoxious, and incredibly stupid people, incredibly inedible food, a relatively untalented group of musicians playing cover versions of songs I never much liked when played by the original artists, and Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Title, parents of the not so lovely bride. As I stood in my room getting dressed, I couldn’t help but to wish for some kind of natural disaster, like an earthquake, or a hurricane perhaps. Or better yet, an alien invasion. Anything to prevent me from attending this spiritually vacuous event.

“I hope that you’ll behave yourself.”, my wife told me as she straightened my tie.

“I always do.”, I replied.

“No.”, she corrected me. “You don’t. Every time you open your mouth, you offend someone.”

“Really?”, I asked. “I try to offend them all.”

“I’m being serious!”, she snapped.

“I know.”, I said. “I’m just not sure why anyone should be offended by the truth.”

“Because sometimes it hurts their feeling.”, she explained.

“I don’t try to hurt people’s feelings.”, I said in my defense. “I just say what I think, and I am entitled to my opinion.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But why do you feel the need to express it so absolutely?”

“Because my opinion is absolute to me.”, I offered in explanation.

“I just want you try, tonight, for me.”, she added. “Just try to be a little less certain that you are always right, or at least try not to let everyone else know. And stay away from Barry Singer”

“Why?”, I inquired.

“Because I am asking you to.” She advised me. “The last time you saw him, you called him an asshole! In front of his daughter!”

“I did not.”, I responded. “I called him an ignorant ass. There is a difference. And besides, she knows that he’s an ass. Every one knows that he’s an ass.”

“Please.”, she asked again with those dark Moroccan eyes. “For me?’

“Alright.”, I told her. “I will try. For you. It won’t change how I think and feel, but I will make an effort to keep my opinion to myself.”

“Thank you.”, she said, as she squeezed my arm. “You look very handsome.”

“Thanks.”, I said. “I have a date with an insanely hot woman.” She blushed. I love it when she blushes.Her face turned a wonderful shade of crimson, and as she looks away, she emits a soft, little giggle that squeaks its way out of the corner of her mouth.

Well, I have rarely made any promises to my wife, but have kept the ones I did. I was determined to try and keep this one as well. I would try to keep my opinions to myself, and let those whose only point is located atop their heads, espouse their stupidity freely, and without consequence.

The venue was already near filled when we arrived. The country club selected for this wondrous  joining of two empty minds was regally decorated. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, and I could see the golf course from the large window in the reception hall.  “I should have brought my clubs.”, I whispered to my wife.

“Behave.”, she reminded me. “Go and talk to someone and try to have a good time.” I knew a good time was not going to be had. There was no one present that I really ever wanted to talk to. Talk about what? None of them had read a book since they were in High School. If only there was a lounge with a television, I could watch the hockey game. I grabbed myself a beer from the bar, and began to wander around the room.

“Hello, neighbor.”, I heard a voice call out. “I thought for sure you would find a reason not to show up.” I turned to see who was there. Barry Singer. The ignorant ass himself.

“Hello, Barry.” I said. “something I can do for you?”

“No no.”, he replied. “Just thought we’d catch up for a while.”

“Sorry, Barry.”, I informed him. “I’m on a mission.”

“What mission?”, he asked.

“Something I have to do for my wife.”, I told him., and I walked away. In a few minutes we were ushered in to another room to watch the spectacle of the ceremony. My wife and I found suitable seats close to the door, and we settled in. As the ceremony began, someone behind me leaned forward and began whispering in my ear. It was Barry Singer.  I had no idea what he was saying, but I recognized the voice. When I didn’t answer, his whisper became louder.

“What are you doing?”, my wife asked.

“I’m not doing anything.”, I told her. “Its Barry Singer behind us. I told you he’s an ass.” Barry continued to lean forward and try to engage me in a conversation, while my wife was growing visibly upset. The people in the row in front of us began to turn around and whisper ‘Shhh’, which only fueled my wife’s ire. As the ceremony continued, I tried my best to ignore the shit head who was sitting behind me, tormenting me solely by his existence, but I could feel myself beginning to lose the ability to ignore him. People in front continued to utter ‘Shhh’, and an elderly woman asked me, quite politely to stop ruining the wedding. My wife was fuming, her eyes grew dark, and the vein in her forehead, shaped like the letter ‘Y’, which only appears when her Spanish-Moroccan begins to boil, was beginning to take shape.

As the ceremony ended, we stood up to leave. “Somebody should take that man outside, tie him to a tree, and drop a squirrel down his pants.”, she said.

“I’m available.”, I told her.

“Don’t bother.”, she answered. “The squirrel would probably starve to death.” Without knowing it, my wife could be incredibly funny. We entered the reception area, and sat at our assigned table. Luckily, Barry Singer was not at our table. It didn’t take long however, but there he was, Barry Singer, standing over my shoulder, inquiring as to how much of a gift we were giving. I could the ‘Y’ vein start to appear. Barely visible at first, but then, there it was, upper case, and in bold font. “This can’t be good!”, I thought. And then it happened. Like a volcanic eruption, fast and furious, and unrelenting.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”, my wife asked Barry. “Do you have some sort of condition that prevents you from acting like a human being? You are, without a doubt the most insipid, irritating man I have ever met. I want you to go away. Now. Go away and stay away from us. Do you understand?” The others at our table sat stunned, with eyes glaring, and mouths opened. I, for one, had never been prouder of my wife. I put my hand on her leg, showing my approval for her crushing defeat of Barry Singer.

“Was it too much?”, she asked me, after apologizing to our table mates for her outburst.

“Not at all.”, I told her. “You were wonderful. But you forget to mention that he’s an ignorant ass.”

“I thought I did.”, she replied.

“No.”, I said. “But its okay. And thankfully, at least one of us can behave in public.”

“Yes.”, she answered. ” I suppose that I shouldn’t have asked you to change. Its who you are, and you’re usually right.”

“Its okay.”, I told her. “You did an exceptional job in my place.”

“Its a good thing that we take turns.”, she stated. “I’m not sure that people could handle both of us at the same time. I think we should go home.”

“Let’s go.”, I said.

“Are you hungry?”, she asked, as we walked to the car.

“I suppose I am.”, I told her.

“Do you feel like Chinese? My treat.”, she asked.

“Sounds like a plan.”, I replied.

“I’m going to have to borrow some money, though.”, she said.

“I already had that figured out.”, I told her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can I Get Extra Plum Sauce?

 

For those of you who are not aware, my wife has become a minimalist. She has decluttered our lives to the point of no return. It seems that mimimalists can never be satisfied with not having less than they need. She buys the only the bare essentials, the necessities, as she likes to refer to it, and nothing more. I have questioned this movement, and after much soul searching, and self examination, do not share the same extreme views. It really makes absolutely no difference, as my wife has taken over control of our spending.

I know that she means well, and I am aware that she is trying to save money for us in the event that there is some sort of emergency somewhere down the road. I, however, would much rather be sitting in a parked car at the side of the road, drinking beer, and eating a burger, than moving down the road, sucking on rice and beans. I informed my wife that I would be starting my own movement, my own philosophy, The maximalists. Our philosophy is quite simply do it now. Buy it now. Enjoy it now. The future may not come. It is in direct contrast to my wife’s philosophical bent, but we manage to coexist.

As I said, she has taken control of the money. I am not really sure how. I don’t remember a coup of any kind, but she has the control. She tells me that I willingly gave it to her, but that is not likely. I just wouldn’t do that. It is more likely than not, she has inflicted upon me one of those Moroccan, voodoo spells, which has allowed her to usurp control of the money, and the power to make financial decisions.

Now, I enjoy take out food. I enjoy it more than home cooked food, unless there is a brisket, or a turkey involved. My wife advised that there will be no more take out food. Everything we eat, must be made at home with food we have in the house at the time. I tried to make it work, I really did, but I just couldn’t figure out what to make with blueberries, chick peas, relish, and potatoes.

“What are you having for dinner?”, she asked me as I came in the door, torn and tattered from the events of the day, and worn and weary from the ensuing minefield I would be forced to maneuver as I entered the conversation we ere about to have.

“I don’t know.”, I replied. “I haven’t really thought about.”

“Well”, she stated, “I’m hungry!”

“Then you should eat.”, I told her.

“But I don’t know what i want.”, she replied.

“Is that now a consideration?”, I asked. “Just make something with the food we have here.”

“There’s nothing good here.”, she said. “I want something good.”

“Like what?”, I asked her.

“I think I want ribs.”, she replied.

“Uh huh.”, I remarked. “So you have decided to become a part time minimalist?”

“No. But I want Chinese food.”, she explained. “Ribs, rice, and 2 egg rolls. Do you want something?”

“From where?”, I inquired.

There’s only 1 place my wife can eat Chinese food at due to all of her food allergies and sensitivities, and I hate it. Really. The food is barely recognizable as food, and they take forever to deliver.

“Can we afford to order in?”, I asked. “What about the future emergency you have been planning for?”

“This is an emergency.”, she informed me. “I’m hungry. Do you want me to get you something?” Oh, those minimalists! $50 worth of Chinese food, and I can’t get $5 for a bagel and coffee at Tim Horton’s!

“I don’t know.”, I answer. “I’d have to look at the menu.”

“We don’t have one. I threw it out when we decided that we weren’t going to order in anymore.”, she told me.

“To be clear”, I reminded her, “we never decided anything. You decided.” My wife informed me that its not important who decided. She said I should remember that we are in this together, and she is only trying to help us save some money for the inevitable, mystery emergency.

“Okay”, she said, “I have the menu online. See what you want so I can order already. I’m hungry.”

I must have read that menu 3 or 4 times, and still nothing appealed to me. “Well?”, she asked, growing more impatient by the nano second.

“Just get me a won ton soup, and a large fresh watermelon bubble tea, no tapioca.”

“I don’t think that’s enough for free delivery.”, she said.

“So pay the delivery charge.”, I told her.

“Are you crazy?”, she asked. “Its $3.50.”

“So you want me to order more food to avoid paying the delivery charge? ”

“Ya.”, she said.

“Okay”, I said as I looked at the menu once again. “The cheapest thing on the menu is $6. You understand that we are now paying $2.50 more than if we just pay the delivery charge?”

“Just get 2 spring rolls or something.”, she said. “They’re $2 each. That will be enough for free delivery.”

“That still costs more than the delivery charge.”, I remind her.

“Yes, but at least you’ll have the food. At least you’re getting something or the money.”

“But I don’t want any spring rolls.”, I told her. “Just soup and a bubble tea. If you want me to get something else, get me another bubble tea.”

“We don’t have money for that.”, she said. “They’re almost $7.”

“Whatever.”, I said. “Just order the food. I’ll pay for the delivery charge.”

“No.”, she stated rather firmly. “Its the principle.”

“Whatever you decide.”, I told her.

About an hour later, there was a knock on the door. I opened it and was surprised to find a Swiss Chalet delivery man standing there. I called my wife and she came to pay the bill.

“What happened to the Chinese food?”, I asked.

“I changed my mind.”, she said. “You were making it too complicated, and I know you don’t like South China’s food, so I just ordered Swiss Chalet.”

“But I was really looking forward to the bubble tea.”, I told her.

“I got you the chicken spring rolls, and the 1/4 chicken, white meat. And, I got you an iced tea.”

These are the moments when I realize that I really don’t care if my wife is a minimalist, or a communist. I’m just glad that she’s my wife.

“Thank you.”, I said. I kissed her on the forehead as I reached for cutlery.

“You’re welcome.”, she replied. “But this is the last time. Starting tomorrow, we eat whatever we can find here.”

I looked at her in disbelief. I had heard the “This is the last time” line many, many times before, and it never really is.

“I mean it.”, she said. “No more ordering in.”

“I understand.”, I told her. “By the way, I have a late meeting at the school board tomorrow. Can I get $5 for coffee at Tim’s?”

“Do you know how much we just spent on dinner?”, she asked.  And there it was, proof positive that a minimalist can fall off the wagon, and get right back up again, faster than you can pick up a knife and fork.

When I woke in the morning, I went out to collect my bags for work. There, on my desk, was a $5 bill, with a note. ‘Have a good day. Good luck with your maximalism. Love you.’

God, how I adore this woman.

 

Life Is A Carnival

I seem to have a propensity for not being able to hang on to money. I never really spend any, yet I rarely come home with the money I left the house with. I don’t buy anything. I simply lose it. Not nomoney1gambling losses. I just can’t find it. It was in my pocket, and then it is not! My wife says that she has seen people follow me around, just waiting to pick up the money that falls from my pockets. She has decided knows not to put money in my hand. If I am going shopping with one of my kids, she gives them the money. I am permitted to debit. But no cash.

I suppose there are good reasons for this. Many years ago I went to the drug store to pick something up for one of the kids. I left with a $20 bill, and returned with a $10 item and no change. I had no idea what happened to the other $10. “Did the cashier give you back the change?”, my wife asked.

“I don’t know.”, I replied. “Why wouldn’t she?”

“Where is it?”, she asked.

“I don.t know”.

My wife called the drug store, and, when they closed, they discovered a $10 overage. “Well, at least I didn’t lose it.”, I told her proudly. I drove back to the drug store to collect the money.

It is not just money I seem to lose. I have misplaced, or forgotten my debit card at ATMs and gas stations. I have left packages or newly purchased items on the counter of stores after debiting. And, on one occasion, I forgot my infant daughter in a bank after depositing a cheque. Now, I didn’t leave her there. By the time I got to the car, I realized that I had left her in the bank, and went back confusedto retrieve her. My wife insists it is a memory problem, possibly early onset Alzheimer’s.

She tells me there are times when I get lost. Okay, there was the time in WalMart, when I wandered off, and couldn’t find her in the store afterwards. I roamed up and down the aisles, but to no avail. I decided to sit on the bench at the front of the store believing that sooner or later, she would head for the door. About 30 minutes later, she appeared, not the least bit concerned that I had been missing, but focusing on whether or not I had learnt my lesson about wandering off. I didn’t. I still do it.

I am no longer permitted to cook unless someone else is home to check up on me. It seems I have a habit of forgetting to turn the oven or stove top off when I am done, and forgetting that I have left something in the oven cooking. She is afraid that the house will be incinerated, and therefor, the kitchen is off limits unless I am supervised.  She bought me a kitchen timer, which I am to set for cookingthe time needed to cook. It rings when the time has expired, and that is my cue to go back to the kitchen, check on the food, and turn the oven off. Can you see the problems with this plan? Yes, I usually forget to set the damn thing, and if I do set it, I don’t always know what the ringing is for. My kids have said, and they laugh quite hard at me for this, that they have seen me answer the telephone when the kitchen timer goes off.

A doctor appointment was made to look into this. I sat with my doctor who asked me a series of questions. What day of the week is it? What year is it? My date of birth? My address? my wife’s date of birth. All of these were answered correctly, and he concluded that I do not have Alzheimer’s.

As if this was not enough, I have been told by 2 of my daughters who live with me, that I do some rather bizarre things. Once, after putting groceries away, my daughter found a package of cheese in the cutlery drawer, and canned tuna in the freezer. To my credit, this drawer is right beside the fridge, and well, I cannot explain the tuna in the freezer.

clumsymanI have been breaking many household items recently. We have a shopping cart to bring groceries home so we can walk to the stores. Well, I have broken the wheels on 2 of them. And, somehow, I have broken the electric can opener. I am not certain how, but it now requires a butter knife be inserted between the lever and the activation button in order to operate. In essence, one requires 3 hands to use this small appliance now. I told my wife it promotes togetherness and cooperation. Surprisingly, no one wants to participate.

While changing a light bulb in the kitchen, I dropped the fixture, and well, we no longer have a fixture in the kitchen. I installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and was surprised there was so much left over hardware. The fan works, however it seems to sit off to the left, making a whirring noise as the blades spin. We don’t use it much. Years and years ago, we purchased a small, charcoal barbecue that I had to assemble. While putting it together, in the backyard, I dropped some screws handymanand nuts in the grass. I finished the assembly, and we began a wonderful Sunday family event. Once the coals were just the right color, and the flames had ebbed, I put the food on the grill, only to have it collapse. I think we ordered in Chinese food that night.

I remind my wife that I never claimed to be handy. Not in any way. I have a list of people I know who are handy, and I can call them and they will be here as fast as they can to fix, build, construct anything. That is my area of expertise. Knowing who the right person for the job is and getting them to do the job. Enough said!!! I remind myself that most of these ‘accidents’ were intended to impress my wife, to demonstrate some level of testosterone driven manliness. If not, I hope that at least I have made her laugh. And that seems to more than compensate for the lost money, broken items, and potential fire hazard.