Power & Control

 

I had sneaked into the bedroom. After being awake for 3 hours, while my wife slept, I went to retrieve a cigarette. I moved as quietly as humanly possible, maneuvering around a chair, a lamp, and assorted collectibles. Just as I reached the pack that sat atop the dresser, she spoke. “Did you have coffee already?”

“Ya.”, I replied. “I’ve been up since 2 o’clock.”

“Did you make me any?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her. “You were asleep.”

“I’m awake now.”, she stated.

“Would you like me to make you coffee?”, I asked.

“No.”, she said. “Its okay. I’m awake now. I can do it myself.”

“Then why are we having this conversation?, I replied.

“I was just asking.”, she stated.

“Its quite aggravating.”, I informed her.

“I know.”, she replied. “But its my job.”

“I wish you’d find another line of work.”, I responded.

“No you don’t.”, she said. “You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself without me aggravating you.”

“I suppose you’re right.”, I told her. “All of these years of having a pain in my ass, I suppose I would miss it if it were gone.”

“Oh, don’t start that sweet talking now.”, she stated. “Its far too early, Let me at least have my coffee first.”

I remember the way things used to be. I don’t know what happened to change it all, but it was different. It had been for over 20 years. Somewhere along this long, strange trip, everything shifted. It was like a parallel universe, with things reversed.

“I used to be in charge.”, I told her, although it sounded a lot more like a question than a statement of fact.

“Yes you were.”, she replied.

“Well.”, I continued, “When did all of that change?”

“It never changed.”, she replied.

“Well. it seems to me”, I added, “that I have very little input into things that go on here.”

“That’s because that’s the way you want it.”, she responded.

“That’s not what I want.”, I told her.

“Sit down.”, she said. “We need to talk.”

“Listen carefully.”, she told me. “And please don’t get upset. You were never really in charge.”

“No , I was.”, I said. I remember making every decision.”

“Well”, she continued. “You really didn’t. You felt that you were in charge because I wanted you to feel that you were in charge.”

“What are you talking about?”, I asked,

“Ah, honey”, she said as she moved the hair off of my forehead. “You never stood a chance. None of you do. Everything that has gone on in our lives was because I was in charge. And look where we are today? Beautiful children, and a  happy marriage. What more could you have wanted?”

“The children, while beautiful, are out of their fucking minds.”, I replied. “And as for a happy marriage, we’re not happy, you’re happy. There’s a difference.”

“Is there?”, she asked. “Could you be happy if I was unhappy?”

“Well, no.”, I said.

“And why is that?”, she asked.

“Because I love you?”, I guessed.

“Hell no.”, she answered. “We both know its because I wouldn’t let you.”

“You tricked me.”, I said. She stood up and sat beside me, hugging me as she rubbed my shoulders.

“What can I do to make it better for you?”, she asked. “Whatever you want.”

“I’d like sex .”, I said.

“Okay.”, she said. “Anything else?”

“Do you think you could make me that brisket again?”, I queried. “The one with the roasted potatoes and carrots?”

“Of course.”, she replied.

“Great.”, I said. “That would be great.”

“Is there anything else?”, she asked, as she stood up.

“No I think that covers it.”, I told her.

“I’m glad.”, she remarked. “And honey.”, she said as I began to walk away. “I like it when you put your foot down and try to take control.”

“I know.”, I said. “That’s why you fell in love with me. Right?”

“No.”, she answered. “But don’t stop. Its really very cute.”

She was good. She was very good. She had confused and confounded me, again. It was precisely at that moment that I realized that she was right. I was never really in charge, and I never would be. But it  didn’t matter anyway. The brisket was good, the sex was even better, and I didn’t really want anything else.

 

 

 

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The Chocoholic

 

In all of the years I have known my wife, for better or worse, she has had an issue with chocolate. She is an addict. At times she pretends that there isn’t a problem, but deep down she knows. She buys insane amounts of the stuff, stashing it for later, in the event that the planet should run out. She craves it, becomes obsessed with it, and holds on to it as if her life depended on it.

“You won’t believe what I got us.”, my wife told me over the phone. “I got a huge box of Lindor chocolates. 150 of them on sale for $50.”

“What are we going to do with 150 chocolates?”, I asked.

“Eat them.”, she said. “we’ll have chocolates for a year.”

“You know I don’t really eat chocolate, right?”, I reminder her.

“Okay.”, she said. “So, I’ll have chocolates for a year.”

“That should last you 2 years, if its just you eating them.”, I suggested.

“There my chocolates now.”, she stated. “I’ll eat them when I want.”  She wasn’t kidding. The year’s worth of chocolates were gone in about a week. She carried some in her purse, had some at work, and the rest she managed to eat while sitting in bed, reading.

“I don’t feel so good.”, she told me after the last morsel had been eaten. “I’m never doing that again.”

“I’m sure you will.”, I said. Not surprisingly, I was right. I just couldn’t believe how quickly she was going to do it again.

Less than a week later, while shopping, she noticed her favorite boxes of chocolates on sale, the dark chocolate, sea salt topped, caramel things in a box. They are only available at Christmas time. “Can you get me a box?”, she asked. As I walked towards the chocolate display, I heard a voice call out. “Make it two, please.”

“Why not.”, I replied. I picked up the two boxes and placed them in the shopping cart.

“You know what?”, she asked. “Get me one more.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked. “Remember what happened last time.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But this time I’ll pace myself.”

We got home and unpacked the groceries. Several minutes later, as I entered the bedroom, I found my wife sitting on the bed, an open box of the dark chocolate, sea salt topped, caramel things on her lap.

“You’re kidding.”, I stated. “We haven’t even been home for half an hour.”

“I know.”, she said. “Isn’t it awful.”, as she shoved another one into her mouth. Before the evening was through, she had devoured 26 of the 30 chocolates in the box.

“I think I’m going to be sick.”, she said.

“Me too.”, I replied.

“No, seriously.”, she said. “I think I’m going to be really sick.” And she was. For hours.

“I think you’re going to be okay.”, I told her as she settled into bed.

“I think I should take the other boxes of chocolates back.”, she suggested.

“Okay.”, I agreed.

“Or maybe we should just hang on to them.”, she added. “You know, maybe give them as  gifts or something.”

“Whatever you want.”, I said.

“But you’re going to have to hide them somewhere.”, she stated, “and don’t tell me where they are. No matter what.”

“Alright.”, I told her.

“You know what?”, she continued. “Just hide them under the tv stand.”

“Right.”, I said.

 

 

Bitch Toss

 

I have a habit, although my wife refers to it as a disorder, of arriving at work in the wee hours of the morning, and completing all of my paper work. For me, it works. I then have the day to deal with arising issues, and can devout my time to resolving them, un-distracted by looming bureaucratic deadlines. Some mornings, if I am diligent enough, I find myself with time to have a nap in my office before any one else arrives. I suppose I enjoy the solitude, the tranquility of a world unencumbered by the persistent bullshit of asshats and fucktards.

It began when I was still in University, staying up all night to study, or write essays in the silence, while everyone else was asleep. I would often go to Mr. Donut, buy a pack of cigarettes from the machine, and sit at a table all night, drinking coffee and working on my assignments unfettered by the world that slumbered. It bothers my wife. Even though I am not at home, I seem to be responsible for her waking early, not sleeping properly, bad coffee, and a seemingly never ending list of issues that arise in my home between 2am and 6am. At one time, my wife suggested we get separate beds. My counter proposal was that we get separate homes. Needless to say, we still have the one bed.

At my wife’s urging, or rather badgering, I went to the doctor. After a series of intrusive tests, some of which made me feel quite violated, I was advised that my body clock was off.  It could be reset I was told, and I was given a list of things to do, and not to do in order to correct the problem. Surprisingly, I didn’t see it as a problem. My wife however, who takes great joy in complicating and micromanaging my life, insisted that it was. “You need to sleep!”, she told me. “Everybody needs to sleep!”

“You mean, you need to sleep.”, I corrected her.

“Yes.”, she fired back, “I need to sleep. So you need to fix the problem.”

Now, to be truthful, there have been times when I have wanted to suggest things that she needed to fix. Things like get cable back, have more sex, and give me some of the fucking blanket. But there always seems to be a round or two of the game known as bitch and catch. It works like this. No matter what is going on, no matter who is responsible, my wife hurls her bitch at me. My role in this game is to catch it, and hang on to it. If I drop it, the bitches that follow will be harder and more erratic, making it almost impossible to catch and hang on to. The only way this can be won by me, is to catch and hang on to each and every bitch, and at an opportune moment, to throw one back and force her into the catching role. Not surprisingly, she is very weak in this part of the game. I am, and I say this with all modesty, the Provincial Champion, three years in a row, and the reigning Silver Medalist at the World Championship.

Let me assure you that this is no easy feat. The training involved is unprecedented in modern sport. It requires stamina, patience, inner strength, and quick reflexes. It demands a calm interior and a hardened exterior, much like an emotionally charged M & M. Years ago, I secured a trainer and a coach, who work with me several times a week, and I attribute much of my success to their dedication and knowledge in deflecting bitches, the most difficult part of this event. In its simplest terms, it weakens the bitch, slowing it down and minimizing its impact, so that it it falls into your hands like a feather drifting on a warm summer breeze, landing right in the palm of you outstretched and open hand. The idea is to stand perfectly still, don’t even blink, and look at her. And just as she is about to release, lowering your eyes to the ground, and mumbling “I’m sorry, honey.”, creates a disturbance in the atmosphere, causing time to almost stand still. When this is employed correctly, and you have caught the bitch, this is the moment to throw it back. It is unsuspected, and applies a devastating blow to your combatant, one from which they struggle to overcome. The bitches stop.It gets eerily quiet, as she thinks about her next move. Don’t move, and don’t say a word. Anything you say or do at this point will only serve to provide with additional bitches. There is an old saying ‘the one who speaks next, is the one who loses.’. Don’t speak. Through my coach and trainer, I have mastered this by imagining my wife naked. Yep. There she is, standing in front of me, naked, and my mind is occupied in thoughts of sexual fantasy. “What the hell are you doing?”, she asks me, being the first one to speak.

“Nothing.”, I reply. “Just thinking.”

“About what?”. she pries.

“About you.”, I say. “About us.”, as I lower my gaze to the ground again.  

“I’m sorry.”, she says, as she comes towards me, totally bitchless. “I don’t mean to give you a hard time.”

“Well”, I said.  “Seems like you already did.”

“Oh, so it does.”, she remarked, looking at my crotch. “Well, I suppose we should take care of that.”, she continued, as she led me into the bedroom.

Game, set, and match!!!

Bubbie Has A Boyfriend

 

There was quite a furor in my house. The kids were upset, my wife was uncharacteristically quiet, and once again I found myself in the role of therapist for this band of brooding, yet quite lovable barbarians. As innocent as it appeared to me, there was much anxiety over the news that my 80 year old mother-in-law had a boyfriend.

“Who is this man?”, one of my daughters asked.

“What does Bubbie need a boyfriend for?”, another one shouted out.

“We need to check this guy out.”, a son chimed in. “What if he’s after her money or something?” I sat listening to this diatribe, wondering what he hell had happened to what I thought was a reasonably sensible family.

“I don’t know who he is.”, my wife said. “Except that he’s younger than her, and he’s French.”

“He’s a gigolo.”, another son entered the fray.

“Are they, like dating?”, a daughter asked.

“It appears that way.”, my wife responded. “He just moved into her building.”

“Oh my God!”, a daughter quipped. “Are they living together?”

“No.”, my wife said. “He has his own apartment. A few floors above hers.”

“Well, that’s convenient.”, I said. Its probably not even furnished..”

“What is that supposed to mean?”, my wife asked, with arms folded.

“It means they are probably living together.”, a son replied. “He just rented his own apartment to make it look good.”

“They are not living together.”, my wife stated. “And please”, she added as she looked directly at me, “If you’re not going to help, then just say nothing.”

“I just don’t think there’s anything to get so upset about.”, I said. “The woman has been a widow for almost 40 years. She spent all of that time alone. I think its good for her to meet someone and try to be happy.”

“Well, it’s not your mother, is it?”, my wife reminded me. And true enough, it wasn’t.

“We need to meet this guy.”, a son said. “We need to check him out and make sure he’s okay for Bubbie.”

“We should just put him in the trunk of his car and leave him in the parking lot at the Airport.”, someone said.

“This isn’t a Mafia hit.”, I interjected.

“What if they’re having sex?”, a daughter asked.

“They’re not having sex.”, my wife answered.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Because they’re not.”, she said. “You’re still not helping.”, she said to me.

“Well”, I offered.”Why don’t we ask your mother and her friend to join us for lunch. We’ll all go. We can meet him, and see what’s going on. Maybe then you can all stop talking about it.” There are times when I have wonderfully brilliant solutions to all of my families troubles, but not one of them will ever let me know. This was one of those times.

“Okay.”, my wife said. “I call my mother and make arrangements for this weekend.”

“I’m going to grill him.”, a daughter said. “No one messes with my Bubbie.”

“We could take him outside and threaten him.”, a son said. “You know, scare the crap out of him.”

“Who are you?”, I asked him. “We’re not the Sopranos!”

“We will all behave.”, my wife said. “It will be a nice getting to know you, and welcome to the family lunch.”

“He’s not in my family.”, a daughter said.

“Does he even speak English?”, a daughter asked.

“He speaks English.”, I assured her. “But like a Frenchman. Just mumble, close your eyes and move your head around a bit when you speak to him. He’ll understand perfectly.”

As the day of the luncheon rolled around, everyone was working on their own agendas. There were those who had plans to batter the man with incessant questioning, while others were planning on intimidating and threatening. My wife wasn’t sure how she would react. She hoped that she would like him, for her mother’s sake, but she already had issue with him. Me, well, it made no difference to me whatsoever. I was pretty far removed from the emotional turbulence that had overwhelmed my family. If he was alright, then I was alright. All of the kids and their significant others met at the restaurant about 20 minutes before we arranged for them to come. We were an intimidating site for a newcomer, all 10 of us, seated at the table, some with a scornful demeanor, and visible uneasiness. “Please make sure your children behave.”, my wife whispered to me.

“Why are they suddenly mine?”, I asked.

“Because you taught them to be rude and disrespectful.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said to my kids. “You really need to tone it down, and behave yourselves. Be nice. Be polite. We’re hear for your grandmother. Let’s try to make her happy.”

When they arrived, we all sat there talking, introducing ourselves, and trying to get to know the Frenchman. I’m sure he knew the scrutiny he was under. I’m sure my mother-in-law warned him about our family. But he was alright. He held his own. One of my daughters kept giving him the ‘stink eye’, and I had to glare at her to get her to stop. It turned out that the Frenchman had a crap load of money, owned several properties across Canada, including a beach house in Nova Scotia, and a Condo in Vancouver. I could see my daughter’s eyes light up,  with dollar signs floating around her face. My mother-in-law seemed happy, the happiest I had seen her in many, many years. My wife, struggling a little to let go of the ghost of her father, also saw her mother’s happiness. We finished lunch, and said our goodbyes, as they had a long drive back to Windsor. As the rest of us walked towards our cars, there was much chatter about the Frenchman.

“He seems okay.”, a son said.

“I still don’t like him.”, a daughter said.

“Do you think I could get him to pay off my student loan?”, another daughter asked.

“I hate the French.”, someone stated.

In the car, heading home, my wife asked me what I thought of him. “I don’t know.”, I told her. “He seems nice enough, and your mother is very happy.”

“I don’t want her to get hurt.”, she said.

“Ah, honey.”, I said. “They’re 80 years old. He can’t get her money because we have signing authority. What’s left for him to take? Her virtue? That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Let her have fun. We will take care of her, but she needs to live.”

“I know.”, she said. “I just worry that he’ll leave or something, and then she’ll have nothing.”

“She’ll have us.”, I reminded her.

“Thank you for looking out for my mother.”, she told me.

“And besides”, I stated. “If he hurts her, we can always have him stuffed into the trunk of a car parked at the airport. Your gangster son would gladly do the job.”

“Oh, so now he’s my son.”, she exclaimed.

“Yes.”, I explained. “The crazy shit they get from you. The kids and I refer to it as ‘getting Moroccan’.”

“Well”, she said, “We have some time without any kids. Interested in some crazy Moroccan sex?”

“It so happens that’s my favorite kind.”, I told her. Man, I love this woman..

 

 

 

 

When It Rains, It Pours

 

My wife has spent the last 2 to 3 years tirelessly minimizing our expenses in an effort to maximize our savings for retirement. She has systematically eliminated all things that, as she puts it, ‘we don’t really need’. The selection process, fraught with anxiety and despair, has not always been an easy one.

“Do we really need cable?”, she asked.

“Yes.”, I answered. “We really do.”

“Its very expensive.”, she continued. “I think it’s frivolous. There are better things we could do with our money.”

“Like what?”, I inquired.

“We could save it.”, she said. “For our retirement.”  I sat silently, knowing full well that she wasn’t finished. “And I think we should look at our food budget. We spend way too much on food.”

“What are you suggesting?”, I asked.

“We have to eat differently.”, she explained. “Simple, inexpensive food. Meals like soups, and rice and beans.”

“Soup is not a meal.”, I told her. “It’s the stuff that comes before the real food arrives. It’s like salad, only wet.”

“Don’t you want to stop working and just take it easy?”, she asked.

“What for?”, I inquired. “There will be no cable, and no real food to eat.”

“You’re just being stubborn.”, she stated. “Do you always have to be so damned difficult.”

“I think so.”, I answered. “I have tried not to be, but it never works out. Maybe we could come up with some sort of compromise.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Maybe we could use the money we save from cancelling the cable to buy real food?”, I suggested.

“You’re missing the point.”, she explained, with a great deal of fervor. “We have to be prepared for the future. Didn’t you ever hear about saving for a rainy day?”

“I’ve heard about it.”, I replied. “But what if it never rains?”

“What are you going on about?”, she inquired.

“Look.”, I said. “We see things very differently. You like to plan for tomorrow by sacrificing today. I on the other hand, can’t be certain that tomorrow will ever come. What’s the point in saving up for something that I may not be here to do, if it means I have to give up the things I enjoy doing now?”

“You mean if you don’t live long enough to retire?”, she asked.

“Exactly.”, I said.

“Ok.”, she said. “But I will still be here, and I could enjoy the benefits of having sacrificed and saved.”

“Well, well.”, I replied. “And now we get to the heart of the matter. Its your tomorrow we’re planning for, not ours.”

“And?”, she asked, as if I had something more to add.

“Is there a difference?”, she asked.

“None at all.”, I told her. “There never really has been, has there?”

“None whatsoever.”, she answered. “But I’m glad we finally got it out of the way, and that we’ve reached an agreement.”

“So am I.”, I responded, somewhat dejectedly.

“Don’t worry.”, she said. “You can have your real food. I really only wanted to cancel the cable anyway.”

“I must be getting old.”, I told her. “You never would have been able to scam me like that ten years ago.”

“Really?”, she quipped, as she rubbed my shoulders. “What do you think we’ve been doing for the past 35 years?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rules Of Engagement

 

“I can’t sleep.”, my wife informed me as I was finally drifting off. “The atmosphere has been weird for the past two weeks. Do you know what I mean?”

“I understand the words.”, I replied. “But I have no idea what you mean.”

“Its like things are out of whack.” she continued. “It just doesn’t feel right. And its making me very uneasy.  Does that make any sense?”

“Not really.”, I told her. “But I don’t share your Moroccan sensitivity.”

“Do you think that’s what it is?”, she asked.

“Well”, I answered, “Either that or you’ve lost your mind.”

“We’ll go with the Moroccan sensitivity.”, she said.

“Either way.”, I informed her, “Its okay with me.” Several minutes of silence passed, and I could feel myself drifting off to sleep, once again.

“So what do you want to do now?”, my wife asked.

“What?”, I inquired, both surprised and agitated.

“Well, we can’t sleep.”, she stated, “did you want to talk, or watch tv or something?”

“We could fool around.”, I said.

“No.” , she answered, “I’m not in the mood for that.”

“Well.”, I said, “I think I’ll just go to sleep.”

“That’s it?”, she asked angrily. “You’re only willing to stay awake for sex?”

“Pretty much.”, I told her.

“You’re an ass.”, she said.

“Look.”, I told her, as I turned to face her. “There are only two reasons I have ever been prepared to stay awake. If you need medical attention, or sex. If you don’t need either of those, I have to get some sleep. I’m exhausted”

“Well, I’m over exhausted.” she said. “But this feeling is freaking me out.”

“You can’t be over exhausted.”, I informed her. “Exhausted is finite. There are degrees of tired, and exhausted is the ultimate. You can be over tired, but there is nothing beyond exhausted. You could use an adjective, like totally exhausted, but its redundant. Exhausted implies that you are the most tired you could be.”

“Shut up.”, she said, as she turned her back to me.

“You don’t have to be angry about it.”, I told her.

“Yes I do.”, she stated. “The rules are if I can’t sleep, you stay up with me.”

“Really?”, I inquired. “And if I can’t sleep, do you have to stay up with me?”

“No.”, she informed me. “Only if you’re very sick, or hurt.”

“Who made these rules.”, I asked.

“I did.”, she answered.

“It must be nice to just make up any rule you want.”, I stated sarcastically, sitting up in bed now, realizing that I was completely awake.

“It is.”, she said.

“Well, I’m awake now.”, I told her. “What do you want to do?”

“I’m feeling sleepy now.”, she said. “I think I’m going to go to sleep.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”, I stated with some indignance. “You’ve kept me awake, and now that I can’t sleep, you decide that you’re going to sleep?”

“Those are the rules.”, she said.

“What the hell am I supposed to do now?”, I asked.

“Well”, she said. “Medical attention or sex. You decide.”

“You know you make me crazy.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she replied. “That’s also one of the rules.”

 

 

Sex, And Drugs, And Rock ‘N’ Roll

 

“Did you do a lot of drugs when you were younger, daddy?”, one of my daughters asked me.

“Why would you ask me that?”, I responded.

“Well, mommy said that back in your old hippie days, you were on drugs most of the time.”, she informed me.

“Really?”, I inquired. “And why would you need to know about that?”

“We have to do a project in school.”, she answered. “I have to gather information about what my parents were like when they were younger, and present it to the class.”

“I don’t think they’re looking for that kind of information.”, I advised. “I think they want to know where we lived, how many brothers and sisters we have, where we went to school. That sort of stuff.”

“No, Mrs. Kennedy said to gather as much information about your parents as you can.”, she told me. I was pretty sure my wife was not aware of the purpose of my daughter’s thirst for knowledge about my past, but now I had to figure out how to stop the flow of that particular information.

“Why did you tell Melinda about shit I did when we were kids?” I asked. “What were you thinking?”

“Relax.”, she said. “Its no big deal. She doesn’t even know what I was talking about.”

“Oh, she does.”, I quipped. “And interestingly enough, its for a class project. She is going to present her findings to the class.”

“You’re kidding.”, my wife barked.

“No.”, I continued. “That’s what she told me.”

“Well.”, she said, as she chuckled. “Its not that bad, is it?”

“Well, I hope you can keep laughing about it. It gets worse.”, I responded. “I told her that you were a stripper.”

“You’re kidding?”, she snapped.

“In my defense, it was before I knew it was for a school project.”, I replied. “And, if its any consolation, I told her you were very, very good.”

“What the hell are we supposed to do about this, now?”, she asked.

“Well, I could get high, we could put some music on, and you could start taking your clothes off.”, I suggested.

“Really?”, she asked. “That’s your solution? Sex and drugs can’t fix everything!”

“And rock and roll.”, I corrected her. “Sex and drugs and rock and roll. And yes, I’m pretty sure it can make everything better.”

“Not this.”, she said.

“Well”, I stated, “I don’t think it could make it worse.”

“Be serious.”, she pleased. “We need to figure out how to stop her from announcing those things at school.”

“Its really not that bad.”, I said trying to ease her anxiety.

“Maybe not for you.”, she responded. “You were only a druggie. Big deal. Everyone was doing all kinds of shit back then. But I’m going to have to face our neighbors and the parents of every kid in her class, with everyone thinking I was a cheap stripper.”

“First of all,”, I explained. “They’re now referred to as exotic dancers, which sounds pretty sweet, and secondly, I never said you were cheap.”

“I’m glad you find this funny.”, she said, as her Spanish-Moroccan eyes started burning holes in my cranium.

“I’ll take care of it.”, I told her.  I found my daughter sitting at the kitchen table working on her school project.

“Listen”, I said. “I made that stuff up about mommy. I was just angry that she told you about me using drugs. She never was a stripper. You would be lying if you put that in your project.”

“I wouldn’t put that in my project.”, she told me. “It would hurt mommy’s feelings.”

“I see.”, I said. “But your okay telling everyone that I used all kinds of drugs when I was younger?”

“Ya.”, she said. “You don’t get upset like mommy. Her feelings get hurt very easy.”

“Really?”, I replied.

“Don’t you know that?”, she asked me in response.

“I guess that I never really thought about it.”, I said.

“Well, you should.”, she advised me. I thanked her for listening, and headed off to the family room.

“I think I’ve just been scolded by your daughter.”, I informed my wife.

“Well, you deserved it.”, she said.

“No doubt.”, I replied. “When did she get so smart?”

” You know, she’s my daughter too.”, she told me.

“I hear you.”, I stated. “I’m going to go to bed.”

“I’ll join you.”, she said as she turned off the television. “Maybe, if you’re lucky, we’ll see just how good of a stripper I really am.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Hobbits Come To Visit.

 

Years ago we bought a couch. A sofa. It was a rather large 2 piece, L shaped sectional. It was soft, and warm, and probably the most comfortable thing I had ever put my backside on. It was my favorite place to sit. And sleep. I fell asleep on it regularly, spread out in my spot, nestled in the groove my body had created in the wonderfully supple material. I sacrificed my recliner for my spot on this cloud like seat, that seemed to envelope me each time I lay down on it, by donating it to one of my sons. I never dreamed that we would be separated.

“I think we need to get a new couch.”, my wife suggested.

“Perhaps you need a new couch.”, I replied. “We are perfectly fine with the one we have.”

“Its old.”, she stated. “The fabric is worn,  and there are stains all over the material. It just looks awful.”

“I am not giving this couch up.”, I said adamantly. “It is perfectly fine.”

“We can get a new one “, she told me.

“It won’t be the same.”, I answered. “And I don’t have the time or energy to break another one in.”

“How much time and energy does it really take to lay down and not move for hours?”, she asked.

“Hours upon hours upon hours. If you try to move this couch, I’ll be going with it!”, I said.

“Don’t tempt me.”, she said. “The old thing has to go. Its time to say goodbye.”

Several days later, a new couch arrived. My wife ordered it online, as that seems to be the way we purchase things now. “How can you buy a couch without sitting on it first?”, I asked.

“It will be fine.”, she stated. The new couch arrived, and the delivery guys took the old one away. I watched it being carried out, and loaded on their truck.  “You just have to screw the legs onto this one.”, my wife continued talking.

“Wonderful.”, I said. “A build your own couch.” I proceeded to take the couch out of the box, and 2 thousand yards of tape it came wrapped in. “There’s something wrong.”, I called out to her.

“What did you do?”, she asked, accusingly.

“Nothing, yet.”, I said. Did you happen to see this couch before you ordered it?” When my wife entered the room, we stood side by side and gazed down at what appeared to be a child’s couch. It was barely a foot off of the ground. I tried to sit on it, but my legs would have to be stretched out or my knees would hit my chin. “Well”, I said. “Its clearly not the same. What the hell are we supposed to do with this?”

“It’s not so bad.”, she said, sitting on it as if to prove it was practical.”

“It’s great if Hobbits ever come to visit.”, I replied. “Its totally useless.”

I’ll send it back.”, she said. She never did. The miniature couch still sits in the living room, up against a wall, serving only as a place to toss one’s jacket, or briefcase, or school bag, or whatever else is in your hand when you come home. No one has ever sat on it. Not even the dogs. Interestingly enough, I discovered that it converts into a bed of sorts. The back folds down and it can sleep 1 smurf comfortably. It is about the size of an army cot when opened, but still remains about 6″ above ground. We purchased another couch old school-at a furniture store. After much testing, followed by even more testing, we settled on a L shaped sectional, as soft as any I had felt. I fall asleep on it regularly, nestled in the groove my body has created in the soft and supple material. Despite its used appearance, I still love that thing, almost as much as I love my wife.

 

Pillow Talk, and Talk, and Talk…

 

There was a time, although it seems like eons ago, when pillow talk in our bedroom sounded like this.

“Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“Does taking off my clothes get me a better massage?”

“Definitely. It will be epic.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m pretty sure we’ll have to go to confession after this.”

“You sweet talker, you.”, she said as she removed her pajamas.

Now, after 36 years of marriage,  after 5 kids, 4 dogs, 3 homes, 2 cars, and a crow living in our oak tree, the chatter before falling asleep has taken on a very different tone.

“Did you hear anything about the drop in housing prices?”

“No.”, I reply. “Feel like a massage?”

“They’re down about 10%.”, she continues.

“What’s down?”, I ask.

“Housing prices.”, she answers. “Have you lost all of your hearing?”

“I don’t think so.”, I reply.

“Do you know anything about gas prices going up?”, she continues.

“No.”, I answer. “Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“If I take my clothes off, you wont be listening to me.”, she says.

“It really won’t make a difference.”, I reply. “I’m not listening now.”

“Can’t you think about something else?”, she asks.

“I suppose I could.”, I tell her. “But I’d rather not.”

“Really!”, she exclaims. “I’m trying to talk to you about things that are important to me.”

“I know.”, I acknowledge. “And I’m trying to help you help me to at least look like I’m interested in the economic crisis.”

“It seems all you ever want is for me to take my clothes off.”, she states.

“Would you rather I didn’t want you to?”, I ask.

“No.”, she says with a smile, as she removed her top. “No, I wouldn’t. Can I get that massage, now?”

“You can get anything you want.”, I tell her.

“Well”, she remarks, “You’re so easy.”

“I know.”, I reply. “I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Commandments

Every year, without fail, in an attempt to share our upbringing with our children, my family would spend the evening sitting in front of the television watching the annual airing of ‘The Ten Commandments’. Somewhere between Easter and Passover, this annual event had become a tradition in our house, carried over from my childhood in my parents’ home.

“Oh, look.”, my wife said. “The Ten Commandments is on tonight.”

“How many times have we seen it?”, I asked. “20 or 30 times?”

“I guess.”, she said.

“You know, they are the same commandments as the first time we watched it.”, I added. “Nothing’s changed.”

“I know.”, she said. “But its such a good movie.”

“I don’t know about that.”, I stated. “It would have been better if they had talked about the 1st set of commandments.”

“What are you talking about?”, she asked.

“Remember when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai with the tablets that he smashed upon seeing the people praying to the golden calf?”, I continued. “Well, apparently, there were a completely different set of commandments on those first tablets. When Moses returned to retrieve the commandments again, the contents of those second tablets were very different.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“That’s what biblical scholars are saying.”, I told her. “But that singular fact could have changed the direction of the film.”

“How do they know what was on the first tablets?”, she asked. “The ones that were destroyed.”

“They weren’t destroyed.”, I reminded her. “They were smashed. During an archaeological expedition, pieces of the tablets were excavated and placed together. Translated by experts in biblical writing, it revealed a very different set of ideals.”

“A long time ago.”, I said, “Maybe in the 1920s or so. It had been kept secret, hidden from the people by a council of leaders of all of the monotheistic religions, so as not to create upheaval in their respective faiths. About 30 years ago, someone going through documents in The Vatican Library uncovered documents that referenced this discovery, and the conspiracy to cover it up.”

“Wow.”, she said. “Did they reveal what was on the first tablets?”

“Not at first”. , I explained. “It wasn’t until about 2007, that the tablets were presented to the public, and their contents revealed.”

“Well?”, my wife asked, encouraging me to go on.

“Well, what?”, I answered.

“What was on the first tablets?”, she asked.

“Well”, I said. “While the current commandments are filled with what we should not do, so eloquently prefaced with ‘Thou Shalt Not’ , interestingly enough, the first set of tablets were more positive, giving man a list of things that he should do.”

“So,”, she asked, “what are they?”

“Give me a minute to try and remember.”, I said. After a short pause I continued. “Okay, now I don’t think these are in any particular order, and I am paraphrasing, but one was be kind to yourself and to each other. There was pay attention to those that seem dim, for their lights shine the brightest. There’s go west and see the Pacific Ocean at least once. Oh, and…

“Oh, crap!”, she shouted. “You just made all of that up, didn’t you? I don’t know why I even bother to listen to any of your stories.”

“Wait.”, I told her. “There’s more.”

“I don’t want to hear anymore.”, she said. “I’m turning on The Ten Commandments.”

“Oh, come on.”, I pleaded. “Not again.” And then she gave me those Spanish-Moroccan eyes, the look that needed no words to explain its meaning. “Alright.”, I said as I left the room.

“Wait.”, she called out to me. “Aren’t you going to watch it with me?”

“No.”, I answered. “It never goes well. You talk the whole way through the movie, and I simply groan with boredom.”

“Oh, come on.”, she requested. “This time it will be fun. You can do your running commentary, and you can even do your own version of the narration.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she said, beckoning me over to the seat beside her.

“How did I get so lucky to wind up with you?”, I asked as I sat down in my assigned seat.

“I have no idea.”, she said. “But you did, so don’t mess it up.”

“I do my best.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she answered. “And I love you. Now let’s watch the movie. Who is that guy?”

“Which guy?”, I asked.

“The old one.”, she said.

“He’s The King”, I replied. “The Pharaoh.”

“I thought the bald guy was the King.”, she advised.

“Well, he is.”, I told her, but not of Egypt. He is the king of Siam.”

“Are you sure?”, she inquired.”

“Pretty sure.”, I told her. “You’ll just have to watch and see.”