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.”

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living In The Real World…

 

In an attempt to save even more money that we could put away in the event of some natural or man made disaster, my wife has subtly began her mission to  get rid of Netflix, and install TV antennas in order to watch television.

“What is this?”, I asked. “1963?”

“No”, she said. “I’m just trying to save some money so we can retire.”

“That dream is long gone.”, I told her.

“Well”, she said. “We need to do something. They’re talking about an economic disaster worse than the great depression. People won’t be able to keep their homes, or even have food to eat. We need to start stock piling can goods.”

“Okay.”, I told her. “Go out and buy all of the canned goods you can find.”

“I’ve already made a list.”, she informed me. “I think we should go on the weekend.”

And so, as my wife seems to excel in dealing with these sort of crises, we continue to prepare for them, one after the other. There has been much talk of ‘living off the grid’, and as I have no idea what the grid is, I have been reluctant to give it up. My wife informs me that we would live somewhere, isolated from society, and fend for ourselves. We would create/generate our own heat, and apparently electricity, and obtain our own food through planting and harvesting crops, and hunting & fishing. She has been watching television shows about jut this sort of wilderness living. Surviving as pioneers, with none of the amenities of modern life. “I have no idea how to do any of the things we need to do to survive.”, I told her. “Do they have something like The Home Service Club for off the grid livers?”

“No!”, she said, not amused by my sarcasm. “We would just have to learn how to do things ourselves.” Now prior to this latest carnival of survival, we had dealt with Tiny House living, trailer living, and the ever popular squatting. All I really want is for the damn internet to work properly. I do not want to live in the middle of nowhere in a tent, or a hut, or a cave, surviving on my instincts. My instincts are somewhat limited, not generally useful, and usually only serve to send me to the fridge to grab a beer. I am not certain, but I don’t see that as a big help in wilderness living.

So, the pantry, kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets, and dining room floor are filled with assorted canned goods. We have chick peas, fava beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, assorted fruits, tuna, salmon, and I have even seen canned corned beef. I have never eaten canned meat in my life, and I have expressed to me wife, my reluctance to ever do so. “If it is the last thing to eat, I’m sure you’ll give it a try.” perhaps she is right, but I am still uncertain. I have expressed my concern that the shelf life of this so called meat in a can is over 1 year, when meat in my fridge is only good for 3 days. It is concerning and confusing. Nonetheless, I am the proud owner of corned beef in a can.I did insist that we purchase several cans of pie filling. I was adamant the I have my rhubarb-strawberry pie filling. In the event that I cannot eat canned meat, I will at least have a viable substitute. The shelf life for this product is almost 2 years, so when my wife’s corned beef has long since expired, I will still be eating strawberry-rhubarb pie filing.

“I think we’re all set.”, she said as she conducted a thorough inventory of our food stuff. “Nobody eats any of this now.”, she added. “Leave the pie filling alone!”, she told me.

“So we wait for it to expire, and then have to do this all over again?”, one of my daughters asked.

“No.”, my wife explained, “if it is close to expiring, then we will eat it.”

“And what if the food shortage never comes?”, another one of my daughters asked.

“Oh, it will.”, my wife said. “Sooner or later, it will happen.”

“You need to stop watching the news.”, my daughter advised.

And so it was, and continues. A wait and see game with fate. A cat and mouse game between global economic doom, and expiration dates on cans of meat. If I were a betting man, I would wager heavily on my wife, and learn to develop a taste for canned meat. I just may have to. We have so much of it stored in the pantry.

 

Aliens

My wife has always had an interest in the paranormal. She is quite interested in ghosts, specters, and spirits from the other side. She believes that they come to visit out of kindness and good will, and not to scare the hell out of us. She sees them often. I however, am not certain of their intent or their good nature, but I have always given in to my wife’s insistence that all is well in the spirit realm.

There was a time not too long ago, when I saw a different side of my wife. A fear of the unknown. A fear, not of ghostly daring dos, but of possible Alien intrusion. Yes, that’s right. We had a harrowing experience, one that she could not explain other than Alien involvement.

It was early evening, that time in between light and dark, when shadows dance across time and space, making the world appear black and white. There was a fine rain falling, a mist that seemed to enhance the shadows, making them seem closer than they actually were. We were returning home from the Casino. We were regaling each other with tales of our losses, as we approached a short covered section of the road, a covered bridge that was basically an underpass to allow cars to pass above us. We had driven through this underpass hundreds of times. At best, it took 15 seconds to clear, and arrive on the other side.

We entered the short tunnel, There was no talking as we went through. When we reached the other side. We looked at each other with some concern.

“That seemed to take a hell of a long time.”, I said.

“I know.”, my wife agreed. “How long were we in there for?”

I don’t know.”, I answered. I wasn’t looking at the clock.”

“What time did we leave the casino at?”, she asked.

“I don’t remember.”, I said.

“Well, that’s just weird.”, she muttered. “What do you think happened?”

“I have no idea.”, I told her.

“Don’t you think it strange that we both felt it took forever to get through the underpass?”, she asked. And neither of us can remember what time we left the casino?”

“I suppose.”, I stated. “But there’s probably some reasonable explanation.”

“Well”, she said, as straight faced as I had ever seen her, “I think either we were scanned by aliens, or we entered some sort of time warp.” I looked at her closely. She was dead serious.

“Really?”, I asked. “You think that time was frozen while some aliens fiddled with us? I would have liked them to take us out for dinner first.”

“I never said that time was frozen.”, she explained. “We simply don’t remember the time when they scanned us. Something pretty extra ordinary, something extra terrestrial just happened to us.” She paused only long enough to light a cigarette. “What if we have all kinds of weird side effects?”

“Like what?”, I asked.

“I don’t know.”, she replied. “Like horrible nightmares, or we get some virus or something.”

“Or maybe we start sculpting things out of mashed potatoes.”, I offered. “Hey, wait a minute. Did you check to make sure they didn’t take your money when you were being scanned?”

“You really need to stop being such a sarcastic ass.”

” I just don’t know why you’re so freaked out by it.”, I answered.

“Because its weird.”, she said. “Something happened to us, and I can’t explain it. You can’t explain it. Its kind of scary that we can’t account for the time, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know.”, I said. “I guess I just don’t think that everything I can’t explain is the result of a ghost or alien encounter.”

“Well”, she continued, “this was something quite out of the ordinary. Something else was at work here. Don’t you think its even possible?””

“Almost everything is possible.”, I said. “I’m just not sure I want to accept the notion that I had been violated by aliens.”

“Is it really so far fetched?”, she persisted.

“Not really.”, I answered. “I just don’t know how I could respect myself in the morning if its true.”

“You’re an ass.”, she told me.

“I know.”, I reminded her. “You’ve already mentioned that.”

My wife has told this story countless times, to countless numbers of people, and each time, they look to me for some sort of explanation from this world. I can’t give them one. I just don’t know. Perhaps my wife is right. Maybe we were scanned by beings from another world, or another dimension. She just may be right. It wouldn’t be the first time. Or perhaps she is one of them. That would explain so much.

 

 

 

Neighborhood Watch

 

Something was going on with one of our neighbors. He was a relatively nondescript man who one could usually find on his front porch with a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. My wife was certain something sinister had occured, so we spoke about it in whispers, in the dark, sordid shadows of our living room.

“He hasn’t moved in days.”, my wife informed me, as she peered through the living room window, across the street at Mr. Leadbetter.

“Its worse than that.”, I added, “He hasn’t changed his clothes in days, either.”

“Something’s not right.”, she said. “Something strange is going on over there.”

“Or maybe”, I said, “maybe he’s just on vacation.”

“No, its not a vacation.”, she replied.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Just a feeling.”, she replied. “Something’s not right. You should go over and talk to him.”.

“I don’t think so.”, I told her. “We should just mind our own business, and leave the man alone”

She sighed that sigh that I had come to know so well. The one that means we’re doing it my way regardless. She paused, deep in thought as she eyed the property across the street. “I wonder where his wife and kids are. I haven’t seen them in a while.”

“Don’t go there.”, I said. “Just leave it alone.”

“Go where?”, she asked.

“All Alfred Hitchcock like.”, I said. “You do this all of the time. You’re going to turn this into something from a Hitchcock movie. I know you. Just leave it alone.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”, she replied. “All I did was to mention that I haven’t seen his family for a while.”

“Uh huh.”, I stated. “Just like the time you believed a little boy was being kidnapped from Chuck E Cheese. Remember? You were sure someone was snatching him. Turns out his father had come to pick him up from a birthday party.”

“He was screaming.”, she said.

“He just didn’t want to leave.”, I reminded her. “And there was the time you were convinced that the birds  congregating on the telephone wire were preparing to attack. You wouldn’t let the kids go outside.”

“There were all kinds of birds out there.”, she remarked.”

“There were a half dozen sparrows on the wire.”, I reminded her. “Hardly a terrifying event.”

“Well, that was different, anyway.”, she said.

“Not really.”, I answered. “You always get like this. Whenever something strange happens, your mind goes right to Hitchcock. Unless it involves spirits. That you never think that’s weird.”

“Well.”, she said in her own defense, “you can’t deny that something strange is going on over there.”

“I can. You don’t know that anything is going on. Just leave it alone.”, I pleaded.

“I wish I could.”, she said. “Well, if you won’t go over and talk to him, I guess that I will have to go.”

“Well”, I said, “you’re on your own with this one.”

“Are you really going to let me go over there by myself?”, she asked.

“If you’d like. I’m not going.”, I told her.

“So we’re just supposed to sit here and do nothing?”, she asked.

“No.”, I replied. “We’re just going to sit here and mind our own business. Everything is okay. Tim didn’t chop his family into pieces and bury them in the garden. This is not a suspense thriller.”

“What if he did do something terrible, and he sneaks off in the dead of night?”, she asked, trying to sound completely rational.

“Alright.”, I said. “I’m going over there.”

“So you think I’m right?”, she asked. “You think something weird is going on?”

“Not at all.”, I answered. “I just want to get my power drill back from him before he leaves the country.”

“You’re such an ass.”, she informed me.

“Now, if I see anything that looks peculiar, like graves, or crop circles,”, I said, “I’ll let you know. And if I’m not back by dark, call the police.”

“Don’t count on it.”, she said merely to show her anger with me.

“Okay, then.”, I said. “I’m off.”

“Be careful.”, she said. “And pretend that you think everything is normal.”

I returned about ten minutes later, visibly upset. “What’s wrong?”, my wife asked. “What did you see over there?”

“Its unbelievable.”, I responded. “I  just can’t believe the bastard could do something like that.”

“He killed them, didn’t he?”, she asked.

“Killed who?”, I asked.

“His family.”, she answered. “He killed his wife and kids.”

“Hell, no.”, I said. “There all inside, sick with the Black Plague or some other virus of death. The bastard broke my damn drill.”

“What?”, she asked.

“He broke my drill.”, I repeated.

“So nothing’s wrong?”, she asked.

“Did you hear me/”, I stated rather sternly. “Yes something happened. He broke my drill. Isn’t that enough?”

“Well.”, she said, as she laughed that coy way she does when she feels just a bit foolish. “At least no one was killed.”

“Not yet, anyway>”, I told her. “But if he doesn’t replace the drill, that may change.”

“You’re so dramatic.”, she said, as she put her arms around me. “You really need to sit down and relax. I don’t know why you always have to blow everything way out of proportion”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old People’s Club

My youngest daughter wanted to talk to me, and so, entered my bedroom. The first thing she noticed were some hard candies that I had left atop my dresser. “Why do old people always carry those candies?”. she asked.

“Its one of the rules.”, I answered.

“What rules?”, she inquired, eager to hear more.

“Well”, I said, “When you turn 55, you get this letter in the mail. It explains this organization, designed only for old people. There are a set of rules we must agree to follow, and a list of where to purchase the things you need to join.”

“You’re making this up.”, she stated.

“Am I?”, I replied. I held up my C.A.R.P. membership card. “This is the membership card.”

“But you’re not retired.”, she informed me.

“No, I’m not.”, I answered. “Its just a clever rouse to throw the young people off of the real purpose of the organization. You think its for retired people, but its just old people getting shit the young people can’t find.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Like those candies.”, I replied. “And the best places to eat dinner at 4 o’clock, and lessons on being mean and cranky. Its all part of a wonderful conspiracy to keep you dumb asses away from our stuff.”

“I don’t believe you.”, she stated.

“Well, then,”, I said, “Its working perfectly.”

“I don’t know why I talk to you.”, she said as she turned away to leave my room.

“Oh, honey,”, I told her, “I’m doing everything I can to get you to stop.”

“So I see you found the old man asshole store.”, she said.

“About 5 years ago.”, I replied. “Pretty sure I have it mastered by now.”

She left the room. I was proud of myself.

“Why do you have to screw around with the kids?”, my wife asked. The pride quickly vanished.

“I just can’t help myself.”, I said. “Every time I touch this membership card, it just happens.”

“I think you like being a crazy old man.”, she stated.

“Oh, I do.”, I informed her. “And I am quite fond of the crazy old bitch living in your head, too.”

“Thanks.”, she said, as she gave me a hug, just as my daughter returned to my bedroom.

“Ah, no!”, she stated emphatically. “You’re not gonna get into that old people sex stuff now.”

“”No.”, I answered. “We’ll wait until you leave and close the door behind you.”

“You’re very bad.”, my wife said as my daughter left, closing the door behind her.

“Its true.”, I said. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

“Me either.”, the crazy old woman stated. “Me either.”

The Hand Is Quicker Than The I

 

“Come in here, quick!”, she shouted. “Hurry!” I ran as fast as I could, fearing the worst. But when I arrived in the bedroom, my wife seemed perfectly calm.

“I need your help.”, she said. I looked down and noticed her hand, under her pants.

“Seems to me you could have used my help a little earlier.”, I said.

“Oh, shut up”, she said, “My hand is stuck. I need you to help me get my hand out.”

“What exactly were you trying to do?”, I asked. “Impersonate Nero?”

“Nero?”, she inquired.

“Ya, Nero.”, I explained. “He was a Roman Emperor who spent a lot of time fiddling as well.”
“I wasn’t fiddling!”, she said., I was scratching, and my finger nail got stuck on my panties, and now I can’t get my hand out of my pants. Hurry up, it hurts.”

“Call it scratching if you want.”, I said, “But if I can’t get your hand unstuck, you’re gonna have fun explaining this at emerg.”

“Just get my hand out.”, she shouted.

“Okay, okay.”, I said. “What do you want me to do.”

“Slide my pants down.”, she said.

“Well, I haven’t heard that in a long time.”, I said, as I began pulling her pants off.

“Slowly!”, she shouted.

When I got her pants to her knees, I noticed that her hand was inside her panties, palm down. “Must have been one hell of an itch.”, I told her. “You know, I have a tool that can fix that.”

“Really?”, she asked. “Where is it?”

I started to unzip my fly. “Stop it.”, she said. “This is serious.”

I did up my pants. “So now what?”, I asked.

“I need you to reach into my panties, and try to tug on my finger.”, she directed. “I think part of my fingernail is caught on some stitching or something.”

“Well”, I said, “This doesn’t look good.”

“What’s wrong?”, she asked, with great concern.

“Nothing’s wrong.”, I said. ” I just can’t see where its stuck. Can you move your hand at all?”

‘”I don’t know.”, she answered,

“Well, try.”, I suggested.

She began moving her hand back and forth. but I still couldn’t tell where her finger was stuck. “You probably should have removed your panties before you started scratching the kitty.”, I told her.

“Can you be serious  for 5 minutes?”, she shrieked.

‘I don’t know.”, I said. “But I can try.”

I grabbed hold of her finger and holding it still, moved the fabric of her panties in the other direction, and released the trapped digit. I swear I heard the theme from ‘Free Willy’ start to play!

“Shit,my finger hurts so much.”, my wife said.

“Well that’ll teach you to start without me.”, I reminded her.

“Its not funny!”, she stated.

“Oh”, I told her, “It is. This is one of those forever moments.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“Yep.”, I explained. “I will be talking about this forever. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a story here.”

“You wouldn’t!”, she told me.

“I have to.”, I replied. “Its not everyday a woman gets her hand stuck down her panties.”

“You have your hands down your pants all the time.”, she reminded me.

“Yes, I do.”, I told her. “And anytime you want to write about it, feel free.”

“Its not worth it.”, she said. “Men are always playing with their stuff. Even in public”

“Well,”, I began, “I wouldn’t have to if you put your hand down my pants instead of your own.”

“That’s a wonderful dream you have.”, she said. “Keep dreaming, because right now, my hand is too sore to do anything.”

“Well”, I advised her, “If you should happen to get another itch, I have a bunch of fingers that would be more than happy to provide relief.”

“I’ll let you know.”, she said. “Now, do you think you can stop thinking about sex long enough to take a look at my finger? It hurts like hell!”

“I doubt it.”, I said. “But I’m willing to give it a try.”

 

You’re Doing It Wrong!

“You’re doing it wrong!”, my wife said.

“I’m used to hearing that in the bedroom.”, I told her, “But I’m only making a peanut butter and jam sandwich in the kitchen.”

“But you’re doing that wrong, too.”, she continued.

“Really?”, I asked, with just the right amount of sarcasm to piss her off.

“Yes, you are.”, she continued. “You’re supposed to put the jam on top of the peanut butter, not on the other piece of bread. If you do it your way, jam winds up dropping all over the counter when you flip the slice.”

“Well”, I told her, “I have been making it this way for 55 years. Its how I want to do it.”

“But its wrong!”, she repeated. Wrong or not, I proceeded to complete the sandwich making festivities, and enjoyed building my PB & J, as I have always done.

It wasn’t the first time I have been been told that I am wrong in the kitchen. In actuality, I think the only room I do not do anything wrong in, is the bathroom. NO. Not true. I have, according to my wife, been wrong in the bathroom as well, but that will be a whole other story.

So, back to the kitchen. I have been informed that I do not make over easy eggs correctly, either. I do not know how to flip them properly, to ensure even cooking without any breaks or ruptures of the yolk. Sometimes, she says that she even finds shell in it! There have been many times when she has given me directions as I am holding a spatula and a frying pan, and it is with great restraint that 1 or both of these items has not been formally introduced to the back of her head.  “Do you want to do it for me?”, I ask.

“No.”, she answered.

“Then go away.”, I tell her.

“You don’t have to be so nasty.”, she says.

“Um, yes I do.”, I advise her, “If you don’t like how I do it, then do it for me, or be quiet.”

“I’m just trying to help you.”, she answered.

“What would be really helpful would be if you just made it for me.”, I said.

“You’ll never learn that way.”, she told me.

There are also huge issues with grilled cheese, as I apparently have the burner set too high, and this makes the bread too dark and crispy for her. And coffee, well that’s entirely an issue that will never go away. She will ask me to make her coffee, and insist that the milk must go into the cup before the coffee. “I don’t like the milk in first.”, I tell her.

“But it tastes so much better.”, she replies.

“I don’t think so.”, I respond.

“No. It does.”, she says. “. It tastes better that way.”

So, I make coffee wrong, as well. And pasta, well, it seems that I don’t make it ‘mushy’ enough for her. I follow the directions, and wind up with wonderfully al dente pasta. She hates it. She says that its too hard. “Why can’t I hear that in the bedroom?”, I ask.

We agree to a compromise. I agree that she is, as usual absolutely right. In exchange, I get to practice pleasing her in the bedroom. I am not sure if she plans on joining me there or not, but either way, one of us is going to be happy.

 

 

 

The Rebellion of 2010

 

Moving with my family was one of the most horrifyingly traumatic events in our lives. My wife and I were busy in our search for a home in the city’s downtown core, while my kids were opposed to leaving their lives in suburbia.

We searched and searched for the ideal home, but everything we saw raised at least one significant issue with my wife. It was  too far from a school, or not near enough to a subway station. There were homes that were too close to the main street, or too far from a grocery store.  And  the search seemed to continue for what seemed like an eternity. After intensive investigating, and viewing, we finally found something she could live with. It was just blocks away from a high school, right next door to a grocery store, a few blocks from a subway station, and about a 1/2 hour walk to a hospital. “Well.”, she said, “I suppose its as close to perfect as we’re going to get.”

“What do we tell the kids?”, I asked.

“Leave that with me.”, she said. “It will be a piece of cake.” Now, I don’t eat cake. I never did. I just don’t like it, but I was almost certain this would not be a piece of cake.

We sat down with the 4 remaining kids still living at home, and my wife broke the news. “We’ve found a place. We’re going to be moving downtown. You guys will love it.”

“What the hell?”, one of my daughters shouted.

“I’m not going.”, my son said. “I hate it downtown.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.”, another daughter chimed in. “I love it here. I’m not going.”, and she burst into tears. They all got up and left the room.

“Well, that went over well.”, I said to my wife. “Perhaps they don’t like cake either.” And, as I have so regularly been subjected to over the years, my wife gave me the Moroccan death glare, the one that implies “I could kill you with just a blink of an eye.”

“You could have helped out a little.”, she said.

“You said to leave it with you.”, I replied. “Remember? It was going to be a piece of cake.”

“What do we do?”, she asked, “Do we stay here?”

“I think we just leave it alone.”, I told her. “They’ll get used to the idea. It’s not like they have a choice.”

Well, things went from bad to worse, and of course, I bore the brunt of the blame. My son had decided that he was moving out. He had a friend who was looking to share an apartment, and my son was moving in with him. One of my daughters was okay with the move, as long as she had her own bedroom, and we took the dogs with. The 2 other girls were emotionally wrought, filled with anxiety, fear, and hatred. They said that they would not move. They informed me that I could not make them move. They threatened to contact Children’s Aid, and have themselves placed in foster care in order to stay in outer suburbia.

“Its all fixed.”, I told my wife. “We lucked out. One is moving in with a friend, and two are going into the care of Children’s Aid. So we have 4 out of 5 kids no longer living with us. And, just to let you know, there was no cake involved. I substituted pie.”

“Nobody is going into Foster Care.”, she bellowed. “They’re coming with us. It doesn’t matter what they say. We are the parents. We decide what’s best for this family.” She often said we, but in reality, she meant that she decided what was best for this family.

The kids continued to be adamant about not moving, singing rousing versions of ‘We Shall Overcome’, and  ‘I Shall Be Released’, that came out as “I hate you”, and “I wish I was never born”. Over the following days, and weeks, they began a campaign to try to force us to change our minds. They employed subversive tactics such as ignoring us when we called them, refusing to do their chores, and refusing to clean up after themselves. They kept their lights and televisions on, and stayed up late in the early morning hours, on their computers. They posted on social media just how unfair and cruel their parents were. They left us notes stating that they would run away, and we would never see them again. I bought them suitcases on wheels, like a good and thoughtful father, so their departures would be easier.

As the moving date neared, their defiance heightened. They flat out refused to pack up their things. They would hold sit ins in their rooms so my wife and I could not pack for them. “It’s really a simple choice.”, I told one of my daughters. “You can leave with your stuff, or without it, but you will be leaving.”

“You can’t make me move.”, she replied.

“That’s true.”, I told her. “I just hope the family moving in doesn’t mind having you here.”

By moving day, my daughters had, I thought, surrendered, given that they had packed what they wanted to take with. Once we arrived at our new home, they amped up their disapproval of downtown living by refusing to eat, staying in their rooms, and giving us the silent treatment. My youngest daughter gave up the battle soon after we moved in.

The older of the 2 dug her heels in, with letters expressing her absolute and total disapproval of our parenting style and decision making process. Apparently, she believed that she had rights, which my wife and I had violated. I reminded my daughter that, since she was over 16 years old, I no longer had to allow her to live with me. I could, if I so desired, toss her sorry ass out on the street. She reminded me that she had rights. “Not in my dictatorship.”, I advised her. “You’re not obligated to stay here. You can pack up, and leave. Sail away to undiscovered lands, and start a new life. But if you choose to stay here, remember, this is not a democracy. I am not taking votes.”

“I want to talk to mommy.”, she said.

“That’s up to her.”, I said. “But I will ask.” I spoke with my wife about my daughter’s requrest.

“What am I supposed to say to her?”, my wife asked.

“I guess you don’t want to try that cake thing again.”, I remarked, as her Moroccan eyes darted back and forth searching for her prey. “Just tell her the truth. She will come around.”

“And what if she doesn’t?”, my wife inquired.

“Well”, I responded, “she really has no choice. Where is she going to go?”

The negotiations were long and arduous. Hour after hour, day after day of back and forth bargaining had the parties at a standstill. “Why don’t you say anything?”, my wife asked me one night.

“I am using my silence to confuse and befuddle her.”, I said. “I will talk when it is time to deliver the one crushing blow that will bring this to an end once and for all.”

“This isn’t a game.”, she said.

“Ah, my dear wife,”, I advised her, “but it is.”

About 1 week later, my daughter made a fatal mistake, and I could see the end in sight. She had made plans to spend the weekend with a friend in suburbia. She approached my wife and I, asking for money to finance her trip. I took money out of my pocket and placed it on the table in front of her. “How much do you need?”, I asked.

“$20.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said and I picked up a $20 bill, and held it in my hand. “Let me explain how this is going to work. As long as you need to come to me and ask for money, there are rules that must be followed. I will always provide for my family. It doesn’t require you to like me, I really don’t care if you do or not. It does however require you to respect me and your mother. Nothing is free. This money is not just money, it is time taken from my life that I can never get back. It is mine. I have the option of sharing it with you, or not. I am under no obligation to provide with anything other than food, shelter and clothing. I don’t even have to pay for your cell phone. In fact, if this continues, I will cancel it. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”, she said.

“So”, I asked, “What do you want to do, because today we are resolving this. The revolution is over, and we now need to negotiate peace”

“Can I use the money you were going to give me to go to see my friends to paint my room instead?”, she asked.

“When do you want to paint it?”, I responded.

“This weekend.”, she told me. “I don’t think I want to see Elana right now, anyway.”

“Go and get dressed, and we’ll go get paint and the brushes.”, I said.

“I’m sorry.”, she said as she walked to her room to change.

“Me too.”, I told her.

“Well”, my wife said, “that turned out okay.”

“Okay?”, I questioned. “That was a superbly executed act of patience, power and control.  I told you not to worry.”

“I am impressed.”, she added.

“Thank you.”, I replied. “And notice that there was no need for any cake.”

My daughter remained with us for another 5 years, before moving in with her boyfriend, who resides in an outer suburban community. She calls her mother everyday, and comes by and visits at least once a month, whether we want her to or not. She learnt her lesson, and I was proud as hell of her for at least attempting to overthrow the powers that be. None of it really matters to me anymore though, as her boyfriend, who we care for very much, has inherited the little guerrilla inside of her, laying dormant, but waiting for the opportunity to jump out and usurp power and control before he even notices that it is gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghost Of The Mouse In My House

 

It was hard to believe, but it was true. Or so they said. As weird as it seemed, there was a mouse in my house, appearing sporadically, and moving through walls and doors as if they weren’t there. Its mere presence had my wife and daughters standing on beds and table tops, to avoid its malevolent mischief making. “The mouse is back.”, my wife informed me.”

“That’s impossible.”, I advised her. “We have 3 different kinds of traps, poison all over the house, and we haven’t seen a mouse in a couple of months.”

“Well then,”, one of my daughters stated, “then we have the ghost of a mouse.”

“Really?, I asked, somewhat amazed at this turn of paranormal events. “A ghost mouse?”

“It’s haunting us.”, my daughter added.

“I see.”, I said, dreading what I knew was soon to come.

“I want you to get rid of it.”, my wife ordered. “I want it out of here. For good.” I thought about this for a long time, considering all possibilities, and rejecting only the insane.

“We should have a seance.”, I advised.

“A seance?”, one of my daughters asked quite surprisingly.

“Yes.”, I told them all, “a seance. You know, we sit around the table in the dark, hold hands, and try to contact the spirit to find out what it wants so it can cross over to the other side.”

They grew disturbingly quiet, and then began whispering among themselves, occasionally looking over at me with disapproving eyes.

“Are you making fun of us?”, my youngest daughter asked.

“Oh, no.”, I told her. I would never do something like that. We only have so many choices. We can have a seance, or an exorcism. And since the mouse is dead, I don’t think he needs any exorcise do you?”

“It’s not funny!”, my wife shouted from atop the bed. “Get the damned thing out of this house.”he gave me the Moroccan look, the one that she always gives to show me that she is going to put a curse on me. I have told her for years that I am immune. It is my superpower.

“Okay.”, I said. “Everybody out of my room. I need to change into my mouse catching gear.” What I wouldn’t have given to have had a deer stalker hat, a red cape, and blue tights to change into. I could be Exterminator Man.

“Where should we go?”, one of the girls asked.

“Go stand on your own bed.”, I said, and they left, tip toeing as they walked, checking the hallways, and the corners for its presence. I put on some old sweats, and began my crusade. I checked bedrooms, pulled everything out of closets, moved furniture, and looked under beds, but I saw no trace of this revenant rodent.

“I’ll look again tomorrow.”, I told them.

“How can I sleep tonight,” a daughter asked, “when there’s a ghost mouse roaming around the house?”

“If you’d like, you can stay awake all night, and if you see him, call me.”, I answered.

I went into my room. “Does a mouse really need to haunt someone?”, I asked my wife.

“Why not?”, came her response.

“Well”, I postulated, “When he’s alive, he’s haunting you. I don’t understand why he would need to continue that after death.”

“Maybe he has some unfinished business.”, she replied.

“What unfinished business could they possibly have? Did he not eat half a piece of cheese?”

“I don’t know.”, she answered. “I do know I want that damn thing out of here, tomorrow!”

Sometime in the middle of the night, I went to the bathroom. As I opened the door, and turned on the light, there he was, the little brown bastard. He ran out of the bathroom, down the hallway, and into one of my daughter’s rooms. I grabbed a broom from the kitchen, and we met on the battlefield. He was hiding in the closet, and I began to move boxes, and bins out. I saw him! Hiding behind a box of mementos, his beady little eyes peering out at me, and I, in my boxers, holding my broom. The lines were drawn. The little rodent was not getting out of this room alive. He made a run for it, and I swung my mighty broom, making contact, and knocking him over. I held him down with my broom, and that was it. It was over. He was terminated, no longer terrifying my family with his malevolent mouse mischief.

I disposed of the remains, made coffee, and waited for the haunted to awake. I was sitting at the table, drinking coffee when they got up. I had my broom of power at my side, and nothing else, except for my boxers of bravery.

“What are you doing?”, my wife asked.

“Drinking coffee.”, I replied.

“Why are you holding the broom?”, she clarified, “and why are you walking around half undressed?”

“I came, I saw, and I conquered.”, I told her.

“What are you talking about?”, my wife asked.

“It was horrible.”, I explained. “I woke up and saw the ghost mouse.”

“Really?”, she asked, filled with the wonder of a 10 year old child.

“Really.”, I continued. “He was just sitting there in the bathroom, staring at me. He was dressed in a kilt, and playing little wee bag pipes.That’s all he wanted. It seems he was a Scottish mouse, named Angus, who left this realm, happy to be playing his pipes again. I don’t think he’ll bother you again.”

“Really?”, she asked, although I was sure she didn’t believe me.

“I drove him out with the broom of power. Its over. He’s gone.”

“Broom of power?”, she questioned.

As we walked out of the kitchen, she turned to me. “You know”, she said. “Since you’ve got that broom of power handy, how about sweeping the kitchen floor.”

“I don’t know.”, I told her. “Its extremely powerful.”

“I know.”, she said. “Just be careful, and you’ll be okay.”