Category Archives: Relationships
12 years ago, I married Cap’n Izzy Firepants in a beautiful ceremony on his pirate ship, attended by about 100 of our closest loved ones.
About 15 years ago, I met Cap’n Firepants when we were introduced by a friend. At least, that is the way I usually tell the story. At our wedding ceremony, his First Mate, during the toast, decided to give a few more details about the way we met:
“Mistresses and Marauders, today we toast the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Cap’n Firepants. I must admit, I never thought this day would come. When Izzy called me, and told me he had picked up a girl at a bar, I almost fell out of my crow’s nest. When he told me he was dating this girl, I -”
Well, I don’t really remember the rest of the toast. Sitting at the Head Table, and watching all of the eyebrows go up, all I could think of was that the Cap’n’s First Mate needed to walk off a plank – about 40 stories high, and in dry dock.
The truth is actually a combination of both stories. We were introduced by a friend. And we did happen to be at a bar at the time. Here is what really happened:
My fellow teacher and his girlfriend were determined to find me a new boyfriend that night. I had recently broken up with someone who was a bit volatile, so my fellow teacher said, “We’re going to find you a nice guy tonight.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but it’s a bit difficult sometimes to determine if a perfect stranger is a nice guy. My friend, however, being a guy, felt that he was a good judge of male character.
As we relaxed at a table outside, my friend spotted a few people, who I immediately nixed – based on the fact that they were obviously trolling for women. Then, my friend’s eyes landed on Cap’n Firepants.
“Look at him, sitting with those other guys over there. He looks like a nice guy.”
And I agreed. Maybe it was the eyepatch. Or the parrot on his shoulder. But nothing happened. My “Come over here and introduce yourself” magnet did not appear to be working on nice guys who were pirates that night.
After five beers, my friend went inside to, uh, make room for more beer. At the inside bar, he passed Cap’n Firepants, and said, “The girl sitting with me is interested in you.”
Here, the stories diverge. No one seems to remember if Cap’n Firepants said, “Oh, the girl in the red dress?” or “Which girl?” And things could have gotten a bit hairy as we were sitting with two other women, one of which, as I’ve mentioned, was my friend’s girlfriend.
Regardless, Cap’n Firepants and one of his friends (not the loquacious First Mate) came to sit at our table. And my friend introduced us. So, technically, I’m not lying when I say that a friend introduced us. The facts that he was my friend, not the Cap’n’s, and that he didn’t even know the Cap’n’s name when he introduced us, and that we had all had a few alcoholic drinks, are trivial parts of the story with which I don’t usually feel the need to bore people.
So, we spent the rest of the evening chatting. Actually, the Cap’n’s friend and I chatted. We had both lived in New Jersey and had both gone to Barry Manilow concerts when we were kids. It is very rare, in Texas, to find someone else who was subjected to Barry Manilow and agrees with you that New Jersey has some very nice parts that look nothing like the movie depictions of inner city gang war zones.
The Cap’n had very little to say during all of this. Which I erroneously attributed to the fact that he had no interest in a former Yankee who knows all of the words to “I Write the Songs”. And, yet, when we closed the bar down, he insisted on walking me to my car, and finally said the most important thing I had heard all night.
“Can I have your number?”
So, we went on a date the very next evening. And he almost died in a vicious attack. But that story is for tomorrow…
Quick summary for new readers: Cap’n Firepants is my husband, our bulldog, Wonderbutt, knows how to text, and we are currently sleeping on a killer mattress. No husbands or 82-year-old mother-in-laws were harmed in the creation of this blog post.
Firepants Household, Master Bedroom, 2 A.M.:
Cap’n Firepants – Are you awake?
Me – I better not be.
Cap’n Firepants – I got a text earlier and I just read it.
Me – O.K.
Cap’n Firepants – It’s from my mom.
Me – O.K.
Me, sitting up – Wait a second. What?
Cap’n Firepants – I know, weird, huh?
Me – What did it say?
Cap’n Firepants – Call you later.
Me – Huh?
The Senior Mrs. Cap’n Firepants does not text. Even more perplexing, her phone does not have texting capability. She prefers “dumb phones” – the less buttons, the better.
My first conclusion: WONDERBUTT HAS LEARNED HOW TO SEND PRANK TEXTS!
My second conclusion: We should text her back. Let’s text, “Later is so formal. Why don’t you Call Me Maybe?” Or, better yet, we could leave her a voicemail with the song on it.
Cap’n Firepants was not amused by either conclusion.
Third conclusion: Our mattress is conspiring with the cell phone to turn us against each other.
I got a blow-out at the hair salon the other day. Loved it. (Blow-out, dirty-minded people.)
So, I decided to replicate the procedure at home. 45 minutes later, I finished, and marched out into the living room to show my blown-out bombshell self to the family.
Cap’n Firepants smiled that “I love you so much, you sexy lady” smile and came up and kissed me.
“So, you decided to go with the frizzy look today?” he whispered in my ear.
And this is where I am going to give you the Secret to a Good Marriage – The Not Large Caucasian Exaggeration (the politically correct version of The Little White Lie).
Novices might think that Cap’n Firepants should never have said that my hair looked frizzy. BUT THAT WOULD BE WRONG.
Novices might think I should be mad at Cap’n Firepants for calling my hair frizzy. AND THAT WOULD BE RIGHT.
Novices might think I should tell Cap’n Firepants off for calling my hair frizzy. AND THAT WOULD BE RIGHT – BUT NOT RIGHT NOW.
“No, I’m not finished with it yet. Just heating up the flat iron,” I said, sweetly. (Not Large Caucasian Exaggeration – I was heating up, just not heating up the flat iron.)
Here’s why this carefully chosen Exaggeration was important: Because I like Cap’n Firepants telling me the truth so I don’t look like an idiot when I go out in public. And if I get hopping’ mad at Cap’n Firepants for telling me the truth, then he will stop telling me the truth. So, I act like I appreciate his candidness, and suck up my hurt feelings until later.
“For crying out loud, Cap’n Firepants, how many times do I have to ask you to STOP EATING ALL OF THE ICE CREAM? IS THIS YOUR WAY OF SAYING YOU WANT A DIVORCE?!!!”
This has two positive results – I get to finally release my anger about the frizzy hair comment, and he will buy more ice cream the next time he goes to the store.
It’s a win/win situation.
The Not Large Caucasian Exaggeration – no marriage can survive without it.
No one else you know has acquired as many mattresses as we have in the last three months. No one. Unless you know someone who is building a new hotel or fairytale castle or something.
First, we got the smelly mattress.
Which we replaced with the killer mattress.
Then we prematurely inherited 2 sets of Very Old Mattresses along with their antique beds.
So, we decided we should probably replace the Very Old Mattresses. Because, according to the mattress commercials we will either be suffocated by dust mites or get fat if we use them.
Then, I decided to replace the killer mattress.
“Hello. Yes, remember me? We bought a mattress from you, and then it smelled, and then you gave us a different model. And then it tried to paralyze my husband.”
“Oh. That’s too bad.”
“So, we want the first mattress back. But we don’t want that one back. Because it smelled. But can you get us another one that is the same model, but doesn’t smell?”
“Well, that model has been discontinued. But I’ll see what I can do.”
Four hours later…
“Well, it turns out there are only 3 of those mattresses left in the whole United States. And one of them is in Austin. But Austin does not transfer to the San Antonio store. So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to a meeting in Austin next week. I’ll put the mattress in my big truck, and bring it to San Marcos. San Marcos will transfer it to our warehouse in San Antonio, and then our guys can deliver it to you.”
“Wow. That’s really great! And it’s not the one we returned, right?”
So, I call Cap’n Firepants to deliver the great news.
“…and, he’s going to fly it in from a private island off the coast of South America, and carry it on his back to San Antonio, and then a chariot pulled by 100 armadillos will bring it to our house,” I slightly exaggerated. “Isn’t that great?” I ask.
“You liked that mattress, right? It was just the smell we couldn’t handle.”
“It was… okay.”
“I’m going to kill you.”
I have a question. Who do you think is better at video conferencing – my nine year old daughter, or my 21 month old bulldog?
If you answered the bulldog, then you are obviously well-acquainted with Wonderbutt,and rightly suspicious that anyone with my genes could be good at anything.
Dimples, the nine-year-old daughter, only has half of my genes. I think that we’ve all wondered at one time or another where the other half came from. Apparently, someone who immediately turns into a complete goofball whenever he is on camera. I’m not sure how this could have happened, but I think she might be related to Will Ferrell.
I am in Boston for a week right now, attending an educational conference at Harvard – which sounds somewhat erudite. But, rest assured, conversing with my family in San Antonio has kept me very grounded.
We arranged for some “Face Time” using the iPads on Monday night. As soon as I called in, we tried to get our bulldog, Wonderbutt, to join in. Cap’n Firepants held the iPad down near Wonderbutt, and I said, “Hi, Bud.”
He tried to go around to the back of the iPad. Then I asked him for a kiss,and he licked the screen up and down before Cap’n Firepants could get it out of his reach. Wonderbutt was very attentive, and completely engaged in the conversation.
Then it was my daughter’s turn.
The last time I attempted to Skype with my daughter, Dimples, she was about 5, and new to the whole concept. She spent the entire time ignoring me and making faces at herself in the monitor, delighted with seeing herself on the screen, and completely uninterested in speaking to the mother who had been absent from her life for three days.
Since then, Dimples has had a bit more practice with video communication with other family members.
We had arranged this particular Face Time call so I could read to her from my Boston hotel room. We have been reading a book together that is quite suspenseful, and didn’t want to wait until I got back to continue the story.
I spent the entire chapter reading out loud while Dimples did everything she could to make me lose my concentration – contorting her face, pulling her hair into goofy looking do’s, and covering up the iPad with her blanket.
Yep, 30 minutes. I tried to be more stubborn than her, and completely ignore her silly shenanigans.
But, I usually read two chapters. So, you can judge who was the most stubborn.
We are supposed to go another round tonight.
I’m going to ask if she can just hand the iPad over to Wonderbutt.
If anyone knows Will Ferrell, can you tell him he has a daughter in San Antonio who likes to do synchronized swimming? I have a feeling there is movie potential here…
Cap’n Firepants wants to divorce me. I would like to file the legal papers first, but I’m in that week of the month when I don’t allow myself to make any major decisions or sign legal documents.
Of course, he hasn’t actually come out and said that he is planning to divorce me. But I know he is.
Because he unplugged my flat iron.
At first, I thought this was a great reason for me to head down to the court house and start my own proceedings. But, then I realized that there was a message there. And, it was not, “I’m going to drive you crazy by doing things that will make you divorce me.” Instead, if you really read between the lines, it was, “This girls is going nuts, but it’s useless to even tell her, so I will just pretend everything is fine and slap her with papers when she least expects it.”
You see, I knew the flat iron was still on and plugged in. But Cap’n Firepants did not know I knew. But, instead of yelling to me, “Hey, did you mean to leave your flat iron plugged in?” he just assumed that I did not know because I must be losing it, and unplugged it.
Naive people might believe that he was being kind by not mentioning to me that I forgot to unplug the iron, which, by the way, I DID NOT FORGET, but I know the truth.
I confronted Cap’n Firepants with this information.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you?” he said, feigning ignorance.
“No, you didn’t. And I am pretty certain this is your subtle way of saying that you want a divorce.”
He laughed. And then he said, I KID YOU NOT, “Do you mean all of the other subtle ways didn’t tell you that?”
I can’t wait until my moratorium week is over.
When I married Cap’n Firepants, I did not realize that there was an extra bonus to this relationship – he enjoys grocery shopping.
I hate grocery shopping. Despise it. It bores the heck out of me and the store is always freezing and it depresses me to spend all of that money on food instead of a good pair of shoes.
So, Cap’n Firepants does our household shopping.
We used to have a pretty good system using an app on both of our phones that allowed us to add to the list. But then we started getting out of sync with each other and one person would have the list finished and the other person would delete it because
he/she I thought it was the list from last week. And then someone would be a bit upset. So then someone else stopped adding things to the list.
Cap’n Firepants likes to shop early on weekend mornings. When I am still asleep. Before he leaves, our conversation goes like this:
“I’m leaving for the store.”
I have a pillow over my head and vaguely hear something. He taps me on my shoulder. I whip the pillow off.
“I’m leaving,” he repeats.
I slowly focus on what he is saying. “Peach Propel,” I say, and put the pillow back over my head.
I am here to tell you that this method does not work very well.
The Cap’n does get the one thing I managed to voice before he left. And the other things that we always get. But, then, he goes off the reservation. And starts buying things that he hasn’t bought in awhile, thinking that we must surely be out of them since he hasn’t bought them in awhile. It does not occur to him that he has not bought them in awhile because we still have a huge stock of them and don’t need any more.
This is why we have 4 packages of hot dogs in our refrigerator, 3 bottles of Miralax in our medicine cabinet, and 5 thousand packages of shredded cheddar cheese.
It has occurred to me that the solution to this problem is to make a Don’t Buy This Ever Again, or at Least in the Foreseeable Future List. It would include:
- hot dogs
- cheddar cheese
- anything you expect me to cook that does not have directions on the package
But then I would have to maintain that list. And, eventually, I will want one of the things on that list, and then we will have a fight over which list is the list of things to buy and which is the list of things to avoid. And then Cap’n Firepants might decide to put me on a list – of People He No Longer Shops For.
And that would be a disaster for the entire Firepants household. Because a house without hot dogs or Miralax and with 5 thousand bags of cheddar cheese is not a house you want to enter. Trust me.
I do not have a good track record with doctors. So, I tend to avoid them if at all possible. I prefer to use the internet for my diagnoses.
MILlie, an elderly friend of the family, needs to go to the dermatologist. The only one she likes is in a different town that is about two hours away. Because I have had experience with trying to convince MILlie to try a new doctor in our town, I know better than to try that again. So, I agreed to take her. Which, in case you were not paying attention to my first paragraph, is a major sacrifice on my part. I am not telling you this merely because I want you to admire my heroism, but also because I want you to truly understand the irony of the last line of this post.
I called MILlie to make sure I had the right contact information so I could make the appointment.
“Well, let me get out the phone book,” MILlie said. “Okay. Here’s the address.”
“That’s okay. All I really need is the phone number for now,” I said.
“Well, it’s right across from the hospital. It’s in a big building. Across from the hospital. And, it’s in a suite. S-T-E.”
“No problem. If you can just give me the phone number, I’ll get the directions from the internet later, and then you can point out the building to me when we get there,” I said.
“Oh. Am I going to be with you?”
The way we usually plan a date:
“Hey, Dimples got invited to a friend’s house tonight. Want to go out?”
we I planned last Friday’s date:
“Hey, Dimples apparently lost all of her friends, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that we have spent our summer battling smelly mattresses, so I guess we need to hire a babysitter if we ever want to be alone with each other again. Want to go out?”
The way our date went:
By 8:30, we were done with dinner. It was a fine meal. Just the two of us in a booth beside a bar filled with hundreds of vivacious people who did not get my memo about my plans to be alone with Cap’n Firepants.
“What are we going to do now?” Cap’n Firepants asked me as he set down his fork. He read out available movies from his phone, and I shook my head.
“We could just go home,” I suggested. I had already bombarded him with every topic that I could think of that could not be discussed in front of Dimples or at 10:00 at night when I am busy “studying” The Daily Show in order to better understand the fine points of comedic timing. So, I had accomplished my agenda for the evening.
The problem with having a babysitter is that
you we find it a tad embarrassing to arrive home when it’s still daylight. Even though it would save us money and the babysitter would be thrilled to go home and get ready for a “real” night on the town.
“Let’s go get coffee,” Cap’n Firepants suggested.
I spent 15 minutes trying to persuade him to try a new local coffee place by our house. It took 15 minutes to drive there. It was closed.
“We could try the Starbucks on Blanco,” I said.
“That’s a drive-thru.”
“No, the one on the other side. It’s sit-down.”
“There’s one on the other side?”
“How did I not know there was one on the other side?”
“I don’t know.”
So, we drove there. It was closed, too.
So, we drove back past the local one that was closed to a Starbucks a bit farther that was open.
We were home by 10. It was dark outside, but I got the feeling that the babysitter was not impressed by our fortitude. Fortunately, she did not seem to suspect that we spent half the evening driving around and trying to think of something to do so we wouldn’t look lame.
The way our dates usually go if they are t0o close together:
The next day, Dimples got invited to a friend’s house.
We didn’t even go through the motions of a date. I walked through the living room. Cap’n Firepants was watching The Matrix. He has watched this 967.34 times. I did not care to watch it again.
“Want to watch the new Sherlock Holmes movie?” I asked.
“There’s a new one? Did we ever see the first one?”
“How did I not remember that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it PG-13?”
“Why? Are you afraid it’s going to give you nightmares?”
I get a glare.
“Why don’t you just keep watching The Matrix?” I suggested.
At least that date was cheaper.
Cap’n Firepants is trying to kill me. And he is quite devious about it. He acts like he loves me and wants the best for me. But he is really plotting my demise.
After finally getting our mildew mattress exchanged for a mattress of better quality and NO MILDEW smell, my husband began to implement his Plot to Kill His Wife Slowly By Making Her Brain Implode.
“The new mattress doesn’t smell.”
“Yeah, isn’t it great?”
“But it feels like the old mattress. Not the mildew one. The other one.”
Oh God. The mattress that had a cave-in. The one that was destroying his back so badly that he started sleeping in the other room so he could walk each day without looking like the Hunchback of San Antonio.
“But how can this be? You tested it in the store. It’s supposed to be just like the first model – but better! It even feels firmer to me than the last one.”
“Not to me.”
“Are you insane? IT IS FINE! IT’S BETTER! IT DOESN’T SMELL!”
“It’s not better to me.”
I am reporting him for spousal abuse.