My husband, the Long Suffering Cap’n Firepants, and I (the Just as Long and Sometimes Even More Suffering Mrs. Cap’n Firepants) had a bit of a tiff last night. I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say that he thought there was a miscommunication even though I had clearly communicated, and that him apologizing for misunderstanding my communication is not really an apology because it obviously implies that I was at fault for not clearly communicating. And I think we can all agree that I am a fabulous communicator.
But I am not a very good prognosticator.
I was at school today, and the secretary called on the intercom to see if I could send someone to the office to pick up a package. I didn’t have students at the time, so I told her I would send one as soon as they returned.
Of course, I forgot.
“Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, can you send someone down to the office now?” Obviously the secretary really wanted me to come get that package. I wondered what it was. I hadn’t ordered anything. Then I realized what was happening.
“Cap’n Firepants sent me flowers to apologize, and the secretary is really eager to brighten my day,” I thought. “He is so forgiven!” I immediately drafted a student to pick up my special delivery. I couldn’t wait to see my surprise.
The door opened.
“What is it?” I asked expectantly, as soon as the student entered. I couldn’t see what was in his hands because I was on the other side of the room.
“Balls,” he said.
I apparently couldn’t hear what he said because I was on the other side of the room.
“Eyeballs,” he said, as he approached me.
And then I remembered. I had ordered something. Sheep eyeballs for my 3rd graders to dissect.
The students cheered with excitement as I dejectedly looked down at the jar that the secretary had been so eager to get off her desk. The jar of a dozen eyeballs that was supposed to be a dozen roses. The jar of eyeballs that I forgot I had ordered – my forgetfulness obviously due to the trauma of being falsely accused of mis-communicating. The jar of eyeballs that used to belong to sheep that had now become the worst Un-apology ever.
He is so not forgiven.
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.”
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.
My husband, the Honorable Cap’n Firepants, has suffered much humiliation at the paws of my pets over the years. How he handles this is exactly why I love him.
On our first date, my dog of the moment tried to rip out Cap’n Firepants’ throat. The Cap’n brought me home from a movie, and I invited him inside for a minute. That is when Cujo leapt on the Cap’n with open jaws aimed straight at his larynx. I grabbed the collar and yanked Cujo off the Cap’n, who mumbled something about, “Maybe some other time,” and made a quick exit. After the door closed, I threw myself down on the sofa in absolute despair of ever being able to date again.
The next day, the Cap’n sent me roses, and invited me on another date.
Over time, the Cap’n was able to slowly make friends with my ferocious dog, and even ended up pet-sitting for me for 3 weeks when I went to Japan. And, despite the fact that my dog was completely insane and ended up on Prozac, the Cap’n eventually proposed to me. (Of course, some of you might think, and I would agree, that the bigger miracle is that he did this despite the fact that I am completely insane and on Prozac.)
That dog is long gone. But now we have Wonderbutt. And the Cap’n and Wonderbutt have a tenuous relationship that waxes and wanes on a daily basis. Mostly wanes.
The other night, the Cap’n was sitting on one of our new sofas, watching t.v., and Wonderbutt plopped down in front of him, staring at him with soulful eyes. (Wonderbutt is not allowed on the new couches, and if you question this rule, you might want to look at a few of the reasons why here and here. I would like to point out, though, the widget on my left sidebar that shows how long our new furniture has made it chew-free.)
After the Cap’n ignored Wonderbutt for a few minutes, the dog began to whimper. This is what he does to me at night when I am in his favorite chair.
The Cap’n has a soft heart. He bent down to Wonderbutt’s sweet face to gently tell him that he is not allowed on the couch.
And Wonderbutt belched the loudest, jowl-lifting, house-vibrating belch ever emitted by a mammal on this planet. Right in Cap’n Firepants’ face.
Back in the Forbidden Section of our house, I felt the earthquake, but did not know its source. But, I did hear Cap’n Firepants’ response to Wonderbutt’s in-your-face insult.
About once a month, I come to the conclusion that I really need to divorce Cap’n Firepants; in fact, I should have done it a long time ago. I mean, how can I live with a man who can’t stay up past 10 P.M., or who cannot smell, no matter how many times I ask, the mildew odor emanating from our brand new mattresses? He is clearly the most unreasonable man in the world.
You’ve probably noted the regular schedule of this revelation, and I bet you have wisely deduced the reason this epiphany occurs every 30 days. I have, too. But that doesn’t make it seem less important every month. Fortunately, during saner times, I instituted a Major Decision Moratorium for these 12 weeks a year. And, despite the clarity with which Cap’n Firepants’ many transgressions suddenly overwhelm me each time, I am somehow able to suppress the urge to initiate any divorce proceedings long enough for the deep conviction that I would be better off as a single woman to subside.
The conversations I have with myself in my head are interesting, though.
“Is he crazy? Did he just have the gall to ask what you wanted for dinner tonight? As if you are going to be doing the cooking? Why can’t he do the cooking? It’s the weekend.”
“Don’t you think you are overreacting? Isn’t it, uh, you know…”
“Of course I’m not overreacting!!!! Do you think any other woman puts up with this garbage? Do you think Oprah lets Steadman expect her to do the cooking? What about Hillary and Bill? Or Michelle and Barack?”
“Um, I think they all have other people cook for them.”
“Great, so I have a horrible husband and I’m poor. Thanks for pointing that out.”
“Maybe you should just take a look at the calendar.”
“So I can see that I’m another day older? Trust me, I haven’t forgotten that I’m old and wrinkly. Boy, you really love making me feel low.”
“O.K. Forget the calendar. Look at your pills.”
“Well, thanks for telling the whole world that I take Happy Pills. You are just determined to completely demoralize me today, aren’t you?”
“Not those pills. The other ones. You know, the ones that have the days of the week on the pack?”
“Uh huh. Yeah, what about ’em?”
“One week left. That’s all I’m sayin'”
“And why do I have to be the one that takes the pills? Why can’t he be the one who’s responsible? God, he is so selfish! That’s it. This marriage is over.”
“O.K. I tell you what. Wait 7 days, and if you still feel that way, I will completely support you.”
“Fine. That will give me 7 more days of ammunition to use anyway.”
“Fine. Can I divorce you, too, while I’m at it?”
“Good luck with that.”
“Fine. Just give me some chocolate and shut up.”
12 years, and the divorce papers have never been filed. Cap’n Firepants is one lucky guy.
“O.K. not your boyfriend’s nickname?” was his joking response.
“Ha.” As if. With a husband named Cap’n Firepants, who needs an Idiot for a boyfriend?
Despite my husband’s seeming alarm, he is quite used to my unconventional methods of reminding myself of things. It really didn’t surprise him at all that I would add a memo to our electronic family calendar so I could remind myself that one of my favorite bloggers was having surgery and I was supposed to send the patient some good thoughts that A.M.
Just that morning, as a matter of fact, I had employed two other memory techniques that just made Cap’n Firepants shake his head.
When he was about to get in the shower, I said, “By the way, your razor is in my makeup organizer in my medicine cabinet.”
He paused. “Uh, why?”
“Well, I remembered late last night that I needed to ask you about those gift cards before you left for work. You were already asleep, so I figured if I stuck your razor in my medicine cabinet, you would ask me if I knew where it was after frantically searching for ten minutes, and I would remember that I needed to ask you.”
He shook his head, told me where the gift cards were hidden, and headed in for his shower.
I continued to get ready for work. Thirty minutes later, I grabbed the presents I was bringing to work with me and headed out the door. Except my keys weren’t in the key bowl.
“Gosh darn it. Where are my keys?” I was already running late. Geez! Oh yeah. In the refrigerator. That’s where I put them when I need to remember to bring something to work. What was I supposed to remember? The presents. That were already in my hands. So, basically, I remembered the items I was afraid I would forget, but not the device I was using to help me remember them. Typical.
Once, I went on a trip to an education conference when our daughter was really little. So, my husband’s parents came to stay with him to help out while I was gone. I called the first evening to see how things were going.
“Guess what my parents found in the freezer?” Cap’n Firepants asked me.
“Oh!!!!! My keys?”
Now I was really perplexed. “Just tell me. What?”
“Your curling iron.”
Oh yeah. I had put it there to cool it off really quick before I stuck it in my suitcase. So, now his parents not only thought I was a bad cook, but that I somehow figured cylindrical hair appliances belonged in one of the food groups.
If I had programmed a calendar reminder to look for my keys in the fridge to remind me to pull my curling iron out of the freezer, my in-laws would never have discovered what a whacko their son had married. At least for another month or so.
I should be thankful, I suppose, that when the “Idiot’s Surgery” reminder popped up on my husband’s phone he did not promptly text me to ask what time my surgery was scheduled for that day. Married to me for eleven years, and he still does not immediately jump to the conclusion that I’m an idiot. There’s that.
I feel sorry for any woman who is not married to a pirate.
My own swashbuckling buccaneer rescued me once again this weekend.
I hate having to be rescued. And I really hate asking to be rescued. But if it has to happen, thank goodness I have Cap’n Firepants to do the rescuing.
Cap’n Firepants may not be a pirate in real life, but no genuine pirate would be fierce enough to face my husband’s daily trials. Forget scurvy, rotting teeth, and cut-throat shipmates; Cap’n Firepants has to deal with Wonderbutt and me.
At the conclusion of my not-so-great birthday week, Cap’n Firepants sensed that my dissatisfaction with the lack of fireworks and parades in my honor could only be alleviated by one thing – an afternoon of shopping. So he generously volunteered to usher Dimples to her synchronized swimming practice and remain for the entire 2 1/2 hours since she might or might not be feeling well enough to survive the rigors of stretches, laps, and rehearsal for an upcoming show.
I embarked on my afternoon of freedom with high hopes of finding some brown ankle boots to replace the pair that I’ve had for 10 years. Before heading to every woman’s shoe Mecca – Nordstrom’s – I made a quick stop at a mega shoe store across the highway. I scanned the aisles for something that fit my simple criteria: brown, sexy, comfortable, classy, appropriate for work, appropriate for a night out on the town, the envy of all women on earth, reasonably priced.
With that background research accomplished, I now felt I was justified in making a trip to Nordstrom’s. I headed back out to my car to continue my journey.
And my trusty red Rav wouldn’t start.
A few things went through my mind – the first being, “Of course. How else could I end this less than stellar birthday week, but with a disappointing afternoon stranded in the parking lot of a store I’ve already scoured up and down?”
Because it’s all about me, People.
Over the years, Cap’n Firepants has had to: change at least two of my tires, drive home from work to let me into the house, drive home from work to take me to the hospital, stay up until 1 A.M. trying to fix a garage door that I broke (not even ours – long story for another time), and drive to my school because I took the wrong set of keys (his). He has never once complained, called me an idiot, or in any way shape or form used any of these situations to make me feel guilty.
And he didn’t start now.
After I explained the situation, and we decided that I wasn’t exactly in dire straits, being stranded in the parking lot of a major mall in broad daylight with a SuperTarget across the street, he offered to finish up supervising Dimples’ practice, swing by the auto store to get a new battery, swing by our house to pick up his tools, and drive the 20 miles to where my pitiful car that he hates waited to spit grease all over him.
He didn’t even yell at me when it started raining as he began the delicate operation of attaching wires to the new battery. We’re in a SEVERE DROUGHT, People. And it started raining right during the five minute time period that was pretty much the only moment in the last 6 months we would have asked for it to NOT start raining.
The testament to his true nature, though, is that, when he was finished, drenched and filthy, he never even questioned the thought that I was going to continue my shopping.
I defy any Knight in Shining Armor or Swashbuckling Pirate to be more chivalrous than that.
Please take a moment, those of you on the East Coast, from boarding up windows and trying to find clean water, for this important request for your input. After much deliberation, and input from all over the globe, I have decided that I cannot decide. Ironically, I usually am accusing my husband of this personality flaw. But when a decision this important comes across my keyboard, I am at a loss. What in the world should be my husband’s alias?
My dear readers, you weighed in on my last post regarding this crucial conundrum, and I appreciate your valuable comments. However, now I’m even farther from a decision than before. So, I’ve decided to leave it up to you. An internet poll is the only solution to this quandary.
Before you decide, let me tell you a little bit about this great man. He puts up with me (and Wonderbutt) which should give you an idea of his patience and fortitude. He loves: to work in our yard, to watch Star Wars over and over, and to barbecue. He is a wonderful father and husband, but let’s not get too sentimental. Fortunately, he has a good sense of humor – even though he is pretty lukewarm about my blog.
Here are your choices. Note that I have not blocked you from voting more than once. I figure if you feel that strongly about it, hey go for it!