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.
Regarding yesterday’s post, “Murder by Mattress“, my husband, Cap’n Firepants, insists that I must be the one trying to kill him – considering that the mattress seems to be more harmful to his health than mine.
“If I wanted to kill you, I would find a much faster way to do it than making you sleep on a mattress that makes you walk crooked for 10 years,” was my reply. I decided not to list the dozen alternative ways that immediately come to mind for expediting someone’s death. I don’t want him to become paranoid or anything.
I stand by my original theory that he is out to get me – not the other way around.
I figure that, before my untimely demise, I should probably give out the award I promised for the Most Creative Way to Use a Cannonball. Although there were many viable entries, I decided to go with El Guapo because he gave me a whopping total of 5 ideas. This is what he came up with:
-Attach a chain to it. whenever you or Cap’n have to be somewhere and the other can’t make it, bring it as the old ball and chain
-Put it in a cannon on the lawn and point it conspicuously at the annoying neighbor du jour
-If there are any markings on it, you might be able to track down some information on it
-Hang it in the school yard for bad-child tetherball
-Paint it like a balloon and use it for your delightful “lead balloon” comedy/variety show
This leads me to jump to some not-so-obvious conclusions about Guap:
- He has much experience with cannonballs
- He has not lived next to our annoying neighbors, who would not be even the slightest bit cowed by such a subtle hint as a cannon aimed at their abode
- He wants me to get sued
- He really wants the prize that I offered
I am going to assume that it was the last one, because the “I Wonderbutt, Do You?” award is highly coveted and very rare.
So, here you go, Guap. Take good care of it.
(I won’t tell you which of Guap’s suggestions I am going to take, but I will tell you that our neighbors, the Clampetts, are, at this moment, making a heckuva lot of noise – and eBay’s cannon listings will be my next stop after publishing this post.)
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.
I learn a lot from my gifted students. For example, according to my Kindergartners, the participants on Toddlers and Tiaras are way different on stage than off. And, according to my third graders, Ellen DeGeneres is a girl, not a boy, and her deal with J.C. Penney caused a “thing” much debated on Facebook.
It’s almost the end of the year, but it’s never too late to get educated. So, I should not have been surprised by the edification I received from my first graders today on the topic of marriage.
As some of you know, I will be teaching Gifted and Talented students at a new school next year. So, today, I introduced my current students to the woman who will be teaching them next year instead of me. She is: very nice, very pretty, one of my best friends, and just happens to be married to my current principal who, for the purpose of this blog, we shall call POTUS (Principal of The Unbelievablyawesomest School).
I took Mrs. POTUS to the classroom of three of my 1st grade students. As soon as we opened the door, one of them shouted, “Hello, Mrs. POTUS!”
When the three came out into the hall, Mrs. POTUS, smiling, said, “How did you know that I am married to Mr. POTUS?”
And my student, obviously using the powers of deduction that he learned from me, said, “Because you kind of look like him!”
Well, this was funny to me for several reasons – the obvious one being, of course, that people look like their pets, not their spouses – but the main one being that Mrs. POTUS, other than sharing the attributes of most humans, looks absolutely nothing like Mr. POTUS.
The same student, a few minutes later (after we explained that Mr. and Mrs. POTUS were not blood relatives and that, other than in the Appalachian Mountains, married people do not necessarily resemble each other) started to ask Mrs. POTUS a question, and then immediately forgot it.
Mrs. POTUS said, “That’s okay. If you think of it later, you can just tell Mr. POTUS, and he can tell me.”
To which another one of my logical students said, “Do you and Mr. POTUS talk sometimes?” in apparent wonderment at such a concept. I’m not sure if this was more along the lines of the “Do you and Justin Bieber talk sometimes?” kind of astonishment, or the “Are a husband and wife allowed to talk to each other?” confusion that often happens when children watch too many episodes of Wife Swappers.
So, from these two students, I now know: that married people should look alike (which makes me better suited to enter a union with my wrinkled bulldog than with my dear husband, Cap’n Firepants), that married people only talk on rare occasions – and that it’s good I am moving to a new school next year because I’ve certainly accomplished a heckuva lot at this one.
When your nine year old daughter is invited to a birthday party in the middle of the afternoon, and it is located 45 minutes from your house, and the hostess of the party says, “You two should go on a date while she’s here – go see a movie or something – and you can pick her up whenever you want,” you and your husband do not say No.
And you probably don’t go on a date.
You drive around for awhile, and end up at a mattress store. Well, maybe that’s not what you would do. But that is where Cap’n Firepants and I ended up yesterday afternoon. We’ve been married 12 years. We know how to keep a marriage going strong, and it is not by arguing over which movie we should see and where we should see it and why should we pay this stupid amount of money just so we can listen to babies crying and men coughing up a lung right behind us.
When you think about it, the mattress store is really the ideal destination for a two hour break from your kid. Especially when you and your husband have been sleeping in separate rooms for the last two weeks because the mattress in your bedroom has been turning him into Quasimodo.
And the last time you took your daughter mattress shopping with you, she made you wonder why the Queen in the fairytale stuck a pea under all of those mattresses instead of piling the pallets on top of the princess so the Queen could have some peace and quiet.
Testing out mattresses with Cap’n Firepants can be quite amusing because he has a certain sense of decorum which cannot really be maintained when you are trying to determine if it is actually possible to jump onto a mattress without spilling a glass of wine. And when they don’t provide you with the glass of wine to test this theory, this just makes things more challenging.
“Go ahead, do a cannonball,” the salesperson told Cap’n Firepants.
“Yes, go ahead, do a cannonball,” I said, quite certain that it would take at least 5 glasses of wine (in his bloodstream, not perched on the mattress) to motivate the Cap’n to accept this challenge. He surprised me, though, by leaping onto the mattress – not at cannonball strength, but certainly with a bit less inhibition than Cap’n Firepants generally likes to show in public.
“O.K. I don’t want this mattress,” I declared, as the Richter scale pointer hit 9.8, and my head glanced off of the ceiling.
After dizzying lectures about foam density, breathable fabrics, and factory warranties, the salesman had me convinced that the only mattress that I should ever sleep on for the rest of my life – the one that would not only alleviate any back problems, but would prevent cancer and cure the uncommon cold – was the $10,000 one in the middle of the store.
“You could buy a car for that,” Cap’n Firepants noted.
“Who needs a car?” I asked, as I stared up at the ceiling from my bed on a cloud, and realized that, if someone paid me to write, I could not only work from home, but I could work from my bed until retirement. Heck, I might even decide not to retire.
The Cap’n, however, did not want me to give up my car for a mattress. And, for some reason yet to be explained, was not willing to give up his car, either.
This kind of put a glitch in this whole two-hour alternative to marriage counseling.
We ended up purchasing a “reasonable” mattress that, I’m pretty sure, will not balance a glass of wine, much less cure cancer.
And when we get a hole in our ceiling because I did a cannonball into bed, I am so going to blame him for not shelling out that $10,000.
As soon as I saw the man walk into the cafeteria at our daughter’s elementary school, I knew there would be trouble. I silently prayed that my husband wouldn’t see him. Of course, the man headed straight for the row in which we were uncomfortably seated in hard plastic chairs awaiting the beginning of Dimple’s choir program. He plopped down to the right of my mother-in-law, two seats down from my husband, the Honorable Cap’n Firepants. I lowered my head in defeat as Cap’n Firepants sat slightly straighter in his chair upon noticing the man. Cap’n Firepants swiveled his head to look at me.
“I know,” I furiously whispered. “He has a long pole.”
This was not meant to be a double entendre – at first. I was merely acknowledging the fact that the stranger had a pole on which to affix his video camera. Not a tripod, which wouldn’t fit in the ridiculously narrow aisles between chair rows anyway. A long, straight pole.
The Cap’n and I always have the same “discussion” at every camera-worthy event. Who will videotape, and who will take still pics? He does not like to videotape. Mostly because his arm falls asleep trying to hold the camera still. I do not like to videotape. Mostly because The One Who is Not Videotaping forgets to take pictures at key moments – inevitably the rare ones when Dimples chooses to smile and actually appears to be enjoying the activity in which she is involved.
If he had a long pole, that would solve our problem(s).
I want to be clear here. I was not the one coveting the long pole. The Cap’n was.
“If you would just hold it once in awhile,” the Cap’n whispered, presumably referring to the video camera. Or, perhaps not. “Even once a year would be nice.” There was a slight twinkle in his eye at this suggestion, and I nearly fell out of my plastic chair into the choir teacher who was setting up her music stand to my left.
“Fine,” I whispered back. “I’ll hold it right now.”
This is the type of banter that occurs between a husband and wife who have had very little sleep for very many days – and not for any kind of a good reason.
I looked up “the pole” when we got home from the concert. If you click on this link, and read the name of this accessory very carefully, you will see why Cap’n Firepants might not want to act too quickly about acquiring a long pole. It seems the other parts of “the package” might not be quite as worthy of boasting about…
Anyone who has ever met my husband, Cap’n Firepants, will probably agree with me that “spontaneous” would not be included in his list of character traits. Unless you were to say, “He is a man who might spontaneously combust if you throw him into unpredictable situations.” Therefore, on the Cap’n’s 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I felt that I was doing him a favor by at least giving him a card with the directions to not plan anything for the last weekend in March. I felt like two weeks would be ample time for him to prepare for an “unplanned” adventure. In retrospect, it does not seem very logical, I suppose, to tell a man whose father had a heart attack on his 40th birthday that I am going to take him to an unknown place using an unknown method of transportation to participate in unknown activities at an approximate date and time.
I finally revealed where were going the day before the trip. Cap’n Firepants seemed happy to be leaving town, and that we would be using the automobile as our sole method of transportation. I probably could have told him that we were heading to a shack in Death Valley, and he would have been fine as long as we didn’t have to fly.
As usual, several factors conspired to make us leave later than planned. Which added to my stress level because I had another surprise waiting for him in Fredericksburg – our destination point. But, we finally left town, and I allowed him to choose our route as long as he promised not to offend my virgin ears with streams of obscenities if we ran into any traffic. Which we did. And he didn’t.
We arrived in Fredericksburg, and I immediately rushed the Cap’n to drop off our bags at the hotel and walk to Main Street, declaring that we had reservations at a local restaurant, the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, for dinner.
We did not have reservations. As a matter of fact, Fredericksburg Brewing Company does not even accept reservations. And that could have ruined the next surprise.
Entering the restaurant, my moment of truth swiftly greeted me. If something didn’t happen before the hostess swooped on us, I was going to have to admit that we had no reservation, and the Cap’n was going to
think receive further confirmation that I am a lunatic for rushing him for no reason. Or, I could start yelling at the hostess, claiming that someone on the phone had taken my reservation, and demanding to be seated at once. Thereby making it Cap’n Firepants’ worse birthday gift ever because he is absolutely mortified by any public confrontations. The last time I asked the waiter to bring a straw that he had promised, the Cap’n turned beet red at my gall.
But then the Cap’n saw them. Our cousins, the Globetrotters, seated casually at one of the tables, waving. They had driven down from Houston to help him to celebrate his
heart attack special birthday.
Surrounded by family – and the immense beer stills of the brewery – the Cap’n was finally able to relax. Of course, that’s only because he didn’t know that I had a couple of other surprises up my sleeve…
I made an amateur matrimonial mistake today. I don’t know why I haven’t learned this in the almost 12 years that I have been married, but maybe confessing it will make it less likely to happen again.
Marriage Rule #37 – Never undertake a really hard “house” project unless your spouse is there to witness it.
You might question the wisdom of this rule. But there are several reasons for it.
Here’s the scenario: you decide that you will surprise your spouse by completing a monumental task that you have both been procrastinating.
In today’s case, the task was to box up and move everything out of our 11 foot high wardrobe, which needs to be disassembled before the crew comes to do our concrete floors. I thought it would be nice of me to empty the wardrobe while the Cap’n and Dimples were out of the house for a few hours today.
WHY THAT ISN’T A GOOD IDEA : O.K. Well, the primary reason that you should never do this, Kids, is because the work is always far more grueling than your spouse will ever appreciate it to be. If your spouse cannot see the huffing and puffing involved in performing this work, and the pain and suffering that accompanies it, then you will never reap the rewards you deserve for it. You will get about the same gratitude as you get for cleaning the toilets.
THE SECOND REASON IT ISN’T A GOOD IDEA: I should have learned this about 11 years ago when we were in our last house. Back then, I decided to surprise the Cap’n by taking down the 70‘s era wallpaper in our bathroom while he was at work. In order to do this, I had to remove a wall-length mirror that hung over the counter. I stood on the counter to do this and pulled the mirror off of its hangers. I gently set it on the counter. It promptly broke in half. The far half careened toward me, nearly chopping off my nose, and found a nice landing place in my right hand.
In summary, the second reason for not doing anything harder than dusting the shelves when there are no witnesses is that you might inadvertently kill yourself. And, if you do that, you really will not get the appreciation you deserve for your massive undertaking.
Of course, I didn’t take these factors into account until I was standing on a stepladder precariously balancing a ridiculously heavy box that I had grabbed from the top of the wardrobe. Wonderbutt was energetically bouncing into the side of the ladder, wondering what great new chew toy he was about to receive. As I worked hard not to tip the box or myself onto the hard floor below, I remembered Rule #37. And that spouses are not very grateful for surprises that end up including trips to the Emergency Room.
I’m surmising that my Guardrail Guardian Angel (who takes care of me when I am on the road) was well-rested because I hadn’t driven anywhere today, and decided to help me defy the laws of physics, gravity, and bull-headed bulldogs in order to make it to the ground safe and sound.
I learned my lesson, though. From now on, I will not attempt anything life-threatening when the rest of the Firepants humans are not around to witness my demise.
That just leaves me more time for blogging, anyway.