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.”
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.
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?”
Today, I would like to talk about Mother’s Day. Haha! See how creative I am? Everyone else is posting about Father’s Day, but not me. I do not bend to society’s norms. I do not do what everyone else does. I do not –
remember what I was going to talk about.
Oh, yes. Mother’s Day. So, I never mentioned what Cap’n Firepants gave me for Mother’s Day. (On a half-sideways note, I must say that I don’t really understand why husbands give wives anything on Mother’s Day. After all, I am not the Cap’n’s mother. But, I certainly am not complaining about getting an extra gift.)
Anyways, despite the fact that I really meant it when I said that I didn’t want anything except to be able to sleep late, the Cap’n gave me a gift card to The Container Store. Now, I am pretty certain that it is no coincidence that The Container Store happens to be across the parking lot from the golf store that he went to that same day. But I was not unhappy with the gift because he wrote a very mushy note inside the gift card, and I have been asking him for about 10 years to write me a mushy note, and I would not have cared if he wrote it on a napkin that had been chewed up by Wonderbutt. And, no, I will not share the mushy note with you, partly because it’s private, but mostly because I’m not exactly sure what I did with it. But don’t tell that to the Cap’n.
Now, I do like The Container Store. But I did not realize at the time of receiving the card that it would save my marriage.
I have been referring to this summer as the Summer of Purging. And I am not referring to any kind of eating disorder. First, I moved my classroom to a new school, which necessitated some major disposing of unnecessary curriculum materials that had accumulated in the nooks and crannies of my previous room over 13 years. Now, I am in the midst of my normal Summer Closet Inspections and the Attempt to Save my Daughter’s Room from Being Overcome by Silly Slappy Hands. And, I am helping my mother-in-law scale down her belongings so she can move into an independent living facility.
Out of all the people I am dealing with, I appear to be the only reasonable one. Everyone seems intent on trying to save every last insignificant item from the Death Squad Judgement of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants. Even Wonderbutt snatched back a completely disemboweled toy I threw in the garbage the other day.
After a particularly grueling day trying to convince my mother-in-law that the entirety of her 1200 square foot apartment will not be able to be squeezed into her new 300 square foot room, the Cap’n and I then began to have a slightly not very reasonable discussion about the possibility of storing some of the apartment contents in our home. And I became pretty sure that I needed to initiate divorce proceedings immediately.
Then I remembered my gift card.
“I have some errands,” I announced to the Cap’n and Dimples.
I drove straight to the Mecca of Organization, and strolled down the aisles, leisurely admiring the order and color coordination of each section. Every time I turned a corner, I felt a bit more tension roll away.
After spending 2x the amount that was on my gift card, I was ready to return home with enough containers to control the mess that my life has become. And I told Cap’n Firepants that whatever doesn’t fit in one of the many repositories that I purchased can NOT COME INTO OUR HOUSE.
And we lived happily ever after.
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.
“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.
In an attempt to save myself from being struck by lightning for focusing too much on materialistic items – such as my Harry Potter “nativity scene” – I tweaked one of our family traditions this year. Considering I was the one who started the tradition in our household, and the sole person responsible for the act of carrying it out annually for the last eight years, I felt that a slight change was my prerogative.
Like many families, we have a Countdown to Christmas. One of my good friends crafted a mitten calendar for us one year, and we have used it ever since. Beginning the first day of December, Dimples would find a small gift each day in one of the mittens.
Now that Dimples is getting older, it’s becoming a little more difficult to find small gifts that she will appreciate for under $1. Gone are the days when princess stickers elicited cries of delight.
I thought this year that I would combine Dimples’ love of technology with a healthy dose of Christmas Spirit. So, each day, I am putting two QR codes in her mitten. One, when she scans it, gives her a Random Act of Kindness to perform that day. The other one gives her a “coupon” for things like “make cookies with a parent” (hopefully, Cap’n Firepants will be “the parent” chosen when she redeems that one).
Well, the QR code idea went over like a remote control helium balloon that is supposed to scare the bejeezus out of your bulldog and all the dog does is yawn.
The first day, Dimples was all like, “What’s this?” and when I explained the whole thing, how she could use her iPod Touch to scan the codes to see her surprises, she gave me a little half smile. The one that means, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, Mom, but this is the stupidest idea ever.”
The second day was even worse. She looked ready to tear up with disappointment, and I could tell she was really bummed.
The third day I forgot.
It was Saturday morning, so I was the last to get up. Dimples looked at me accusingly, and I knew immediately what was wrong. I didn’t think it was a big deal, though, since the whole concept wasn’t a hit anyway.
The fourth day I forgot again.
Dimples had two friends sleep over to celebrate her birthday, and the whole chaos of the evening, plus the shock of three girls constantly making jokes about passing gas, threw me.
I got the look again. And a short lecture.
So, this morning, I dutifully restarted my dumb idea. No reaction from Dimples.
This evening, Cap’n Firepants mentioned that Dimples was reading to Wonderbutt in the living room.
“Really?” I said, laughing. “Why?” Dimples hates to read out loud, even though she is quite good at it.
“Because her mitten said to read to someone younger or something?” Firepants said – not to sure about this whole QR code thing I had sprung on him without prior consultation.
So, I snuck in and got myself some evidence of Dimples doing her “Act of Kindness” – reading to someone younger. It didn’t specify that it had to be a person.
I seem to have made a typical parental rookie error in the area of friend-choosing with respect to Dimples.
Just about when I started to notice with alarm that she was advancing from the Spend-Time-with-the-Children-of-Mommy’s-Friends phase to the Scare-Your-Mom-with-Your-Newfound-Independence-By-Choosing-Your-Own-Friends-Who-Have-Parents-Mom-Has-Never-Met-Who-Might-Keep-Guns-in-the-House phase, Dimples haphazardly walked into a friendship with a young lady who happens to be a Parent’s Dream.
Well-mannered, calm, and enthusiastic about any activity we suggest, Dimples’ Perfect Friend is a joy to have as a guest. And Perfect Friend’s parents seem to be as equally happy to have Dimples over to their house. Or else they have some other reasons yet to be determined for continuously inviting her to spend the night.
It was only after the friendship had been firmly established that I realized my mistake.
“Mom, at Perfect Friend’s house they have an appetizer before dinner.”
“Really? I didn’t know they took you to Olive Garden last time.”
“No, Mom. At their house. The dinner we ate at their house. It was going to be sushi, but when they found out I didn’t like that, they offered warm bread.”
Uh oh. Alarm bells start to go off in my head.
“And they serve fresh peaches, not the slimy kind you get out of the can.”
So, allow me to pause here before you People start thinking we serve our child Ramen soup and canned fruit every night for dinner. We do, actually, serve quite a bit of fresh fruit that’s IN SEASON mixed with some canned fruit sometimes that isn’t. We don’t serve appetizers in our house because Dimples takes 90 minutes to eat every meal, and we just don’t have time in the day to offer her Spinach Artichoke Dip in addition to the main event, plus veggies, plus fruit, plus dessert. I have, numerous times, offered to take her to a sushi restaurant for some taste testing and she looks at me like I have sprouted a second head that just happens to look a lot like Wonderbutt.
Speaking of –
“And they can leave their shoes anywhere because there isn’t a Wonderbutt to chew them up.”
And that’s when I realized, People, that I should have approached this whole friendship thing a completely different way. I have been way too overprotective. A couple of sleepovers at a crack house guarded by a pit bull in the middle of a gang war zone never killed anyone. At least not anyone who I personally know. And it might make her appreciate our house once again. Wonderbutt might have made it look like a war zone, but there aren’t any bullet holes in the windows. Yet.
Note: I wrote this before deciding to pen my two part Xbox Debacle series. Now that I read it again, I realize that I am even more of an idiot than I was last year. But I’m still 25% certain that I can pull this gift off…
I have great confidence that Cap’n Firepants does not read my blog. Such great confidence that I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I already got him one of his Christmas presents. Well, it’s for both him and Dimples.
You gotta see it. I’m only telling you about it because I already bought it so I don’t have to worry about my zillion blog subscribers making a run on this amazing product and the poor company not having enough in stock.
Here, watch this.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Super cool, huh?
I actually showed this video to Dimples and Firepants and they oohed and aahed so much that I immediately made a mental note that this was going to be in one of the boxes under the tree.
If we have a tree.
The presence of Wonderbutt this year might inhibit some of our festive decorating traditions, including the tree. But that’s okay. I’ll just keep the gift in my dry-cleaning basket where all good gifts go. No one cares that I apparently have more dry cleaning than clothes that I own.
Although it would be totally awesome if I could inflate it the day before and fly it into their midst on Christmas day.
Can you imagine the look on their faces? Can you imagine the look on Wonderbutt’s face? I am totally going to record this.
I love Christmas. I don’t even care if I don’t get anything. I just want to scare the crap out of everybody.