Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tangled up in blue part 2

posted 11/07/08

Henry and I were looking at some photos and came across one of a man wearing a blue shirt riding a camel.

Me: Henry, who is that?

Henry: I think it’s SH.

Me: I don’t think it is. I don’t think SH has ever been on a camel.

Henry: No, I think that’s SH.

Me: I don’t think SH has been to Morocco without me and I never rode a camel here.

Henry: I think that’s SH. Does SH have a blue shirt?

For you, I make good price. For everyone else, I make bad price.

posted 11/05/08

Buying a rug 2005

Megan: Don't buy a rug in Fez. They are much less expensive in Rabat.

Us: OK.

[In Fez]

Guide: Let me show you this rug shop.

SH, Me: No, we are not interested in buying a rug. Oh, that's a nice one. But no.

Rug salesman: For you, I make good price.

Us: How much does a rug like this cost?

RS: Would you like some tea?

Us: No. What does the rug cost? We don't want a rug.

RS: Look at this one. [Snaps his fingers as assistants unroll rug after rug.]

[One hour later)

Me: How much would this one cost?

RS: Five thousand dollars.

Us: One cannot pay that price. Goodbye.

S: Please. Give to me a price.

Us: No, one's price would be to insult.

RS: Please. Just tell me. I give you a number, now you give me a number.

Us: OK. One thousand dollars. [We are so clever, giving such a lowball price!]

[One more hour later]

RS: I must sell a rug. Look, today I get the bill from my son´s school. [Shows us a fax from Penn. Penn!]

Us: One cannot pay more than 1000 for the rug. Goodbye. [We start to walk out.]

RS: OK, OK. Twelve hundred dollars. That is my best offer.

[By now we love the rug and have committed two hours to negotiating about it. OK, maybe 40 minutes, but it felt like two hours.]

Us: OK.

[Back in Rabat at the artesanal workshop, where all the products have price tags.]

Me: Look! That´s like the rug we got.

SH: Stop. Don't come any closer.

Me: Why not?

SH: You really, really do not want to see the price tag. Just trust me on this.

Buying a rug 2008

Megan: Let me take you to the good rug guys here in Rabat.

Us: OK.

Megan: This is my friend Liz. She was a Peace Corps volunteer here and she worked with the rug guys.

Us: Cool. Now we shop.

[We find the only -- the only -- rug in the Rabat medina that is the design we like that has the apparently non-standard measurements we need for our dining room. We even find an internet cafe to check the tax records for the dimensions of the room to make sure we calculated properly. The seller does not know he has the only rug with the proper dimensions. We are not going to tell him.]

Us: How much for this beautiful rug that we looked at 30 minutes ago and now have come to see again? [We are so shrewd.]

Seller: 5,500 dirhams. But for you, I make good price.

Us: Hmm. [Remembering Liz's advice, we scratch the underside of the rug to check the tightness of the knots -- as if we know what we are doing -- and begin to point out the flaws.]

Seller: For you, 5000 dh. [About 550 dollars]

Us: One does not know. It must to think.

Seller: Is not much for you.

Us: Yes, is much for us! It must to think about to spend so much money.

Seller: Hmmm.

Us: Hmmm.

Seller: You like?

Us: Is very pretty. One might like it.

Seller: Hmm.

Us: Excuse me. [I call Liz.] Liz, how much should we pay for this rug? [I answer her questions about the pattern and size.]

Liz: Offer him 3000 dh. Don't pay more than 4000 dh.

Us: One would pay 3000 for this.

Seller: No! This is all made at hand. This is an item authentic. It has a value far more than 3000 dh. It is not possible to sell this rug for only 3000. Look at the work! Look at the materials! This is wool from sheep! This is Berber!

Us: Hmmm.

Seller: No, no, no. It is not possible.

Us: Hmmm.

Seller: I make you the price final. Below this, it is impossible to go. Four thousand. Price final.

Us: OK.

Tonight we dance in Havana

posted 11/03/08

The plan for tonight: Take a salsa class at Havana Club.

Last night, walking near our hotel, we hear music. That sounds Cuban, I say. Then I see the sign: Havana Club. Explains it all. I have been trying to get SH to take salsa lessons with me for a long time. Now’s my chance: no football game on, no business travel, no karaoke.

We walk into the club. The music is great. I try to teach SH the basic steps, but I am a very bad dance teacher. He is accommodating, but it’s not as much fun dancing when neither party knows what’s going on. We leave. I have a conversation with the bouncer that sounds like this:

Me: Are there classes how to dance here?

Bouncer: Yes, tomorrow night there are.

Me: How much are they worth?

Bouncer: Six euros.

Me: Is it that the teacher speak English? My husband says that he cannot learn to dance in Spanish.

Bouncer: It is not necessary to speak Spanish for to dance!

Me: I am of accord.

Bouncer: The teacher of to dance is here. You could talk to him. He is the young man without hair.

Me: You mean Little Baldy?

Bouncer: Yes.

Me: I lived in Chile for two years. I know of the custom of naming people Baldy, Fatty, Blackie, Beer-belly.

Bouncer: That it is.

We go inside and find Baldy.

Me: Do you speak English? My husband has worry that he cannot learn how to dance in Spanish.

Teacher: Is not necessary to speak Spanish for to learn to dance! I have taught to many foreigners how to dance.

Maybe they're from California

posted 11/03/08

Scene: Market in Rabat

Persons: Two American guys in their early 20s.

Dialogue upon seeing the items shown above: Are those for cigarettes?

Why is there air?

posted 11/03/08

The questions I ask SH:

Would you like some breakfast?

Do you want to watch this movie with me?

Are you ready to leave for church?

Do you have any other dirty clothes for me to wash?

The questions SH asks me:

Why don't you like that song?

Why don't you want Obama to be elected?

Why must you go to bed so early?

Why don't you like tendon and tripe?

Morocco 6

posted 11/03/08

The plan:

Megan, her friend Kelly, SH and I would go to the market while Steve watched the kids. We would return by 1:20 so Steve could drive us the 70 miles to the airport in Casablanca.

The execution:

11:30 We set out for the market. The car is making funny sounds. It’s choking, Megan says. The car sputters and dies. SH suggests that maybe something is wet. (Did I mention that it is pouring down rain in Rabat and the streets are flooded? This is not a city designed for water.) The car tries to start but it won’t catch. SH suggests that it might be the fuel pump, in which case not only are we not going to the market, but Megan and Steve face a major repair on a car that they need only until June and SH and I no longer have transportation to the airport.

11:40 Megan calls Steve and Kelly’s husband. Kelly’s husband can’t take us to the airport because their only car is a government car and there are strict rules on the use. Steve tells Megan to leave the car where it is and he’ll get a mechanic out there tomorrow. Kelly knows a taxi service that will actually pick up at the house. (As opposed to walking four blocks to a major street to flag one down. In the pouring rain.)

11:45 SH suggests pushing the car back to the house as it is only one block. We do so. In the pouring rain. Kelly calls the taxi service and tells them to be at the house at 12:15 to take SH and me to the train station for the 1:05 train to the aiport.

12:15 No taxi.

12:18 SH walks to the major road to summon a taxi. In the pouring rain.

12:23 SH returns with a taxi. He buys 200 dirhams from Megan (we had already spent all our Moroccan cash and the train doesn’t take credit cards). We load up, say our goodbyes, and leave.

12:25 The taxi driver asks us about Obama. Sheesh.

12:40 We arrive at the train station. There are two trains to Casa Ain Sabaa, the station where we change to the airport train. One leaves at 12:50, one at 1:05. Both arrive at the airport at the same time. We choose the 1:05 option as it is the one that actually lists the airport as a destination.

12:59 The disembodied voice of some woman tells us in Arabic and in French that the 12:50 train is delayed 20 minutes.

1:05 Our train does not arrive.

1:10 Our train does not arrive, but the 12:50 train does. Should we get on it instead? We have 47 seconds to make a decision and cross to the other platform. We decide No, Let’s stay where we are because they have not announced a delay for our train, have they, so it must be pretty much on time.

1:20 Where is our train? I demand of the train guy at the station door. He shrugs. Surely, this is not a situation that could have been anticipated and announced.

1:23 Our train is delayed 30 minutes. Our backup plan, now that we have spent $20 on train tickets, is to take a taxi all the way to the airport, which would set us back only $60.

1:37 Our train arrives. We ask the conductor how frequently the connecting train to the airport runs from Ain Sabaa. He doesn’t know. SH and I continue to stress. Can we take a taxi from Ain Sabaa to the airport? How much would it cost? Our flight is at 5:00. What if we don’t get there until 4:00? Things do take longer in foreign airports. Yes, they do.

2:25 We arrive in Ain Sabaa. The conductor taps my shoulder as we disembark. There is the airport train, he says as he points to the other platform. The train, she is waiting! We run. I ask the French couple sitting next to us how long one has attended the train and they tell me they are arrived after 20 minutes of to wait. Even if we had taken the “12:50” train, we would have been on the same connection. We feel better.

3:00 We arrive at the airport. Madness upon disembarkation. Everyone (100?) converges on one door to the airport – a door where they have one security guard screening passengers. One attends. And attends. As we inch closer to the door, a guy walks to the front of the line. No one says anything. He leaves his bag and returns with his girlfriend. Still nobody says anything. The girlfriend leaves and returns with her friend. I am getting annoyed and mutter things about linecutters. I glare at girl #2. She looks back at me, puzzled. I say It must to wait su torno back there. (Yes, my brain thinks there are two languages: English and all others. If I can’t think of how to say it in French, I throw in some Spanish.) She shrugs. I persist: You are not the next one. Him, then him, then us. You must attend there (pointing to the back). She rolls her eyes and turns around. The guy in front of me – one of the cut upon – says Is not a problem. Is only one, two minute. I am flabbergasted that he thinks line cutting is OK. I sulk.

3:15 We arrive at the check-in counter. Not really a line, just random pushing. We get to the front and are told we are in the wrong terminal.

3:30 We arrive at the proper terminal and find our counter. Three guys cut in line from the right, but as I was only halfway paying attention and am not positive, I say nothing. Our flight is delayed an hour anyhow, so what else are we going to do but stand in line?

3:32 The line is not moving because the computer is broken. A guy tries to take the computer from the next counter, which is not being used, and move it to ours. Funnily, that does not work, which is when it occurs to him to move the people to a working counter instead.

3:37 We are at a working counter. An entire family cuts in front of us. I protest and the woman bitches at me in French. How dare I? Unbeknownst to her, she drops the key after locking her suitcase. SH notices and asks me if he should tell her. Absolutely not, I say.

3:47 We get to the counter. The rude woman returns with a question. Then her husband returns. We finally get the agent's attention. I ask him what one says when one is attending and another puts himself in front of one. Je suis avant vous, he tells me, and makes me practice it five times.

4:10 We are in passport control in the regular people line. A woman goes to the business class line where there is nobody waiting. The passport guy looks at her ticket and tells her to get into the regular line. I feel like cheering.

6:30 We actually leave, over an hour past scheduled departure.

9:00 We arrive in Madrid and go straight for the churros y chocolate shop.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Render to Caesar

posted 10/31/08

Overheard: Yes, we absolutely believe in tithing. We'll tithe when we get back to the States. Of course, we'll both be unemployed so it will be really easy.

Morocco 5

posted 10/31/08

Lest I give the impression that everyone in Morocco is a jerk, let me tell you about the people who have been nice to us:

1. The four ladies at the bread cart who wouldn't let the vendor get away with cheating SH out of his change. SH had asked the price for a loaf of bread and via a translator -- the vendor spoke Arabic and SH was asking in French -- was told that it cost one dirham, about a dime. The translator left, SH took the bread, and paid with a five dirham piece. The vendor pocketed the money and ignored SH. SH said, in French, that it must be done to return to one the four dirhams. The vendor still ignored him. SH persisted. Yes, it was only forty cents, but honestly, after a while you get tired of being cheated and this was particularly egregious. That was when the other customers began to berate the vendor, insisting that he give SH the change, which he finally begrudgingly did, although he gave us only 30 dirhams instead of 40. SH has decided that he has a margin of error of one dirham.

2. Several taxi drivers. Our taxi driver to the Marjane Hypermarche yesterday picked us up when he already had another passenger. He dropped her off, then took us to the store and charged us only from the dropoff point to the store, not the entire fare. Our driver in Marrakesh was nice and wanted to know if we had voted yet. Anyone who brings up politics here is in favor of Obama. Not wanting to get into a political discussion in a foreign country in a language I do not command well, I avoid asking on what specific issues they agree with Obama as opposed to McCain. I am, however, impressed at the level of familiarity the Moroccans have with US politics.

3. The cook at the hotel in Marrakesh, who gave us a bunch of fresh out of the oven Moroccan bread instead of the French bread that wasn't so good.

4. The guy in the produce pricing line with me yesterday at the Marjane. You get your produce and wait in line for it to be weighed and priced before you go to the checkout. I had only two bags of veg (for grilling last night with Steve and Megan) but got in line anyhow even though some people had an entire cart full of stuff because one must wait one's turn. This lady with two bags of apples went to the front of the line and asked the customer who was having her entire cart of produce priced if she could cut in. The other customer let her. I muttered something to the guy in front of me that all the world have only a little but it must to wait like all the peoples. He said something to the lady that I gather was along the lines of Madame, it must be done that one waits in line for one's turn. She snapped at him that One had consulted the madame here and madame had said one could make the cut. He replied that The madame there did not to speak for all the world in the line. Madame grabbed her priced apples and began to yell at the guy, saying You have some nerve buddy telling one what to do and one would to say that you are a big jerk. I was thrilled to see someone speak up about line cutting because as far as I'm concerned, respecting the line is one of the first signs of civilization.

Morocco 4, Random

posted 10/29/08

Things I have lost in the past four days:

1. My hat, as we got off the local bus from Safi to Essaouira. This would be the bus that allegedly leaves Safi at 3:30 but doesn't really leave until 4:05 because the bus was not full at 3:30. We killed the time from scheduled to actual departure with various salespeople and beggars who walked the aisle of the bus seeking cash. I don't know what one guy was selling, but he got very indignant when I took a photo of him doing it and gave me the Latin American finger wave and glared at SH, wondering why he wasn't keeping his woman in line.

2. My earplugs, at the hotel in Ouilidia, where we went with Steve, Megan, Henry and Norah. These kids are adorable and a ton of fun. Henry talks a mile a minute, covering a range of subjects, "Watch me climb this. Watch me. Watch now! Do you know that girls can't climb like this? Guess what my teacher said yesterday. I have her phone number. Should we call my teacher? These shoes are for playing, but they are also for soccer and hockey. I like dinousaurs."

3. My hair tie, of which I have dozens at home but only one on this trip. How dumb was that?

Things vendors have said to me:

1. "Where you from? United States? Chicago? Obama! Yes we can!"

2. At the food market in Marrakesh: "It's brains, it's tongues, it's sheeps head. Very nice."

3. Our shoeshine guy: "I smoke hash." Me: "Pardon?" SG: "I smoke hash." Me: "Um. OK."

4. When we ignored a guy trying to get us to eat at his food stand (we have learned you can't even engage -- you just have to ignore them -- there is a reason that 94% of tourists to Marrakesh surveyed said they would never return): "Shit." When I turned to look at him, he glared at me and said, "F--- you." Sore loser, that guy.

Morocco 3, Let the buyer beware

posted 10/29/08

So you guys remember how mad I was that we hadn't paid attention and paid the right price for our fish lunch, right? That evening, we paid too much for spices. The next morning, the guy at the internet cafe wanted to overcharge us. Sure, it was only a dollar, but by then, we were getting a little tired of the gringo target on our backs and the socialized pricing, especially with the internet thing because they had prices posted and I had kept very close track of the time.

They told us 20 dirhams for the computer time when it should have been 10. The guy insisted that SH had spent an hour and five minutes on the computer, which would have thrown him from the ten dirhams for an hour into the 15 dh for an hour and a half. I had worked 55 minutes, with ten minutes lost because my computer crashed and then the guy couldn't get the new one to switch to the English keyboard. (These are in French, which is not easy to work in.)

I was loaded for bear. I was mad as heck and I was not going to take it anymore. Very politely but very firmly, I insisted that we owed them only ten dirhams. They rolled their eyes -- good grief, a woman telling us what to do, but I persisted. Again, politely but firmly. Very firmly. Until the guy gave us ten dirhams back.

Flush with victory, SH and I strolled to the fish market. We found the sign with the prices and a phone number for consumer complaints. I wrote down the phone number and the prices, then went to the stand where we had eaten. My lovely French sounded something like this: "Yesterday, one eats here." I showed the list to the guy -- "one eats seven sardines, four langostines, and of calamari. One drinks one coke. One has of the bread. One has of the salad. One takes not of the water. The price it should to be 100."

The guy insisted that as we had ordered off the menu, the list prices did not apply.

I persisted. "The sign there it say that the price she is fix. That is the price one should to pay."

No, no, no. A new guy comes over. "It must be done that one pays the price fix."

The manager surrendered. Fine, madame. You eat here today whatever you want and there is no charge.

I love the smell of victory in the afternoon.

Morocco 2, Paying the dumb tax

posted 10/28/08

One of the worst feelings a traveler can have is figuring out that you paid too much. I am talking about the tourist tax, of course -- the extra a foreigner pays because he 1) doesn't know how to bargain, 2) doesn't want to bargain because hello it is considered rude in our culture, 3) doesn't know what he should be paying and 4) doesn't speak the language so can't bargain even if he wants to.

We paid 300 dirhams, or about $35 for lunch yesterday. That doesn't sound like a lot (well, I think it's a lot, but I'm a real cheapskate), but consider we got two first-class train tickets for a 70-mile trip for $20 and that you can get a big schwarma (like a gyro) with lots of meat for $3. It was the place in Essaouira where you pick your own fish and they cook it for you right there. We had even looked at the sign in front of the fish stands explaining that the prices were fixed and here's what you should pay per kilo of product, but once we had committed to a fish stand (there are about a dozen) and picked our fish, it didn't occur to us to ask the weight of the sardines, langostine and calamari we had chosen and do the math ourselves. It wasn't until after we left and saw the sign again that we realized that we had paid way too much -- that our lunch should have cost about $6.

When I was in South America, I became a master of bargaining, telling taxi drivers that I was foreign, not stupid, and that I wasn't going to pay the gringo price. Here, I am 13 years out of practice, I don't speak French well, and I am dealing with Moroccan traders, who are master negotiators. This white chick from the Midwest doesn't stand a chance against thousands of years of camel traders.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Espain 4

posted 10/24/08

As SH and I climbed the 152 steps to the top of the Alcazar in Segovia yesterday (those stairs are to normal stairs as football time is to real time), we passed two older women who spoke to us in English, both much relieved to find someone with whom they shared a language. They told us with a bit of indignation that almost no one, no one! spoke English in Segovia can you imagine what is wrong with these people all they speak is Spanish!

I wanted to ask if they speak Spanish or French or Italian for the visitors they get in Germany or whatever glutteral-language country whence they came, but decided to practice being tactful which is hard enough when I'm rested but when I'm on day 3 of jet lag/late nights/noisy hotel is not easy.

I did want to tell them that I wished my own country were just a bit more chauvinistic about its language and proud to say, "Here we speak English. Other languages are fine, but we are not going to spend public money on translating documents and interpreting doctor visits or court appearances for you." Oh well. SH and I are trying to have a politics-free vacation.

I did think of the women just a little bit when SH and were at supper Wednesday night. This was supposed to be our Nice Supper for the trip. We had done the research and found The Restaurant where to eat roasted baby pig, a Segovia specialty. Most of the restaurants in the area had English translations on the menu (hello! no tax money involved!) and also had a prix fixe meal of the piglet.

The restaurant we chose (I'm talking to you, Jose Maria) had a menu only in Spanish, which is OK because we were in Spain, but when I asked the waiter clarifying questions, like, "Does the piglet come with a side dish?" which is a reasonable question for something that costs 21 euros by itself (do the math yourself with the exchange rate, which is not great, although better than it was) and when I ask further clarifying questions like, "OK, so are there side dishes available?" because I don't see anything on the menu but meat appetizers and steak and a couple of salads with Serrano ham, I wanted something better than the almost eye-rolling, deep sighing, toe-tapping, don't mess with me Missy attitude we got from the waiter.

I don't miss the obsequious Hi my name is Bob I'll be your waiter action from the US, but the practice of tipping waiters as opposed to paying them a salary as is done here does keep waiters from being too snotty to customers. If I'm polite and trying to speak your language, even if I am way out of practice, I expect just a little niceness.

Morocco 1

posted 10/24/08

SH: So what's the tipping situation here?

Steve: Ten percent, but really, you don't have to tip. You just give them a little bit so they know you're not French.

Espain 3

posted 10/23/08

SH and I left Milwaukee on Monday. He is burning FF miles, so got business class tickets from O'Hare to Madrid. Let me tell youse something, business class is the way to go, unless you can fly first class. I would have to have a lot of money before I would ever pay for either of those, but I'll sure take it for free.

We stopped over in Frankfurt for two hours and got to use the Lufthansa lounge, where they had a huge spread for breakfast. I kept walking past the buffet and casually snagging those little packs of Nutella. I think I have a dozen now. They also had pretzels, rolls, yogurt with garlic and dill (no cucumber or it would have been tzatziki), regular yogurt, sausage, those Japanese rice crackers, coffee and beer. I sampled a little bit of everything except the beer, but hey, we live in Milwaukee and it's not like I can't get it there.

We arrived in Madrid early afternoon and decided to brave the Metro to get to our hotel, even though it was a nightmare last time we took it -- very crowded and lots and lots of stairs. But there is a bus to the center of town and from there we could take the Metro only a few stops to the Plaza del Sol, our destination. At the bus/Metro interchange, I asked a lady where to find the Metro and if it was safe because I had heard there were Roving Gangs of Youths with Knives. Only instead of asking if it was safe, I apparently asked if she was sure ("esta seguro?" vs "es seguro," for those who habla espanol) and she was a little bit insulted that I questioned her knowledge.

We arrived unmolested but exhausted because we have three suitcases, SH's computer bag and a small backpack. We had to pack for two climates and we are hauling goodies for our wonderful hosts in Morocco. SH was the star, carrying two of the suitcases and his computer bag up and down the Metro stairs (we had to change trains once). Spain is not current with ADA compliance. I carried just the one suitcase and the backpack, but I was doing it in high heels. Note to self: never, never again wear the black boots on a trip, even if they are the best option to go with the new red dress from Talbot's. (Yes! I paid retail! Do you know how hard it is to find a red knit wrap dress used? Well, it's very hard.)

We made a beeline for the churro place after unloading our stuff. Got ham. Got cheese. Got bread. Ate. Went to bed. Got up and tried to find coffee. Asked Adoracion where to find mocha and she told us Starbucks. I won't apologize for Starbucks. I won't apologize for McDonald's. I won't apologize for our politics. But I will apologize for something I saw promoted all over the Metro: High School Musical 3. Sorry, Spain. Many Americans find it annoying, too.

More later. SH has just repacked everything (he is amazing) so we can leave a suitcase here when we go to Morocco tomorrow and wants to do his email. When I have more time, I'll tell you what happens when you don't use an elbow joint in your sewer/bathroom plumbing, even in a one-star hotel with TV and alleged internet. ("Yes, we have internet on every floor. But you know, a lot of people just like to work in the lobby." You think? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you DON'T have internet in every room.) Hasta luego.

Spain 2

posted 10/23/08

At the bus stop near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid:

Me: Would it molest you handsome gentlemen if I took a photo?

Guys: No! Of course not! Where are you from?

Me: The United States. This is my husband. We are on our honeymoon.

Lady: You need to take care of him.

Me: I do. I clean the house. I do the laundry. I cook supper.

Lady: No, you need to make love a lot.

In the bar in Segovia where we stopped for a cup of coffee and ended up getting tortilla, roasted peppers and potatoes, a ham sandwich and a fried sardine sandwich:

Me: Senora, a consultation please?

Lady in bar: Yes, of course.

Me: Does one tip in a bar like this?

Lady: Only if you want to. With us, we are here every day for our little coffee, but for you, it is not necessary. You will not be thought less of if you do not tip.

Me: We’re not from here and we don’t know.

Lady: We noticed that. We were saying that we noticed you were not from here.

Me: My husband wants to know why my tortilla doesn’t taste like the one here.

Lady: Their tortilla is delicious, isn’t it?

Me: It’s wonderful. I told him it’s because you’re supposed to use a lot of olive oil and I don’t because I don’t want to get fat.

Lady: Please don’t take any offense, but we were just saying that your figure is like mine: small on top and bigger on the bottom. But it looks good on you.

Me: Yes, my husband prefers the butt to the bosom, so it’s OK.

Me: We want to visit the cathedral, but we’d rather do something like this.

Lady: Oh absolutely. Cathedrals are nice, but having a beer or a wine is worth the pain.

Marriage 101, lecture 3: Packing for a trip

posted 10/19/08

SH: Will we be able to do laundry on the trip?

Me: Probably when we get to Megan and Steve's.

SH: So do I need ten pair of underwear?

Me: No. You can always wash underwear in the sink.

SH: Is that what you're going to do?

Me: Yes.

SH: So I can pack less underwear.

Me: If you're going to wash it in the sink, yes.

SH: You mean you won't wash my underwear for me?

Me: Why can't you do it yourself?

SH: Because I'm a guy and we don't wash things in the sink.

Me: Then I guess you need ten pair.

SH: But why won't you wash mine if you're washing yours?

Me: Washing underwear is kind of personal, don't you think?

Marriage 101

posted 10/19/08

Me, after trying to find a decent radio station on SH's old clock radio: You know what would be nice? A clock radio CD player.

SH: You know I have all that stereo equipment. I could set it up in the bedroom.

Me: No! It's too clunky and big.

SH: But that's a badge of honor for a man.

Me: Baby, I already know you're a man.* You don't need big speakers to impress me.

* OK, I said something a little more -- earthy -- than that, but The Big Factotum reads this blog and I need to keep it G.

Who wants a woman who doesn't have a Milwaukee Roll?

posted 10/18/08

Me [staring at my butt in the mirror]: Oh man. These jeans used to be the baggy, hang out in the house jeans. Now they are getting tight.

SH: So?

Me: That means I'm gaining weight and my butt is getting even bigger.

SH: I'm an ass man. If your booty gets bigger, that's fine with me.

Me [grabbing love handles]: And what about this?

SH: That's your Milwaukee Roll. Just start drinking beer so you have a good reason to have one.

Marriage 101

posted 10/16/08

Me: You rearranged my dad's lucky shot glasses!

SH: Of course I did!

Me: But I don't want them like that.

SH: Stop! They were all symetrical and now you're ruining them!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The mean wife

posted 10/13/08

Part 1

SH: What did you do with my drill bits?

Me: I thought I put them someplace logical.

SH: I left them on top of that box in the basement and now they're not there.

Me: After I used them, I could have sworn I put them someplace that made sense. They were in the way on that box.

SH: That's the problem. You put things away and I can't find them. I leave them out so they are easy to find.

Days later.

SH: I found my drill bits.

Me: Where were they?

SH: In my toolbox.

Part 2

SH, tearing through his vitamins and such that he keeps in the upstairs bathroom by his office: What did you do with my melatonin when you packed the apartment?

Me: I thought I put all your drugs in the same bin.

SH: What bin?

Me: The one beneath the bathroom sink down here.

SH: You and your bins. I can't find anything. [Tromps downstairs, grumping]

SH: Oh. Here it is. In the drug bin under the sink.

Marriage 101

posted 10/13/08

SH: That cabinet you got [at Salvation Army] won't work for my stereo stuff.

Me: Why not?

SH: I can't fit everything.

Me: But the DVD player and the tuner are there now.

SH: Yeah, but I can't get the record player and the tape deck on there, too.

Me: But you never use those.

SH: Yes, I do.

Me: In the time I've known you, I've seen you use the record player once. You play CDs in the car, but not in the house.

SH: I know, but it won't fit.

A life tragically cut short by smoking

posted 10/11/08

Our friend Bruce, who brought us a snowblower as a wedding present:

My grandfather started every morning with a six-pack of Schlitz. Then he began about a two or three mile walk. He would drink two of the beers on the walk. Two-thirds of the way through, he stopped at his friend’s house, Kinney, and they would each have one of the beers and just talk for about an hour. Then he’d complete his walk. By the time he got home, he would have completed the last two beers.

Then he sat down for breakfast, which consisted of bacon, eggs and grits swimming in butter. Lots of salt and pepper.

Then he went out to the front porch to smoke.

He was 91 when he died. The week before he died, he was still walking that same path. He was diagnosed with lung cancer, but he died of a heart attack.