The Wife Unit and I run a tight ship. Everyone must have good table manners, sugar drinks remain at the grocery store and dirty words must go unspoken.
Most of the time.
There is a time and a place for everything. Take for instance, losing at Halo 3.
I loved Halo. I played it solo, with my friend Kyle, with my friend Mike, with the brother-in-law; I played and played that game. It was a great science fiction story, and I am a sucker for grim, epic plots.
Sadly, I stopped playing Halo 2. I felt the writing of the story fell flat, and I just could not get into PVP. I felt PVP Halo is not heroic, and just not my cup of tea. I tried though, I really did. I was in it for the story, and the story was not there. It competed with Half-Life 2 for my time, and well, Half-Life 2 kicked its ass.
Now Halo 3 I tried to get into just because it looked so damn good on my Xbox 360. But alas, it was just meant to be, mostly because I skipped the prior version, and also there was just an embarrassment of riches out for the 360, such as Mass Effect, Bioshock and a dozen other killer titles.
Of course, I also started writing, and that was the end of most of my Xbox 360 time.
The rest of the family played Halo 3, however. The Wife Unit and I talked about it. Thing One could play the campaign, but Thing Two could not, nor could he watch. Thing One and Thing Two could play together, but only in PVP mode. Going on Xbox Live was not an option; I turned that off.
Occasionally I would play Halo 3 with Thing One. I didn’t like it, but since he liked it so much, I humored him. Yeah, humored him by dying. A lot.
My digital ninja skills were rusty from disuse. I could not keep up with someone who practiced.
Oh well, as long as everyone is having fun right?
Recently, the kids wanted to play with both parents as a “family activity.”
Family Activity my ass. They wanted to shoot us. Repeatedly. While giggling.
Sure. We hooked up the fourth controller and away we went.
So, there I am, trying to avoid Thing One. The Wife Unit, in her pink Spartan Armor, is nowhere to be seen. Thing Two, however, is just sitting in one spot. Carefully I zoom onto his head with the Battle Rifle. As I am about to pull the trigger—
The Wife Unit has snuck up on me and whacked me on the back of the head.
“He he he, I killed Daddy, he he he.”
Oookay. Now I am back in the game, running after The Wife Unit. Ah HA! There she is. With the Battle Rifle again, I go and line up a shot and—
Thing One has snuck up behind me and whacked me on the back of the head.
I am dead.
“Might want to watch your radar, Dad.”
OH REALLY? I MIGHT WANT TO DO THAT?
Thing Two runs me over with a vehicle.
I am in last place.
Even the Kindergartner has a higher score.
Now, I may be unpracticed, but I am not stupid. I shove my embarrassment deep down and turn it into something else. I run around the map, ignoring all the weapons until I find,
Hello? What’s this?
I pick it up. It’s a hammer. A big hammer. A really really big hammer.
“What?” Everyone looks at my part of the screen. It’s kind of cheating, but I don’t care.
“I got something for your punk-asses!”
“Mom! Daddy said the A-Word!”
“Oh yeah?” I declare, “The A-Word is COMING FOR YOUS!”
“Whatever,” The Wife Unit says. Obviously, I am not even worthy of chastisement, such is my suckage at Halo 3.
The Wife Unit and Thing One go at it. They are contesting the top spot. I jump to the side of their slug fest, and KA-BLAM! The Hammer blows away everyone near me in an arc.
Announcer: “Double Kill!”
“What?” Thing One says looking puzzled.
“Ouch,” says The Wife Unit.
I obliterate the Kindergartner, cutting him off. He flies so far from my blow, his corpse falls off the map.
Announcer: “Killing Spree!”
“MOUHAHAHAHAHA! Who’s yer Daddy, huh? Who’s yer Daddy!? Hey, you all want to give me any more advice? Huh?”
I run to the nearest blip on my radar.
“It’s PEANUT BUTTER-JELLY TIME!”
KA-BLAM! Another kill.
“Who’s laughing now?”
“Peanut-butter jelly with a baseball bat!”
Sadly, I didn’t win the match. They all started camping the route to the Hammer, or worse, picking up the Hammer first. But when I got the Hammer, they all ran. Like little girls.
But there was an important lesson here, one which I believe carries over to life in general.
If you’re gonna be a punk-ass, I’m going to call it out, rules or no rules.
And don’t taunt The Daddy.
Okay, that’s two lessons. No need to thank me, that’s just the kind of guy that I am.
The Wife Unit [3:54 PM]:
I start my mondo Vitamin D dosage today
Anthony [3:55 PM]:
is it a shot
The Wife Unit [3:55 PM]:
nope its a pill that I take once a week
Anthony [3:56 PM]:
Can it be a shot? So I can stick you in the butt with a needle?
The Wife Unit [3:56 PM]:
Anthony [3:56 PM]:
So much for the “benefits of marriage”!
The Wife Unit [3:56 PM]:
The Wife Unit has a sneaky literary influence on me. She has a penchant for historical mystery novels, or the character-driven historical novel. She introduced me to a type of book I use to by-pass, what I now call the “Über-researched” novel. A story full of show, but you can feel the undercurrents of the setting because the author made it come alive. The details are not in your face, but oozing from the page, taking you back to the time of the setting.
I started to appreciate this type of mystery, and as a researcher, cracking open one of these gems is a special treat.
I have one word for this type of book: NOM!
When I joined Twitter, I followed a few people I exchanged email with prior, and suddenly I had several followers who in turn were following the people I was following who followed me back. Did you follow all of that?
One of these people was Gary Corby. Gary is not a heavy Tweeter, but sometimes he would say something about his work in progress or the novel he wrote previously that would peak my interest. Gary seemed like a researching, fun writer, and his blog was a hoot. I will admit, after awhile, I just wanted to read the damn book. Like now, a clear case of book lust.
Now he has an agent, and his novel I was so interested in makes its way to bookstores in 2010 as the THE EPHIALTES AFFAIR. How exciting! I plan to immediately preorder it and hand it to The Wife Unit to read. Then I can harass her proper, with “Are you DONE WITH THAT YET?” and passive-aggressive husband behavior such as walking into the room when she is reading and delivering a big sigh.
In any event, at the very least, I shall enjoy finding a genre specific book in the Wife Unit Category before she does. These little one-ups keep me slightly ahead of the curve.
Lastly, if you like historical mysteries, bank on Mr. Corby. Five minutes in his blog will leave you drooling for more.
I am mostly Snark and Sarcasm, which is a nice way of saying I mostly talk before thinking. This gets me into trouble. This method of my personality does have its advantages, however. For example, I keep nothing bottled up inside. It just goes, for good or ill.
The Wife Unit, on the other hand, saves her Snark for a devastating knockout blow.
Let me give you an example.
Like any healthy man, I have a fine appreciation for the female form. We all know my vaguely Uncle Pervy fascination with baristas, mainly because they are young and cute and nubile and pretty. What is there not to like? You can also give them money, and they will give you coffee in return! Amazing! They are so cute, I just want to nibble on them nom nom nom nom… oh wait, sorry. Back to the post.
On a recent family trip, I am driving the mini-van.
Now I hate the mini-van, but for various esoteric reasons concerning Washington State laws and pistols (one stored in my pistol case in my luggage), I need to drive from the hotel to the Grandparents’ house. Along the way, we stop at the local drive-through coffee shack.
Now it takes a very punchy barista to flirt with a man with his wife in the car, so the coffee exchange is pleasant and business-like, as it should be. I have some tact. Mostly.
Then across the shack, in the other coffee window, a Rescue vehicle pulls up. Mr. Fireman is all smiles.
No wonder—it was like the dinner bell at Mr. Happy’s Rottweiler Puppy Ranch. No sooner did he roll down the window them FOOM! Instant chatty baristas, both of whom made every effort to impress and be friendly. Swear to God, and I am not making this up, their breasts grow larger, their cheeks flush, their voices go lower, and their eyelashes get longer (bat bat bat).
At some point, they remember that I had indeed ordered coffee for my spouse and me, so I get about thirty seconds of attention with my coffee before being abandoned for Mr. Buff Handsome.
As we are pulling away, the Wife Unit is all a-grin.
“What?” I ask.
“Older man Flirt FAIL.”
“Burly guy in Fire Truck, One. Daddy in mini-van, Zero!”
“You want to come back in a half an hour when he is gone?”
“He he he.”
Networking issues today. You come back tomorrow!
Meanwhile, I blame BJ and Cassie for my current obsession. They egged me on mercilessly, and I am weak. I also cast blame in other directions. Nor Alex the other voice of mature feminine wisdom, has tried to hold the other two back.
Then there is the Wife Unit‘s indifference to my plight. She only wants to see a completed manuscript.
Then my critique partner thinks I am working on The Baby Dancers, when I am not but now I have to finish the chapter and send it out to her before she mails me a box of rabid weasels.
Woe is me! Woe is me I say!
Well you know what, I am going out tonight. With MEN. Where we will do MANLY things, like eat STEAK, drink SCOTCH and play VIDEO GAMES.
Okay, going to press the Publish button now. It may or may not show up on the Interwebs. Perhaps that is a good thing.
Blood… sugar… low…
There I was, dragged, dragged I say to the movie theater to see what would possibly be the chick flicks to end all check flicks. Titanic. The Wife Unit insisted on seeing the movie (when we still went out for movies), and so there we were.
At the time I was sitting there thinking “this has got to be the most retarded movie idea ever”. So, as the lights dim, I lean over to my wife and say, none to quietly,
“Hey, guess what?”
“What?” she asks.
“The ship sinks.”
Oh man I had the wit back then let me tell you.
Three things happen:
The two tweeners in front of us turn to me and I swear shoot TWEENER NINJA EYE DAGGERS (TNED) at me. You would think these maybe-pubescent girls would not know the infamous Female Glare of Doom yet, but I swear I squirmed in my seat and vaguely wondered for my safety. As they turned back, I crossed myself.
Then from behind me a guy (and a complete stranger no less), totally loses it. He starts laughing so hard I can’t help but turn and grin. He has tears streaming down his face. He wife/girlfriend/significant other/spousal equivalent turns in her seat and actually smacks him. TWACK. This shuts him up, and then she turns to me and gives me a look like “you’re next”. I wipe the grin off my face and turn back in my seat.
It’s the Wife Unit’s turn to glare, and LO I FEEL THE ICY ARMAGEDDON APPROACHETH (get it, icy, Titanic, iceberg… never mind). But then she says, raising her voice because some inane preview is on the screen,
“Be QUIET or I will COVER your eyes when they show Kate Winslet’s breasts.”
Well that got my attention.
“Uh, this movie has boobies?”
“Kate Winslet’s breasts?”
(note even then one did not refer to Kate Winslet’s breasts as mere ‘boobs’)
“Yes! Now BE QUIET!”
Then from behind me I hear,
“Did that woman just say we get to see Kate Winslet’s breasts?”
Followed by a,
Followed by the TWEENERS OF DOOM turning in their seats and going,
I am now watching this film with the utmost attention. And yes, the ship sinks.
The lights come on and I stand up because I believe my ears are going to bleed from the Celine Dion song. I turn to my partner in crime, the man behind me. I cannot contain my enthusiasm for this wonderful film. I cannot!
“I can’t belive we got to see Leonardo DiCaprio freeze to death!” I say.
“I can’t believe we got to see Kate Winslet TOTALLY NUDE, Dude!” he says.
We high-five each other, but simultaneously our body temperatures drop due to the combined ICY GLARES OF DOOM from four annoyed females who really really have to pee.
To this day, Best. Movie. Ever. Thus, when I think of that space between Christmas and New Years, I think of movie… magic.
“I think it’s eight inches.”
“Mmmm, looks like six,” she said.
“Really? It has to be closer to eight.”
“No, it’s six inches.”
“Now you’re just being ornery.”
“If you don’t believe me, go get the yardstick and measure it.”
So I do.
“Six inches. Exactly.”
I whack the snow off the yardstick and grump off.
The moral of this story? Don’t argue with a Southern Girl over inches.
For context, I present to you some Wife Unit factoids:
- She is blonde
- She used to work for a major software company in Redmond, in which she helped pioneer several technical innovations
- She’s the house math whiz
So there I am, sitting next to the Wife Unit. We are in the process of exchanging snarky banter. Before the thinking part of my brain stops the other portion that dominates me, I reached behind her back, pulled an imaginary string and said “Math is hard!” in a teen girl voice.
Yes, I win the snark contest. That’s all I “won”, the icy Glare of Doom was definitely not a door prize.
What possesses me to do these things? I do not know. I feel so lucky. There is only one person on this planet who puts up with my crap, and I already found her!
By the why, if I go dark here and stop twittering, look for the lump in the backyard.
I twist the ring on my finger
And smile at the pretty girl
She smiles back, a mix of blue
A mix of blonde
She flirts back
I say something witty
She pretends to think
My eyes are warm
The hum of happiness
Is fuel for my passion
In this moment I am alive
I twist the ring on my finger
And smile again at my wife
She smiles back
A mix of blue
A mix of blonde
Before We Had Kids (The infamous BWHK years), The Wife Unit and I lived in a large house, which we bought in anticipation of filling it up with rugrats, pets, and the occasional party.
One kid’s bedroom used to be a guest room, which had a nice bed in it, that was all comfy and everything. This soon became the sick room, the room I or the Wife Unit would sleep in while coughing and wheezing or what have you. No need to let the other spousal unit suffer through the night along with you.
One day I got sick, a raging throat infection, some rare virus my doctor explained to me but I have since forgotten for reasons you will soon find out below. Anyway, this was a particularly nasty virus. Breathing was painful. Sitting doing nothing was painful. Eating or drinking liquids was out of the question.
I become dehydrated. I must start drinking liquids or I will be admitted to the hospital so they can stick an IV in me. The doctor gives me hydrocodone, and I torture myself for what seems like hours swallowing the pills.
Only, come to find out, I am allergic to hydrocodone. I will spare you the details of dry-heaving for an hour while it feels like someone is taking a cheese grater and ramming it down your throat repeatedly.
Okay that was a detail but I digress.
Anyway, back to the doctor I go. My doctor is ten years younger than I and does not mess around. He sympathizes with the hydrocodone episode and stamps my file with DON’T GIVE THIS PERSON CODEINE, EVER. Then he prescribes Stadol from an inhaler.
Stadol is an opiate like codeine. It is a drug sometimes given to pregnant women in labor who are having severe pain… AND HORSES.
So I snort the Stadol as soon as the wife comes home with the prescription.
And let me tell you. In a MINUTE I was not feeling any pain at all. None. Zip. Zero Nada. Pain Level Zed.
I drink… something… the wife gives me. I feel soooo much better getting hydrated. I smile at the wife and let her know how much I love her.
“I love you LambChop!”
“I love you too. I think you should try to get some sleep.”
“I love you! Want to have sex?”
“But I am feeling so much… where am I, anyway?”
“You’re at home.”
“I thought we were going to the movies?”
“Ooookay let me help you upstairs.”
I wake up to pain. And, it is dark.
PAIN! INHALER! SQUIRT! Ahhhh… … … …
…Oh my God my bladder… Off to the guest bathroom.
Time to wash the hands. Only, where is the bar of soap? Huh. Oh there it is. Who put the soap in a tube? And why does it smell like mint? Oh well. Wash wash wash.
Back in bed. Hmmm this feels nice. Oooo a glass of water on the nightstand. Slurp slurp slurp. Opps. Now there is ice on my pillow. Oh well. Crunch crunch. Bleh. Fuzzy ice.
Lying down again.
Hmmmm, it’s cold.
Okkkay, it’s cold because it’s snowing in the guest bedroom. Soon the duvet is covered in snow.
I’m not exactly a big snow fan, and I hate being cold. So I go downstairs and look at the thermostat. 68 degrees F. Well, that isn’t nearly warm enough. Let me crank that sucker to, oh, I don’t know, 80!
Back up stairs, only it took me a long time to make it up there.
I wake up again. I am sweating. It is hot. My pillow is wet. Why is it so hot?
I crawl downstairs. Standing up makes me a little dizzy, so I crawl to the office, and manage to get into the office chair which conveniently has wheels. And the downstairs conveniently has hardwood. Zooom!
Zooom! Living room window! Let’s open that sucker.
Zooom! Living room window number two!
Zooom! Office window, oh hey I forgot about that one. Let’s open that one too!
Oh, I bet I can turn down the heat. Roll roll roll roll.
Uh. Can’t. Reach. Thermostat.
Um… think think think think… hey I wonder if the wife wants to have sex yet?
Think think think… boobies…
Think think think… why am I in the hallway? Oh, that’s right, the thermostat! AH-HA! I know!
Roll roll roll roll, toilet plunger, roll roll roll roll.
I whack the thermostat with the plunger, weakly, several times. This does not turn off the heat. I do not know why.
Screw this, I’m going to bed.
Roll roll roll roll.
Stairs. That’s a loooooooong way up. How on Earth am I going to get this chair up there?
I flop off the chair and manage, through a Herculean effort, to get it on the landing.
SCREW THIS. If I keep this up I will have NO energy for sex.
Crawling up the stairs isn’t so bad, although I am sure zooming up them with the chair would have been faster.
Okay, halfway there.
Hello kitty cat. Move.
OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MOVE YOUR FURRY ASS BEFORE I FALL DOWN THESE STAIRS.
Okay, this is not the bedroom, this is the bonus room. Dork.
Okay now this is the future baby’s room. Dork.
OOoo Baby! You first have sex with the wife, and then the baby comes! NOW WHERE IS THE BEDROOM?
Ooooooo I found a bed.
With a wet pillow.
Why do my knees hurt so much?
Ummm, pain. Oh that’s right, I have something for pain and it is right here.
So what movie are we going to see again?
I am sure my wife found it annoying that the guest bathroom had toothpaste all over it. I wonder what she thought when she also found the furnace was running full blast with the windows open down stairs, the toilet plunger in the middle of the hall and the office chair on the landing?
But she never said anything, only smiled and brought me more water in the morning.
Several years later I was talking to a woman and she mentioned her labor was particularly harsh.
“They gave me Stadol and it didn’t do anything for me.”
Stadol. They sometimes give it to women in labor…