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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chick-fil-A Story from Jay's Point of View

Women are like elephants. They remember everything. If it seems like they forgot something, it's because they're using selective recall. But it's all in there. And the minute a memory becomes useful, it's instantly retrieved.

Instantly.

Everything.

Trust me.

When we were first married, Pamela put on a new outfit and asked how it looked from behind. I meant to disparage the outfit, not her. Or her behind. I'm actually very fond of her behind. Unfortunately, my flippant remark came out wrong. Really wrong. My attempt to fix it made things worse.

"Darling," she interrupted me in a low, deadly voice, "let me enlighten you. When a woman asks how she looks, there are two answers. And only two. Number one is 'You look fabulous.' Number two is 'You're beautiful, and that outfit does not do you justice.' Understand?"
 
"Yes. I totally understand. And I'm really sorry for what I said."

She relaxed, sheathing her claws. Looking back in the mirror, she shrugged, "Wide, horizontal stripes aren't very flattering, but it was on sale, so I thought I'd give it a shot."

I was relieved she'd moved on so quickly and naively put the incident behind me. 

But women remember everything.

I'd been studying for the Fire Department Captain's Test. Pamela was great--quizzing me, making up study sheets, organizing my notes, encouraging me, and doing anything she could to make the process easier. But I still spent too much time worrying and began to take my angst out on her.

Which was not acceptable.

Like she told me on our honeymoon when I grumbled about a headache, "Jay, I've been in pain for years but don't take it out on you. If I'm gracious while enduring chronic pain, then you are certainly capable of being congenial with merely a headache."


My first thought was, Who uses 'congenial' in normal conversation? but quickly changed it to, "You're right. You're really good about that. Sorry."

So I knew she would eventually stop tolerating my moodiness over this test, and it happened on the night a Fire Captain offered to give me some study tips.

I picked Pamela up after my shift and headed to his station. I hadn't eaten, but I refused to stop for dinner because I was stressed and grumpy and wanted to stay that way. That was my first mistake. I could tell she didn't appreciate my behavior because she sounds like a Thesaurus when she's restraining her temper. A soft remark of "Jay, you're being decidedly churlish," is a screaming warning to back off.

And find a Dictionary to look up the word "churlish."

When we arrived at the Fire Station, someone was already in the Captain's office. Pamela suggested that I ask how much longer his meeting would take. I snubbed her. That was my second mistake.

So, she promptly knocked on the door, poked her head around it, and said, charmingly. "Hey, y'all! I'm Jay's wife. Just letting you know we're here. And I'm wondering if you're going to finish soon or if we have time to run to Chick-fil-A."

The Captain answered, "Oh, go get food. Take your time."

"Thanks! Can we bring anything back for you? No? Well, then, we'll be back in a jiffy," she gushed. She raised one eyebrow at me as she sashayed outside.

The success of her audacity irritated me, so I pouted (in a manly way) on the drive to the restaurant. 
My third mistake. 

She quoted, mildly, "'You reap what you sow.'" 

Fine, I thought, I don't care if you're in a bad mood, too, foolishly forgetting that my wife, on principle, will not allow anyone determine her mood. She often says, "I refuse to have a bad day just because someone is pandering to their worst emotion." 

She wasn't interested in absorbing my misery. 

Oh, she had something much better in mind.

Chick-fil-A was packed. When we finally got to the front of the line, I irritably gave my order. The harried youth behind the counter didn't even look up as he asked Pamela, in monotone, "And what can I get for you this evening." 


Instead of admitting she'd already had dinner, my dear wife answered, in a clear voice, "Oh, I can't get anything." She nodded towards me as she sweetly added, apologetically, "He thinks I look fat."

The crowded room instantly silenced. Instantly. The kid's head jerked up in horror. The restaurant workers stared at me in open-mouthed shock. The other customers gasped or sneered.

Panicked, I babbled, loudly, "No, I don't think that! She can get anything she wants! Pamela, you can eat anything you want!"

To deliberately make things worse, she turned to me, with wide eyes, and cooed, "Oh! I can? I really can get anything I want? Oh, thank you, honey! Thank you!" which made the Marine in the line next to us clench his fist and tighten his jaw.

I was red, sweating, and had no idea how to alter the situation. "Of course you can get anything you want! You can eat anything!" I protested.

Clearly enjoying herself, Pamela gave me a look of profound gratitude as she said, "I'm just going to get a small cone." Her voice trembled, hesitantly, "Is that okay?"

I knew she was shamming, but with everyone glaring at me, my only option was to desperately repeat, "Yes, it's okay! Of course, it's okay! Get anything you want!

"I'll just have a small cone," she told the teen behind the counter who couldn't stop staring at me with undisguised disgust. "And, honey," she turned back, anxiously, "I'm only going to eat the ice cream part. Not the cone part."

"Eat any part you want!"

"Thank you. You're very good to me," she beamed.

The kid clenched my chicken sandwich in his fist as he jammed it on top of the fries and nearly threw the bag at me. Pamela happily took her cone and thanked the young man. I ducked my head and fled the hostile crowd while she meandered to the door. 

But once we were in the dark parking lot, she urgently whispered, "We better run or you might get jumped." I peeled out of the lot before the vehicle doors were even shut.

"Why would you do that to me?" I yelped.

She smiled, unrepentantly.

"When did I ever say you were fat?"

"You implied I looked fat when you made the comment about that striped outfit," she answered, primly, licking her ice cream. "It wasn't very nice of you."

"That was months ago! I didn't mean it that way. And I said I was sorry!" 

"You reap what you sow," she shrugged. "It's Biblical. You can't argue with the Bible."

"And what about lying? What does the Bible say about lying?"

"I did not lie," she answered, indignantly. "You did make an unfortunate remark about my figure in that outfit. And I agreed that you would let me eat anything. And I am only going to eat the ice cream; I hate this kind of cone. Name one thing I said that wasn't true."

I couldn't, so I asked, again, "Why would you do something like that to me?"

She patted my knee, affectionately, "I just did what I had to do. To help you, honey."

"What you had to do? To help me?"

"Yes, darling. You're too uptight about this Captain's test, and you've been taking it out on me. Talking to you about it didn't help, so I got creative."


"You got creative?"

She added, cheerfully, "And it worked!"

"It worked?" 

She nodded with satisfaction as we pulled into the Fire Station. "Yes. I'm quite sure you didn't think about the test once. And I'm equally sure that you will stop indulging your grumpy moods. See? Worked!"

I was speechless.

"And I, for one," she remarked as she exited the truck while handing me her empty cone, "am in a much better mood. I feel positively congenial."

Verse of the day: (Galatians 6:7b) "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

To read the terrible thing Pamela did to our pastor, read Mare's Milk, Anyone? To read how she pranked one of my firefighters, read Firefighter Funny 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Does Goofy Count?

This is The Pirate's House in Savannah where men were plied with drugged rum
and shanghaied in the 1700s. I'm little, but I figured I could still shanghai Jay.
In the previous post I related how Jay gave me a beautiful anniversary card...without writing my name in it or signing it. Well, God bless him, his romantic attempts weren't any more successful when Valentine's Day rolled around a few days later.

We were at a Bed & Breakfast in Savannah. In our room, I found a book called Of Love and War which is comprised of 250 years of wartime love letters. Hoping for some romance, I asked Jay to read me one. Instead, he picked up a framed copy of the extremely long obituary of Robert E. Lee that dryly listed his every military victory, failure, and accomplishment in great detail. 

Swoon.

What woman doesn't want to hear an obituary read to her on Valentine's Day?

I checked Facebook posts while Jay droned on, but said, "Wow. Really?" or "I didn't know that!" (a safe assumption) every time Jay paused, because that's the sacrifice a wife makes for her husband after 10 years of marriage.

He finally sat down and rifled through the book of love letters. After a few minutes, I asked him, again, to read me something. Something romantic. It's not like I expect the man to write me a love letter, but I figured he could certainly read me one. Instead, he scanned the blubs on the side of each entry that gave information about the letter writers. 

Jay (seriously): Okay,  here's something.

Me (breathless in anticipation): Oh, good.

Jay: This is about the conditions during WWII blackouts in London. A nurse wrote, '
We have to feed our patients onions to find them in the dark.'

Me (laughing): That is what you choose to read to your wife for Valentine's Day? You romantic, you! By the way, honey, if you're trying to justify why you eat so much garlic, I'd rather put a nightlight in our room.

He (unconvinced): Well, I guess that's another option.

Me (nabbing the book): This is a letter Alexander Hamilton wrote to his wife during the Revolutionary War. 'I cannot announce the fatal necessity (of being moved further away) without feeling everything that a fond husband can feel. I am unhappy; I am unhappy beyond expression. I am unhappy because I am to be so remote from you; because I am to hear from you less frequently than I am accustomed to do. I am miserable because I know you will be so; I am wretched at the idea of flying so far from you, without a single hour's interview to tell you all my pains and my love.' (Handing the book back to Jay) Now that is romantic.

He (protesting): Read the history blurb on the side. He died in a duel and left her penniless with seven kids. (Shaking his head in disgust) The knucklehead.

Me (giggling): OK, I'll give you that one. Romantic men aren't always practical.  

Short pause, as he continues flipping through the book.

Me (coaxing): Come on. Read me one of the letters, honey.

He: 'Dearest Darling Wife, yadda, yadda, yadda, Christmas, yadda, yadda, yadda, miss you, yadda, yadda...'


Me (snickering): Did you just say, 'Yadda, yadda'? 

He (sincerely): Yeah. But here's an interesting part. 'Now about the house you were talking about. I wish you could wait a few more months before you did make a decision.' I can't figure out why he wanted her to wait and couldn't just let her buy the house if she wanted a house!   

Me (rolling my eyes): Yes, honey, I'm sure that was the point of the letter.  Give me that book; I want to read what you consider 'yadda, yadda.'

He:  Fine. Here.

Me:  OK, the letter really reads, 'Dearest Darling Wife, You and the kids are all I worry (about) & would do anything in the whole world for. As I told you before, darling, we will live in a little world of our own when I get back. I am glad everything is fixed for Christmas. I would have loved more than anything in the world, besides being there, to have bought gifts for all of you, but it's an impossible thing to do over here, sugar.'

He (shrugging):  Like I said, 'Yadda, yadda, yadda.'

Shaking my head in amusement. Short pause as I peruse the letter again.

Me (thoughtfully):  Darling, you know what I like best about this letter?

He: What?

Me:  That this man actually wrote his wife's name on it. And he signed it before he sent it to her!

He (with a grin): What a show off!

Verse of the Day: (I John 3:18) "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." Jay might not be able to write (or even read) me a love letter, but he, with husbandly intuition, knows that the true way to my heart is through chocolate.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Anniversary Anomaly

Jay is not like the husband of one of my Facebook friends who surprised his wife with a scavenger hunt on their anniversary by putting gorgeous signs around the city at personal landmarks: the restaurant of their first date, where he proposed, the church in which they were married, their first house, and so on. I browse through their on-line photo album and think, "Awwww, that's so sweet," while knowing that the day before our anniversary Jay will say something like, "Um, can you order yourself a gift card from Christianbook.com and say it's from me?"

I honestly don't mind because I knew what he was like before I said my vows. I believe that to be disappointed about it after marriage would be incredibly unfair of me.

Besides, I love the man way more than I want gifts from him.

To his credit, sometimes he randomly surprises me. I was recently out of town for a week, and he sweetly met me at the airport with a dozen roses.

Of course, that was motivated by a burst of gratitude that he'd no longer have to eat his own cooking--things like mustard and jelly sandwiches or warm pasta covered with Caesar salad dressing, which taste even more disgusting than they sound. (If you've read Delectable Disagreement, then you know his fascination with "creative" cooking. If I'm not home to give him real food, then he has to actually eat his inventions.)

I was pleased with the flowers just the same.

Last year, in early February, we celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary.

Jay put forth unusual effort and surprised me with an Anniversary card! He was smiling proudly as he handed me the slim bag.

Jay: I didn't forget to get you a card this year!


Me (gushing): That's so sweet! And it's beautiful, darling.
 

Jay (strutting around the room): I know.
 

I open and read the card.

Me: Thank you so much, honey.

Jay (trying to look modest): You're welcome, sweet pea.


Long pause.

Me: Um, sweetie?
 

Jay: Yeah?
 

Me: Um, it's a really lovely card and all...
 

Jay: Yeah?

Me: And I don't mean to sound ungrateful...

Jay: Yeah?


Me: ...but it will probably be more meaningful if you'd write my name in it...
 

Jay: I didn't put your name in it?
 

Me: ...and if you'd sign it.
 

Jay: I didn't sign it?
 

Me: You handed me the bag from the grocery store with a blank card in it.

Verse of the day: (Zech 4:10) "Do not despise these small beginnings , for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin..." It may not be a city-wide scavenger hunt, but I gotta love that he made an effort.

Disclaimer: As always, posted with Jay's laughing approval. He figures it might get a few other less-than-romantic dudes off the gift-and-card hook with their wives or girlfriends.

To read about my card fail, check out My Funny Felon Bride.


For a story about one of Jay's creative cooking attempts, check out Delectable Disagreement.