Thursday, December 29, 2005

Booty Call

No, not that kind of booty. I'm talking Christmas loot. Santa and crew were extremely good to me this year. Aside from the aforementioned sweater replacements, I received oodles of jewelry: a handcuff bracelet and some black rose earrings from my daughter, a star necklace from my son, and black pearls from the hubster. Which naturally means I'm all decked out with no place to go. Oh, well. Who says you can't wear pearls while washing dishes? Donna Reed did it all the time. So did June Cleaver and probably Carol Brady on Alice's days off.
But the biggest gift I got came from the UPS man--no, really, it came from my dear, sweet husband: a new computer with oodles of memory! Yay! Now I have no excuses for putting off finishing my latest Work In Progress. Hmm... Maybe I celebrated that gift a little too early.
The best thing about Christmas this year was that absolutely nothing needed to be returned (unless you count the nasty cold some generous soul gave me--I'd love to give that back!)
So... what'd you get for Christmas?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Of Unions and Cashmere

By now you've probably heard about the transit strike in New York City. It has impacted thousands of lives. I never expected mine to be one of them. Apparently, misfortune has long arms and can reach even the most innocent among us. I'm talking, of course, about...my sweaters.
They were terrific sweaters--always there to make me look my best, to enfold me in a warm hug when I needed one. Ah, my poor sweaters...
Let me back up a bit. You see, with no subways to ride into work, my husband worked from home the past few days. And thoughtful man that he is, he thought he'd do some laundry to help lighten my load a bit. I'm sure many overworked women out there are sighing in envious delight at such an imagined pleasure. However, fantasy is far different from reality, my friends.
My husband only knows to wash by color (i.e.: reds don't get washed with whites unless you want a load of pinks.) So in his mind, there was absolutely no harm in washing my red sweater with his red sweats and my black sweater with his black sweats (and tumbling the loads in the dryer to finish the project.)
You guessed it. I now own several expensive dustrags--in a variety of colors. Something tells me there will be a few shirt boxes under the tree for me come Christmas morning.
This afternoon the union voted to go back to work and tomorrow my husband will do the same. Too late for my sweaters. But on the bright side, at least he didn't have time to get to my lingerie!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Revenge of the Wives

In my office today, a co-worker (Alex!) was passing around a copy of The Good Wife's Guide, an article supposedly written in 1955 for a housekeeping magazine. Doesn't he know not to mess with a writer? In reply, I've written The Good Husband's Guide (with some help from a few female coworkers). For each point, I'll post the Good Wife advice first, followed by my rebuttal in italics. Enjoy!

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

Don't complain about dinner. She's already put in a full day's work and will still have a dozen things to do while you sit and read the paper after the meal. She cannot predict that you had chicken for lunch and won't want to eat it again. Nor can she always make your favorite meal, especially if it's something the kids don't like. If you arrive home earlier than she does, start preparing dinner for her. Make the salad, chop some onions. Be a man. This is not a time to sit on your behind and watch television.

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Prepare yourself. Take a few minutes to sit in the car and decompress before entering the house. If some guy cut you off in traffic, don't bring that anger inside. It's also not her fault that the suck-up in the office got a promotion when you did all the work and received none of the glory. Don't take it out on her.

3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Shave and shower for her. Be as interested in her opinions as you are in your buddy's. She's got a brain too and can talk on a wide variety of subjects, even sports--though she may think it infantile.

4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

Pick up your own clutter. Take a walk through the house and make sure you didn't leave your dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. Don't be afraid to replace the toilet paper.

5. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Over the cooler months of the year don't complain about the heating bills. She shouldn't have to wear gloves to prevent frostbite while vacuuming.

6. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

Pay attention to your children. Help them with their homework. Run baths for pre-school kids. Read them bedtime stories. It's great bonding time for you and gives her a break.

7. Be happy to see him.

Be happy to see her.

8. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Greet her with a warm smile and a kiss. Surprise her occasionally with flowers. You can pick them up in any grocery store for under $10. Remember, it's not the price but the thought that counts.

9. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Listen to her as much as she listens to you. You might have had a blowout with your boss, but she probably dealt with her own boss, your kids' teachers, and your mother during the day.

10. Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

Make the evening a time for both of you to relax. Offer to load the dishwasher. Tuck the kids in, run her a bath. Walk the dog together. Understand her world's just as full of stress and anxiety as yours. Sometimes moreso. Don't complain she's not doing enough or she spends too much money. It's still cheaper than hiring a full-time housekeeper, nanny, and mistress.


11. Your goal: To try and make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Your goal: Remember your wife is your partner, not your slave.

12. Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

Don't greet her with them either.

13. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Make her happy. Don't try to squeeze in "quality time" in the bedroom during halftime or commercial breaks.

14. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Get her a blanket when she's cold at night. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

15. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

Don't question her intelligence. She's just as smart as you are, and in some cases, smarter. And unless you know a really good divorce attorney, you'll keep that "master of the house" stuff to yourself!

16. A good wife always knows her place.

A good husband always knows his wife's place: near and dear to his heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Paging Sherlock Holmes...

You know, Erma Bombeck (and Jerry Seinfeld, too, come to think of it) used to write about socks that disappear sometime during the wash cycle. Well, in my house, it's the teaspoons that vanish with no explanation. I currently have four different sets of silverware in my kitchen drawer. Those four sets comprise equal amounts of dinner forks, salad forks, and soup spoons. I have 14 steak knives and enough serving utensils to cater the Kennedy Family Reunion. Total teaspoons, however? Five. Let me repeat that. Five. How is that possible? Who's eating my teaspoons? Will my kids have trouble going thru the metal detector when we go to Hawaii next year? Or has my dog suddenly acquired a taste for stainless? Hmm...