Your Comprehensive Guide to Passive Aggression, Vol. 1

I have learned something in the nearly seventeen years of my marriage. My husband isn’t perfect. And…wait for it…neither am I. There are times when we get on one another’s nerves and I’d like to feed his running shoes to a pack of wild wolves, and he’d like to paint mustaches on all of my Severus Snape action figures. But we don’t. Because marriage is about working things out. So we do. Eventually.

But what do you do in the interim, between the wishing you could back over them with the car and the kiss-and-make-up? I’m so glad you asked.

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Serve them homemade chili the night before their big meeting. To take it to the next level, cook the beans in the water you soaked them in. I must warn you. There will be collateral damage. Make sure your own calendar is clear. And plan to leave your windows open at night. Methane poisoning is an ugly way to die.

Send their sandwich in a Justin Bieber lunch box.

Erase their entire musical library. Replace it with the sound tracks to “Titanic”  and “The Aristocats.” If those particular musical offerings are already on there, I really can’t help you.

When serving banana splits, don’t give them any of the chocolate ice cream. I know. This one is almost too mean. I am sorry you had to see that side of me.

Use their email address to sign up for on-line catalogs. Toys R Us, Wal-mart, Hickory Farms, candidates with opposite political leanings.

Wash their favorite undergarments in scalding water. Dry on high heat for three hours. Hope for a bit of shrink. If you’re feeling particularly vindictive, don’t use fabric softener. This one is not particularly environmentally friendly, so save it for the big stuff. Polar bears shouldn’t suffer because they left a toilet seat up/down.

Turn off their side of the electric mattress cover. Cold shoulder = cold all over.

Use their favorite coffee mug. For an added twist, pretend you don’t realize it’s their favorite. Serve their coffee in a substandard container and say “I know you prefer this cup.” They will spend their morning trying to figure out if you are being the better person or the turd.

Blow out their birthday candles. But don’t take their wish. There are lines that should never be crossed.

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Or you could just say you’re sorry. But in order for apologies to sound sincere, it’s necessary to remember what  the transgression actually was. And everyone knows that the first rule for a happy marriage is to never keep score.

Titanic? You have GOT to be kidding me! What did I ever do to you?

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Update: I’m Being Thwarted

I'm onto you, woman. Stay out of my bed. Stay far, far away.

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***I do apologize to those who got the first draft in their inbox with its questionable title. Big shout-out to WordPress for including Urban Dictionary trash words in their spell check.

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So yesterday I shared my list of Resolutions. Yes, it’s a capital letter. Because they’re that important. And I expected to run into a few roadblocks along the way, but not right out of the starting gate. The universe is conspiring against me.

#2 is becoming a bigger challenge than I thought, as the cats have taken to sleeping on the couch in the family room. I know better that to wee where I Wii, so I must wait.

#4 is a little dicey, as well. The moment I hit “publish” and announced to the world that I plan to blog five days a week, my computer began making strange noises, as though is were filled with African killer bees. I should have known. In the middle of editing the post, it gave me the blue-screen of death and for 15 minutes, I thought I had lost everything. My computer is roughly 143 in laptop years, so I should be realistic.If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I had to take it out in a field and shoot it.

#6 is not as much fun as I wanted it to be. The temperature here dropped well below freezing, so the thought of outdoor exercise of any kind is unpleasant. My husband decided yesterday that I should go to a mall to get some walking in. I put on my polyester stretch pants and went for it, and what a mistake that was! I barely got out of there alive. Between the choking fumes pumped into the corridor by that hot clothing retailer Armpit & Stench and the cute little train that was someone’s genius idea to make holiday shopping in a crowded mall more death-defying than ever, I decided that indoor exercise is not worth it. Does it matter if I lose 15lbs if I meet my end under the wheels of a mall-train?

#8 reared its ugly head, as well. I know I am not to compare my progress to others’, but how can I not? There’s a fitness center in my area that has been posting billboards with esoteric close-ups of bare skin. I’m not even sure what body-part I am looking at. Is it a thigh? Abs? An armpit? I don’t know, but I get the very strong feeling that my whatever-it-is should look like that, too. And I am sad. There’s a new one where the model looks more like challah bread than an actual person. I KNOW I am sorely lacking in braided-bread-body-parts. And I am dissatisfied. There is someone shinier and lumpier than I, and it is not fair.

On the up-side, my husband returned to work this morning, and I have not yet let my dog Phoebe drink out of his coffee mug. Though she is looking pretty comfortable on his side of the bed and has asked to try on his racing shoes later this morning. Hey, a girl can’t change overnight.

I Solemnly Swear

I will hike at least four new trails this year. In addition to the old favorites.

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Yes, I did it. You knew I would. I made a list of resolutions. I know it’s cliche. Have we met? So here they are, in no particular order.

1) When the seeds of doubt are sown, I will choose to not water them. I don’t water anything else. Why should doubt be special?

2) I will return special favors. At least once this year, I will pee in the cats’ bed and see how they like it.

3) This is the year that I will remember that kitty litter goes in the trash can, not the recycle bin.

4) A blog a day keeps the doctor away. And by doctor, I mean psychiatrist. And by “a blog a day,” I mean five days a week,

5) I will be in public the person that I am in private. Expect to see me in my pajamas a lot.

6) I will exercise daily and get in better shape. Playing the Wii and jumping to conclusions are considered exercise, right?

7) I will finish my book and look for an agent. The book I’m writing, not the one I’m reading. Although it would be fun to be represented for someone else’s book. Wonder if they could get me a cut.

8 ) I will not compare my progress to others, even if I am lapped by an old man with a 15 year old dog, either in real life or the literary equivalent.

9) I will not jump to the conclusion that my children want something when they go out of their way to do something nice for me. I will accept it for what it really is – that they know I am insane and must be humored.

10) I will learn a new language. That’s right, this is the year that I will learn to speak to teenagers.

11) I will drink more water. Add a little carbonation, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, and it will be great! Throw in a splash of bourbon, and it’s practically anti-bacterial.

12) I will teach my cat to talk. She’s part Siamese, so I’m almost cheating on this one.  She’s so chatty she’s almost speaking English already.

13) I will be more environmentally friendly. This year I will only buy books second-hand or in e-format. Unless J.K. Rowling comes out with a new Harry Potter. A girl’s gotta have some wiggle room, you know.

14) I will not let Phoebe occupy my husband’s side of the bed when he’s out of town anymore. Or let her wear his shoes. Or drink out of his coffee mug.

15)  I will have an overnight getaway with my husband, just the two of us. Okay, three of us. Phoebe will want to come, too.

No coffee for Phoebe? No shoes? No fun. Why don't you love me?

I’ll be spending the next couple of days catching up and responding to comments. Thanks for hanging out with me this year. Looking forward to 2012.

Early Christmas Presents

Because I’m in the spirit of the season a little early.

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1) When my son’s Boy Scout pack goes Christmas caroling at the retirement center, I let my shy, sweet husband off the hook and take the kid myself. Merry Christmas!

2) This annual holiday trek across the neighborhood with a pack of wild animals scouts reminds me that my son is actually normal. They all behave like war-mongering chimpanzees. I cut the kid some slack for at least two weeks. Merry Christmas!

3) When the scout master asked for a volunteer to play the piano at the retirement center and my kid, with wild and enthusiastic gestures, indicated I would be perfect for the job, I didn’t kill him. Merry Christmas. For the record, I have taken as many piano lessons as I have flaming-sword-swallowing classes.

4) For the fourth day in a row, Facebook’s top recommendation for me has been an article on someone’s dead or dying baby, but it chooses which of my friends’ Christmas posts is appropriate for me to read and hides the rest. Despite this regular trouncing of my holiday cheer,  I have not gone to Mark Zuckerberg’s house and pooped in his swimming pool. Yet. Merry Christmas. Or Happy Hanukkah.

5) While in line at the grocery store, Squish announced in a loud, Lifetime-Network-Christmas-Special voice “Mommy, I do not want you to hit me anymore.” And I did not stick him in the Salvation Army bucket and leave. Merry Christmas, kid.

*** For the record: Those of you who have expressed concern for Squish need not fear. I apparently had accidentally hit him in the head with my purse, and it displeased him. No Squishes have been harmed or will ever be harmed in the making of this blog, though I may follow through with my threat to sell him to the circus.

6) When my daughter came home wearing enough makeup to audition for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I really listened to her explanation that she and her classmates were working on their makeup for their Theater Arts performance. Merry Christmas. And then I locked Rapunzel in her tower and threw away the key. I’m not perfect.

An interesting aside: the painting on the wall behind the tree was done by a black rat snake.

There’s less under the tree this year. I’ve already done my best giving, you see.

I’m Making A Wish

Yes. That’s right. Today is my birthday. The big 4-0. My big, fat birthday. Wa-hoo.  I am excited. Not too excited, of course. The old ticker just can’t take too much.

Seeing as it’s a giant celebration and all, it seems that it is my right to make a few wishes. Feel free to grant any that are within your power. I’d do the same for you, you know.

1) I wish that stalactites and stalagmites actually had the same name. If I ran into one and was critically injured, I’d like to be able to explain what happened without having to go back through the little saying “When the ‘mites’ go up, the ‘tights’ come down.” I am injured, after all, and it’s probably a head injury. And there are probably different treatments, depending on which inflicted the damage. Like how you  “feed a cold, starve a fever.”

*** Super important note: this wish was whispered in my ear by an angel while I was sleeping, so I’m pretty sure it will come true. Either that or I have some really, really strange dreams.

2) I wish that my car would always have fuel. And this wish should apply to any car in which I am riding. Even my husband’s car. Especially my husbands car, which loves him so much that it would fly to Jupiter on fumes but will leave us stranded if I am in the passenger’s seat.

3) I wish my favorite house slippers would come out of hiding. I will be really good. I promise. Maybe the angels who are straightening out the whole cave-rock thing can handle this one, too. My feet are cold.

4) I wish that I could drive Squish’s plasmacar all by myself. Currently, I am only allowed to sit on it while he steers. And then he drives my knees straight into the furniture. Sure, it’s funny the first 15 times. But after that, cabinets leave bruises.

5) I wish that I could run a marathon. Because that is the equivalent of world peace, which is what I know should be wishing for. But again, the angels are busy on the cave-rock thing…

6) I wish that the cat would consent to drink after the dog.  Because I get tired of washing the bowl three times a day.

7) I wish I had a magic coffee pot that would buy and grind the beans and make the perfect cup of coffee all by itself. And could fly. That’s the part I really want. Airfare is too expensive, and I’d like to visit some pals in other states. I don’t expect international travel, of course.

8 ) I wish my dog could talk. Except that I’m sure the only things she would actually say are “Feed me,” and “Drink after that, Kitty.”

9) I wish I would write a best-seller. A book that is so incredibly great that millions stand in line all night to purchase their own copy. But without paparazzi. I usually look fat in unposed photos.

10) I wish for three wishes for each of my readers. Because I know they’ll each share one of their wishes with me.

11) I wish I would win the “Art Killed My Baby” mug over on Peas and Cougars. Go enter the contest. And buy some stuff in her store. My second favorite thing is the “I’m Bored” flowchart. She does charts like nobody’s business. Well, technically it’s her small business now.

And now it’s late. I am going back to bed. The weight of 40 birthdays is crushing.

Who Thought These Were A Good Idea?

Not the actual model. This design looks sleek and impressive. And would give me a concussion when it came sliding across the dashboard.

 

We got her for Christmas a few years ago. She seemed like the perfect gift. To my husband, she was another condescending female with comments on his driving. To me, she was a sister-wife. I called her “Julie.” Until I realized that he valued her input more than mine, and war was declared. If Julie said “All your friends are driving off a bridge,” he would probably gun it for the nearest overpass. Why did anyone ever think the world needed a GPS?

I understand, though. I fell for her, too. There’s something very comforting about having someone else tell you what to do when you’re lost and confused. It’s even acceptable that they’re bossy. Because if they’re talking to you like you’re stupid, then everything must be fine. It’s when the note of panic creeps into their voice that you’re up the creek without a paddle, and possibly even more literally than you’d like.

We have discovered that there are things that Julie the GPS likes. Fast food, for instance. She can tell us exactly how to get to McDonalds from anywhere. And there are places that she does not like, as well. She has an allergy to state and national parks. On one memorable trip (oh, believe you me, we have tried to forget), the path she chose for us took us around the perimeter of a park. It took us two hours before we realized that Julie is a lying wench. Despite her protests that she would need to recalculate, we took an unadvised turn and were at our destination in 15 minutes.

And we never learn. We went to the mountains this past weekend, and we decided to see if there was a faster route home. We learned on this trip that Julie likes to pout. Apparently since we hadn’t seen fit to ask her how to get there in the first place, she wasn’t sure she wanted to get us home. And we were in a national park. Double score. It took 15 minutes of hanging her out of the car window in quickly dropping temperatures before she would bother to pick up a signal at all. Hell hath no fury like a GPS scorned, ladies and gentlemen. And she wasn’t finished with us yet. It didn’t take her long to get all passive-aggressive. If I rolled up the window, she would promptly “lose” the signal until I rolled it back down. After this happened a couple of times, she started to get a little mouthy.

“Are you inside a vehicle?” What do you think, genius?

“Are you in (insert random state here)?” Uh, didn’t we already have this conversation when I programmed you?

“Are you driving under trees?” National forest. I think, perhaps.

“Is today December 4th?” Apparently, she was convinced I had suffered a head injury from beating my cranium against the dashboard during our friendly little discussion. I was waiting for her to ask me to name the current President of the United States when my husband suggested that perhaps we could continue without her. I think we can, like maybe for the rest of our lives.

But I know that there will come a time when he will be tempted to pull her out of her hiding place and ask her to take him somewhere. He likes bossy women who think they know everything, and Julie actually comes with volume control.

Just remember, though, Sweetie. She will never load the dishwasher as well as I do.

 

 

 

Photo: Wikipedia

Getting Our Groove Back

Yes. It's an oscar. Maybe not the kind you're thinking of, but I couldn't find a license-free image of the statuette. I'm learning to work with what I have.

 

I love movies. There was a time in my life when I not only had heard of every Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, I had actually seen most of them. The kids are getting older now, and I’m determined to get that movie-buff groove back. On a whim, I decided that 2011 would be my year. My goal was to see every Best Picture nominee from the year. I’m here to review for you the ones that I have seen to date.

Three things you should know about me:

1) I embarrass easily. I prefer movies with no potty mouth and little to no skin, and certainly no dirty parts. And graphic violence makes me hide under the blanket. Movies about nuns or puppies tend to get a thumbs up for me. A movie about nuns with puppies are sheer bliss.

2) I do not read the blurb on movies or books. I don’t like spoilers.

3) There may be spoilers in this post. Please proceed with caution.

And now, without further ado, a review of the Oscar nominees my husband and I have seen so far.

Toy Story III – We’ve seen all the others. Aww. Andy’s all grown up! Wait! Mom, you moron! You just threw out Buzz and the gang! What’s wrong with you? OPEN THE BAG before you take it to the trash! Sorry. I got carried away. Okay, cute bear! No, wait! Evil bear! Psychological warfare! Are they going to melt and die?  Can toys die? Where are my dollies? I need to get them out of storage and tell them I love them forever and always.

The King’s Speech– Beautiful story, wonderfully acted. It always makes me feel good to see Bellatrix LeStrange being nice to people. I wonder if the Dark Lord told her to. Standing ovation. That was great!

Inception –  Whoa. What just happened? Wait. It’s happening again. Is it real? Am I real? Good, fun stuff. Popcorn was a little too salty.

The Social Network – Mark Zuckerberg is a real turd and Facebook is trying to take over the world. And then we watched the movie.

The Kids Are Alright – Hmm. Interesting. No, wait! Did you have to do that? Ugh, no! My eyes! MY EYES! What are they doing? No, really. I don’t get it.  Make up your mind! Him or her? And put your clothes back on! The kids may be alright, but one of their moms is kind of messed up.

We still have a few on our list that we haven’t seen, but I’m not sure I’m going to.

127 Hours seems too long for me.

True Grit is a cowboy movie, and I’ve already seen one of those. Woody nearly got killed.

Winter’s Bone sounds a little violent. Or dirty. Or cold.

Black Swan is next on the list. I think it’s about ballerinas, so it can’t be bad, right?

The Laws of Nature

They say that opposites attract. Nowhere will you find this adage proven more clearly than in my house. I am a short, fun-loving chatterbox who loves dogs reading. And my husband is a reptile. Okay, so he’s not scaly, and the closest he’s come to laying an egg was when he found out how much it was going to cost to fix the foundation. But his failure in the mammal department comes from his complete and utter inability to produceor retain his own body heat.

He’s a runner. I am not. He puts in 5 or 6 miles daily, and as a result has the body-fat of a 9 year old gymnast.  Lacking that layer  of insulation, he’s always cold. Always. I, however, do not have that problem. As a non-runner and conscientious objector to strenuous exercise in general, I have a very nice layer of insulation. Thank you very much, it is a custom design! Yes, it is nice and cozy. And that’s the trouble. The man is always trying to take advantage of the fact that I am an endotherm. What? That’s not dirty. Google it.

I am warm-natured. I can’t sleep if I’m too hot, and I get over-heated easily. Having the metabolism of a hummingbird, my husband’s skin temperature is around 900 degrees. Except for his feet. Those register somewhere just above freezing. And though on the surface he feels warm enough to melt metal, he is all shivery. And seeking warmth. In other words, me. I wake to find him snuggled so close to me that I can’t breathe. It doesn’t matter if I scoot over. He finds me. There are times when he has chased me so far over that it’s easier for me to get out of bed and go over to his side.

Summer-time is worse. Even though I am very warm-natured, I do require at least one layer of covers when I sleep. As everyone knows, the body parts that are hanging out from under covers can and will be consumed by monsters. So safety first.  In the summer, I simply turn on the ceiling fan to compensate for the extra warmth. Husband fails to comprehend the necessity of both fan and covers. So he turns off the fan. That’s right. Just gets out of bed and turns it off. He likes to live life on the edge, that one.  I may have to smother him in his frost-bitten sleep. And no jury would convict me. No jury consisting of well-insulated, pre-menopausal women, that is. Hot trumps cold. Every time. EVERY TIME. If you’re cold, PUT ON SOME SOCKS!

Winter time is a bit easier since someone bought us the human equivalent of an under-cage heater. That’s right. We’ve got an electric mattress cover. It’s pretty sweet, even for me. I don’t like the shock of cold sheets. All we need to do is turn on the electric cover a little while before bed, and it gets all cozy and warm. And here’s the best part. That magic invention has dual controls! So I can turn my side off. And he can crank it up. The only trouble is that the cords inevitably get tangled in storage, and it takes us a couple of weeks each winter to figure out exactly which controller operates which side. I never said we were smart people.

I’m still waiting for the magic invention that helps us to survive the summer. I’m afraid that if it’s this difficult now, when I do hit menopause, we’ll be safer sleeping in separate states.

Good thing I actually like reptiles, huh?

Sick and Twisted

us.123rf.com

 

We have all encountered these couples at some point in our lives. You know the ones. Where they are absolutely nuts about each other. Their feelings are obvious to everyone but each other. It’s awkward and uncomfortable for absolutely anyone who ever comes into contact with them. We have a couple like that. They’ve been in our lives for eleven years. Eleven years. And they are still dancing around each other like kids with cooties at a fifth grade dance. And if you have kids, you may know them, too. That’s right. I am talking about Bob the Builder and his gal-pal Wendy. Click the link and tell me that even the cat isn’t disgusted by their  cluelessness.

They’ve skated around one another for so long that I can no longer bear to watch. He takes dance lessons to impress Wendy, um, everyone. Yeah, slick, Bob. No one caught that. Awkward. And she is bitterly disappointed when he doesn’t do something special for her. Because he can’t read her mind and know that she’d lay bricks for him any day of the week.

You would think that at some point in the last decade, one of them would have cracked. ONE of them would have confessed their true love for the other. But no. I find myself in every episode wanting to shout “C’mon, Bob! Man up! She paved your road for you when you were sick, and let you take the credit. Love doesn’t get anymore real than that!  And Wendy, really! You’re in construction. You’ve already turned gender-roles on their chauvinistic heads.  Ask him out!”

You would think by now that the ticking of her claymation clock would have finally driven her into his arms. Those little babies she clearly wants aren’t going to sculpt themselves. Who is going to take care of them in their old age, after all? Every citizen in town is older than they are. Their species is about to die out, and the only ones left to care for them will be the machines. And those things will rust out eventually. Hey, Bob! Yo, Wendy! Do you really want your adult diaper to be changed by a corroded scooper?

The episode that really killed it all for me was “Bob’s Forget Me Knot.” Are you ready for this? Wendy got Bob an electronic planner. With dead batteries.  Bob spent his entire day telling her how great the planner was and messing up all of his jobs because he was too proud to tell her that he didn’t know how to work the computer. She spent her day laughing at him because she knew the stupid computer didn’t work and that he was lying to her the whole time. Come on, people! Those kinds of crazy, twisted mind games actually MAKE you married in  48 states. Crazy seals the deal more firmly than a kiss and a preacher every single time.

I’ve tried to help them, but my helpful encouragement and the occasional swear word have fallen on deaf ears. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t get my hopes up for them again. I have been burned too many times. But Squish just got the Christmas special from the library. Maybe this time Bob will get his act together and produce an engagement ring. I’ll let you know.

Here’s Why I Did It

My sister at the "Oh, Dear Lord, You Are OLD!" party I threw for her. You're welcome for the prunes, sis. Hope they get the job done.

You will have to excuse me this morning. I took my sister to the midnight showing of “Breaking Dawn” for her birthday. I got about three hours of sleep, and now I’m so tired that I can’t remember if the name “Edward” contains one “q” or two. Spell check doesn’t seem to like either variation, so it must not be working.

I’m not the kind of gal who would buy a ticket for a midnight showing for a Twilight movie. Truly. Because I am a grownup with three children. And it wasn’t Harry Potter. But I bought those tickets. Because my sister wanted to go. The woman who has not left her house after dark since I can remember. She’s kind of the anti-vampire, really. But the moment I reminded her that the movie was coming out soon, she said “We could go at midnight!” with a kind of manic glee usually reserved for a two-for-one sale on toilet paper. So I bough the tickets. Because I was a little afraid not to.

So here I sit, part vampire, myself. I cringe from the rising sun, have pale skin, dead eyes, and no blood running through my veins. It’s all coffee. But I am glad I did. Because I owed her. For all the things she had to put up with over the years. Taking one for the team for:

 

 The times I called her “fat face.” As though it were her name. It is not. Her birth certificate clearly states “Dear Little Dawn.” Or something like that.

The time I neglected to mention that she had chocolate ice cream all around her mouth. While she was talking to her former teachers. And trying to act cool. In the mall. At that marvelously awkward age of 13. She has never been able to eat ice cream in public since. Even with a spoon.

The times I may have forgotten to relay a phone message to my sister from the guy she had a crush on.  I’m sure that’s not a big deal. She didn’t even know they liked her in return, so she wasn’t missing anything, right?

The time(s) my puppy pooped in front of her bedroom door. I probably didn’t see it. Before she stepped in it. I swear.

All the undergarments of hers my dog stole and drug out into the yard. By the street. That were left out there for the neighbors to see. And guys who came to pick her up. Whoops. My bad.

The time I may or may not have forgotten to mention that she had tucked the back of her skirt into her panty-hose. As she was preparing to walk down the center aisle of our very large church to get to the choir loft. Where she had to sing. At the age of 14. Sorry, sis. I thought you knew.

All the times I may have insinuated that her make-up made her look like a transsexual circus clown. To my transsexual friends, I apologize. I was young and didn’t know how insulting that comparison might be. For you. And for circus clowns. She outgrew that stage, probably because of me. You’re welcome, world.

All the times I’ve called her “old.”  She is not old. Just much, much older than I am. And sometimes needs reminding.

That over-the-hill surprise party I threw for her last year. To remind her that she is old. Because that’s what sisters do. At least, sisters who know there is minimal chance of reciprocation.

So dear sister, if you are reading this, I apologize. I do not, in fact, hate you, although that phrase may have slipped out a time or two. Million. I would risk my life for you. Which I did last night. Those people were crazy. Happy Birthday, sis!