On St. Valentine’s Day: A Slightly Risqué Conversation Between The Old Married People

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-32-22-amZen-Den and I were sitting in our living room the other evening.

I was playing Farm Heroes Super Saga on my iPad.

It’s a free game in which you collect brightly colored produce, flowers, rain drops, wheat sheaves, and acorns.  You accomplish this by moving pieces around the board while dealing with Darwin the Goat who eats wheat sheaves and Fidget the Squirrel who thunks acorns with his tail.

What’s not to love?

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-40-43-amZen-Den, on the other hand, was reading a copy of Smithsonian magazine, but he looked up to ask me how my game was going.

I told him I was on a particularly fun, but difficult, level where in order to win I needed to get Fidget the Squirrel to whack all the acorns on the screen.

To which Zen-Den commented: “Sure, any game in which nuts get a little tail is a good one. Enjoy.”

Image Sources: |1| |2|

~ Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone ~

What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

~ ~ ~ ~

I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

~ ~ ~ ~

III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Pillow Talk: Of Snowy Nights and Annoying Logic

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I woke up with itchy eyes.  I have lots of boring medical problems with my eyes so this happens.

Downstairs on the kitchen counter was a bottle of prescription eye drops that I knew would relieve my itchy eyes, but it was all. the. way. downstairs. and I was toasty warm in our bed upstairs.

Botheration.

However, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I begrudgingly got up and went downstairs at 3:00 a.m. to instill [that’s medical lingo!] a drop in each eye.

Of course while I was downstairs waiting for the drops to do their thing, I glanced out the window to see what was happening outside.

Curiosity.  Or habit.  Maybe both.

I dunno for sure, but I took a look-see.  Just ‘cuz.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-21-45-am
Is this me OR is this a showgirl featured in a promotional photo for the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940)? { source }

~ • ~

ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER I WENT back upstairs to bed where I thought I quietly slipped into bed again.  But apparently my blanket shuffling was more disruptive than I realized and I awakened Z-D.

After politely inquiring if I was “ok” Z-D, who knows my habits, asked what the weather was like outside.  I told him that it had snowed, but that it had only snowed on the grass, not on the sidewalk, driveway, and street.

He mumbled: “that can’t be.”

I assured him that was what had happened outside.  It had snowed on the lawn, not on the hard surfaces.  I’d seen it.

Again he said: “can’t happen.”

Then he rolled over away from me taking the covers with him and began to snore.  I would have ignored him entirely but he had swiped too much of the blanket and I wanted my part back.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-29-56-am
Is this our bedroom OR is this a photo from the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940) Town of Tomorrow Exhibit? { source }

~ • ~

SO I TUGGED ON THE BLANKET which roused him again.

At which point, in his sleepy daze as if the conversation about the weather was still ongoing, he said to me: “you’d have to be some kind of stupid to not know that snow falls on everything outside.  It just doesn’t land on the grass, it falls on hard surfaces, too, where you don’t see it because it’s melted.”

And with that he fell fast asleep, leaving me, the stupid person, to realize that: 1) he was absolutely right;  & 2) I had no more interest in talking to him if he was going to use annoying old logic.

I mean, really– this is a man who can’t find his car keys at noon when they’re on the kitchen counter right in front of him, but he can tap into meteorological reasoning when awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?

Who does that?  Honestly…

Meh.

In Which I Politely Turn The Tables On The Holy Rollers

THE SETTING:

Late summer in a midwest suburb. Saturday afternoon. Beautiful clear blue sky with white clouds. Green lawn, well-tended. Leafy trees aplenty. Pink roses blooming along sidewalk up to front door. Daisies giving it their last hurrah near front door.

THE CAST:

Me, free spirit & lapsed Presbyterian

Holy Roller #1, Amy Winehouse wannabe, brandishing iPad

Holy Roller #2, Olivia Walton doppelgänger, carrying Bible

THE STORY:

When the doorbell rang I was sitting in our home study, which is on the first floor of the house, with the window open.  The women who had walked up the sidewalk could see me in the study, so I couldn’t hide from them.

I answered the door.  Reluctantly.

Amy said “hello.”  She introduced herself and her sidekick, Olivia.  They were from Jehovah’s Witnesses, dressed in black: Amy opting for the H&M cool vibe, Olivia going with the tried & true Salvation Army look.

Amy explained that they were bringing the word of God to the heathens people on my street, and could she ask me a question?

“Sure,” says I.

To which she said: “what gives you comfort?”

Without a moment’s hesitation I answered: “nature.”  Then I pointed out toward our front yard with flowers + trees– and the sky above.

My answer, immediate and honest as it was, stopped Amy.  She didn’t know what to say.

But Olivia, consummate holy roller professional, jumped right in and agreed with me: “Yes, God surrounds us all with His majesty.”

I nodded my head to show that we were on the same page here and smiled.

Nothing happened.  Neither one said a word to me.  They just stood there staring at me.

So I asked them: “Is this a poll?  Are there more questions?”

They chuckled and quickly assured me that: “Oh no.  This isn’t a poll.  There are no more questions.”

Thus giving me the opportunity to bring this unwanted conversation to a conclusion: “Well then, we’re finished here, aren’t we?  Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your mission.”

At which point I slowly shut the front door, leaving them confused by what had happened.

I mean, from their perspective they’d brought the word of God to a presumed heathen who had just got rid of them by turning the conversation around to where they admitted they had nothing more to say.

From my perspective, it was a conversation that would make Jesus and Emily Post proud.

Can I get a hallelujah?

~ ~ • ~ ~

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~ ~ • ~ ~

Shopping For Tile: A Tale Of Snobbery & Comeuppance

In and of itself what happened when I went shopping at the fancy tile store, where we bought all of our tile for this house when we had it built years ago, was no big deal.

I’m not unfamiliar with snobby sales clerks in the big city.

But this particular indifferent, snobby sales clerk, who I shall call Gumdrop, was sixty years old, if a day, and she went out of her way to ignore me.  She said “hello” when I walked into the store, then before I could reply she went back to looking at her smart phone.

I did not exist.

# # #

I started walking around the lovely, well-organized, upscale tile store, hoping that when Gumdrop finished not helping me, she’d help me.

I dream.  What can I say?

Eventually, after I’d explored the drawers, shelves, and wall displays of tiles on my own, I went over to Gumdrop and forced her to listen to me.  I told her we were going to replace the tile around our fireplace in the family room, a room that is open into the kitchen.

Did she have some suggestions?

# # #

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.40.33 PM

# # #

Without a single word, and this is where it gets interesting, Gumdrop took me to one small display of khaki/tan ceramic tiles, and said “this.”

She didn’t ask about our color scheme, the size of the room, the scale of the fireplace.  She didn’t ask about our style preferences.

She just told me to buy what she was pointing at.

# # #

In what I can only describe as a delightful irony of ironies, the inexpensive ho-hum tile that Gumdrop pointed to is what we have on the floor in the laundry room.

The floor, people.  THAT’S THE TYPE OF TILE SHE ASSUMED WAS APPROPRIATE FOR ME TO HAVE AROUND THE FIREPLACE IN MY HOME.

I mentioned that I was familiar with the tile she was pointing at because I walk on it every day.  Then I asked her to show me something else.

She did this while grumbling that I could easily pull out any of the tile displays from the wall.  And I agreed that I could, but I wasn’t going to.  That was her job.

So do it, Gumdrop.

# # #

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.41.22 PM

# # #

I believe it is at this point that it began to dawn on Gumdrop, who works on commission, that she might have screwed the pooch with me.  Suddenly she was inquiring about the details of our project, but I was no longer interested in dealing with her.

So, mentioning that money was no object but obviously there was nothing in this store for me, I politely left the store, discouraged that I’d bothered to drive to a fancy tile store in the middle of an industrial district on a snowy afternoon, to be snubbed.

Humph.

# # #

But ultimately the joke is on Gumdrop and the fancy tile store because my small little fireplace project was just the beginning.  Yep, we’re going to be redoing our 14′ x 12′ master bathroom sometime in the next few years and there’ll be lots of tile involved.

Oodles of it, which up until this incident I would have purchased at the fancy tile store.  But now?  Not going to happen.

Big mistake, Gumdrop.  Big mistake.

We’re Both Polite, But There’s Some Nuttiness Going On

I’m the first to admit that I can be slightly nutty.  So when I realized a pleasant casual acquaintance behaved in way that struck me as nutty, I started wondering: who’s the nutty one here?  Naturally I turned to a friend for her take on this.

Here’s what Acquaintance does that Friend and I think is odd.

Whenever Acquaintance sees you she starts the conversation by stating what you’re wearing.  She’ll say things like: you have on a red t-shirt… you’re carrying a brown purse… your jeans are faded.

Then she’ll just stare at you, saying nothing more.  There’s no comment, pro or con, about your clothes, your accessories.

Only her looking at you.

This makes Friend and I feel awkward, like we’ve done something wrong, but we’re not sure what it is.

I’ve taken to parroting back what Acquaintance says to me. 

That is, I’ll repeat exactly what she has said back to her in a declarative sentence: yes, I have on a red t-shirt… am carrying a brown purse… my jeans are faded.

Friend thinks my approach to Acquaintance is brilliant because it allows me to seem to be chatting.  Of course, in reality I’m feeling unnerved about how this peculiar conversation is starting.

Again.

Friend and I have our theories about why Acquaintance behaves like she does, but we are curious to know what you, gentle readers, think is going on with Acquaintance.

Is Acquaintance’s behavior normal or nutty? Do you know anyone who starts conversations like this?  Are Friend and I being overly weirded out by this?  And if so, why?