Category Archives: Humorous Column

Walking in a winter wonderland

I enjoy walking…my way. I like it to be in sunshine, on smooth roads, when it’s warm outside. Now, it’s hard to maintain a good walking routine when the weather gets cold and you have to get it in before you go to work. For me, walking in a winter wonderland means being bundled up in so many clothes, I look like a Goodwill donation and hoping there is no ice under my feet, because my glasses are so fogged over, I can’t see where I’m going!

The solution, of course, is to not walk outside in the “winter wonderland.” That means figuring out how to get those steps in within the confines of the house and of course, the solution to this is a treadmill. Now, this is not our first experience with treadmills. Several years ago, before I got into a walking routine, we bought a cheap treadmill. It was heavy, hard to operate, frequently malfunctioning, but on the upside, it made a great clothes hanger! When we finally lugged it out to the dump, I thought I’d never have another.

And that brings us to this week and the second treadmill of my life. This one was to be the solution to all my problems. I can use it in the early mornings in the warmth of the house. This will be good news to the neighborhood dog who is truly upset by my early morning appearance and probably upsets everyone else by his barking. But we were determined on two things: it would not be a large treadmill and it would not sit in the laundry room, thereby tempting me to turn it into a drying rack! We decided we would buy a small, easy to maneuver machine and fit it neatly in the family room between the couch and easy chair, where we could watch television.

We ordered the treadmill over the Internet and our first clue as to our miscalculation in size should have been the fact that it took two stout young men to load it onto our pickup when we did our “curbside pickup.” The second clue should have been the way the pickup sank under the load. But, we were optimistic: they always pack these things in impossibly large packages!

We knew we were in trouble when we unloaded it at home. It took both of us to drag it to the edge of the pickup box and we were unnerved by things written on the box, like “this is the heavy end.” That was written on the other end of the box from the end we were both struggling to lift! We finally got it to the steps leading down (thank heavens) to the basement and slid it down..or rather, let it slide down.

We cut it out of the box to avoid lifting it and it was then that we realized we had severely miscalculated the size. This machine, far from slipping unobtrusively between couch and chair, requires the couch to be shoved as far away as possible and even at that, I have to step on the chair to get to the treadmill. It stands almost as high as I do and makes an impressive block to the television, which I can’t see over it.

Nonetheless, I still feel good that on those icy, freezing dark mornings when I’m not sure the cars driving by can see me walking on the road, I will now be able to walk indoors on a treadmill so tall I feel like the Statue of Liberty. All of that is probably worth the pulled back muscles and footprints in my family room easy chair. The best news is that we had to move it closer to the laundry room to make it fit and when I’m walking outside this summer…it’s going to make an outstanding clothes rack!

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Reasons my girls should look into nursing homes

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

I have always appreciated the fact that my children will be in the position of deciding when it might be time to send Mom and Dad to the nursing home. I am hoping to put this off as long as possible, but the events of the last few weeks make me wonder if it’s time my daughters start investigating nursing homes for their parents.

Our biggest gap has always been our ability to handle technology and I admit it; we have often relied on them to help us delve into the mystery of how you make one of those computer things work. After this week, however, we may have moved on to bigger problems.

We have relied heavily on online programming to fill the gap left by not being able to go to the movies. The children patiently set up our television to be capable of streaming those shows…and then they went home. It’s been alright, though, we can remember the password–most days, and we know how to set the television to the right settings to make it work.

We have become addicted to the Jack Ryan series out there, so we have been streaming quite a bit on the television…until the night that Roy tried and tried and failed to make that station come on. He checked the connections, he made sure they were properly plugged into the wall. Still, no luck. I turned on the wall switch so that I could use a lamp to look closer and suddenly, the station worked. It was plugged into an outlet that has always been connected to the light switch that I had turned on.

Now, Roy thinks that I figured that out and that’s why I turned on the light switch, so, yeah, we’re going to go with that. And I wish that was the end of the incident. Unfortunately, I had made the discovery shortly before the live streaming debacle that the DVD player had died. It simply would not respond to the remote nor when I pressed the buttons directly on the machine (radical, I know).

I dragged Roy to a store long enough to select and purchase a new DVD player and when we came home, I unpacked it, read all the directions and got ready to install it. Of course, before I did that, I needed to dissect the old player because it had one of my Star Trek Voyager discs in its belly and it was going to give it up. I had the DVD player and a knife in my hand, when it suddenly occurred to me that the DVD player had recently been plugged into the same set of outlets as the television’s streaming system. On a whim, I plugged it back in and flipped on the switch. The old “dead” DVD player immediately switched on and spit out my Voyager disc.

These are only a sample of what goes on around here which might be related to our succumbing to the aging process. Roy threw his back out getting out of his easy chair. In the same week, I fell up the steps and hit my nose and cheek. While he was rushing around getting towels to stem the bleeding, he said, “Oh no, people are going to think I hit you.” I was astounded: that was his first concern? I’m able to take care of myself, but during the next week, while my face healed, I got a lot of concerned questions about whether I was safe at home from people who were younger than me! Apparently, I don’t look as capable of handling myself as I used to!

Cooking has presented some real aging issues. I now have to make a grocery list so that I don’t forget the things I really need at the store and of course, I forget the list at home! I leave things out of recipes that don’t improve the taste. I am constantly putting something on to cook and then forgetting I did. I’m told the lady who invented Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies did so accidentally by adding chocolate bits to a regular cookie. The last thing I discovered accidentally while cooking was that if you put something on to cook and then forget it for the next hour, it chars in the bottom of the pan and sets off the smoke alarm. As a matter of fact, I’ve discovered that accidentally any number of times.

So you can see, it might be time for our children to start investigating the best nursing home options. I hope that doesn’t come around too soon, but those days when I put down my glasses and then can’t find them or I get out of the car without unbuckling the seatbelt, I know that it’s out there on the horizon. On an unrelated note, does anyone want to buy a brand new DVD player? I can’t figure out how to repack it in the box to return it! And I don’t remember where I put the receipt….

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Thanksgiving Thoughts


Now it stands to reason that a cooking nonconformist such as myself would not be enthused about a holiday which is grounded in what goes on the table for one, all-encompassing meal. But my inability to baste a turkey is only the beginning of my objections to the holiday.

Now, this holiday is supposed to originate from the gathering of Indians and Pilgrims at a harvest feast to give thanks. I like that premise, but the longer history haters dig into it, the more we find that the gathering didn’t happen exactly as it was presented, but the foundation was good: we should be thankful for what we have.

My objection comes from the fact that we should always be thankful, rather than reserving one day a year for it. In addition, I think a better premise for it might be to do as John Steinbeck instructs us to in The Grapes of Wrath: help each other regardless of what we have. I wonder if sometimes God holds his head on Thanksgiving and says, “Okay, okay, so you’re thankful for your BMW and your vacation home on Maui. Now go out and feed a homeless person or house a refugee!” (Disclaimer: God has not actually told me this is what He thinks; it is merely my opinion.)

Of course, my biggest problem with Thanksgiving is the food. I could handle the hundreds of side dishes (spare me the green bean casserole, please), but the turkey has become a lethal weapon. It wasn’t bad enough that we had to rise before the sun was up or the chickens crowed to put the bird in the oven to rest quietly while we couldn’t. Now, we risk our lives by trying to deep fry the thing whole. If the fryer doesn’t blow up or catch fire, we are still risking cardiac arrest devouring all that deep-fried poultry! What has the world come to?

Thanksgiving’s location also causes me angst. I think every student in America would tell you a better location might be the end of May, celebrating school being out. And before you tell me that’s too close to Memorial Day, consider its location now. You are still drying out the bread for the Thanksgiving stuffing, when they start playing that Hershey’s Kisses commercial where they form a Christmas bell and chime out We Wish You a Merry Christmas. At least on Memorial Day, they could use a good meal after honoring our glorious dead. With Christmas so hard on the heels of Thanksgiving, we are in a two-month orgy of non-stop foods that will undo the hard work we do to care for our bodies the other ten months! No wonder January is such a big month for health clubs and exercise equipment!

Thanksgiving placed where it is also signals the official beginning of the shopping season. Black Friday hits like a punch between the eyes and every year (okay, maybe not so much this one), people will stand in cold lines waiting for stores to open early so that can get a deal on appliances they don’t need and Christmas trivia that will disappear before another year rolls around. We are still picking the turkey out of our teeth when we are bombarded with the heartfelt tearjerker commercials for everything from refrigerators to cars to coffee. And don’t even start me on the Christmas movies which start long before Thanksgiving and run non-stop on the same script…different names!

With all due respect to the turkey and the thanks and the family gatherings, I really can’t seem to raise much enthusiasm for the November notion of Thanksgiving. Let’s just remember to give thanks all year round and I think the original harvest gatherers will understand and a turkey will definitely thank you for it!

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Messing with my steak

Photo by Jacob Moseholt on

I realize that I have been on a bit of a roll when it comes to the subject of cows, but this is a subject on which I feel as though I’m a bit of an expert…some of my earliest neighbors were cows.

I am slowly coming to the realization that cows, lately touted as the new hugging posts, are becoming endangered as a food source. Now, this is a situation I simply cannot endure! While I prefer a piece of beef to be a little less rare than the one in the picture, I believe I may too old and too engrained in the cow culture to ever accept a substitute. I mean, we have fake Christmas trees, fake materials and even fake boobs; who decided to mess with a carnivore and her meat????

Well, I can tell them right now, it’s not going to work. A “plant-based hamburger” is nothing more than the dreaded brussel sprouts in disguise. I don’t care if you put it between two pieces of bread, smother it in ketchup and onions and pay me a thousand bucks to eat it, the fake meat will still be fake. I will not sell my bovine integrity; I don’t care how authentic this stuff tastes.

And what’s to become of cows if we do this? Their sense of identity and life’s purpose would be gone. I know, I know, they end up in the slaughterhouse, but ask yourself, where would they go instead? Should we send them to college and let them be lawyers? On second thought, let’s make them politicians; they couldn’t do worse than what we have now!

Seriously, though, if we all start eating fake meat and we only need a few cows for the whole hugging thing, what do the rest of them do? Are they going to be hotel maids or road construction workers or worst of all, short order cooks, grilling up the very thing that took away their reason to exist? We will have to set up hotlines to handle all the emotional problems this would bring on.

History is full of sad tales of displaced persons due to some new invention or idea. Will all the cows start living in cardboard boxes on the street, begging for hay from passers- by who are stuffing themselves with fake burgers? Perhaps there will be a huge migration–or cattle drive, if you like–of cows, headed to Canada and Mexico, praying they haven’t of this “faux-meat” craze.

And what kind of scary trend would this start? Could pork chops and chicken legs be the next to go? I can’t imagine frying up the fake bacon (and I know it’s out there) to go with my authentic eggs in the morning. Wait a minute, they have fake eggs, too, don’t they??? It’s an epidemic!

All right, it is nearly Thanksgiving at which I can only hope that people will be eating authentic turkeys, but we must protect ourselves. I say we don’t buy any turkey that we don’t have a complete dossier on! Let them prove they have a right to lay, crisply roasted on our holiday tables!

So cows, arise, take back your right to clog the human arteries with a finely ground hamburger or a steak dripping with grease. For all of you bovines out there who aren’t taking this seriously, think about it: that’s probably what happened to all of those buggies out there, who didn’t see the danger when cars showed up. Somebody do something quickly and all of you out there–eat a hamburger; a cow somewhere will thank you–I think!

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Showing off for neighbors

Photo by Valeriia Miller on

Sometimes I really enjoy the little jokes that life tends to play on us, recognizing the irony of some things and appreciating the humor in others. That is how I spend most weeks of my life….but not this week. This week, life’s little ironies got to be a bit much and it culminated in me flashing the neighbors.

It began with small things. I drove to the bank to make a withdrawal. Although I was at the drive-through, I had left my mask on without thinking. The clerk looked at me in a rather considering manner and it suddenly occurred to me that a person in a mask approaching a teller at the bank in the past had usually resulted in that bank teller pressing the secret panic button to alert the police about a bank robbery. I quickly stripped off the mask, but I wondered: what do people going into the bank do? It would be a bank robber’s dream!

It built as the week went on. I got the notion to do some baking to send to my children. Now, I am not much of a cook, but I can swing a passable banana bread and chocolate chip cookies are in my repertoire, so I baked them. Never mind that my children are capable of making them better than I; never mind that the cost of mailing them out to them would be far more than the value of the food, I plowed forward. I had the bread in the oven baking and so I started on the procedure to mix up the cookies.

Just as I dumped in the chips and began the arduous task of stirring, my innate gracefulness caused me to tip the whole works over on the floor. It was at this point that I realized I should have put my energy into cleaning the floor, because the number of chocolate chips in the cookies didn’t outweigh the number of dust bunnies, random food bits and other things I’d rather not identify that folded right in. Cookie dough went into the garbage and bread was mailed out, before I could ruin that, too.

If you’re wondering about the photo I chose, it refers to my walk through the countryside this morning. This, too, was one of life’s little jokes as the wind was blowing hurricane level — this picture was what came up when I requested a photo of someone walking in a high wind. The walking with the wind wasn’t too bad and I walked my usual amount, not thinking about the walk back. The photo does not in any way capture the agony of walking the distance back, however, into a high wind complete with field scraps, dirt and gravel blowing into your teeth. I know the walk was twice as far coming back!

Now I suppose you’re wondering how this could possibly have led to my flashing the neighbors, but I’m getting to that. It starts with my love of shirts that have elastic necklines and cute little ties with fancy knots tied into the ends of them. My problem comes in when I leave the ties hanging instead of tying them into a pretty bow.

I was hauling groceries into the house on Saturday and it was an arduous task. When I got to the end of it, you all know that moment when you’re sure that you can get all of it in with a final load. I leaned in, grabbed all of the remaining bags in the trunk, came out of the garage and dragged up the steps. It was after I got inside the house that I realized that my hanging blouse ties had been caught in the heavy bags. I had walked out of the garage into the house with my elasticized blouse pulled down around my waist.

The police never showed up, so I can assume that no one called the authorities to report a pervert exposing herself. Either they didn’t see it, or they couldn’t believe their eyes when they did and would rather not admit that they looked at something so offensive! In either case, I’m grateful!

This caps my week of little jokes and ironies and an attempt at commiting a felony (or is that a misdemeanor?). I am hoping that next week is a little more straightforward, but I make no promises…perhaps the neighbors should keep their shades drawn?

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Howling Halloween

Okay, so I am not a Halloween girl. I don’t understand why, because everyone around me seems to be Halloween crazy, dressing in matching costumes, trussing up the housepets in decor and hitting the decoration and trick-or-treating traditions with enthusiasm.

For me, Halloween means two things: carving a pumpkin and finding something clever for a costume. These are things at which I do not excel. I put a picture on this blog to show you my pumpkin carving this year, which did turn out well, but it is the result of years of poor cutting, candles doused in wet pumpkins and slices in my hands, while the people around me are carving portraits worthy of hanging in the Louvre. By the time I have carved the pumpkin, I am having vicious thoughts about baking it in the oven the next day and scooping out its insides!

Costumes are so much worse. It doesn’t help that my own children can come up with beautiful and dramatic costumes that make them look even better than their normal beautiful and dramatic appearances. They find wonderful couple costumes and as for my grandsons, they are outstanding!

Then there is me. I have pasted papers on myself and gone as my doctorate dissertation. I own a Renaissance dress, but I spend most of my time in that elegant thing bowing down, because I stepped on the draping skirts. I’m convinced that those dresses are how Renaissance men kept Renaissance women from getting too far!

As a teacher, I thought it would be clever one year to go as a witch. I dressed in the black robe, pointed black hat and carried a broom. As the students walked in, they looked me up and down and remarked, “Oh, too bad, Mrs. Fauth; couldn’t find a costume, huh?” It was my last year to dress up for Halloween at school.

This year, however, I was heavy on the costumes. I had two separate costumes and both related to movies. Due to my own cleverness and grace, my nose and the front step duked it out the other morning. I have a slightly swollen nose and a cut right on the bridge of it, along with a black eye. When I went to school and the kids set up their usual complaint that I wasn’t in costume, I pointed to my face and said, “Wrong! I came today as Rocky Balboa after he won the heavyweight championship!”

By the next day, my nose, deeply offended by having stopped my fall on the stairs, began to drip constantly, forcing me to permanently have a handkerchief held up to my bruised face. Who am I? Of course, I am Michael Corleone after the police captain punched him in the face! Don’t tell me I don’t know how to costume!

The good thing about Halloween is that it’s over now and I have the jack-o-lantern ground up and canned already, so I can make pies for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving…now there’s a holiday I can get behind; as long as I’m doing more eating than cooking….

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Have you hugged your cow today?

Photo by Skitterphoto on

Good news for all those beleaguered cows out there: they have not been forgotten. In spite of those cow-haters who say cows are polluting the air and who are trying to replace them with “plant-based” faux meat (makes my mouth water), cows have finally made the news for something positive.

It seems that in this time of Covid 19, when social distancing deprives us of the opportunity to hug each other, we have another option: apparently it is just as comforting to hug your cow as it is to hug your friends, relatives, children, etc. This conclusion is disturbing to me on a number of levels.

Probably most pressing is, how was this research conducted? I’m imagining this group of scientists with their glasses on their noses and their clipboards at the ready when one of them exclaims, “Do you know, now that I can’t hug my wife, I’m hugging the neighbor’s milkcow. It’s just about the same!” What caused him to think of this solution to his physical deprivation problem? Did he say to himself, “Eureka! Let’s all hug cows!” Did he perhaps try various animals? What’s it like to hug a snake? Or, failing that, was he able to hold on to a rabbit? Worst of all, what are the possibilities for snuggling up to a skunk, and who holds your nose for you while you do?

I mean, have you researchers actually ever dealt with a cow? Some of them are distinctly unhuggable. There’s a reason bull riding is the most dangerous part of the rodeo–it’s because those beef-buckers don’t want anything to do with a human, whether it’s on their backs or around their necks. Even those who would be willing to get affectionate are not the sweetest-smelling of animals. In some cases, just give me the skunk!

Okay, so it’s cows we must hug instead of people, but I wonder, what do we do to convince the cows? Have any of them expressed an objection to hugging out of their species? Do we need to bring them anything? Flowers? Candy? Fresh fodder? The social mores are absolutely staggering.

In the same article that brought me this astounding news on the new bovine relationships, I heard that some enterprising souls have already made the move to take financial advantage of the situation. They have set up a stable of cows and are charging $150 per half hour for people to spend time with their four-legged “ladies of the night.”

So, you can drive up to the barn and ask to hug your neighbor’s cow and have the whole community talking about you, or you can pay for the privilege and hopefully keep things quiet. Certainly you don’t want to get a reputation for being a cow-lover. I do hope the cows involved in the venture are receiving their cut of the money and that they don’t feel too cheap and empty when their customers just use them like that and leave the money on the dresser…or the stable door.

I fear I will be unable to “embrace” this new cow-hugging fad and I do hope it passes quickly. Cows have important work to do, like providing milk and meat and they shouldn’t also have to contribute to our emotional stability. So all of you would be cow-pimps out there be warned…Bossie is capable of kicking out the stall if she’s too displeased!

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Tripping on lint

Photo by Oliver Sju00f6stru00f6m on

I think it was the late great John Denver who told the story about a friend of his who cut his toe on a Rice Krispee and ended up having three stitches to treat it. I also have a friend who accidentally dropped a kitchen knife, which ended up perfectly, point down, stuck in one of her own toes. I was reminded of these people this weekend as I was dancing around my house, dragging out every curse word I knew, waving my finger in the air after I had managed to perfectly smash the tip of it in the door.

I didn’t end up needing medical attention for the finger, but I was fairly convinced for a while that I had broken it. And this is how life goes for me, because I am a card-carrying, lint-tripping, shower-slipping klutz. When I say that, I mean that whatever you might think is clumsy and self-hurting, I can ace it with imagination and creativity.

I’ve known this about myself since I was very young. In college, I once slammed a drawer, somehow catching the end of a scarf I was wearing around my neck. The scarf was wedged in just enough to prevent the drawer from opening. I was beginning to panic, fearing that I would choke to death and everyone would wonder what weird college ritual-gone-wrong I was performing when I died. At that moment, my roommate came along, saw my predicament and quickly untied the scarf from the other end, thus releasing me using a method I should have thought of myself, but I was too busy choking for rational consideration!

It didn’t improve as the years went on. I slipped on kitty litter (long story) and cracked a wrist. I tripped coming out of a shower and smacked my face so hard on the ceramic bathroom tile that I had to sip my meals through a straw for a week and a half. I once burned the back of my shoulder by getting up underneath a lit outdoor grill (another long story) and tipping it over. My fingers have been burned so many times in so many ways that they are actually more deep-fried than a McDonald’s McNugget.

I have a standard apology I give to people when I swing my arms and hit someone. I am the only person I know who can walk down the halls at my job and trip over the polish on the floor. I frequently fall up steps and the number of times I have hit my head on the corner of a kitchen cabinet would defy the limits of counting.

Clumsiness is not a pretty sight either because I frequently sport so many black and blue marks, I can’t remember where they all originated. I chased down a dog once, who was far smarter than I and then ended up in the emergency room having the edge of an eye stitched up and being questioned closely about whether I felt I was “safe at home.” Whether that was a suspicion about my husband’s behavior or just a comment on my own klutziness, I never did figure out.

Usually, I would prefer that my moments of clumsiness were unobserved, but the height of my traumatic actions is one I wish someone had seen, so they could explain how it was even possible. I was once drinking an iced drink, while walking through the dining room. A piece of ice missed my mouth, flipped out onto the floor, I slipped on it and when I stopped sliding, I was sprawled over the dishes, glassware and food that had been supper. I’m not certain, but I believe that may have defied the laws of physics, but I have no proof!

I could probably go on forever with this tale of “trip-itis” but to tell the truth, the finger that I smashed in the door is beginning to hurt from the typing, so I’d better quit. I do have a lot of paperwork to get done today, so I’ve probably got some papercuts to acquire and maybe I can manage to stick a pencil in my eye. However, I wish all of you an accident-free day and a wonderful week. Stay safe and…ouch! I think I just sprained my pinkie!

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Baggy pants brigade

Nothing makes me more angry than pictures of women in dresses that smooth over their curves and fit their shapes perfectly. It is maddening to know that somewhere, they found clothes that actually fit them. That makes my situation a little tight, or perhaps I should say a little loose.

I have always been terrible at math and one of the side problems of that is I have no idea how to estimate the proper sizes for my clothing. I have always compensated for that by buying everything in sizes that are appreciably larger than I think they should be.

It has worked worked fine, even though it has helped me become used to clothing that fits loosely. I feel comfortable in my too large clothing, but I am still the baggy elephant lady, envying all of those girls in svelte, form-hugging clothes. I am even jealous of the mannequins in stores, who stare vacantly into space while wearing shorts, shirts, dresses, etc. with a precision I will never achieve, no matter how vacant my expression!

Wearing clothes that are the wrong size may be comfortable, but it has its drawbacks. For one thing, if I misjudge the size of bra, it can cause padded wrinkles under my shirt, or in dire times, it can cut straight across my chest and make me look as though I have four, instead of two breasts. This is neither comfortable nor attractive!

Most shirts are at least a size or two too large to avoid the dreaded “button gap” and if I wear trousers, they must be able to slide on without being unbuttoned.

All of these things worked very well, until I, in the matter of about a year, lost 40 pounds. It was a good thing, and I was very happy, but it meant that my too large clothes are now seriously large and in some cases, dangerously so. My only two dresses now sag and flow around me like a “moo-moo,” I believe they used to call them because there is a lot of material to cover the “cow-cow”, I guess. It’s comfortable, but not an attractive look.

My trousers are now loose enough, that they, too, tend to drape around my body and if I sit too quickly, I find that they will wrap themselves in a strangle hold on my upper legs. In addition, if I take too deep a breath, I run the risk of having some of the largest ones fall down!

So now you’re asking yourself, “Why doesn’t she just buy new ones?” The reason is because of the genes in my jeans. I come from a long line of people who do not throw out a garment just because it has a little wear on it…or because it fits like the robes of a sheik in the desert! When these things wear out, I will go out, look at the women wearing clothes that hug their figures, commune with the mannequins pointing at nothing with their appropriately sized-outfits…and buy my baggy pants every time!

Happy fall, everyone, and may your sweater bag, your bra be smooth and your pants never need to be unzipped!

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De-constructing a marriage

This week I passed my 38th wedding anniversary. It’s a bit of a milestone and since it happened, I’ve been asked by any number of people, “How have you stayed together this long?” My standard answer is always, automatically, “Dumb luck,” but since we are starting to pile on the years together, I’ve tried to come up with some real answers. This is what I have.

Learn the fine art of compromise. After all, wasn’t the whole country founded on compromise? And I don’t mean the kind of compromise where one person just gives in and lets the other one have their way because it’s just too much trouble. I mean, the kind of compromise where I learn to watch the Vikings on Sunday afternoons with my lips clamped together, so that I can watch NCIS New Orleans on Tuesday evenings and look at Scott Bakula, without an argument. And the true compromise comes when he finds that maybe Scott Bakula can actually act and I find that yelling at the Vikings for missing that pass is very satisfying. Compromise is critical…are you listening, United States?

Adjust your palate. He stops eating things that are ultra spicy and you stop eating things that are 90 percent sugar. It is a proven fact that the longer you are together, the more closely your taste in food will align. We both agree that nothing beats a good Chinese buffet, but that we are not extending our palates to include sushi. We can frequently be seen in the line at the McDonalds or the Burger King, but we are not likely to ever join the even longer lines at Starbucks.

Learn the fine art of holding your tongue. Roy never answers the question, “Do you think I look fat?” If he is annoyed with me, however, he will suggest, “Wear those red plaid pants of yours tonight, dear, everyone will notice you in those.” And when last spring, I was looking for mask ideas and I suggested that we could use the padded bra I had, he puffed out his manly chest and declared, “I would rather die of the virus than walk around in public with half a bra strapped to my face.” Then, this fall, he plucked the very same padded bra from the clean laundry basket, held it up to his face and declared in the voice of a man who just had a brilliant, original idea, “Hey this would make a pretty effective mask!” Did I remind him that it was my idea last spring? Of course not. I simply said solemnly, “Ooooh, and it looks very manly on you too!”

Never, never NEVER construct anything together. I don’t care if it’s changing a lightbulb in a lamp. It is never wise to do repair or construction projects as a married couple. I have made peace with the fact that I married a perfectionist when it comes to this. And he has realized that my scrawny arms and whiny attitude make a poor assistant! “Honey, I just need your help for a minute,” is a statement that brings down a feeling of doom on me every time. I know it will involve me having to hold something while he measures, mutters and stands back to observe his project. I will be pushing the sheetrock against the wall, wondering how much I could get in the divorce settlement or whether it would just be quicker to grab the hammer in his toolbelt and hit him with it.

I love my husband dearly, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that he is a man who will take three hours and two trips to the lumber yard to nail in a loose board on the garage stairs. And he has had to come to terms with the fact that he is not married to Tim the Toolman Taylor! No construction, ladies and gentlemen, unless you want to deconstruct the marriage!

By now, I’m sure that you have figured out that there are really no rules for a marriage. It just takes two people who are determined to make it work and who are willing to go forward together, warts and all. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to impart, but even after 38 years together I think I’m going to stick with my original answer, “I think God is on our side and we’ve had a lot of dumb luck!”

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