Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Sweet Home

"If I ever need to be placed in a nursing home, I'd like it to be the one your grandmother was in at the end of her life."

"What are you talking about?" I asked my mother.

"Where I'd like to live if I ever need that sort of care," she said.

"We can't afford fancy nursing homes," I said. "We'll put you in a tent out back."

"Ignore him," said the Lovely Bride.

"I always do," said my mother. "He's being especially silly now. He knows very well I have a long term care policy."

"He doesn't like being talked about as though he's not in the room," I noted. "In any event, if I run the nursing home, the policy pays me. Ergo, the tent."

"Ergo, nothing," said my mother.

"We don't have a choice. It's simple ergonomics," I said.

She closed her eyes for a moment before turning to my oldest. "Do you have your passport?" she asked him. She's sending him to Australia and New Zealand this summer.

"I applied for it yesterday," he said.

"Have you received a full itinerary yet?" she asked.

"It's a gastrotour," I offered. "He's going to be sampling the local cuisine. Mutton. Koala. Peanut butter and jellyfish."

My mother closed her eyes again.

"I need a passport too," said the middle son. "One of my friends said I could go to Mexico with him in June."

"You don't need a passport if you're not coming back," I told him. "I think your friends are going to sell you to drug lords to finance the trip."

"Be quiet," said the Lovely Bride. "Why do you say things like that?"

"And why did you call Mrs. K. a b-i-t-c-h this morning?" my youngest asked.

The Lovely Bride turned on me like a mongoose. "What?" she demanded.

"You're a good little speller, buddy," I told the boy.

My mother's eyes were still closed. She took a deep breath.

"Mrs. K. is one of the nicest people we know," said the Lovely Bride. "What did you do?"

"Dad sent her a text message from Mrs. P.'s phone that said, 'Why are you being such a b-i-t-c-h?'" the youngest helpfully explained.

I patted him on the head a little harder than necessary and said, "Go watch the Olympics for a while."

"What were you thinking?" asked the Lovely Bride.

"It was Mrs. P.'s fault," I said.


"She let my friend E. and me borrow her phone."

"How is that her fault?"

"She knows what we're like. Even her husband said it's her fault."

"Her husband's no better than you and E.," said the Lovely Bride.

"I know," I said. "He's hilarious."

"Does Mrs. K. know who really sent it?"

"Yeah," I said. "Mrs. P. told her and ruined the joke."

"Jokes are supposed to be funny," said my mother.

"I laughed," I said.

"That's because there's something wrong with you," said my mother.

"Careful," I said. "Tents can get pretty cold in the winter."

"Don't worry," the Lovely Bride told my mother. "Mrs. K.'s a therapist. She knows how to deal with him."

"A therapist," my mother replied. "Thank goodness he has one."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Birds Of A Feather

"I'm going to Florida next week," said my best friend R.

"What are you doing there?" I asked.

"Shooting a commercial."

"Why Florida?"

"Spring training. Our baseball team's manager is in it."


"I'm sure it will be cold and rainy. Plus, the manager will probably get drunk and hit on me."

"That would be hilarious."

"I'm the account executive," said R. "I'd have to put out."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not A Prayer

"That's why they call it faith," the Lovely Bride was saying as I walked in the door.

"That's why I call it stupid," said my middle son.

Nothing like coming home to a conversation about religion.

"What's three times twelve?" blurted out my youngest. We all turned to look at him.

"Never mind," he said. "I remember."

"Are you serious?" asked my oldest. "That's your math homework?"

"Just a little bit of it," said the youngest, somewhat defensively.

"What else do you have to do?" I asked. "Count to fifteen without removing your socks?"

His brothers laughed. Not the Lovely Bride.

"Stop it," she warned me.

"Come on," I said. "This is advanced math?"

"It's part of a bigger problem," said the youngest.

"Oh, just like you," I said.

His brothers laughed again.

"You two are the rest of the problem," I told them.

"Don't you have somewhere to go?" the middle boy asked me.

"Someone told me to go to hell today," I said. "So here I am."

"You told us he had to work longer hours at his new job," the oldest said to the Lovely Bride.

"That's what I thought," she said wistfully.

"I love you, you love me, we're a happy family," I sang.

"He's not really our father, is he?" the middle boy asked his mother.

"Oh ye of little faith," I said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chewing It Over

"I'm trying to get my daughter to stop chewing with her mouth open," said my new colleague. "I hate it when people do that. It's disgusting."

Sitting across the table from her at the coffee shop, I panicked. Had I kept my mouth closed while I was working on the cream cheese Danish I'd just finished? Probably not; I'd worked myself into a lather while telling her a story about large animal vets, using half the pastry as a stand in for a goat. Chewing with my mouth open might be the least of my problems.

Z. was was telling me now about the department she runs. I was thinking about the way I ate.

"Which is why I'm glad we're having this conversation," she concluded.

I forced myself back into the present and smiled weakly at her, hoping she'd give me a clue what she was talking about. She looked back quizzically.

"Right," I finally said.

"You understand my concern?" she asked.

"Sure," I said.

"So how do you think we should approach the situation?" she asked.

"Quietly and well-camouflaged," I said.


"Sorry. That was a joke," I said.

"Oh," she said. "Like the story about the goat."

"Right," I said.

"So what do you think we should do about the situation?" she repeated.

"I think it makes sense to get together regularly and discuss it," I said in the hope of buying enough time to figure out what the situation was. "Keep an eye on things, see how they're going."

"Good," she said. "I was hoping you'd say that. Every month or so?"

I could easily die in the next month. "Sure," I said. "Do you want to meet here again?"

"No, back in the office is fine," she said.

"I'll bring doughnuts," I said.

"No, please, just coffee is fine," she said.

I knew it, I thought.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Look Out Any Window

The view out my other window is better.

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Day Jitters

When I got to my new job today, my assistant was waiting for me.

"Here's your office," she said, pointing to a cube with my name on it.

"This is mine," she continued, pointing to an office door with her name on it.

"Okay," I said. "As long as I have enough floor space to spread out my files, I'll be fine."

"I'm just kidding," she said. "Your office is in here. I've set up your computer for you."

We're going to get along just fine.