Who’s Wearing the Smarty-Pants in this House?

For years, I’ve assumed I’m smarter than Paul. There’s no proof. It’s just nice to believe that. In fact, he has a master’s degree, and I have two associate degrees (which adds up to a bachelor’s degree, right?). So he’s a bit farther along in education.

At the very least, though, I’ve assumed I’m cleverer than he is, but I’m beginning to wonder.

Trying to get my handyman to do something (that doesn’t involve food) can be difficult. For twenty-two years, I’ve tried asking, sweet-talking, nagging, begging, and bribing, but if he’s not interested, the project will remain a theory. Possibly forever.

So recently when I decided to order parts, with permanent adhesive, to take care of something, I told him, “I got this stuff, and I’ll go ahead and take care of it.”

After two decades of watching me park the car at an angle between straight lines and put clothes on inside-out, Paul seemed a little worried, but I could see his look of amusement, and I could read his mind:

“She’ll never do it. She’s too scared she’ll get it wrong. And she will. She’s going to bug me to do it, but I’ll get around to it sometime. Maybe.” I paraphrase.

So he didn’t seem too worried as he said, “Great!

Game on.

Every couple of weeks, I announced, “I’m gonna take care of that today.”

Paul smiled, all patient and wise, and said—with a homicide-inspiring amount of patronizing in his tone—“Okay. Sounds good.”

The other night I’d had it with both of us. I grabbed the stuff I needed—including the permanent adhesive—and I asked, “Do you have something called ‘mineral spirits,’ Sweetie?” (Mineral spirits, it seems, are something that help clean up what those in the construction trade call “boo-boos.”)

I said this as I clipped the tip of the adhesive tube and grabbed the item to be glued—to the wall and the bathtub simultaneously.

I noticed an entire lack of smirk on his face. He said, “Sure. Let me get it for you” as he trotted to a closet while frequently looking over his shoulder to see how the glue application was going.

He set the mineral spirits on the counter and stood frozen, watching me actually do this thing.

Suddenly it dawned on him all the times I’d said during the last few months, “I’m so nervous to do this. You know I’m not handy. I’m so afraid I’m going to mess it up.”

Then the would-be hero of the story asked—with lots of helpfulness in his tone—“Would you like me to do that?”

I handed over the items so quickly I think I knocked the wind out of him.

My only question is: Why did it take so many years for me to figure this out?

Paul’s had it sorted for years: “If I prove that I can’t do something the way she wants me to, I don’t ever have to do it.”

His equation for working around me:

1 + 1 = 2

(Can’t argue with elegance.)

 

My equation for working around him:

 

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I’m confused, and I think Paul might be asking me for a threesome in this scenario.

I get who’s really the smart one.

 

Even the Bee Gees Can’t All Keep Stayin’ Alive

When I reconnect with someone from my youth, my first thought is “How cool. They’re still alive.”

This leads to a couple of questions:

One: Just how old do I think I am?

(Answer: Dead any moment now.)

Two: Is my reaction a glass half full or half empty?

(Answer: Half full because I’m happy these old friends are alive, but half empty because see question number one.)

I blame celebrities. If they’d stop dying, I might not think about my own mortality so much. I keep calling the still-alive ones to request that they live forever, but it usually results in restraining orders. Then they die. Probably to spite me.

I’ll just keep enjoying my life each day I’m here, working at home, hanging out with the cats, and listening to the newest certainly sane neighbor as he shouts helpful advice to all the “fuckin’ bitches” to “shut the fuck up.”

It’s the little things.

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Our neighbor warming up for his musical, “Shut Up, Bitches!,” based on a lesser known Bee Gee song.

Happy Bastille Day

I like the idea of a national holiday that starts with a beheading.

As far as I know, I’m bereft of French ancestry, but every July 14, I go around the grocery store, neighborhood, wherever I happen to be, and I wish people a “Happy Bastille Day!” Folks are consistent in their response:

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Maybe I should live in Soulard, a French neighborhood in St. Louis. This is a town that not only celebrates Bastille Day with a beheading reenactment, but it also can’t quite make up its mind what the day’s theme really is.

Jump to 3:15 in the clip to see a realistic portrayal of Marie Antoinette’s giggle fit right before what’s possibly the world’s most comical beheading:

Vive la Soulard!

Throughout the event, the town’s attention to period detail is admirable. There’s a Taste of Soulard, cars and buses driving through, and for some reason a percussion group playing a Latin beat. There’s even a local television reporter covering the events, just as they did in 1789.

This is my kind of town. Let’s just get together and do random shit, drink, and lop off some heads. I’m calling the movers.

 

Murdering My Inner Frump

Paul thinks we need to consult a personal stylist. To his credit, he was wise enough to say, “I need to,” but I believe the inclusion of me is clear.

Maybe this revelation has to do with the old sweatpants I was wearing the other evening that have a large vertical rip down the center of the buttular area.

Maybe it’s because everything we wear looks like we went out of our way to find something frumpy and ill-fitting.

I’m amazed by people who look well put together, and I’ve always assumed they were born knowing how to dress. But then I recently watched a documentary about Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and it seems her father demonstrated how to dress well. So she learned about this even though a large part of her DNA was stamped with “Oleg Cassini” and “Chanel.”

Perhaps Paul’s right. I’ve been less than pleased with my reflection in the mirror for years, and it’s not just about being overweight. I look like someone who’s been dressed by a person with a vendetta against me.

Maybe if I had nicer clothes, I’d take better care of them too. The other day I noticed that I’d popped a button on the waist of my favorite summer pants, which loosened the flap above the zipper. The result was the semblance of a bellybutton that was trying to escape through my blouse, Alien style.

I will eventually replace the button, but meanwhile, I just tuck the waistband flap into the top of my underwear, and my belly fat keeps it cinched down.

If we do get a personal stylist, they’d better have an emergency hotline number.

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How I see others
old peasant woman
Me, headed home from the store