Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ch 12 If you need toilet cleaner at the Apocalypse, come to our house

Primo: I got some more toilet bowl cleaner. It was only 99 cents.

Me: You got more?

Primo: Yes. We'll use it eventually.

Me: Do you know how much toilet bowl cleaner we have? Like five years' worth.

Primo: So?

Me: What if we have to move before five years?

Primo: So we'll move toilet cleaner.

Me: Oh that's a great way to spend money.

Ch 12 Sly falls out of bed and I learn that this is a frequent occurrence

Primo: My dad fell out of bed again.

Me: Again?

Primo: This has happened at least three or four times in the past year.

Me: That’s awful! What’s going on?

Primo: I think alcohol is involved.

Me: I’m. Shocked.

Primo: He falls and my mom can’t lift him up.

Me: Nope. Your dad weighs what – 260? – and your mom, as she tells me, is only 119.

Primo: So they have to call the paramedics.

Me: They call an ambulance to pick your drunk dad up?

Primo: How else is he supposed to get up?

Me: I don’t know! Are they at least paying the ambulance bill?

Primo: I didn’t ask. Doesn’t Medicare pay for that?

Me: If they do, they should put in an exclusion that they won’t pay for drunk falls.

Primo: He is going to ask his doctor to write him a prescription for a hospital bed.

Me: You can’t buy one without a prescription? It’s just a bed with rails on the side, right? Let me look – yeah, you can find them on craigslist. I don’t think you need a prescription to buy one.

Primo: But if he gets a prescription, Medicare will pay for it.

Me: I don’t understand. Your parents can afford this kind of thing. It’s not even that expensive.

Primo: My dad thinks that if he pays his premiums, he should get any benefits coming to him.

Me: He has money for booze, for cable, for internet, for a gardener, and for a maid – but he won’t pay for a solution to a problem he has created himself?

Primo: That’s my dad.

Ch 12 We go to premarital counseling not because we are conscientious but because it is a condition of marriage in the Catholic Church

We decide not to do the full-fledged premarital counseling where you write up a budget and talk about who takes out the trash and all of that stuff. My cousin did that before she got married and it was fabulous, but she and her husband are a lot younger than Primo and I. Primo and I have talked through this stuff.

But we figure it can’t hurt to have a few sessions and besides, we have to. So we talk to Father Joe, the priest at my church. Father Joe is from Vietnam and spent time in a concentration camp there before he escaped. He has focus.

His most important marital advice to us is to be nice to each other.

“Husband and wife supposed to try to make each other happy,” he explains. “If wife say, ‘I have head-aitch,’ husband say, ‘Why you tell me?! Go get Tylenol on shelf.’”

“Is it not better when husband say, ‘Oh! You have head-aitch. Here two tablets and glass of water?’ That how husband and wife supposed to be.”

He continues. “This Vietnamese woman tell me, ‘I don’t like cheese! I don’t like sandwich!’ Then she marry American man. She study many cookbook so she can prepare the food he like. After two years, she say, ‘Now I like cheese. There many different kinds of cheese. I did not know!’”

He talks about his life in Chicago. “We live in community,” he says. “Six priests. Five nationalities: Vietnam, Korea, African-American, Philippines, Poland. We cook. Different food every day.”

“Wow!” I say. “That sounds great!”

“Ahhhh!” he answers. “Korea food very spicy! Very spicy! And how can someone eat kimchi every day?”

He also suggests that interrupting someone during a basketball game was not a good idea and that a person especially should not interrupt a basketball game by standing in front of the TV.

He continues, “When I live in community in Chicago, some priest pray, ‘Please let Bears to win Superbowl.’ When Cardinal hear this, he say, ‘Come to my office.’”  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ch 12 We argue about how to eat ice cream

Primo: You've been eating the good stuff[1] out of the ice cream

Me: Yeah. So?

Primo: You act as if that's normal!

Me: No. I act as if you should already know I've been doing that.

Primo: You say that as if you would pick through the cereal to eat only the almonds. (Pause) You wouldn't do that, would you?

Me: Yes. Of course I would.

[1] The fudge, Oreo, and brownie pieces.

Ch 12 I put together a project plan for the wedding

I put together a project plan for the wedding. When you have people staying at your house – against my better judgment, Sly and Doris are staying in our house, you need a plan. They will be here for nine days.

No, that was not my idea. Why do you ask?

Not only will they be with us for nine days, they will be in our bedroom because they cannot take stairs easily and the guest room is upstairs.

Here is a summary of the (four page) plan:

SaturdaySly and Doris arrive San Antonio, Primo pick up
Supper: Gumbo
 SundayPrimo to take Sly and Doris on a tour
Supper: Steak, mac and cheese, grilled veg, Lambert’s rolls
Chocolate zucchini bread?
 MondayPrimo off
Apple pie with Doris?
Rosemary roasted chicken, potatoes
 TuesdayLeftover gumbo
 WednesdayPlant bulbs with Doris?
Leftover chicken
Make bread for Thursday
Morning (9:40) Jenny arrive, Goldie pick up,
Afternoon Mom, Dr. J, and Greg arrive in own car
Supper: garlic chicken, rice, cookies, homemade bread (lots of starch)
 FridayBreakfast – cereal, bagels
Sandwiches, ham, sausage, peanut butter
 1:45 everyone at house, leave for church
Wine for Fr Joe, Pastor Gail
2:00 Wedding
 5:30 leave for restaurant (table will be ready at 6:00)
Wine for us, Rob in lieu of sales tax
How to seat atheists/pastors?

Now that I have written the plan, I am feeling a lot less stressed out. Nothing like getting everything down on paper to make me feel as if I am in control. Now I can think about how fun it will be to have everyone here in a few weeks.

Well. To have my family here. That part will be fun.

My mom saw the full project plan on my other blog. She is teasing me, saying that I should stop worrying already. Everyone can eat sandwiches and they will all be OK, but she's the one who set the bar so high. My mom is a wonderful hostess. Anyone who goes to her home feels welcome and comfortable and that's what I want for my guests. Hence the worry about what they like to eat (I have been pestering Primo with menu ideas for weeks, asking him if his mom and dad would like this, or that, or something else), what sleeping conditions they prefer, and what they like to drink that is not alcohol.  

I am also stocking up on chocolate and current magazines to put in the guest room. Flowers in the guest bathroom, of course. Martha says also a few bottles of water in the room. It's all in the plan.

Ch 12 Jenny says she cannot plan a shower

My sister: I won’t be able to plan a bridal shower and party for you in two and a half months.

Me: That’s OK. I didn’t want to wear penis barrettes anyhow.

Jenny: You don’t even want a shower?

Me: Nope. We’re already shacking up. We already have too much stuff. We’re just going to have a small, quick ceremony to make it legal. No parties. I just want you, Greg, Mom, and Dr. J there.

Jenny: Don’t you want Primo’s mom and dad?

Me: Nope.

Jenny: But they will be there?

Me: Unfortunately, yes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ch 12 Primo buys crummy stuff for the house but it was a good deal

Me: What is all this crap?

Primo: It was a good deal. I'll have rebates.

Me: But what is this?

Primo: That's a mat to put in the bottom of the oven so the oven doesn't get all dirty.

Me: I don't cook stuff that overflows and it’s a self-cleaning oven.

Primo: It was a good deal.

Me: It doesn't matter if it's a good deal if we don't need it.

Primo: I'll have you know that that was $4.99 but is only 99 cents after rebate.

Ch 12 Sly and Doris didn’t like Primo's ex because she was a bad hostess and I think, “Pot! Meet kettle!”

Primo: My parents couldn't stand ex and they had some good reasons. They actually visited us a few times, and ex was a terrible hostess.

Me: Like what?

Primo: The house wouldn't be ready when they arrived, for example, and I had to do everything.

Me: Welllll – they are your parents, not hers. Who did the work when her family visited?

Primo: She did. But she wasn’t working. She had time.

Me: Were your mom and dad nice to her?

Primo: No. She knew they had told me not to marry her. And they never made any attempt to have a good relationship with her.

Me: Yeah, I’m having a hard time siding with your parents on this one. I wouldn’t have knocked myself out, either, if I had been in ex's situation. Did they complain to you that she didn't write to them?

Primo: They did not want contact with ex.

Me: They don't want contact with me, either. So why do they complain about me?

Primo: They want you to be better than ex, but they think you must not be better because you don't want contact with them. They get decide what the contact is, not you. You’re supposed to want contact with them regardless of what they want. You're supposed to earn their admiration and affection.

Me: But I don't want their admiration and affection. They don’t like how I eat bacon. There are no holds barred anymore.

Primo: I know. I just feel so sorry for my mom. You know what my dad is like. She needs someone to be nice to her.

Me: You’re right. And you do realize you are like the poster child for adult children of alcoholics.

Primo: I just want my poor mother to have more than one person in her life who is nice to her. It’s my dad who is the real problem.

Me: You could tell him to go to hell. That could work. I think they teach that at Al-Anon.

Primo: Maybe. No.

Ch 12 We argue about the silverware

Primo: You need to stack the silverware by category and size.

Me: I bought that separator thingy. They are already sorted by category. That is organized enough. But if you want to stack the utensils, go ahead. I don’t care. But I am not doing it your way because your way is stupid.

Primo: This is how it should be. You’re a slob for just tossing each item into its own slot without stacking.

Me: It takes too much time.

Primo: With your way, you have to look through all the spoons to find a big spoon or a little spoon. With my way, they are already separated.

Me: First, the most you would have to look through is half the items. Second, the total time it takes you to separate and stack separately and then to find what you want is way more time than it takes me to toss them and then look for what I want. You have to look at the total process, not just the discrete elements.

This discussion resolves nothing. But instead of fighting, we just pointedly each do it our way in front of the other. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ch 12 Sly and Doris think we are asking if the date is convenient for them, not that we are informing them of a fact that is immutable

We find a date that works for my sister and Pastor Gail, the pastor at Primo’s little Lutheran church, and Father Joe, the priest at my church.

Finding space is a little harder. Turns out you don’t throw a wedding on a dime, at least not a wedding at a church on a Saturday.

What the heck. We’ll do it on Friday instead. My church is not available on any of the dates that work for Jenny, but Primo’s is, so we settle on 2 p.m. on October 3 at his little Lutheran church.

I eavesdrop as he talks to Sly and Doris. I always try to imagine the other side of the conversation – what new thing have they found not to like about me?

I look at the dining room. No table in the dining room because there is no room for the table. The dining room is full of boxes. Where am I going to feed people if I don’t have a table?

Of course, the real answer to this question of “Where will people eat?” should be, “I guess they will take care of feeding themselves because this is a wedding, not a house party.” My mother has already tried to warn me, but, as usual, I ignore her. Ignoring her will probably also be,[1] as usual, to my peril.

Primo: We’ve picked a date.

Primo: October.

Primo: October third.

Primo: Yes, that’s about three months from now.

Primo: Yes I’m sure I want to do this.

Primo: I said I’m sure. I mean it. Why are you even asking me that? That is not relevant to this conversation.

See what I mean about wondering what on earth is being said on the other end of the phone?

Primo: I am not going to discuss this with you. Are you coming or not?

Primo: I can get you tickets with my frequent flier miles.

Primo: To San Antonio so you won’t have to change planes. I think the walking would be too much for mom.

Primo: No, you won’t have to rent a car. I’ll pick you up there.

Note how I do not make a snarky comment about Primo picking them up at the airport so they don’t have to rent a car.

OK. Note how I do not make a snarky comment to Sly and Doris about Primo picking them up at the airport so they don’t have to rent a car.

Primo: Yes, it will be more than an hour in the car. It’s up to you. Would you rather change planes in Atlanta or Chicago?

Primo: Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Primo: What do you mean, “wait?” I thought I would get them right away.

Primo: Can’t your cleaning lady feed them? I thought she loved the cats.

Primo: Then what about Stephanie? Or Jack?

Primo: OK. I’ll talk to you later.

He hangs up.

Primo: They need to see if they can find someone to watch the cats.

Me: Do they understand that you were telling them the date and not asking them if it works for them?

Primo: I think so.

Me: Do they know that their schedule is not really important here? That they are not the ones who have inflexible commitments? They are retired. They have no friends. They have no hobbies. There is nothing that they cannot schedule around.

Primo: I'm not sure they understood what I was telling them. They might think we're willing to change the date. We're not. I will call them back.

[1] See, “Oatmeal, the microwaving of.”

Ch 12 We set a date because now there is a financial benefit to getting married, unlike before, when we would have been married filing joint with two incomes

Me: I guess we need to get married.

Primo: Why the rush?

Me: None, really, except we will be better off with income taxes if we file as married. But only because I have no income now.

Primo: So by the end of the year.

Me: Yes. I talked to Jenny. Her schedule is made three months in advance. She has no free time until September, but we need to give her a date pretty soon.

Primo: What about your brother?

Me: Self-employed – can come whenever.

Primo: Your mom?

Me: Retired! Just like your mom and dad! There are no reasons they can’t come on the date we choose. My sister is the only one we need to check with. I’ll check with the church for some free dates, find out which of those work for Jenny, and fini.

Primo: What about Ted and Jack and Stephanie?

Me: I didn’t think we were inviting them. But if they want to come, fine, I guess, but I don’t think we should set the date with their schedules in mind. I mean, I would love for Stephanie and the kids to come, but I know they can’t. Stephanie already told me – the kids are back in school and she doesn’t have the money to come. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ch 12 I lose my job, which stinks, but I guess the timing could have been worse because at least I can get on Primo’s insurance as his domestic partner

So there is that. I just got laid off. Nice.

PS Being laid off stinks more than I can describe, so I won’t even try. But it is horrible. At least I got a very nice severance package and will be able to find another job. I feel really bad for the people who get laid off because the steel mill or the mine in their town closes and there is no other place to work. I am lucky.

PPS Now the question is do I look for a new job right away or do I wait until after the wedding? Primo thinks I should just wait until after the wedding – actually, he thinks I should take some time off, but he is an engineer who can find a new job in about two seconds. I am an English major and my job searches can take months.

PPS At least when we applied for the mortgage, I still had an income. Plus I had almost paid off my little house and had enough money from the sale of that for a 50% down payment of our new house.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ch 12 We argue about corn on the cob

Me (eating corn on the cob)

Primo: You're not doing it right.

Me: What are you talking about?

Primo: Eating the corn.

Me: I am so.

Primo: No. You're supposed to do it like this. (Demonstrates eating typewriter style.)

Me: Nope. This is the right way. (Rotating.) You can break off the engagement over this if you want.

Ch 12 We argue about butter

You guys, I thought Primo and I already had enough things to argue about – politics, his parents, how leftovers should be put in the refrigerator (he thinks by food type, I think by container size and shape), whether he should be allowed to touch my bellybutton (no) – but I am discovering that when you share a house with someone, you find new things to argue about. I know it’s kind of off-topic[1] to talk about butter and corn on the cob, but I think it’s funny.

Me: Hey! Someone scraped off the top of this stick of butter!

Primo : It might have been me.

Me: But now it's not a full stick of butter! I can't use it for the cookies!

Primo : I needed butter for my corn.

Me: There are bits of butter in the fridge. You could have used those for your corn.

Primo : This is how we did it in my family.

Me: Yeah, well, your family does things wrong.

[1] Although really, if it’s my blog and I am writing, is anything off topic? The topic is what I decide it is, right?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ch 12 Can you be engaged without an engagement ring? I don’t like rings – they highlight my short, stubby fingers and my short, stubby fingernails

Primo: Don’t you want an engagement ring?

Me: No. I don’t like wearing rings.

Primo: But – we are engaged.

Me: I guess. We just bought a house together and I wouldn’t do that if I weren’t going to marry you. But you have never officially proposed. We just kind of agreed we would get married.

Primo: Don’t we need a ring to make it official?

Me: Really? I would rather take a really nice trip to Paris than have a diamond.

Primo: We need to do something to make it official.

Me: You mean more than buy a house?

Primo: Yes.

Me: OK. You know what I want? I want a really nice trash can.

Primo: A trash can? Are you kidding?

Me: No! I hate your stupid trash can. I hate that I have to press a control on the top to open it and that it’s so short so I have to bend over and peeling onions into it is a pain in the neck. My trash can is old and I don’t want either one of them to move into the house with us.

Primo: Then what do you want?

Me: I want that nice tall stainless steel Simple Human one with a foot control for the lid.

Primo: A trash can.

Me: Yes.

Primo: Let me look. What?! It’s sixty dollars! For a trash can!

Me: You were willing to pay thousands of dollars for a ring that serves no practical purpose but won’t spend sixty dollars on a trash can?

Primo: Can I at least see if it goes on sale?

Me: Fine.

Ch 12 A guy kills his wife on their honeymoon, which makes me go, Hmmmm

Me: This guy is being charged with killing his wife during a scuba-diving trip on their honeymoon.

Primo: Wow.

Me: I wonder if they were in the middle of moving.

Ch 12 June We buy a house, I sell my house, Primo gives notice at his apartment

You guys, this process is so, so dull, yet so stressful. If you’ve been through it, you know.

If you haven’t, well, no need to bore you.

Just take as stipulated that these things are done and the reason I have not been posting about it is because it is a royal pain in the neck.