Photos, Plimsolls, and Paybacks

Image 1
My most flattering photo. Ever.

Sometimes people (especially my mother) tell me that I share too many personal things about my husband in this blog. They think he must be some kind of saint for tolerating what I write here. I don’t agree because everyone who knows a writer should be well aware that they should be careful of what they say lest they wind up as blog or book fodder. It comes with the territory. The reason I don’t feel bad writing about my husband is because he’s a photographer. He’s always walking around with his camera, snapping unwanted photos, and calling it “art.” Just tonight, after I’d crawled into bed after washing my face, hair still up and sans makeup, he thought it might be fun to snap a photo of me despite my specifically asking him to do no such thing. For this action, he received the look of death, a look which he of course captured with his fancy camera. He then had the nerve to show it to me and wax rhapsodic about how great the camera is in low light. Evil.

There's a glass slipper in there somewhere, I'm sure.
There’s a glass slipper in there somewhere. You just know there has to be.

In retribution for this unfair photo, I give you a photo and a story of my own. This is a photo of a small portion of my husband’s shoe collection, the portion that is currently in residence on the floor on his side of the bed. He also has shoes stored in our closet and in the laundry room. I understand there are splinter sects of his shoes hiding throughout our house like rebels in caves in Afghanistan. Yes. My husband owns a lot of shoes. He owns more pairs of shoes than most other men I know. He probably owns more shoes than many women I know as well. In fact, for a man who has such a difficult time selecting a pair of shoes to purchase (he once spent about 1.5 hours picking out a pair of Birkenstock sandals, which he promptly rethought and then returned the next day for a different pair), it’s borderline miraculous that he could ever have found the time to purchase so many pairs. I make no claims as to the quality of his shoe collection, but the quantity is impressive.

I have friends who are married to men who might be casually referred to as a guy’s guy. These men spend their weekends watching sports. They know how to fix things around their home. They wouldn’t be caught dead sipping white wine. They don’t buy copies of Real Simple. They don’t know the difference between a Mary Jane and a peep toe. These friends often bemoan living with their more caveman-like husbands. They tell me they wish their husbands were more like Steve. By that, I assume they mean more interested in shoes. I tell them to be careful what they wish for. A husband like Steve may be able to tell you which pump looks best with your pencil skirt, but this knowledge comes with a price. A man who is knowledgeable about shoes will require a lot more closet space, and you’ll still have to live with a mound of man shoes next to your bed.

The Sarcasm Curse

Living with me makes people crazy.

You know how you’re warned when you become a parent that what you say and how you say it will come back to haunt you? Well that, of course, is true. My mother was sarcastic and mouthy with me and I, in turn, became sarcastic and mouthy with her when I hit my teenage years and knew I was too big to spank with the wooden spoon any longer. I am still sarcastic and mouthy, and now I have two sons. I’ve tried to curb my sarcasm around them so that I might avoid hearing my words echo back at me. Sadly, I know I have not been highly effective in that arena. Although my boys haven’t yet become too obnoxious with me verbally, I’m sure that is because they are still smaller and weaker than I am and know that the punishment for backtalk in this house is swift and ruthless. They’re scared. I know, though, that won’t last forever. Sarcasm patterns tend to repeat themselves.

What I’ve noticed lately, though, is a different curse gained through my excessive use of sarcasm. Tonight I walked into the boys’ bathroom after they’d been asked to get into their pajamas and brush their teeth. Joe’s clothes were scattered on the floor, as usual, dropped exactly where he had taken them off. I called downstairs and told him that his clothes were not where they belonged. Then, I went back to doing what I had been doing and forgot all about my request. About a half an hour later I walked past their bathroom and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Joe had actually picked up his clothes and put them in the hamper after my first and only request. This is borderline miraculous. I was shocked. I wanted to believe it was true, but I started scanning my brain to try to remember if perhaps I had done it for him. I do that sometimes, and my brain is not what it used to be so I forget. After pondering it for a bit, I decided that he had in fact come upstairs and put away his own clothes. I called downstairs to let him know how happy and proud I was.

“Joe…thanks for putting your clothes in the hamper, buddy. I appreciate it.”

“Mom, I did put my clothes in the hamper,” came his whining reply.

“I know you did, sweetie. That’s why I said thanks.”

“Oh…I just thought you were being sarcastic again,” he said.

So, this is what my sarcasm has gotten me. Damn. Now my kids don’t even believe a simple statement I make. I guess I never thought about that possible outcome when I let sarcasm rule my home. I’d like to say that I’m going to work harder to cease my sarcastic ways, but that would be like asking Porky Pig not to stutter. It’s just not going to happen. So, I will merely try to  appreciate their efforts genuinely and more often so they don’t assume obnoxiousness over honesty. That should help. Or, at least it won’t hurt.