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It’s a family trait.

Monsieur Stoic, as I may have noted, is a bit anal. He’s can be so literal and so precise at times that you (well, I, really) just want to kick him in the shin. (Note: I am not advocating violence. I’m merely expressing a fantasy.) I am not usually so exact. However, there are moments where the two of us trade roles. The difference is the situation as well as the reaction. When I’m being anal, I freak out. When he’s being anal, he gets really mocking. Let me give you a glimpse of what this is like.

Example A. We are out shopping for groceries. We walk by the milk case, where I open the glass door and reach in for a gallon of 1% milk.

“Don’t grab that one.”


“Check the date on the one behind it.”

“I’m not checking the date. That’s stupid. We’ll go through this gallon in 3 days.”

“Check the date so we have the freshest milk possible.”

“I’m not checking the date,” I say as I set the jug in the cart. He calmly removes it, opens the cooler doors, and swaps it out for a gallon with a use by date 3 days after the one I originally grabbed.

“That was” he chuckles “SO hard, wasn’t it?”

Example B. Since we’re in the process of getting our house ready for sale we need to make things more…presentable. We need new guest bed sheets, so while we’re out and about, I look at sheet sets. (WHY the hell do they make 8 piece sets that have a bunch of stupid pillows and not a single fucking sheet in the set? It makes no sense to me. WHO DRESSES THEIR BED WITHOUT SHEETS?!) I settle on a set that looks nice but has all the necessary pieces and goes with the scheme of the room. I bring it to the cart.

“How much is it?”


Stoic gives me a look. “I’m not paying $80 bucks for a set of sheets.”

I bristle. “Look buddy, I’ve been looking for sheet sets. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decently priced set of sheets that have everything in it? This is a good deal.”

“We can find it cheaper online. Go put it back.”

I chuckle in that way that suggests I am not amused. “You have to be kidding me.”

“I’m not paying full price for a sheet set.”

“But it’s not full price, that’s the sale price.”

“Not cheap enough. We’ll buy it online.”

I growl, but I walk off with the sheet set to put it back. Should have made him do it.

Example C. We are getting ready to can home made vegetable stock, because it’s cheaper and tastier than that crap you buy in a can at the store. We’ve never used a pressure canner before, but he’s helped his dad make pickles, and we’re pretty good at reading. How hard can it be?

“How much is in there?”

“I don’t know, I’m filling up the measuring cup.”

“Why not use a ladle?”

“Because this is easier.”

“But you’re not filling it up to the 2 cup mark.”

“Then I’ll get some more in there,” he says, moving to dip the cup back in the heated broth.

“Just use a fucking ladle,” I say exasperatedly, shoving one in his hands.


“Wait, you didn’t pour all that in.”

“It doesn’t all fit.”

“But how much did you put in there?”

“I dunno. A cup and a half?”

“Honey, I need to know.”

“I didn’t measure. I can’t tell you,” he replies without sympathy as he loads up the next cup without really looking at the amount.

“HEY.” My frustration is palpable, but he dumps it into the waiting jar anyway. “You need to measure that!”

“It’s not that big a deal.”

I’m more or less panicking, so my voice is getting shrill. “YES, it is. I cook with this stuff, I need to know how much is in there so I don’t have to measure.”

He shrugs. Inside, I’m screaming. I take over filling the jars and learn that a pint jar? Doesn’t actually hold a pint.

“But I need these to hold 2 cups! If it doesn’t hold 2 cups then it messes up my plan!” And I’ll lose my homemaker badge and life will suck and BLARGH. So, in light of this lesson, it makes sense to me to start filling some of the jars in 1 cup increments, so I fill one of the jars half full.

“You can put more than that in there.”

I snap at him, “NO. This is how much is going in this jar because this is a logical amount.”

No conflict until we’re outside with the camp stove and pressure canner. This happens:

“How much pressure is needed?”

“Ten pounds.” Not that I knew, but I had looked it up on the internet BECAUSE THE INTERNET KNOWS EVERYTHING.

Fifteen minutes later….

“Wait, the pressure gauge is reading 11.”

“It’s like cooking with the pressure cooker. You get it up to pressure and have to relieve pressure when there’s too much.”

“How do we relieve pressure on the canner?”

“You don’t. You turn the heat down.”

“But what if it keeps going up? It’s supposed to be at 10!”

“It’s not going to hurt anything if it goes up a little. I wouldn’t let it get to 15 or anything.”


Of course, after I relent and let the pressure vacillate between 10 and 12 without having a cow, the pressure drops to 8. I start to worry. IF IT’S DOWN TO 8 THEN WE’VE RUINED ALL THE JARS AND WE’VE DONE ALL THIS WORK FOR NOTHING AND OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW POORLY THIS IS GOING.

Stoic comes out to check on my progress. I’m not visibly upset, but as soon as I open my mouth…


My head explodes.

On second thought, I’m not anal. I’m just neurotic. My bad.


Beating my wall against a head

Trying to plan a weekend getaway with Monsieur Stoic is so frustrating that I think I’d rather spend an entire day trying to keep Cult Leader quiet. It would probably be less trouble, in fact. Stoic has an addiction to saving money, and will do whatever he can to keep from spending it if he doesn’t have to. This comes in handy, like that time we bought a house for half price, or the time the car dealership lost money on the brand new car we bought from them, or when we’re out of Frosted Flakes, which is the only cereal all 4 of us can and will eat, and 200 boxes of it magically showed up at our doorstep. But he will stay in a hovel before he stays in a semi nice hotel if it means paying an 20 bucks less. We will stay an hour and a half away from our destination if it means an extra $50 in his pocket.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m cheap as fuck when it comes to some things. That toothpaste tube? You’d better not throw that away until your fingers are blistered trying to get that last dab out. You’re using a spatula to scrape out every last glob of mayonnaise, so help me god. Don’t throw out those carrot peels, because I can totally use them when I make a chicken stock. Are you really running the dishwasher like that? You better fill it up to capacity, or I’ll shove you in there to take up space.

But I also understand that sometimes, you’re going to have to pay a little bit more for some things. Like clothes. I’ve stopped shopping for clothes the way he shops for clothes because Old Navy shirts are shit and only last about a year and Target jeans either smell funny or fit funny. No, now I’ll spend $20 on a shirt that will last 2 years unless the monsters decide that rubbing their greasy fingerprints on it is a great way to start the day, and why not end it with stretching out Mommy’s shirt until it’s no longer recognizable? And you know what else? You probably shouldn’t cut corners on things that hold a baby’s shit unless you like running your washer 40 times a day.

Vacations are the same way. No, I don’t want to stay in some fussy luxury hotel (although that time the bestie and I got a mansion for the price of a studio because the studio was a falsely advertised piece of shit was pretty rad) or sleep in a water bed made from seal tears. But I also don’t want to sleep on a bed where a hooker was killed, and I don’t want to worry about getting shivved when getting ice.

Right now, we’re looking to go away for the weekend of our anniversary. We’ll have been together for 5 years on the 22nd, so we’re celebrating that shit. Anyone who puts up with me for 5 years straight deserves a goddamn trophy. And honestly, I deserve a vacation for dealing with him for half a decade. Surprisingly, we have sitters lined up for Future Cult Leader AND Evil Genius–at the same time!–so all we need to do is plan. He doesn’t want to fly anywhere (even though he has a gajillion frequent flyer miles and could spare some for a mini trip for us) and I don’t really want to go to Lincoln City even though it’s cheap because frankly, I’m sick of it. I’ve been going there for the last 29 years, it’s getting old, whatever.

We settled on a road trip, but a road trip to where? I suggested the 11 hour drive to the Redwood Forest, which he vetoed because hotels in the area are too expensive. I vetoed Crater Lake because the nearest hotels are an hour and a half away, and I’m not staying in some podunk town 90 minutes away from our intended destination.

“We could drive down 101,” he suggested without choking.

Hmmm. I like that idea. I’ve always wanted to do it. So I came up with an itinerary that was reasonable and started looking for hotels. Three nights = three hotels, and we’ve found 2. I don’t know how familiar you are with Oregon’s North Coast, but it’s expeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnsive. Not as expensive as sleeping on a bed made from dodo feathers and woolly mammoth skin, but if you’re going to stay a weekend prepare to give an arm and about half your leg.

I am okay with staying at a hotel for 1 night at $100 ONE time. He is not. It’s way too much money for him to spend on one night, plus gas, plus food, and speaking of food I can count on eating dollar menu fast food during our trip to save money. I should start saving up for the gastric bypass surgery I’ll need.

We’re at an impasse. It’s his delicate financial sensibilities versus my desire to explore the always beautiful Oregon coast as well as some new sexual positions we can’t try at home for fear of waking the kids. Hmmm. I wonder if there’s a position I could use as my ace in the hole.

So we could go home and not finish our Oregon Coast tour, which I refuse to consider, or we can keep looking for alternatives until it’s next Wednesday and we don’t have the last day of our trip planned.

At this rate, we may be sleeping in the car.

Over a dozen dollars

I cut Evil Genius’s bangs the other day.

Since she was born without hair and was, in fact, bald as a cue ball until right around her first birthday, she has what is known as the Baby Mullet. It’s less “business in the front, party in the back” as it is “I’m letting this shit grow out because that’s the social norm and she isn’t old enough to thumb her nose at the social norm yet”.

The problem with cutting a 2 year old’s bangs? Um, everything. I was not about to take her to Perfect Look for a freaking trim because a.) I’m cheap and b.) I hate salons. I hate everything about them. The smells give me a headache, at least one person is snotty for no reason or maybe I just don’t understand how salons and shit work and c.) I’m cheap. So instead, I put the hair I wanted her to grow out in a ponytail, took her and Monsieur Stoic outside, and sat her on his lap. Then I pulled out the scissors.

I should not be allowed to play with scissors.

She moved. I slipped. Then I made that mistake where you try to cut too much hair at once so it cuts crooked. And then she moved while I made that move.

Needless to say, I probably should have spent the twelve fucking dollars.