Saturday, May 01, 2004

What a day  

I'm coming to the end of the fullest day I've had in quite a while, and I'm exhausted. I don't really have the energy right now to do a collection of marriage links for the week.

I will say, though, that I had the absolute pleasure of spending several hours this afternoon with international bloggers Dr. Warnock, Messy Christian, and Mac Swift, chatting in a Starbuck's near Times Square. It wasn't quite the drunken brawl that Mac predicted, but there was a good deal of lively discussion. I'd like to say more about it, but like I said, I'm exhausted. Check back Monday for the full story.

Friday, April 30, 2004

His and Hers IX  

His and Hers is a question or discussion topic relating to marriage that I post every Tuesday or Wednesday. On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating marriage. This week's question is:

What pet peeves of your spouse annoy you? In other words, what annoys your spouse that you wish they could just come to terms with?

Mrs. Happy's response

Curt's most annoying pet peeve may be the disdain he directs at people who say "hi" through a third party. For example, if I run into a friend while I'm out shopping, and the friend says, "Tell Curt I said hi," I have to gently explain to them that I can't tell him that without receiving a lecture on what an empty, pointless gesture that is. Then I have to ask for a more substantial message to pass on. Frankly, it's embarrassing, and I wish he could just let it go and accept a "Hi" in the spirit it is intended. Curt doesn't have many serious quirks, but the ones he has are, to put it lightly, real doozies.

Curt's response

My wife's most annoying pet peeve is Jenna Elfman. For those of you who don't know, she is a primarily comedic actress who plays the role of Dharma on the TV series Dharma and Greg. I say she plays that role, but I'm not sure the series is still on the air. I may never know, because Mrs. Happy takes great pains not to acknowledge its existence unless she feels moved to voice her disgust over the presence of its leading lady. I will never be able to see the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action despite my wife's great affection for Bugs Bunny simply because Ms. Elfman's name is listed in the credits. When I'm watching television and a commercial appears featuring the pet peeve in question, my wife will yell from another room, "I can't stand that woman," repeatedly until I change the channel. I have no strong feelings about "that woman's" work one way or the other, but I can certainly think of more annoying actresses. Even so, I do not begrudge my beloved her irrational reaction to Jenna Elfman except when it inconveniences me, which fortunately is not that often.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

This week's question  

His and Hers is a question or discussion topic relating to marriage that I post every Tuesday or Wednesday. On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating marriage. This week's question is:

What pet peeves of your spouse annoy you? In other words, what annoys your spouse that you wish they could just come to terms with?

See Angel's comment in Tuesday's post for an example. Her husband's pet peeve about shoes in the living room might annoy her. It would certainly annoy me. Then again, my habit of rarely picking up after myself would probably annoy him, too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Essential knowledge  

Back in 1992, before I had even met the future Mrs. Happy, I had a job in a door factory where I worked with a married man named Lee. That was the year of the George Bush Sr./Bill Clinton presidential election. That was the first presidential election I could have voted in. I didn't cast a vote that year, but the outcome made me vow never to miss a presidential or congressional election again. Anyway, as you probably know, Bill Clinton won. I was bummed about that, Lee was bummed about that, and we complained to each other about how our new president was going to ruin the country. One day soon after the election, he said to me, "I'm talkin' to the wife last night and she says we finally got someone in the White House who'll actually do some good. Couldn't believe it. Been married to that woman three years and never knew she was a Democrat." They divorced within the year, though I don't think it had anything to do with politics.

When you're married, you're supposed to know things about your spouse. Some things are difficult—especially things tied up in memories that affect a person's reactions in a seemingly illogical way. For instance, I can't stand to hear the song The Candy Man Can. Something about it strikes me as being vaguely demonic, though I can't pinpoint why. I assume that I must have some repressed childhood memory of an unspeakable trauma that occurred while that song was playing somewhere. I don't know. The point is, though, that my wife knows this about me, so she would never do something so insensitive as to throw me a surprise party and blast that evil tune on a stereo while 30 people jump out and scare me. But I'm getting off track.

Some things are easy to know about your spouse, and downright essential. Knowing them will enable you to make your spouse feel special, and not knowing them could get you in a lot of trouble. Here's a partial list of things you should know:

If you think you know these things, check with your spouse and make sure. If you don't know these things, ask. In a marriage, ignorance is farther from bliss than you might imagine.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Marriage is a funny thing, both weird and ha-ha.

The other day, I was in the kitchen washing dishes and listening to Caedmon's Call on my iPod while my wife was straightening the bedroom. Just about the time I started working on the plates, the eternally precious Mrs. Happy walked through the kitchen door with a purpose. She strode up to me, planted a kiss on my cheek, then turned around and left the way she came. I didn't bother asking why she did it. I knew that such a conversation would go something like this:

her: <kiss>
me: What was that for?
her: I just love you. That's all.
me: (smiling) I love you, too.
cue Smurf music

Since I have to wash all our dishes by hand, and since drinking glasses are by far the most annoying things to wash, we usually drink out of disposable plastic cups. Since cups cost money, and since we mainly drink filtered water, we try to use cups as much as we can before throwing them away. One day, Mrs. Happy was sitting at the kitchen table producing some artwork. A couple of cups were on the table. Thinking that I might take one, fill it with water, then drink the water, I approached the table, picked up the nearest cup and asked:

me: Is this cup okay to use?
her: Sure.
me: What are these yellow spots in it?
her: Oh, that's paint.
me: (shocked) You were going to let me drink out of a cup that you used for mixing paint?
her: (appallingly unconcerned) It's only watercolor.

Friday night, we watched the DVD version of a movie called Sexy Beast. (It had nothing to do with non-human creatures, sexiness, or sex. I have no idea what the title even means.) My dear wife can't stay awake through a movie that begins at 10:00 p.m. or later, despite her protests to the contrary every fortnight or so. She drifted in and out of consciousness throughout Sexy Beast, catching only glimpses of it through bleary eyes and a half-awake mind. When we finally went to bed, she told me:

her: I couldn't make sense of that movie from what I saw.
me: Yeah. It was pretty non-linear. It jumped from the present to the past, then skipped some of the present to get to the future, then flashed back to the part of the present that it skipped, and threw in some surreal dream sequences here and there.
her: (fading fast) What was it about?
me: Well, it was an inverted heist movie. The first 80 percent of the story focused on the old gang trying to convince the retired gang member to come back for one last score. The next ten percent focused on the actual score. And the last ten percent showed us what happened after the score. It was sort of like Ocean's Eleven meets Pulp Fiction meets Donnie Darko.
her: (with half-open eyelids and slightly blurred speech) Oh! I actually thought of Dokkie Darno.

I was unable to stifle a chortle at her cinematic spoonerism. When I started laughing, she realized what she had said, then burst forth in an uncontrollable guffaw. After a second or two, her laughter outlived any humor Dokkie Darno himself would ever have expected to provide. Her laughing made me laugh, which made her laugh more, which made me unable to stop, which she found hilarious, etc. We were sore and exhausted by the time we actually fell asleep.

Yeah. Marriage is funny. Sometimes weird. Sometimes ha-ha. But very, very funny.