Saturday, June 26, 2004

Happy day  

On Saturdays, I usually collect links from other blogs and from the news and publish them here under the title Marriage links for the week. Today, however, is my 32d birthday, so I'm taking the day off. If you know of a blog post or news story that celebrates marriage, please share it in the comments. Otherwise, have a great weekend.

His and Hers XVI  

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

What is the worst experience you have ever had in a fast food restaurant?

Curt's response

Earlier today, we visited a local restaurant that combines three stores into one front: Togo's (sub sandwiches), Baskin Robbins (ice cream), and Dunkin Donuts (donuts). As we arrived at the counter to order, a young man asked us what we would like. Mrs. Happy said she wanted a bowl of chicken and rice soup. It was the soup of the day, and a sign directly over the counter declared it the soup of the day, but the young man stared at us in confusion, as if my wife were speaking an alien language. "Chicken sandwich?" he asked. "No," she replied, clearly and firmly, "chicken and rice soup." She pointed to the sign that said "Soup of the Day: Chicken and Rice." That confused him even more, and he rushed away from the register to speak to a woman in the food preparation area (a good 30 feet or 12 meters away). They conferred for several seconds, then he looked up in our direction and shook his head, which we took to mean that they had no soup left. He made no move to return to the register, and seemed to expect us to move to the counter nearest to him.

So we walked over to him. My wife told him that she would like a chicken Caesar salad instead. The words "chicken Caesar salad" being part of the same alien language as "chicken and rice soup," we received another stare of blankness and vague panic from the man behind the counter. After Mrs. Happy repeated her order twice more, the young man was able to find his manager and determine that the chicken Caesar salad was indeed still available, though he omitted the word "Caesar" every time he spoke of the "chicken salad" we had ordered—this worried us a little since of the three salads offered by Togo's, three were variations of chicken and salad. The manager assembled the salad, then said, "Okay, well the problem is I only have one packet of Caesar dressing. I have some Thousand Island and some Ranch…" I failed to see why that was a problem since one salad requires only one packet of dressing, but Mrs. Happy prefers Ranch over Caesar anyway, so that's what she got.

The young man took the salad and returned to the bank of cash registers, all three of which at that time were occupied by customers and cashiers. He handed the salad to one cashier, mumbled something in her ear while pointing at us, and walked away. So we stood in line behind people who had arrived after us and waited. When we finally stood face-to-face with the cashier, she said, "Okay, that'll be $6.47." I replied, in a testier-than-usual tone, "Can I have a sandwich?" This flustered her and incited the same look of incomprehension and subtle fear that the young man had mastered so well. She pressed a few random keys on her register, then asked, "What kind of sandwich would you like?" I had decided on a sandwich called the Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich, which combined roasted chicken, pesto sauce, marinated tomatoes, and melted provolone cheese on a toasted bun, so I said, "I'll have the six-inch Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich."

"Okay. What size?" she asked.

I repeated, "Six-inch."

"A large?"

The posted menu did not include size labels such as small, medium, regular, large, x-large, biggie, or lard-butt, so I simply repeated, "Six-inch."

"What do you want on it?"

"What does it come with?"

"Uh…" This stammer was accompanied by the patented Togo's stare®. I pointed to the posted menu that described the sandwich I had ordered. "I want everything it says there," I said.

She nodded as if she finally understood and pressed some keys on the register. She then said, "Okay, that comes to—" but my wife interrupted her tersely: "We'd also like some drinks."

Again, we had caught her off guard. "Oh. You want drinks?" she asked as she fumbled with the register. Mrs. Happy said, "I'd like a small iced caramel swirl latte." The woman asked, "What size?" After a second's hesitation, Mrs. Happy responded, "Small." Before she could total everything up, I said, "And I'd like a small soda." "What kind?" she asked. It was my turn to be caught off guard. Togo's is one of those places that has a self-serve fountain for sodas, and I hadn't yet examined it to see the choices it offered. I repeated, "Just a small soda." The woman insisted on clarification, "What kind?" I pointed to the self-serve fountain and said, "Whatever kind is in that fountain over there." The Togo's stare again flashed across her face. "Oh. I'll just give you a cup then," she said, finding the perfect solution. I would later discover that the soda fountain had no ice. I had to get someone behind the counter to put some ice in my cup for me.

Fast forward ten minutes. We got our food and we got our drinks, and we paid nearly $18 for them. As I sat down at a table and pulled my sandwich out of the carry-out bag (which they gave us even though we were eating at the tables), I found a twelve-inch roasted chicken sandwich. I looked at my receipt and found that they had charged me $7.50 for the sandwich when I had ordered a $4.95 six-inch sandwich. Fast forward another five minutes, during which I stood alone at the cash registers being ignored by the workers. I finally got to talk to a competent manager who refunded me three dollars and let me keep all 12 inches of the sandwich.

I noticed on the menu that adding $1.50 to a sandwich purchase entitled a customer to a drink and a bag of chips. As I was walking away, I saw on my receipt that the price of my small soda was $1.62. I grabbed a bag of chips, ignored the prominently-placed and offensive-to-my-taste tip jar, and never looked back.

Mrs. Happy's response

There was one time at Wendy's that I ordered a "cheeseburger, with lettuce and cheese only" and received a slice of cheese and a leaf of lettuce between two buns, with no hamburger patty. But I think the Togo's experience tops that.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Impact, effect, mark, imprint  

Today I was planning to write about the importance of influence in marriage. I was going to say that a husband should influence his wife by his good behavior. I was going to provide some examples from my own marriage of how I influence my wife. But trying to discern my positive influences on Mrs. Happy was quite a humbling experience.

If influence means "to indirectly or intangibly affect a person or course of events," then I'm hard pressed to pinpoint any influence flowing from me to her. I know that I provide daily encouragement, expressions of love, and practical help, but do my good habits inspire imitation in her life? My bad habits certainly do. My good habits often incite a response, but is that the same thing as influence? Maybe the wife naturally possesses more influence than the husband in the relationship. Maybe she does, but shouldn't. Maybe that's what got Adam and Eve all confused in the first place. Maybe modern husbands should try to overcome Adam's influence on humanity.

I'm rambling. I do that when I'm confused. Any comments from older, wiser, more seasoned husbands would be welcome.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

RLTB™  

Real life trumped blogging so completely yesterday that I didn't even have time to write an RLTB post. Today, life is still holding a hand full of trump, but I managed to squeak in a short blurb here. I'll take this opportunity to draw attention to a recently discovered (by me, anyway) blogger in New York named Kevin McCullough. He's a columnist and radio talk show host who I linked on Saturday because of a post he had written about the science of monogamy. He sent me an e-mail that encouraged me quite a bit:

I was quite impressed with your blog. Thanks for giving me the plug on yours. As a talk show host one of the things I emphasize all the time is the need to strengthen marriage in our world today. I feel very  good about adding you as a blogroll bud to the KMC blog list.

I sign off my show in NYC everyday by saying - "Guys - go home tonight, kiss your wife, play with your kids, and be the 'Kind of man, Every man should be!' - Because in doing so you go further to change the world than anyone else." I've been signing off that way for four years - its a good reminder to myself as well.

I'll be adding his site to the list of links on the left as soon as I get some time to mess with my template. In the mean time, check out his site and the others as well. They're all good reads.

Monday, June 21, 2004

More links  

I missed some links on Saturday due to my performing research on two different computers and not e-mailing the results to myself. I don't want these to go unnoticed, so here they are. Consider this sort of a Marriage Carnival.

Brutally Honest Rick tells his own love story on the occasion of his 23d wedding anniversary.

Miss O'Hara laments the state of modern weddings and reflects on how many of them cheapen the meaning of the ceremony and possibly the meaning of marriage itself.

Messy Christian relates the love story of a couple from two different countries during World War II. As she says, "if there's one thing to be learnt, it is that love can happen during the most difficult times."

Kevin McCullough shares a news item regarding what could be a scientific, biological cure for infidelity and promiscuity.

Another Kevin (Leman, this time), in a Christianity Today article, outlines the concrete reasons a good sex life is worth forethought as well as foreplay.