Browsing Archives for November 2007

I rented four movies this week. That’s right FOUR! Two for my boys – so that on Thursday I could send my children down to the bleak basement to watch a movie while I had the girls over for Bunko. Then I rented two more for myself, as a coping device to try and stave off a hideously busy weekend which included a dress rehearsal and the performance of a local fundraiser/variety show. On Sunday, my children’s choir sang and ACH OY! am I dead yet?

I rented the movies under the delusion that I would squeeze them in sometime before they were due back on Sunday night at 8 pm which has come and gone and I still have not watched them. Now I am suffering post traumatic renter’s late fee stress disorder sydrome.

In our small town there are three options for movie rentals. One – drive fifteen miles to Manhattan and rent a movie with little to no worries about retuning them in a timely manner. Two – rent them from what we call “The Other Movie Store” which is a somewhat frightening place with a display case full of knives and lots of other weirdness. If you are a minute late returning the films from “The Other Movie Store” they call and let you know. There is often a small yipping dog on a chain that likes to come ripping around the register whenever a customer comes in at “The Other Movies Store”. But sometimes I go there, because I don’t want to pay the ludicrous fines that so quickly compound at the local grocery store.

Renting from the local grocery store is a very pleasant shopping experience. The store is clean, well organized, no yipping dogs, no knives, but I do have to endure the choking, coughing, gagging, reflex from the teenage cashier every time they bring up our account and tell how much I owe in late fees.

“Uh…um… ma’am…you… uh… owe…ahem…uh…six thousand nine hundred and eighty two dollars and twenty three cents in late fees…ahem… do you wanna pay that now???”

So I have done it again. Rented another movie that I still have not watched and now I have four movies that are past due. Tomorrow I will forget to return them as that is laundry day and I am soooo dedicated to that particular task. Tuesday I help out in Jack’s classroom in the morning and then I spend the afternoon recovering. Wednesday I panic for eight solid hours about my children’s choir and then I have to actually show up to direct it. Thursday…hmmmm…I think Thursday is the day I am scheduled to stare into space and get sidetracked from dusk to dawn. Friday – drive to Manhattan and rent some movies.

So you can see – I am far too productive of a person to bother with movie returns. These late fees are just a by product of a fascinating life and it is a cross that I must bear.

I know I know – Net Flicks. Let’s just all say it together! Net Flicks. I am still contemplating that one. I keep waiting for the ceiling fans to give me the answer. Until then, the local grocery store will continue to make a mint off of me and my late fees. I call it supporting your local business. I am just a never ending font of do-gooderness.

Here we have the young male species of the tribe…second born and thus always trying to overcome his #2 status.

Running faster, jumping higher, punching harder, must read noticeably large volumes, must be the first to answer all questions…

must dig the deepest hole in the shortest amount of time.

Unlike the third born male, or “gooficus ballicus” as they are referred to in scientific circles.

Or the fourth and last male of the tribe known for his unbending, iron clad heart that no amount of a mother’s salty tears can melt. He goes his own way. He is not moved. He does not need to please you.

The second born must please, must impress, must strive. It is what they do. There is no other way.

Except for the occasional…


Remember that line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? “The husband is the head, but the wife is the neck…and the neck turns the head.” I am not Greek, and I would like to think that I live outside the constraints of a marriage where one person is the ultimate decision maker. Unfortunately, that would be a lie and I would hate to start telling lies or making gross exaggerations or gesticulating too wildly, just for the sake of a good blog.

The Country Doctor is not a fist pounding, my way or the highway type of guy. He does not order us around and make outrageous demands, but he is very good at digging his heels in. He digs his heels in so hard that there are holes in the floors all over our house. He is very difficult to sway, persuade or convince, ultimately preferring to wait and see for about seventy twillion years.

I of course, am the exact opposite. In fact, I have made all of the most vital and important decisions in my life in a matter of nanoseconds. I have a unique, steadfast and uncompromising ability to believe that things will work themselves out. I do not spend time worrying about what could go wrong.

In stark contrast, the Country Doctor spends pretty much all of his time worrying about what could go wrong. He can take years to decide whether or not to go to the bathroom. He can’t just grab a magazine and head to the little room down the hall. First he must consider ALL THE OPTIONS. Second, he must pelt whomever is within pelting distance, with one thousand questions regarding ALL THE OPTIONS. Third, he must rapidly wear out his wife with questions about ALL THE OPTIONS (that takes about twenty three seconds) and seek someone else to pelt. Thus, he must call his brother, “The Oracle” known as Steve.

Here is a picture of “The Oracle” known as Steve

Steve, Steve, Steve, where would we be without “The Oracle” known as Steve? Steve has counseled the Country Doctor on everything from marriage, kids, car buying, house buying, job searches, furniture arranging, paint colors, and if we should go ahead and spring for that new can opener or just live with the old one a while longer. There were a few years that I wasn’t sure if I was married to the Country Doctor or if I was married to Steve. It seemed like we were unable to change our children’s diapers without first consulting him.

Over the course of my marriage to the Country Doctor and strangely to his brother “The Oracle” known as Steve as well, I have learned a few techniques to manage this situation and get my way more quickly, but it took a while to figure it out. I wasted a lot of energy trying tantrums, tears, angrily flinging clothes into a suitcase, long stony silences, tirades, ranting, raving, looks of pure hatred, more stony silences, more tears, more flinging clothes into a suitcase. After a while I got tired…very, very tired. Exhausted, limp, with blotchy skin and a dry scratchy throat, I had to find a better way. A way to stop the Country Doctor from constantly consulting his brother, Steve and as a result throwing gigantic wrenches into all my plans.

Then one day a miracle happened. The Country Doctor and I were walking around a car lot having a tremulous conversation about buying a car. He pointed out a vehicle that I did not like.

“I think that car is pretentious.” I said.

The Country Doctor backed away from it as if it were on fire. I took a sharp gulp of air and wondered if I had just discovered the Holy Grail of husband management. I again tested my fledgling theory while we drove home past some big Kansas City mansions.

Pointing out a beautiful stone villa I said, “Nice – but kind of pretentious don’t ya think?”

The Country Doctor veered into the other lane on two wheels, drove over several beautifully manicured lawns to a back alley and finally found a much less “pretentious” route for our drive home.

In order to completely satisfy my curiosity that this was not just a strange two-time anomaly, but in fact a sturdy, set in stone behavioral pattern that I could abuse for the rest of my married life, I went home and made some dinner. A very special dinner, beef stroganoff, the Country Doctor’s favorite meal. I carefully waited until he placed the first bite in his mouth. Then I said, “You know honey, I always kind of thought that people who liked beef stroganoff were just a tad pretentious.”

He turned green, spit out his food, got up from the table, gargled salt water, and bathed his tongue in boiling water. He hasn’t touched beef stroganoff since.

From then on, whenever I sensed that I was not going to get my way, I started peppering the discussion with words like fake, false, hoity toity, ostentatious, pompous, arrogant, showy and the big gun – pretentious. Any haughty word was a naughty word that caused the Country Doctor to run panicking, his hands covering his ears in a different direction… my direction… towards me… and exactly what I wanted.

A few years ago we had a conversation something like this…

Me – I would like to build a house.

CD – Never in a million trillion years. You are insane. You are a crazy woman. This will never happen.

Me – Well, I think the house we live in right now is kind of …pretentious…

CD – What?

Me – Yes, and I would like to live in something a little …less pretentious…

CD – Like what

Me – Oh…I don’t know… maybe a simple little farmhouse something like that.

CD – A Farmhouse??

Me – Well…yes… farmhouses are never, ever, ever, ever, not even the teeniest bit, pretentious – or showy or fake or ostentatious. They are just simple and natural and honest and scrub faced and very, very, very, very real. Just like the people that live inside of them.

CD – Maybe you’re right…But let me call Steve.

Me – You mean “The Oracle” known as Steve?

CD – Yes

Me – Well…okay…but if you ask me… “The Oracle” known as Steve has a few opinions that are just a wee bit…hoity toity..

CD – They are?

Me – And he doesn’t live in a simple little farmhouse…does he…?

CD – uh…no

Me – In fact, you might even say that his house is well…kind of…ostentatious.

CD – Gosh – you’re right. Maybe we should think about building…but only a very simple farmhouse. One that is not even a tiny bit pretentious.

Me – I absolutely agree, but didn’t you want to talk to your brother Steve?

CD – Uh no…I don’t think that is a good idea.

Me – Okay…if you’re sure

CD – I am.

And that is how I took control of my life and started to get what I wanted out of it. It worked for me and now my only hope is to help others. If on the off chance you need even more help, I can get you in touch with my brother-in-law and former quasi-husband, “The Oracle” known as Steve.