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In Life, My Wife Got Shortchanged

Dear Reader,

This is a desperate plea for help. Not for me, mind you. For my wife, Michele. I don’t know how to put this delicately, but my wife suffers from VID – Vertical Impairment Disorder. She is barely 5 feet tall. And she has remained that height for as long as I’ve known her. I’m doubtful she’ll overcome her impairment any time soon. But I’m a patient husband.

Nobody knows for sure why God chose to punish her by making her so short. Perhaps her parents stopped feeding her when she reached 4’9”. Or maybe, given that she is from Canada, where nine months of the year they live in total darkness, she didn’t get enough sunlight.

Who knows why she is thus afflicted. I would ask her mom, who’s 5’1” or her dad, who’s 5’3”, but I doubt they can shed any light. One thing’s for sure: my wife is often overlooked – unless you look down – way down – to see her.

My heart aches because there is nothing I can do to help her grow to a normal adult height – through no lack of trying. For a while I suggested wearing 8-inch heels, but that was a total bust. I kept falling over. Then I suggested perhaps SHE should wear the high heels. But she had this utterly silly idea about accepting the way God made her. But I would not give up. I bought her a grow light. However, the only thing that’s sprouted so far is the ficus tree. One time I surprised her with a dousing of Miracle-Gro. While it’s done wonders for our house plants (you should see the ficus now!), the only part of my wife that grew was her ire. Actually, she did seem a tad taller when she shouted in my face to turn off the hose.

After several years of trying in vain to coax my wife to a respectable 5’5”, I concluded I was being terribly shortsighted. So, I’ve decided to accept her just the way she is. We are determined to still have a quality life together even though we may have to make a few height-restricted accommodations. For example, Michele can’t reach anything on the top kitchen shelf, so I often will stop watching TV to retrieve the fondue pot or maybe a tall vase for her. And I will do this gladly – unless the game is in overtime.

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  • I know how crushing VID can be for the sufferer and for the family. You know my wife, and…
    Seth Greenblatt
  • Published On Nov. 16, 2017 by TEJ
  • Home Cooking for Husbands Who Don’t Cook

    In our house, my wife does a lot of the cooking… okay, most of the cooking… okay, all of it. I’d gladly do more.  I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest culinary expert, but I can microwave a six-minute Stouffer’s Mac N’ Cheese like the best of them. For some inexplicable reason, though, my wife does not consider that “making dinner.” She once had the nerve to tell me toasting two frosted cinnamon pop tarts does not constitute “preparing breakfast” either. She’s so unreasonable.

    There are millions of husbands who love the challenge of preparing sophisticated haute cuisine meals using exotic ingredients like foie gras and arugula, with a side of home-made Dijon-pepper sauce. I’m just not one of them. I never grasped the appeal of laboring for an hour to prepare a lavish feast that I will scarf down in fifteen minutes, only to spend another 45 minutes cleaning up the four pots, five bowls, and nine ladles required to turn my kitchen into a disaster area.

    Hey, I can prepare a home-cooked meal every bit as well as the next husband who has never cooked one. But recently, my wife decided it would be a good thing “for our relationship” if I were to pitch in more in preparing our dinners. She presented a ridiculously lame argument about how she has been making the meals for our family for the past thirty years. I countered with a much more cogent argument about not messing with a good thing. Surprisingly, she didn’t take that as a compliment. In my defense, I handle all the clean-up after every meal. And I try extremely hard to make sure I whine about it out of ear shot of my wife.

    But my wife is no dummy – despite evidence to the contrary in the form of her decision to marry me. She had signed up for a service called Home Chef, which sends you a box filled with all the ingredients pre-measured to readily conjure up fancy meals like Salmon in Brown-Butter Tomato Relish or Sumac-Spiced Steak & Butternut Squash. Nowhere on their list of entrée options could I locate Chili Dogs with Fries. Go figure.

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    • I would highly recommend that you stay at least a football field length from any room that contains a stove,…
      Eleanor rushworth
  • Published On Oct. 25, 2017 by TEJ
  • The Upside of Getting Old

    I recently turned 45. Even more recently, I turned 62. This old body is starting to show signs of wear and tear. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure it’s way out of warranty. When I was a teenager, I thought anyone in their sixties was ancient. But now that I’m one of those people, I realize that as a naive 17-year-old, I was … 100% correct. If you’re one of those youthful people still in your teens, twenties, thirties or even forties, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve discovered many advantages to getting old.

    For example, at my age, I’ve stopped worrying about what other people think of my appearance. It’s so liberating. Sure, my body will never regain the six-pack abs I never had in my youth. And yes, my waistline is not quite as svelte as it once wasn’t. That’s okay. That’s the great thing about getting to this point in life: you can look back and finally accept that most of your hopes and dreams have passed you by. Nobody expects you to do any great new thing in your next chapter – because there is no next chapter. So, you can kick back and read the latest John Grisham novel – on the couch – in your boxers – scarfing down peanut butter from the jar.

    I’ll admit that I don’t have quite as much hair as I used to. But, full disclosure, I still have way more than my three brothers. Trust me, by comparison to them, I look like a member of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. Besides, now I’m finding hair in exciting new places, like my ears, my nostrils and the knuckles of my left hand. (But not my right hand, for some reason. Should I be worried about that?)

    Another benefit of aging is that I no longer worry about all the embarrassing things I did the previous day – because I usually can’t remember doing them. My recall skills have declined a bit in recent years. For example, last weekend, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the name of that gifted group who sang Let It Be and Hey Jude. Then hours later, BAM, it hit me: Of course! The Grateful Dead.

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    • Tim, one of your best and I am right there with you! If I were a facebook participant,…
      Thomas Owen
  • Published On Sep. 27, 2017 by TEJ
  • What You Need to Know Before You Remodel

    Right now, we’re far, far along in a major remodeling project – by which I mean we’re almost 15% through. On the off chance you’re foolishly thinking of doing something just as bone-headed, let me pass along some valuable advice.

    People who have survived the ordeal of a home makeover will use words like “exhausting”, “overwhelming” and “it was entirely my wife’s idea.” But there are countless others who tackled the same project who don’t have a single negative word to say about their experience. That’s because they’re all dead. It killed them. But if they could return from the grave, they’d totally concur with the survivors.

    Before you begin your long, arduous journey into this Hell hole, ask yourself a few salient questions: “Why on earth would you take on such a lengthy, expensive, frustrating endeavor?” and “Is your life raising teenagers not stressful enough already?” and “How do you feel about living in the garage for the next six months?” These are all excellent questions I wish someone had posed to me before we took the plunge. Actually, my sister raised all these points, but what does my sister know about home improvements? (I can’t believe you wrote that! – Betsy, your editor and SISTER!)

    My best counsel would be to forget about a remodel. Buy a nice hot tub instead. Way less hassle. But once you’ve decided to ignore my advice, the first thing to consider is how extensive of an upgrade? Are you simply looking to retile the bathroom? Or is it a bit more wall to wall, like ripping out the carpeting and replacing it with hardwood floors? Or have you gone completely off the rails and decided to gut the entire main level down to the studs and start over? Only an idiot would think such a massive undertaking was a good idea, and by idiot, I am, of course, referring to my wife’s husband.

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    • Good one Tim! Especially loved how the dead people kept their advice to themselves! :)
      Dorothy Rosby
  • Published On Sep. 19, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Personal War with a Backyard Mole

    I’m not a violent man. But everyone has their breaking point. And I’ve reached mine. If you’re a homeowner, there are three certainties in life: your property taxes will go up, the roof will need to be replaced SOON, and with the first blossoms of Spring, moles will arrive in your yard.

    I’ve lived in three different houses over the past 28 years. I’ve had a mole problem in every location. Not to sound paranoid, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same mole in each place. He’s following me. I’ve named him Henry – because I hate the name Henry. He probably crawls onto my covers at night just to glare at me with those nasty, vengeful pinhole eyes of his, daring me to try to defeat him.

    My never-ending war with Henry started up again this spring after a wintertime truce. At first it was just a skirmish. A mound of dirt discreetly left at the corner of my backyard. Barely noticeable. I stomped it down and that was that. There were no other mounds for several days. Relieved, I concluded that Henry had moved on to my neighbors’ yard. I concluded wrong.

    One week later, there were two fresh mole hills. The following week, four more. We’re now up to over 40 dirt pyramids. It’s possible Henry’s brought in reinforcements. Looks like my nemesis was going to make a mountain out of this after all.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not taking this lying down. I get off my hammock every morning to resume my personal battle with the furry face of evil. I’ve made countless trips to ACE Hardware to stock up on defenses and ammo. First, I tried sprinkling fox urine powder around my yard. Supposedly, moles are afraid of foxes, so the urine is a humane way to coax them to move next door. Apparently, my neighbors use a more powerful concentration of fox urine powder because Henry has decided to stay here and keep on digging. I can just see the smirk on Henry’s obnoxious squinty face right now.

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    • one word...pavement. yup just pave the backyard. It will settle the little bugger and you can wax nostalgic for…
      mark
  • Published On Jul. 29, 2017 by TEJ
  • Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Oil Rig Piston Corers and Drill Strings I Learned from My Dry Cleaner

    Did you know that on a deep-water oil rig, the crew cements casings between drillings and that when the rock cuttings reveal the oil sand from the reservoir rock, they then remove the drilling apparatus from the hole and perform a logging test to retrieve a core sampling before lowering a perforating gun into the well to set off explosive charges in order to create holes in the casing through which the oil can flow? Neither did I – that is, until this past Tuesday, when I stopped at my local dry cleaner to drop off a pair of pants.

    It was a routine trip to my local dry cleaners. All I wanted was to get my trousers pressed. In and out in three minutes, right? Not quite. The owner, an elderly Korean man, was feeling particularly chatty, so it took me almost a half hour to get out of there – and I was the only victim, I mean, customer. This is the honest (significantly abbreviated) retelling of the day time stood still.

    As I was wrapping things up, the proprietor, Mr. Ho, asked me my name – so he could write it down on the claim check. In retrospect, revealing that information was an egregious error.

    Mr. Ho: You name Jones? You know Keith Jones?

    Me: No, can’t say that I do. Who is Keith Jones?

    Mr. Ho: He very nice man. He live London, England.

    Me: You don’t say? And to think we’ve never met.

    Mr. Ho: He very smart. He manage oil rigs all over world.

    Me: Very impressive. Well, thank you. Have a nice day.

    Mr. Ho: He in charge of oil rigs in Africa and Asia. But not South America.

    Me: Fascinating. So, you say my pants will be ready on Friday afternoon? See you then.

    Mr. Ho: Keith Jones. He Welsh. You Welsh?

    Me: Um, yeah, I have Welsh ancestors – and Scottish and German.

    Mr. Ho: Keith no German. He Welsh. He very smart. Was my boss. He work in oil business for years. Manage rigs. I work on rigs for career.

    Now I SHOULD have just ignored that last comment, smiled, turned and marched out the door. But No! I had to be polite and ask, So, you worked on an oil rig, you say? I immediately paid for this blunder.

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  • Published On Jul. 15, 2017 by TEJ
  • Breaking up with an English Teacher

    [The following text exchange took place between a female business executive named Roxanne and her boyfriend of four years, Virgil, a high school English teacher.] 

    Roxanne: Dear Virgil, I gotta tell you something and it’s been on my mind for a long time.

    Virgil: Good evening, Roxanne. Thank you for your text. By the way, “gotta” is not proper English. I believe you meant to say, “I must” or “I have to.” What’s up?

    Roxanne:  We need 2 talk. 

    Virgil: You errantly used the digit “2” as in one more than one. So, you’ve lost me. We need “one plus one talk?” That makes no sense. Please clarify. 

    Roxanne: Oh, for God’s sake, Virgil. 2 is short for “to.” We need TO talk. I cant wait any longer. 

    Virgil: Sorry, still not clear on what you’re trying to convey – unless you mean “no, I can’t” in which case, don’t forget the apostrophe since it’s a contraction.   

    Roxanne: Geez. Okay. Got it. 

    Virgil: Who’s got what? “Got it” is missing a subject. Who has it? A policeman? The Queen of England? My schnauzer? My brain buzzes with possibilities. Could you clarify who it is that has it and what specifically does he or she have? 

    Roxanne: Jesus, Virgil. I’m talking about US. We need to talk about US. 

    Virgil: Capitalizing the letters US only makes sense if you’re referring to our country. But even then, technically you should put periods after the letters since it’s an abbreviation for United States. 

    Roxanne: Virgil, focus. For the millionth time, I don’t need another syntax lesson. 

    Virgil:  I believe you mean “another grammar” lesson. Syntax is about word order. Your mistake was – 

    Roxanne: My MISTAKE was taking four freakin’ years to tell you what I should have told you four years ago. It’s over.  Read More…


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  • Published On May. 25, 2017 by TEJ
  • If I Ruled the World

    If I ruled the world - misspelled namesThe world is falling apart. People are oblivious to the needs of others. It seems nobody ever holds the door open for the next person anymore. We’re all in a rush. We blame others for our problems. Politicians talk about building 50-foot walls to keep out Mexicans. North Korea is launching missiles at South Korea. And my Mariners are on another five-game losing streak. What has this world come to?

    If I’m ever given the chance to rule the world, things will be different. Way different. I’d implement long-overdue legislation that will make life way better for everyone (well, at least the people I like). When I rule the world…

    • I’ll declare Cookie Dough ice cream the official junk food of the United States – and I will use my presidential authority to veto any attempt by Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment changing it to Pistachio.
    • People will get ticketed for being obnoxiously rude. Failure to hold the door open for the person behind you will be subject to a $25 fine. Talk on your cell phone in a movie theater? That’ll be a mandatory 10-day jail sentence – with no cell phone privileges.
    • People who nab my parking space, even though they could clearly see I was there first, waiting for the other car to leave, will lose all driving privileges for a year. Enjoy taking the bus, dude.
    • I will ban Twitter. It’s been ten years now, and I still don’t get the appeal. #banTwitter.
    • If my computer becomes infected with malware simply because I clicked on a Facebook link that reads “25 celebrities who have aged badly”, the perpetrator of that malware will be sentenced to six months in jail – and their job 16 hours a day will be to remove malware and viruses on laptops worldwide.

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  • Published On Apr. 16, 2017 by TEJ
  • My Fifty First Dates

    first-date-young-manWhen I look back at my youth, I sometimes cringe about all those first dates and how awkward I was. A lot of men worry about making a bad first impression, fearing they might do something stupid like forget to bring their wallet or accidentally show their date pictures of their wife and kids. Bad form.

    I’ve been out of the dating scene for a few decades, but I doubt it’s changed much. The last time I asked out a woman other than my wife, Margaret Thatcher was the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain, Christopher Cross had just topped the music charts with Sailing, and a surefire way to pick up chicks was to impress them by riding the bar’s mechanical bull. Um, okay, maybe things have changed a bit since I was making my moves.

    I’ve had lots of experience with first dates – and even a few isolated experiences with second dates. I won’t sit here and brag that I’m God’s gift to women – and I’m pretty confident neither would any of my first dates. But I can vividly recall how some of those entrées into the dating world went. I’d like to share my wisdom around this important mating ritual, in the hopes it may help some of you single guys out there have a better chance at a second date. (I swear I’m not making up any of the following examples).

    If you’re in say, middle school, and you’re on the very first date of your life, don’t put your arm around the girl during the movie unless you pick up clear signals she’s into you. Subtle signs she may not be into you include:

    • She stares at the screen the entire time, refusing to make eye contact with you
    • After five minutes, she discreetly removes your arm from her shoulder – and does it again five minutes later
    • When your older brother picks you up after the movie, she asks you to sit in the front seat instead of the back seat with her
    • When you attempt to walk her to her door (as your father told you was the gentlemanly thing to do), she sprints

    These all happened to me on my very first date. I felt so crushed that I briefly considered the merits of changing my sexual orientation.

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  • Published On Dec. 04, 2016 by TEJ
  • A Night at the Opera

    opera-viking-ladyMy wife always complains we don’t do enough things to expand our cultural awareness. Somehow she does not consider The Big Bang Theory enough of an expansion – I keep telling her she’d learn some interesting factoids about particle physics if she just listened to a few Sheldon Cooper rants. Her needling me about my lack of cultural curiosity offends me deeply because I’m an extremely sophisticated, erudite person. As proof, I would point out my usage of the word “erudite” in the previous sentence (which I found on a Google search of obscure, smart-sounding words).

    Last summer, my wife and I went to one of those fancy pants, highbrow movie theaters where we saw a Danish film with English sub-titles. Not trying to brag, but I made it almost two thirds of the way through. I even went to a snobby, avant-garde modern art gallery opening once for an exhibit that turned out to be a collection of wooden furniture covered in thousands of nails (I’m not making this up, I swear).

    I can endure boring, elitist, over-priced entertainment as well as the next beaten down husband. I’ve gone to the ballet. I’ve stayed awake through several Shakespeare plays – and had a vague idea of who the bad guys were in a couple of them. I even survived a modern dance recital my wife roped me into in which each dancer represented a different vegetable. (I’m pretty sure the guy in the green leotards was a zucchini, but he might have been a cucumber.)

    So, don’t tell me I’m not willing to expand my artistic horizons. But every man has a line he won’t cross. And for me, that line is OPERA – that is, until last night, when my wife told me, “Turn off CSI Miami. We’re going to the opera tonight.” Fortunately, I was already wearing my dress shorts.

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    • Bobblehead night sounds perfect, let me know and I'll be there.
      Bob
  • Published On Nov. 14, 2016 by TEJ