We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin auld lang syne.
("Auld Lang Syne", Robert Burns)
Folks, Christmas Day was a fabulous, blessed day--- yeah buddy!
As you know, Blaine and I attended his large family's Christmas Day dinner, and it was a wonderful, albeit raucous, good time. It was a beautiful white Christmas, the food was good, we all ate too much, the numerous teenagers were noisy (but fun), the various dogs and cats provided amusement, and we all exchanged fabulous gifts.
And, oh hallelujah.....the purple Regia Jacquard socks were a hit with Blaine's sister-in-law!
Phew! I'm sincerely hoping that her very positive reception of them means that I'm on my way back to her good graces since she acted extremely friendly and gracious towards me from the first minute. She even text-messaged her mother about getting the socks from me. I think she is an extremely decent person to forgive me my past transgressions.
But now, alas, Christmas is over and I must get back to my normal routine, which means putting away all the holiday decorations, throwing out remaining leftover food, cleaning the house, and preparing for the New Year. I have tons of things to do.
One of the things I do each year at this time is to make a few New Year's resolutions. And it was in this mindset that I came to the conclusion that I am long overdue on addressing my negative attitudes toward my beloved Blaine's aggravating idiosyncrasies. Thus, I have decided to develop what I'm going to call Bo's New Attitude of Tolerance
Tolerance of those habits of Blaine's that drive me absolutely insane.
Now, don't get me wrong. Blaine is a wonderful guy, really he is. In fact, he has many really great qualities that I should list here:
He does all our laundry, voluntarily and uncomplainingly. And he does it well. (He even folds most of the time.)
He cheerfully cleans bathtubs. (Which I hate to do.)
He makes wonderful loaves of homemade bread. (Even Italian bread, which takes two days.)
He endures watching things I watch on the television--- programs he considers boring like "The Wizard of Oz", "The Sound of Music", "Supernatural", the Crime Channel, and Bible stuff on the History Channel.
5. He can fix anything broken.
But most importantly, he makes me laugh
Now, about the laughing thing. To me, someone who can make me laugh is gold. I adore people who can make me laugh. Hell, if you can make me laugh I will love you forever.
The problem is that Blaine has a most strange, boyish sense of humor---in fact, sometimes it's just downright dumb and dumber. In fact, many times I know I shouldn't laugh at his lame antics because it only encourages him in further sophomoric
behavior. But Blaine knows my weakness for irreverent hilarity even when it comes at the cost of my dignity
For example, one of his favorite, most dastardly things to do is to wait until we are in a grocery store, surrounded by dour, stern-faced, unsuspecting shoppers.....
And then he'll fart....LOUD and LONG... like a Louis Armstrong trumpet solo... and then exclaim in feigned shock: "BO! How rude!"
This horrifying scenario, while mortifying to most, never fails to cause me to dissolve into helpless peals of cackling laughter--- which then totally convinces any nearby shoppers that it was, indeed, me who was the guilty party.
Now, lest you think that I should do more to defend my innocence, please believe me when I tell you that I have tried. Truly I have. But I have found, to my unfortunate chagrin, that a loud, dueling debate of nasty "I did not!" and "you did, too!" declarations in the middle of the canned goods aisle does not do very much to improve the situation.
Basically, I'm danged if I do and danged if I don't, you know what I mean?
One time I became so exasperated at him during just such an adventure that (after I finished laughing) I involuntarily blurted out "Now dammit, Blaine-- how would you like it if I farted and then blamed it on YOU, huh?!"
----which caused the whole congregation of nearby witnesses to stop dead in their tracks and pause expectantly....waiting for ME to summon further bodily noises, I'm sure----but don't worry, I didn't do it.
Where was I?
Oh yes, Blaine's good traits....
Oh hey, I started a new sweater. It's what I call "Joker's Wild" style where I use up leftover yarns and make random fair-isle patterns as I go, on a solid color background, the wilder the better. I don't worry about graph numbers, the "color wheel", or "centering" the patterns---I just put 'em in and use up stash yarn. It's going to be a cropped cardigan, knit in the round with cut steeks for the front and sleeves.
I'm also continuing my work on the (ho hum) "maybe shawl". This is a portable plain vanilla project for doctors' waiting rooms and the like. (In fact, I'm going to the dentist tomorrow and I'll take it with me.)
But for all his good traits, Blaine does some things that absolutely drive me nuts--- and I mean PLUMB NUTS
. And my impatient frustration with those undesirable traits is what I am determined to overcome in 2009.
For instance, one of his rituals that gives me the urge to dangle myself by a hangman's noose from the living room ceiling fan is his endless fiddling with the clicker every single time we start a movie on the DVD player. He claims that he's trying "to get the best picture and color quality". But this perpetual fiddling drives me absolutely bonkers---AAARRGH!!
Because he'll sit there and take up the entire first twenty minutes of the dadgum movie as he zooms the picture in and out--- forwards and reverses it a hundred dang times--- changes the hue back and forth from different tones of reddish or greenish---messes with the pixels or whatnot---until I absolutely want to throw that stupid clicker out the gol-darn window!
(My mother actually did that once. She got so mad at my father's constant channel-surfing that she grabbed the clicker right out of his hand and threw it out their second-floor window. The next day my father simply purchased an additional clicker so that they could each have their own, which started The Great Clicker Battle of '98....oh, never mind.)
Anyway, that's a trait of Blaine's that drives me crazy. But there's worse.....
He constantly loses things.
Hardly a week passes in our household whereby he doesn't lose something which I think should never be lost---like his car keys, work ID, or wallet. But it isn't just his losing the things that bugs me so much----it's that he asks me "where I put" the lost item---like it was MY FAULT!
"Honey, where did you put my car keys?"
he'll ask plaintively, always at the last minute, which usually causes us to arrive late for whatever engagement we're going to because he took twenty minutes to search high and low for his stupid keys.
I never lose my own keys because I always lay them down on the same table every time I come in the door--- which is what I think he should do. But nooooo
, not him--- he always lays them down in random places like on the stove top, in the bathroom, on the piano, or wherever. He's even left them in the mailbox key lock halfway up the street before. And so he can never find them when he needs them, which results in him asking ME what I did with them----which results in me sniping back with such irritable diatribes such as: "I didn't do a dang thing with YOUR keys---why would I know where YOUR keys are?!"
Then one day I tried a new tactic. I decided to answer these inevitable questions in a different fashion.
"Honey, what did you do with my wallet?"
he asked one day while dressing for work.
"I put it in the linen closet,"
I replied with a straight face.
"What the hell?"
I continued innocently. "It's in there under that tablecloth your Aunt Agatha crocheted---right next to the hand towels."
I had high hopes of shaming Blaine into curing the problem, but the subsequent dark scowls on his face as he stomped around looking for the wallet caused me to conclude that perhaps this ....uh... unorthodox method wasn't really the most optimal solution...
I continue to knit on the Molly Weasley's Amazing Technicolor Housecoat---and my apologies to the author of the pattern, Alison Hansel, for my totally changing up the pattern of the body. (And my apologies, also, for the poor quality of this snapshot, because this camera somehow turned the scarlet and blue yarn colors into a flaming neon, which they are not in real life.)
(Wait a sec....just let me adjust the color tone and hue on the camera menu.....oh hell, where's Blaine when I need him?...)
Anyway, it's really the crocheted, multi-colored ruffled sleeves that gives the garment its whimsy and fun, and I'm working like crazy on those right now.
Another thing about Blaine that causes me frequent consternation is his absolute fearlessness and disregard about Kansas weather.
As everybody knows, Kansas is smack dab in the middle of tornado country. And tornadoes
are extremely fearsome events which cause a lot of destruction and terror in this part of the country. And so we Kansans take weather warnings very seriously --- because nobody in their right mind wants to be caught unprepared if their home is in danger of being smashed up or carried off its foundations by a vicious cyclone.
I once lived with my parents in a registered historical monument in Texas--- and I once witnessed a tornado completely uprooting a gigantic hundred-year old oak tree right next to it. And a previous tornado had carried off the building's second-floor cupola. So I'm understandably terrified of tornadoes.
But no weather-warning has ever caused idgity Blaine even one iota of concern.
One grey Sunday Blaine was on the back deck happily using his beloved "BBQ-Pro" barbecue to grill hamburgers while I sat in the living room watching a Chiefs football game. Gradually the weather worsened. It began to drizzle and I could hear some distant thunder approaching. But I wasn't too concerned until the skies suddenly darkened even more, the thunder came even closer, and the drizzle turned into a downpour.
Throughout my growing apprehension Blaine had ignored the weather and continued grilling his hamburgers. But then--- the rain turned to a battering hail. I saw some streaks of lightning and the sky turned an ominous yellow color.
And then sure enough, it happened...
The city's tornado sirens began blaring.
And let me tell you, Kansas' famous tornado sirens sound exactly the same as those which would warn of an impending nuclear attack---very loud and frightening with a clear message: TAKE COVER!
When the sirens began I automatically jumped off my perch on the couch and ran for the stairs leading to the basement. As I scrambled, I heard local police cars begin careening around the neighborhood, adding their own sirens' cacophany to the din of the tornado sirens--- another signal to take immediate shelter. Simultaneously, I heard
a television weather announcer interrupt the football game to give an emergency weather alert, strongly advising anybody within listening distance to take immediate cover in their basement (or bathroom if they didn't have a basement).
I screamed maniacally as I snatched up a nearby cat. "It's a tornado!"
"What does the television say?"
I heard him ask calmly while skillfully flipping burgers like flapjacks, stubbornly ignoring the fact that hailstones as large as pigeons' eggs had now begun raining down upon his head and precious BBQ-Pro's grill surface.
"He said to take cover!"
I screamed in response, vainly trying to herd another hapless cat towards the basement stairs while the cat in my hand performed mad gymnastic contortions in an attempt to free itself from my strangling grasp.
"I didn't mean the weather man,"
he retorted as he twirled his metal spatula like a cowboy's six-shooter. "I meant the football game--- did the Chiefs score?"
But despite his lack of concern for life & limb in a tornado, Blaine is very fastidious and fretful in other areas of his life. For instance, he is extremely particular about the way he does laundry.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely grateful that Blaine does the tiresome chore of our laundry. But the manner in which he does it causes him to be involved in the task literally around the clock----because his method is extremely fussy and involved, with what I think are ridiculously unnecessary
I mean, for God's sakes, Blaine has a brand new Frigidaire washing machine---a highly computerized, super capacity, heavy duty, front-loading, tumbler-cycle monstrosity which is so dang complicated that it takes a person a full fifteen minutes to "program" it for just one damn load of wash. I hate the dang machine and avoid using it as much as possible.
For gosh sakes, its LED display menu actually forces you to push five different push-keys to designate which type of "soil" you're washing and how many "extra" rinse cycles you need (as if you need more than one...)
What ever happened to simply turning a big knob and then pulling it out?
Anyway, Blaine loves the thing. In fact, he handles it with great reverence--- like it's some kind of laundry shrine to be worshipped at daily. But do you think that having this behemoth would make his laundry duties any easier? NO WAY! It has only made his job more difficult!
He continually opines about the fact that, in his opinion, the machine "doesn't quite rinse well enough"
. No matter how squeaky clean it washes the clothes, he's absolutely POSITIVE that his eagle eye can detect a microscopic, miniscule amount of soap residue in the freshly laundered items.
And so..... in addition to programming the machine to perform umpteen extra rinse cycles---- he actually ADDS AN EXTRA BUCKET OF HOT WATER to the last rinse cycle!!
He really does.
Each time he does laundry he actually trudges to the kitchen sink to fill a large plastic bucket with hot water--- and then totes it downstairs to the laundry rooom whereby he then interrupts the last (of many) rinse cycles to pour in the extra hot water.
I could go on and on.
And I really don't mean to be merciless here, but.....then there was the morning when he got irritated with an icy cold draft which was coming down the chimney despite his having closed the flue. It was right after I'd purchased new living room drapes at a JC Penney's sale, which I thought looked rather fetching with our new carpet and matching throw pillows.
I had arisen after Blaine had already gotten up. I staggered sleepily down the stairs, looking forward to a nice quiet morning cup of freshly brewed coffee in our tastefully decorated living room.... but I almost fainted onto the floor in shocked disbelief when I beheld the decor-ruining thing he had done to remedy the cold draft.
He'd used shiny grey metallic electrical tape to cover the entire opening of the fireplace with old newspapers.
"I fixed that draft problem but GOOD,"
he announced with satisfaction.
"Oh. My. God."
was the only weak response I could manage...
Another quirk of Blaine's is that he is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a complete "nervous Nelly"
. Basically, I'm a light sleeper and frequently hear "bumps in the night". But Blaine refuses to believe that I've ever heard anything of significance---he always thinks I'm imagining things. If I ever poke him in the middle of the night to complain that I've "heard something strange", he gets totally irritated and snaps something like: "Oh for God's sakes, Bo, it's nothing. Probably just the dog next door."
One dark night I heard a weird noise that sounded like metal grinding and whirling. I listened to it nervously for a few minutes and thought seriously about awakening Blaine. But I was tired of getting scolded about this issue so I turned over and went back to sleep, congratulating myself on my fearlessness and self control.
The next morning I discovered that my truck's brand new car stereo had been stolen by clever thieves who had power-drilled right through the passenger door's key lock.
Sigh yet again.
Okay.... and finally
.... here's the last "negative" personality trait of Blaine's for which I'm determined to improve my "tolerance". And it is his absolute, unwavering, blunt honesty.
I know, I know---you'd think there could be no criticism for a trait like honesty.
And I really appreciate his honesty--- trust me, I really do. But nevertheless, I need to add this last little bit onto the list of resolutions---- in fact, I'll start writing it right now... that I need to remember this very important thing...
that no matter how much I'm tempted otherwise...
no matter how much I'm dying to know ....
no matter WHAT mitigating circumstances there might be or where I'm going...
...that I will NEVER AGAIN ask Blaine whether or not a particular new pair of jeans makes me look fat.