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65: Glass Dismissed

Glass Dismissed No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic also. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Peek inside the kitchen cabinets in our home and you’ll come face to face with a disturbing secret my wife and I have kept for decades: a massive stash of drinking glasses that has spiraled out of control and continues to expand against all rhyme or reason. I recently sat down and did the math: 124 glasses divided by two people equals sixty-two glasses per person. And that doesn’t even factor in the countless glasses squirreled away in china cabinets, the living room wall bar, and boxes under beds, in closets and stacked out in the garage. Our “glasses of mass consumption” surplus started innocently enough. When my wife and I first joined forces, I possessed a certain number of assorted drinking glasses (eight) and Sherry had a certain, somewhat higher number (fifty-eight). As time went on, my glasses — which mostly consisted of sixteen-ounce plastic tumblers commemorating outdoor events at which I consumed a cold beer — were weeded out to make room for more respectable, stylish glasses that came in sets, had elegant stems, and illuminated alluringly when the light hit them. Now, as best as I can figure it, here’s where... (more)
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66: The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple Things turn out best for the people who make the best out ofthe way things turn out. ~Art Linkletter Bill likes everything to be in orderly fashion and he’ll plan months in advance for an occasion. I am impromptu and can pack the night before a vacation. He has a need to know facts, formulas and minute details about future events. I wing it. We were middle-aged when we met at a dance hall. He was a genuine, respectful man. Neither of us was looking for a relationship. After I’d known him about six months he invited me to his home for lunch. I opened his pantry to retrieve a can of corn and thought, “Oh boy! He and I would never work as a couple.” His shelves were aligned with rows of canned goods and healthy foods that were sorted, alphabetized and neatly stacked. His half-eaten bags of chips had decorative clip closers, and his plastic storage bags were seriated from snack size to gallon size. My pantry was like my life: groceries tossed haphazardly on a shelf, corn curls unraveling in cellophane bags, and way more chocolate products than healthy foods. His sink was scoured, not piled high with dirty dishes. There were stacks of neatly folded laundry, not rumpled piles of clean whites in a busted laundry basket in the bedroom. This guy... (more)
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67: Living in Hormone Hell

Living in Hormone Hell No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy. ~Henry Kissinger My wife and I had our daughter Sarah a bit late in life. Cheryl was thirty-eight and I was forty-five. We thought that was a good thing. In many respects, it was. After all, as mature parents, we figured we would be better prepared to deal with the challenges of child rearing. And, for the most part, that’s how it turned out. Since we were older, we had fewer financial challenges. And having already settled into our careers, we had more time to devote to Sarah’s upbringing. What I hadn’t counted on was that fifteen years later the numbers wouldn’t add up in my favor. Cheryl’s now fifty-three and Sarah’s almost fifteen. What that means is that, as a sixty-year-old male, I am caught in an estrogen-laced web spun by two hormonally challenged females. Sarah is riding the emotional waves of adolescence while Cheryl is buffeted by the ups and downs of menopause. Dealing with one of them at a time is hard enough. But when they’re both in full-blown hormonal overdrive, it can be a bit too much. I can handle Sarah’s mood swings and teenage angst on its own. And I can survive Cheryl’s mood swings... (more)
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68: Sirius Arguments

Sirius Arguments Country music is three chords and the truth. ~Harlan Howard My marriage has dodged a major bullet. Our trial subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio just expired and I couldn’t be more pleased. Don’t get me wrong — I totally loved having hundreds of stations, knowing that my every musical whim could be satisfied at the touch of a button. But all the shoobie doos and sha la las, all the twanging and head banging, and even all the cheesy love songs in the world are just not worth risking my marriage. You see my husband and I are a classic case of opposites that attracted. I am the positive to his negative, the yin to his yang. So far our marriage has survived his love of baseball (and my apathy to it), my political drive and involvement (and his apathy to that), and even the struggles in our earliest years between a dog person and a cat person. (I’m glad to say he’s now a fervent convert, and we have four indoor cats.) Having worked those things out, I really thought our marriage could survive anything. Then, along came a free three-month trial subscription to Sirius satellite radio. It came with my new car and it almost broke us. Mark is a 1980s guy. He loves the funky rhythms, the big-hair bands, the insistent guitar riffs, and even... (more)