Sunday, February 12, 2012

Half Eaten Peanut Butter Sandwiches




Life can be strange and miraculous at times. Take love. Sometimes it comes and goes like a wave, other times it just sneaks up on you. When it sneaks up on you late in life, it is something of a minor miracle. My miracle came to me only five years ago.

When I think about, I mean really think about it, I still wonder how it all happened. The shock of sharing a bed still has not worn off. I’ve been self-sufficient for such a long time.  Before my wife the only thing to share my bed was a cat. The wife is somewhat larger, and much less furrier than a cat.

One of things I have learned about being a couple is that you have only two choices about your loved one’s odd little quirks : you can be either aggravated or amused. Since I am easily amused, that is my usual default.

I mean seriously,who other my wife would use the word mendicant for the crossroad and highway exit pan handlers that dot the landscape. I sure don’t. That was just yesterday, Saturday, while I was driving around on errands with her. But that is my dear, sweet, honey-ko, always grabbing the fifty-cent word when a dime will do; just like me. This is the women who used the word, in “normal” conversation with me, “tintinnabulation” to describe the ringing of the bells. Oh, and she does all this in the sweetest filipina accent ever.

I have learned to accept this oddity among others. Maybe it a gal thing, or a petite woman thing (the wife does not quite clear five feet), or an eyes too big for her stomach thing, but I alway have to accept the fact that I will be seen as a self-propelled food disposal for my wife. So when reading the menu, I have to plan for approximately one and half meals. Needless to say my boyish figure, and my cholesterol levels have suffered.

But every once and while, I can not perform the food disposal service, and the wife brings home extras, especially from work. I nearly fell down laughing when I saw, neatly tucked in a zip lock bag, a half-eaten peanutbutter sandwich. Please note, not the ever popular PB&J, the wife does not do jelly, jams, or preserves, she just loads those two slices of bread with a huge amount of chunky peanutbutter. I know, sacrilege.

On the subject of food, she happens to very lucky, as I will eat just about anything that does not try to slither away from me. She, on the other hand, has a delicate stomach. Thus, when going to Tai eateries, it is the white boy asking the wait staff to bring on the pain, while the asian lady is asking for it bland. Strange world, is it?

But there is one thing in the asian food panoply I can not abide : Ube, purple yam, it is the quite possibly the blandest thing this side of wall paper paste. The wife loves, loves, loves that Ube. She loves that purple yam. I can only say this, no food I have ever eaten has been quite as disappointing as Ube. It’s purple, it looks like it should taste outrageous, but ... no, it’s mealy, bland and uninspired. I keep telling her that Ube is false advertising. But,oh my stars and garters, you would not believe how the Asian contagion loves their Ube. It’s in cakes. It’s in ice cream. It is mixed with coconut to make all sorts of deserts and baked goods. It’s even a hard candy flavor.

Along with eating comes talking. At least the two things are intimately connected as far as the wife is concerned. She talks, I eat and listen. Then she is surprised when I am done with my meal when she is barely started. I always point out that she spent most of the time talking, whilst I was eating. Not that she would ever pause or even slow down her flow of consciousness for something like food.

Once the wife gets started with her stories, there really is no stopping her. I can swing from slightly bemused, to mildly annoyed, right back to bemused, and then move onto just dreamingly letting the story wash over me. It’s her story, about people I have never met, or met maybe two or three times, but hey, it’s important to her to relate every possible detail.

Sometimes the talking helps though. I have made it though many a road trip thanks to the wife’s need to unburden herself. Great stuff when the radio can’t pull in any good stations. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the wife needs no longer do such things as I replaced the radio with a unit that links with the iPod. The iPod link had slowed her down, but when the mood strikes her, she will talk right over the music, when she is not panicking over my driving that is.

Driving works out for the most part though. We stock up chips and other politically incorrect foods and head for point B. If I have done the route, it will be a Disco affair: dis go here, dis go there. If the wife has picked the point of interest, it will be researched to the nines. Either way I drive and she acts as navigator. I do not have, nor can I afford GPS but I do have PPS (Pinay Positioning System.) PPS consists of the Pinay (the wife) and printed Google Maps directions. It is a fairly reliable system with the only Achilles Heal being Google’s madding last turn error bug. Google seems to have a real problem with that last turn at times. The only other bug is the prior warning system built into the wife. Conversation between me and the wife:

Wife, “ Merge to route 280, then turn for I-80 after seventy miles”
Me, “Tell me again when we are bit closer, we just got on the 280; O.K.?”
Wife “ ...”

Still it is a good division of labor, I still like to drive, and she loves to talk to me and feed the odd snack food into my mouth like a momma bird. She also makes a swell cup holder, substituting for my Ford’s perfectly useless floor mounted cup-holders that spill drinks when you look at them cross-eyed. As for my usefulness, I’ve gotten fairly good at spotting and pulling into every possible rest station on the route. Pit stops are every hour to ninety minutes-- no exceptions, no fooling around. I’m also resigned to being the beast of burden for any object heavier than a paper napkin. As the wife rightly points out “what are those muscles for?”

I hope you don’t think I am complaining, I’m not. I am mostly bemused and bit giddy. My wife is a gift, the best kind of gift, the gift you did not think you would ever get. She is a sweet, open hearted woman who wants to see good in everyone. But mixed in with that sweetness is just enough sass, and enough surprises to keep things interesting. She is a power-packed dymo stuffed into a “vertically challenged” package.

We are an oddball couple, I’ll give you that. At 5’ 10 1/2, I am almost a foot taller than her, but she is up to the challenge; brother is she up for the challenge. It’s a good thing she is though because, well, let’s just say being married to an ADHD man like myself is never boring; frustrating, oh yes, for sure, but never, ever boring.

Thank you for putting up with me sweetheart. Thank you for sharing your life with me. It’s been wonderful. Happy Valentines Day. I love you honey-ko.
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