Before I begin, I’d like to note that I generally don’t criticize a man who’s washing dishes. I believe the correct response to a dishcloth-wielding male is a sincere ‘thank you’, possibly combined with hugs, kisses, ear-nibbling, and/or some friendly groping. (An aside to my dinner guests: This is why we turn down your offers to help with the dishes. It’s just one more little way we ensure we’ll still be friends when the evening’s over.)
But there are exceptions to every rule. (Okay, not to every rule. There are no exceptions to the “Don’t grope the guests” rule. It’s safe to visit us, I promise.)
A few evenings ago I watched the dishwater turn orange while Hubby scrubbed a pot with a steel-wool pad so rusty it looked like Ronald McDonald’s hair, and this conversation took place:
Me: “Maybe it’s time to either pull off the rusty part or throw the whole thing away.”
Hubby: “It looks okay to me.”
Me: “Let me put this another way: Don’t use that thing on my pots!”
And that got me thinking about the subtle little code phrases that develop in marriages. For example:
Me: “Do you want some of this (food item)?”
Hubby: “I’ll have some later.” Translation: “I will never eat that. I will continue to say I’ll eat it ‘later’ until it grows legs and walks itself to the garbage.”
Me: “Were you using the (whatever tool I’m currently looking for)? Do you know where it might be?” Translation: “Goddammit, I can’t find the goddamn tool that I know I put away the last time I used it! Stop stealing my goddamn tools, goddammit!” (Yes, I’m a writer. You can tell by my extensive vocabulary.)
Either of us: “What’s that smell?” Translation: “Did you fart, or is it time to search the fridge for rotting cauliflower again?”
Yes, there’s a story behind that.
One day Hubby and I were in the kitchen making lunch, and I smelled something. Something vile. Something remarkably reminiscent of gasses better released in other, more private areas of the house where food is not being prepared.
But I didn’t say anything. I mean, sooner or later we all let one slip, right?
But it happened again. Then again. At last I demanded, “Did you fart?”
Hubby denied it. He thought I’d been dropping silent-but-deadlies the whole time.
We agreed that something must be rotting in the fridge, but we both dug through it and found nothing that should be emitting that stink. So I tore the fridge apart, washed the shelves and crisper drawers, and checked the drain pan underneath to make sure nothing hideous was growing in there.
Nada. But the smell persisted.
After several days of futile searching, Hubby finally traced the offending vapours to a glass container containing raw cauliflower. It had a locked-tight lid with a silicone seal and the cauliflower looked fine inside, which was why we’d missed it in our previous purges. But the stench was so fearsome it had come right through the sealed lid. Yikes.
The whole episode reminded me of a long-ago friend’s father when he encountered his wife’s er… effluvium. He sucked in a deep breath and then boomed in the heartiest of tones, “Well, hello, cabbage-ass!”
Yep, he was a master of subtle code.
Any code phrases or tales of festering cruciferae in your household?
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P.S. Cool news: I did a promo with Bookbub over the weekend, and Never Say Spy hit #1 on the Kindle Free Bestsellers list. For a short time it was the best-selling book in the entire Kindle free store, fiction or non-fiction. Of course, it was only my fifteen minutes of fame and it had dropped by the next day, but it’s still #1 in Women Sleuths. The best it had ever done before was #9, so I’m pumped! Woohoo! 😀