Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pillow Talk

It was 6:00am and I had barely opened my eyes when I heard HOB’s (Husband Of Betty) solemn, wide-awake voice.

“There’s something we have to discuss."

Now I don’t care if you have been married for a long time, a short time, no time, or just sometimes, this is NOT a phrase that you want to hear from the person beside you in bed, especially at 6:00am. I tried to rouse myself. I sat up halfway and looked his way through squinted eyes.

“It’s about how you load the dishwashing powders into the dishwasher,” he said.

I looked at him with disbelief, my morning mouth gaping open, my face still crinkled up from being on the pillow. “What?”

“It’s been a problem for awhile,” he said. “You have to admit that.”

He proceeded to give me a tutorial—right there in bed at 6:01am about how the hard water additive goes in first, in a thin layer, in the left hand compartment. “The key is to spread it uniformly,” he said, using his hand and making a leveling motion right in front of my eyes. He went on, “Then you add the detergent, sifting it gently over the first powder in another thin layer. The operative word here is thin....”

This went on for a good three minutes, followed by a recounting of how, in addition to throwing dishwashing powder around willy-nilly, I am also guilty of overloading the dishwasher. “You know you do. It’s a real problem.”

He then patted my thigh, rolled over and went back to sleep.

This method of conversation is a very bad habit of HOB’S.

We had only been together a year or so when we attended the wedding of some friends. Mendelssohn’s march was playing; the bride and her escort were poised to walk down the aisle. We, as a congregation, stood up and HOB, in a low voice said, “Did I ever tell you I once broke my coccyx?" I stood, watching the bride walk down the aisle, my mind racing. What was a coccyx? Where was the coccyx? Why was he telling me this now? Would this injury affect our having children together? If I had married a man with a broken coccyx, shouldn't I have been informed by the man with the broken coccyx before marrying said man?

These questions rattled around in my brain like change in a tin can during the entire ceremony. After the wedding I asked him why he had chosen to tell me this fact at that time. “Oh, well, I was just thinking about it,” he said.

Over the years, I have tried to explain to him in my English teacher way, that just like a good essay, topics in conversations have to have context. Ideas need to be introduced, then developed, logically.

“Think of it in outline form,” I said.

Here is Betty’s suggested informal outline for the dishwashing powder discussion:

I. General, pleasant remarks about household.

A. Compliments to Betty for all her hard work in household.

B. Acknowledgement of Betty’s prowess in all things domestic.

C. Apologies for lack of assistance given to Betty in this area.

II. General, pleasant remarks about the kitchen.

A. Compliments to Betty for all her hard work in household.

B. Acknowledgement Betty’s prowess in all things culinary.

C. Apologies for lack of assistance given to Betty in this area.

III. General, pleasant remarks concerning dishwasher.

A. Subtle, well-worded question concerning possible problem with dishwasher.

B. Rhetorical question concerning the application of dishwashing powder in general.

C. Acknowledgement that Betty has demanding, full-time job, is an incredible mother, and may not have time to obsessively measure, level, and ensure that every grain of powder is properly placed within detergent receptacle.

IV. Conclusion

A. General apology for bringing issue up.

B. Recitation of phrase, “I’ll take care of it from now on, honey. Sorry to have bothered you and by the way, you look incredible right now. I am one lucky man.”

C. Offer to take Betty to restaurant of choice.

Now, HOB’s job involves selling large quantities of vegetable seeds and apparently, in the seed world this type of outline is not necessary. When unloading pounds of onion or tomato seeds, perhaps you can just blurt out the terms of the deal. Not so in marriage, as I have explained to him many times.

Ah, but at least I think I may be getting used to it.

One night when I was halfway asleep, I felt him get into bed with me. He held me close and said in a dreamy voice, “You know what I can’t believe?”

“What?” I asked, knowing I was going to hear what every woman wants to hear from her love in that moment before sleep—that deep, passionate profession of deep affection and disbelief that one person could be so incredibly lucky as to be beside her in bed as well as in life.

“I just can’t believe the size of our company's pickling cucumbers,” he said.

I smiled.

“Good night, HOB.”

“Good night, Betty.”


Peggy K said...

How 'bout that??? Before your feet hit the floor, you've already been "educated" in the right way to handle the dishwasher issues!!! You lucky girl, you!!!! Get your list, check off "Learn something new today" and smile appreciatively. While your at it, check off "HOB takes Betty to dinner - nice restaurant", let him know you are checking that off since he woke you up to educate you, and tell him HE can smile appreciatively!!! We do love our guys, don't we??? ;)

My Mind's Eye said...

Betty you have me wiping my eyes from lol so hard!! I'd love to be a fly on your wall during one of the discussions. The dishwasher is a sore subject at our house too.
My hubby is retired one of his jobs is to empty the dishwasher. He unloads the top rack first and always complains about the items on the bottom still be wet. I've tried w/o success to tell him to unload the bottom rack first. He DOES NOT GET IT!!! I've finally decided he likes to complain and most of all probably doesn't like this task....
Madi and Mom

Maggi said...

Ha! This sounds like my husband. lol

Old Kitty said...

Ok I give up.

What is a coccynx and how on earth does one pronounce it?


HOB sounds like a dreamboat! Oh he does. He just needs reminders of Phases I-IV every so often.

Take care

Ally said...

I love how you were nervous hearing that intro of let's discuss. Ha ha! My heart would stop or a second... Ironically my hubs is a total slob but gives me a hard time about the way I put the knives back in the block, in the wrong spots sometimes and I sometimes leave the sponge in the sink and they get lost in a sea of his dirty dishes.

Anne Gallagher said...

You made me snort orange soda from my nose reading this. I'm still laughing.

Your HOB sounds absolutely perfect in every way. He loves you enough to tell you he broke his coccyx so you would always know. That's incredibly sweet.

Thanks for the funny for today. Great Great post.

Michelle @ Delicate Construction said...

Absolutely hilarious! I love the outline! I probably would have added some choice words if my hubby talked to me about the dishwasher at 6 am lol!

Senorita said...

Okay, this is really funny ! I would go batshit insane if a man criticized my dishwashing skills early in the morning. I would reply "You load and unload the damn dishwasher."

liz said...

This story is insane yet awesome all in one. He's got a definite knack for timing.

I'm all about Section IV-C.

Talli Roland said...

AH! Betty, you had me laughing out loud! What an interesting man you've married - sounds like there's never a dull moment! :)

Love your outline! I might pass it over to my husband tonight.

A.J. said...

Those are great stories. I get the feeling it's not the urgent matter of loading the dishwasher better or needing to mention the coccyx, but the random trails of thoughts that lead to that "Oh! I must tell her this before I forget and it is lost forever!" moment. I kind of identify with HOB in that way.

Kazzy said...

This was funny! I especially liked your "Think of it in outline form!" :)

I have had to ask my hubby to not text me the following message:


He has done that a few times, I rush to call him back and it turns out to be some trivial matter, like what's for dinner? Grrrr said...

Oh Betty, I am laughing my coccyx off! What's a coccyx?

Lidian said...

I love love love your outline - I try to suggest this sort of thing (in a blurty sort of way, not well organized like your outline, which did I tell you how much I love it?) - thank you for the laughs, which I needed this morning :)

KLZ said...

"You have to admit that?"

No. I do not have to admit my dish detergent has issues. I do have to admit that I've decided to stop doing the dishes.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Too Funny- I can't get over that your husband even cares-
I love your outline- You actually made the memo that I always ask my family if they got!

Marlene said...

Oh my gawsh....are you sure he's not an engineer or something? (They tend to get a little anal about the way things are done..heeheee....I would know, I married one!)

Noelle said...

LOL!!! Sounds like the pillow talk my husband and I had last night...

Joann Mannix said...


That just slayed me! So utterly hysterical!!!

I do know what a coccyx is and it is a very painful thing to break, and it just makes me wonder all the more how your husband's mind works since he thought of that while witnessing a bride walk up the aisle. Hmmm. Fascinating.

My husband tries to discuss with me all the time, the dishwasher rinse solution. Because I never bother with it and the light is always on and it drives him to such distraction. I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy that makes him.

The size of the pickling cucumbers. Hysterical.

Shannon said...

I smiled and giggled the entire time I read this. Your husband sounds great, heh. Thank you!

Joe Cap said...

Well...there could b e worse things to discuss early in the morning...if my Bride ever did that to me, I would be so relieved that it was not something major that I would be A-OK with it!

Ashley King said...

OH MY GOOOOOSSSSHHH!!!!! i absolutely adore you!!!! i really do!!!! this story SERIOUSLY had me laughing SOOOO hard!!!! it reminds me of my obsessive neighbor (when i was growing up).... he would go out and water his driveway, the sidewalk and the street..... he didn't want anyone's water in his gutter. it was SO funny. now on the other side of us, a few doors down, there were some 20 something year old guys who constantly washed their cars. old cranky neighbor would come outside with his hands on his hip and look down the street and the guys washing their car, his eyebrows crinkled, CLEARLY showing how upset he was that their soapy water was now IN HIS GUTTER.... it is sooo funny the things that people are so particular about. i LOVE that part about curling up in bed, waiting to hear every woman's dream.... that is just too funny.... but the most WONDERFUL part of the story? you love him just the same.... i love that!!! =) your writing is truly a blessing. i enjoy it daily!!!! thank you!!!

Betty Manousos said...

Hilarious, Betty! LOVE your outline
I'm laughing out loud right now.
Love your sense of humour.
Hope you're having a great day.
Betty xx

Cheeseboy said...

How does your husband know about the dishwasher soap thingy? I am ashamed to say I have no idea what you are talking about.

This post was perfect though.

DrSoosie said...

Thank you betty for making me laugh so early in the morning. It usually takes at least two cups of Joe before that happens. It is funny how husbands know everything about everything. Though I don't think my husband has ever personally run the dishwasher himself, I know he would have much in the way of tutorials on the subject if I ever broached it. Man brain, woman brain....this is where the context issue arises..that and of course we are the better sex!!!

MrsBlogAlot said...

Omg!!! You are a RIOT!!!!!!

This post cracked me the hell up!!!!

We really need to freaken awesome you are!!!

Louise | Italy said...

That's very funny. Don't you think he might have been sleeptalking...?

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I'm laughing until the tears stream down my face...too, too funny! You are a fabulous story teller, and have such a fantastic sense of humor! Loved this! ~Janine XO

Alexandra said...

And THAT is what it is really like, too.


Ms. A said...

You and HOB still have conversations?

Anyone that knows me, especially Hubs, knows better than to speak to me before I'm up and around!

I, too, broke my coccyx when I was about 12. Has caused me a lifetime of problems. Sitting on a pew, or hard chair would definitely be a good reminder. Perhaps that's why he brought it up.

Ann said...

You have me laughing hysterically here. I imagine though that if it was my husband who was making these comments I would not find it so amusing. I'm also going to take a guess here and say that if HOB was one of your students he would more than likely not get a good

One Photo said...

I'm just wondering why seeing that bride walking towards the aisle reminded him of when he broke his coccyx and whether or not she had anything to do with how he came to break it :-)

As for the dishwasher lecture, my husband would never do such a thing purely because he has no interest, but if it were me I would simply say "if you don't like the way I do it then do it yourself!" You are so much more tolerant than I.

Great stories!

Anonymous said...

Betty! Please tell me HOB read this and got the message! You are one incredible woman to get used to it!

HOB, you are a very lucky man to have Betty.
Step 1- acknowledge it.
Step 2- thank God for it.
Step 3- thank Betty for agreeing to stay and give you this tutorial.
Step 4- stay the same because Betty surely loves you.
Step 5- dishwasher is yours post today. take it.

Petunia said...

First, kudos to HOB for even knowing about the dishwasher soap thingy! Next I should never read your blog and eat lunch at the same time! I almost lost my soup a few times from laughing so hard. Now I'll have to go and google coccyx. But maybe I'll finish my lunch first. Thanks for the chuckle!

Karen M. Peterson said...

If it were my house, HOB would definitely be responsible for all dish-related occupations until the end of time.


I was laughing out loud throughout this whole post! That is hilarious!

Now we need to know more! How did he break his coccyx?

I would never dare wake my wife up in the middle of the night.... At 6:00 am even.... She needs to wake up on her own terms, and have enough sleep, or she gets a bit grumpy....

I'm going to tell her that she's doing the laundry wrong tonight though.... See if I get a reaction.... lol

KittyCat said...

Wow, that isnt quite how I would want to be woke up. But look at the bright side it wasnt something realy devastating, right.

Jimmy said...

I'm with Ms A as to sitting on the pews reminding him of this injury.

Excellent Post I'm still grinning although I don't think I could discuss anything with Cindy at 6:00AM Ha Ha that just wouldn't work.

Rebecca said...

HAHA!!! Thank you Bossy Betty for a wonderfully funny post! I hate to admit this but HOB's behavior reminded me of myself a little tiny itty bit. I also have a tendency to share random information at weird times. However, I have never tried to inform anyone about dishwasher operating procedure... I thought everyone had the kick it shut and squint at the buttons before leaving it up to fate and just press something, wait for the hum, and then it's all good technique. The REAL issue is whether you put the silverware in handle up or handle down. Oh the battles over that one!!!

Thanks again! I love your blog!!!

AiringMyLaundry said...

Love the outline.

Yeah, if my husband tried to bug me at 6 in the morning, he'd have had a fist in his face. I am not a morning person.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Oh my!! Lol. I love that outline!! And you are a much better woman than I am. There's no way I could tolerate my HOK (husband of kim) telling me... anything at 6 am. LOL> ;)

Life Is A Road Trip said...

LOL. Your outline is ingenuous. My husband is anal about stuff like that. You should hear him tell me how to line the garbage can with the garbage bag.

Susan Fields said...

That was hilarious! I laughed so hard I had to read it out loud to my husband. Now I just have to get him to adopt Betty's informal discussion outline. :)

essbesee said...

the english major in me loves the english teacher in you. that outline completely cracked me up. I hope you have learned how to properly load the dishwasher for cris'sakes now.

Miriam in KS said...

BB, let's throw him for a loop by adopting my dishwasher detergent application method:

1) Buy gelpac tabs instead of granualated variety.

2) Bypass dispenser compartments entirely by throwing (ahem-gently placing) gelpac into bottom front righthand corner of dishwasher

3) place gelpac in dishwasher when it is empty so other members of household know that the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty

4) Wait until dishwasher is overloaded before turning on in order to maximize water usage.

Let me know how this method works for you! hehe!

Leanne said...

Betty - I laughed so hard when reading this one, because this very morning I received my PHD in LOADING the dishwasher, from his highness, my very own HOB. And immediately after that I sat at the computer and read your blog. What are we gonna do, huh? Can't live with 'em, can't live with 'em! Great post, as always!

Miss Fit said...

Why do I think dirty when I hear coccyx?

Also, the dishwasher in our house used to be us and now that we have a machine, we've had our share of arrangement issues.

Mainly how to load it. He has a method and sadly, because I'm OCD, I have adopted it. If you come over and try to "help" me with the dishes, I will rearrange them.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I know what a coccyx is!! My fiancee is going to school to be a nurse. Good thing you didn't know what it was otherwise you might have laughed during the ceremony.

mmm cucumbers

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Great story, brought a smile to my heart. I'll bet there never a dull moment at your house. There are so many come-backs to these situations.

My husband and I tend to end these important talks with the phrase, "Just sayin'"

Anonymous said...

Bah ha ha! Oh dear. I am definitely bad for this. I always bring up seemingly random things at the strangest times. Drives Danny bonkers.

Cucumbers... I love it. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

You made tears come to my eyes as I laughed. I watch ten and eleven year old girls start looking at boys and giggling, while the boys are clueless.

Then they get older... They're still clueless.

That first, "We need to talk," would've scared me too.

Last week, after a Science Fair at my children's school, I changed into sweatpants as soon as I get home. I was done wearing tights and a dress.

I sat on the couch. My husband asked, "Did you wear those to the Science Fair."

I was so good. I didn't make a face or get a tone. I just said, "No."

He saw me that morning. He just spent the last TWO HOURS with me.

After a minute, he looked up and said, "That was a bad question. Wasn't it?"

We laughed. He thought. Then he said, "You had on a dress, didn't you?"


LittleSilkDress said...

This makes me giggle. Your outline is amazing.

Alissa Grosso said...


Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to load a dishwasher as I have carefully explained to my mother. She loads dishwashers wrong.

I do have a tendency to say random things. I don't think I'm quite as bad as HOB.

Trisha Dawn said...


gayle said...

Your husband sound like a cutie!! My husband would kill me if I did that to him but I would love to!!

Mary said...

LOL! This was so funny! Timely for me in a 30 year old dishwasher finally gave up the ghost yesterday. Maybe I was using too much powder :-)

Shan said...

Thanks for making me laugh when I should be sleeping!