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Jim and I worked out together just once.  We were desperate for some activity, after fluctuating from comatose to mute despair watching the hurricane Katrina coverage .  We went to the small gym in the corner stall of the strip mall of my hometown.   It was where I used to stand as a teenager by the dumpster waiting for the Greyhound bus to take me away to New Orleans.

As I gazed at him working way harder than me on the stationary bicycle, I had an epiphany that has stayed with me through dating and married life with my Gem.

I realized the exact degree of complication to simplicity that separates us.  Complisimplicity is what causes the majority of our disagreeable conversations (?), huffy morning silences, and a whole host of who the hell is this person thoughts.

6 to 1.

Jim needs 6 things for every 1 thing that I need.

The Workout 6:

1-head band, 2-knee brace, 3-water, 4-walkman, 5-croakies for glasses, 6-shoe insoles.

My workout requirement:  water.

That day, (and we all get extra leeway during that hellish period in 2005)  if he couldn’t find each and every item, he was damn well not going, which he told me a dozen times as he sifted through the rubble of our things that were piled in Mom and Dad’s playroom.  We lived there for 2 months after disastrously built levees flooded our city following Katrina.  We couldn’t find anything and were usually on edge.  So, to workout to workout we go….. once.

I began to apply the 6:1 to everything that drove me crazy.  It helped.  Followed by a little OCD torture.

The Salad 6.  Oh, how I have come to suffer the salad.  If it is missing an ingredient; out comes the accusative tense (they really have this in Russian), the stop and stare, the about to get up and add to the salad until he sees my face.

1-butter lettuce only, 2-shredded cheese, 3-nuts, 4-dried fruit, 5- my homemade salad dressing, 6-specific plastic container.

Speaking of Plastic containers

Plastic containers plus kitty

The Plastic Container 6

1 – Leftovers, but only at home and never in the microwave. Also the hallowed salad container

2 – Microwave leftovers, only at home (bottom)

3 – Store dried goods only (brown sugar here)

4 – Take leftovers to work (microwaving allowed)

5 – Holds water in the freezer so it operates more efficiently. (currently 6 in freezer)

6 – Only cup he likes to drink morning milk out of – I know I know; it doesn’t fit, but I have to make 6, so it works for me and my little justification world.

7 – Cute kitty Rio waiting to tip the cup over.

I survive with easy little tortures (yes Abram, we torture our men to stay sane).  After exclaiming about a delicious dinner and how great it would be to take to work for lunch tomorrow, I’ll casually reach for the wrong container category just to get a reaction out of him.  What can I say, I’m twisted and evil.

Guilt alert: 6 Great things Jim did lately

1.  Asked if he could get a potty reward since he used the same spoon twice during breakfast, instead of dirtying up 2 clean ones.

2.  Set me up for diapers ready to go to the preschool, to the car, and in the “changing table”.  I will never have to run to the grocery store at midnight for emergency supply.

3.   Trimmed the lower limbs on the trees in our back yard so I can run around without bashing my head and scratching my eyes while playing soccer monster.

4.  He dances with me in the laundry room and dances with my son in the kitchen.

5.  Refills my PJs coffee card without comment

6.  He hasn’t asked me to make the salad for dinner in a very very long time, and not just because we have kids now.


Six to one.  I can live with that!


Finally, something approximating the humming happy high I got when I opened my weekly box of produce from Past Time Farms in the summer of 2005. There were so many squashes and peppers in the cardboard cornucopia, that we became bold in our recipe experiments. And happy. Just happy to have fresh vegetables to cook every day.

Past Time Farms never came back the same after Hurricane Katrina and there hasn’t been a replacement. Hollygrove Market is close, but not quite. Paying the weekly fee instead of an annual fee makes you rejudge every week if you want to do it, instead of the delight in opening what you’ve already paid for.

I realized as I was humming again the other day, that finally, the Gorilla Smoothie from Martha Beck’s new book was sending me to the same happy veggie heaven as the Past Time Farms produce box.

I am definitely not one to eat something because it is good for me, and my hand was shaking the first time I tossed raw spinach into a fruit juice drink, but, I cannot even begin to express how much I have missed this drink.

I love it. I’ve had one everyday.   I’ve made everyone else try it.  I’m a goner.  A greenie goner.

ps – note to self:  no more perfectionism; just write it and post it.