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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!


Okay, I just call myself that, but it sounded better as a title. Cuatro (as in number 4) is the moniker I used to use whenever Jim’s 3 other priorities were ruining my very existence. Or just annoying the hell out of me.

Before we had kids, here was Jim’s priority list, according to me.

  1.   His mother
  2.   Our 2 cats
  3.   His projects
  4.   Me

He denies this, of course, but sometimes when I couldn’t get his attention by saying his name at increasing decibels, I would just meow once, and he would immediately get up to see what the kitty needed.

Time has passed as has Jim’s mother and we now have two kids.  We’re both so busy, that Cuatro doesn’t come up as a complaint as much. If I had to make the list again, the kids have replaced his mother, all else is the same.

I’m revisiting it today because of this picture.

This is our dining room, and I am stretched out on the ugly black sofa that lives there, while Rio the kitty is perched on the chair about 2 feet away from me.  Jim comes in from the left, walks in between me and the kitty.  Stops to pet and talk to the kitty.  Does not even see me, walks into the kitchen and starts calling my name.  When he peeks back into the dining room, I’m just shaking my head, mumbling Cuatro under my breath.