Put Up Your Dukes

15 Nov

My mother and father were married for a very long time. They didn’t fight much, but when they did, it was memorable. Not for its violence; they were never violent. No, when my mother and father fought, they were eloquent. I can’t remember a particular fight, but I know that it would go something like this. My mother would accuse my father of some transgression. If she called him a name, it wasn’t just any random epithet. Once, for instance, she called him “an arrogant a—hole.” The alliteration just came naturally, flowed right off her tongue and was delivered with panache. My father, a wise man, would respond, but in Latin. “Mea culpa,” he’d say. “Mea maxima culpa.”

Fights are usually about something stupid.

Every couple I know has had a fight about Tupperware, for instance. We have tried every system of plastic container management in our house. Every one has lead to a fight of epic proportions. Early in our marriage, I recall yelling, “If you loved me, you’d put the Tupperware away right,” then running up to our bedroom, slamming the door and crying until I felt like an idiot for crying about Tupperware.

We tried the “as seen on TV” container system with just one lid for every type of container. It brought peace to our house for some time. Then my daughter decided the various sizes made good homes for various sizes of bugs. Grasshoppers fit nicely in the tall ones. The medium ones made good homes for worms and the small ones were ideally suited to Japanese beetles. We had many conversations about how my daughter would feel if I put her in a plastic container with a few twigs and some leaves. Apparently, she would feel just fine because all of my plastic containers disappeared. I hope I never find them.

I stopped buying expensive plastic containers after the bug incidents. I tried the kind with the stacking lids. The lids never got stacked. I realized that part of our problem was that a 14-year-old boy was responsible for unloading the dishwasher. In his mind, that meant that if the dishwasher was empty, he had done his job. Returning the dishes to their assigned location did not enter his mind. So, the measuring spoons were in with the steak knives, the pot lids were with the casserole dishes, the coffee mugs were on the counter and the container lids were nowhere to be found.

One night, my husband snippily asked where he might find a lid for a plastic container. He probably doesn’t think he was snippy, but I heard snip. I sighed, left what I was doing and went to get the poor helpless thing a lid. I knew I could find one, as I had numerous times before.

I couldn’t find one. Nothing matched. We had just two kinds of plastic container, those with red lids and those with blue lids. There were lots of blue lids and lots of red containers. There were even some old Chinese food containers, but no lids that matched bottoms. My head blew up. I began tossing containers around the room, determined that somewhere at the bottom of the container pile there had to be a secret store of container lids. I snapped, “Fine! You organize the darn things.” I’m pretty sure I didn’t say darn, but you get the picture.

So, my husband organized the plastic nightmare. Now, every container has its lid firmly placed atop it and the containers are then stacked neatly in the pantry. It’s working for now.  If my son continues his slovenly habit of just putting the containers and tops on the counter for me to put away, we could avoid a Tupperware fight for years.

Recently, I’ve been fighting with my neighbor. He’s a fine man. He has a beautiful family. His children play with my daughter. His wife is lovely. He is building a storage shed right next to my dining room window.

I tried to get him to stop. I was reasonable. I looked up the ordinances. I checked my plat of survey. I went outside and pointed out where I believed my property line was. His shed was going to be too close. Ah, too bad! No shed on the side of my house.

But he looked up ordinances, too. He found an ordinance that allowed him to put his shed where he wanted it. Bad. Shed on the side of my house.

Again, I tried to be reasonable. I calmly discussed the inappropriateness of placing a storage shed right outside your neighbor’s window. I pointed out that I would be forced to look at his shed every time I looked out my dining room window. He said he has to look at my gazebo every time he looks out his living room window. This made no sense to me but instead of saying “Huh?” I shouted, “Your shed will be ugly!” The conversation devolved. It became a fight.

I appear to have lost the fight. The shed is going up. We have made what is probably a vain attempt at involving the city. But, I’m still mad. As I write, it’s cold and dark. The shed is still going up. The nails are being hammered. My inside-my-head voice is saying, “I hope his hands are cold,” and “I hope he hammers his thumb.”

I don’t really want him to hammer his thumb. That would bring me bad Karma and I don’t need any more bad Karma. I’ve got a shed for a view, for crying out loud.

I try to follow the teachings of Buddha but my son says I am the worst Buddhist who ever lived, because I get mad and let people know it. I remember being in a Buddhist bookstore with a friend. She was telling me about a problem she had with a mutual acquaintance who had done something to really make my friend angry. She said, “What would Buddha do?” I said, “Buddha would key her car.” The little bald nun sitting at the cash register laughed out loud.

Probably, Buddha wouldn’t key the car, but he might well have thought about it. We get angry. We lash out. We push back. But, if we learn, we let go. I let go of the Tupperware and pretty soon, I’ll let go of the shed. Maybe then we’ll have a big windstorm and the tree near it will be blown over and fall on top of it.  A girl can dream.

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4 Responses to “Put Up Your Dukes”

  1. Ib November 15, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    I am also laughing out loud 🙂

  2. Teri November 15, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    She said, “What would Buddha do?” I said, “Buddha would key her car.” The little bald nun sitting at the cash register laughed out loud.

    I think I love you!! 🙂

    I found this hysterical. Thanks for the Monday laughs. 🙂

    Teri

    • jmlindy422 November 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      Thanks, Teri. When my kids get on my nerves, I tell them I’m going to run away, shave my head and become a Buddhist nun. For some strange reason, they don’t believe me. Probably, they know I’m too obsessed with my hair.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Snide Reply - September 26, 2011

    […] am overjoyed to report that the shed never went up. The cosmos aligned in a gigantic “I told you so,” when my neighbor hired someone […]

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