Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost and Found

In every relationship, tasks inevitably become divided into "his" and "hers." He takes care of the cars and the lawn, she does the dishes and the laundry. He cooks, she cleans up after. He takes care of the money, she changes the diapers. You get the idea.

In my relationship, Sven and I have developed what I feel to be a truly remarkable division of labor: Sven is responsible for losing things, and I am responsible for finding them. I know this sounds mundane, but trust me: what I am describing here is something special.

Sven's ability to lose things amazes me. At first, I thought it was a logical outgrowth of his difficulty seeing: when we met and began dating, Sven was legally blind, with severe astigmatism and myopia. When we became very poor married college students, we couldn't afford his contact lenses, so he went about in a pair of the thickest glasses invented by man. These glasses were so thick they were almost opaque, so of course I understood that he couldn't see things that were right in front of him. If he called plaintively to me that he had lost his shoe, I would of course jump into action, knowing that he would find it himself if he could only see, the poor dear.

Then, he got the lasik eye surgery. A miracle! He could see! Now I no longer felt so sorry for him when he plaintively called to me to find something six inches from his right hand. I couldn't understand how he could lose things so easily, when they were right in front of him!

Now I know, it's my fault. You see, when Sven asks me to find something, I always assumed he had looked first, so I jumped into action, finding the object in question. My illusions were shattered the day he stood in the middle of the living room, holding Deb Jr. in his arms, stating that he had looked all over the house and couldn't find her shoes.

Where did you look? I asked. I was very calm.

Everywhere, he answered, nostrils akimbo.

Did you look down? I asked. For there they were, each shoe mere inches from his own.

In psychology, they call this "learned helplessness." I have taught Sven, by always finding everything, that he doesn't need to look. He knows I will be there, using my amazing finding skills, somehow knowing that the air pump for Deb Jr.'s travel bed is on the floor next to the piano, or that Sven Jr.'s diaper ointment is in the video games cabinet, or that Sven's phone is in the trunk of dress-up clothes in Deb Jr.'s room.

With great power comes great responsibility, and this is mine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You Know the Old Saying...

Do any of you have the annoying, know-it-all husband? I only ask because I want to believe I'm not alone. Sven is completely unflappable. It doesn't matter what I tell him, he nods his head as though he's heard it all before.

The other day, I had a first grade student who went into the restroom, took his poop, rolled it into little balls, and carried the resulting product around in his pocket for a good portion of the day, utilizing the tiny poo-balls in ways I'm not sure I want to know.

So, I get home and tell Sven, "I had a first grader carry around little balls of his own poop today."

Sven nodded and said, "Well, you know that old saying..."

Of course I didn't, because it is bathroom-wall style filth that Sven had to share with me, but there was actually a saying about people who roll their poop into little balls. Sven is the master of arcane trivia like this, and the more closely related the trivia is to bathroom issues, the better.

Well, I realized that I couldn't allow this to go on, so I purchased a book called "The Truth About Poop." While it's no Twilight, this book does have a lot of fascinating trivia. For example:

  • Native American Lakota used the ashes from burned poop for toothpaste
  • Sharks produce poop in a spiral
  • The Roman goddess Cloacina was the goddess of toilets and sewers.

Imagine what I can do with information like this in everyday life! What conversation I can make! What an interesting person I will become! Come back here!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

TMEA 2009: The Recap

Ah, San Antonio, Texas.  Truly a Mecca of history, tourism, and good ol' fashioned Texas-sized hospitality.  And, by "hospitality," I mean two things:

1. Never-ending construction, and

2. Absolutely nothing, ever, for free

San Antonio is what most non-Texans think of when they think of Texas, now that Dallas is off the air.  San Antonio's status as a top tourist attraction is largely due to the historic Alamo, which is nestled in the middle of downtown, across the street from the Guinness Book of Records Museum and Ripley's Believe it or Not.  The Alamo symbolizes the never-say-die spirit of true Texans, those brave men who were slaughtered by the Mexican army after telling them the bottled water was $4.50. 

In addition to the Alamo, there is the historic Riverwalk, a sidewalk surrounding a river of such historical value that it is repeatedly enlarged to create even more valuable- I mean, historical- real estate upon which to locate even more historical Mexican restaurants featuring real historical mariachis who play historical Mexican music for $10 per song.

I kid.  I'm a little cynical about San Antonio, I suppose, because my profession holds two conventions per year, and they are both in San Antonio.  Each year of my professional life, with very few exceptions, I am forced to travel to San Antonio for these professional workshops.  The hotels in downtown are ridiculously expensive (we paid $200 per night), but parking is also very costly and almost impossible to find.  The food is very good and very expensive, and takes forever.  There is no free public internet access, and my hotel only offered free wireless in the lobby- to use internet in your room, you could use the broadband connection for only $24.95 plus $.05 per minute.

They finally finished their 10-year renovation to the convention center, so, of course, it's time to completely remodel the Rivercenter Hotel/Mall complex, shutting down the main pedestrian route to the convention center, closing two of the four lanes of the busiest street in downtown, and closing the Brentano's bookstore.

I'm afraid I may be giving the wrong impression.  The service in San Antonio is wonderful.  The people are friendly, the vendors non-threatening.  The workshops I attended were fun and informative, I got lots of free stuff, and bought even more.  We had two full exhibit halls, where I got to watch the ShamWow demonstrated live and played a purple violin.   We took the kids to eat at The Magic Time Machine, where our waitresses were Dora the Explorer and Daisy Duke, much to Sven Jr.'s delight.  (I know he's only 13 months, but he kept dropping things when she walked by, with a look in his eyes I can only describe as hopeful.)  Snow White, Tinkerbell, Captain Jack Sparrow, Harry Potter, and Marilyn Monroe were also working that night.  The kids slept almost every night, Sven was in a pretty good mood, and our hotel housekeeper, Virginia, timed her cleaning around the kids' naps, even though that meant she had to clean our room at 5:00 p.m.

And Sven stayed out with his friends until 2:00 a.m. Friday night, but I woke up Saturday to Valentine's Day jewelry, much to my surprise.  Multi-colored pearl necklace and bracelet, thank you very much.

So, it was a good convention.  I got lots of staff development hours, and made memories that would have lasted a lifetime, but I forgot the camera.