A happy marriage requires strong communication. Ours sounds like this.
Me: What would you like for breakfast?
Hubband: How about pancakes?
Me: Um, no. Too much work?
Hubband: How about waffles.
Me: No. Even more work.
Hubband: French toast?
Me: How about eggs and sausage?
Hubband: Can you poach them?
Me: No. It's too much work. How about scrambled. That's all I have time for.
Hubband: Then why did you ask me what I wanted?
Me: I was expecting you to be reasonable. You don't have to be at the library until noon tomorrow (Sunday). I will make you pancakes tomorrow.
So Saturday night, I went to the market and made sure I bought all the things I needed to make pancakes for my wonderful husband. I also bought four pounds of strawberries. When I got home, we communicated some more.
Hubband: Why did you buy so many strawberries?
Me: They were cheap. And they looked good.
Hubband: They look like they are about to turn.
Me: They look ripe.
Hubband: You won't use them all before they go bad. You have to stop wasting food.
Me: I'll use them.
Hubband: Can you make strawberry waffles?
Me: Sure. I'll make waffles tomorrow instead of pancakes.
Hubband: Did you buy any whipped cream?
Me: Well, no. But I didn't know I was going to be making waffles. Why would I buy something I was had no plans to use? That would be a waste of food.
So, Sunday morning, I set about making waffles. (By that, I mean, I set about cleaning a patch of kitchen, and the required dishes, to make waffles. I've been a bit behind the curve on the kitchen lately.) Hubband loves to communicate while I am puttering about the kitchen.
Hubband: I need some exercise. I think I'll go for a walk.
Me: Why don't you walk down to the market and get whipped cream?
Hubband: I don't want to go to the market for just one thing.
Me: Well, I need other things too. I have a list.
Hubband: You really want me to go the market to get whipped cream?
Me: No. I really don't care. You are the one who wants the whipped cream. And you want to go for a walk. You could do both at once. I just want you to be happy. (Why is it that this never sounds sincere?)
Hubband: Give me your list.
My list had three items on it. Polenta, one whole cut-up chicken, and hollandaise sauce mix, as I had promised to make him eggs Benedict on Monday. Yes, I make my hollandaise sauce from a mix. Do you have a problem with that?
Hubband went off to the store. An hour later, he returned. By then, the waffles were done, the strawberries were cut up, and the children were STARVING. It was nine o'clock. They usually eat breakfast by half past seven. But this day, what with the messy kitchen and the groceries being delivered on foot, we were a little behind. They had been begging for food for at least an hour and I kept putting them off with the promise of breakfast, soon. Any sooner and they were going to eat each other.
Hubband: They didn't have a whole cut-up chicken.
Me: Yes, they did.
Hubband: No, they didn't. So, I got you chicken breast fillets instead.
Me: What? That's not going to work. I'm making Chicken Teresa. I need actual chicken. Breast fillets might as well be a different animal.
Hubband: Do I like Chicken Teresa?
Hubband: No, I don't. Isn't that the stuff you make with polenta? (I see the light bulb going on as he realizes he also bought polenta.) I don't like polenta. (Poor guy. I had him dig his own gastronomic grave. In all fairness, I also use polenta to make corn bread which he loves.)
Me: Well, I like it. You're mother loves my Chicken Teresa. (To him, his mother is the final word on food. I beat him with this stick when it is convenient.) Where's the whipped cream?
Hubband: I didn't get whipped cream?
Me: What? Why not?
Hubband: It wasn't on the list.
Me: But, whipped cream is what you went to the store for.
Hubband: But, you didn't put it on the list.
Me: How could you forget the whipped cream?
Hubband: Why didn't you put it on the list?
He knew this argument was weak. He was just mad that he had no whipped cream for his strawberry waffles and no one to blame but himself. So he went back to the market and got whipped cream. This time he drove.
The beauty of serving breakfast at 9:30 is that the children didn't pester us about their ten o'clock snack. We used the time to read the Sunday paper and rest up from all that communicating. Because sometimes, a happy marriage requires resting peacefully in each other's presence.