Winning a Marital Disagreement

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For all of the people out there in relationships that are full of disagreements and conflicting opinions, who believe that no matter what, your significant other will never come around to feeling the way you do on certain issues, there is hope. Until today I never would have believed it and have given up on even trying to sway my wife’s opinion, but rejoice my friends because today it actually happened. Over the course of our relationship, my wife and I have had many disagreements over things, some small, like where to go for dinner or how to load the dishwasher, and some big, like whether Lord of the Rings is the greatest movie trilogy of all time, or if we should get dogs or not. Well we’ve never sat down and watched Lord of the Rings together and we now have two chihuahuas so it’s safe to say that I lose a lot more than I win, but today I won, and it feels fantastic.

The biggest fundamental difference of opinion that we have is far bigger than dogs or movies or how to load a dishwasher to make sure that everything gets clean (Seriously why does it matter how you put a spoon in? They’re not that expensive we could just buy more spoons), but rather where the ideal place to live is based on the weather. My wife was born in California and lived there for nine years before moving to Florida where she lived the rest of her life before we moved to Memphis last year, so her opinion was completely biased based on the surroundings she grew up with. She loves hot weather, so between Florida and Southern California that are two of the consistently warm climates in the country, she didn’t think it could get any better. I on the other hand like the cold. I absolutely loved living in Minnesota during the winter of my freshman year of college where snow stayed on the ground for the better part of three months, whereas the four years spent in Florida were some of the most miserable of my life, so we had to come up with a compromise, find a place where we could both get what we wanted, so we moved to Memphis.

We moved here in July, which was perfect for her so she could go from one hellishly hot place to another, but then fall rolled around and the heat relented and I was suddenly a much happier man, my first taste of cool fall air in four years. Last winter was a pretty mild one save for the week where it was consistently in the upper 20’s, but it was nice to have the cold for at least a little while, and to my wife’s surprise, she survived it. Now that it’s miserably hot again she was really enjoying it for a little while, but lately hasn’t been as happy about it, and today she texted me from work telling me that she can’t wait for winter and said she actually appreciates the changing seasons now, so take that Florida and California, Memphis wins (at least in that respect)! That just goes to show you that changes of opinions or preferences can change over the course of a relationship, so don’t give up hope and maybe, just maybe, you will be as happy as I am today.

A Trip to the Mall on a Tuesday Afternoon

IMG_4082I have to work this Saturday which means that today I only had to go into work for a few hours, so when I got home I took my wife to her chiropractor, not because I love going to the dimly lit building where my wife’s spine gets shoved back into place, but because it’s rare that we are ever off work at the same time and I wanted to hang out with her today. After the appointment that took maybe ten minutes, and cost roughly two dollars per minute, which in all sincerity is money well spent since my wife could hardly even walk before, we decided it might be fun to go to the mall since we were already over in the area, and since school started here yesterday, we figured it wouldn’t be obnoxiously crowded like the rest of the summer. Sadly, we were wrong.

I’m not kidding when I say that the parking lot was as crowded as I can ever remember and I had to park pretty far from the entrance, not that I minded that aspect all that much since it turned out to be a pretty pleasant summer day. We walked into the food court, the place where any good trip to the mall starts, and got a snack of bacon cheese fries and a soda. You really haven’t lived until you try walking around the mall on a miserably full stomach. The cheese fries were overly salty, but they were devoured nonetheless, and with no particular destination in mind, we began to wander around the Wolfchase Galleria. There were quite a few stores that have opened up since we’d last been in there, so we ventured inside, were hassled by salespeople wanting to help us find something that we ourselves didn’t know we were looking for, and subsequently left, moving on to the next one.

The process repeated in this fashion with each store we went into, which left me remembering why I don’t like the mall that much in the first place, because browsing just isn’t as much fun without unlimited funds in the bank account, and it’s uncomfortable the way the shop owner’s eyes will follow you around the store, waiting expectantly to make a purchase that never actually happens. We went into Bath and Body Works, a store that I both loathe and love, because nothing is offensive as the combination of odors that you might smell, but there are few things as satisfying as walking away with the perfect scented candle that brings back some unknown memory that translates to happiness. We walked around taking the tops off of various candles and smelling them to see if that is what we wanted our apartment to smell like for the next month or so, but more often than not we shook our heads in disgust as candles with names like “Flannel” or “Pomegranate” gave off overwhelming scents that were altogether unpleasant. We did however find one that we love, an old favorite of ours, “Pumpkin Apple”, but agreed that was a scent better suited for a nice and cool fall evening than a warm and muggy summer afternoon that is currently our reality, so we left the store empty handed, vowing to come back for that candle once the leaves begin to change and life seems much more optimistic. Although we didn’t end up buying anything, I wouldn’t consider the afternoon a bust, because it was just nice getting to spend some quality time in the mall with my wife on a Tuesday, which in itself is a pretty rare occurrence.

Why I Won’t be Going Back to Pizza Hut

Last year I wrote a blog about how after constant disappointment I was severing my ties with Pizza Hut, and for the most part I have stuck with that, despite that being the most conveniently located pizza place to where I live, but last night I found myself there and all of my previous hatred for the pizza chain was reaffirmed. Pull up a chair, this may take a while. So my wife and I were going over to my dad’s house last night and he asked if we would pick up the pizza that he’d ordered on the way, which shouldn’t have been a problem which is exactly what I told him. He told me that it would be ready at seven o’clock, so I timed my leaving the house perfectly and pulled up in front of the restaurant at precisely that time, for I’m nothing if not punctual. I went in and paid for the two medium pizzas, eighteen dollars exactly and signed the receipt, waiting for my pizza. The cashier looked in the warming bag behind her, pulling out two medium pizzas, before deciding that something was wrong and pushing them back into the bag, completely out of sight. I knew there was a problem, because typically that’s how things work at pizza hut; you order pizza, and you get a problem, although she didn’t tell me this right away.

The cashier disappeared to the back, and shortly after returned to the counter with a one toothed woman who appeared, all appearances aside, to be the manager. They whispered back in forth, the two previously mentioned pizzas making another appearance as one explained to the other what was going on, and still all of this was happening without anyone saying a word to me. Finally, after a few minutes, the singularly toothed thorn in my heel stepped forward to the counter and addressed me for the first time, informing me that guess what, there was a problem. Apparently the two pizzas that I was supposed to be picking up were given away to another customer, and this other customer’s pizzas were the ones that kept being pulled in and out of the hot bag. She said it would take no more than ten minutes to remake the pizzas, but my old bias against Pizza Hut had been building up as soon as I knew there was a problem, so I told her I just wanted my money back and if I decided to reorder the pizza I would come back in and do so, my thinking being that I would call my dad and we could nix this whole plan altogether and find a pizza place that wasn’t so prone to constant screw ups.

The manager turned and asked the cashier how I paid, because apparently for some reason asking the person standing right in front of her who had actually made the payment didn’t occur to her. The cashier told her I paid with my card, and that is when the manager informed me, saying that it wasn’t possible to give cash back on a card purchase. I found it absurd that I could not get my money back; my online banking app already showed the money taken from my account, so why couldn’t she just give me eighteen dollars in cash and let me be on my way? “That’s not possible.” That was the phrase she kept hissing at me from behind the tooth, as if I were asking her to suddenly sprout wings and fly away. Stubbornly, I once again asked for my money back, and then the genie gave me three options; I could get a credit for the amount I spent, redeemable at any area pizza hut, she could tell her manager tomorrow, who in turn would contact the corporate headquarters and would make a decision on whether or not to return my money in five to seven business days, or I could wait ten minutes for them to remake the pizzas. I slightly raised my hands in an act of show, asked what choice did I have, and told her I would be waiting outside until the pizzas were remade.

Ten minutes later on the nose I walked back into the Pizza Hut, ready to claim my prize. In the time I sat waiting in the car, I watched a guy walk in, not be helped at the counter for five minutes, and angrily leave, so at least I can take solace in knowing I’m not the only person afflicted by the terrible service that seems to be a requirement of all their franchises. I did have to wait a few minutes for my pizzas to be finished, given that the people who actually make the pizzas aren’t that great at estimating how long it will take to make them, but finally I got them and was about to leave, when suddenly a thought occurred to me. These people were very unhelpful and were basically holding my eighteen dollars hostage. In all the jobs I’ve worked at, including a few months at a pizza place, we bent over backwards to make our customers happy, going above and beyond especially when someone was unhappy, giving out free cheesy bread or giving the products to them free of charge, but none of these conciliatory offerings were tossed in my direction, so I asked the manager if I could have a two liter drink for my troubles. She rolled her eyes and said yes; victory was mine, the big winner of a two liter Pepsi for thirty minutes of my time. Suffice it to say, I will not be returning to Pizza Hut anytime soon.

Corky’s: A Family Dinner

IMG_4006You know those people that you don’t see as often as you’d like, but you have just as good of a time with, if not better than the last time you saw them? That is the way things are with the other Curtis family, my uncle Brett, aunt Amy, and cousins Jay and Abigail. I think the last time we were all together was before Christmas, which is crazy given that they only live about fifteen minutes away from us and we have a great time whenever we are together, so I was obviously thrilled earlier this week when my uncle texted me, inviting my wife and I out to dinner. He picked one of my favorite barbecue restaurants in Memphis, Corky’s, and we met him along with the rest of his family there tonight. I love the dry ribs at Corky’s and I go back and forth between them and Central BBQ as having my favorite ribs in the city, but I’ve been on a nacho kick lately, so when the waitress asked what I wanted, I ordered the pulled pork barbecue ribs, which turned out to be a fantastic decision.

While we waited for the food to arrive we munched on rolls and a fried onion loaf, that was filling enough to have been the entire meal. We caught up on each others lives, Jay’s marketing internship, Abigail preparing for college, and swapped lots of stories, all of which ended in bursts of laughter. The food arrived and all of it looked absolutely delicious. My nachos were tortilla chips with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, nacho cheese, and jalapeños piled atop them, and I dug in. Although I’ve gotten nachos at various other barbecue restaurants, I don’t believe I’ve ever tried the ones at Corky’s before, and they were just as good, if not better than my current favorite at Central BBQ. After tonight I think there is a new champion in my book, the deciding factor being the copious amounts of nacho cheese that covered almost every single chip, which I’ve found to be a rarity in the world of nachos. It seems like almost every time I get nachos there are at least a few dry chips at the bottom, untouched by the deliciousness of the toppings, but these were the exception.

The jalapeños added quite a bit of a kick, which wasn’t a problem as our waitress was good about always being there to refill my water glass when I so desperately needed the relief. Everyone else seemed to enjoy the food as well, so all in all it was a spectacular meal in terms of the quality of food. While Corky’s delivered on the taste, what really made the meal so great was the great conversation and the company we had it with. We told story after story, and before we knew it we’d been at the restaurant for nearly two hours and the tables around us had quickly emptied without us noticing. I hope we can get together again soon, because they really are a joy to be around. Thank you uncle Brett, aunt Amy, Jay and Abigail for a great dinner, one that won’t be soon forgotten.

The Continuing Saga of my Wife’s Hurt Back

It had been a week since my wife’s first visit to the doctor for her back pain. After a surprisingly short time in the clinic, the doctor had concluded without a shred of evidence that my wife had a muscle strain, causing the unbearable pain in her back and her legs to go numb. She prescribed two medications, a steroid and a muscle relaxer, convinced that they would both relieve her pain, and heal her body, but they did neither, which is why I found myself crossing three lanes of traffic at the last second to get into the turn lane for this chiropractic clinic that my wife had found online. We opened the door to the clinic, the lobby was dark and empty, and the girl behind the desk said welcome to “The Joint.” That’s right, the fate of my wife’s back lies in the hands of a place named something that sounds more like a hip new restaurant or a local bar than a doctor’s office, but without many other options, we continued on inside and my wife filled out the seven pages of paperwork, which turned out to take longer than the actual time spent with the chiropractor.

While she was filling out the forms, a man in his mid twenties walked in and scanned a keychain at the front desk, as if he had security clearance at a top secret government facility. The scanner beeped its recognition and he took his seat. A few minutes later a doctor summoned him to the back, where loud noises ensued. It sounded like someone was picking a heavy table off of the ground from one end, then slamming down against a marble floor as hard as they possibly could. I feared for the man’s life back there, sure that he was being beaten to death, not that I made any attempt to help or avert my eyes from the book I was reading, but after a couple minutes of the mayhem, he walked back out into the lobby like nothing had happened. After a few minutes, my wife was told to go into the back to meet the doctor and the receptionist asked if I would be joining my wife, to which I politely declined, opting to sit in the lobby and strain my eyes reading “Story of a Sociopath” by Julia Navarro. Perhaps the story is about me, the man who refused to join his wife when she went to consult with the chiropractor, but I haven’t read that far yet.

After only about ten minutes, and some more of the crashing sounds, my wife returned, feeling better than she had in more than a week. The chiropractor told her that her alignment was off, that one leg was an inch longer than the other due to some sort of shift that had moved her spine slightly out of place, but not too worry, after a few more sessions, she was sure my wife would be healed. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the practice, likening the chiropractor to the new age healer that turns George’s face purple in Seinfeld, but after two sessions my wife seems to be getting better and the pain has subsided drastically, so whatever the chiropractor is doing, seems to be working for the moment, and hopefully my wife will continue along this trajectory until she’s good as new, or at the very least, comfortable getting out of bed in the morning.

My Wedding Night

IMG_3270People say that your wedding night is unforgettable, and mine was no exception. After we got married and went out to dinner with our families, my new wife and I hit the road for our honeymoon, our destination being Orange Beach, Alabama, where we would spend a week in a beachfront condo, enjoying our new lives as a married couple, so obviously we were very excited to get there. Our wedding was on a Friday evening, and after dinner, we got on the road a little bit after eight, planning to drive as far as we could that night before exhaustion took over. On the south Florida interstate we rolled down the windows, the night air exhilarating us as we began our journey. I hung my arm out the window, but only for a couple of minutes, then I thought better of it, fearing my new wedding ring might slide off my finger and be lost forever, which probably isn’t the ideal way to start a marriage.

We stopped at the first rest stop we came to, and went our separate ways to change out of our wedding clothes, my wife still in her white dress and me in my suit. Before long we were back on the road with our whole lives ahead of us. We drove and drove and before we’d gotten too far we were both exhausted and ready to quit driving for the night, so we pulled off at the nearest exit to check into a hotel. The first hotel we went to was completely full, as were the other few in whatever town we were in. We kept driving, stopping at most exits hoping for an empty room, but there were none to be had, so we decided to look online, and book the closest available room, which was in Jacksonville, about an hour and a half further. I somehow managed to not fall asleep at the wheel, playing twenty questions until I couldn’t bring myself to think of anything more to ask, much less guess at whatever object my wife was thinking of. It was a struggle but we finally made it to Jacksonville and pulled off at the exit to our hotel.

Despite having eaten a few hours ago, my wife and I were both very hungry, perhaps from the exhaustion, and luckily there was a Krystal right by our hotel, which I was pretty excited about having not had one of the little square hamburgers in years, so we hit the drive thru and went to the hotel, where we sat on the sofa, eating the greasy burgers and watching late night television. It may not have been the most romantic wedding night in the history of the world, but it was a night full of memories that my wife and I can look back on now with fondness and laugh at the absurdity of it all. It was an unforgettable night and I wouldn’t trade those first memories we shared together as a married couple for anything.

The Never Ending Game

My wife and I have been playing a game for years now, that we are probably not likely to ever finish. A few years ago, for christmas, she gave me Trivial Pursuit, which was an awesome gift and I was thrilled to have gotten it. I imagined myself to be an intelligent person, one who would enjoy the intellectual challenges of the game, and overcoming them by thinking back to something I might have picked up in school or on the nature channel, but the reality hit me hard in the face, that christmas afternoon when we played for the first time. She bought me the genius edition. She really thought a lot of me back then. My wife likes board games to an extent, but the one’s that tend to drag on for hours like Monopoly or Risk, a couple of my favorites, she’s not to keen to play, and after well over an hour of us missing question after question, neither of us any closer to winning, she was ready to pull the plug on Trivial Pursuit, and quite frankly, so was I.

We’ve played on several other occasions, when I think it might be fun to stimulate ourselves intellectually, forgetting just how difficult the questions were, but never finished a game. We’ve always called it quits well before our tokens were filled with the six colorful wedges and a winner was declared, but last night, having gone months without pulling the game out of the closet, I fell into the trap and suggested we play, and surprisingly she agreed. We played for nearly two hours and had each collected five of the six wedges necessary to win, and I thought that maybe we would finally finish the game, so we played on. The only wedge both of us needed was the pink one, entertainment, so we continued, each of us hovering around the same spot on the board, desperate to land on the pink space and get the question right. We both had ample opportunities to win the game, but we missed the question every time we got the chance. My wife thought she’d won, when given the question about who played the main character in “The Parent Trap.” She excitedly answered Lindsay Lohan, the smile of victory already on her face. This was a good answer because it was in fact Lohan who played the main character, unfortunately for my wife, this version of Trivial Pursuit came out long before Disney remade the movie with Lindsay and the answer printed on the card was an actress neither of us had ever heard of, who starred in the original. We kept the board on the table and maybe we’ll try to finish the game tonight, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that we will come up shorthanded once again. I was so excited when I got Trivial Pursuit, thinking I would be able to show off my breadth of knowledge, but all that the game has really done, is expose how little I actually know.