Category Archives: He’s From Mars I’m From Venus

We of Little Faith

I was minding my own beeswax at the end of the pew before Mass started today when a little old lady came up to me and asked if I was in her Birthday Book yet. She had long white hair and bright pink lipstick and for a minute I thought maybe I’d gone down the rabbit hole.

“Your Birthday Book?” I blinked. “I don’t know what that is.”

“I pray for people on their birthdays” said the mysterious stranger. “What’s your name? I’ll put you on my list!”

Now, I’m usually a suspicious person by nature, but I signed myself right up. I mean, here was someone offering to pray for me free of charge, and I need all the prayers I can get.

I spelled out my full name and gave her my birth date, which she scrawled into a flowery little journal she’d whipped out of her purse. Then she asked for the P-Dawg’s info, which I of course provided, and then the kids.’

I thought that would be the end of it, but before I knew it she was asking me for my parents’ names and birthdays, and also my mother-in-law’s. Now I was starting to get a little uncomfortable, but it seemed uncharitable to deny the rest of my family the opportunity to be prayed for, as well. What was I supposed to say to her? No thank you, I would rather you didn’t pray for the rest of them.

After she was done writing down my entire clan’s personal information in her little notebook, the little old lady gave me a meaningful look, squeezed my hand, and trotted off. I got a distinct sense like maybe she also wanted to hug me, (and ask for more names), but I cut her off at the pass. It’s one thing to give a stranger all of your personal information plus your mother’s maiden name, but quite another to physically touch.

“What were you talking to that woman about?” asked the P-Dawg, who’d been sitting out of earshot.

“She prays for people on their birthdays,” I told him. “So I gave her our stats.”

A small vein in my husband’s right temple began to throb.

“Did you give her our real names?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“And our real birthdays?”

”                         ”

“What other information did you give her?” the P-Dawg sounded alarmed.

“Just our social security numbers and online banking information,” I told him (even though I had not!)

Suddenly it seemed like not such a great idea, what I had done. I mean, if this lady was really praying for people on their birthdays, why didn’t she carry a calendar and write the names in for each day instead?

“Let us pray,” said the priest, and I sent up a silent petition that the Birthday Lady wouldn’t steal my identity.

“Do you think she’s going to steal our identities?” I asked the P-Dawg.

“Probably,” he said.

I couldn’t concentrate during Mass at all because I kept scanning the pews for the Birthday Lady. But I couldn’t see her anywhere and so naturally assumed that she was already back in her lair, hacking into our bank accounts.

Thankfully my daughter, who is a spy in training, had not let her out of her sight. She was ten pews up to our right. There was still a chance to get our names out of The Book!

After Mass I asked the P-Dawg if he would mind approaching the Prayer Lady and asking her to remove our names from her list.


“Just say we reconsidered and we don’t want anyone praying for us.”

“I have a better idea,” the P-Dawg said.

“What are you going to do, take her down in the parking lot?”

“No, I’m going to trail her and get a picture of her license plate,” he explained to me. “But first, we’re going to have to split up.”

The children and I camped out in the car awaiting our fate and my husband hovered around the Birthday Lady while she chatted with people after church.

“Where’s Daddy?” asked my son after about ten minutes.

“Oh, he probably just ran into someone he knows,” I lied, even though I was starting to fret. What was the P-Dawg doing with the Prayer Lady? Had he been successful in confiscating our page? Had she pulled a switchblade on him? Had they come to blows?”

Finally my brave husband came back.

“Well?” I prodded. “How did it go down? Did you get our names removed from The Book?”

“No,” said the P-Dawg.  “She stayed after talking to a bunch of people who seemed to know and trust her, and then she went to the hall for coffee and donuts.”

“I don’t understand. Why didn’t you ask if you could see her Prayer Book, then rip our page out?”

“Because I could get arrested for that.”

We continued to discuss the situation on the car ride home and the P-Dawg reluctantly conceded that the Prayer Lady had probably been legit. I want to believe there are still people in the world who just want to pray for me and everyone I know for the heck of it. And I think it’s a shame that my husband we automatically second guess someone who offers. In fact, I should have asked for her name and info. That way I would at least know how to look her up.

So what do you think? Is the Birthday Lady going to pray for me, or rob me blind instead?

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You Can’t Force a Man Into a Turtleneck Sweater

Back when the P-Dawg and I started dating, I would go to the mall on a Saturday afternoon (because I had absolutely nothing better to do) and buy him sweaters. The black turtleneck sweater was the very pinnacle of my fashion aspirations for the P-Dawg, but I was not totally inflexible, and sometimes I would also buy him a gray or green turtleneck sweater. The sweaters would go directly from my shopping bag to the P-Dawg’s closet, never to be seen again.

A day came when the turtlenecks became so numerous that they threatened to take over the P-Dawg’s apartment. On this day he said to me, “Rima. I can’t stand turtleneck sweaters.”

We got married, anyway. And every year at Christmas I would buy the P-Dawg a new sweater, but not a turtleneck. The P-Dawg, because he is a wonderful husband, would wear his new sweater on Christmas Day. One day it finally dawned on me that the love of my life was not a Sweater Guy. And neither, unfortunately, was he a Black Shoes with Silver Buckles Guy.

He was a flannel and hoodies guy, and I loved him.

The P-Dawg took a much deserved day off work yesterday and we spent it together. We went on a nice long hike, then out for sushi. Afterwards, we had an hour to kill before picking the kids up from school, so my husband ran into the hunting and fishing supply store for a couple of items. I stayed in the car because I would rather poke myself in the eye with burning embers than go inside Gander Mountain.

The P-Dawg seized this opportunity and ran with it. He bought himself a new wardrobe made up almost entirely of nylon and brown flannel. I can just see him now, running up and down the aisles with his cart, gleefully tossing plaid shirts and pants with velcro closures inside of it.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from twelve years of marriage, it’s that you can’t force a man into a turtleneck sweater.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and well wishes for Soo. She is still very sick, and can use all the good vibes she can get.

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The Cove of No Return

One afternoon a few days into our vacation, the P-Dawg and I began trolling for a cove in which to dock for the night. He was at the helm and I was leaning over the front railing like Kate Winslet. Only instead of a party dress, I was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, and instead of my long hair flowing behind me, it was busting out of a half ponytail.

And instead of an ocean liner, I was on a houseboat.

Any time we’d approach a cove, the P-Dawg and I would debate the merits of parking our boat there. There were other house boaters on the lake, and I was hell-bent on securing the best possible location before anyone else found it. If it came down to two house boats and one cove, I was prepared for a sudden death showdown.

Both the P-Dawg and I are wishy-washy people when it comes to life’s most inconsequential decisions, and neither of us wants to shoulder the blame in case a bad one is made. My modus operandi has always been to throw my hands up and let the P-Dawg make the final call, then be utterly disappointed. It’s how I ended up with a sofa that has a pattern of pineapples and coconuts on it.

It was the same with cove selection. We passed several coves that I deemed near perfect. But whenever I pointed one out, the P-Dawg just kept on motoring as though I hadn’t spoken. Eventually we reached a small island, which we both admitted was a tempting location. Problem was, we couldn’t agree on which side of it to dock. By the time we’d circled that island fives times in our houseboat, I had decided it was completely unacceptable and my husband had decided that it was the Promised Land. I wanted to press on further, where I thought I saw the Cove of My Dreams. The P-Dawg was reticent, but neither could he name one good reason why we couldn’t at least give this cove a quick drive by. He finally agreed to motor in for a closer look, at which time he summarily dismissed it.

We continued on our path around the lake – me sulking, the P-Dawg wearing a grim look of determination. Finally he spotted what he believed to be the Mother of All Coves, and which I quickly assessed to be the worst cove on the lake, if not the entire universe.

That one? That cove couldn’t even shelter a hamster!”

“Nonsense,” said the P-Dawg.  “It’s perfect.”

Personally, I thought the cove we’d recently passed, where the houseboat with the whirlpool on its deck was parked, had been perfect. And if not for the half hour we’d spent circling Indecision Island, I felt certain we could have snagged it.

“Fine! Let’s just dock here!” I said, which everyone knows in the international language of married couples means, “You will regret this.”

The P-Dawg made a beeline for his Chosen Cove and right after we hit the shoreline, I jumped out to tie off the lines (our boat didn’t have an anchor). That’s when I noticed that the spot where we had landed was completely unsatisfactory. The spot where we wanted to dock was about six feet to the right of it. Don’t ask me how I knew it.

“I hate to say it,” I said to the P-Dawg, “But we’re going to have to back out again and move this boat a couple feet over.”

The look on P-Dawg’s face said, “Only one of us will survive this vacation.” But he agreed to give it a try. Problem was, our houseboat was rammed up against the shoreline, and when the P-Dawg turned the motor on, it didn’t move. I selflessly offered to stand on the craggy shore and push the houseboat with all of my might while the P-Dawg gunned the engine in reverse.

I nearly gave myself a hernia. Luckily my Mama wasn’t with us, because a hernia was always on the top of her list of things that I would give myself if I wasn’t careful. But by some dumb stroke of luck, and also brute strength, I was able to push the boat hard enough that it became unmoored.

And as I stood in my flip-flops on a rock against the steep wooded shoreline, watching my husband receding in the distance, it struck me that he could just as soon leave me there for good.

I know I would have.

The Cove of No Return

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How to Ask Your Husband on a Date

Recently, I realized that the P-Dawg and I hadn’t been on a date in a long time. The problem was that between the two of us, I was the only one who’d realized it.

I began turning it over in my mind. Some might say, “perseverating.” I really wanted to go on a date! Sure, I could have just asked him. But that would have defeated the whole purpose, which was for my husband to naturally arrive at the realization that what he wants, more than anything in the world, is to wine and dine his smart, beautiful, and not quite thirty-nine year old wife.

Reluctantly, I activated the handy, but not always reliable first tier persuasion mechanism: mind control. Whenever the two of us were together, I would close my eyes, furrow my brow, and direct pointed thoughts about going on a date toward my husband.

“Why are you making that face?” he asked me. “Do you have to go to the bathroom?”

Next, I dropped strategic hints, such as naming some couples I knew of who had gone on a date. “I heard it can be fun,” I told him.

Finally, there was no choice but to broach the subject directly.

Husband: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “Nothing.”

Husband: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I guess.”

Husband: “What?”

Me: “Forget it.”

Husband: “No, what?”

Me: “It’s just that . . . oh, nevermind!”

Husband: “Okay.”

Me (sulking): “Okay.”

(Time passes. Husband pays some bills, organizes his fishing gear, and putzes around on computer.)

Me: “Unbelievable.”

Husband: “What?”

Me: “It’s like you forgot we were even having a conversation.”

Husband: “I thought our conversation was over.”

Me: “That just goes to show you how out of synch our energy is. I don’t even remember the last time we went out together.”

Husband: “You know, you’re right. We should go on a date! Why didn’t you mention it earlier?”

Me: “I don’t see how I could have made myself any clearer.”

Sometimes, you just have to spell it out for them.


(By the way, we went on a date and it was really fun, just as I heard it could be from some couples! Also, I feel I must tell you that the P-Dawg is actually a fantastic husband. In fact, I really think he got the short end of the stick when he married me. There is really nothing for me to complain about in our relationship, except the fact that after almost twelve years of marriage, he has not yet mastered the subtle art of mind reading.)


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