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Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Did you ever have an argument with your spouse where you both insist that you are right.

 

But really, all the while, as you ping pong back and forth to make your case, you know that YOU are the one who is right?  And then, at the end of the debate, you both walk away feeling like you’ve “won”.

 

Well, to be honest, you probably didn’t win.  There are really no winners when you both think you’ve won… there are just delusions… because sometimes (heck, most times) one of you is actually wrong (GASP! – who ME?  Wrong?  NO WAY!!!)

 

But on occasion, you sometimes feel that you’ve made such a firm stance on your correctness, that you’ve swayed the other person just enough. so that they’ve teetered towards your side of right from their side of wrong.

 

And there you have it.  A stalemate of rightness.

 

As with most debates, the crux of the argument is oftentimes your perception of something, or your recollection of something, or perhaps even something you heard or saw.  Therefore, there’s virtually no way whatsoever to prove your “rightness”.  And, that’s where the debate ends.  You can’t settle the argument because you can’t go back in time to replay what someone may have or may not have said.  You can’t always agree on how you heard something or what someone was feeling.  BUT, on the rarest of occasions… you do in fact have proof that you are right.  And those days, well those days, are magical days.  The “I told you so” days that every relationship thrives on (or perhaps dies on – but let’s not go there today!).

 

Too many debates end without an actual end.  No closure.  And, I’m here to tell you, there’s no closure more sweet than the closure of proven correctness (insert evil laugh here – muahahahahaha)

 

And that folks is the story I’d like to tell today.  So… here it goes:

 

security lightWe have motion sensor security lights outside of our garage.  For a really long time one of the lights wasn’t working, I asked hubby about it and he told me that the bulb wasn’t making a proper connection.   So, the fixture sat there.. only ½ working for quite some time.

 

A couple of weeks ago when I arrived home after dark, I realized that the other light bulb was out.

 

So I say to hubby…. “Hon, I think we need to buy a new light bulb for outside”

He replies: “No. I told you, that light doesn’t work anymore.”

So I say: “Well, I know you mentioned that the one side wasn’t making a connection, but the other one is now out – so we should buy some new bulbs”

Visibly aggravated he says:  “No, the entire light is broken and hasn’t worked for quite some time”

And I say: “No….. one bulb has been out for as long as I can remember but the other side has been lighting up until today”

 

And the debate has begun.

 

Me:  “Hon, I’m absolutely positive that one light bulb has been working”

Hubby:  “No it hasn’t”

Me:  “Yes, it has”

Hubby:  “No, you’re wrong… that light hasn’t worked for weeks”

 

I feel the need to pause in this story to remind you (or to direct you to some old posts – just click on the following links) about hubby’s Selective Vision and his inability to notice basic things around him (HERE or HERE).  So, now that I’ve put that out there back to our debate.

 

Me:  “The left side of the light has been working.. I’m pretty sure we just need a new bulb”

Hubby:  “You are completely wrong.  The light’s broken.  It’s been broken for a while.  It hasn’t been lighting up at all.  We just need to buy a whole new light fixture”

Me: “Uhm… I know the one side has been broken… you told me about the problem months ago, but I’m still pretty sure the left side has been working.”

Hubby:  “Nope, you are wrong.”

 

I can see this is going nowhere.  We have hit a stalemate of correctness.  We’re both right, neither of us is budging, and that’s it.

 

So I say:  “Hmmppff… ok, I guess we need to buy a new light”  and then I walk away.  Now, this is that moment I spoke about above.  The walk away moment where I still know that I am right.

 

A day or 2 go by.  I go to the store.  I buy a new light fixture AND a new light bulb.  When I get home, I wait until it’s dark and I replace the left light bulb.   HELLLOOOOOOOOO…. Let There Be Light!    So, just for the hell of it (I’m on a roll now).   I decide to take that brand new light blub out of the left socket and I put it into the right socket (remember – the one that’s totally broken and has been for months).  And, lo and behold…… Let There Be Light!   Now I’m aggravated that I have to go back to the store because not only do I need to return the new fixture BUT I also didn’t have the foresight to buy 2 light bulbs.  So, a day and 2 new light bulbs later, I have a fully functioning light fixture outside.  Imagine that!!

 

What a "broken" light looks like  - Oh, WAIT, that's not broken!

What a “broken” light looks like – Oh, WAIT, that’s not broken!

I say nothing.   There’s no need for “I told you so’s”.  The illuminated driveway will speak for itself…. Or, so I think.

 

Now, I’ll refer you back to hubby’s inability to actually notice things around him.

It’s been 5 full days since I “fixed” the light.  7 full days since our original debate.  And, there’s been no mention from a certain someone about the ray of light that has magically appeared outside our garage.  So, maybe, just maybe, he hasn’t actually noticed it yet. Perhaps folks, you are now joining me in my “I told you so” moment because if he really hasn’t seen it, this blog is what’s going to give it away!

 

There are really no words necessary.. I know I was right.    Somebody else will eventually (at least after reading this blog!) know I was right.  And, we’re back to having light on our driveway.  Did everybody win…… well yes, in this particular debate, I do think so!

 

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I think I may have stumbled on something today.   I can’t begin to count the # of posts I’ve written about listening.

Every few months this communication challenge rears it’s ugly head in our home…..

BUT this week, I think I may have just realized something I didn’t know before.  Something that men all over the universe have been hiding from us.   Something so simple and yet so telling.  Did you know that LISTEN is actually an acronym?    It was by accident that I stumbled on this but ladies, I feel compelled to tell the world.     I’m just now starting to realize why we seem to have such different expectations of the concept of listening……..

So ladies…  now that you are armed with new knowledge…… go out there and make those men really LISTEN!

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In honor of the final shuttle launch today I wanted to reflect back on a post I wrote back in 2009 (wow, I’ve been blogging for a while!). This post was about my dear old Dad.. and his effortless execution of “Man Time”.  If you didn’t read that post (or you’ve forgotten the story) you can read it HERE.  I will say.. that I’m now 40 years old and my model space shuttle is still dusty, in the basement and probably sad today as it considers it’s 30 yr tenure, in it’s dented box and incomplete state, as we watch the farewell voyage.

 

So, did you ever wonder why a project that’s supposed to happen in 2 hours could actually take 2 weeks?  Or why something that’s going to “happen next” seems to not happen until next month?

 

Or maybe you’ve wondered why, when a man says “I’ll do it later“, “later” actually means at some undetermined time in the future.  Not necessarily after he’s done watching the movie, or playing the video game.  Later could easily be some time next Thursday or maybe the week after next or quite possibly immediately after  pigs fly  (and by flying pigs I do not mean the next football game… at least this might have a definitive timeline).

 

This phenomenon is the result of Man Time.  The problem is that, as women, we don’t have the proper conversion tool to take man time and translate it into real time.

 

So today, I’m going to try to provide you with a Man Time to Real Time Conversion Chart.

(This of course is just a few thoughts and I’m sure if I had “man free time” I could invest the next 3 weeks making notes… but alas, I’m not a man… and I have laundry to do…..)

 

Man Time impact on starting a task:

2 Hours =  2 Hours unless

 

There is good movie on…….  (add 2 hours)

There is a football game…….  (add 4 hours)…  if beer is involved… (add 24 hours)

There is a pizza nearby……. (add 30 minutes)

Pizza is used as a reward……. (deduct 30 minutes)

There is a naked woman nearby…… (good luck getting him to do anything ever)

There is a naked woman used as reward…… (deduct 1 hour)

The task involves…

Any sort of cleaning…… (add 1-4 hours)

Any sort of electronics……. (deduct 30 minutes)

The electronics make noises…… (deduct 1 hour)

Anything he doesn’t like doing…… (add anywhere from 2 hours to 10 years depending on the activity)

 

As you can see, there is some rhyme or reason to the completion time-table.   What I’m still struggling to figure out though, is the space shuttle time conversion.  I’m just not exactly sure what makes “next weekend” equal 30 years…. unless this has something to do with some sort of actual space/time travel…… can anyone shed any light on that??!!   Uhmmmmm Dad?!

 

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It’s certainly no secret that hubby likes his electronics.


The researching, the gadgetry, the speed, the newness, the “cool factor”.. they are all important to him.


So, about 4 months ago when hubby declared “Only 4 months until I’m up for a new cell phone”, I knew I was in trouble.


He started researching his options. He read chat boards, user reviews and internet articles. All trying to answer the heavily weighted question of Droid vs iPhone. We’d sit in front of the tv and he’d recap his learnings from the day. He’d talk about technology, features and apps until he lulled me into a deep sleep. He’d swing back and forth between the options like a pendulum swinging between ‘huge mistake’ and ‘absolute awesomeness’. Ultimately determining that the Droid was the option that would provide the most Awesomeness.


But I suppose the most important thing in this pre-planning stage was the vigor with which he researched and the timeline that he set for himself. I mean, with 4 months lead time, most people could build an extension on their homes or possibly conduct extensive disease research. But for hubby it was the appropriate timeline to take on the project of picking a new phone.. something a lesser man could potentially do in say, 15 minutes at the Verizon store. Anyhow, the day finally arrived when hubby’s contract allowed for a new phone upgrade and he ran like wild horses to the store.


This was about 4 weeks ago…. and I haven’t seen hubby since.


This is NOT hubby... but I'm pretty sure this is how he envisions himself as a Fruit Ninja

Ok, slight exaggeration. I see hubby all the time. I see him on the couch with his new toy. I see him on the computer googling recommended app options. I see him sling-shotting birds to kill pigs. I see him erecting bridges to support trains full of people. I see him Facebooking, and Foursquaring and looking at constellations. I also hear hubby. I hear him changing ring tones. I hear him getting email alerts. I hear him slashing fruit as he pretends he’s a fruit ninja. I hear him playing games and surfing the internet.


Yes, hubby has started an affair with his new Thunderbolt. And now, in order to communicate with hubby as I sit next to him, I need to send him an email or text message……. we have become those people!


Just what we needed, yet another distraction for him. Now he sits in the middle of the room, surrounded by crumbs, empty soda cans, crumbled paper towels and tumbleweeds of dog hair as he plays with his angry birds…


If only they made some sort of cleaning app….. then maybe we’d both be equally excited about his new phone!


Where’s the app for THAT??

 

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It’s funny the way things play out in life.

 

Some might say that it’s ironic that hubby can never find his keys when we have a spot where ALL the keys go.

 

Or perhaps irony is waiting weeks for hubby to call the landscaper and then the day I finally give up and call myself, hubby had already spoken to him earlier that morning.

 

Or maybe true irony is when I’ve just washed & folded 400 pieces of laundry but the one shirt hubby wants to wear tonight is still laying dirty in the laundry basket (ok, maybe not ironic, maybe intentional…but, ssssshhhhh… this will be our little secret)

 

But I’d have to say that I’ve hit the mother load of irony this week.

 

I’d like to share with you a picture I took TODAY.

Now you probably have your head cocked to the side and maybe you’re squinting a bit trying to figure out what you’re looking at.

 

Here, let me give you a different angle.

Any ideas yet?

 

I can’t actually help but chuckle to myself as I write this. It’s almost as if I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and created my own wonderland. Or, my hubby is doing his absolute best to mess with my mind.

 

Whatever the case, let’s reflect on my 2 most recent posts in order to solve my picture question. One post was about hubby’s inability to put things where they belong, or more accurately, my musings about how many times something needed to be moved before it found a permanent home. The other was a glimpse into my on-going battle with hubby about leaving things on the stairs (are those pictures starting to make sense yet??)

 

Ok, so go with me here. When I write a post about hubby, I talk about things that really happen and things that are relevant to my immediate life. Most of the time my posts are a result of some “male” behavior hubby has exhibited that week that I simply don’t understand. I also try to tell you stories in a way that helps you get a feel for how things really happen. How we talk to each other, what I’m thinking etc. And, just so you know, my posts are always based on facts, I do not make up any of these stories.

 

So here’s a fact: Last week, when I mentioned some boxing hand wraps that had been relocated around my kitchen so many times I’d lost count, it was a result of my most recent attempt to reintroduce these to hubby.. I had removed them from the basket for the umpteenth time and placed them back on the kitchen table (hoping this ever-so subtle hint, coupled with an “outing” on an internet blog might actually solicit a response). Well, lo and behold…. SUCCESS!! Without even so much as a word – at least not a verbal word (I’m not counting the 1000 or so words on the internet!), hubby moved the hand wraps…. Right. To. The. Stairs.

 

Wait.. what?? Yep, he moved these friggin’ hand wraps right to the stairs (with what I’d have to assume is a final destination upstairs).

 

EXCEPT……………………

 

You know what happens when you assume……

 

(Are you starting to see the irony here????)

 

So, these dang wraps have been sitting on the stairs for over a week. And, I’ve really tried to just ignore them. But, I’ll admit it… I finally had a weak moment and I said…”Is there a plan for these hand wraps?”

 

And hubby says: “Ummm, yeah. I thought I was going to bring them upstairs but then I realized that I wasn’t really sure where I was going to put them when they got there”

 

So, I respond: “Ok, so please don’t tell me that their new home is the stairs???? I know you read the blog.. which is probably why you noticed them on the kitchen table in the first place. But I’m guessing you didn’t read the next post?” (or maybe he did and he’s trying to drive me into the looney bin so he can leave crap all over the house without ever being bothered or nagged again….???)

 

“No, I read it, and they were going to go upstairs” He said. “But I’ve changed my mind and now I think they should go to the basement” (wow, he’s actually using his noodle – and, I think “noodle” is probably the proper description of his cleaning logic skills since it’s a muscle he generally doesn’t exercise)

 

So, excitedly I respond: “Ok, that makes more sense than upstairs”.  And, I’m smiling because I’m cautiously hopeful that we’ve come to a happy solution for both of us!

 

And that’s where the conversation ended.

 

And, that was 2 days ago.

 

And today, as you can see from my picture, they have not moved. Not. One. Inch.

 

I thought I had stumbled on a new way of communicating with hubby.. communication via the blog since I got exactly what I wanted, which was a relocation of the hand wraps from the kitchen.  But, ironically enough, they wound up exactly where I didn’t want them.. on the frickin’ stairs……….

 

Thanks hubby….. for always keeping me on my toes (and by toes, I don’t mean tippy toes, necessary for navigating the cluttered stairs… but apparently you are full of surprises!)

 

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I think I may have mentioned once or twice (or more accurately – more times that I can count)… that communication is probably one of the biggest challenges in a relationship.

 

It takes year and years of practice to effectively ignore your spouse without detection. 

 

It’s a fine tuned dance that you learn to do where you actually have full fledged conversations with each other but only extract the info that’s absolutely necessary to give a nod at the appropriate time.  Sometimes it’s actually only one word that stands out in a conversation but, it’s a word you latch onto in order to demonstrate that you were actually paying attention.  And even after years of practice, sometimes when you are half-listening and giving the appropriate smiles & “uh huhs” you can still get caught not actually listening.

 

Take this snippet of conversation:

 

Me:  “Honey, are you listening?”

Hubby:  “Uh huh…..”

Me:  “Ok, what did I say”

Hubby:  “Huh? What?  I wasn’t listening…”

 

He is so conditioned to give me an immediate “uh huh” that he does it without even thinking. Even though he hasn’t heard a word that came out of my mouth.  Sometimes, if there’s a word of interest to him.. Food, Sex.. that’s the only word he hears… all the rest is … blah, blah, blahty, blah

 

So, here are a few test conversations:

 

Me:  “Honey, do you want to have termites for dinner?”

Hubby:  “Dinner.. yeah ok, I’m hungry…”

 

Me:  “Hey babe.. did you see that show about people who have sex with a animals?”

Hubby:  “SEX!  YES! I’d like to have SEX!”

 

Me:  “There’s a lot of laundry to do this weekend

Hubbycrickets.. crickets.. crickets….. (ok, maybe this wasn’t a good example…)

 

I think hubby has fined tuned his Selective Listening to an art form.  And, oftentimes I think it’s just me that he doesn’t listen to BUT, a week or so ago, we were watching a comedian on tv who had his own theory about men & listening.

 

Part of his act was about using the GPS in his car to drive somewhere.  After some discussion about the GPS giving him directions, he declared that, even with his GPS giving him turn-by-turn instructions, he still got lost.  

 

Why did he get lost?   Because the GPS was giving him directions in a woman’s voice. 

 

And there you have it…evidence that it’s not just me.  In typical male fashion, all men seem to ignore all women.. even when it’s in their best interest to listen to us!

 

And, I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that Hubby declared this to be the best joke he’s heard all year!

 

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Last night as I was watching tv, cuddled up next to hubby in our new room, he mentioned to me how happy he is with the assortment of TVs in our house. 

 

All I can say is WOW…Wow…..wow… w-o-w…. W.O.W!!!  (I’m almost speechless….. almost….)

 

You have no idea what a big deal it is for him to say that he’s truly happy with what we currently have and he’s not waiting for the next big TV purchase.  I guess maybe he feels bad that he beat me up in the last TV boxing match.. or maybe he’s just still on a high from our HGTV family room renovation.  Whatever the case…. his statement was music to my ears.  It was cause for celebration.  It was simply magical….

 

But then… (come on, you know with my hubby, there’s always a BUT) he says…

 

“You know, now that we have these fantastic TVs with these great pictures, there’s nothing on TV to watch. All the shows that are on anymore are crap”. 

 

For some reason, unknown to me, hubby does not have the appropriate enthusiasm level for Law & Order marathons.  I mean let’s be honest, at any given time, on any given day there’s always something to watch because there’s always a Law & Order episode on somewhere.  I think this is yet another example of the differences between men & women.  I can almost always find something on TV.  An easy go to show would be Law & Order but there are also endless hours of TLC or HGTV.  An hour or two of Property Virgins or House Hunters plus a few episodes of Cake Boss & Say Yes To The Dress can easily occupy an evening for me… not so much for hubby.

 

Hubby’s go to TV activity would be a movie.  It’s also why he has a pretty extensive DVD library.  After he declares “there’s nothing on TV” he can easily pop in a DVD of Gladiator or Black Hawk Down and watch it for the umpteenth, millionth, cajillionth time.  Which is something that I just don’t understand.   I’m so much more apt to watch hours of mindless TV ‘crap’ than re-watch a movie I’ve already seen numerous times.

 

Hubby can watch the same movie over and over, day after day and never tire of it.  This is also probably why he can quote almost every line from every movie he’s seen (which is a lovely quality I will save for a blog post on another day…)  Anyhow, as he starts complaining about the TV viewing schedule….   I   very    s   l   o   w   l   y    begin to realize that perhaps this isn’t exactly a direct complaint about what was on TV last night.  That perhaps… just maybe… quite possibly…  it’s a thinly veiled attempt to discuss – in a sort of non-direct way – that blue ray player from my blog post yesterday.  AHA!  I’m on to you buddy.

 

So I very calmly say…..

“Honey… I hear what you’re saying but I do not want a blue ray player for my birthday

Hubby:  “But…”

Me: “Honey….” (with my stern voice)

Hubby:  “But..”

Me: “It really was a nice try…. Honest, it was.  But…NO…. “

Hubby:  “Hmmmpfff”

 

And then, as he sat there defeated….. we went right back to watching Cake Boss!

🙂

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