Sunday, September 19, 2010

Also, One Time He Said I Was High-Maintenance

This afternoon I took the kids to the library, then we made a trip through the grocery store that wound up taking an hour. When I got home, Matt was watching football.

I said, "Hey hon would you get the groceries?"

He said, "Okay, I heard you. I will do it in one minute."

I said, "You're making me feel like I'm nagging the first time I ask?"

He said, "Sorry. You're the third person to tell me about the groceries." It seems that the kids had each come in and said something like, "Mom wants you to come get the groceries," all while people were playing the football on the TV.

Okay. So then he did bring in the groceries, commenting that it was time for the kids to learn to bring in groceries, and I unloaded them and prepared a meal. I fed the kids while he was still doing the watching of the football, and then he and I sat down to eat. Because of his canny spidey sense, he asked, "Why do I get the feeling that you disapprove of me right now?"

I said, "I am a little miffed that you were grudging about bringing in the groceries. It would have been awesome PR for you if you leapt to get them as soon as I came in the door. It's not that you did anything wrong, exactly, it's only that it was less than stellar."

He said, testily, "Well, I think my Q Score can withstand some pretty heavy hits."

I continued, with an air of martyred acceptance, "It was just a missed opportunity."

He listened to this. Then he began, "I am sorry if I made you feel . . ." Here he paused, obviously thinking hard, and went on, "whatever it was you were feeling."

Then we both burst out laughing, because that was the worst apology possible. It's got everything: the conditional "if," the blame shifting (the offended party's feeling is the problem, not the apologizer's action), and the vagueness. Just hilariously awful. We agreed that we should go immediately and present ourselves as a model couple for John Gottman's Love Lab, because we are so on top of the communication.

I also suggested that he write a relationship book entitled I'm Sorry If I Made You Feel Whatever It Was You Were Feeling: A Guide for When She's Giving You That Look.

Then I told him that I was going to blog this immediately. And he said to please indicate that he started the apology in all sincerity, but then, as he said, "I sort of lost my way." Okay, it's not like I gave him much to work with, and sometimes I am insufferable. Reader, I know you can barely believe it. But I mean, "a missed opportunity"?

I think what was really going on was that I'd been out with the kids for a couple of hours, and I arrived back home wanting to hand off parental duties for a spell, but then seeing him ensconced in the footballing, I realized that several more parenting tasks awaited me and I assumed a snippy predisposition. I mean, who knows? I am a mystery even to myself.

Don't worry friends, our little barque sails on.

20 comments:

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Meh. Maybe what was really going on is that Matt was watching the Cowboys battle Chicago when the big hat 'boys still had a chance. I'm just sayin'. I mean,it is conceivable.

Veronica said...

Ah men, they're just awesome aren't they? Mine drives me mad when we get home from somewhere and while I prepare dinner and deal with grumpy kidlets, he sits outside with a newspaper, a coffee and a cigarette. Argh!

Star said...

This is another great one. Recognizable scenario, admirable ipso facto sensibility, marvelous senses of humor. And another example of how guys just don't think like gals, because they don't have the foresight born of experience and training in household chores. The groceries probably could have waited until the end of the game (kid care issues aside)...had they all been dry goods, but fridge and freezer stuff has to be brought in and put away immediately. Thanks for another heartwarming post.

Beth said...

I will buy Matt's book as a birthday present for my spouse.

Amy said...

Love this! Lord knows we have had similar exchanges around here.

I love those apologies-that-aren't-really-apologies! Like, "well I'm sorry that you're silly enough to have your feelings hurt!" Classic!

It's a mark of how well matched you are, though, that you're able to recover so quickly and so well. Oh--and I am totally stealing the PR line.

Michele R said...

I feel the same way--when I pull up I usually honk the horn. If there are kids with me or in the house, they unload and one assumes duty in front of the fridge and one assumes duty in front of the pantry--you know to check out all that new cereal.

Michele said...

When Matt writes that book I know that JR has a few chapters he can contribute, like one about complaining about the length of time dinner is taking yo make then not being at the table until 5+ minutes after he is called.

Kelly said...

I definitely want to read that book and leave it lying around for Linc to come across.

Miss you guys!! xoxo

Elle said...

I swear to you that "missed opportunity" could have come right from my mouth, as well as martyred acceptance being a good fit, emphasis on the acceptance, I am sure, for both of us. Sulkily is always my best qualifier.

I just had to tell Mari over the weekend, "We're at the part of this project where I am just going to blurt out rebuttals, like a reflex; don't engage them, unless you want to bicker about something that isn't really a problem."

Keely said...

lol! I think your communication with Matt is kind of awesome. Paul is still learning what a terrible apology looks like.

Elizabeth said...

Marriage. Big sigh.

The Stiletto Mom said...

This is our Sunday EVERY Sunday. I have had to learn to navigate around it esp if The Cowboys are losing...I mean playing. It is at that point that I will tip toe in with the groceries and take great care not to make too much noise unloading them. Basically, I'm just lying in wait for the Superbowl to come and go so I can add up all the hours spent as a football widow and leave for a week as payback. Come with me!

Amy said...

And you know what the #1 indicator of marital success is? The ability to laugh mid-argument. Ta-dahhh.

And with a title like that, the book is a sure NYTimes Bestseller bet.

Kate said...

oh i hate the playing of the football!!

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I love though that you realized "he's watching football, I should handle the kids." Because in my house, it is ME that is the football fan, and yet I had to spend the last half of the New England Patriots game cleaning snot off my daughter while my husband did something or other outside (he says mowing, but it took a looooong time to mow, a lot longer than usual). The resentment lingers.

Fantastic Forrest said...

This cracked me up. Well done, you.

Now get to work training those children to carry in the groceries and making dinner. I subscribe to the view that we have children to do our bidding. Then you could have sat down with your man and watched the athletic event. Although why someone would want to watch an athletic event is a mystery to me.

A Day That is Dessert said...

:) love this Becky.

Veronica said...

You guys are awesome. And that feeling, of assuming a snippy disposition because you are ready to hand off parenting duties but realize that you don't get to yet: I am glad I am not the only one. :)

FoN said...

He should totally write that book. It would go global and he would get rich like that "He is just not that into you" guy!

gretchen said...

Y'all have a barque? I want a barque. Y'all are good. Y'all are solid. And to Matt's credit, the wistfully stated "it was just a missed opportunity" was passive aggression of the worst kind. And of course I'm taking Matt's side, because I love football. And I think he's hot. And you can tell him I said that.