Yelling: Finding A Safe Place To Avoid Marriage Arguments

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Domesticated Domicile

I have a favorite spot to do almost anything. Eating: on my bed in front of the tv. Working: in my bathtub with my homemade laptop station. Listening to music: in my car. Getting yelled at by my wife: um, that’s a little trickier.

We lived in a townhome for 4 years and before that we lived in various apartments. We always had at least one neighbor adjacent to our place – sometimes as many as four neighbors adjacent to us. With neighbors this close, arguing becomes difficult, if you care about them hearing you. I don’t know if I have ever yelled at my wife (seriously), but my wife…well, let’s just say she has yelled at me a few times.

But it’s ok because I learned that she didn’t really want our neighbors to hear her yelling at me.  At some point I realized that my wife’s voice got softer as I got closer to an adjacent wall or window. This gave me some options to avoid being yelled at. Allow me to explain.

As you can see from the image below, we are looking at a standard duplex floor plan. The red areas indicate areas that are conducive to yelling while the green areas represent areas where yelling should be avoided.

So why did I break international protocol and identify safe areas as red and dangerous areas as green? Husbands, I think you know why. These green areas are safe for me, not safe for yelling. Like the soldiers in WWII who stormed the beaches of France, I am looking for that one area of protection, of safety, from the storms of marriage. (NOTE: Depending on the anger level, sometimes this method doesn’t work and I have to brave the storm no matter where I am.)

Husbands, I believe that this approach will work even if you don’t have adjoining walls with neighbors. I’m sure you could use an open window, your child’s bedroom door or another spot that could save you from certain wrath.

The point is this: Get to your safety zone!

What safety zones have you found?

Home: Keeping The “Love” Within The Walls

From The Donkey

A window to marriage

You know what the worst part of a great vacation is? It’s the day before it’s over. Even though the fun isn’t over yet, you realize that the end is coming. It’s really sad because you should be able to enjoy that second-to-last day, but you just can’t because you know the inevitable is about to happen. That’s what I think about spring. I should be able to enjoy spring but I can’t because I know the draining heat of the summer will soon be upon me, and I hate the summer. One of the other reasons I don’t like spring is because I always find myself in a conundrum: Do I open the windows and enjoy the cool breeze or do I keep them closed and suffer the onset of summer?

That seems like an easy choice? Oh, you’re right. I forgot one thing. Here, now decide: Do I open the windows and enjoy the cool breeze while introducing my wife’s excellent vocal chords to the neighborhood or do I keep them closed and suffer the onset of summer while keeping my wife’s vocal abilities within the confines of the house?

I struggle with this every spring and never know what to do. I haven’t ever really addressed this directly with my wife. Instead, if she starts yelling I politely ask her to hold on, then I run around the house closing all of the windows. It only takes about 90 seconds since I have the routine memorized. Once I am finished securing the home, I invite her to proceed. It’s interesting because she will either walk away which means I could have possibly left the windows open, or she will share the power of her vocal chords with yours truly which means I made the right decision. Conundrums…marriage is full of them.

UPDATE: I have received several questions about the meaning to this post. Um…this is definitely about getting yelled at in an argument…nothing else.

Takenomics: How Beautiful Is Your Wife?

From The Donkey

Gauging your wife’s beauty on cinematic principles

When people find out that I have four boys, they usually something clever like, “Oh, don’t you want a girl?” My response is always the same: No Way! There are many reasons for this answer, but if you’ve seen the movie Taken, you can see why I can’t handle being responsible for a daughter. (You will note that this post is way out of date, but I have a huge backlog of things that should have been posted.)

After the movie, I wondered how I could relate with this since I don’t have a daughter. The closest thing I could come up with was my wife. What if we went to Europe? Would someone try to kidnap her because of her looks? Would she be gone in a minute? Would people go to take her then turn around once they got up close? I don’t know. But it got me thinking about a measurement tool based on this scenario.

The premise behind this tool is based on how long would your wife last before getting wifenapped in a foreign country. The graphic below will determine how beautiful your wife is. I haven’t determined the cost-benefit analysis of allowing your wife to be wifenapped to find out how beautiful she is, so please use this method with caution.

Love’s Health Benefits Explained

From The Donkey

Cupid’s Healing Arrow

It’s February 14th, and we all know what that means: Email messages about love and health. I was surprised today by the number of unsolicited email I received about love and the hea

lth benefits that are tied to being in love. I got email from a variety of sources ranging from my employer to a physical therapist that used to treat me. Most were pointing to the work of researchers at both Yale and Western Case Reserve University. Well, I’ve done my own research and can provide a more in-depth analysis to these findings.

Finding #1Men who are most in love have substantially less blockage in their coronary arteries. This comes from Dr Dean Ornish’s book entitled Love & Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy. By itself that finding is somewhat interesting, but let me provide a little more insight. On a random sample of 1 that I just conducted this morning, I learned that men who are “most in love” have wives who cook dinner so they don’t eat a lot of fast food. Wives who don’t provide delicious, healthy meals are essentially saying, “You should go to McDonald’s and kill yourself because I don’t care and you love hamburgers more than me.”

My research also finds that men who are “most in love” usually have wives who clean the house regularly and spend large amounts of time providing in-home service. This naturally keeps a woman healthy and trim. Because she is in shape from all the cleaning and service, she doesn’t want to purchase junk food. By default the husband doesn’t have as much garbage to eat and stays healthy. More importantly, he is “most in love” because he has an industrious wife.

Finding #2Men who said they are loved by their wives have less angina. First of all, isn’t angina the funniest word? I feel dirty writing it. Anyway, this is very easy to explain and didn’t require an extensive research study like the one I did for Finding #1. Although angina is usually caused by coronary artery disease, stress can aggravate things and induce chest pain since the heart is busy trying to pump blood. Some men are naturally ignorant to life and don’t realize the travails and troubles associated with marriage. These men truly espouse the notion that ‘ignorance is bliss’. If you are ignorant and unaware, then you don’t have as much stress and are therefore more likely to tell people that your wife loves you. There
Those are just a few of my thoughts. I hope this provides a more balanced look at love and how it can sustain good health. Enjoy your chocolates, candy and fancy dinners tonight!’s nothing wrong with this. Many husbands wish they could be in this category. Shallow Hal anyone?

Playing With Kids: Harder Than It Seems?

From The Donkey

The family that plays together…

Some people see a picture of a family like this and have warm fuzzies. I may have had these thoughts before having kids, but here’s what this image represents to me at this point in my life:

  • Packing lunches, extra clothes and all sorts of toys
  • A long drive
  • Muddy clothes
  • Replacement clothing costs
  • Near drownings
  • Sibling sabotage in the ocean
  • Muddy car ride home
  • Buying some kind of treat on the way home
  • Muddy house
  • Over-tired, cranky kids

I thought about this the other day when I looked out my back window and saw a woman playing with kids in my neighbor’s backyard. They played for hours on the trampoline, on the playhouse and in the yard. The next day I looked out my window and saw her playing with the kids again. I was surprised to see that she spent another 2 hours outside playing.  On the third day I looked out and nearly fell over when I saw everyone playing outside for a third day in a row. I had my wife inspect the situation and asked her if this woman was the kids’ mother. She replied that it was not their mother.

“Oh, this makes much more sense,” I said. “It must be a babysitter while the parents are on vacation. No one plays with their kids that much.” My wife and I had a rare moment of agreement and had the kids watch a little more television while we went back to work.

Darn, I need to do better.

20th Anniversary – Pure Nirvana

Announcements You heard it here first

What did you think? Marriage is nirvana, full of flowers, bonbons, love and passion? No way. Today’s the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind – the best album ever! Long live Nirvana. And I guess marriage. And I guess I’ll thrown in babies since they apply to both.

Planning To Plan Is Planning To Fail??

Donkey Dialogue Yes, he actually said that

Communication Degeneration

Have you ever heard this quote? Failing to plan is planning to fail. I think it’s been around forever but it’s a cute little phrase that people use in time management and project management courses. There is some merit to it, but I don’t think it has a place in marriage. Let me share a very recent conversation that has been quite typical in my marriage over the past 12 years.

Background: My grandparents are getting pretty old and I figure they will be dead soon. I want to capture as many stories from them that I can before it’s too late, so I am trying to plan a trip to see them. I mentioned this idea to my wife a few days ago and she seemed supportive. Then I approached her with some information.

Donkey: Do you have a minute to talk about this trip I have been thinking about to see my grandparents? I have a few ideas I want to run by you.
Wife: I don’t understand what your problem is. Why bother asking me? I heard you talking to your brother and making plans, so go do what you want.
Donkey: Well, no plans have been made. I looked into some options and want to discuss with you. That’s why I am here. I have some information and ideas now.
Wife: You should have talked to me first about it.
Donkey: Talked about what? There would be no plans to discuss. I needed to gather information before we could talk.
Wife: No, you could have talked to me about it first.
Donkey: I am confused. Here, let me play out the conversation according to what you are proposing, but I will switch the roles. Tell me what you think.

(Donkey now plays both roles, adding a high pitched voice when speaking as the Wife)
Wife: I want to see my grandparents before they are dead. What do you think?
Donkey: I don’t know. When are you thinking?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: Would we drive or fly? What are the costs?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: Do any of your siblings want to come? Are we going to visit your grandfather first and then driving down to see your grandmother?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: It seems like you should do some research, make a plan, and then propose something to me. How can I make a decision with no information?
Wife: Stop asking me all these questions. It’s so confusing and complex. I just thought I could walk in and and we could figure it out. Why can’t we just decide together? Love should be able to figure this out, not the Internet or common sense. You must not love me.

(Donkey is now out of character)
Donkey: I think the point has been made. Case closed. The jury can be excused.
Wife (shuts the door): Just go do what you want.

I tip my hat to husbands everywhere and encourage you to keep planning despite how illogical it may sound to our wives. Long live logic!

Brought To You By The Number 8

From The Donkey

An infinite problem

Have you ever noticed that people respond in very similar ways when stressed out? It’s a natural thing for everyone. It’s the same type of thing that occurs when I step on a Lego piece in the house – I yell out the same phrase every time. Do you notice this same thing in your spouse? I certainly do, but it’s only been recently that I’ve noticed that my wife loves using the number 8. And it normally occurs when she is stressed out about the number of things that she has on her to-do list. For example, I’ll say, “When are you going to help me find a doctor?” And she’ll say, “When I finish the other 8 things on my list.” Fair enough. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that she has now moved to new levels of the number 8.

A few months ago a conversation went something like this, “How come you still haven’t ordered a cover for my new phone?” She responded, “Because I have about 18,000 other things on my mind.” Wow, I thought. It’s gonna be a while. Then last week I said, “When are you going to help me put the lawn edger together?” She said, “When I finish the 8 million things that I have to do.” Wait a minute. I can’t hang around for that long.

Why the number 8? What is it about 8 that fascinates my wife? Here are a few interesting things that might be down deep in her subconscious which drive this love for the number 8.

  • Perhaps it’s because 8 is a power of 2 and we are 2 people who should have power
  • It could be a result of the religious importance of the number 8 (Hanukkah is 8 days, there are 8 Beatitudes, the Buddhist symbol Dharmacakra has 8 spokes representing the noble eightfold path)
  • Or maybe it has something to do with it’s musical importance (8 notes between octaves, 8-track player
  • Maybe she fears the fact that seven ate nine
  • Possibly it’s because there were 8 maids-a-milking
  • 8 is similar to the sign for infinity and might represent all of the work my wife thinks she needs to do
  • Could it have anything to do with Crazy 8s?
  • The words eight and ate are homophones. Perhaps this is important to her because she likes to eat and ate is a form of the word eat

Any other thoughts?

Running Shoes: Do They Prorate The Mileage?

Donkey Dialogue Yes, he actually said that

Under Pressure

Scene: The Wife returned from a shopping trip to obtain new running shoes.

Donkey: Did you find new shoes?

Wife: Yeah, I got a pair on sale actually!

Donkey: Oh good.  How long will this pair last you?

Wife: The people at the store said you can usually run on them for about 400 miles.

Donkey: Wait.  But do they have to prorate that based on your weight?

Wife: I have no idea.

Donkey: It seems like they should. Do you think you’d still be able to get 400 miles out of yours?

Wife: (walks out of room)

The Garage Door: Level 1 Alert For Every Wife

From The Donkey

Sound the alarm! All hands on deck!

My wife and I recently moved into a new home.  She was excited to finally have a garage.  I assumed it was because she would no longer need to scrape snow off the van; little did I know that a simple garage door is an integral part of a wife warning system

It’s amazing to consider all of the alert systems and warnings that exist to protect us from danger. Submarines, for example have a complex warning sytem–6 levels of alarms that vary from most  to least severe. Oddly enough the lowest priority alert is something called the Power Plant Casualty alarm (aka Propulsion Plant Casualty alarm), and it signifies a problem in the engine room. The most severe alarm is the Collision alarm, and it warns of imminent collisions or flooding on the ship.

But did you know women have similar alert systems in place for when their husbands come home after a grueling day?! Most wives want to look busy and industrious when their husbands walk through the door. What woman wants to be spotted wallowing on the couch with the latest Suzanne Collins book and an over-sized bag of bon-bons? I have to admit that I will overlook a trashed house if my wife looks busy cleaning when I walk through the door. What I can’t answer is, “Has she been busy for hours or merely a few seconds?” The answer all depends on how responsive she is to an intricate alert system that women have been using for years. This system notifies them when to drop the book and candy bag and get into gear. These alerts have morphed over time, but I am proud to say that I have cracked the code and present husbands around the world with the information that has been helping wives elude detection for years. Below is the alert system from highest priority to lowest.

Nooner Notification – Don’t read too much into the title. This is usually the earliest warning signal and occurs during lunchtime. The wife takes a moment to text, chat or call her husband to find out what the plans are for the rest of the day. Experienced wives may have their husbands trained to initiate contact during lunch.

End of Day IM/Text - This is initiated by the wife usually about 30-60 minutes before the husband is scheduled to leave work. The wife sends a simple message to determine if the husband is likely to arrive at home according to schedule. According to my secondary research, 34% of women ignore the first alert and start here.

‘On My Way” Call - This is something the husband initiates right when he is leaving the office. Clever wives also have their husbands trained to do this.

Road Call – This is a call that the wife will typically make after the husband has left work. It’s a check-in to determine how many minutes away the husband is. Are there any spontaneous stops in the forecast? Can she make it through another commercial break or chapter of her steamy book?

Neighbor Notification – This is the step in the system that blew me away during my primary research. Currently this alert is in the form of a phone call or text from the first house on the block. You see, the woman of this first house is responsible to call all of the other wives on the street once she spots their husbands’ vehicles. It’s imperative for her to relay the message to the wives to let them know that their husbands are almost home. This seems like a daunting task for her, but my sources indicate that tributaries are paid to this woman in the form of free babysitting, free haircuts, and of course bon-bons and recycled love novels. Previous forms of notification included smoke signals, animal calls (most likely cat), and mirror signaling.

Garage Door – This is the last line of defense; the final alert. When a wife hears the garage door opening, she knows only seconds remain before the husband enters his castle. There is just enough time to slide the book under the cushion and dive across the kitchen to hide the bon-bons and pick up a sponge. If she ignores the alert, a collision between man and woman is set into motion; the results of which could be as disastrous as a submarine colliding with an immovable iceberg.

Note: Technology savvy wives have been known to tap into work calendars the night before to review the husbands’ following day, thus adding yet another step to the alert system.

What can husbands do? Is there no combating this web of protection? The simplest option is a quick check of the wife’s pulse. 150+ Beats Per Minute (BPM) indicates that a level 1 alert was raised. Anything under 65 BPM typically indicates a level 6. If you come home and your wife is working while maintaining a fairly regular heart beat, you can be assured that she is either playing it safe by heeding early warning signals or she is truly striving to maintain order in the home.