Just a few things that might drive her crazy | The Latte Guy | July 2

In a recent column, I mentioned that the woman who is my wife and I had just celebrated our 29th anniversary. In the course of that column, I may have also mentioned one or two behaviors on the part of my lovely wife that might have been annoying to some other men, but were behaviors toward which I had shown a remarkable tolerance and a patient, even loving, acceptance. At least, that’s the way I remember it.

After the column appeared, it was pointed out to me by several readers that I had neglected to mention any of my own behaviors and quirks that Wendy might have had to learn to tolerate and endure in order to preserve our long and blissful marital union.

Just to set the record straight, I did not intentionally omit or suppress any of my own personal shortcomings from that column. I would have been only too happy to mention my own personal shortcomings if, in fact, I had any. But really, what can one say about a category that does not exist?

After all, they don’t call me “The Total Package” for nothing. Technically speaking, “The Total Package” is a nickname I conferred upon myself, and I am the only one who has ever actually referred to myself in that manner. But I’ve never been one to let facts get in the way of a good argument.

I suppose if I were being completely honest, I could probably think of a thing or two I do that might reasonably drive Wendy a little bit crazy.

Here’s one: When I’m helping with the laundry, I don’t always remember to adjust the water level in the washing machine. Also, when I fold clothes out of the dryer, I don’t always turn everything right side out, and some times I get Wendy’s clothes mixed up with Lauren’s.

Oh, and here’s another: I’ve never really figured out how to replace the belt on the vacuum cleaner. When I’m vacuuming the house and the belt breaks, rather than replace the belt myself, I stop vacuuming and wait for Wendy to return home so she can fix it. I use the downtime to wash floors, clean windows, or work on my laundry-folding skills.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I have other flaws as well. I use too much cumin when I make homemade chili for the family. Sometimes when I make Wendy breakfast in bed, my scrambled eggs are too runny. Occasionally I burn the edges of the crust on the grilled cheese sandwiches I make for her lunch on weekends.

I drive too slowly, paying an inordinate amount of attention to traffic, traffic signs, and the beauty of the world as seen from the window of a slowly moving vehicle. Unlike some members of my family, I only enter parking lots from driveways that say “Enter.”

When we go for runs together, I frequently grumble for the first mile or so about the shooting pains and debilitating aches I experience in my legs and hips trying to keep up with her pace.

And from time to time, I track mud and leaves into the house when I come in from mowing the lawn, chopping firewood, or toiling in the vegetable garden under a blazing hot sun so we can have fresh rhubarb and corn on the cob to go with the barbecued chicken that I pick up at the grocery store when I run out to buy her a box of her favorite bon-bons.

I suppose I should also own up to the fact that I suffer from a prominent fashion-sense deficiency.

My favorite color is plaid, which I believe goes with everything, even other shades of plaid. I still wear white cotton socks that I pull up to my calves, resulting in an amusing farmer’s tan come late summer. I keep old T-shirts around for sentimental reasons well after they’ve become too thin and torn to be seen wearing in public, and then I wear them in public.

Then there’s my odd fascination with routines. I sit in the same place on the ferry every day. I order the same thing in the same restaurants over and over again. I go through the same morning rituals seven days a week. I’ve managed to squeeze most of the spontaneity out of my life, which sounds like a bad thing now that I see it in print.

But the one routine I’m most fascinated with, and the one I’m least likely to ever want to change, is the routine of being married to Wendy. And I say that knowing full well that she puts butter on her pasta and ketchup on her scrambled eggs.

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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