Although I'm not a really smart person, there is something about me that I'm rather proud of. I notice everything. I can pick up a physical defect on a person at a hundred yards. I can tell if something has been moved, even minutely, in the house. I see changes in my surroundings that no one else does. I would have made an excellent private detective, except for the fact that I don't like unpleasantness, confrontation, violence and stakeouts.
My wife, on the other hand, notices nothing. That may be a tad bit harsh, but I'm a cruel evaluator and that's my opinion. For instance, I once painted the walls going down the stairs to the basement. Up until the point that I had painted them, they had been bare sheetrock and tape. Although she goes down to the basement almost every day, it was over a week before she noticed it, and then I had to prompt her with "Hey, notice anything different?"
Yes, Jan doesn't notice changes ... except when I fuck something up.
This past Monday I was cleaning the house, and when I got to the kitchen table, I saw that the place mats were getting extremely funky. We spill a lot of things when we eat. I've considered buying us his 'n hers table cloths to wrap around our necks (a la Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever) when we sit down to dinner because we're so sloppy.
Anyway, as long as I was cleaning, I decided to throw the place mats in the washing machine. When they were done, I was concentrating on something else and absent-mindedly threw them in the dryer, paying no attention to the tag on the back of the mats that read:
After an hour of drying, I went back down to the basement and pulled them out. Yeah, they'd kind of shrunk. They resembled over-sized table napkins rather than place mats. But I kind of blew it off, justifying it in my own mind that I thought they had been too goddamn big to begin with.
Later that afternoon, Jan got home from school ... walked into the dining area ... and immediately noticed that the table mats had shrunk.
For the next two hours, I heard crack after crack about me shrinking the table cloths. Until I blew a fuse and we got into a bit of a fight.
Because that's what marriage is all about. Fighting over shrunken table cloths.
After a few harsh words, we made peace. But I knew she was still pissed. The next morning, I got up and prepared to do some errands. I kept looking at the shrunken table cloths and felt guilty. So, I ran over to Kohl's and spent an hour finding the exact type of table dressing ... Sonoma/Mocha Chocolate ... at twice the price we had paid for the first set. Fortunately, being Kohl's, everything was on sale. And by "sale" I mean the regular price everyone else would charge since Kohl's "regular" price is approximately180 percent over a manufacturers recommended price. Don't tell me no one in the United States of America doesn't know that.
When I returned home, I put the new place mats out and relegated the old ones to some dusty corner of the house, out of sight. But, I thought to myself "I'll bet Jan doesn't even notice." So, I made myself a bet. If she didn't say anything in the first 24 hours, I owed myself five dollars. If 48 hours passed, I owed myself ten dollars ... and if a whole week passed without her saying anything, I'd pay myself thirty dollars.
As of this morning, I'm five dollars ahead. However, when you think about it, betting yourself money really doesn't make any sense because I already had the money anyway and I don't gain or lose as a result of my left hand giving my right hand money.
Oh well ... a bet's a bet.