October 28, 2011

You Think You Know Somebody...

I've been married for almost eleven years.

The other day I was on the phone with my husband discussing some grocery items. Grocery shopping is one of those territories that we strategize over like generals about to invade another country. Neither of us likes to do it, so we stack up and discharge chores hoping it will tilt the seesaw in our favor when it comes time to comparing the tally sheet entitled "Who Has Done the Most Stuff Lately."

"Cheese," I said, the obvious and latest loser in the tally. "I'll pick you up some cheese. Sharp."


"You prefer the sharp cheese, right?"


"You don't like sharp cheese?"

"No, I like mild."

I am 100% certain he likes sharp cheddar cheese and told him so, hoping the force of my assertion would make him remember that he likes sharp cheese.  "I'm certain you told me you like sharp cheese."

"No, I wouldn't do that because I like mild."

"Are you SURE you don't like sharp cheese?"

"I'm sure."

"Have you EVER liked sharp cheese?"


"Then why would I think that?"

"I have no idea."

For years I've been buying sharp cheese for him. It's not my preference, but I don't mind eating it.  But I buy it for him because I have been certain for eleven years that it was his favorite. And I have no idea where I got that idea.  Which makes me wonder what other portions of my reality I've just made up out of thin air.

* * *

I was on the phone with a woman whose husband died a couple of years ago. There was a problem with a piece of property she was trying to sell and I was the one who was supposed to break the news to her.

"Mrs. Bannerman, your name is not on the deed to your house, only your husband's."

She said, "But he told me he'd put my name on the deed..."

"I'm so sorry, it's not on there, but it's okay -- we just have to do some extra stuff that will take longer, but it will be okay."  I did my best to be as reassuring as possible.

"Well, it shouldn't surprise me. I know that's not the only time he lied to me."

Obviously, my feeble reassurances were not going to go far to meet the needs of a wife who wanted explanations from her dead husband.

* * *

Four years ago, my niece's husband moved to our town looking for work. He was a very personable, funny, handsome guy, very good with kids. We liked him. He lived with my mother for a while and the plan was for him to get a job and then send for my niece and the children.

I have a picture of him that I took on my youngest son's first birthday. He had my son propped on one of his shoulders and he was smiling and looking up at my son. He has a brilliant, white smile. My son was laughing as he was being tickled in the side by the man who was holding him. It was a very good first birthday for my son, for all of us.

A year later, that man strangled my niece and stabbed her 26 times with two kitchen knives.

You always think you know someone.  Turns out, sometimes you're wrong.


  1. Holy crap. Holy effing crap. I am so sorry to hear about your niece. What a close call with this idiot living with your mom. Whew!

  2. Whoa, I was not ready for that last story.

    Get your husband the mild cheese, it might be the safer thing to do.

  3. Yeah, it does put cheese into perspective. :) And pretty much everything else mundane about life.

  4. I have a group of English friends for whom I was the "home base", as I lived in Florida at the time. Every couple of years for three to six weeks a group of Brits would invade, no actually were welcomed. The core group would always bring someone new over to tour the U.S. One such trip brought a wisp of a woman who scarcely stretched 5'and couldn't have weight even 100lbs. In tow was her common law husband, who by appearances alone was one scary, hairy tatted bear. A man with whom I sat on the kitchen floor one night as he divulged his heart. Teary eyed for the love of his life who had turned down countless marriage proposals. What a soft mush teddy bear! Bear was also an artist & for a wedding present he carved a lump of wood into what served as my kitchen clock for years & a treasured gift which reminded me never judge a book by it's cover. Six years later that bear beat his Ann so severely that she even as last I heard, she laid in a coma. Bear is now caged & his artwork tucked away.


    I love to grill & I adore BBQ pork & chicken. Before I married my husband I enjoyed BBQ almost every weekend. But I gave it all up because my husband HATES BBQ. When dining out I search for the best BBQ in the area. After ten years of marriage I explained that even though he didn't like BBQ, I was going to make BBQ pork sandwiches. I explained that I would set aside some pork for him, but that I just HAD to go for it. We simply don't eat out that often. To which my husband replied, "What do you mean, I don't like BBQ? I like BBQ! I eat it all the time at work. I just get sick of eating it so often."

    You think you know a person...

    (My apologies for the blathering response, but sometimes Wendy, there is such parallel to our lives but you just reflect on it with a greater sense of humor then I do!!)

    Thanks for listening,
    Wendy L.

  5. Wendy, you go right ahead and blather. You know I'm loving it. xo

  6. Holy Shit!! That just put the worse taste in my mouth!! You do, you think you know somebody...at least in your case it's only about cheese...

  7. Hi Wendy! I really love following you blog especially your stories of your kids (I adore Tristan). But the ending of this one really shook me. Wow, I'm sorry about what happened to your niece.


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