Sophisticated Morning Talk between Spouses

If you want to watch harmonious gender division, come and visit us on any given school day early in the morning.

What you will find is the wife in action  (aka, multi tasking to make sure the children will go to school on time, neatly dressed, their lunch boxes filled with nutritious, delicious goodies)  and the husband sitting on the couch, reading his TIME magazine.

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In his mind, there is no better time to strike up a meaningful conversation with his wife than between 7.15 and 8am. The wife loves his attempt of keeping her informed and educated about bigger things in life other than the stain on his shirt and a reminder for an oil change.

It goes something like this:

Husband: “Did you know there are more than 100 million sharks killed each year?” (Times, March 18, page 9)

Wife, thinking: Did Cruz feed his fish yesterday, need to go to pet store, we are running out of fish food.

Aloud: “Mmh?”

Husband: “Hey lovey, listen to this, this is funny,  ( quote) “We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone.(Times, same edition, page 8)  These delegates….”

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Wife has water running, concentrates to make orange juice out of concentrate. Is thinking to herself  “what was this all about?”

Aloud: “Mmh, interesting.”

Husband thinks this quote is hilarious, wonders why wife isn’t laughing and gives in to his desire to read it again. Still, no response from wife.

Somehow this reminds husband of an article in the PROVINCE from a few weeks back: “What about the story on gentrification in downtown Vancouver?”

Wife is thinking: I need to remember to write the cheque for school, how much was it again?

Husband rambles on, “Listen to this, this is quite interesting, “All you need to know about sequestration but were afraid to ask…”

Wife, aloud: “Boys, you need to give me your thermo containers back, hurry.”

Wife is cooking lunch, ravioli in pot is heating up, starting to boil and all she hears is this:

“….pulling out of Iran over next 22 months.”

Wife thinks “What is going on in Iran, who is pulling out? Is America pulling out?

Wife is brave (or dumb) enough to open her mouth to ask this question to her well informed, well read husband.

All he does is looking at her, shakes his head in slight desperation and thinks, Help, whom am I married to.? Aloud he says:

“Iran? I said Afghanistan – do you remember, it is the longest mission ever Americans were involved in?”

Wife thinks “Oops, need to get my ears checked, why is he talking to me now anyway, I am cooking lunch?”

This is the one that nearly killed her: “Lovey, can you get this, listen up  The record for continuous gum chewing is 135 sticks over 8 hours. Assuming he chewed one fewer stick during the final hour than each of the previous 7 hours, how many sticks did he chew each hour?” (Times, Feb.25, p.53)

Wife thinks,  He must be joking.   Aloud: “Mmh, clever question!”

Isn’t my husband a sweetheart? I consider myself a lucky woman, being married to this fine, young, well informed man! As I said earlier, he makes sure I am in the loop of what’s going on around the world. Unfortunately, most of the time I have no clue what he is talking about; and I mean literally. I have no clue what he is jabbering about, I have never heard of these words before! He is a native speaker and therefore comfortable with the TIMES vocabulary, not me!

Still, I appreciate his efforts and hopes that after all these years some of the more sophisticated words may have rubbed up on me – or not!

This reminds me of an incident from a long time ago.  I did my PADI diving course in Byron Bay, Australia. On the first day of the course we were discussing what you can’t do under water, wetsuit and all. One of the things you can’t do is fornicating! Did I know what that means? Of course not. I was the only foreigner amidst a group of Australians. They swore themselves to secrecy and kept me in the dark for the whole week – meanwhile my brain was working overtime about the action called fornication. What is it you can’t do under water with your wetsuit on….?


To HYPHEN or not to HYPHEN?

For the longest time I refused to use facebook (fb) on the grounds that anybody who knows me knows where to find me; and if somebody really wanted to get hold of me, they would figure out a way to find me.

Until our move to Canada I never saw the necessity to put myself into cyber world. Now, thousands of kms away from our previous bases, I definately enjoy chuckles with long lost mates from around the world. Anybody can find me by putting in my name into the search engine.

Yesterday, during my quick update on fb, I noticed the following: Lots of women (NO men!!!) have reinvented themselves with a hyphen. The woman I used to know as Janet Mulder is now Janet Mulder – Rachmaninov. Or Susan van Brink is now Susan van Brink – om de Hook op de Berg!

A hyphen? This is something I don’t get! Why have a hyphened last name? To me, a hyphened name is right up there with being engaged. What kind of concept is being engaged anyway? You want to let the world know you are off the market, you hold on to what you got but deep down you hope for something better to come along?


Coming back to the hyphen; what is wrong with choosing only one name (yours or your husband’s) and stick to it? Is your marriage in crisis; is this your first step to warn the world “I am getting out of here?”, is this your first step towards liberation or independence?

Personally, I decided to stick to my maiden name. Having a last name like WASCHKO is not the easiest name to grow up with. Children can be so cruel and they called me WASCHKU, Waschikowski, Waschfrau or Waschakaka! Let me tell you, I hated my parents to burden me with a name like this.  It was hell growing up.. But later on, I came to appreciate and even love the uniqueness of that name. I built my identitiy around it, this is who I am, it made me strong! Needless to say, I kept my name after getting married (never engaged!). NO hyphen for me!

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Having a hyphened name looks to me like being indecisive of who you are and what you want. You love your husband, but not too much therefore you need to keep your own name too?

I decided to get a second opinion on this matter. My trusted source of inspiration sat right at the dinner table: Dominic, husband par excellence, born and raised in one of the Southers States of America (this makes him somewhat a traditionalist).. Hence, his first answer to my question “Why would you take on your husbands name”, was “It is tradition for the woman to take on her man’s name.”

Oops, did I hear any resentment that I remained a WASCHKO? If there was a sign of hurt pride in the beginning, it is all forgotten by now. I ‘compensated’ him for letting me keep my name by giving birth to three sons –  and all three boys carry his name!

The second item Dominic brought up was, independence! With a hyphen a woman is breaking the tradition and is claiming part of her independence back. But here is another question: Are you more independent now than at the beginning of your marriage? Women are as well educated and qualified (or even better) than some of our men – might there be a new women’s movement on the horizon?

And,  I nearly forgot, the last thing Dominic mentioned was: “If women add their maiden name to their married name it is much easier for long lost friends to find them on facebook!

Here we have it, I am getting worked up for nothing, I even let my opinionated self shining through! Apologies to my lady friends, you are not indecisive! All you want is to be is found on facebook!

What do you think: Hyphen or no hyphen? Tradition or no tradition?

Guidelines for Cheating Husbands

When I read about the ‘David Petraeus Affair’ I felt strangely compelled to write this post. There is nothing new or surprising about married men in powerful positions cheating on their wives. It seems to come with the job description. Mr. Petraeus is just another man in a long line of others caught with his ‘pants down’.

But this incident made me wonder: If the Director of the CIA can’t keep his extramaritial affair a secret, WHO can? I believe the lads in the cheating department need some help!                                                                                                                          Ladies, don’t get me wrong, I am on your side!. There is no excuse for a lying, cheating other half. But if men do it,  at least they should conduct their affair with some integrity and with no pain inflicted to their wives.

Considering my real life experiences either as ‘being cheated on’ or being ‘the other woman’, I am actually unqualified to write these guidelines ( as far as I know-). But, during my years as a coffee lounge owner I listened to enough real life break-up stories and I read enough Jackie Collins novels’ to know HOW the straying guys get caught.

Therefore, my housewive brain went into overdrive and I came up with these few, but simple guidelines for the cheater or wanna be cheater:


But first of all let me tell you: You should be ashamed of yourself; there is NOTHING extra-ordinary about having an affair! If you are adament about having ‘a woman on the side’, at least make sure you

DON’T GET CAUGHT (This is why having á secret affair ‘is called secret)!

This involves                                                                                                                                                KISS & DON’T TELL!  Nobody wants to listen to a tattle tale. Haven’t you outgrown your bragging stage yet?

Try to keep your ‘lady of lust’ in the dark about your personal life and who you really are!                                                                                                                                           This in turn means your affair doesn’t know where you live (remember the movie”Fatale Attraction?”) , what your telephone number is or how to get hold of you via e-mail.

Make sure your ‘side interest’ doesn’t have any friends, i.e. she can’t brag about you!

Destroy all written evidence on paper or on electronic devices. Remember, if your wife does the laundry she will search every pocket of every piece of clothes you own!

If you need to use modern telecommunication devices keep in mind, deleted messages are still traceable. My suggestion for secret communication? Buy yourself a trained, mail pigeon! You only need to explain the arrival of the bird to your wife. I am sure you will find a plausible explanation!

If you mentioned you are going out of town, leave town as promissed. You never know if your wife took one innocent look at the mile reader before your departure…

If you are a well known public figure, make sure your other woman lacks ambition. God forbid she would use you for her own personal enrichment. (this is only applicable if you violated rule No.2)

If you are important and interesting to human mankind, start a blog or write an autobiography. If you have more pressing matters to attend to and need a woman to write your biography, make sure she is a) a good writer and b) totally unattractive!

Don’t make promisses like “I am leaving my wife and kids for you”. All hell breaks loose if you don’t follow through. Women can be quite persistent and nagging about these issues…

If all this sounds too complicated, follow the advice of our good friend Michel. His philosophy in life is:”Keep it simple, stick with your wife!” ( the one woman only- rule)

Now, most people I know would call this the norm, but for any cheaters or wanna be’s this may sound extra-ordinary indeed!