Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Wife Money"

Now not all of you may know this.

I didn't know it myself until a couple of years ago.  As a married woman, when your husband goes to use an ATM machine, and you are with him, he is supposed to give you "Wife Money".

This needs to happen at least every two weeks.  It's only fair.  "Wife Money" is not your household expense money.  That goes on the American Express charge card that is paid in full every month.  "Wife Money" is different.  It is your money for being a wife.

You can spend it on whatever you wish.  You can go have lunches and massages with it.  You can bank it in a secret account so that if your husband decides to run off with a Pilates instructor, you have a little nest egg to tide you over.  :You can play the horses with it.  You can donate it to the charity of your choice.  You can spend it on gin.  You can stick it in your mattress.  You do not have to account for your "Wife Money".

I wish somebody had sat me down and told me about "Wife Money" when I was a young bride of 19, (and every other time I was a bride as well).  I never really thought about it very much until about two years ago.  It's a standing joke in Alex's family to say "Where's my Indian money?".  Since the Navajo Nation now has casinos, they are entitled to proceeds from the gaming.  Alex does not really want to take "Indian money" because a lot of Navajos need it a lot worse than he does.  Still, every time I'm around Alex's family, everybody jokes about their "Indian money".

I was waiting in the car when Alex went to the ATM to get some cash.  When he came back to the car, I held my hand out and said "Where's my "Wife Money"?  He laughed and started the car and I reached over and turned off the key.  He said "What?" and I responded that I wanted my "Wife Money".  Alex pulled out his wallet and pulled out a $20 and handed it to me.  "Oh hell no!"  That was not going to work!  I took the wallet and saw that he had pulled out $300.  I took a total of $140 out and put it in my purse.  Alex laughed and asked me what brought this on.

I told Alex that I had been listening to him and his family talking about "Indian Money" and I thought to myself, "Self!  Why are they entitled to "Indian Money"?  Oh, because they are Indians!  I see.  That makes perfect sense.  If you take that one step further, that means I am entitled to "Wife Money" because I am a wife! 

Why it took me so long to figure this out I can't begin to tell you.  All I can say is I don't know how I ever managed without my "Wife Money!"

Now, if I could just get my grown kids to kick down with some "Mom Money", I'd be rolling in dough!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Requiem for El Gato Loco

I'm not a cat person.

Cats are too aloof for me.  They are secretive and not particularly affectionate.  Dogs are panting, tail wagging bastions of love.  Take out the garbage and come back in.  Dogs greet you with fiercely wagging tails, yips of joy, and adoration.  Cats don't care if you are around or not.

Alex started lobbying for a cat about 20 years ago, but I held fast on my decree of "No Cats!".  My husband loves all creatures great and small.  He thought a cat would round out our little family just perfectly.  I had my doubts.  First, I don't like cleaning litter boxes.  I don't like the smell of litter boxes in a house.  The whole concept of a litter box sort of turns me off.  Why can't a cat just go outside and do his or her business in somebody's garden? In fact, I'd prefer that the cat just go to someone else's garden.  Not mine.  Then there's the matter of house training cats.  They jump up on kitchen counters every time they turn around.  They lick their butts and then like the stick of butter on the counter.  They also shred furniture and draperies and carpet with their claws.  Great.

After a couple of years of constant pleading, I finally relented and told Alex to go get a damned cat if he really wanted one.  Alex acted like he had won the lottery!

I was at work when Alex called and said "I got our kitty."  I envisioned a little white furry kitty that we would probably name "Snowflake" or something equally sugary.  That was not the case.  Alex brought home a cat he named "Smokey Joe".  The cat was about 5 months old, a black tabby, with a torn ear and a bad attitude.  There was nothing "kittenish" about Smokey.  He hissed and popped.  He clawed and bit.  In other words, I fell madly in love with him.

Smokey terrorized people.  He got his claws into my Mom's hair sprayed "do" and made her scream.  If a visitor used the bathroom, he stuck his long black front leg in under the door to tap them on the foot while they sat on the pot causing the visitor to scream.  He jumped in the bedroom window about 3 AM every night and landed on our heads reminding me of Cato in the Pink Panther movies.

Smokey would also hide on the rise of the stairs so if one wasn't watching their steps coming down, he would trip the person.  Good times!

Oh Smokey wasn't all bad.  He liked to play soccer and catch.  He would sit atop his tall cat "tree" and let us toss balls to him that he caught and tossed back to us.  He also sang Chinese Opera.  Alex did not train him to stay off the kitchen counters, but I did.  I found that if I screamed like a banshee and ran toward him at the same time, it would scare him enough to finally stop the counter walks.  I'm sure my neighbors wondered at the shrieks, but nobody ever called the police.

Years passed and Smokey mellowed a bit.  Old male cats get sort of loving.  He would spend evenings sitting on the arm of my chair while I petted him and he nuzzled me.  He also liked to sit on my lap when I was at the computer.

Smokey was 17.  I never really saw the transition from young cat to old man cat.  The combination of age and a pretty drastic cancer diagnosis from the vet made it necessary to put Smokey to sleep last Wednesday.

I'm still not a cat person, but I loved him and I miss him very much.  I doubt I'll get another cat.

There was only one Smokey Joe.