Just another nonproductive outburst

Here’s this week’s column for The Standard and Vidette. Honestly, I am a such a work in progress (minus the progress).

“It’s a funny thing about New Year’s Resolutions; now that we’re in February, I can think of twenty that should have made the list.

Last weekend my husband and I headed out to run a few errands. This is something he does because it’s his responsibility; I tag along because it means he’s trapped in the car with me and can’t escape. Usually this works to my advantage. Usually.

“So,” he said as we pulled out, “I really think we need to talk about something.” In my marriage, this is never a good start. There I was, all snuggled up next to him with Karen Carpenter crooning away in the background, and he had to go ruin it with a Something conversation.

“What is it this time?” I asked.

Here’s the thing about “Things We Might Disagree On”. These conversations need to happen. They have to happen. If we don’t talk about them eventually, nothing good will ever happen. Also, I hate them.

In his typical, calm, adult manner, he addressed our current hot topic. It took about 13 seconds for me to raise my voice.

“Honey,” he said, interrupting me, “Can’t we talk about this like normal adults?”

“I am talking like an adult! All adults talk like this!!” I said.

“Okay, can’t we talk about this without yelling?”

“I am not yelling! Believe me buddy, you’d know if I were yelling!!”

“Really? Because it kind of sounds like you’re yelling. Perhaps you could just bring your volume–”

“What’s the matter with my volume? I’m a passionate woman! You’ve been married to me for eleven years, this really shouldn’t be such a surprise, especially since we’ve talked about my volume 4000 times!

“I’d just like to have a civil, quiet conversation without you getting all excitable.  If you’d just learn–”

“Learn? LEARN?? I’ll never learn! Haven’t you figured that out about me by now? This is who I am, and I am excitable! Just because I’m passionate does not make me bad, I like to speak with conviction! If you didn’t like it, you shouldn’t have married me!” Probably not the best moment to remind him of that decision.

Now, this last statement was said with something a little stronger than your typical “conviction”. Words to describe my actual tone might be more along the lines of “hysterical”, or “extremely loud”, or even “good golly can’t I drop her off by the side of the road?”

The worst part of this rather unpleasant conversation was that up to this point, we hadn’t even begun to talk about the actual issue because we were so busy arguing about how to talk about the issue.

Lucky for my husband, it was right about then that we reached our first destination. I threw open my door, barreled out of the car and slammed it passionately behind me. He locked it.

Being the overly excitable soul that I am, there’s nothing better for my excessive zest than a cold walk in the winter air. Something about all that silence made me realize that perhaps, just maybe, he had a really good point.

Just because my natural inclination spurs me to react with fervor doesn’t mean fervor is always right. There’s a time and a place for every emotion, perhaps it’s time for me to cut back a little on the fervor? Was he really asking that much of me? To talk in a nicer voice?

I was back at the car five minutes later, feeling much more subdued and not a little chagrinned at my rather zesty outburst.

I knocked on the window and he grudgingly unlocked the door. I climbed in and looked at him.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“For what?” he said.

“You’re right. I need to chill out and speak in a calm, adult manner.”


“No, let me finish. I’ve decided to make it my New Year’s Resolution–” he’s heard this phrase 19 times in the past two months “–and I can change, I can be…vanilla. I will learn how to talk like a reasonable person, even when I’m upset. Now, what is it you were saying?”

It’s amazing what a little dose of discipline will do for a girl. Would you believe we went on to finish our discussion and still wanted to hold hands when we were done? Now that is progress.


  1. are you perhaps a Taurus!? Just sayin’…sounds exactly like me 🙂

  2. You still wanted to hold hands after? You two Are good!

  3. Well, since you didn’t throw anything at the kitchen cabinets, I applaud you!

  4. I haven’t had a huge yelling fight with my husband in a long time (knock on wood) but when we do fight, it ends up more like what you did. Not that he asks me to calm down, just that he is calm and doesn’t get riled, while I show a lot more…emotion. 🙂

  5. Oh my. LOL. Glad you are still holding hands. That is a very good sign!

  6. well damn…..so you threw a fit (acceptable in my book) and he locked the door on you (not acceptable in my book) and you were holding hands…..ACCEPTABLE

    but what the heck WAS the discussion (tee,hee)

  7. I applaud you for your honesty in putting this all in black and white! I mean, it’s typical but not the stuff we’re proud of when we’re in the wrong. I commend you for your honesty, and your ability to turn the conversation around for the better!

  8. My husband never raises his voice or fights with me. It took me a very long time to learn to communicate that way. I can say that I don’t always succeed, but I really do try, and I am much better than I used to be! Good for you! It really will get easier for you as you just keep trying.

  9. Annie,
    Thanks for dropping by The Craig Report. Even if it was under the idle threat from DeNae that you would receive your Friendship Walking Papers if you didn’t. You made me laugh – OUT LOUD. Spent some time reading your stuffs this week – superb. And fun. Hope to see you around the proverbial water cooler.

  10. You can be vanilla?
    OK, that’s funny.
    I think you might be more like Rocky Road with extra nuts or something.

    I bet your hubs is glad he isn’t married to a boring woman.
    I really don’t think he would love vanilla!

    What was it he wanted to discuss?

  11. I always get 10 or 15 posts behind and end up commenting on things from last month, but I have to say: NOW I see why Kristina said my Hazel and your June should get together.

    Here’s why: http://myimaginaryblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/how-to-help-your-mom-stay-flexible/ )

    And the really random thing is that I also, separately, posted about Ovaltine:


    I like the winning June-Ovaltine tagline, too. How fun.

  12. I’m sorry, I can’t judge the validity of any of what you’ve said here unless you go into deep, personal detail about pretty much all of it.

    So, any time…

  13. I’m chuckling. No, I’m laughing. No. I’m bustin’ a gut!

    What I want to point out is that anyone who even REMOTELY knows you will know full well that this is a natural reaction to — oh, just about everything. Anything from going over the monthly clothing budget to, oh, say the current price of antiperspirant.

    Vanilla? Bwahaha. You silly girl, you.

  14. Oh, I’d say that was probably one of your more productive outbursts! 🙂

  15. It isn’t productive until someone gets an eye poked out.