Wednesday, September 2, 2009

30 years plus one day

The sashes were rattling something fierce last night at the Grange Fitzrovia Hotel. With the sheers blowing in over the sills, and London's silvery city light palely shining on the carpet, there was a rather romantic moonstruck feeling to it all. Or there would have been, had it not been for Mr D's wretched racket of snoring, which was enough to wake the dead as well as the living.

I tell you this, dear Reader, because I wouldn't want you to suffer under the illusion that Mr D is perfect. No, far from it. He has his human flaws, just like the rest of us. You might even agree with me if I enumerate just one or two.

For example, there's his "engineer's mind." Kind of like that "Zen mind" thing that everyone's always banging on about, but much more irritating. An engineer's mind likes to think that it's logical, reasonable, orderly. In this, it's confused. It tries to quantify the unquantifiable, and goes on to make you think that you're the one being difficult.

Imagine, if you will, choosing a house (12 or 13 times, because you keep getting moved by The Company). One half of the married duo looks at 7 or 11 houses, and picks one -- with a back-up plan for a second if the first choice falls through. Naturally, first choice is 1) the most expensive option and 2) furthest location possible from the workplace. But it's close to the school, and has a nice kitchen, and it's really pretty.

The second half of the blissfully wedded pair looks at the same set of houses, and hates choice #1 (too expensive) and abhors choice #2 (brutal commute). But instead of just saying, "Oh, let's look around more, wait a few months, rent something for a while and see what comes up...," he says, "I know! I'll make a chart and we can analyse the problem!"

The chart's drawn up, and houses are given scores of 1-5 for categories such as 1) commute, 2) price, 3) proximity to good golf course, 4) number of rooms, 5) quality of electrical wiring, 6) size of garage, and 7) age of roof . Strangely enough, choice #6, a medium-sized ugly house with a massive garage, circuit-breaker box of recent vintage, within 3 miles of work and 4.5 miles of golf course, wins! Who could have predicted that???

And it's all followed up by that explanation, that parsing of the chart (can charts be parsed?). "But look, my dear, it's all logical, and the best score, as you can plainly see here, is for this one, this house #6. Shall we make an offer on it then?" *sigh*

On the other hand, I can't complain too much. He loves to travel and won't rest until he's seen every sight to be seen in a given location. Since arriving in London on Sunday morning, we've toured Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, and the Queen's Gallery. We've gone through the Cabinet War Rooms, eaten lunch at Inn the Park in St. James' Park, ridden the London Eye, and wandered through the Burlington Arcade drooling over sapphires and cufflinks and lovely leather goods. All the things we neglected to do while we lived here for three years. We're better tourists than residents, apparently. We even took in my favorite annual exhibition, the BP Portrait Award show at the National Portrait Gallery. And all this in just three days.

And with that, I'm off to Grant & Cutler for some o' them furrin books. Maybe a Liewe Heksie picture book? Or an instructional text on Elementary Chichewa, for my next trip to Malawi?

Ta ta for now, m'dears! More faults to come, later, as they come to mind.



ladytruth said...

It sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Looking forward to hear more about the husband's "flaws." :)

Mr London Street said...

If you are staying in London any longer, Getty Images has a very good exhibition of photos of life in the capital which I very much enjoyed.

I can also wholeheartedly recommend Reading. It has the world's only full size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. What more could you need?

Hannah Rose said...

Sorry, Mr. London Street: My parents already dragged their children to the REAL Bayeux tapestry. I say dragged because it was 2 zillion degrees in there, but I do recall all of us liking it; it had a pretty thrilling audio tour.
And mother; what bliss, what joyousness a marriage must be! And you're trying to keep me from one! Fascinating. I'll remember to reprimand dad for his overly thoughtful planning when he returns. What a doofus! I hope you're salvaging what you can from your dreadful London adventure (Adventure in that you need a fleet of hobbits and elves in order to execute it successfully, since dad is acting like an evil wizard).

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

My uncle was an engineer and he did exactly the same things. Except, he tried to chart having kids. All they wanted was a girl. He ended up having four boys.

Mr London Street said...

It's odd enough when parents and children look like each other, but when they write like each other that's uncanny.

Reading has far more going for it than the Bayeux Tapestry, believe you me.

expateek said...

MLS -- how did you happen to meet my postman? And what has he written lately?

Lady -- I found an "Advice for Husbands" at the bookstore today; must look through it to find out how else he's lacking!

Tennyson -- I should dig out the chart I made up to justify having 4children. When I say "made up" I mean just that. All financial figures and rationales were falsified, but he took it hook line and sinker. Nothing like a bar graph to persuade!

HR -- what can I say? Even though I married at 21, I don't think anyone else should. The dowry paid was frightful. I'm not sure my father ever recovered from the shock of it.

mo.stoneskin said...

Has Mr D tried those anti-snoring strips? I was forced to try them, and despite being a tad uncomfortable I'm told by my wife they work a treat.

Madame DeFarge said...

It is reassuring to hear about the faults. I suffer from the snoring one and the engineer's mind too. Impressive amount of stuff done in three days. probably more than I've done in four years.

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Christine said...

I am married to Tim the Tool Man Taylor. He flies by the seat of his pants. Somehow he would have insisted on house number #6 as well and he would have convinced me even without a graph because to a man that IS the obvious choice. I knew it as soon as i read it.

Iota said...

It is odd, that phenomenon of being a good tourist in a place one has lived in.

How's the Chichewa going?

justme said...

Hello! Haven't caught up with you for ages! Nice to see you.

LadyFi said...

London? For a visit, holiday, work?

I know exactly what you mean about the mind of the engineer! And somehow they never ever think they are wrong! (Bet he can't ask for directions either... ;-))