Marriage and car maintenance

by Thang

Some time ago, I was thinking about marriage, as one of my friends was going through a divorce, and I felt that it was like watching a car accident. So I was thinking how can we help people understand what they have to do to maintain their marriage. I figure since everyone drives/own a car and so should at least understand the care and maintenance of a car, and once you equate a marriage to that, it’s much easier to digest.

So, here is my car analogy

What kind of driver/car owner are you?
Car Marriage Rationale:
Gas Sex If you don’t put gas in car, it doesn’t go far
Scheduled Maintenance- oil change, 15K tune ups, etc Anniversary, Birthday celebrations Without maintenance car would begin to fall apart
Maintenance – new brakes, tires, etc. Vacations Not replacing worn out parts caused car to fail
Car wash Movies, dinner out Not washing/cleaning car cause it to look old/shabby
Not causing accidents by driving badly Not causing marriage troubles by treating wife/marriage badly Sometimes cars in accidents are never the same again because of structural damage
Not getting into accidents by driving defensively Not causing marriage troubles by being aware potential trouble spots and avoiding it. No matter whose fault it is, an accident will damage a car, sometimes irreparable
What kind of car are you?  
Type Characteristics
sedan bland, functional
sports car flashy, fun, not functional, often high maintenance, attract lots of attention
van bland, functional, family oriented
fancy sedans flashy, functional, often high maintenance
trucks functional but not family oriented, not comfortable



102 thoughts on “Marriage and car maintenance

  1. No SUV as a car type? Functional, family oriented, but very image conscious.

    I imagine a lot of totebaggers also have sports sedans.

  2. Hah — love it!

    My one quibble: I’d replace “sex” with “affection,” although a large part of that is obviously sex. Sex is something that happens for X minutes per day, week, whatever; affection is something that you express every minute that you’re together (whether intentionally or not), in your actions, word choice, tone of voice, body language, eye contact, etc. And if that ain’t there, then the sex isn’t happening.

    But I think I’ve read that men and women are sort of flipped on this — that for men, regular sex leads to greater affection, whereas for women, more affection leads to more and better sex. So maybe the real answer is to know what your partner’s “gas” is, and to make sure to supply that as frequently as you can.

  3. And I refuse to choose between “bland” and “high maintenance.” :-) Really, it’s just Camry or Porsche? I’d hope there’d be something in-between, like an entry-level family luxury sedan that fits a couple of kids and won’t kill you if you ding the door but still allows you to put the pedal to the metal every once in a while.

  4. Not sure I can fully relate to the analogy. I think not treating each other badly is extremely true. In some cases avoiding trouble spots makes sense, but not in others. If there are things that are really important to him, but while I disagree, they aren’t really a priority for me, then I avoid them. However, if it is important to both of us and I disagree, I think avoiding it can cause more problems, especially if it is causing other issues.

  5. I will have more later, but I’m always drawn to lists of vehicles… especially ones that ask me “what am I?”… if I choose from that list, I’m a truck. And, at least from my experience owning 1 pick up and driving at least 3 others, it’s not black and white. Trucks are family friendly (if you have a quad cab), and can be quite comfortable (the F350 (quad cab with extended bed) I drove for work a few times was a beast, but quite luxurious on the inside). So, I like to think of myself as a quad cab truck – comfy, family oriented, and workhorse. DH is a sedan…

    Combined, we lead a very boring middle class life with occasional bursts of fun (i.e. lets throw our gear in the back and head up the mountain for a weekend).

  6. No SUV as a car type? Functional, family oriented, but very image conscious.

    How does image-conscious work in a marriage? Are those the people who write Facebook posts to each other on their anniversary, like “8 years ago today I married the love of my life and my best friend, and each day I only love him more because he’s an awesome husband and wonderful father…”

  7. Milo, for some reason those types of FB updates usually annoy me to no end. :) Maybe another example would be a wife who likes to show off an expensive bauble her husband bought her.

  8. @Rhode — I have to admit, the Quattroporte was the first thing that sprang to mind, except that’s more like Cindy Crawford or Heidi Klum — they’re a little older, with kids, but they still look freaking gorgeous. :-)

    The only one I could find that met my criteria for driveability, space, and fun was this one: — but even that one was a lot more expensive than I was thinking (it’s hard to get a stick shift and four doors and power/fun)! The old Legacy GT is about as close as they come, but they’ve dropped the GT version and only offer the smaller engine with a stick, so pfffflttttt.

  9. How I would apply the analogy is don’t drive drunk; don’t drive mad. Most of the damaging things that are said that can never be fully unsaid, or done that can never be fully undone (for the Totebag demographic primarily casual infidelity, but physical abuse as well) are done while extremely mad/frustrated or when drinking to an unaccustomed level.

  10. lfb, I completely agree about the affection. And it applies to other aspects of other relationships. Consistent consideration and affection cannot be ignored.

  11. @ Milo, maybe image conscious in a marriage means you still get pulled together for date nights and don’t generally let yourself go just because you’re married (?). I think that’s the good kind of image conscious in a marriage, but I don’t really know.

    I, for one, had not heard about Jeep rereleasing the wagoner but now I am a little obsessed.

  12. Also not sure how the analogy would apply to an irresponsible totebagger who genuinely likes cars and would like to drive a different one every 3 years if she could for the sheer fun of it.

  13. “Are those the people who write Facebook posts to each other on their anniversary, like “8 years ago today I married the love of my life and my best friend, and each day I only love him more because he’s an awesome husband and wonderful father…”

    the anniversary notes don’t bother me, what irks me are the daily, weekly brags about how great their spouse is

  14. “Consistent consideration and affection cannot be ignored.”

    + 1

    Our marriage is boring, but wonderful. I view exciting as equaling drama. I don’t like drama. Our marriage is a Honda Accord.

  15. “drive a different one every 3 years if she could for the sheer fun of it.”

    I’m sure there are lots of people who would think this would be fun LOL

  16. DH is *definitely* not a ‘car guy’ and I am not particularly a car person either. But I agree with Meme and LfB.

  17. I like the Honda analogy for cars and spouses. Years and years of reliable service with very minimal cost and maintenance required. :)

    Kidding, kidding.

  18. LfB – ya… luxury + fun + sedan is a tough one… It’s the “ding” category that thwarts it all the time. Maybe a Lexus? (Though, if the interiors are similar to the Camrys because they have the same parents, then forget it).

    “How does image-conscious work in a marriage?”

    I think Milo’s on to something, but it’s also about the image within the family. There are families that work so hard to be perfect inside and out. Like issues are swept under the rug because they are “icky”. So people grow up not knowing anything about their families. And then the outward appearance (like you mentioned with FB posts) is the other half.

  19. What I always find interesting are the relationships where people think marriage/kids/vacations solve the relationship problems. I have a good friend who knew her husband for years, dated him for < 6 months, married him within 2 months and now has problems with him (they are married 11 months). She knew him as a friend, not a lover, and now wonders why they don't agree on a lot of things. She recognizes he won't change, but then complains that he doesn't change. And she's so unhappy. Now they are talking kids. Being me, I stuck my foot in my mouth and said "kids don't solve marriage problems." She readily agreed (phew), but still wants them. So I think her Catholic upbringing is charging through – marriage can be sh!t but I can have kids.

    She knows my road to motherhood, so I'm hoping she sees it as a cautionary tale…

  20. LfB – Know your partner’s “gas” +1 and COC – constant consideration and affection +1. This is a good reminder. Between some other family and financial issues, we have not focused on this as much as we have in the past.

    I think the FB posts are sometimes part of knowing your partner’s gas. It can be a more public “card” or “flowers”, especially for people who cannot receive those things at work where others can see it. For some their gas is that other people know their partner shows the consideration and affection without out them being the one to tell about it.

  21. One set of our grandparents had what we consider a pretty good marriage, and that’s what I aspire to. I don’t think they thought much about the things on the list and some (vacations, for example) weren’t part of the culture. At this point, my marriage reminds me of the Ben Franklin quote, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

    My friends and family have generally married and stayed married and when that didn’t happen, there were red flags (liking to party together does not mean you have compatible childrearing philosophies or views of money) even before the marriage took place.

    We’ll see what happens as our friends start entering the empty nest years- my parents said that is a big transition. And I think in the second half of a 50 year marriage, you think more about looking back on the family you’ve created together. I’m not sure how much research occurs on marriages in their second halves, assuming “till death do us part.”

  22. @Rhode — actually, the closest was the BMW 325xi, until they turned out to be the total dicks that I should have known they’d be — high $20Ks at the time, 4 doors, AWD, cute but not precious, with a stick and enough pep/handling to have some fun in the corners. Then again, I can be a jerk, too, so maybe it’s not as far off as I’d like to think it is. :-) I’d rather be the WRX, but it’s a little too tight for the size of my crew, so doesn’t get enough of the “family” focus.

  23. Sorry to jump in so early with a hijack, but I have a situation. My son has had some health problems that his regular doctor hasn’t been able to figure out. We are headed out to a specialist today. The specialist is in a major medical facility in a world class city. My family’s style /demeanor is generally country casual. Any suggestions on how to dress to be taken seriously?

  24. Anon – No clothes advice, but I hope you hear good news.

    Rhett – They have incredible skin and teeth. That picture looks delicately re-touched.

  25. I like reading a lot of boring stuff on FB, but I dislike the FB posts about spouse and kid birthdays, anniversaries etc.

    I think the car thing is sort of true, but cars change like people. I think about the reason that we knew our first Subaru sedan (BORING!) was perfect for street parking in the city, and an eventual move to the snowy burbs.

  26. @Anon — I am sorry you have to worry about how you dress; with everything else going on, that should be the least of your concerns, and they should damn well treat you with respect and patience and consideration regardless. But since it’s not a perfect world and this is bothering you, I would just be neat and conservative — khakis or dress pants, blouse or sweater or button-down, pumps or dressy boots or office-appropriate sandals.

    I think the bigger issue is how you present yourself — I think calm and polite but persistent and direct can speak volumes. The only thing that matters is that you get all of your questions answered before you leave. Don’t be afraid to be direct, especially if the doc is brusque or busy or distracted — always better to say directly, “I’m sorry, but I still need you to explain XXX” rather than let him/her blow you off. Personally, I would also write down the list of questions and take notes — I tend to freeze in high-stress situations like that and forget things I meant to ask and not take in all of the answers, so having things written down helps me both get through it and remember after.

  27. Milo,

    Thanks. At this point good news would be finding out what the problem is. Whatever it is.

  28. Anon, I would wear a nice pair of gabardine wool slacks, a light wool or cashmere sweater over an Oxford shirt, and pearl earrings, and pull my hair back. (If you’re the dad, I would skip the earrings ;) )

    Unless your kid is going to need a barium shake, in which case I recommend knee high galoshes and a waterproof trench coat. I got totally soaked in radioactive chocolate.

  29. Anon, dress as much like a lawyer as you can. But really, if you’re upper middle class, you probably look UMC no matter what you’re wearing (within limits). I drive people to the doctor who are very definitely not UMC. Bad skin, lumpy figures, hair skinned straight back into a limp ponytail, really old sweatshirts, etc., and they often complain that the doctor didn’t listen to them. Of course I’m not in the room so I don’t know.

  30. Anon, I hope your son gets the help you need.

    If you are polite to all of the people that you meet – especially the staff where you fill out forms, check in etc – I find that goes a long way because many people in major cities are often in a rush and can appear rude. As a native NYer, I am guilty of this when there are long wait times in these types of facilities, and I have to remind myself that I should be more patient.

    I am not sure which city, but hopefully most doctors and staff will look beyond any clothing or shoes that might identify you as a country mouse vs. a city mouse. I think that you are right to be concerned that some people might not look beyond the exterior appearance, but as long as you are dressed in clean clothes, and treat the staff with respect – I hope they will take you seriously.

  31. Anon: I hope the specialist is able to help with your son’s health issue. Been there, done that.

    We typically wear casual, but nice clothes to our doctor appointments–jeans with a nice top, casual skirt, etc. We don’t dress up, but we also don’t wear work out clothes. Our DS usually wears cargo shorts and t-shirts.

  32. Anon – First, I really don’t think it matters what you wear, it matters more that you are able to engage with the various people you will interact with. But, given your question, I would wear something comfortable, something that if your son is small you will still feel comfortable holding him, and something that makes you feel confident. You don’t want your clothing to be a distraction to your brain and your gut as you give and take in information and interact with your son.

    I think being “taken seriously” is more related to (1) having the information at your finger tips about your son and his symptoms, (2) knowing the chronology of the health issue including what has been done already, (3) any patterns you have seen in general or in response to treatment, (4) have your questions ready, (5) be prepared to write down information as sometimes is comes flying at you and (6) ask, before you leave – what is next or what should we expect to happen next.

  33. I recommend recording the specialist appointment, with the doctor’s permission, rather than trying to take notes. In my family, we find being able to listen again as needed (say, before the next appointment) and summarizing the recording to be very helpful in high stress medical situations.

  34. Anon, the specialist has probably seen patients from all walks of life, so how you dress shouldn’t be an issue. What will help ensure you are taken seriously is to have very thorough documentation of your son’s medical history and the current issues. What are the symtoms, when did they start, what have you tried, how did those treatments work, etc. Be as specific as you possibly can. “This happened in February, we tried this treatment, these were the results. In April this happened, and our dr. prescribed this medication, he took it for three weeks, this was the resuslts.” Etc. If you have it all typed out so you can give them a copy that’s even better.

    Be able to explain how the symptoms differ from his baseline. It’s hard to say what to cover without knowing what your son’s issue is, but for example, with my daugher’s headache problems, we had push really hard on how these headaches were different/worse than her occasional “normal” headaches.

  35. Rocky,

    I have a hard time looking MC, and DH has actually been mistaken for a homeless person. I have done my hair and makeup. I will find some earrings, find some clothes that are not a tshirt and jean capris. Find some actual shoes. I’ll get dressed up.

    One of the benefits of being one of the 1% is that I really don’t have to worry about what I wear, as long as I stay local.

    LfB, you are right, I will have my list of questions, and the appointment will not end until I get answers. I just have to get their attention, and get them to listen when I tell them that yes, we have been out of the country, into third world areas. Yes, I can read a medical journal, and I understand statistics.

  36. Anon: This might seem like basic advice, but get to know the nurse and front staff, if you intend to see this doctor regularly. They will be the ones that you call for the last minute appointment, for the questions about medication, etc.

    We have two specialists who’s staff really helped us during a very stressful and difficult time. We sent them a few dozen Crave cupcakes as a “thank you”. It meant the world to them, and of course they meant the world to us.

  37. Anon – I would wear some dress pants, a thin sweater and nice shoes. And more importantly, be organized, concise and direct. For complicated medical issues, I have put together short bulleted lists of the issues. When I went to see an MFM after my first disaster of a pregnancy, I put together a timeline that outlined the progression of issues. My doctor said it was very helpful so he didn’t have to piece everything together.

    But really, I think doctors are used to dealing with all different types and if you ask your questions, they will get answered.

  38. As others have said, take notes or record it. Write down questions as you think of them so you can make sure you ask them before you leave. Do not leave without having all your questions answered and make sure you are clear on what the follow up plans are.

  39. Thanks you all for your comments and support. This is truly a wonderful group.

    As I have been reading the comments, I realize that I need help translating the following into urban/doctor/not country mouse speak:

    “I know what young animals are supposed to look like. They are supposed to be jumping out of their skin with energy. If they are listless, it is a sign of major illness that needs to be addressed or the animal will die. My son is the same age as those young animals. He is listless and acts wrong. I don’t know what is wrong, but I sense something is. His blood work confuses his regular doctor. Although he has had health issues for years, he has gotten worse in the past year. We have been treating him with xyz, but have seen no improvement. I suspect his pre existing condition are either camoflaging or contributing to his condition now.”

    Any suggestions on how to translate that would be much appreciated.

  40. “Our marriage is boring, but wonderful. I view exciting as equaling drama. I don’t like drama. Our marriage is a Honda Accord.”

    I relate. We also actually own a Honda Accord, so that probably says something.

  41. Anon- I would put together a one sheet page with the following:

    Symptoms- description plus when they began, progressed
    Tests done, dates and results
    Other issues that are relevant/could be contributing/ masking the new issue
    Any medications he takes/dosage/when he started them

  42. Anon, it sounds like this may require ongoing care. You might ask the staff (nurse? receptionist? etc?) whether they have preferred local labs/scan facilities. Some labs have to have results faxed and some have them just show up in the electronic medical record. If your insurance covers both labs/scan facilities, you want to pick the option where communication is less likely to drop.

  43. How about: “My son is listless and lacks energy. His sleep habits are XXX. His eating habits are XXX. Here is a copy of his past blood work, which has shown abnormalities. He has been on XXX medication (bring the doseage) for XXX weeks with no improvement. We are trying to find the underlying cause of his lack of energy. Based on our research and travel history, here are some things that are possibilities. We’re interested to hear what you think. “

  44. Anon, you have something concrete to work with from the blood work, which is always helpful. With the behavior, be as specific as possible: what are the previous helath issues, in what ways has he gotten worse in the past year, if he’s listless, how much time does he spend lying around or such. You said he “acts wrong”, what specifically do you think is wrong about how he is acting? If he is missing school, how often is he unable to go? Is he missing activities that he really enjoys because of this, and if so, how often?

  45. @Anon — what is wrong with the way you just said it? Seems direct and clear. The only thing I might change is the “sense” something wrong. Some doctors can be dismissive of moms as overprotective and demanding unnecessary treatment. You don’t want to get pigeonholed into that category, so it would probably be helpful to list a few specific examples of things that you have observed that are different/worse over the past year.

    You don’t have to be a doctor, and you shouldn’t have to sound like one to be heard. It’s your job to relate what you hear and see and have done, and it’s the doc’s job to piece that together to get a diagnosis. So just focus on doing your part as clearly and factually as you can.

  46. Anon – any family history of similar symptoms ?
    Personally, I look up the doctor’s biography so I have some idea of their professional history and know where they lived etc.

  47. Anon: Don’t be afraid to change specialists. We changed pediatric neurologists after a few months–the first doctor was fine, and very responsive, but he was a generalist. However, our current doctor is a well known specialist in my son’s particular illness.

  48. Anon – I’m sorry that you are dealing with this. I like Houston’s take, and I definitely think more concrete examples of what you mean by lack of energy are going to be very helpful.

  49. Thanks for all your comments. I have to head out now, but everyone’s comments are very helpful.

  50. Anon, best wishes for getting the answers you need and a diagnosis! I echo the call for specific symptom descriptions and how they are different from baseline, as well as not leaving until you get the answers you need from the doctor. Good luck.

  51. Anon. I would NOT at an initial appointment indicate that you did some Internet research and wonder if he has x or y disease. Stick to history and symptoms. I would have several copies of a separate sheet with dates going as far back as you think relevant and locations of unusual travel to hand over when asked, without editorial comment, unless of course he was oddly sick for a few weeks shortly after you returned from say, Rwanda, four years ago.

  52. Thinking of this topic since I was just hit with a $1100 bill to replace/repair the exhaust parts on my 13-year old minivan. Seems like an apt metaphor for my marriage . . .

  53. On the topic of cars, all 3 out of town kids plus a girlfriend will be here this weekend for a grandparent’s 90 something birthday, staying with us in shifts. So some will use my fairly clean car, but any stragglers will have to ride with us in DH’s car, which is approaching 12 years old. I don’t believe that it had every had an interior cleaning, and certainly not an exterior wash for at least five years. So before I forced my kids to sit in his car, I took it in today to the expensive local detail place and paid for the whole nine yards package (the cloth seats really needed the deep steam, as well as the carpets). The Simonize was overkill on the dented exterior, but it cleaned up “real nice”. Sort of like DH in his tuxedo. (We are going to a fancy opera event in two weeks, so I’ll get to see that for myself soon.)

  54. I’m waiting for my mother to see a doctor, so I have a lot of time to research the percentage of cars/trucks/SUVs in USA. A lot of the data lumps trucks and SUVs together.
    It is a good thing that we have at least one sedan because my mother can not get in/out of my MDX or my brother’s Pilot due to a leg injury.

  55. Meme – My mom recently had the full interior and exterior done with her 13-year-old car, and was astounded at the improvement. I think she mentioned it in about three separate emails, which is a separate issue in itself :) .

  56. I totally agree with the boring but awesome marriage philosophy. I view my marriage as a refuge from the chaos of the world.

    Best wishes to Anon- I hope you get answers and hopefully nothing too scary.

  57. ^My pregnancy sickness never went away, though it improved somewhat. Then I was diagnosed with a totally unrelated and rare condition (my specialist has only seen it a few times ever and never in a pregnant woman) that has made this pregnancy high risk. I have a great medical team and a high likelihood of a good outcome for both of us, but it’s not something I expected to deal with. The stress and anxiety of all that has made the last couple months a difficult time for me. I just want this baby to be born healthy and then I’ll feel like I can stop worrying all the time. Though from other moms, I hear this is only the beginning. I think maybe I’ll take up yoga…

  58. I am sorry that you didn’t get the break that usually occurs in the second trimester. Your mom friends are correct – this is just the beginning. Most things turn out fine, but anything health related is important and I know you probably can’t relax until you see the baby.

  59. @Rio — and me (though less recently!). Really sorry about all of the extra stress — which IME tends to be made more difficult by all the well-wishers who seem to expect you to be happyhappyhappy all the time (or, conversely, who tell you it only gets worse). How much longer do you have to go? Sending really good thoughts your way.

  60. Yes LFB. You clearly “get it!” It’s hard being so anxious and probably looking crazy to everyone in what should be a happy time. But it’s upsetting to tell them just why I’m so worried, just how scary some of the statistics are and the amount of unknowns. And all the extra tests and ultrasounds lead to more opportunities for worry of course- when they run a million tests, they always find a few things that are “just a little off” which of course leads to more tests and worries. When you get hit with one rare condition, it’s easy for your brain to expect lightning to strike again. I’ve banned myself from googling anything pregnancy/medical related for these last few months. Thanks to all for the virtual support. I hope to hang out here more often- I need the distraction this place is so good at providing!

  61. ” It’s hard being so anxious and probably looking crazy to everyone in what should be a happy time. But it’s upsetting to tell them just why I’m so worried, just how scary some of the statistics are and the amount of unknowns.”
    One of the most healing things a friend said to me during a tough time in one of my pregnancies was “you don’t owe anyone an explanation.” So I throw that out to you just in case you are in that place. Praying for you and your baby.

  62. @HFN +1.

    And on the flip side, don’t feel like you can’t be honest with people you care about because you “should” be happy. When I had the M/Cs, people knew I had been pregnant, and so I couldn’t pretend nothing happened (which was what I wanted more than anything). But I was stunned by the number of people who came out of the woodwork to shower me with support and love and their own struggles. It helped me feel not nearly so alone.

  63. Rio, I don’t know how you’re handling this at work. I had very early pregnancy losses prior to the pregnancy that went 23 weeks, and I handled pregnancy by not telling anyone anything until I was showing around 25 weeks with my singleton pregnancies. After I delivered my first baby, one of my techs randomly noted that it looked like I’d lost about 10 lb. (Yup) As I recall, you are in a male-dominated field and where I work, pregnancy is an awkward topic.

    I think that it’s healthy to have support from friends and family but if that’s not your reality, it’s OK. For me, pregnancy is much harder than childrearing. I fail to bond with other moms because my attitude toward almost everything is, “That’s probably not worth worrying about.” Hopefully, you will also find childrearing easy compared to pregnancy.

  64. Rio – best wishes. I went through a ton of procedures and new diagnosis during my first pregnancy and it was really awful – could not vent to any of my friends (several were going through infertility struggles), etc. Hope that the rest of it is smooth sailing for you as much as possible.

  65. Rio- +1 to everything everyone said. My prayers are definitely with you.

    I can listen whenever you want to vent.

    I always told myself that whatever emotion i had is perfect for that moment. People mean well but they are dumb. Pregnancies go wrong. Things happen. It’s not sunshine and sparkles.

    FWIW So far parenting is far easier. He’s here. I can assess his condition without an ultrasound. And I really can’t relate with typical complaints. I try and fail. I have a very mean mantra I say inside my head when moms complain about ridiculous things. I try to be outwardly ‘aw I’m so sorry’ but inside I’m not. I’m a bitch.

  66. Rhode– Now I want to know the mantra.

    Anon– I hope you get some answers from the doctor for you son.

    Rio– Good luck! Lots of good advice here, but just thinking good thoughts. I had a very weird complication with my first pregnancy, and I remember well how nerve-wracking it all was. Hopefully all turns out well for you & baby Rio. If you snark in the corners of events and offices you will regularly find other women who love their kids, but didn’t feel happyhappyhappy being pregnant. There are a lot of us!

  67. Rio and Anon – I am sorry to hear about your situations; definitely saying a prayer for you and your families!

    Rhode – I remember my mom telling me some joke/story a while back. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but the gist of it was that a rough-around-the-edges southern girl had married a wealthy man, and when she was with society ladies her most frequent comment was “how nice.” Then one day she mentioned that her husband had sent her to a finishing school where they taught her how to say “how nice” every time she wanted to say “f*** you.”

  68. Rio and Anon, you are in my thoughts. Please keep us updated when you can.

    I also had one of those pregnancies that was not a happy time, and I just wanted everyone to ignore my condition until after I was able to deliver a baby. Of course many people, especially at work, wanted to talk about being pregnant and the joyful event to come. Ugh, not me, but I tried to smile and nod. I found that distraction/denial was an effective way to cope, and I’m glad the totebag can be a distraction.

  69. ‘Then one day she mentioned that her husband had sent her to a finishing school where they taught her how to say “how nice” every time she wanted to say “f*** you.”’

    Kinda like “bless your heart”.

  70. Rio – You are in my thoughts. My second pregnancy was high risk and all the extra visits and testing are stressful. I found it hard to decide what to and not to share. I had the “benefit” (sarcasm intended) of being “older” so I could pass a lot of it off as just being careful due to my “advanced maternal age”.

  71. Rob Gronkowski claims never to have touched a dime of his NFL salary and signing bonus (he probably hired people to give him an allowance). He started out with local endorsements and now has national ones, and I also have a feeling Gronk rarely has to pick up a check, since he provides a lot of instant entertainment. The Detroit wide receiver did not attend a college program noted for academics, had injuries and is now out of football, and his contract was $3.6 million total, not $36million, so he is a noteworthy example of financial prudence.

  72. Milo,

    That makes sense. $3.6 million after taxes and his agent maybe $2m? 3% of $2 million is $60k. If he has no other skills, that’s what he’ll have to live on.

  73. Rhett – I was thinking along the same lines. When one knee injury can end the gravy train…(but I don’t understand how the different contracts are guaranteed). The Redskins player has a $57M contract–does he get that even if he can’t play?

    ““You’ve got Chipotle and Potbelly in there,” he pointed out. “I mean, I don’t know what else you’d need.”

    ITA, as I type this finishing my Sausage Egg McMuffin.

  74. I think the rookie deals are all fairly standardized and fall in line based on where you are in the draft, and that once you’re through that deal, the amount guaranteed is a big part of what you negotiate for. So for ex I saw one website that says Kerrigan’s 2015 and 2016 salaries are fully guaranteed, which means that @ $23M is guaranteed, and the rest will depend on him staying healthy, staying on the roster, etc. From a second website discussing Russell Wilson’s new contract: “Wilson’s is a rare NFL contract with guaranteed money ($4.9 million, assuming he is on the roster) into the fourth year of his contract. Many veteran deals guarantee the first two years, some guarantee into the third but only a handful have any guaranteed money into the fourth year.”

    Yet another website suggested that for the rookie contract, only the signing bonus is guaranteed, and the rest depends on making/staying on the roster (which explains why players negotiate so hard for a bigger signing bonus, vs. just greed or wanting a big chunk of cash — especially in something like football, where your career can end on one play). Even Wilson’s new four-year “guarantee” still requires him to make the team.

    One thing I did learn from being a Russell Wilson fan is exactly how favorable the rookie deals are to the league — they are locked for 4 years and not even allowed to renegotiate until after the 3rd; OTOH, from the player’s perspective, only the signing bonus is guaranteed, and so one injury means you can lose all those big $$ you negotiated for. So for a guy like Wilson, who has been a lot more successful than his draft ranking would have suggested, he ended up seriously underpaid for what he achieved (the year they won the Superbowl,– against mega-millionaire Peyton Manning — he made under $1MM — including the league’s @$170K “performance-based pay” bonus! Of course, he’s making that up now — here’s the breakdown of current and past contracts:

  75. Is anyone else tracking Joaquin? It’s looking more and more likely we’ll see east coast landfall.

  76. Milo – I think that’s the low pressure system that’s hovering along the east coast. Joaquin is smack between that low pressure system and a high pressure system offshore.

    We got slammed with heavy rains overnight and into today. We need the rain. But I’m afraid we won’t dry out enough before Joaquin hits. More flooding! yay! Plus we have king high tides this week, so more nuisance flooding that usual.

  77. I try to be outwardly ‘aw I’m so sorry’ but inside I’m not. I’m a bitch

    To the extent possible, be gentle on the other mothers. I know that when I am sleep deprived and feeling overwhelmed, the most trivial and first-world-problem can seem like something to whine about. Your baby’s challenges perhaps may be more visible, but I’ve yet to meet someone in early motherhood who truly has it easy.

  78. Rio, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    We got no answers yesterday, which was disappointing because the specialists we saw were the ones with the potentially least scary answers. More tests to come later this week and next.

    At least we don’t have a hurricane to deal with.

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