No good deed goes unpunished

My wife runs an in-home daycare.  When she’s sick, she doesnt’ get a day off, and she doesn’t get to take vacation days whenever she wants to.  Well, she was feeling a bit under the weather and asked if I could stay home from work to help her out.

She asked that either I watch the kids while she runs out for errands, or I go get the stuff for her.  From 11 years of marriage, I know this is a trap.  She really wants me to go out, but she just isn’t saying it. 

I ask “What would you prefer?”

“It doesn’t matter”, she responds.

After a pause, she says “Well it would be nice if you would go.”

Fine.  I was totally prepared for this answer; I just hate this game. I’m not sure if she really is being passive-aggressive, or if she’s just wishy-washy.  But this stuff happens all the time. 

I asked her to write me a list of what she needs, because I know how she is.  If I don’t the the absolute right thing in the right order, then I’m in the doghouse.

She writes down on a slip of paper:

Erin diapers (huggies overnight pull-ups 3t-4t)
Tea (flavored)

Well the first item is very specific.  Good.  The other two items can be interpreted in many different ways… and this is a trap.  I asked for clarification.

“Anti-histamine? ”  She says “Just get me something to deal with my itchy throat.”.  Ok, easy enough.

“Tea?”  She says “I dunno.  Something I can put honey in.”  Well, you can put honey in regular tea.  “Do you want peppermint, or Celestial Seasonings, or Lipton pre-brewed tea?”.  “Yeah, Celestial Seasonings would be great.  Some sort of fruit flavor.”

Ok, I have my specific list.  There’s no way this can go wrong.  It was nearly noon, so I asked if she would like if I picked up some McDonald’s (her favorite) on the way back.  “That would be great!  Thank you!”

So, I head over to Rite-Aid to pick up all these things.  I can’t go to the closest grocery store, because they don’t sell pharmaceuticals.  I find the Allergy and Cold aisle.  I look specifically for all the symptoms.  Some are for allergies AND cold AND fever.  So, I pick up generic Benadryl, because it says right on the box that it deals with itchy throats; just what my wife had asked for.

I pass by cough drops… and see some with a honey center.  Sue specifically asked for honey in her tea, so I figure she’d enjoy these Peach-flavored cough drops with a honey center.  Man, am I gonna get major Karma points…

I look for where a drug store might have Tea.  I see a sign that says “coffee”, so I look there, and lo and behold there is a selection of various herbal teas… and there’s even a “fruit sampler” pack of Celestial seasonings!  There’s no way I can get the flavor wrong… it’s a sampler pack!

I check out, head to McDonalds and get her favorite: A #2 combo meal (Quarter Pounder with cheese).

I rush home, eagerly awaiting the praise for being such a good husband. 

I know to put the Micky D’s bag outside while she puts the daycare kids somewhere.  Kids somehow feel entitled when they see a McDonald’s bag.  Sue had already fed them an hour ago, and we can’t afford to get takeout for every daycare kid all the time.

Sue says “Erin just got off the bus…”

This means that I should have had the forethought to at least get her a Happy Meal.

She looks at the contents of the Rite-Aid bag, takes out the Benadryl and has a frown on her face.  “Didn’t they have Tavist or something?  This will knock me out.”


Did you ASK for Tavist?  If you wanted Tavist, then you should have freaking ASKED for Tavist.  I even had the foretsight to get clarification on your generic effing list.

“Well, what do you want to do?” I asked.

“Just put the bag upstairs.”… so the kids don’t freak out “”I’ll eat in a minute.”

“This is why I wanted you to go, and this is why I asked for a list.   I can never get it right, and I can’t read your mind.”  So I retreat to my office so I don’t have to face the passive-aggressive silence and stare-down.

After about 30 minutes (the usual amount of brewing time before she finally re-opens the situation) she comes into my office and says “I’m going out.  Watch the kids.  You can feed Erin my lunch.”


Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.