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A typical fight in the Miller home

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: I have not had a working kitchen sink, dishwasher or garbage disposal for four days now.

It started when the garbage disposal seal sprung a leak. A tiny little leak. I said patch it. Bob said we needed a new garbage disposal.

A coworker told him garbage disposals are easy to install.

I said patch it.

He didn't. A plumber is expected at our house this morning. And Bob and I are not speaking to each other.

Technically, we're not speaking because of his shoes. How many women out there in Readerville are constantly tripping over their husbands' big clunky shoes?

Also, the ketchup-stained paper plate played a role.

Working a night shift, Bob doesn't usually get home until around 1:30 a.m. The first thing he does is come into the bedroom and kiss me on the cheek. Unless he forgets. In that case, he goes to the refrigerator, opens the door, then comes in to kiss me on the cheek.

Either way, he usually has a snack and usually leaves the remnants of said snack (such as a ketchup-stained paper plate) in the living room before going to bed.

Granted, he usually picks up those remnants the next morning. Unfortunately this morning, the plumber was due before Bob's usual 11 a.m. wakeup and I'd spent the evening before cleaning the house in expectation of his visit.

I woke up this morning to find three pairs of Bob's shoes in the living room and a paper plate (the ketchup-stained one) sitting on top of the computer. There were newspapers and an empty orange juice container tossed ON TOP of the trash bag, not inside.

After reading back over those last few paragraphs, I realize that the insolence of the whole situation somehow doesn't come through clearly when conveyed by written word only. Also, the part about kissing me on the cheek each night reminded me of how sweet my husband is.

So, honey, I forgive you for leaving your big clunky shoes out, for leaving ketchup-stained paper plates in the living room and for not knowing an air admittance valve from an air elimination vent (neither of which have anything to with a garbage disposal; I just liked the sound of them).

And next time, just patch it.

HE SAID: Callie makes many things sound simple.

Patch it?

A corroded garbage disposal?

I once tried patching a corroded pipe with a small piece of sheet metal and some JB Weld. Didn't work.

And the disposal was much worse off than Callie thought in her infinite plumbing wisdom. The small hole that she saw was really a rusted ring.

After getting said disposal removed, I had electrical problems when hooking up the new one. Problems that didn't make sense even to an electrician I called on the phone. Finally, I had to call in reinforcements, and Callie reminded me of my handyman defincies.

But let's talk about the shoes and the plate.

I've tried to be a good husband lately. I've done a load of laundry almost every day for the past two weeks. I make the bed (almost) daily. I've mulched the leaves and run numerous errands in addition to long hours at the office.

Because of the stupid disposal problem, I've had no time to do much of anything fun for the last three days. I have nine chapters of a fictional book written. I haven't touched it in two weeks.

This is not to say that Callie does nothing around the house, but don't let her fool you. She leaves just as much stuff out, if not more, than I do.

And because of her abundance of clothes (which we've mentioned in columns before) I have no space in our bedroom closet, so my shoes are stored to the living room closet. And Callie likes to put the vacuum cleaner on top of all my shoes, which is annoying beyond comprehension.

So when she was stomping around the house at 7:45 a.m. today, angrily flinging shoes into the closet, stuffing that blasted Hoover Elite back onto my shoes, complaining about my paper plate, I blew my top a little. She said she wasn't going to wait for the plumber. I told her that was fine, as long as she left the house.

But you know what? Our relationship doesn't smell like half-disposed food from the garbage disposal, although I must admit we get our wires crossed on occasion.

When you're in love with a cute and talented girl like Callie, the damage done is easily patched.

But we've definitely have to find a better place for that vacuum cleaner.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122


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