Each year, The Other Half and I take one vacation together and one apart. This, combined with our individual checking accounts, opposite work schedules and separate bathrooms, causes some observers to ask, "Do you really call this a marriage?"
Nine years, no emergency room visits. 'Nuff said.
We just got back from our annual joint vacation, this time to Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tenn. It was supposed to be to Boston, but we realized our vacation fund wouldn't cover Boston. A hundred dollars in Gatlinburg gets you a motel room, three square meals and a T-shirt reading "Git 'er Done," which are plentiful there. In Boston, it almost gets you a motel room.
Plus, we're trying to buy our apartment, which is going condo, and need to save money. Real estate prices in the Tampa Bay area are outlandish. The conversation with our potential mortgage broker was embarrassing.
"So you're a first-time homeowner," she said. "How much money will you have for the down payment?"
"We've saved $2,000," I replied proudly.
"OK ... so you'll be financing 100 percent," she said absently.
Anyway, I'm proud to report that The Other Half and I enjoyed ourselves and had only three fights all week, despite the stress over real estate and recent Florida weather patterns.
The first argument was as we attempted to leave our home and Hurricane Jeanne bore down on us. It made landfall at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 25 on the other side of Florida -- about the same time Mr. Half was getting home from work. The wind kicked up over here. We had about a half-hour to get ahead of the outer bands or we'd be stuck in Florida for another 24 hours until Jeanne passed.
I loaded the car with everything but him. But, upon arriving home, Mr. Half began a bizarre ritual of checking over the entire apartment. The theme of the ensuing fight was, "Would You Get In The Damn Car Before You Kill Us Both." It ended in Valdosta, Ga.
Argument two: Like much of America, my favorite artist right now is Kanye West. The man survived a near-fatal car accident and went on to become one of the most soulful artists out there. Apparently, this was wasted on The Other Half, who sneered when I put in his CD.
The theme of the fight was "Stop Crapping On My Music." I'll spare you the details.
And finally, there was the problem with hair accessories. I recently got an extremely short haircut. Much shorter than I anticipated. Some people might call it a bit masculine. To that end, I've been wearing more makeup and putting in floral clips and jeweled bobby pins so I'm not mistaken for a man.
To me, tossing these hair accessories in a plastic Claire's bag for the trip across Tennessee was suitable storage. To The Other Half, it is a sign I should be institutionalized immediately, because HOW WILL I EVER FIND ANYTHING? "You should get one of those organizers with the separate compartments and sort them by type," he said. "Even an ice tray could work for home."
The theme of the fight was, "Will You Please Get A Life."
Thank heavens I went back to work Tuesday.
Heidi Hall is a former managing editor of the Southeast Missourian who now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.