What Do You Do When You Make The Discovery You’ve Been Doing It All Wrong?


I left work a little early. The reemergence of my hacking cough was the catalyst for my early departure. I had forgotten my prescription medication when I left for work yesterday morning. Consequently, I came home early. The General (aka – my wife) was surprised to see me get home an hour and a half early.

One of the things that I immediately noticed when I saw her is that she looked different. Was it the hair? I asked if she got a haircut and without waiting for an answer affirmed that it looked nice. She replied, “I’m not sure about it looking nice. I haven’t fixed it, but I did get it cut today.” She looked different. Was it the hair? Was that it?

No, it wasn’t just the hair. There was something different about her persona. Did I mention that body language is an effective form of communication?

You know the drill. Well, if you’ve been married over two weeks, you know he drill. The husband gets home from work two hours late. He hasn’t called home to explain his whereabouts. Dinner is on the table, but it obviously has grown cold. The man’s wife is standing in the kitchen with her arms folded and her fists clinched. It is almost imperceptible, but there appears to be a hint of steam coming out of her ears. The man asks, “Are you mad?” The wife responds, “No, I’m not mad. Why do you ask?”

Well, of course she’s mad. She may verbalize one thing, but the message communicated through her body language contradicts what she has verbally expressed. More often than not, body language more accurately reflects thoughts and feelings than the words used to convey a message.

Did I mention the General doesn’t send mixed messages? If she’s happy and in a good mood, her jovial spirit will radiate through her words and her body language. There is never a disconnect between what you see and what your hear. In terms of communication, the General has it all together. She is in touch with her feelings, has justification for what she’s thinking, and always treats others (including me) with civility and respect.

So what was different about the General yesterday? I couldn’t quite capture the context, but her expression conveyed a calm, informative kind of countenance. I won’t describe it as a “Guess what I know that you don’t” persona, but she obviously had something up her sleeve.

She started the conversation by saying that she thinks one of the fish in the pond is close to death. She noticed him earlier. The alarm bells immediately went off in my head. It was painfully obvious that this was going to be my fault. If I hadn’t mentioned the fishpond in yesterday’s blog, we would not be having this conversation.

According to the General, the fish wasn’t moving and was vertical in the water. She thought it strange. I said I would go look. I’m not sure what kind of credentials one needs to officially declare a fish lifeless. I generally wait until they are floating on the surface of the water and scoop them out with a small shovel. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.

Next she asked a question. It began with, “Did you know…”. If you’ve been married for less than two weeks, you may not have figured this out yet. If you’ve been married for more than two weeks and haven’t figured this out, you are either developmentally delayed or in need of professional help. Just to ensure that we are all on a level playing field, the principle is this: “Any time one’s wife asks a question that begins with ‘Do you know…’, it really isn’t a question”. “Did you know” is a subtle nuisance best interpreted, “You don’t know, so I’m going to tell you.”

Frankly, I was amazed with where our conversation went. There was no mistake about it. That calm, informative kind of countenance had resurfaced. Her question wasn’t complicated, “Did you know that you are not supposed to feed the fish during the winter?”

If I had been thinking on my feet, I would have authoritatively responded in a scholarly manner, “The feeding cycle for fish is not tied to the season of the year. It is exclusively linked to the daily mandate you provide me when you tell me to feed the fish. I would never think to feed them without your gentle reminder.”   Unfortunately, I wasn’t that quick in my thought processes. She went on to explain that fish hibernate in the winter and all the fish food I’ve been spreading over the pond has exacerbated the presence on algae in the pond.

In case you missed it, that expression was code for, “The algae in the pond is all your fault.” Frankly, I think that is a “little fishy”, but I’ll accept the quilt. She went on to say there are better ways to manage the pond.

“Did you know…”? I was obviously down for the count and “did not know”. “Did you know you are supposed to check the pH level every day?” I opted to mimic a “deer in the headlight look” and didn’t respond to her question. I could have replied, “I know I’m supposed to check the pH level in the hot tub on a regular basis, but I’m taking the 5th on answering whether or not I do”.

When the General suggested I change out the current filtering system in our pond and replace it with a Bio-filter and UV light, it was apparent that her newfound knowledge is beyond my comprehension. I know what a UV light is. I have one in the hot tub. A kind man from San Antonio charges me $300 annually to come to our home and change it. That is a good enough reason for the fish pond not to have one.

The General then handed me some new reading material. It was a pond magazine that came in the mail yesterday. She obviously had read it cover-to-cover. As she placed it in my hands she said, “If you’ve got time to sit at the computer, you’ve got time to figure out this stuff”.

The General doesn’t always get it right either. My figuring it out has nothing to do with time. It has more to do with aptitude and the ability to process the information. Show me a You Tube video and I can figure it out. Give me a piece of paper with written instructions and it could go either way.

In the interim, I’ll simply share the story as my blog for today.

All My Best!



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