Peter, Coffee, House Rules, and Snoopy

Last week’s column generated some positive feedback, and I appreciate those who took the time to get in touch with me. As a writer, I want to inform people and let them know that they are not alone and that there are resources and opinions available to assist them in resolving the situation that they are dealing with. I will be doing more writing about toxic people, but this week I will write about something a little more pleasant, a bit easier to read.

I remember reading about an interview with Alex Trebek in which he said that “you” should take your job seriously, but you should never take yourself seriously. I have adopted that as one of my “rules of life”. I hope that the following example illustrates this.

The arrival of Betty in my life has made major changes. For example, instead of my drinking beer for breakfast, we now have coffee. Mrs Montreuil’s little boy demonstrates his formidable gourmet skills by brewing the “elixir of life”, or at least that’s the plan…..

One fine June morning I prepared the coffeemaker, filled the carafe and put it on the hot pad. Plugging in the machine, I pushed the “brew” button and stood back to watch the magic happen. Except that the magic didn’t happen. I began to punch various buttons, channelling my inner E. Power Biggs, trying to demonstrate my ability to make coffee in front of my love as she sat on the couch expectantly. Alas, my efforts to do so were coming up short, as the infernal machine sat in sullen silence on the counter. Keeping my temper in check, I fished out the manual from a dusty drawer and looked up the 1 800 helpline. I was able to get through, but got a recording which explained that due to the pandemic, wait times for an operator would be longer than normal.

Oh was I angry! I fulminated as I waited on the phone. Quietly I cursed the fates that had put me into this place. Over my shoulder I underscored how unacceptable this was, going to great lengths to let Betty know about my experience as a telephone enquiry clerk with the Canadian government, and how whoever answered my call would hear my quiet anger over the gross incompetence that apparently was the hallmark of their sad organization.

Betty came over to me and spoke quietly herself. My dear lady pointed out that while I HAD set the coffeemaker up, I had NOT put the water into the reservoir. Gross incompetence? Yes, but not at the other end of the telephone line.

Speaking of the telephone line, I was still waiting to speak to someone. As I had no desire to be used as a training exercise, I hung up posthaste. Thank goodness that I didn’t have to sound really stupid in front of some poor serf on the phone because of my own stupidity. It was bad enough looking stupid in front of Betty, but she laughed, and so did I……eventually  😉 .

Now I am going to write about some of the situations which we face, and how we deal with them. You might find this informative.

We are really enjoying our life together. London is a great place to live, and we are settling in nicely, looking forward to sitting on the balcony when the weather improves. We have 2 big screen TVs, one in the living room and the other in our bedroom. As tempting as it may be to sit in one room and watch the hockey game while Betty sits in the other and watches something different, we resist that particular lure. We don’t want to get into the position of living “separate lives while living together”. We don’t want to just be roommates. Besides, I can always look up the game online or even go full retro and buy a newspaper  😉 .

Likewise we endeavour to put our phones down for a while at least once a day, which time we use to be together, whether we talk or just sit and enjoy each other’s company. I have found that too often we will divert our attention from our companion to our phone to “just check one message”. The problem with that is that rather than paying attention to the one message that you set out to check, you get distracted by other “traffic” on your phone. That results in your companion being treated to a view of the top of your head as you “zone out” for 30 minutes or so. While it may be nice for those who have contacted you, it’s rude for your companion.

These are just a few things that we have found useful in our relationship, and maybe some of you will find them useful in yours.

Finishing off this week with an old friend revisited, after a fashion. While I am a plastic modeller and strive for accuracy in my projects, sometimes I have to go “beyond the pale”. So it was when I became aware of the re release of a model of “Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel”. Betty is a great fan of Snoopy, so I decided to buy one and build it for her. It is a rather crude “snap together” kit, but I am going to give it “the treatment”, and have started researching the subject. It will be accurately painted and marked and I will put it on display at Chez Montreuil with pride, my small token of love for my dear Snoopy fan. Now all it has to do is arrive.

See you soon


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