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Pride, criticism, general spousal quibbles

July 18, 2009

I don’t take criticism gracefully. Especially from people I admire and who I want to admire me. This makes my husband public enemy number one when he criticizes three things: my cooking, my writing and my general ignorance on certain topics. But let me say one more thing before you start clicking your tongue. My husband is not good at giving criticism. No one in his family is. But I can choose not to listen to them, I can’t hold my tongue when it comes to my husband…

The other day I made a potato salad that is popular here in Spain during the summer. I admit time and again to him and other Spanairds that I am still not an excellent Spanish cook. I can do many things, but make Spanish dished “the way mama makes them” is one of my specialties. Probably never will be. While making this dish I remembered that DH likes the potatoes cut in small pieces so I did that. Or so I thought. But after a tad stressful night of putting DD in bed, picking up after her, not being able to do many other things for fault of a dirty house, etc, DH comes out of the kitchen and says, “Don’t you remember me saying that you have to cut the potatoes in smaller pieces?”

As if I have purposely done this heinous crime in order to be able to laugh diabolically at him while he eats his potato salad with, gasp, large pieces of potato. I, a bit on the rude side, told him I must have forgotten. “Can you cut them smaller?”

I retorted, “You can.” To which he took insult. I then had to stand through a speech from him on how he “can’t criticize” any of my cooking without me getting crabby, he is only trying to help me, it is just a suggestion, don’t I want to know how he likes it so I can make it better, etc. To which I said in a stone cold voice, “Yes. I’m not crabby. You can cut the potatoes any which way you feel. In fact, you can blend them in the super-kitchen-machine thing if you feel so inclined. He huffed away muttering to himself about how crabby his wife was, geeeeeeeeeez.

Today we were flipping through channels and stopped on one where they had a math problem and if you figured it out you would win money. I saw at the end of the equation that there was a x0 and said, “It’s 0.”

To which my husband smirked (I am not known for my math knowledge) and said, “No. It’s 24. Why would you think it’s 0?” (Let me clarify that his tone of voice was rather condescending, but when I told him this later on in the squabble he said I was just making it up so as not to take all the blame for the fight.) I stood my ground and argued for the 0 answer, but had to back down when he explained that the equation is defined between the pluses and minuses and that the times and division only affect the number directly linked to it. I made a snippy comment that it wasn’t what I remembered from math, that I remembered everything rolling along in an equation unless wrapped with parenthesis. He smirked again and said, “You remember wrong. Do you want me to explain it again?”
That is when I retorted, “I’m not stupid, I understood you the first time you explained it, I’m only saying that it isn’t what I remember.”

“You’re pride is so ridiculous sometimes. It is so ridiculous that you won’t even let me teach you something that I know.”

“I understand what you said. I don’t need you to patronize me and explain it 3 times like I’m some child.” (MY DH likes to explain everything 3 times in 3 different ways. It can be pretty annoying when you have only had 5 hours of sleep.)

The squabble fell to silence. I tried to call a friend. She wasn’t home. I put in a load of laundry. Then tried to feed queenie. She sort of ate. Then DH came back to lay to rest the squabble before leaving me to take queenie to bed while he played two hours of paddle. No, I’m not jealous……or annoyed…..ahem, ahem, ahem.

The potato salad incident was resurrected. He said I need to learn to take criticism with a smile and not personally. This is know. I am working on. Believe me, I am much better, even if it seems like I am not. I told him he needs to learn to give criticism better. To which he rolled his eyes.

A good quote from Anne Lamott works here, “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth, you can point with it, too.” DH again rolled his eyes. Then went off to play and have a beer. But that grudge is for another post.

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