Nothing is certain in politics, but it sure looks like the November battle will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The opposing campaigns are already debating the debates, outlining the rules that will govern the first TV match-up in October.  I looked up the rules and I wish Mary Ellen and I had been given some similar guidelines 35 years ago when we tied the knot.




(Direct from the presidential debate standards of conduct.)



My wife and I are about the same height, so in dress shoes she towers over me, giving her an unfair psychological advantage when we argue. No wonder I never win. Presidential history is pretty clear: the taller person usually prevails. For a few years when Mary Ellen and I had a minor disagreement, I’d put on a pair of high heels.  Mary Ellen commented that it was really weird, but she always added: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”


Perfect. That’s the way Mary Ellen and I argue now.

“Is that any way to make a bed?”

“Is that what you call a pot roast?”

“Where does all our money go?”

“You don’t think you’re playing golf today, do you?”



I’m not sure I agree with this one. It’s much more effective with Mary Ellen if I wave a few Macy’s bills in front of her face while I complain that we’re not sticking to the budget. On the other hand, if my wife ever finds those dry cleaning receipts for my Wrangler jeans, it will come back to haunt me.


I’d pick Seth. The other people in our neighborhood seem to like my wife better than me, but Seth always borrows my snow blower, so if we have an early snowfall I’m in luck.


Advantage: Mary Ellen. My wife’s bathroom has a full-length mirror, a built-in hair dryer, a spa tub, a stall shower and a walk-in closet. At least, I think so. I’ve never been allowed in there. My bathroom is pretty much a toilet and a shower. Now, for Donald and Hillary, there must be an equal playing field. One needs a good mirror and lighting in order to fix hair and makeup. Hillary deserves similar facilities.


How am I supposed to know if I’m making a good point if there aren’t lots of people clapping? After 35 years of marriage I still have no objective way to assess my performance. After the debate, Clinton and Trump can ask their spouses who won the debate. Somehow that hasn’t worked for me.


Even in a contentious presidential discussion, the candidates are instructed to show respect by ending the debate with a handshake. After a little spat, Mary Ellen and I still do what we did when we first got married. Hillary and Donald, take a lesson from the Wolfsies… and give each other a high five.


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It’s a Saturday morning in April. Spring is in the air. But so is snow. And it’s on the ground. And I’m wondering about my dandelions. Will this untimely last blast of winter compromise these loyal harbingers of warm weather that have never failed to rear their ugly little heads?

In truth, they are really not that unappealing to the eye, but we have labeled them weeds, and so they must be eliminated or we bear the scorn of our neighbors—even risk a note from the homeowners’ association. In my cul de sac, we call it the Yellow Alert.

I used to have a theory that there was no need to put down a weed preventative because everyone else in my neighborhood performs the pre-emergent ritual. I figured there was no chance for my lawn to become taken over. I mean, where would the nasty seeds come from? My theory, of course, was tragically flawed—though I am unclear why—and by April every year the yellow dandelion blooms are poking up out of the ground, taunting me to respond to their infestation.

I go out with my trustworthy weeder, carefully slide the device under the root system, and pop the whole pesky plant out of the ground. I am ashamed to admit this, but I enjoy the process. Annihilating an evil is liberating, especially when the enemy has spread in total defiance.  By the way, I refuse to spray Roundup on the offender. You would never see Arnold Schwarzenegger squirt the enemy.

 Here’s what drives me crazy: after I extract every single dandelion on a typical morning, I go into the house, read the paper and have breakfast. Two hours later, there they are again, sunbathing on our front yard.

Where did they come from? How did they get there? There is no evidence of my possessing a green thumb anywhere else. Last year I reseeded a small area on the side of the house where the grass had died. I watered and fertilized. The patch was in full sun, the perfect conditions for the sprouting of new turf. Nothing happened. Bare as a baby’s…you get the point. But on my driveway a perfect dandelion sprouted in a crack in the concrete.

I am perplexed by the dandelion’s ability to magically reappear, so I am obsessed with seeing one pop up and bloom before my very eyes. And that’s why I stare intently through the front door window, hoping to see the actual blossoming of this ubiquitous intruder. This made Mary Ellen very suspicious, so I stopped using the binoculars.

Maybe the dandelions know I am watching and they wait for a lapse in my attention.  Perhaps I am not very observant.  My son, for example, went from 21 inches at birth to 70 inches in 16 years. I never saw him budge.

I still plan to keep an eye on my front lawn. Uh oh, it looks like I have to mow the grass again. Funny, I never saw that coming, either.


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