Sunday, June 15, 2014

Morse code punches

[On Saturday morning, Laura often hints that she would like me to go out and get her a coffee from Starbucks. This despite the fact that she already has a homemade coffee in her hand. But I've learned not to toy with her...]

Laura: "You know what would be fun?"
Jack (playing dumb): "Um, I dunno, playing video games all day long...?"
Laura (giving me the evil eye): "You know what would be fun?"
Jack: "Hmm, I give up. Can you give me a hint?"
Laura makes hand gestures, acting out my part: driving to Starbucks, buying a coffee, and bringing it home.
Jack (still playing dumb): "I don't understand. Can you make it more clear?"
Laura (punching her fists in the air): "Come closer and I'll punch it out in Morse code!
   G-E-T  M-E  A  C-O-F-F-E-E!"

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Flag Football For 3rd-graders

[We were watching our 9-year-old son play back-to-back games of flag football with other 3rd-graders. If you've ever seen 9-year-olds playing flag football, you know that this is a sport that only parents would ever spectate.]

Jason: I'm out of water.
Laura: Have some of Dad's Dr. Pepper.
Jack: So you're actually letting Jason have caffeine now, eh?
Laura: Well, maybe that will make him play better. And, you know, there could be scouts watching...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If My Wife Interviewed Software Engineers

[It was a late night and I mentioned that I had to interview someone for Ooyala in the morning...]

Laura: I could do the interview for you. I'd be a good interviewer.
Jack: Yeah, what questions would you ask?
Laura: I would start out with, "How long have you owned a computer?"
Jack: Really?
Laura: It's relevant.  Then I would ask, "How fast can you type?"
Jack: You know what the penalty for being silly is? Tickling!
Laura: And then I would get out the calculator and we'd do some math.
Jack: (more tickling)
Laura (swatting Jack's hands): "I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 50. What is it?"
Jack: (more tickling).
Laura: And then if he got past all those questions I would ask, "If you could be any animal you wanted, which one would it be?"
Jack: (giving up) Oy, oy, oy.
Laura: Because, you know, if he said, "A bear" then you probably wouldn't want to work with him.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Extremely time-sensitive mail

[We were leaving the house to take the dog for a walk when Laura noticed there was a stack of mail in our mail slot. She picked it up and started to look through it. Our dog Chloe was straining on her leash.]

Jack: "Don't you want to wait until we get back to pick up the mail?"
Laura: "Yes, but I was just checking to see if there was any time-sensitive material."

Monday, March 03, 2014

A Mother's job is never easy

[Laura works hard as a Mom, carting kids around, dealing with tantrums, and making sure they get their homework done. One night after I left work early to help cart kids around, and then helped them with homework, Laura turned to look at me:]

Laura: "Want to trade jobs with me?"
Jack (thinking: if I say no, I might unintentionally denigrate her work, but if I say yes, she'll know I'm lying): "Um..."
Laura (waiting): "Yeah, I'd like to see how you spin this..."
Jack (thinking hard): "I could never fill your shoes, Dear."
Laura: "And he did it. Good answer."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spousal feedback

[At work, we sometimes do "peer reviews" where we give honest feedback to our peers about what they are doing well and what they could improve on. Laura had a typical reaction to this.]

Laura: Maybe you could "peer review" me ... but it better be positive ... or I'll punch you!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Colicky babies

Whenever our kids misbehave, they're "my kids". Sometimes, if Laura is feeling generous enough to not blame their behavior entirely on me, the conversation might go something like this:

Laura: "Where did we get these kids?"
Jack: "Well, I know where one of them came from. I was there in the delivery room when the baby came out."
Laura: "Yes, but you didn't actually watch it come out!"
Jack: "I didn't want to faint."
Laura: "So you have no proof!"
Jack: "But there's only one place it could have come from."
Laura: "What if the doctor pulled a baby out of his pocket?"
Jack: "Sure, that's plausible."
Laura: "You never know. They have to do something with those colicky babies!"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is that something sparkly?

Jack: Some people at work are calling me "Darth Veenstra" when I play Bridge with them.

Laura: Isn't "Darth" from "Star Wars"?

Jack: Yes, but they think I'm evil and powerful when it comes to cards because I can figure out what cards they are holding and sometimes I will taunt them when I know that a finesse will win or that they are squeezed and have to discard a good card.

Laura: But you can't really know what cards other people have, can you?

Jack: Yes, that's what makes Bridge such a great game. You can see half the deck at the beginning and you can make deductions from the cards they play and from the bidding.

Laura: Not all of us can remember all the cards that are played, you know.

Jack: I can't remember all the cards either, but I can usually remember more than the other players, so they think I'm a lot more dangerous than I am.

Laura: You know that game where a group of people take turns introducing themselves and they say one thing they like. Well, after a few people, I see something sparkly and I forget all their names!

Jack: Yeah, we all have a hard time remembering names.

Laura: Yes, but one thing you don't realize is that I secretly put your name on the back of all your shirts. So I can say, "Good morning....[cranes her neck to look behind me]...Jack. And you like...[looks behind me again]...dogs!"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Everything's a Competition

Laura: Hey Jack, guess what day it is tomorrow? .... My anniversary!
Jack: I know, it's mine too. (What a coincidence!)
Laura: But it's mostly mine.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My wife, "Knuckles"

[I forgot to return a call from Laura and after a while she called me back. I stepped out onto the balcony to talk to her.]

Laura: I can't believe you forgot to call me back!
Jack: Yeah, I'm sorry. But you know... I was, um, just reaching into my pocket to get my cell phone when you called.
Laura: You're such a fibber! You better watch it: you're on a balcony so it would be really easy for God to strike you with lightning!
Jack: Okay, maybe I thought of calling you just after my phone rang...
Laura: It's a good thing my nickname isn't "Knuckles" or you would be in for quite a beating!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I've got a finger for you...

[Laura showed Jack a generous Christmas check from her mom.]

Jack: That's really nice. Hmm, what can I buy with that?
Laura: It says, "For Laura's coffee habit."
Jack: No, I think it says, "For Jack's robot hands."
Laura: Ha, you don't even get a robot finger. But if you did, I can tell you what finger it would be!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Beatings, beatings

Brianna: Dad, can you butter my waffles please?
Dad: What? You know how to butter your waffles. You do it every morning.
Brianna: Yes, but you helped Jason with the microwave.
Dad: Ah, so you're jealous of me helping Jason...
Laura: Shall I beat on her?
Dad: Violence is not the answer to everything, Dear.
Laura: I'll beat on you next.

Friday, June 29, 2012

You should mean it when you lie to me

[I was sneaking out of bed early one morning because I couldn't sleep.]

Laura: Why are you getting up?
Jack: You're awake?
Laura: Yeah, why are you getting up so early?
Jack: I couldn't sleep, thinking about stuff.
Laura: Thinking about me?
Jack: Um, yeah. You, and chess puzzles, and work. (Not necessarily in that order.)
Laura: You sure know how to woo your wife.
Jack: I'm going to sneak downstairs now.
Laura: To write me a love note?
Jack: Um, yeah ... love note.
Laura: You know, you're no longer my favorite person in the room.
Jack: Why not, I answered correctly, didn't I?
Laura: Yes, but you should mean it when you lie to me.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


[Brianna nagging Laura to let her buy another song on iTunes.]

Laura: Just a second. You've got to be patient. You've done nothing but ... not be patient.
Jack: You put a lot of negatives in that sentence.
Laura: I wanted to make sure that she got it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"What would your mother say?"

Whenever Laura does not approve of something I do, she scolds me with "What would your mother say?".  Or she threatens me with, "I'm telling your mama!"  Or in some cases, both.

Me (weighing myself on the scale): Oh, that's not good.
Laura: What?
Me: I guess I should stop eating all those peanut M&M's at work...
Laura: Jackson! What would your mother say?!
Me: Probably something like, "You're going to share that bowl with your whole team, right?"
Laura: I'm telling your mama!