At long last, my wife Kara and I finally decided to take that momentous step that all of our parents took so many years ago, the one that’s going to alter our lives from here on out, binding us in an unbreakable, eternal bond to the thing that we have created together. Yes, we’ve combined our bank accounts.
We decided to say “I do (authorize this person as a joint owner of this account)” after going out to our favorite Mexican place for dinner recently. The food there is so good that if I was Scrooge McDuck, I’d fill up the silo in my backyard with their salsa and swim around in it all day long.
Kara gets the shrimp burrito every time, and I always get the Oaxacan tacos. As I found out from the waitress who laughed at my inaugural attempt to pronounce the word, Oaxacan is pronounced like wa-HOCK-en, which to me sounds less like a place in Mexico and more like a sound a ninja makes when kicking someone in the face.
When the check came at the end of the meal, we both pretended not to see it, like we do with our ferret’s accidents in the living room, because the first one to acknowledge it has to do something about it. Eventually, I pointed at the check and said, “The waiter did an accident on our table. Who’s going to clean it up?”
When it comes time to decide who’s paying for dinner, Kara and I raise our fists above the table and settle things like adults. Here’s what it sounds like when adults settle things: “One, two, three, shoot…Ha! Paper beats rock.” One-potato-two-potato-three-potato-four is how kids settle arguments; rock, paper, scissors appeals to our refined adult sensibilities. She manages to beat me about 80% of the time – either I’m telegraphing my moves or she’s poked a hole in my “always rock” strategy.
Of course, a married couple shouldn’t even need to discuss who pays for what; we’re all playing for the same team. So we decided to go ahead and mash all of our accounts together. This is likely to benefit me the most, as I could use assistance with my financial management skills.
“Would you quit leaving wadded-up dollar bills all over the house?” she says to me. “One of these days I’m going to collect them all and go buy a Sex and the City DVD set.”
“But my little piles of change need company,” I reply. Leaving random nests of money strewn about the house turns every day into an Easter egg hunt.
“Why are you such a slob? Just stop leaving money all over the house.”
“Hey, when we got married, how many people did we become?” I ask. This is my favorite card to play when we’re fighting, because it makes her responsible for anything stupid that I’ve done.
She sizes me up. “Two.”
I look hurt. “How many?”
“One,” she says.
“That’s better,” I reply.
Then she says, “One person with a clean half and a slobby half.”
And of course she’s right, but I’m not the only one in the house with money issues. As we were about to go to sleep the other night, I looked over to see our ferret on the floor, skillfully making both a chew toy and a scratching post out of Kara’s leather purse. She glanced over at him gnawing on it, then went back to reading her book.
“Doesn’t it bother you that Chopper is eating your purse?” I asked.
“No, not really. I don’t use that one anymore.”
I remembered standing beside my wife as she purchased that purse less than a year before, and shedding a single tear when I saw the total on the register. I shouldn’t have been concerned at the price, though; that purse matches Chopper’s coat perfectly.
You can wad Mike Todd up and leave him on your coffee table online at firstname.lastname@example.org.