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Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Minty pad Thai and a wife swap

I woke up craving this pad thai. Today I made it with mint and salmon instead of cilantro and shrimp. It was freshhhhh, but for some reason there wasn't enough sauce. Apologies for the lack of photo again -- I keep forgetting to recharge the camera batteries.

Last night we watched my second most favorite TV show, Wife Swap (yes, we don't have cable/satellite). For those of you with better things to do with your evenings, each episode features two extremely different families. The wives in each family trade places, spending the first couple of days living exactly as the other wife does. Then the wife changes the rules and the host family has to live her way. The experiment lasts for two weeks. They almost always learn something from each other, though rarely without a fight.

It's an interesting social experiment that provides us with an amazing portrait of American families. True, it's mostly the extremes, but it's fascinating to see how differently we all live. And I can't believe how many families are into role-playing. The season finale featured a family that lives in the Middle Ages and the season premiere featured a family of pirates (land-locked, actually).

The show always causes me to wonder who our wife swap would be. I imagine a large-ish family in a huge McMansion with several garages for their two, three, maybe four SUV's. The house would be cluttered with crap -- 20 shampoo bottles in each bathroom, giant home theater systems, unused exercise equipment, maybe a whole bedroom dedicated to a Victorian doll collection. The wife is ooey-gooey sweet.

The wife would enter our apartment, look around, and ask where the rest of the apartment is (badump bump!). Then she'd ask where we keep all our stuff. She'd open the refrigerator and cupboards, moan at all the vegetables, and ask where all the snacks and, you know, FOOD is. She'd not only have to shop at the Coop, she'd have to work my shift!

Then it would be time to change the rules. She'd make us quit the Coop and shop from Fresh Direct. She'd force Lane and Jasper to eat junk food, even (shudder) fast food. Then she'd make friends with all of our neighbors, throwing off the delicate balance of personal distance I like to maintain around here. They would all fall in love with her and I would suffer in comparison upon my return. Beeeochhh! She would also start nagging Lane about why we're unwilling to live in, say, Kensington or Bensonhurst, because we could get a much larger apartment there. She'd go to Pier One and buy a bunch of accent pillows, candles, and knick knacks to make our home more cozy.

Meanwhile I'd have to crawl like an ant into one of her monster cars and drive illegally (no driver's license) to go grocery shopping. At some point I would get lost in their house, and later I'd accidentally break one of the paper-thin doors just by leaning on it. The mess would drive me crazy. Everyone would tell me to lighten up, and by the way, what's with all the long, dark hairs I keep leaving all over the place. I would hate their food and then panic when I realize there is no alcohol allowed in the house (they have teenagers). The husband can hardly contain his hostility toward me, for I am much, much hotter than his wife is and it's driving him crazy.

Then I'd change the rules and make them eat organic, ethnic foods every night. Most of the kids would go on a hunger strike and complain that the kitchen always "smells weird" now. I'd make them clear out all their clutter and this would be painful, but ultimately rewarding -- better than the food thing. I'd force the Dad to read the New York Times every morning instead of watching Fox News.

At some point they would all confront me with burning broomsticks and pitchforks. I'm mean. I'm condescending. I'm not ooey gooey sweet like their mom. I accidentally flooded the Victorian dolls room though FOR THE RECORD, it's because I took an extra-long shower and how was I to know the shower leaks into the next room? And if they didn't want me to use the antique oven mitts great-great-grandma Eulalie crocheted why are they kept in the same cabinet as the other kitchen linens-- and couldn't someone have told me before I used them to move the pot of spaghetti sauce? They chase me to the 4th-floor fake turret window and the show's producers call the fire department just in time. I land safely in the rescue net after the teenage daughter pushes me out. Well, can't blame her. I'd just declared her idol, Gwen Stephani, a fashion toxic waste dump.

What's your wife swap episode?

10 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

OMG, I've wife swapped with myself.
Traded in career, singleness and urban living for unemployment, housewifery and South Texas. Only without the camera crew.

And before our cable was hooked up, I admit I watched a freakin' Wifeswap marathon.

liz said...

I love that show and every week wonder the extact same thing- what is my opposite (?).

I totally think when Jasper is old enough you should apply. It would be some hick family that eats fried food every day and weighs 400 lbs a piece and has no idea what art or literature is.

Co said...

Hmm... my wife swap might be with a suburban Massachusetts stay-at-home mom who has made it her activist duty to see that a gay-marriage ban is passed.

Actually, it's hard for me to think of a good wife swap. I'm so weird. My born-into-family is suburban, ethnic, devoutly Catholic and very conservative. I do okay in that environment. My married-into-family is urban, ethnic, Jewish, and as socialist left-of-center as you can get. I get along with them, too.

OH!!! I know. My wife swap would be with a mom who doesn't believe in disciplining her kids... ever! That'd drive me nuts. Or with a woman whose husband is in the Promise Keepers.

Janet M. Kincaid said...

Wait! Wait! You left out the best part of the ending, where you and Lane reunite in a puddle of tears and sobbing and "honey-you're-the-best-thing-that-ever-ever-happened-to-me-I-love-you-I-love-you-I-love-you..." Meanwhile, the McMansion mom will reunite with her hubby, punch him in the gut, and tell him, "don't you EVER do that to me again. EVER." Then she huddles with her teary kids and the husband spends the rest of his life in perpetual misery as the angry wife and kids gang up against him and never let him live down his wife swapping experience.

Seriously, though, to answer your original question, I'd probably end up swapping with the thing I'm trying to avoid most: some Molly Mormon, the-brethren-are-never-wrong, my-husband-makes-all-the-decisions-because-he's-got-the-priesthood, Laura Ashley wearing, make-your-own-wheat-bread and clothes wife whose kids all look and dress alike and who has big bangs. They'll have twenty kids with one on the way and the two oldest daughters will be married and pregnant themselves.... Oh Lord! Runnnnnnnnn!

Adriana Velez said...

Janet, the polygamists have taken over that big-bang, teen wedding territory. Or so I think. Maybe I'm out of touch because most of the Mormons I know live in large cities and don't identify with the Molly. Maybe Molly is still out there. Has anyone seen Molly lately? JaneAnne? Do tell!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I can comment on your blog again.

I am laughing so hard right now. I watched that show for the first time ever the other night.

My swap would have to be someone who has fake, teased blond hair, scrapbooks and makes crafts, talks like a (Utah) Valley Girl, eats out everyday, wears too much make-up and uses too much hairspray, and gets out of her pajamas before 3 pm. (Uh...no offense to Molly, right? We all know where she lives.)

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that you aren't such a bad wife after all.

janeannechovy said...

Where is Molly? Well, as near as I can tell, she's moved into a big new development in Riverton. All the adults in the neighborhood are under 40, and all the kids are under 13. All the houses look more or less the same (the new house colors aren't variations on beige and taupe any more, by the way--now it's more nutmeg and cinnamon), there are culdesacs and every driveway has a minivan AND an SUV.

As for my own swap, I could probably deal okay with Molly-ness--it's where I come from, after all, and I have the skillz even if I don't necessarily use them. And politically they'd have to be pretty rabid for me not to be able to deal (anything short of anti-abortion or anti-gay a la Fred Phelps protesting or outright white supremacy would be survivable, I think). I would have a problem if they wanted to eat all processed foods, I think, though even there we could probably find a compromise.

Love your swap account--so vivid! Would you ever consider doing it? I'm sad I missed the pirates--they're local, and yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate Day and everything.

liz said...

My swap would be someone who plans every hour of the day. Eats healthy (no candy) and home schools. That would ultimately be a nightmare for me.

She would also never have typos.

shaunamama said...

OMG...I can't stop laughing at this post. AV, you're freaking hysterical! I LOVE this one! I'm still laughing....
I'll have to think on my wife-swap.

Still laughing!

Adriana Velez said...

No, I'd never consider being on the show -- unless it were to foil the show by breaking all the rules (hmm, an interesting idea, actually).

Janet needs to be on the show, though. Can't you just see her on the polyg farm, throwing five babies in the dad's arms and saying "I'm going to work!" Poor Brenda, meanwhile, not knowing quite what to do with this calico-gowned gal who won't stop crying in her kitchen...Now, where to find some willing polygamists.