Bad Habits (8/17/05)

Dear Zelda,

My husband likes to fish but I can't stand the smell of it. He goes out in the morning and comes back in the evening smelling of a rotten catch. Because he is so tired from his day's adventures, he falls asleep in his favorite chair, wakes after midnight, and hauls his stinky self to bed. I might as well be sleeping with a flounder. What do I do? I love the man but his hobby is driving me up river!

Help Me!

Sumpthins Fishy

Dear Sumpthins-

I'm with you sister! The only place I like to smell fish is in a sushi bar, on a soft, rolled bed of white rice, with a steaming bowl of Miso soup by its side and a small glass of sake to wash it all away. Other than that, keep it where it belongs...underwater.

Your angler is forgetting that the "great outdoors" is called that for a reason. How does a guy get sooooooo tired from rolling on a river that he can't send himself to the "cleaning station" before he gets loungy in the living room? "FILLET HIM!"... okay, not really, but air your concerns in a serious tone and ask the following: Should our bedroom smell like bad bass? Our living room like Ling Cod?

Reel him in and request the following BEFORE he drops anchor in his easy chair and starts counting trout. After arriving home from his "exhausting day of relaxation,” he is to disrobe in the garage or laundry room. Tell him you will even clean up the clothes for him - it might be a little annoying, but it shows you are willing to "help out." From there he needs to cast himself into the shower or bathtub for a quick rinse to scrub away "the one that didn't get away.” He can use the time to try and remember how he's going to re-tell the story over and over and over (ugh... I pity you). Make sure he knows that you appreciate the "fresh catch,” but only when it's about to hit the non-stick with a dash of oil and a squeeze of lemon. And let him know that the bedroom is a place for you and for him; fish sleep on the couch.

If things get desperate, and your hubby hangs on to his halibut-hugging habits, tell him you need his help in the matter to ensure that he does not become part of your future "catch and release program."

With the right bait (in this case firm resolve, mixed with some compassion and understanding)... you'll nab this one hook, line and stinker.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

My husband and I are newlyweds. However, I have a small problem and I'm hoping you'll have some suggestions. We both work at nine to five jobs and I cook dinner for us every night. When my husband gets home from work, the first thing he does is turn on the television, even before he asks about my day. When we eat dinner he leaves the news on and as soon as dinner is over he expects me to clean up while he returns to a big easy chair and the TV. I feel like "the honeymoon is over" and I'm not liking the reality of our new married relationship. Help, what should I do to bring a little romance back to our marriage?

Married to the television

Dear Married-

First of all, why are you the one stuck making the dinner every night AND cleaning it up… aren't relationships supposed to be 50/50? You may be right that the relationship needs an injection of some new romance, but the first thing it needs is a good dose of respect. Of course, congratulations are in order on the new nuptials; however, I'm sorry to hear that the groom is 42 inches wide and displays over 500 channels… I'm sure he looked a lot better in a tuxedo at the altar.

GRAB THAT REMOTE! This is your marriage... make sure it doesn't become just a mini-series! Everyone knows that "give and take" are the two stars of a more perfect union, and that means give and take between BOTH parties involved. If all he sees over his elbow macaroni is the evening news, turn it off and let him see you. It's easy to settle into a comfortable routine without realizing that you're both watching very different channels. You're newlyweds-this is the time that you find out all those little things that need fine-tuning, and then actually fine-tune them. Better to fix problems now than be quiet and become resentful over it for years to come. The honeymoon isn't over, it's just on a first-season hiatus.

Start with one simple rule: no TV dinners. That brief window between "time to eat" and "that was delicious" is all yours. This is your time to enjoy one another, talk about your days, and just share some peace and quiet. Do not compromise on this one; it's not too much to ask. He may love his “TV On Demand,” but he needs to listen to your "TV Off!” demand for at least an hour every night. And if you go out to eat, avoid those trendy movie houses where you can eat pizza, drink beer, and watch a movie. (What is this fascination we have with paying as little attention as possible to the company we keep or the meal we eat?) Unless he's sportin' VHF reception through his wedding band, try sitting outside, commercial free, breathing in fresh romance while breathing out bad reception.

The viewers have spoken...you don't belong on the "People's Court" just yet, and your marriage may turn out to be a "Lifetime Original."

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

For Christmas I bought my wife a cute little chocolate colored cocker spaniel puppy. She adores and spoils the puppy, Hershey, but the puppy has started chewing on my shoes. He doesn't touch hers. Do you have any advice on how to discourage this chewing, and do you think perhaps he's chewing on my shoes and not hers for a reason?

Chewed Out

Dear Chewed Out-

I can think of a couple of reasons why your carnivorous canine might be exclusively sabotaging your snacky sneakers. One reason may be that he intuitively understands the value of your wife's amazing taste in fabulous footwear, and the enormous cost to replace them (no munching on her Manolos!). A second reason may be, dare I say it, that your shoes produce more music to Hershey's nose, and that he is honing in on the Eau-de-Pied that your sneakers have in spades? Or third, the real reason, which is in fact... there is no specific reason.

According to research, we dogs do not chew out of anger, jealousy or spite. Our desire to nibble is the result of boredom, frustration, or anxiety. When left in a room full of "tasty tid-bites" everything and anything can become a big red bullseye (especially shoes that sit there sticking out their tongues, smelling so sweet, and begging to be played with). It's important in the first stages of training to initiate toy-to-teeth training instead of teeth-to-everything-else training, to ensure minimal damage to precious clothes, furniture, and chachkis. Just like little babies, these furry furniture foes need something to knaw on to ease the trials of teething. So make sure Hershey has plenty of toys! He's a chewer and he'll chew on anything. If you happen to catch him in the senseless act of puncturing your penny loafers, biting your boots, or nibbling your Nikes, give him a firm scolding and follow up by placing one of his toys in his mouth with praise and encouragement. Positive re-inforcement of the "good toys" is mandatory. If Hershey still keeps on targeting your tennis shoes despite all this, you might try spraying them with one of the many products designed specifically to keep dogs from chewing.

And lastly, if you plan on leaving for any extended periods of time... put things away. Our anxiety, frustration, and boredom levels tend to go up during these times. A good rule is..."Out of site, out of mouth."

Try a few of those ideas on for size.

Zelda