“How can I help/hurt you?”


When you have a crumb on your face or a string on your shirt would you prefer your spouse to wipe it or pull it off or tell you it is there?  ODC doesn’t like either!  She reacts like I am the enemy when I am just trying to help her not look crazy.

Of course, OTC starts in the middle of the story. During a recent roadtrip, we had the opportunity to do something we don’t get to do much; talk for more than 15 minutes without being interrupted by one of our pesky adorabable children. During our conversation, he tells me that I have something on my mouth. Yes I was irritated, because as usual, when I checked, it was something that only someone with a microscope could see. We went on to discuss that I feel like his “help” is usually received as criticism by me. I owned the fact that I was probably the one with the issue, but it opened up the dialogue for us to define what “help” means to each one of us. We have an ongoing issue that occurs when I cook. OTC has a habit of coming in the kitchen, turning down my flame, or better yet stirring my pots!! THIS IS NOT HELP!!!! This says to me “You don’t know what you’re doing”. My attitude is fueled by this common question that is yelled down the stairs while I am cooking “What’s burning?!?!?!”. OTC….tell me, when I have every burned any food?

So I started in the middle of the story AGAIN HUH!  Funny how when I always ask ODB to start the story she never wants to but then wants to jump in because I don’t do it correctly(deep breath)…I am sure there are plenty of husbands that deal with that, but back to the story at hand.  The crumbs that my perfect beautiful wife had on her face were there.  She says that you needed a microscope to see the crumbs but she saw them and did not have one.  I sometimes feel like waiting until we are finally on the RED CARPET and allowing her to get out the car with three of those crumbs and a dot of mayo from the sandwich she just took a too BIG bite from…you know ODB…the sandwich you brought with you because you were running late and did not plan to EAT…I guess.  Yep, I feel like when this happens I am going to want to allow her to just walk around and take pictures so she can get on the People Top 10 list the next day…and this my friends, would not be the best wiped face list.  The funny thing about her bringing up the cooking is I just visited a couple only for them to tell me how much they learned from visiting our yearly brunch and seeing how pleasant I was in my cooking support of my wife.  They have similar issues to ODB, but both the husband and wife agreed I was a great helper.  ODB does not think my turning her flames down when the house is filled with smoke is helping.  She also doesn’t realize that when something is burning smoke rises so when I on the top level of the house I get worried.  Oh by the way there is a prerequisite for burning food…but I won’t go there until the next post.  Let’s just say I did not marry my wife for her cooking.

Thankfully I have history (almost 27 years) with OTC and I know that his paranoia with smoke has to do with the fact that he almost burned his house down cooking french fries when he was a teenager. The fire trucks even had to come to the house! I try to tolerate be sensitive to this, but sometimes I forget and I hurry up and turn on the exhaust fan on the stove :-). I”ll graciously ignore that prerequisite comment. I will not however, let the sandwich comment slide. I know that I have known OTC for more than half of my life, but NEWSFLASH… I did learn a few things before I met him. During this same roadtrip, I was told that I put too much food in my mouth when I eat. Was this helpful? Nope, obviously a criticism. I am 41 years old, and I think it’s a little too late for me to correct certain things. I will try to be mindful the next time I eat a sandwich, humph! *crosses arms*.

Ohhh, so you want to pull out the BIG GUNS!!  You were wrong for that and I should just hit delete on the entire post but I will be the good guy because I believe there are more people out there who view what I am doing as being helpful.

WELL AMERICA ‘in my Bernie Mac voice’ We created this blog to allow for some interaction.  The offdachainandouttadabox couple would like to hear from you.  When is help really help and when does it cross the line of criticism and how do you tell the difference?


About offdachainandouttadabox

We are a married couple of 2 with 4 beautiful, smart children, who after 15 years of marriage have decided to join the blog world with a blog that will allow us to present what may be considered to many to be offdachainandouttadabox as it pertains to the areas of marriage, parenting, finances and health & wellness. The offdachain husband will also, against the wishes of his wife, (hence off the chain) post on other subjects from time to time.

15 responses »

  1. So…. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! When I read this post, it was like deja vu (especially the part about pointing out crumbs on the face). That throws me into a tailspin… Lol! It’s so great to witness an honest and authentic conversation (not to mention hilarious) by two people who are committed to each other. And, it’s clear that you’re committed to learning more about yourselves and each other during the ride. The banter is hilarious and precious because anyone who’s married can see themselves in the conversation. Love it!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. My two cents: “Crumb face lady” perceives every comment as a criticism/personal attack because (like me) she is a highly sensitive Scorpio with her own (LOUD and constant) critical voice chattering at her to be “better, nee, perfect!” Any outside “noise” is just seen as further insult to what is already a tiresome mental burden, “and if you loved me, you wouldn’t try to change me. As a matter of fact, go lecture your children because I am a grown woman, and don’t need to be spoken to this way AND I don’t need you anyway!” (oops, I digressed.)
    “Flame man”, like other men, wants to save beloved undue stress and embarassment and, instead of fixing the sink/toilet/taking kids away for several hours so I can have a minute to myself!, focuses on what he can manage to resolve in two minutes of attention (ie remove crumbs from face and adjust cooking fire) because he is, basically a good guy who is worn out and dedicated to taking care of his family.
    Hubby and I have been together for 200, er, 12 long years, and I finally figured out how we tick. It’s not terribly complicated, and harmony reigns as long as we respect each other’s particular way of dealing with the world, and react accordingly. I’m the touchy-feely/artsy type, and he’s the pragmatic/responsible one. For example, I’ll want something to be prettier or easier to manage, and he’ll be thinking about the cost and effort to make it structurally sound. If I don’t get into a snit if he doesn’t (honey-)do what I want immediately, thank him for being conscientious and hardworking, I eventually get my way. If he fixes stuff around my house (the absolute biggest turnon) then he eventually “gets his way” too. heehee
    But seriously, over the years I’ve taught myself to be less sensitive to his perceived criticisms and to listen to his “advice” without contempt or without tuning him out completely. Plus, it helps now that I’m medicated (no lie). I’ve given up the idea that our marriage can be a democracy, one in which we equally share “power” and responsibility and have graciously accepted the fact that I am a married single mother, that my word is law, and that he is my loving and loyal serf.

  3. I was just introduced to your blog and I am loving it! Your love for each other is apparent and the banter back and forth is sooo real and humorous–for readers! Keep up the great conversations!

    My two cents on the point, and nothing more, is I feel for ODC. He appears to be genuine in wanting to help. Let’s take the crumbs on the face, I would want someone to tell me and save me further embarrassment. And I can’t think of another way to tell a person than to just say it outright. So my Vote: helpful

    I’m a little torn about the cooking situation because when I’m cooking I don’t want anyone in my kitchen and don’t touch my stove unless I tell you to. So I get that! BUT, if the house is always smoky when OTC cooks,that might be a sign of a problem. My hubby likes to cook things too fast because he’s impatient. If I don’t tell him his fire’s too high or sneak in the kitchen and turn it down myself we’ll be smoked out– Running around opening doors and windows for fresh air circulation! That’s not cool either! So since I do what ODC does my vote is: Helpful

  4. You two are hilarious! The geeks just solved our computer woes and now I’m able to read these ( access before was just through my droid). I’m looking forward to following your journey and commenting from time to time.
    Keep it up.
    Love to you both, mamajoan

    • MAMAJOAN!!!!! WE LOVE AND MISS YOU! It is great that we are able to share our journey with the world and have fun doing it. Please do stop by and bring Jim with you for some wisdom and remember to let everyone know that the husband IS ALWAYS RIGHT!!

  5. I feel for ODB! It’s that she wants to go out in public with crumbs on her face. It’s just that, when you mention it during the first sans kids conversation you’ve had in weeks, it feels like you’re not focused on the intimacy of the moment. The thing with the food is just plain annoying and if it’s that serious to you, you can be the family cook when you are home. Honestly. Further, I found it laughable that you included a comment from a guest at your annual brunch to support your position. Of course they learned a lot watching you when you had a house full of guests. You are on your best behavior!!! Totally doesn’t count. So while you are INTENDING to be helpful, OTC, you are not!
    But, I still got love for ya!

  6. OMG! When I read this, I said did my husband and I write this in the future. If he has a boogie in his nose, and I point it out, (because obviously I don’t want my husband walking around embarrassing himself with boogies in his nose) he’ll get it. Now, if he gets it, but doesn’t get it all, I will say its still there honey, and then he gets mad, and irritated!!!! WTH? (h stands for heck) I’m trying to help you OUT! I’m not the one with the boogies! In reading this blog I realize that this is apart of his own insecurities. . . am I correct? Help me understand why he gets so sensitive, and how I could better point out the crumbs on his face 😉

  7. Hello Danielle,

    What you and I have to realize is we have our own insecurities as well. What I mean is neither of us had the unfortunate task of raising these crazy spouses we have chosen to marry. So the reflection is actually on the parents of these crumb/boogie carrying spouses of ours. The route I have chosen to go now is just realize that I did not raise her and it doesn’t reflect on me or the family. Those are her issues. I will ask one favor of you. When your husband has his the most embarrassing moment of his life with one of those BOOGIES…will you please stop by and do a guest blog post for us.


  8. Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get one thing done.

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