I woke up in a perfectly fine mood the other day but the missus did not. Usually, I can work around that — offer to make her coffee; take care of all the morning routines (cats, laundry, vacuuming), and even take my normally-outgoing personality and dial it down a notch. This time, nothing would turn her frown upside down, although she might have displayed a slight smirk when she gave me a dope-slap for getting in her way in the kitchen.
I knew I was in trouble when she flat-out said, “I don’t find you funny today. Not one bit.” This was after I asked her if she needed some ibuprofen. I hastily retreated to the living room and turned on the TV. After a few minutes I heard banging and clattering and a cry of “Oh, shit… shit-shit-SHIT!” coming from the bathroom. I jumped up and ran over, asking if everything was alright. Without even turning toward me she said, “I wasn’t talking to you.” Taking the hint, I returned to the couch and tried to figure out if I was now in the “Law” or “Order” half of the program.
We were meeting our son for brunch and started our drive in silence. As we entered the highway I turned on the radio, tuning to the jazz station. Eight bars in and Wife clicked the radio off. Taking the hint, I decided against scat-singing “A Night In Tunisia” and entertained myself by counting in 5/4 time in my head for the rest of the trip.
Son walked up just as I parked the car. His mother greeted him warmly, with hugs and kisses. “Ah, she’s coming around,” I thought. We entered the restaurant and were quickly seated. Perusing the menu, Wife asked, “What did I order here last time?” I said it had been the potato pancakes. “No, that wasn’t it,” and she asked Son if he recalled. “Um, I’m pretty sure you had the potato pancakes, with a side of corned beef hash,” he replied. “Ah, yes!” she exclaimed. “That’s right — you’ve got a good memory!” Taking the hint, I vowed to recall all the salient details of a prior event when asked versus offering a quick but incomplete answer to the question posed.
Our food arrived swiftly, piping hot and delicious. As we ate, we caught up with the week’s events. Wife filled Son in on the details of an involved work story that I had already heard her recount several times during the week to various audiences, but listened attentively as she told the story again. Once she’d finished, I started to tell Son about an event at my job with numerous comedic elements to it; I got maybe ten seconds into my narrative when Wife got up from the table and said, “I’ve heard this already — I’m going to the ladies’ room.” Taking the hint, I quickly wrapped up so she wouldn’t be burdened with any tedium once she returned.
After brunch we dropped Son back at his place and drove home to kill a few hours before heading out for an afternoon engagement. Wife went into the bedroom, closing the door behind her. I poked my head in a few minutes later to find her stretched out on the bed and massaging her shoulder, which had been causing her some discomfort. I asked if she needed my help or if there was anything I could bring her. “No, I’ll be right out.” I left and closed the door behind me. An hour later, Wife emerged from the bedroom and asked why I had let her sleep so long. Taking the hint, I ordered a baby monitor so I can check remotely if she dozes during the day without prior notice and then gently awaken her.
We went to our friends’ party later that day. They live in a crowded neighborhood with parking at a premium, so I told Wife I was planning to take the first parking space I could find. I found a stretch of street with a few open spots several blocks from their house. I offered to drop Wife off at our friends’ place and then return to park the car, but she said she was fine with the walk if I wanted to leave the car there. We strolled over and had a lovely time at the party. After a few hours we were ready to go and started the walk back to the car. “How far IS it?” Wife inquired. “I thought it was closer than this.” I pointed to the car, another block away. She sighed, so I suggested she stop and I’d go the rest of the way and come back to pick her up. “No, no, no… I’ll just walk.” Taking the hint, I vowed to always provide valet-style service in the future so Wife would not have to waste any additional effort on getting to or from the car and could always arrive and depart any gathering at her freshest.
We stopped to pick up a few groceries on the way home and decided to have a bite to eat from the store’s expansive prepared foods section. We filled our plates with a variety of delicacies and found seats in the cafe. “What’s that?” Wife asked me several times, pointing to some of the foods I had chosen. I’d tell her and then offer a taste of whatever it was. “No — I have plenty of my own here.” I finished my meal and commented on how tasty it had been. “You didn’t save anything good for me?” Taking the hint, I decided to always fix an extra plate next time we go to a buffet-style setting, just in case Wife decides she wants to try something different.
After eating, we paid for our groceries and headed home. We changed into our comfy clothes and plopped in front of the TV. Knowing she’d had a stressful day, I encouraged Wife to switch to whatever program she wanted to watch. She took control of the remote and selected one of her favorite evening shows. Even though it was a rerun from a series I find intolerable, I watched along with her. After it ended she muted the set, looked at me, and said, “I’m sorry if I was kind of a bitch today. I just wasn’t feeling myself.” I asked if she was feeling better now and she answered in the affirmative. I leaned over to give her a hug and kiss, which she accepted warmly. Since it was now nearly bedtime, I looked at her with a smile and asked, “So, would you like to…?” and wiggled my eyebrows, Groucho-style. “Oh, GOD no!” she replied. “Are you kidding?”

I guess she can’t take a hint.