Herald and Journal, Sept. 11, 2000

Is that your final answer?


According to the title of a recent book, "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars." That may be true. I just know that there are times that Tom and I aren't even in the same universe.

Take the TV remote. Please. I'm sure I have mentioned my pet peeve before.

It's not just that Tom constantly channel surfs. He also changes the station immediately when he lands on something that he knows I will want to watch.

It really aggravates me. Especially when Regis Philbin is waiting for the nervous contestant to give his final answer. I want to see if my final answer is the correct one. But no, the flying finger hits the button and we are off to check out a movie that we have both seen 50 times.

I don't need to hang on every word that Philbin utters, but I do like to watch "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" when they get into the big money.

The planets collide when we work together, too. Part of the problem is that we have different standards. Tom has to do everything at breakneck speed. I'm not s-l-o-w, though I've been tarred with that brush often enough. I prefer to think of myself as deliberate. That has a much more flattering sound to it.

When we milk cows together, Tom tells me I get the wrong cows ready. I say he tells me the wrong cow numbers. I'm the milking assistant. I wipe the cows udders off before they are milked, and I teat dip them afterward. Tom tells me which cows he wants ready next. The problem is that my husband has a very creative numbering system.

Each of the 40 cows in our barn has a big card above her stall with her number and any pertinent information on it, such as when she had her last calf.

When I'm not sure which cow he is talking about, all I have to do is look around and find the number.

Ha. That's the tricky part. For some reason Tom likes to renumber the cows as he milks them.

There I stand, anticipating that number 54 will be the next cow to be gotten ready. I wait expectantly. Tom calls out, "Get number 51 ready."

Now I know number 51 is in a stall three-fourths of the way down to the far end of the barn. He can't mean her.

"Do you mean number 54?" I ask. "Of course I mean 54, that's what I said," he replies.

Not knowing when to quit, I walk over to number 54, tossing back over my shoulder, "No, you said number 51."

"You know what I mean," comes the retort. "51 is all the way down on the other end. Why would I tell you to get her ready?" My point, exactly.

At other times, Tom will call out the number of a cow that already has a machine on it. Through practice, I have learned that he means the cow standing next to her.

Sometimes, he renumbers 32 to 62 or 62 to 26. No amount of guess work on my part reveals what he means then.

As we move along through the herd, I find myself daydreaming. I imagine I hear Philbin say, "Okay, for $32,000, which cow do you think should be gotten ready next? Is it: A. The cow standing next to the cow with the machine on it; B. The cow that jumped over the moon; C. The cow that kicked over the lantern in Mrs. O' Leary's barn; or D. The last cow in the entire barn that you would ever imagine you were supposed to get ready."

I weigh my options, but I can't decide. "Gosh, Reg!" I exclaim, "I think I need to poll the audience.

Reg turns to the cows and says, "How about it, you bovine beauties, which cow do you think should be gotten ready next?" No reply, only some questioning looks over the shoulder, and a few plop, plops in the gutter.

The cows are unimpressed by Regis. "No help from the bossies, but you still have two more lifelines, 50-50 and phone a friend. Do you want to guess now, or use one of your lifelines?"

"Let's try 50-50, Regis," I reply. After two answers are taken away, my choices are: A. The cow standing next to the one with a machine on, or D. The last cow in the barn that you would ever imagine that you were supposed to get ready.

As usual, the 50-50 lifeline is no help. They have just narrowed it down to the only two choices that made any sense to begin with. Just like on the TV show.

Time is ticking by. The suspense is terrible. I wonder if I will ever make it out of the barn. Finally, I decide I must use my last lifeline. I will phone a friend.

"Hello, Domino's? Can you deliver a large pizza with the works on it at 7 o'clock tonight? I think milking is going to take a little longer than usual."

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