Otto and I enjoy a fairly egalitarian relationship, I think, which is mindfully arranged through cooperation, compromise, and the fact that we both really like each other and try hard to be helpful to one another rather than being lazy or assholes. I don’t see us ever writing a marriage guide, or anything (“Step 1: Don’t be an asshole. Step 2: Remember Step 1!”), but it seems to work pretty well for us.
Sure, I do the bulk of the cooking, but that’s because I’m home a lot more often than he is, and also because I really enjoy cooking—NOT because I’m female or because he can’t or won’t cook. (He does cook, just not as often as I do.) And yes, he seems to be chief bed-maker, and I’m not sure why, although it may possibly be related to me not giving a crap about whether or not the bed is made. Stuff like that. Also, Otto is in charge of Fixing All The Things because he’s good at it. And I am in charge of beating the children because it poses fewer legal issues. Etc.
And it used to be that when it came to things like arranging for a plumber to come or, say, getting the pool company to finish fixing the pool (STILL LEAKING, THANKS FOR ASKING), we would take turns handling these issues. But eventually we gave up and now Otto handles all of that, on account of my pretty little head can’t be bothered.
Oh, I know I’ve talked about this here, before. Any time we have any sort of “service professional” come to the house, they want to know if my husband is home. Because I’m just a girl! Busy baking pies! And if they need something, it’s not possible that I could assist them, because everything is up to my husband! I can’t be expected to KNOW THINGS, I am just here to cook, rear children, and be ornamental. (Uhhhh… possibly Otto should be looking for a refund. I’m pretty much only 1 for 3 at this point.)
Did I have encounters like this in New England? Occasionally, sure. But EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME, here in the south. Every time! There’s this weird deference to “the husband,” which makes me doubly glad I didn’t spend my single-mom years down here. I’m pretty sure I would’ve ended up in jail.
Anyway! Lo it came to pass that our home owners’ insurance price was jacked up for some reason or other (nothing we did, just a “yearly adjustment,” thanks, where they adjust something being shoved somewhere you really don’t want it, if you catch my drift), and Otto said to me one day, “Hey, I think it’s time to shop around for coverage again.”
“I agree,” I said. “Let me know how that goes.” This is NOT because he is male, but because I am lazy (just to clarify).
Otto commenced comparison shopping for insurance, which involved doing things like getting online quotes. This, of course, leads to VULTURES DESCENDING in the form of earnest phone calls to the house from insurance agents. In fairness, they call and ask to talk to Otto because Otto is the one who put in our information and his name; I have no problem with that. And really, I have no desire to deal with insurance agents, so when the calls started coming from Earnest J. Vulture of GiveUsYourBiz Insurance Company I was only too happy to say HANG ON, LET ME GET MY HUSBAND FOR YOU.
In the course of wading through this particular issue, one company gave Otto an online quote—which they then emailed to him, as well (this will be important in a minute)—before Earnest J. Vulture called. The online quote was fantastic, much cheaper than our current policy. Otto was so impressed with it, in fact, that he told me about the savings before the agent even called. But then Earnest called and lo, the numbers he quoted Otto were different.
At first, Otto thought perhaps he was confused. But the system had sent him a copy of that quote, you see, so he had it IN WRITING and so was able to shut Earnest down when he INSISTED that no, the numbers HE was giving Otto were correct, blah blah blah. Being a practical kind of guy, Otto was only too happy to forward the quote email to Earnest, who continued insisting that Otto had input something incorrectly (he had not) or something else had changed (it hadn’t).
It appears that GiveUsYourBiz Insurance Company—a giant, national corporation, by the way, not some tiny local place—is practicing a basic bait-and-switch where your online quote is super-low so that you give them your contact information, and then they have an agent call you to explain why that number wasn’t correct but you should give them your business, anyway. [Side note: Does that actually work? Like, ever? Because it just fills me with rage and I’m having trouble imagining the person who’s all, “Oh, you lied to us and it’s going to cost twice as much? Well… okay, then.”] Otto was unimpressed with Earnest and told him that we’d think about it and get back to him.
Well. The Earnest J. Vultures of the world are not so good at taking no for an answer, it turns out. Earnest called the house a couple of days ago while Otto was away at a conference, and he asked for Otto. “He’s not available,” I said. “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Oh, is this Mrs. Otto’slastname?” Earnest inquired.
“Sure, let’s go with that,” I replied, both somewhat amused and also, at that moment, in the middle of making dinner and corralling children and not really paying a lot of attention. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, ma’am,” began Earnest, “I’ve been speaking with Otto about your insurance needs, and I understand that he’s really trying hard to find the best possible price, but here at GiveUsYourBiz Insurance Company we’re MUCH more concerned with making sure that you have enough coverage for your family. You wouldn’t want yourself and your children to not be protected, am I right?”
“Uhhhh… okay?” At this point I was standing in the middle of the kitchen waiting to see where this was going to go. (Nowhere good, clearly.)
“Anyway, I was just hoping,” and here his tone became conspiratorial, “that perhaps you could talk some sense into him for me. You want to be protected, and that’s more important than cost.”
At this I actually laughed out loud. OH MY LANDS! PROTECT ME, OTTO! WITH YOUR MANLY MONIES! This did not seem to be the response Earnest was seeking, so eventually I stifled my giggling to a point where I was able to mutter something about how we’d let him know if we required his services.
He thanked me (though in truth, he sounded a little disgruntled) and we hung up.
I called Otto. “Hey Otto!” I began. “Did you know that PROTECTING ME is more important than any pesky concerns you have about MONEY!”
“Oooooooo… kaaaaayyyy…?” replied my ever-patient husband.
I filled him in on the conversation with Earnest J. Vulture. And you know, Otto is a slow-burn kind of guy. It takes a lot to make him mad. But apparently this phone call was the straw that broke Otto’s back. Much to my surprise, my husband began ranting about how tired he is of people treating me like I’m stupid and/or not an equal partner in our relationship. He may have suggested that this is why the south lost the Civil War, I’m not sure. And then he wrote a STRONGLY WORDED email to Earnest:
Mr. Vulture –
Please remove me from your contact lists – we no longer have any desire to work with you on sourcing insurance for either our home or autos.
I understand that, as someone not from Georgia, I probably need to just accept the 1860s-era condescension towards women – but I haven’t yet. [Some bragging about my relative self-sufficiency and career awesomeness here has been redacted because Otto is cute but this part made me laugh.] Trying to play on some suburban house wife fear of not being protected while I shopped for the lowest price insurance is beyond reprehensible.
I’m not going to lie; Otto is pretty sexy when he gets all riled up like this. I mean, I would’ve been okay with just losing Earnest’s phone number, but no, he was going to SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT with this dude.
Shortly thereafter, this response arrived:
I don’t recall a negative or derogatory conversation, and there was certainly no disrespect intended. My lovely wife was in my office and overheard me and she was surprised by your comments below. Just the same, welcome to Georgia.
Earnest J. Vulture
Um. Good to know that HIS wife wasn’t offended. (She probably thought he’d done a VERY GOOD JOB of protecting her and the rest of us silly girls from the big bad world, even.)
This made my brain hurt. Maybe if I bake a pie, I’ll feel better…?