Monday, August 8, 2011


(Changing Horses, Sir Alfred J. Munnings, 1920, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg)

Four short weeks after our return from Canada, Bob and I hit the road again.

This time we head to Ohio to help Matt and Tara with their new house.

On the morning of our departure I wonder whether the Bobster has decided to invite Tess Tudhope to tag along.

That's like asking if the Eiffel tower is located in Paris, France.

Still, a girl can hope.

So when I walk out to the driveway to board the Malibu, I decide to see if Tess is clinging tightly to the windshield.

Hallelujah - she isn't there!

My heart races with joy as I open the passenger side door.

Suddenly, my eyes fall on Tess who is lying in the middle of the console waiting to be perched on the windshield.

I scream at Bob, "She's in there!"

"Of course, she's in there," Bob states emphatically, "She did a good job navigating us in Canada so she's going with us again."

I plop myself into the passenger seat and glare at Tess as Bob mounts the smarmy little vixen on the windshield.

"Here we go again," I say to myself dejectedly.

Then I decide to sulk.

I know perfectly well that sulking is an emotional artform best practiced by three year olds.

But at this particular moment, I don't care.

So I go ahead and start sulking.

Does Bob notice that I'm sulking?


Does Bob care that I'm sulking?

Get serious.

But so what?

Sulking is making me feel justified, superior and proud.

In other words, it's been worth every second I've put into it.

We drive.

And then we drive a lot more.

Bob is pleased with Tess's piloting performance.

He says stuff like this:

"Tess is working hard today."

(Tess is a petite pile of plastic parts. Among other things. She doesn't "work.")

"Tess is reliable."

(So are death and taxes. What's your point?)

"Tess adapts quickly if we decide to suddenly re-route her."

(Hey, I'm adaptable. I've survived living with you for 40 years!)

The Bobster and I arrive at our destination in record time.

Which is a good thing because we've got a ton of work to do.

We paint rooms, hang curtains and anchor pictures to the walls.

On the first night, we eat yummy barbecue with all the scrumptious sides.

The next night we cram our gullets with delicious delivery pizza.

We eat until the food is seeping from our eyeballs.

We hug the kids.

And kiss the grand-babies.

Then we hightail it out of there.

Tess manages to interrupt me just under 60 million times on the drive home.

'What IS it about this woman?" I ask Bob imploringly.

"She ALWAYS knows the exact second I am going to start speaking and she NEVER misses an opportunity to one-up me!"

Bob looks at me and says:

"Tess is a smart girl."

I am furious.

"No, she's not! She's a babbling idiot and I hate her disgusting digital guts!" I rant at him.

Bob the Annoyer decides this is the perfect time to laugh at me.

I decide it's the perfect time to tie him to a medieval torture rack and crank up the setting to "excruciating pain."

Before either one of us knows it, we've reached the outskirts of our home town.

Just in time for rush hour traffic.

Tess Tudhope comes alive.


Bob plunges his index finger into the middle of Tess's "torso."

I'm guessing that is a "yes."

Tess is in her element.

She's spewing directions left and right.

Bob follows every one of them.

Eventually, Tess says:


Bob says: "Nope. Not gonna do it."

For once, I'm stunned into total silence.

I've never once heard this man use the word "nope."

It's just not part of his tightly wound vocabulary.

And "not GONNA do it"?

I've never heard him use the loosey-goosey term "gonna" either.

"What do you mean - you're not gonna do it?" I ask incredulously.

"Exactly that," Bob explains, "Tess wants me to travel through the heaviest part of rush hour traffic because it's the shortest route. There's no way I'm going to do that."

"Could the honeymoon between Bob and Tess finally be over?" I cautiously ask myself.

For the next five minutes, Bob ignores each one of Tess Tudhope's definitive directions.

Instead, he steers the Malibu onto streets not recognized by the indomitable Miss Tess.

I can't believe what I'm seeing - let alone - hearing.

Tess is being dissed by the Bobster!

He's finally seeing that one trick pony for who she really is.

And it's about time.

Bob and I are rock solid.

A whole lot of heavy duty stuff has gone down in our 40 years of marital "bliss."

We've seen most everything.

And we've done most everything.


He knows it.

I know it.

So it's time for you, Tess Tudhope, to wake up and smell the hot chocolate.

Unstick your boxy little behind from my windshield and slink away, sister!

Because you, my sweet, are soooooooo gone.

Besides, I've got a few tricks up my own sleeve.

Girl, don't even ask!

Just take your pony and run.


  1. I personally believe sulking can be an art. But I think the human mind will always be better at logical thinking than electronics. It was logic that kicked Tess' advice out the window. Drive thru rush hour--- pah-lease!!

  2. You guys are too funny! I loved that you had a name for this petite pile of plastic parts.