Dear God, I'm tired.

Mainly lack of sleep, although part of the reason I couldn't sleep was that I was infuriated with... well, a lot of people, really, but mainly my wife.

It always starts with the little things. This time I came home from work, saw my wife with the girls in the kitchen, said hi, and decided to start emptying the dishwasher. And the wood-handled paring knife was in there. For about the twentieth time, even though I keep asking her not to put wood in the dishwasher because it eventually splits and ruins it. She has argued that since the wood kitchenware tends to soak in the sink before it's washed anyways, it's not being done any greater harm. Somehow, the idea of not letting them soak in the sink either hasn't occurred to her.

And since I was already frustrated and tired, I reprimanded her right there as I put it away with a strained "please," rather than waiting until our kids weren't around. The older girl pointed out that I shouldn't have assumed it was my wife who put it in there. (She was, but it's true I probably shouldn't have assumed it.)

My mood never got better. My new glasses were giving me grief all day, so I finally had her take me to the shop after dinner and found out that I'd been twisting the frames so much, I'd broken a screw and they'd have to order replacement frames. At least it was under warranty, but now I'm back to my contact lenses. I'm going to keep them. The economic advantages aren't worth the inconvenience.

The girls went to the youngest's band practice. I went grocery shopping, then back to pick them up. They always spend half an hour or longer after practice talking and socializing, which is fine and good, except that (a) I had frozen food melting in the trunk and (b) when they don't get to bed before 10 o'clock, they're impossible in the morning. So am I, but that wasn't my motivation.

After waiting for five minutes after the music stopped, I walked in and whispered, with no tension in my voice, to my wife that I hated to interrupt, but we needed to leave a bit earlier tonight because of the frozen groceries. I got cut off with a short "I know that, give us a minute!" I bit my tongue. She did not know that, and I certainly hadn't been pestering her about it, as her tone implied.

So I did what any other husband would do: I let it drop, went out to the car and stuck in some music while I waited another ten or fifteen minutes for them to come out. I'd brought a tape from home specially: Rusted Root's "Cruel Sun". A now-ex-girlfriend of mine had copied it for me years ago. On days like this, I find myself missing her. She and I had been completely incompatible as far as our major life goals were concerned (marriage, children, religion, etc.), but at least she and I had always enjoyed the same things and liked discussing each other's interests.

My wife, on the other hand, shares my major life goals but lacks all but one of my interests: ballroom dancing. And we haven't once had time to pursue that since we got married. So I took the tape out before any of them got into the car. I wasn't in the mood to be ridiculed for my taste in music on top of everything else.

She thinks I think she's a bad wife. I've never thought that, or said that. But I would like a little respect when I do things like ask her not to wash the wood-handled paring knife I bought before we were married in the dishwasher.

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