I've been happily married for 7 years, and the last 27 haven't been too bad as well, so after all that time, you'd think that I would learn the basic rules of a happy home life.
- Never come home drunk.
- Always agree with the Beloved.
- A kiss on the cheek can mollify.
- Always remember to put out the rubbish.
- Bring home 1 bunch of flowers per year. More than 1 indicates guilt, and she'll keep looking to find out the cause which is definitely NOT to be desired. Giving none at all indicates (to her) a lack of love and devotion, which leads to tears and midnight discussions on the quality of the relationship (and probably includes an analysis of her sex life),which is definitely not to be desired.
- Don't forget Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas or any other dates significant to the Beloved.
- Don't forget to follow the correct customs for each occasion.
- Don't come home late without letting the Beloved know in advance, even if the cause is earthquake, tsunami, riot, insurrection or nuclear war. These are NOT acceptable excuses. Neither are muggings, running out of petrol, getting a flat tyre, multiple pile-ups on a fog covered motorway or a colleagues leaving party. Surprisingly, being admitted to the local hospital for a suspected cardiac infarction was deemed OK.
I made a mistake.
A bad mistake.
A very bad mistake.
I really f*cked up.
I forgot number 7 above.
My Beloved is originally from Singapore, and even though she's spent the majority of her life living in Scotland or New Zealand, she tries to follow her cultural expectations. She gives Ang Pow (The traditional red packet of money) at birthdays and for special events, she makes the different foods for all of the Chinese holidays and special events (and she is magnificent cook) as well as following all the western traditions as well.
She makes a superb Christmas cake as well as an outstanding beef Rendang (a dryish curry). So I've got the best of both worlds.
I forgot number 7.
Last week we had just returned from our little break in Hawke's Bay(see Here, Here or Here) and the day after we returned, I noticed that writ large on the calendar for the next day were the words CHINESE NEW YEAR.
|It's the Year of the Dragon|
I had completely forgotten.
So being a bloke of initiative, and filled with the traditional Kiwi can-do, I fired up my trusty computer, started M$ Publisher and within ½ hour I had produced a pretty snazzy New Year Card, celebrating the Year of the Dragon. I even had a particularly nauseating verse, expressing my undying love, devotion and pension rights, in both English and Chinese scripts.
The next day as m'son and I sat down to the special New Year Eve meal, I detected a little unexpected frostiness from my Beloved.
|An Icy Wind|
Did the usual checks, fly, lipstick, fart odour but all seemed OK.
I had just finished a 2 hour "Clean The House Before New Year" session, but I didn't mind as my Beloved had been working away at the stove, producing some really mouthy-watering aromas.
As I pulled out my Beloved's chair, preparatory to her sitting down, she walked away from us, went into a sideboard and produced two packages, which she gave to m'son and I.
They were full of new clothes and each had an Ang Pow on top.
|If you don't know what FUBAR means, see here|
SHIT SHIT SHIT
I had completely forgotten about the custom of giving new clothes (or gold) at this time of the year.
I had remembered for the last 3 years (not bad eh? 3 out of 34 isn't too bad) but for some unknown reason (I may blame neurological deterioration caused by over-exposure to teenagers and Ringo) I had not connected the holiday and the custom in my poor overworked brain.
Even m'son looked a bit guilty, and it takes a lot for that too happen.
|Normal youth's expression|
|Youth showing guilt|
Then I forgot to put the Ang Pow under my pillow that evening. It's another traditional Chinese custom which I had completely forgotten, and so when my Beloved found the Ang Pow lying on top of my dirty socks, she was not amused in any way, seeing it as a direct insult on her culture, on all of her work and on her.
|Traditional Ang Pow|
Life has been a little strained over the last few days and although I detect a slight thawing of the frozen (almost bloody cryogenic) atmosphere, I suspect that it will be some time before normal warm relations resume.
Chinese New Year celebrations go on for two weeks, and I'm sure there's more traditions associated with their ending, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what they are.
Maybe I should ask my Beloved what they are?
What do you think.