Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Too Much Is Never Enough

JV: What do you live with Tim?

Tim: I live with my husband who I have renamed ‘too much is never enough.’

JV: Mmhmm.

Tim: I won’t give you the rest of his name because he works at the ABC and he might hear us.

JV: Oh okay! What area of the ABC might he work in Tim?

Tim: Part of the television department.

JV: Part of the television department...okay...Go on, what does this husband do?

Tim: He thinks a small amount of something is good so therefore a large amount of the same thing is always going to be that much better. So the front loading washing machine is always in suds lock because he always puts in a lot of soap.

JV: Mm.

Tim: A small dinner party for four people will always become a dinner party for eight adults and six children.

JV: So he’ll just keep on inviting people? You’ve had in your mind ‘this will be a lovely intimate occasion and a chance for us to get to know Eric and Dave,’ and suddenly there’s 15 people there.

Tim: That’s right, and the Camparis that we serve to start off have always got too much Campari in them and not enough blood orange so everyone’s drunk before we even start eating.

JV: Right, right.

Tim: And a three course dinner becomes and eight course dinner, you know.

JV: Wow. So excessive in everything?

Tim: Everything!

JV: Mm...and how have you tried to deal with this?

Tim: Well I’ve given him the name ‘too much is never enough.’ And...That’s pretty much all you can do now.

JV: So your only reaction to this is a bit of a nickname?

Tim: Well, I used to pull him up on things and ask why but I long ago gave up trying to change him.

JV: How long have you been together?

Tim: Thirteen years.

JV: So I imagine, in the first year or two, you’d think it was specific. You put too many suds in the washing machine. You put too much Campari in the cocktails. When did you realise he put too much into everything?

Tim: It’s been a gradual realisation over a period of time but it really dawned on me maybe five years ago. I thought ‘this is just a universal behaviour.’

JV: Yeah that’s what I mean because I would imagine at first you’d go ‘don’t put so many suds in the washing machine.’ You’d be trying to deal with the specific issue. Was that what happened?

Tim: Pretty much. It sort of started with one thing and then it was another thing and know...he mows the lawn every week, and if two tomato bushes are going to produce enough beautiful tomatoes then we’ll have 25 tomato bushes in the garden.

JV: So everything!


JV: Everything is bigger and bigger. Wow!

Tim: It’s hilarious! You have to laugh.

JV: Well, are you laughing about it Tim?

Tim: (in a high voice) I am.

JV: A little bit hysterically. Does he think of you as stingy?

Tim: (laughs)

JV: Is the flip side ‘that’d be Tim, he doesn’t know how to have fun, Mr keep it to himself,’?

Tim: Yeah ‘the fun police’ is what he calls me. Because I only have two pairs of shoes going at any one point in time and he’ll have about 24.

JV: So have you ever tried to talk to him about the fact that this is across all areas? ‘You have a character flaw my friend, you do everything to excess.’

Tim: Yes. It’s become a joke now amongst all of our friends as well. It’s a very endearing quality that he’s so enthusiastic about everything that... yeah... everything. I’ve come to embrace it as a particular character trait which is more endearing than it is annoying.

JV: Yeah. Well Producer Laura has reminded us of the Oscar Wilde quote: ‘Moderation is fatal, nothing succeeds like excess.’

Tim: Well he’s extremely successful.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our Door's Always Open

JV: What do you live with?

Maureen: I live with a husband who has a severe aversion to closing doors.

JV: Really?

Maureen: He will not close any door, ever.

JV: Now is this just doors to rooms or cupboard doors?

Maureen: This is all doors. His normal routine after work would be to come in, park the car and leave the car door open, or leave the car door open, or if the car door does close, leave the window down. Then he opens the fly screen which remains open and the front door remains open. Then he’ll go to the bedroom to the wardrobe and get out clothes and leave the wardrobe open. You can walk around the house and know everywhere he’s been because the pantry will be open, the wardrobe door will be open. Everything is just left open.

JV: So he goes out the back door to water the pot plants...

Maureen: ...leaves it open. Just does not ever close a door.

JV: Right. How long have you been together?

Maureen: We’ve just had our 20th wedding anniversary and we were together 6 years before that.

JV: And in that time has the leaving the door open become worse?

Maureen: Oh it’s just always been the same. He’s never, ever, closed the door. We talked about it early in the marriage. It used to really drive me insane and now it still drives me insane. But he thinks I’m insane, he can’t see an issue with it whatsoever.

JV: (laughs)

Maureen: He thinks he’s doing me a favour, like I don’t need to open the wardrobe door or the pantry door now.

JV: So he could call in and say ‘I live with this woman who thinks it’s mad that I leave the car door open,’?

Maureen: Exactly. He thinks I’m totally insane because it really upsets me that the doors are left open.

JV: But leaving the car door open, I mean, that might leave the light on which drains the battery..

Maureen: Well quite often the key will still be in the ignition with the radio playing. When you walk out at 11 o’clock at night, the door’s open, the key’s in the ignition and the radio’s playing.

JV: oh!

Maureen: Yep. Quite often.

JV: So, I mean there’s issues beyond whether it’s just kind of ‘I’m a bit casual about it, it doesn’t really matter.’

Maureen: Even in August the heater’s on in the house but no, the door’s wide open.

JV: So all the heat escapes.

Maureen: Yes, yes. The freezing southerly blows in the lounge room.

JV: Is the car parked on the street, or is it a garage?

Maureen: No, no, it’s in the driveway.

JV: So therefore anybody could walk in while the car’s open?

Maureen: Of course...they could drive away, or walk into the house. Yep.

JV: What about when he leaves? Does he leave the front door open when he leaves?

Maureen: Yes, of course.

JV: So leaves in the morning and leaves the front door open?

Maureen: Yep. Leaves the front door open. We’re all in bed.

JV: And what about when he gets to work, say, does he leave the doors open there as well?

Maureen: Quite possibly. I’m not quite sure what he does when he gets to work. Quite possibly. I would find it hard to believe that he closes them. I think maybe as a child he was locked behind a door. There may have been an issue.

JV: You’ve thought about whether there’s psychological scarring.

Maureen: I have. I have because I personally like the wardrobe door shut. I can’t go to sleep without it. As a child I used to think there were things in the wardrobe so I need to have it shut to go to sleep. Maybe he’s the opposite. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it.

JV: Sometimes it’s good to look for family traits in these things. Are there brothers or sisters?

Maureen: He’s got an identical twin and I’m pretty sure he’s very similar.

JV: That’s interesting isn’t it?

Maureen: Yes, yes.

JV: Now would you be able to raise this, this evening?

Maureen: I could.

JV: And what sort of reception would you expect to get?

Maureen: He’ll just shake his head and look at me like I’m insane and what’s the issue. He won’t see it as being a problem. He just thinks it’s all me.

JV: What does he do for a living?

Maureen: He’s in air conditioning. (laughs)

JV: That’s almost perfect too isn’t it?

Maureen: An air conditioning mechanic.

JV: Do you think when he’s out there servicing he says ‘now don’t forget to shut the door when you’ve got the air conditioning going in this room,’?

Maureen: Maybe that’s the reason why the house isn’t cooling or heating.

JV: Thank you Maureen. Good luck and thank you for joining us. Now, one of the things I love about this is, of course Maureen has this issue, and now feels better having talked about it. We’re now trying to get some mediation happening in the house. But also, other people may have the same problem. Denise?

Denise: Yes James?

JV: You’re not alone Denise.

Denise: Oh God, James it drives me absolutely insane!

JV: Now my son is 13 years old and has listened to your segment while in the car and he said to me ‘you need to ring James. We’ve got the same problem mum.’ You’ve got the same problem. So, the 13 year old has recognised the problem in the father.

Denise: Correct, and it drives the 13 year old insane as well. Just as it drives me insane.

JV: Any other children?

Denise: No, there’s just the three of us and the dogs, and the cats, and the goats, and the alpacas. And he leaves gates open!

JV: Leaves gates open?

Denise: Gates open! So stock goes wandering.

JV: You’ve got animals so therefore he really should know better. That’s endangering the animals and others.

Denise: Correct. It drives me insane and, when I get home from work, if he beats me home I can see where he’s been all day.

JV: Well this what was Maureen was saying.

Denise: I can track his movements.

JV: And is he at home all day?

Denise: No, no, he comes in and out but if he beats me home I can tell where he’s been and what time he’s been home because the other annoying thing he does is he leaves all the cupboard doors open. So you know if he’s made a cup of tea or he’s been to the pantry...and then the dog gets in the pantry so I get dog biscuits on the floor. And another annoying thing he does is he makes a cup of tea and he leaves the teaspoon on the bench and he never puts it away. I can always tell that he’s made a cup of tea.

JV: Oh...that’s just...really...I mean appalling behaviour.

Denise: Appalling!

JV: You know. Apparently a civilised man and yet he leaves the teaspoon on the bench.

Denise: Yes. Yes. I’m just glad I’m not alone.

JV: You’re not alone Denise. Have you tried to talk to him about it?

Denise: I gave up! Gave up years ago.

JV: What know I said to Maureen would you try and talk about it tonight, would you do the same?

Denise: Oh, I gave up. I think I’ve been married three years longer than Maureen and I’ve given up but maybe the thirteen year old – I’ll tell him when I pick him up from school – he’ll be so happy that I’ve spoken to you James.

JV: Tell the thirteen year old – he’s probably technologically savvy – tell him to record the conversation with his dad. Ah, Linda has written in and said James could you give me the contact details of Maureen? I think she’s having an affair with my husband. There could not be two guys that leave everything open: car doors, front door, every cupboard and drawer. Well that now makes three guys. Three guys that do this as standard. Janet’s got a solution. Janet, how are you today?

Janet: Well actually I think I’m married to Denise’s husband. It’s a little disquieting.

JV: Yeah well Linda think she’s married to Maureen’s husband or Maureen’s having an affair with her husband.

Janet: Well it’s obviously a common affliction.

JV: You would know, I think, if there was an affair going on because they’d leave the door of the lover’s house open.

Janet: Well it couldn’t happen behind closed doors.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Car Cabin Is Not A Democracy

JV: What do you live with Jason?

Jason: Um I just... sometimes I get in the car...well, all the time I get in the car and I know where I’m going but my wife seems to think she knows a better way to go. When, in fact, being a Sydneysider and her a Melbournite, I figure I’ve got one up on her. It doesn’t matter where we’re going. I’ve been driving around this fair city for the better part of 35 years now and it’s just hilarious. Even when we’re going the same way to the same place, as we often do travelling around with kids, ‘why you going this way?’ ‘Why you going this way?’ ‘Why don’t you go that way?’

JV: Right.

Jason: ‘This is the worst way to go. It’s the slowest way to go.’

JV: How long has she been here Jason?

Jason: Not long enough clearly.

JV: Not long enough...and does she drive around much?

Jason: Ah yes as much as I do, if not more, but I’ve gotten to the stage now where I just laugh. I say ‘enjoy the ride honey, don’t worry we’ll get there.’

JV: Yeah, look I think I’ve lived with something similar over the years and my approach has been...look, I’d like to say that I’ve pulled the car over and said ‘okay you drive then,’ but I haven’t quite got that far. I’ve more or less hinted at that.

Jason: I think you need to take my approach mate and just smile and keep going, y’know, enjoy the ride.

JV: Well I’ve got to the point of going ‘you know what? How about we just never have this discussion again?’

Jason: That won’t work. I put it to you, that that will not work.

JV: (Laughs) Well I tried to get to a rule that the driver will determine these things – you know – the route choice, whether we’re changing lanes or not, that sort of stuff – and the passenger will have no input into these things whatsoever.

Jason: You’re assuming that the cabin of the car is a democracy.

JV: No, no, I’m actually pointing out that you’ve got to decide these things at some point because otherwise you go nuts. See mine would do the ‘why don’t you change lanes? That lane’s empty,’ and you go ‘well, I’m driving the car.’

Jason: But that would take a rational conversation.

JV: (laughs) Yeah Jason, I can see there’s an issue here.

Jason: I’ve put some work into it, don’t you worry. I’m not getting anywhere so now I just laugh. I smile and I laugh.

JV: Yeah, yeah.

Jason: I figure that’s the best approach to a lot of things these days.
JV: No, very good Jason you’re settling into marriage well. I think it’s going very well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Case of the Invisible Boat

JV: Chris, what do you live with?

Chris: Well I have a husband and he’s lovely but he keeps buying toys for his boat.

JV: Uhuh.

Chris: The one he doesn’t actually own yet.

JV: He doesn’t have a boat?

Chris: No, he doesn’t have a boat...but we have skis, and we have floating toys, and we have a biscuit, and other things that you put behind a boat and tow along. We just don’t have the boat.

JV: Have you suggested that if he stopped buying the toys he might have enough money to buy the boat?

Chris: I think I have, in fact, resorted to that.

JV: Right. That would seem like the first port of call.

Chris: Yeah it would, it would. But he’s waiting for the boat. The toys are waiting for the boat.

JV: Does he have a particular boat in mind? Obviously something with power because you can tow things and all that sort of stuff.

Chris: Absolutely he does. It belongs to somebody else at the moment.

JV: Oh okay, and does he reckon he’s going to be able to buy it soon enough?

Chris: Well he’s hoping to. He keeps driving past it and going ‘there’s my boat.’

JV: Right, right.

Chris: Of course he has to get through the financial controller for that.

JV: Okay, which is you?

Chris: Yes.

JV: Yeah, and is that moment going to come soon when he might get through the financial controller?

Chris: He has to do a bit more work I’d say.

JV: A little more work! (laughs)

Chris: A little more work.

JV: That is odd. So does he think buying the toys is a way of going ‘come on, I’m serious, I want the boat,’?

Chris: You know what? I think so and I think he’s actually getting the children on side too.

JV: Ah yeah.

Chris: Because these children...the toys have been attached to said boat at some point in time with the children on top of them so they could all gang up on me. 
JV:  That's interesting thank you Chris. Lots of responses coming through on the text service here. Cam’s suggesting ‘I think he owns it already.’ Interesting. He’s already bought the boat...Hmm. Carl says ‘at the risk of breaking the man code, the pre-approval purchase is common practice. Like the bloke I know whose wife said after 2 weeks, “why has the four wheel drive been coming home with you a lot recently?”’ (laughs) He's bought it Chris!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Used To Be The Cat

JV: What do you live with Glen?

Glen: It’s my wife. She talks to our cat which is...okay a lot of people talk to their animals, but on the rare occasions in our happy household that there’s a bit of anger perhaps directed at me or one of the children, it could be mid-sentence copping a serve and the cat will walk in and the mood just changes and it’s (puts on happy tone) ‘how are you going today?’ Very happy.

JV: (laughs)

Glen: It’s like the cat can do no wrong and I often wonder what I need to do.

JV: To be more like the cat?

Glen: To be more like the cat, yeah.

JV: Well maybe you should eat out of a bowl on the floor or something?

Glen: Perhaps. And just sleep all day and come in when I want to be fed.

JV: Start doing a bit more of that. Y’know roll over. ‘Rub my tummy.’

Glen: Yeah and then I get a bit crook and get taken off to the vet.

JV: So she talks to the cat. Does she have conversations with the cat?

Glen: Like a human.

JV: Like it’s a human.

Glen: Yep. Yep, basically. I’m only making this call because I know she’s not listening. As I say, myself or one of the kids could have done something wrong...

JV: ‘Glen I asked you to do that earlier why haven’t you done it?’

Glen: Yeah exactly, and then the cat walks in and it's all ‘Oh hello big boy, here you are, what have you been doing today? How’s it been sleeping for 18 of the last 24 hours?’

JV: You’re jealous of the cat.

Glen: Probably, yeah. But...maybe I used to be the cat.

JV: Oh?

Glen: Well yeah held in as high esteem as the cat.

JV: Gee that’s interesting.

Glen: It doesn’t bring any money into the house and it doesn’t do anything around the house as best I can see. Just eats and sleep.

JV: And gets the most favoured treatment.

Glen: Yeah.

JV: Are you in the dog house often so that she has to talk to the cat like that?

Glen: Well yeah I’ve got a habit of saying the wrong thing a fair bit but 19 plus years and we’re still going. You’ve just got to do your best James. Sometimes that’s good enough and sometimes it’s not.

JV: How long’s the cat been around?

Glen: He’s 10.

JV: Could be a few more years of the cat.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doggy Bag

JV: What do you live with Francis?

Francis: I live with the most annoying husband who, whenever we go for dinner, we’ve got to come home with something that has meat in it – a little bit wrapped up in a serviette – for an overweight jack russel.

JV: (laughs)

Francis: It could be a burger. It could be a bit of ham out of your sandwich or a little bit of chicken off my dinner. The jack russel waits at the laundry door.

JV: So it’s literally a doggy bag

Francis: A doggy bag for a dog, but it has to go into my handbag.

JV: And it’s every single time you go out?

Francis: Every time. It’s embarrassing.

JV: So, you’re at friends’ for dinner...

Francis: Yes?

JV: What will he do?

Francis: ‘Oh can I just take a little bit home for Lou-Lou?’

JV: (laughs)

Francis: And we’ve got to the stage where we carry little zip lock bags.

JV: Oh you’ve got little zip lock bags ready to go? Wow.

Francis: And the kids say ‘Dad, don’t do that’ but no, Lou-lou’s got to have it.

JV: Lou-Lou’s got to have a little bit...and so, you’re saying Lou-Lou knows when you’ve gone out that there’ll be a little meaty treat?

Francis: Definitely! She’s waiting at the laundry door. And it can’t be a big bit. It’s got to be a little bit and he breaks it all up for her.

JV: Oh, that’s lovely really isn’t it?

Francis: Oh she’s a great big, fat, spoilt, jack russel.

JV: A fat jack russel. So it’s like a little barrel?

Francis: It is a barrel. It’s got the tiniest little head and a big round body.

JV: Yeah...I get the feeling you don’t like Lou-Lou that much Francis.

Francis: I love Lou-lou. She doesn’t need all these itty bitty bits all the time.

JV: So is it these itty bitty bits, these post dinner treats that have stacked the weight on Lou-lou?

Francis: Definitely. She will be in bed – my husband’s bed – he will go up to the kitchen and have his breakfast, and he’ll come down with ‘oh just a few’ and he’ll have a handful of meaty bites.

JV: Handful of meaty bites just for Lou-Lou.

Francis: Just for Lou-lou.

JV: Does he realise he’s killing her with kindness?

Francis: I keep telling him that. He took it into the vet because it had lumps on its legs...

JV: Mm.

Francis:...and he came out and said ‘oh there’s nothing wrong, apparently when they put on weight they put these lumps on their legs.’

JV: Right, yeah that’s an interesting way of putting it, isn’t it? Rather than, for example, ‘she’s got to lose some weight.’

Francis: Yes.

JV: Can I point out we’re talking about a dog here, if you’re just joining in.

Francis: Lou- Lou Leigh.

JV: Lou-lou the over-pampered jack russel.

Francis: Yes.

JV: What about fine dining? If you’re out at a lovely restaurant for your anniversary?

Francis: Oh yeah, it’ll be wrapped up in a serviette and in my handbag.

JV: Mm. So he’ll say to the waiter ‘excuse me can you just put this...and there it’s awkward because it’s probably not enough to suggest that you’re taking it home as take away, it’s just a little bit.

Francis: Well I get worried that they think we’re taking it home to test it and see if it’s alright.

JV: Yes.

Francis: So it gets secreted in my handbag. 

JV: So would he just pick it up off the plate?

Francis: He’ll take it off the plate

JV: Nice.

Francis: He’ll get his salad sandwich and he’s always got to have a bit of ham in it. It might be the tiniest piece but he’s got to bring it home for Lou-lou.

JV: Ah dear, well look it’s not such a bad one I suppose. It seems like Lou-lou is really the worse off here.

Francis: She’s just absolutely spoilt.

JV: Yeah, Francis thanks for that. Nice to talk to you and I you feel better Francis?

Francis: I certainly do. I’ll tell him I’ve been talking to you about it.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Onsie Phenomenon

JV: What do you live with Melissa?

Melissa: James, my husband came home earlier this week with a gift for me and it was a onsie.

JV: Wow.

Melissa: And I have to blame 702 for this actually because we both heard somebody talking about it on either your program or the Glover program earlier in the week. I, at the time, thought ‘oh how horrible.’ He must have thought ‘that’s a great thing for my wife because she’s always cold. He came home with it on Tuesday or Wednesday night and I was horrified James. It’s white and fluffy.

JV: What does it look like?

Melissa: James, I can’t describe it without laughing. It’s got a hood with little ears on it and a zipper that has little pom-pom things attached and it’s white and fluffy.

JV: And is it decorated in any way, like has it got rabbits on it or...?

Melissa: Oh it’s meant to look like a rabbit I think, with the ears on top of the hood.

JV: Oh it’s got rabbit ears on top of the hood?

Melissa: Yes!

JV: Wow.

Melissa: I’m horrified.

JV: Yeah.

Melissa: But my husband seems a bit insulted that I’m not thrilled at the effort that he went to.

JV: Gee, that’s difficult. So, is it one of those difficult ones where he feels as though...he’s hurt because here he’s thought about you and he’s got you something that he thinks will be really great, and then you’re looking at him going ‘how did you ever think that I would be someone who would like a onesie?’

Melissa: That’s exactly right. I mean there are standards, even at home.

JV: Mm. How long have you been together?

Melissa: Oh, we’ve been married almost 17 years.

JV: Going on to 20 years and suddenly the whole thing is in question really. You’re going ‘you obviously don’t know me at all.’

Melissa: Well, it has crossed my mind.

JV: Wow.

Melissa: We’ve had lots of discussion and more than a few laughs about this thing but I just...I don’t understand how that could be found to be an acceptable dress.

JV: Have you put it on?

Melissa: I had to.

JV: You had to put it on and you didn’t suddenly go ‘oh, I’m so cosy’? Like, I think last night was chilly wasn’t it? Did you try it last night when it was really chilly?

Melissa: The night before was chilly enough. And James, I don’t meant to be snobbish here, but it’s completely synthetic.

JV: Right.

Melissa: It’s not warm at all. It generates static electricity when you walk around.

JV: A cashmere onesie might have been more acceptable?

Melissa: He’s talking about that as an alternative and I’ve just tried to say y’know... He says ‘I’ll get you a posh onsie,’ and I said ‘that’s an oxymoron.’

JV: I don’t know if you can get the tailored Italian merino onsie quite yet.

Melissa: The Italians would never make this.
JV: Hello Kerri?
Kerri: Yes James?
JV: What did your husband buy you?
Kerri: He bought me a onsie and laid it out on the bed. It was a cub, like a lion cub.
JV: Your husband bought you a lion cub onsie? You came home and there was this lion cub suit?
Kerri: I was saying how chilly it was and how I get cold and there it was. Fleece, the same as the other poor lady had to endure. I can’t begin to tell you where it ends up.
JV: Please do.
Kerri: You turn and twist and it goes in places it shouldn’t go.
JV: (laughs)
Kerri: And it’s hideous. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. It’s hideous.
JV: It’s hideous this a sort it like a kinky thing?
Kerri: No, it’s a bit past that.
JV: But what’s with the husband’s buying the animal onsies for the Mrs?
Kerri: I think they think they’re being kind and just listening to you for once, but I wish he’d listen to me every time he criticises the Bold and the Beautiful.
JV: So, you said ‘I’m a bit cold,’ he buys you a lion cub onesie...are you in the same position as Melissa? ‘Really, you thought I was the kind of person who’d like a lion cub onsie?’
Kerri: I was speechless. I was speechless. I just looked at this thing. He said ‘if you don’t like it, you can cut the head off.’ I was nearly going to cut his off James.
JV: (laughs)
Kerri: I’ve got to go. I’ve got to pick up the kids. Nice to hear your program. Bye.