Issues and autos

My husband is a great man. He’s smart, talented, articulate, and well-informed about the world.

I believe in his character and leadership, trusting him implicitly (at least 60% of the time, faking it the last 40) to make good decisions for the welfare of our family.

You would think that with so much brilliance at hand, we could always chart a clear path forward. But despite all this good information on his part and lovely submission on mine, I have to confess we don’t always— (Are you sitting down? Good.) We don’t always see eye to eye. Some issues require three hours of talk late at night to hash out. Some issues require heavy compromise on both sides. And on some issues we deadlock, putting them on the shelf temporarily until the future time when one of us (the other) will receive greater enlightenment.

You haven’t collapsed from shock yet, have you? I see a few of you down on the sidelines. The rest are standing firmly against wave after wave of disillusionment. Only a few are laughing, demanding—oh my—examples? You really expect me to give examples?


We could mention the Ethics of Computer Games issue. We could mention the How to Enjoy a Holiday issue. We could mention the Who Cares About News? I’ll Just Let the World Rot issue. We could mention the Is Slurping an Acceptable Way of Drinking Coffee? issue. That one took ten years till I had the courage to put my foot down. We could mention the Appropriate Logos on Sons’ Shirts issue. He won, and I’ve never looked back. I like the way his decision shaped our family culture, though I didn’t see or anticipate it then.

But the current issue, the one we’re bashing brains on now, is of utmost importance. Beside this, the Washington Post and coffee etiquette can go on holiday together; this here’s the real hard-hitter—the Vehicle Temperature Control issue.

We bought a different van this spring, and are still getting used to its features. My husband is in love with a little button called “Auto” temperature control. It’s ingenious. Set the degree where you want it, say 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the van slowly do the rest, blowing gentle air of varying temperatures until the desired degree is reached.

There are two problems with this in my feminine mind.

First, who knows what degree they want to be? I just want it cool, man.

Second, “slowly” is rarely the effect I have in mind when it comes to temperature. When I jump into a vehicle that’s been slowly marinating in the August sun, I need cool air like now. Like as in yesterday already. Like as in gallons of it streaming past my face. I don’t want this Auto thing “blowing gentle air of varying temperatures.” I’m dying here.

So when I’m in the driver’s seat, I take the Auto off, kick the temperature down to 62 degrees, and turn on the fan full blast. Ahhh.

His turn in the driver’s seat? He reinstates the Auto function and patiently explains to me that lowering the degree to 62 as opposed to 68 does not, in fact, speed up the cooling rate at all. The van just has to work harder and longer. (Me, I don’t mind making vehicles work harder and longer. That’s what I pay them for.) Furthermore, he says gently, the whole point of Auto is Auto, you know? It’s so efficient. You can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, entirely maintenance free. No adjustments. What part of this is not perfect?

All of it.

The me being out of control of my own comfort part.


The strangely unsettling thing about new vans is that the temperature controls on the driver’s side and passenger’s side are split; each can control his own climate. There’s only an optional little button called Sync if you want to be in it with each other.

The thing is, I’m starting to feel like a rebel when I turn the fan on High, and he’s becoming all gentlemanly and asking me to show him how I like it…!

Oh pishposh–let’s just get in sync, babe. I auto see it your way anyhow.

He’s a great man. There’s no one on earth I’d rather bash heads with.


What are your Issues?

Yes, I really asked that.

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10 years ago

Lol!!! Our “favorite” issue is how the sheets should be arranged at the end of a bed. My mother taught me that each layer gets snugly tucked under the mattress with sheets pulled up tight as a fiddle and nary a wrinkle in the blankets. His mama just draped everything loosely to hang over the edge. And now how shall it be done??? His feet, after all, cannot be trapped without air! But must I really remake the entire bed from scratch each morning, after an entire night of wrestling for my personal corner of the ever-shifting sheet?? Lol!! Love your writings, Shari! Soooo entertaining and relatable.

10 years ago
Reply to  louise

You could do what I did over 20 years ago when my husband and I got married. I tuck my half of the sheets in and leave his untucked. Makes us both happy – he gets free feet and I get sheets that stay in place!

10 years ago
Reply to  louise

I thought we were probably the only ones with that issue! 🙂 You said it perfectly.

10 years ago

i read your posts with delight and wish i could meet you in person. i write replies in my mind and seldom on here because of the fickleness of the internet and whether or not it will save my reply, being all the way around the world. i love timmies coffee and also have difficult people in my life, don’t we all. i long somedays for the community you speak of, of which i don’t have, raising our flock instead in a city of 10 million across the pond….. anyway, do you give out your email? i’d often like to reply but seriously have trouble online (unless its fb ;0) found you through your sil, Renita, my friend as well….. Becki
ahhh, and 20 years of marriage to my best friend, we still disagree and hash about things, some big, some small, but i agree there is no one i’d rather figure life out with.

10 years ago

ahh, happy dance, it saved my comment the first time, maybe i’ll be trying this more often ;0)

10 years ago

‘Vacation’ is a big one for us. He thinks camping is a great way to vacation. I don’t get it! I work all week getting ready to go, cook and clean while I am there (I do that all the time at home), and have everything to clean up and put away when I get home. And do we just chill when we are there? Oh no, there are places to go and things to see. I tell him I will go camping with him, but I am the one who needs a vacation when I get home.

10 years ago

Some of your issues sounded familiar: like computer games, holidays, and news. Mostly we’re together on things, but we do not stay up and hash for 3 hours when we’re not. I think we’re too lazy–I mean, tired. 🙂
So, you have no cracks for puns, huh? 😛

10 years ago

laughing………hard! Shoot….let’s just get together and laugh until we cry over coffee…..and I’ll be sure to spill the coffee on myself.

One of our issues is the language that I like to use in private or in a humorous way. Another near issue is my (along with my entire family!) love of exaggeration…… that really like telling a lie? I think not.

10 years ago
Reply to  Shaunda

Glad to hear we’re not the only ones who argue about language. Also, how to eat chips (they should be eaten with closed lips, not chomped on using multiple open-mouthed bites to get the whole thing in your mouth). Coffee breath and whether it’s worth it. How to load a car when going on a trip — one of us likes to throw things in willy-nilly and then wonder why we can’t get everything in, while the other is a packing neat freak who wouldn’t dream of putting things in the backseat if there’s still room in the trunk.

10 years ago

Laughing here. The biggest conflict of our marriage is “what is the appropriate room (or vehicle) temperature.” When he is almost breaking into a sweat, and I am almost shivering with cold, we have it about right. Until I am pregnant. Then he claims to be freezing, while I cackle with evil revenge.

10 years ago

Oh how funny, and honest. Much better than the dear old Bishop who preached our marriage sermon and proclaimed that in all their vast years of marriage they had NEVER had an argument, and insisted that such bliss was possible for me and my hubby. NO wonder I felt like our marriage was “not what it should be” till I got old enough to figure out that what he called an “argument” was evidently something vastly different than what I would call an “argument”, and that “arguments” didn’t have to be terrible for a marriage or ruin our deep love for each other! There is something to be said for the maturing process and figuring out truths like that. 😉

Oh goodness . . we disagree on so many things even after over 21 years of marriage . . . but we agree on the fundamentals most of the time, so that is what counts, right?! 😉 I’ve gone his way, he’s gone my way, we’ve agreed to disagree, I’ve done submitting, and we still disagree and at times quite strenuously But bottom line, we love each other and try hard to respect and work together..

10 years ago

Love, love this!! Isn’t it amazing when we look at our friends and their marriages we somehow think in our minds that theirs must be perfect and we wonder what is wrong with ours!! We have our disagreements and I have a hard time submitting sometimes to how he feels and thinks about an issue. Thanks for your honesty and allowing us to see how it is in your marriage!!

10 years ago

Laughing too hard to remember any disagreements that we’ve ever had.

Not that they don’t exist!

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