You and me’s just a Fool’s Paradise.

Dear Friends,

I came home from Florida yesterday, still smelling of sunshine and seafood but tingling with anticipation to see my family.

Seventy-two hours is nothing to be away when you’re busy working and trying to eek out a little fun in between the work.  But it’s a lifetime when you’re in a hotel late at night, uncomfortable in a bed that’s not yours, listening to strange sounds from a strange parking lot outside your window instead of the breathing of the man next to you, whose breathing you adore and which makes you feel like everything in your life is safe and good as long he’s breathing next to you.

When I’m away from my family, it’s the little things I miss.  And for some odd reason, Sunday night as I went to bed for my last night in Florida and reflected on those little things, I thought of this:

Mr. Mom and I are serious fans of the Coen brothers. (You know, Joel and Ethan, writers and producers of some of the most brilliantly scripted movies of the last 25 years?) Mr. Mom introduced me to them via Raising Arizona when we first started dating. And ever since, he’s been quoting select lines from that movie and many other Coen classics whenever a situation applies.

For example, like the bumbling bank robber Gale Snoats (John Goodman) in Raising Arizona, I have a habit of telling Mr. Mom to do two things at once. In the film, Snoats shouts at his victims to freeze and to get down on the ground, to which a puzzled hayseed replies: Well, which is it young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Mean to say, if’n I freeze, I can’t rightly drop. And if’n I drop, I a-gonna be in motion.

So whenever I issue two orders at once to Mr. Mom, he always stops, smiles and says: Well which is it young lady? You want I should stir the pot or get the milk out of the frig? Mean to say , if’n I stir the pot . . .

I could recite a long list of other examples of Coen dialogue in our routine conversations, but one that really tickles me is that lately Mr. Mom has taken to quoting Raising Arizona to Kate’s Chihuahua, Sweetpea. There’s a scene in the movie where . . . well, just watch for yourself (it’s only 30 seconds long).


Mr. Mom is the one who, more times than not, lets Sweetpea out of her crate in the morning and follows her through the house to open the back door for her potty break. Sweetpea runs out of her crate in Kate’s room and down the hallway and, at the exact point she must turn to go to the door, Mr. Mom says in his best Ed McDunnough (Holly Hunter) voice, “Turn to the right!”

I don’t know if Mr. Mom knows I hear this every morning. And I don’t know if he knows I smile every time I hear it. But I do know that quoting Raising Arizona to Kate’s dog is only one tiny reason I find him so wonderfully essential to my life.

With gratitude {for our little Fools’ Paradise},

Joan, who’s pretty sure Sweetpea enjoys Mr. Mom’s humor, too, even if she hasn’t exactly said so