Married to the Military…

I married a former sailor who is now living as a land creature. My husband spent a good deal of time sailing the world in the Navy, and he has generally adapted well to civilian life, but there are some things that are so deeply hardwired from his boot camp days that he just can’t adapt and leave them behind. No matter how rough the seas get in our marriage, he struggles with me, his so un-military wife.

Here are the top five things that drive my military dude bonkers:

1. The toilet: He just doesn’t get why I am seemingly incapable of employing a used toothbrush to clean the toilet. Apparently that is the designated afterlife of all toothbrushes in the Navy, and he has a whole box of them which he has saved for this purpose. He huffs and puffs in frustration when he finally can’t stand it anymore and just spends the afternoon grumbling and scrubbing.

2. Punctuality: Apparently it is a travesty to arrive anywhere later than 15 minutes prior to the actual designated time. I have been hustled out the door with half a false eyelash stuck to my cheek more than once. Why? Because we have to arrive 15 minutes early. Parties, school concerts, even an appointment with the bank… as we stand outside 15 minutes before it opens. This is locked in behaviour, and I can always tell it is near time to leave when I hear the key jingling and pacing echoing through the house.

3. Shoes: It took me a few years to figure out that there are, in fact, no elves who tiptoe into our house to polish my shoes as we slumber. I discovered that, in a final act of desperation, my gigantic shoe-elf of a man stealth polishes all my footwear. He couldn’t stand my utter neglect for one more stinkin’ minute. I kind of wondered why I had reflective shine on even my suede heels. Frankly, I think he has a parade-gloss addiction.

4. Fashion: Specifically, the major point of contention is my casual reference to his “outfits.” My otherwise docile love becomes positively apoplectic and through clenched teeth reminds me it is called a “uniform.” I call it a “cute outfit” just to see if I can get a vein to bulge out of his forehead.

5. Alarm clocks: Our marriage almost came apart during the great boson whistle crisis of 1999. This was when he declared himself the keeper of the family schedule by instituting morning “wakey wakey.” This involved a high-pitched, screeching little tin whistle from hell. I was whistled out of bed. If you’ve never been driven abruptly to wakefulness, terrified that you were being attacked by a shrieking banshee–and an irritating one, at that—then you just have no idea what unfolded that morning. Shortly afterward, he was in the bathroom, naked, hand mirror in hand, trying pull a little bitsy whistle out of his ass. We have since moved on from wake up calls.

Being with a military dude has many advantages in addition to the ultra-shiny toilets and shoes. He is about honour and knows the value of being home in a way that people who haven’t missed hearth and heart can’t understand.

On the other hand I could do without the Sunday morning family marching practice.


Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny… well mostly funny… like a cold glass of water in the face. Channeling Erma Bombeck and Dear Abby on her blog, she is flinging out advice, answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn’t safe. 

Other places to find her: Editor in Chief at BluntMoms, contributor at Huffington Post and check her out in the amazing compendium of hot bloggers who are published in I Just Want to Be Alone (I Just Want to Pee Alone) from