Toaster, thermostat settings lead to heated discussions

In order for Mary Ellen and me to remain happily married for more than three decades, certain adjustments have had to be made. We’ve had some difficult moments over the years, but right now we are better adjusted than we have ever been.

Our toaster setting, for example, has been a source of some heated discussion. Mary Ellen sets the dial so low that we should call the device our Hamilton Beach warmer. What pops up is not toast. You could get the same result if you just rested a few bread slices on the windowsill. She says my toast is too burned, which is silly, but it’s hard to argue with her when I’m fanning our smoke alarm with a wet dishcloth.

“Why can’t you put it back to the dark setting when you are done?” I asked her.

“You can darken light toast, but you can’t lighten dark toast,” she said.

At my age I want to spend as many hours as I can doing something worthwhile, so I decided not to pursue this conversation. But like toast, the next morning another issue popped up.

“Mary Ellen, why do you have our treadmill on such a high speed? I got on after you finished exercising, flipped the switch, and it catapulted me backward and into the basement wall. Next time, can’t you turn the speed down when you are done?”

“I will, if you will leave the wash cycle the way I had it so I don’t ruin my blouses.”

“I don’t want to wash my jeans on the super delicate cycle by accident. The guys at the club would have a field day with that. By the way, why is it so cold in here? Did you turn the thermostat down?”

“It’s fine. Put on a sweater.”

“I had it perfectly adjusted, Mary Ellen. I like the house to be 72 in the winter. Seventy degrees is too cold for me.”

“Dick, you like 70 degrees in the summer, but not 70 degrees in the winter.”

“But 70 degrees in the winter feels different than 70 degrees in the summer.”

“And why do you suppose that is?”

“I have no idea. But I know that all the folks reading this are nodding their heads.”

And every evening during the news we have this exchange:


“I hear it just fine, thanks.”

“I know you do, and so do the Wilsons next door and the Phillips across the street.”

Married couples should be able to make the necessary adjustments and come to some agreement that pleases both parties. Lately we have found a nice compromise on our juicer between the smoothie and whip setting (we’re frapping, now). We’ve settled on the same water temperature when we shower, as long as no one flushes the toilet. And the car seat? Well, my wife has very long legs, but with some concession on her part, I can now reach the gas pedal.

We need a new mattress, and in this case, I’m very sure we can purchase one that will be perfect for each of us. My wife’s had my number for years.