A Word or Two About the Missus
Now, I know everyone realizes that last post about my doghouse was done in good fun, BUT, lest anyone get the idea my wife is some modern day Lucrezia Borgia or Cruella de Ville, nothing can be farther from the truth. The missus is a very interesting and thoroughly non-evil person, and I have been guilty of a gross oversight by not writing a post about her earlier. However, before I begin, I raise my right hand and solemnly swear not to get treacly or maudlin (because that’s never been my style), and let me further state while I’m still under oath that I am not doing this to earn brownie points, because, although my wife knows about this blog, she never reads it.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, let me explain the picture. The sexy señorita in the red dress is the missus back in 1988. The guy on the right is someone we haven’t seen in about a million years — his name is Billy or Bobby or something like that. And the tall goober on the left with the ultra-cool hairdo holding the Styrofoam cup is your humble servant, Mr. Schprock. This picture was taken during a lunch break in the middle of filming a scene for a full length motion picture called Lola la Loca. I am not kidding. The filmmaker’s name was Enrique Oliver and he was, at the time, billed as the Cuban Spike Lee. He had previously written and directed a short film called Photo Album that had earned him accolades at the Cannes Film Festival. This was his first foray into the big leagues; the project cost over $100,000 to produce, which technically meant it was low budget, but it sure wasn’t Monopoly money either. I googled Lola la Loca earlier today and came up with this.
My wife played Lola la Loca, or Lola the Crazy One, whose real name in the film was Delores Guzman. The missus had a lot of fun acting in it, and the premiere was held at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with a fair amount of hoopla. But the movie never got picked up by a distributor and, to be honest, the film suffered because the actors weren’t trained and you could tell. The best actor was Enrique himself. We have a VHS tape of it, but haven’t watched it for years.
I met my wife in 1985. I answered an ad seeking a roommate for a city apartment and wound up sharing the second floor of a house with two other guys — Allan, who was openly gay, and Rick, who was gay but still in the closet (not that he lived in the closet, but you know what I mean). My wife occupied the converted attic a floor above us and was at first just a mysterious presence — I never saw her. The missus was good friends with the landlady, and for some reason still not clear to me secretly involved herself in the negotiations for my taking a room there (she and Allan might have been doing this behind the landlady’s back and sharing in the proceeds). I found out later that when I asked Allan if I could strip the hideous wallpaper in my room and paint the walls a tasteful color, it was my future wife who told him I couldn’t, and not the landlady as he reported.
Although restricted from stripping the wallpaper, I did something that caught my wife’s eye: I didn’t officially take possession of my room until I made it livable. I plastered and painted the cracked ceiling and then I painted the woodwork. That still left the walls with the ugly wallpaper. I went to a discount store, found a striped bed sheet pattern that I thought was tolerable and bought up the lot. Then I brought the packaged sheets to my new pad, ironed out the wrinkles, and carefully stapled them to the walls to achieve a padded look. I even wrapped a makeshift cornice molding of 2-inch strapping in the material and tacked it up to neaten the ceiling line. When I put curtains on the windows, everyone declared the room looked complete and much improved.
My wife’s opinion of men was not an especially high one: she regarded them, for the most part, as slobs. So hearing of me doing all this before I moved my furniture in made me unique. I think she may have even pumped Allan for information about me and received a favorable report. It seemed the new guy on the second floor was worth looking into.
The first morning I spent there after moving in fell on a weekend, so I slept rather late. I was awakened by the sound of the missus and her friend, Zoila, on the floor above me as they dressed for church. There was no soundproofing to speak of, and I could clearly hear them talk in rapid fire Spanish, with my wife’s voice the louder of the two. She walked in her high heels with a brisk and heavy tread; you half expected dust to come down from the ceiling from the pounding. The commotion went on for a good 45 minutes or so, then all at once I heard them clomp down the staircase next to my room and afterward attack the big stairs that led out of the house.
I stayed in bed for another hour, then finally got up, showered and wandered into the kitchen to make myself a late breakfast. Rick and Allan were already there, along with Allan’s friend, Ramon. So we had a “let’s get better acquainted” session while I boiled up a couple of eggs. While this was going on, the missus and Zoila returned from church and strolled into the kitchen to visit.
My future wife looked very pretty in her white dress, and it was quite apparent she wasn’t in the least way shy. Even though Allan, Ramon, she and Zoila all spoke Spanish, the entire conversation was spoken in English. I merely tried to say the right things and generally made myself as agreeable as possible. After 15 minutes or so of discussing this and that, it was time for my wife and Zoila to head upstairs to change out of their Sunday finery. But before they did, the missus, as she walked by, playfully pinched me in the stomach and said in her strong Puerto Rican accent, “You’re a beeg one!”
Well, that was the start of it. Let me tell you how things stood on each side. My wife was nearly done earning a masters degree in education while working full time for the Department of Social Services. She drove a brand new, bright red Pontiac Fiero. I later found out she had moved from the comfort of her condo in Puerto Rico several years earlier to the United States (with only a shaky command of the English language) to improve her professional outlook. She first took a class in English, then went on to attend Northeastern University and, later, UMass Boston. She had money, she owned property, and she had prospects.
On the other hand there was myself. At 29, I had recently graduated college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree after completing school following a prolonged hiatus. I hadn’t yet gotten my first job in the graphic design field, but was instead working as a housepainter. I drove a beat up Chevy Citation and might have had $800 in the bank. That was it.
What the hell was she thinking, right?
Here are the facts, not in any particular order: my wife is extremely strong-willed. She always gets what she wants. She is fond of remarking that it is better to have common sense than a high IQ, because common sense will take you farther. She can be sensitive and easily insulted. If you get on the wrong side of her, it may not be very easy too find your way back into her good graces. Among her coterie, she is always the center of attention. She loves our daughters fiercely and would take a bullet to save their lives. She is a hard worker. She takes no shit from anyone. She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. She is only a little over five feet but can scare linebacker-size men. She wears out the point of a pencil after writing only one sentence. She’s funny and has a 10,000 watt smile. When she calls me Johnny, I know I’m back on a good footing with her. She prevails in most arguments with me. When she insists on taking risky ventures, I have stopped saying, “Fine. Call me when it’s time to go to bankruptcy court,” because everything keeps working out. She applies her foot to my backside when needed. She has a loud telephone voice. She likes to see me look busy. She says very bad words in Spanish when she’s upset. She is very stubborn. And she is the best thing that ever happened to me.
That’s the missus in a nutshell, folks. And that’s as mushy as I get.