Nancy Roman

Inherited Quirks

My mother-in-law raised her boy with a few of her little quirks.

I think I have mentioned before (maybe five or six times) that he never throws anything away. When he gets a new J.C. Whitney catalog, he puts it right besides the seventeen old ones. When I gently (but perhaps not in my inside voice) ask him to throw the old ones away, he responds that he likes to know what things USED to cost.

I can understand. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to state (definitely not in his inside voice) how today’s prices are frigging ridiculous.

He also doesn’t throw away receipts. As I have mentioned before (but only two or three times) we have receipts for cat food that our cats ingested so long ago it isn’t even compost anymore.

When we first started living together – which I will admit was about fourteen minutes after we met – I was a bit disconcerted at all the little reminder notes he wrote. And I guess he was worried that he would lose those little scraps of paper, because he had a tendency (which is a nice word for insane compulsion) to tape them to the counter, desk, cabinetry, dashboard.

Then I met his mother. She had little notes taped all over the house. (Yes, and receipts.) I thought to myself, “Okay, this is what my future looks like.” And I was a teensy bit afraid.

But I noticed something interesting. Many of those notes taped by the phone and the sink were little prayers. That old lady had a prayer by the toaster. Endearing, no? So I decided this was a quirk I could live with. And that I might get some really good toast.

On that same day of meeting my future mother-in-law for the first time, she put the kettle on to boil and we all sat down for what I thought would be a nice cup of tea. Only it wasn’t. My mother-in-law served us cups of hot water. I figured I was going to have to cope with some dementia here. But no. All my husband’s relatives have a cup of hot water once in a while. Harmless. But weird.

These little quirks are not so bad. Totally livable.

But there is one little gift from his mom that drives me crazy.

My husband’s mother had a shoe fetish. And I’m not talking about a desire for hot shoes.

She thought barefoot was bad. Really Bad.


My husband was NEVER allowed to run around barefoot.

Couldn’t lounge around the house barefoot either.

And he still can’t.


So what, you say?

It irritates me.

I feel personally insulted by his ever-present footwear.

Last night Hubby got up in the wee hours to wee. (Yes, he’s old too.  He doesn’t get up during the night as often as I do, but only because penises extend the bladder capacity somewhat.) Anyway, I saw him stumble towards the bathroom – just a few feet away from the bed – in his slippers.

And in my half-awake state, I still gnashed my teeth.

Is my house so dirty he has to put on shoes to go to the bathroom?

Is he afraid that I left a trail of pee when I went  half-an-hour earlier?



  1. LOL! I am still grinning! 🙂


  2. Chuckling, as usual, at your post. (I have one friend who drinks hot water in the winter…odd.) I can’t imagine not going barefoot in the house!


    • I don’t like cold feet. But in summer – I love to set my toes free.


  3. Oh. I love your extended bladder theory. That explains sooooo much!


  4. Haha, it’s opposite for me, I think. At least with the kitchen. I refuse to walk in the kitchen without shoes, and it drives me crazy when my husband is flopping around barefoot in there. Gross.


  5. mo

    Funny. My Hubby saves little pieces of paper with “important” information on it. Catalogs too. He must have 833 L.L.Bean catalogs in the den closet (he thinks they are hidden). He thinks they will be worth $$$$ some day. Sheesh!


    • I tell him what is the point of knowing what things USED to cost, when you can’t buy them for that price anymore… but he says it gives him ammunition to bargain the price down. And he does so like to complain.


  6. really laughing ot loud reading this I am glad Dor sent me over to read your blog I shall rturn to read more


  7. My mother does the hot water thing, too, and Hubby has a thing about being barefoot — he loves the dog but can’t take the hair. It’s slippers or nothing — are these 2 cut from the same cloth? The farm girl in me loves to go barefoot and especially outside 🙂

    HA HA HA — you make some great points about the glamour of growing older .. together.



    • Yeah, it’s so weird to get up in the middle of the night to pee – only to find I have to wait in line!


  8. Oh that is funny and just the opposite in my house, no shoes allowed. If you ever visit, tell hubby bring his own slippers with rubber soles (only thing allowed). All shoes come off at the door.


    • It irritates me even more that slippers tend to make you shuffle – so he looks even older. I am not ready to be married to an old man.


  9. Hilarious! My step-father used to have that same rule. He was from Ireland. Any chance your hubby is from there, too?


    • Nope… he’s from Eastern European extraction – Lithuanian and Polish. Perhaps built into his DNA that it’s just too cold to ever go barefoot.


  10. My husband is like that too with slippers. Totally repressed.


  11. I get bitched at to clip my toenails like I’m clearly plotting some kind of terrorist activity that features toenails. Maybe I should just wear slippers.


  12. oh dear. i have that same quirk. my kids think it’s weird and obsessive, but so far i don’t *think* it drives my hubby nuts. although, since i do all the house cleaning i can’t imagine how he would be affected (or – more likely – has even noticed after nearly 23 years of marriage).


  13. Great post and blog! I found you via Doran and must follow as I am not quite old yet either but too close for comfort.


  14. I never considered all these quirks. I grew up leaving shoes at the door and wearing slippers in the house. Getting up in the middle of the night I still remember to wear my slippers. Goofy, I know but it’s ingrained and I’m not going to change NOW.

    Another lovely post, Nancy. Ha ha.


  15. I confess I know lots of people who drink hot water. Myself included, although I often put some lemon in it. It is one way of getting in the required daily amount of H2O without having to always drink something cold. Sometimes you just need a warm up.


  16. 🙂 I never knew shoe fetish could be this bad….


  17. My parents raised us to never be barefoot. They said that only poor people, and hillbillies, walked around without shoes. Once, when my brother was in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy, my father insisted that he wear slippers—in bed. I only wear shoes when my my floors are crunchy. Great post, as usual.


  18. Oops, delete a “my” above.


  19. ahhh rofl! :D:D



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