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Erratic driving, other pitfalls of husband-wife shopping trips

By Tammy Keith

This article was published August 10, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: This column previously ran in 2009. Tammy Keith is on vacation with her husband — and they drove in separate cars.

I asked my husband if he wanted to go do a quick errand with me.

He said, “The last time I went on a one-stop errand with you, it lasted eight hours.”

My husband and I were both on vacation the week of Christmas, and we haven’t spent an entire day together in months. I’m usually out doing errands on my own, but he wanted to go last-minute Christmas shopping with me. Unlike some married couples I know, we actually enjoy being together. We used to work at newspapers together, and we got along fine. So, I got my little list, and off we went.

“Isn’t this fun?” he said.

He isn’t one of those men who hates to shop. Given the right stores, he actually enjoys it.

He was the one in the pet store insisting that to be fair we had to find the cat a treat if we were getting our dog a treat. (I rolled my eyes when he wasn’t looking.)

We went to a store to return something, and I remembered I needed lipstick, part of my never-ending search for the Perfect Red. A good shopper doesn’t avoid other opportunities to buy something.

It didn’t take that long. Still having fun.

At the next stop, I decided I needed to put on more new lipstick. I sensed a sigh coming from the driver. It was almost imperceptible, but I know him.

“Don’t be impatient, or I’m not ever shopping with you again,” I threatened. (I’m sure THAT scared him.)

I had to get my lipstick on just right. Who knows whom I might run into? I didn’t want lipstick on my teeth or a crooked lip line.

Then I had to look for a receipt in the compartment between the seats. Then I had to find my gloves. He did that fake little smile that means he’s irritated, but he doesn’t want to show it.

I gave him the slip in one big store, so finally he had to call my cellphone to locate me.

OK, I ended up having a few more errands than I expected. It reminds me of when the boys were little, and I’d pick them up after school, and they’d ask: “Are we going anywhere?”

I’d say, “One place,” and they’d slump in their seats like I’d knocked them in the head. It always ended up being more.

After a day of shopping, we took some gifts over to our friends, and I drove. Trying to back out of their driveway, he shouted at me not to go off the edge. There was a slight ravine, but I had it under control.

We switched seats at one point because he said I had “acceleration issues.”

I told him he had no depth perception.

Driving is one area where we get on each other’s nerves. Usually, he drives when we go somewhere. He gets right up on a car’s bumper when we come to a stoplight, which drives me crazy.

When we got home, he said, “Didn’t we have a fun day?”

Sure. And I’ll be happy to do it again. In separate cars.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or


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