Category Archives: Lisa and Mike dialogues

Horse or donkey?

We’re in Melbourne for a couple of days so that we can show baby bear to the officials at the US consulate and apply for his passport. It’s been a lovely couple of days packed full of last minute life admin tasks and meeting up with good friends. One of our biggest problems when we come to Melbourne is always lack of time. There are so many people here that we know and love that we never have as much time as we want to visit with them all and have long and leisurely catch ups.

Another big problem for me – a more serious one – is the traffic. City driving has never been something I love, and after a year of living without a car in a small town and then the last five months of hardly driving at all, Melbourne driving freaks me out. There are so many cars, and people, and trams, and lights flashing, and signs that are hard to read, and narrow lanes…

I have done my best not to be that white-knuckled passenger in the front seat of the car who gasps ever time the driver comes within 10 feet of any obstacle. I have failed more than once.

(As a side-note, you’d think that all this car-related anxiety would at least be good for helping me remember before we are five minutes into our drive to strap the baby into the car capsule. Not so. You would also think that after making this mistake once two nights ago I wouldn’t repeat it today. Not so. After Dominic has fallen asleep in that capsule inside the house and we’ve carried the whole lot out to the car to go somewhere, it’s turned out to be surprisingly hard to remember that there are seatbelts buried underneath the blankets that need to be done up before embarking.)

Anyway, we made it to the consulate today – no thanks to me in terms of navigation or driving – and while we were waiting Mike reminded me that driving related hypervigilance is not a new thing, though I think it’s gotten worse since baby bear’s birth. He referenced a conversation we had more than two and a half years ago now. It could just as easily have taken place today. So, in honour of Melbourne traffic, here’s that dialogue:

Mike and Lisa are driving back from a book reading at Hollywood. Lisa has done quite well, she only gets a little tightly wound when they are in heavy traffic, or looking for a park on sunset blvd, or turning corners (so, approximately 82% of the commute). She flinches when Mike turns into their own driveway at the end of the evening and points out a bicyclist.

The following exchange ensues:

Lisa: “Sorry I’m so jumpy, I don’t know why.”

Mike: “Yes, you are a bit … skittish… in the car”

Lisa: “Yes, like an Arabian thoroughbred racing horse. A finely-tuned miracle of breeding and class.”

Mike – silent

Lisa: “Or like a donkey. A traumatized donkey who’s been frequently beaten, and exposed to too many loud tractor noises.”

Mike – silent

Lisa: “Horse or donkey?”

Mike – silent

Lisa: “Horse or donkey? HORSE or DONKEY? HORSE OR DONKEY?????”

Mike: “You see me? This is me keeping my mouth shut. This is a husband who knows a lose lose situation when he sees one.”

Want more dialogues? Here are a couple of my favorites from our early marriage discussions:

Hanging out in Melbourne with our friend's awesome dog, Jasper


This past weekend Lisa and Mike went on an adventure to buy a thank you gift. There was some initial disagreement over how much they should spend.

Mike: “But I like giving people more than what they expect.”

Lisa (choosing, for once, affection over argument): “You give me more than what I expect.”

Mike: “And just look at all the rewards I reap from that.”

(Pause while Lisa tries to figure out whether or not she is being mocked.)

Lisa: “There better not have been any sarcasm in your tone there, young man.”

Mike: “Lao has six tones, honey. And we both know that you’re not always very good at distinguishing between them.”

“That” dog

This morning, as he sometimes does, Mike woke up before 5am. In an effort to avoid disturbing me, he decided to go outside and sit on the balcony. At about 6 he came and crawled back into bed.

“Did you hear the dog?” he asked.

At this point I may have said something uncomplimentary about that dog. Profane, even.

I could feel Mike smiling in the darkness.

“Is it that scruffy little sod? That mangy cur?” I asked. “The one that sits in the street next door looking miserable all day long? Is that the pre-dawn howler?”

“Yeah,” Mike said. “That one. Want to hear something interesting?”

“You saw a tuk tuk run over him this morning?” I asked, hopeful.

“The gate to the guesthouse was open,” Mike said. “He could have gone out into the street and played and been a happy little dog.  But he didn’t. He was sitting, howling, in front of a wide open gate.”


Breakfast at Joma

This is a shot in one of my favorite places in Luang Prabang so far, Joma. Joma of cinnamon buns and lattes and, even more importantly, AC and wifi.

Earlier this week, Mike and I had an early morning breakfast there as per our current routine. In the background Ella Fitzgerald was playing Let’s Fall In Love.

Mike: “Oh, honey, we have the place all to ourselves.”

Lisa: “Yup, just the two of us having a romantic breakfast. The two of us, with our two laptops in between us.”

Mike: “Just like most of the rest of our relationship so far.”

Second wife

On his first trip to Laos for his job interview in January, Mike was warned that should we move to Laos he would be encouraged by many locals (in fact, expected) to take a Laotian wife.

Mike sent Lisa one post-card during that trip. It was of an elderly Laos woman smoking a cigar. All that was written on the back was: “Check out your competition for wife number two.”

Since getting to Laos in April Mike has indeed been encouraged to take a Laotian wife.

Mike: “The district governor I met with today said you were beautiful when I showed him our wedding photos. Then, later in the meeting, he suggested that I might also want to take a Laos wife.”
Lisa: “Not during our first year of marriage…. Oh, wait. We’ve been married more than a year now. It’s fine then.”
Mike: “Yes, the second year of marriage could be the perfect time to introduce a second wife into the equation.”
Lisa: “I wonder if the push to see you presiding over a full stocked harem will abate come July when I’m in the country?”
Mike: “I actually do have a woman in mind for my second wife.”
Lisa: “Well, you have until July to get that all squared away.”
Mike: “She smokes a cigar, and she’s not at all demanding.”
Lisa: “That will be a nice change for you.”
Mike: “You’re not demanding, my love, you just have strong preferences.”


Thoughtfullness points

Mike’s never been to the Hollywood Bowl. Lisa went online to see if there was anything scheduled for the first week of June when he’s back, but alas. Performances don’t start until about the 12th.

Later, on a skype date…

Lisa: “I tried to do something special for you today. It didn’t work, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway so I get some ‘thoughtfulness points’.”

Mike: “Uh, OK. I think you just lost some points there by telling me that’s what you were doing.”

Lisa: “I may have lost a few of the thoughtfulness points but I gained a couple of honesty equals righteousness points, so that’s a wash. Overall, I’ll still come out ahead.”

I would never want to change you

The last day before seven weeks apart. From in front of his computer at the kitchen table, Mike has proposed a plan of attack for the morning’s life admin before they head out at noon to go see the poppyfields. Still waking up slowly, and with a cup of coffee on the couch, Lisa has proposed an alternate plan.

Mike (with slightly less than his usual measure of good grace): “Fine then.”

Lisa: “What happened to loving the fact that I’m different from you?”

Mike: “I love your differences. I love them so much that I would never want to change you. Just the things about you that are wrong.”

Lisa: “Huh. And do you have a list of those things?”

Mike: “Well, as a matter of fact, let me just pull that up.”

Lisa: “Material to keep us busy on the drive out to the poppy fields?”

Mike: “That’s a two hour drive.”

Lisa: “Well, time enough to make a good start, at least.”

Find a better wife

It’s 9:45pm. Mike and Lisa have just finished watching West Wing together on the couch. It’s dark. It’s late. It’s romantic. Lisa gives Mike a fond squeeze. Mike suddenly wiggles free and jumps up.

Mike: “Dishwasher’s finished it’s cycle. Need to unstack it.”
Lisa (confused) “Did you just say you need to unstack the dishwasher? Right now?!?”
Mike: “Yes, honey, yes. Otherwise the dishes stay all wet and yucky overnight.”

(Long pause while Mike unstacks the dishwasher and Lisa plays on facebook)

Lisa (towards the kitchen): “I think you’re fantastic.”
Mike: “No, I think unstacking the dishwasher right now is not the best idea I’ve had all day.”
Lisa: “I think it’s sexy.”
Mike: “No, not really.”
Lisa: “Yes, it really is.”
Mike: “No, it’s not. If overseeing the dishwasher really was sexy then I’d have an easier time of it on”

Find a better husband

Weekday morning. McWolfe household.

Mike: “OK, time to go, you’re running late. No more dawdling.”

Lisa (not in the mood to go to work yet, Lisa wanders into the bedroom to pick up her scarf): “Anyone would think you have a secret lover arriving at this house at 8:45am sharp.”

Mike (handing Lisa her lunch) “Maybe I do. Her name is Madame “Todo List.””

Lisa (meandering towards the front door): “Where are my keys?”

Mike: “I have no idea.”

Lisa: “Well what good are you, then?”

Mike: “No good at all, clearly. Maybe you should look on You might find them there.”

Love Song

Mike and Lisa are in the car. Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” comes on.

I’m not gonna write you a love song
’cause you ask for it
’cause you need one you see
I’m not gonna write you to stay
All you have is leaving
I’m gon’ need a better reason
To write you a love song today today


Lisa: “I love this song!”

Mike: “I know you do. I don’t get why. It’s mean.”

Lisa: “It’s not mean. It’s honest.”

Mike: “He asked for a love song, and she won’t write him one. That’s a little mean.”

Lisa: “Uh uh. She’s saying that him being all needy and manipulative makes her not want to write him a love song.”

Mike: “If you needed a love song I’d write you one.”

Lisa: “That’s very lovely. I don’t need a love song, but if you want to write me one that’d be great. I’d write you a love song, too.”

Mike: “But only because I don’t need it.”

Lisa: “Well, if you needed it, I’d probably still write you one. But the fact you don’t need it makes me want to write you one much more.”

Mike: “That’s messed up.”