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Don't Look Ethel!

Ahhh, wedding season. Two hearts become one. Each person in the union unwraps and then learns how to operate new strange and puzzling kitchen appliances. And each partner learns slowly and patiently how to tolerate the quirkiness of their new family.

Like every spouse, I am certain that I have married into a family with strange and confounding habits. My family, of course, is perfect. But so you can decide for yourself, I have compiled a handy comparison of our two equally loving and perhaps equally weird family traits.

Meal Time
My family: We eat supper at 5:30, 6 if it's a special circumstance. You do the day's activities, stop and eat and then resume, as needed.

His family: The last meal of the day is eaten after all work is completed. If that's midnight, then you head to Waffle House.

Honking the Car Horn
My family interpretation: Hi, we see you out working in the lawn!

His family interpretation: Oh. My. Gosh. Livestock are on the rooo-THUMP-ooad

Me at age 4 having difficulty in the bath: God-damned soap.

Him at age 35 getting bit by a pig: Oh, geeze-golly-darn that hurt.

Gift Buying
My family process: Shop year-round for the perfect gift.

His family process: Run out the night before the event and buy whatever you happen to see.

My family vacation growing up: Pack the motorhome with lunch meat and chips, head out to the lake for a weekend of skiing and sun-burning.

His family vacation growing up: Pig show in Des Moines

Cultural References
My parents exposed us to: The Big Chill soundtrack and song references like "I shot the Sheriff," "Don't rock the boat, baby" and "Indiana wants me, but I can't go back there"

His parents exposed him to: Black and white episodes of Andy Griffith.

How you know you've really joined the family
My family: You buy an RV and make homemade ice cream. Bonus points for making homemade ice cream while you are RV-ing.

His family: Your love for the OSU Buckeyes binds you to the team like Elliott and E.T., so that you turn ashen when things aren't going well, and your glowing heart can be seen through your chest when the team is winning. Bonus points for watching games in complete isolation so that no waitresses or noisy guests can come between you and your absolute focus on the team.

So my advice to newlyweds everywhere is to realize that just because your family keeps butter in the cupboard, and his family never washes their cars, you can develop new traditions together that meld the craziness that raised you.

And if they do something really weird, just do as my family always advised: Don't look Ethel!


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