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Monday, June 8, 2009

Code Phrases

The Husband and I got into it on Friday afternoon. Actually, it really began on Thursday evening and spilled into the next day. Which totally puts to rest any belief that we "don't let the sun go down on our anger." Because, I mean, we try to make-up before heading off to bed, but of course some of us experience that strange phenomena whereupon rational thought leaves us the moment the sun dips beyond the horizon.

Not that this happens to me or anything. Ahem.

Anyways, the Husband and I developed a new Code Phrase on Friday to remind us to avoid a similar trap in the future. I know you know what I mean when I say Code Phrase. All married couples have them. It's usually a couple of words, hinting at a past event, that convey a Meaningful Message to one's spouse.

Case in point: Years ago, my grandmother (the Tongginator's GGMa), not known for her high level of patience, thoroughly humiliated the Husband and I at a family dinner in a restaurant. She kept barking, in a rather loud voice, "where's my appetizer? I want my appetizer" to the harried waitress. The same waitress who began taking drink orders less than three minutes after we first sat down at the table. The waitress who was STILL taking drink orders from our rather large group while my grandmother complained and grouched.

Which explains why "where's my appetizer?" became our Code Phrase for "stop being an impatience twit, dear." The Husband and I both use this phrase on occasion with one another, although I must admit that I hear it more often than him.

Not that I'm impatient or anything. Ahem.

My parents also use Code Phrases. For example, decades ago, three weeks before my aunt's wedding, my dad's father decided to undergo a huge home remodel, even though my mom, sister and I were staying with them because my aunt asked all three of us to be part of her bridal party. I can't mince any words, so I'll just come out and say that Granddad's house was an absolute pigsty on a good day. Add wedding preparations and a hastily started home remodel into the mix and you get a Vortex of Chaos.

Several days before the wedding, my Granddad realized that the little red straw attached to a can of WD40 was missing. As he looked around for the logical suspects, his eyes quickly fell on my sister and I, since we were the only house guests under the age of seven. He blamed us totally and completely for the missing little red straw. Granddad spent HOURS looking for that little red straw, ranting and raving the entire time, so that even the closest of friends and most family members avoided the house. After two days of searching and ranting, ranting and searching, through pile upon pile of construction "stuff," my uncle found the little red straw on the shelf where my Granddad last placed it.

Which explains why "little red straw" became my mom's Code Phrase for "stop overreacting like your father did, dear" when my daddy the Colonel loses his cool.

Code Phrases. They ARE useful.

Friday afternoon the Husband and I developed a new Code Phrase, after he told me rather sweetly, "I love that you can laugh with me even when you are mad at me." And no, I'm not going to explain our fight to y'all, mostly because I'll come off looking like a total witch I'm respecting marital boundaries. Y'all are free to guess what the fight was about in the comments, however, using the Code Phrase as a basis for your hypothesis. Drum roll please...

"At least the remote has new batteries."


And if you'd like to share your personal family Code Phrases, I'm all ears. And I'm sure everyone else is, too.


happygeek said...

I'm not even gonna hazard a guess on that one.
we don't have code phrases. I'd never even heard of such a thing. But situations that lend themselves nicely to developing a code phrase are already springing to mind.
Cool idea.

bbmomof2boys said...

Couldn't find the remote huh? Who was the last to have it - in our house it will be Little T! She has a thing for remote controls. If we can't find ours we ask her and off she'll go running to her one of her very many special hiding spots and pull one out. If its not the right one she'll run off again to fetch another one!!


Sherri said...

As you may remember, I have four older kids--21, 20, 18, 15--and when they were younger, my husband was very upset (screaming mad) with the way they left their things laying around the house, never bothering to pick anything up.

He dumped our kitchen trash can out on the floor, kicked the trash all over the floor, hiked his pants up as high as they would go, and said "Look at me! I'm a (insert our last name)! I throw trash all over the place!

So......in our family, when you reach that over the top level of anger, someone hikes their pants up and says "Look at me! I'm a (insert our last name)!"

jen@odbt said...

I'm not going to guess either. When husband and I start to get annoyed with each other we do the Friends' Ross/Monica hand gesture (fists thumping together). Then we crack up b/c it's so funny.

longbrakeliving said...

Hubby and I don't have any code phrases yet, but we do have a code hand motion for when we see a particularly cute baby. I'm thinking we need some code phrases though...

Carla said...

oooh....I'll have to think of some that don't involve topics I can't talk about openly on a family blog. ahem.

okay, there is "this house is a total wreck!" That translates into, Carla is very stressed at the amount of clutter, if the house does not get cleaned up soon then the stress levels are going to increase until such a time that things will get totally out of control...oh yeah, and none of THAT until house is back to acceptable levels of untidiness.

does that count? LOL

Sarah said...

Never a dull moment at the Tonggu House (as usual)!

Misty said...

i had to ask my hubby if we have any, and of course, he said, no, do we need some? silly.
however, i do have one from growing up, and you may be able to relate to this, but i still think i'm right!! :) apparently, in my teenage angst i got a bit snippy at times, and one night i was arguing w/ someone (sis? mom? i have no idea any more, but i'm still right... ) and i DROPPED the box of spaghetti noodles, but my mom thinks i THREW them.... to this day my sis will make references to when i threw the spaghetti as a way of saying/implying i'm overreacting. which i never do. b/cs i'm right. :)

Jboo said...

Great idea -- my mind is a blank today and I can't think of any of our code phrases!
Have a good week!


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Very funny post.
My dad still says, "All jets are airplanes, right?" when he wants to tell me I'm being stubborn, on account of an argument we had when I was little. I insisted that all airplanes are jets but not all jets are airplanes, instead of the other way around. He still thinks it's funny. But Dad, I was four years old!

Dawn said...

I'm gonna stay out of your business and not even guess on your phrase.

We do have one, too. It's "I didn't touch the cookies." Sometimes just someone asking about cookies (chocolate chip ones, in particular) are enough to send us into a fit of giggles. And in hopes maintaining the great relationship I have with my MIL, that's all I'm gonna say. No story this time. LOL


Aunt LoLo said...

i love how you can laugh at yourself. :-) Lo Gung don't have any code phrases that I can think of, mostly because I'm too proud to laugh over an argument (except for the time he got MAD at me for making an ugly apron. That just made me giggle.)

HOWEVER, when I was in school, a friend and I had an argument, and (after 10 minutes) she realized...I was RIGHT. Her response? "Well....you're STUPID, so it doesn't matter!"

Yeah. Smooth, right? Myrnie and I used that for YEARS (still do!) It means, "I know you're right, but admitting it hurts me, so I'm going to call you stupid now and just understand that it means that I'm admitting you're right by not admitting you're right." Got all that? ;-)

Cassi said...

I know this might sound bad, but it is nice to hear that there are others who sometimes do go to bed mad even when they have promised they never would.

YEARS ago, when our marriage was very new, hubby and got in a fight and he got so mad, he stormed out of the house and drove away. A few minutes later, he was back with his head hanging low - his truck had broken down on him at the end of the block.

Since then, when we tend to get heated in our arguments, we always end up with the saying, "Why don't you go take a ride in the truck" coming out of one of our mouths.

mama d said...

Around these parts, when ma or pa sees the other about to embark on some less-than-stellar parenting, we ask, "are you going to be voting [insert disliked political party here]?"

In high school, we had hand gestures for use at parties and other gatherings
- twirl of the hair meant "I'm totally into this guy, stay back girl!"

- touch the nose meant "I need a little help, but be cool."

- picking the teeth meant, "come NOW and get me away from this loser!"

The Gang's Momma said...

Well, nothing is coming to mind right now. Shoot, I think we need to get a de-fuser code phrase. And maybe one for some private time too. Having precious little of the one makes for a huge need of the other :)

Sharie said...

Well since I don't have a signficant other, Amelia is the only one I have codes with. She knows that if she hears me say 3, she better start doing what I asked her to. When I get to 2, she starts running to do what I said. Someone asked me last week what happens if I get to 1, I said "I don't know it's never happened." That's an excellent code!

Tonggu Grammy said...

As the proud owner of "the little red straw" code phrase, I would like to share another. When convinced that my husband, that would be the Colonel, is apparently NOT listening to me, I say "the cow's on the roof again." I used that years ago and it took him several seconds to process it, look up and say "what?" Now when he hears it he knows that I need him to pay attention to what I'm saying and that I don't want "umm-hmms and Yes, Dear".

a little leprechaun said...

Love the code phrases - very funny! Don't even want to guess what the newest phrase could mean, but it sounds like a dozie!! Hope all is well now!

Hope you have a good week!!

Michelle said...

I can't think of any that my husband and I have used recently, but my best friend from high school/college and I always used to use "I carried a watermelon" from Dirty Dancing. Does that count? LOL

Patty O. said...

OK, well, the one code phrase I can think of has to do with, well, you know.....Actually, now that I think of it, I realize we have a couple of code phrases for that. Hmmmmm....it's obvious what we talk about, huh?

This post totally cracked me up, mostly because I too overreact. My husband needs a good "red straw" phrase for me, I think.

Veronica Mitchell said...

"In Montana." It means that evangelical Christians can be inappropriately nosy. Long story.

And one I cannot repeat because it would show Az in the very worst light possible. It is the dumbest thing he has ever said, and I repeat to him to mean, "You are getting too angry and are acting like a crazy person." It works.

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

Oh yeah, code phrases!!!! We have several...

"Do you need a double cheese burger?" Usually said to me by my loving husband. 97% of the time, it gets laugh out of me.

"At least they didn't burn down the cabin." Usually said by me about the in-laws.

"You'sens ain't ate yet." This will cause my husband to twitch EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!!!!

"What? You're wearing purple underwear?" Which has morphed over the years and is sometimes said as "I'm wearing purple underwear." And just typing this has me laughing so hard that I nearly pee'd my NOT purple underwear. LOL!

I think there are a few more... but I'm laughing too hard to think of them.

Colleen said...

hmnnnnnn I guess my code phrase for my husband and my older boys would be "Don't be an a**". They get my drift. No sugar coating in this house...
Even my big 80's hair can't hide my horns : )

Soliloquy said...

I don't know if we have any of those - but it's going to be fun making them up!!

I'm thinking along the lines of "ShamWow. Who knew??"

Janet said...

Oh yeah. That is a GOOOOD post. ANd SO true. I can't think of code phrases right now, but it is SO true!

Mamatini said...

Love code phrases! They serve so well to diffuse building tension. We've got a couple:

"Bush got motto."
"Now? In the middle of a roundabout??"
"You know what I'm sayin', don't make me say it!"

Donna said...

Code phrases? Well, I know we have 'em but I can't come up with any right now because I don't have the benefit of some context to remind myself. Darn! Cuz ours are REALLY GOOD!

Anyway, I guess your "remote has batteries" is code for not freaking out over something when the cause of the distress is easily diagnosed.

Am I close?!?


Our blog: Double Happiness!

Donna said...

Sherri, you're killin' me!!!

I'm still laughing!!!

Our blog: Double Happiness!

Mary @ Parenthood said...

Ah gotta love the code phrases. We learned that technique during our premarital course.

They recommended passing an object back and forth to remind couples to listen to each other.

We thought that was funny for some reason and still use "I've got the pen" if we think the other person isn't listening properly.

Oh - and on the "sun going down" thing - Nicky Lee in the Alpha Marriage course suggests that continuing an argument when you are exhausted is not a good idea and recommends that you set a time limit for arguments (ie don't argue past 11pm). The expectation is that you come back to the problem to resolve the issue though. I always thought that was good advice. (I highly recommend the Alpha Marriage Course - although not if your relationship is on edge - I'd say it's best for strengthening a good relationship, not repairing a rocky one...)

Karen said...

Ours is "pot don't care". When we were first married, a salesman demonstrated expensive cooking pots to us. He was British and kept repeating this phrase, as in it was okay to abuse the pot in the cooking process. So, sometimes, we'll say "pot don't care" when the phrase is applicable to a situation!