Having a husband in the building trades has opened up new vistas in my vocabulary. It never ceases to charm me how a bunch of big, gruff, manly men can sit around and politely discuss the intimate details of some of my favorite little anachronisms, like a "powder room," and a "lavatory." I've learned that a Juliette balcony is exactly what you think it would be: a small, round balcony, often with a wrought-iron railing, overlooking a swooning youth in tights. And what is a story pole? It's a two-by-four, driven into the ground, whose height matches the projected height of the finished house so you can gauge how much of the view from other properties might be blocked by the new roof; it's a pole that tells a story!

The other thing I've learned about is the tonnage rule. This means that if you roll up to an intersection at the same time as an eighteen-wheeler loaded to the gills with lavatories and Juliette balconies, the person whose vehicle is most at the mercy of inertia gets to go first. Which means not you, you cute little Volkswagen with the daisy in your bud vase.

But I've also realized lately that I've long operated respecting the emotional tonnage rule as well. The emotional tonnage rule states that the person with the most urgent need gets to go first. Unfortunately, I am prone to allow some abuse of this rule, as I tend to defer to people who scream at me. Unless they're short. Then they're fucked.

Anyway, despite my attempts at taking control of our apartment's television technology through the magical TiVo, I keep getting crapped on by not one but TWO men, one big and one small, both of whom have figured out not only how to use the remote control but to lose it, and their urgent network needs continue to trump mine every time. It can seem fantastically necessary that we watch "Baby Looney Tunes" right now, yes, little Bug, but here comes a man with eighteen smoking wheels and god help you if you try to change the channel WHEN THE YANKEES ARE 1-1 IN THE PLAYOFFS.