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‘Did you say something to me?’

September 1, 2013
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Herald-Star community editor ( , The Herald-Star

"Did you say something to me?"

This is not an uncommon question that Better Half and I ask each other as part of our own Kiaski style of communicating or lack thereof.

I don't know how other couples exchange ideas, information, inquiries and general news of the day, but Better Half and I probably aren't the model for doing it the right way.

I would never expect our approach to having husband-and-wife conversations to be something a marriage counselor would encourage a troubled couple to try. Heaven forbid.

Better Half and I do our fair share of talking, of course. It's just not always directly to each other.

A lot of times we just mumble to ourselves and eavesdrop on each other occasionally for a sense of what's going on.

It kind of validates your existence to talk to yourself as you do the things you do.

"OK, Janice," I'll cheer myself on, for example. "Let's keep livin' the dream here and get this kitchen floor mopped!" in which case Better Half, having overheard this, doesn't need to bother asking me what I'm going to do, so we don't really have to talk-talk all the time.

He does the same thing.

"OK, Ki, what are you gonna' do?" I find myself listening with interest to discover what's on his agenda.

Now other times we do talk, and we even ask questions, in which case, the following scenarios can play out.

A. I don't immediately respond with the answers.

This drives Better Half a little crazy. It's a kind of process here, similar to eating. I chew on a question sometimes like it's a piece of beef jerky. I savor the bite, digest it, maybe even muffle a burp or two when it's all said and done. Then I have at it.

My dad was good for this. Ask him a question on Monday. Maybe Friday you'd have your answer. Then again, maybe not.

The waiting drives Better Half mad.

"Did you say something to me?" he'll ask out of impatience, wondering if I even heard the question in the first place.

B. I will answer the question immediately, but he can't hear half of what I said.

This is because I'll have my back turned, doing something else, or maybe I'm halfway in another room when it occurs to me to vocalize the response.

You would think I would bring better communication skills from the job site to the home front. Oops.

"Did you say something to me?" he'll ask, in which case I'll mumble the other half of what I assume he didn't hear.

C. Sometimes I get questions asked, and I have no trouble with a response.

"Are you hungry?"


"Are you tired?"

"Double yes!"

Other times not.

"Did you take a 20 out of my wallet?"

"Did you say something to me?"

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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