Tag Archives: marriage

My Nigerian Husband Has Advice for Dear Sugar


O: Honorable Punkin! I’m very sleepy. I was up late reading WILD.

Me: Wow, didn’t expect that. Um, remember our agreement about not taking books off my nightstand? I’m freaking out, looking for a book I have to teach, and it’s in your car…or in the liquor cabinet…or wherever you wandered to.


O: But I had to find out what happened to the lady’s mother.

Me: She dies. It’s on the back cover.

O: Not the details. Like the outline of the male nurse’s penis through his pants! Ha, her writing is very cinematic! She should consider making the stuff into a movie.

Me: Uh, someone kinda did. It’s kinda huge. It got nominated for an Oscar.


O: WILD is a movie?! Wow, so they took my advice!

Me: Yes. That is exactly what happened.




Quite on his own, O has managed to combine my mum’s childhood pet name for me with the Nigerian fixation on titles into the best pet name ever: “Honorable Punkin”!

It’s now his go-to move. He, say, forgets to pay the Internet bill or locks the cats outside with a possum (“I don’t know who Those People like to hang out with!” was his excuse); I’m ready to explode; he “Honorable Punkin!”s me; we both fall down laughing.

It’s a win-win for everyone (except perhaps Those People, as he’s taken to calling the cats).



How it starts: That sinking feeling upon hearing the sound of crunching cat food. You glance from side to side: both cats sprawl on the sofa, oblivious, on either side of you. A tentative glance over the sofa confirms it: the damn possum you saw dancing around the back door last night has made its move! The call is coming from inside the house!

Act 2:

Me: Standing on a carved stool screeching.

O: Crashing around cursing in my study with a broom.

Cats: Still sleeping. Seriously?!


Me: Do you have a plan? Because this chasing it endlessly room to room can only work if one actually *could* die of fright.

I suggest (from my perch atop the stool) blocking off the countless escape routes and directing it somewhere, whereupon O places the open cat carrier on one end of the liquor cabinet, and I bushwhack with a broom on the other. After giving a faint wave of distress, the possum steps daintily into the cat carrier.

Act 3:

O: I think we’ll deal with it in the morning.

Me: We’re not leaving a kenneled possum in the living room overnight!

O (surprised): Well, okay.

Me: Are you sure it’s a good idea to leave the possum in the cat carrier on the patio overnight? What if it calls friends or family?

O: Then they’ll see it in prison and learn something.

Me: Prison?

O: Yeah, it’ll be a deterrent. It’s a good thing, actually. I doubt we’ll see any more animals once they visit him in prison. Besides, it’s only a rat; now if it were polar bear…

Me: Yeah, I don’t think we’d be having a conversation about the polar bear in the cat carrier on our NoCal patio.

O: I’m just saying



Report from the porch: Everything peaceful in possum prison. Amalinze & Anansi only vaguely interested in the repurposing of their carrier. Let the neighbor’s cat come over to play and they lose their ever-loving minds. Yet a possum moves into the house, eats their food, and they sleep through the whole thing.



O: Is a possum a rat or a raccoon?

Me: Neither. It’s its own thing.

O: How can you tell the difference?

Me: Well, though the tails looks the same, hopefully we never, ever see a rat as large as a possum. And a raccoon looks like a bandit.

O: What’s that?

Me: It’s like an armed robber.

O: It has a rusty old musket and a scarf tied around its face?

Me: Not a Nigerian armed robber. A cartoon American one. In striped pajamas and a mask. And opposable thumbs.

O: I have no idea what you’re saying.

Me: That’s kind of the motif of this marriage.




Photo #1. “In college zoology, we studied opossums for 15 minutes; great class! Are those related to this possum-rat-thing?”


Photo #2. “Really!? You have marsupials in America? Mar-su-pi-als. This is where I should like to release my marsupial.”


Photo #3. “You’re snapping pix? Well, you’re a writer. I guess you have to document the Great Release.”


Photo #4. “Hey, you, Opossum. Don’t be Playing Possum! (That’s how the professor started the class; I’ll never forget it.) Wake up and enjoy your new ecosystem!”



O: These traps are surprisingly useful! Maybe we should go into the animal capture business!

Me: They’re not traps; they’re pet carriers. And I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t.

O: Nonetheless, I think I’ll go to the flea market and look for some used ones.

Me: Seriously?

More scenes from an interspecies marriage



Mum (overheard on the phone with O): So, dare I ask – is the kitchen done?

O: Uh, yeah. I’d say it’s done.

Me: Don’t lie to my mum! On Easter!

O: It’s not a lie. I mean, the only thing that really needs to be done is the grouting.

Me: Yeah!? And it took you 3 months to lay the countertop once we had it; another month to take the tiles out of the box; now the grout’s been sitting there 3 weeks.

O: I’m not worried about that one; I can do that in 2 hours.

Me: But haven’t. For 3 weeks.

O: Yeah, well, but I could.

Me: But haven’t.

Mum (on phone): So why haven’t you?

Me: Don’t ask for the narrative!

O: Well, see, there’s this one piece of tile that’s crooked. So I tried to take it out, but then I’d have to take out all the other pieces below it out to solve the problem. So the problem with that is that some might break. So then I’d have to wait till the weekend to go back to Home Depot to have the Filipino guy there cut some more pieces. And then you have to let them sit 2 days before grouting. But just the other day Faith was saying maybe it’s too much trouble and I should just leave them crooked.

Me (to mum): I warned you!

Mum (on phone): So when are you going to finish the kitchen?

O: Well, it’s actually finished, though maybe not technically.

Me: It’s NOT finished, period! The countertop is covered with butcher paper; there are saws and tiles and sealant and grout all over it; there’s hardware to be installed. If I can’t USE it, it’s not finished.

O (ignores me): Listen to her. Just 2 weeks ago she had a brunch, and I cleared off all the saws and people saw the new counter and even put food on it. So clearly you can use it.

Me: Oh. My. God.

Mum (on phone): Hee hee. I love talking to O!