“Turns out it was six sizes too big.
“She did not speak to me, except through the children, until Valentine’s Day.
“‘Tell your father Cupid is dead.’”
The book is peppered with short asides from Steve and Kathy, helpfully labeled “Mr. Happy’s Advice” and “Mrs. Happy’s Advice.” So you can zero in on the most crucial nuggets of wisdom -- such as Steve’s suggestion for husbands who want to tackle home-improvement projects: “My advice is to go ahead and try the easy stuff. You can paint things, replace light bulbs and mow your own lawn, I think. However, when it comes to tricky stuff like electricity, plumbing, major construction or dented doors, call somebody who needs to make a Lexus payment.”
And this “note to cheapskates” from Steve’s wife: “The life of a miser is a lonely one. Why are you saving? For retirement with that person you just berated for buying a four-dollar café mocha latte? Four bucks, big deal. When you’re retired, you can go to the early-bird special and save five -- the cost of that coffee drink. There is something called Quality of Life. So don’t make a big deal when your spouse occasionally buys something that makes her feel good. Life is short. Even if the time until the next Diners Club bill comes is shorter.”
And I haven’t even gotten to the child-rearing part of the book -- wherein we learn, among other things, why you shouldn’t let your young son sit in your lap while riding around your steep yard on a riding lawn mower, and how to handle the lukewarm gratitude your daughter will shower on you after you’ve helped her sell 307 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to your co-workers.
But as Steve notes, what really matters in the end is being able to look back and realize that, sprinkled amid the blur of daily life, were many good and happy moments -- and to be grateful for a spouse who knows you, understands you … and loves you anyway. If that’s all you take away from “The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook,” then you’ll be happy indeed.