Tux Challenge Day 2: The Tyranny of a Tie Apres Work

tuxday2bHere is an exchange of texts between me and Zac yesterday. He sent the first message at 8:24, about 20 minutes before I was allowed to take off the tux.

Zac: Still tuxed up? Not Cheating? Chin up, champ!

Tim: [picture of Tim still in tux, flipping Zac the bird] In all seriousness, the time at home in the tux has been difficult. Far worse than the rest of the day.

Zac: I can imagine. Just 30 more times.

Most of yesterday, in truth, wasn’t all that difficult. Yes, I had some issues with sweat when I was forced to walk outside. But like most office buildings in North Texas, ours is kept pretty cool, so the time at work wasn’t bad. Some of the ladies walk around our office with Snuggies. (And by “some of the ladies,” I really just mean Laura Kostelny.) A tux at work in August is really no big shakes.

My house is a different matter. Owing to a midcentury modern design, we don’t have an attic. No attic means a thin heat barrier. Upshot: even with 6 tons of AC blowing full tilt, my house can only achieve a temperature of about 25 degrees below ambient. Yesterday’s official high was 107, tying the record set in 2011. I’ll do the math for you. My house was 82 degrees when I got home yesterday. Which is actually fine if you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

I was wearing a tuxedo.

Here I should probably apologize to my wife. And to my children. Maybe if I’d remembered to bring home some tasty, refreshing Patron XO Cafe, that would have taken the edge off. Instead, I’m afraid, I was a total bitch.

The first thing I did was start a fight with my wife about the temperature of the house. “It’s not exactly cool in here,” she said, perhaps innocently, by way of starting a casual conversation. I took it as a complaint about something that I should fix. I pointed out, helpfully, that when it gets to 107 degrees outside, THE HOUSE IS GOING TO BE LESS THAN FROSTY. Words to that effect.

“Listen,” she said, “if you’re going to be like this, I’ll put the kibosh on the whole thing.” Meaning she’d put an end to the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012, brought to you by Patron XO Cafe, with special help from Al’s Formal Wear. Let’s just say I don’t do well with threats.

My 13-year-old son wandered into the kitchen, assessed the situation, and asked me, “Wanna play some ping-pong?” I glowered at him and imagined the conversation I would have with the Child Protective Services agent when he asked about the contusion on my son’s buttocks that perfectly matched the shape of a ping-pong paddle.

“Out of solidarity,” my wife said, “I’m not changing out of my work clothes.”

“Then you’re foolish,” I told her. I’m sure it sounded much more loving than it looks in print. “If you’re not kidding, if you’re being serious and you’re not changing out of your work clothes to show solidarity, then that’s foolish.”

After that, we fought about an explanation-of-benefits statement that she’d received from Blue Cross Blue Shield. That was fun. Productive, too.

So to my wife and children: I apologize. I’ll try to do better. But just in case, we maybe ought to talk about the possibility of my not coming home every day until after 8:45, when the sun has set and I’m allowed to take off my tuxedo.


  • D. Shapiro

    Had that same AC conversation with my wife this weekend. 7k for new windows would help. Looking for a part time job to pay for them.

  • Poodle

    I love this. I really love this. Hot = cranky. It just does. You are very sweet to apologize publicly.

  • towski

    Your wife was a saint before all of this. If your marriage survives the next month, any pretensions upon scene control you may have harbored are shattered.

  • MishiRN

    Ut oh…all this at Day 2?! You better give your wife a weekly (or 2x a week) massage/shopping combo retreat. She’s a braaaave woman, lol! Much more than me…I wouldn’t go near my hubby!

  • Wes Mantooth

    To be fair, there is no amount of Patron XO Cafe that could make an explanation-of-benefits conversation tolerable.

  • @D. Shapiro: Our house was built in 1961. Window technology back then sucked. You’re right; new windows would make a big difference on comfort level. I priced them and did the math on how much money we might expect to save in heating and cooling costs. The equation doesn’t argue for windows.

  • At least I don’t live in India, where 600 million are without power. And it gets up to 115 degrees. Read this amazing account:


  • Caitlin

    Did you fight with Katie dog, too? 😉

  • John M

    My house was 71 degrees when I came home yesterday, I spent the afternoon in a long sleeve T-shirt and jeans until I went to bed and slept under a down comforter with a little living dog-shaped bed warmer. It was glorious.

    I’ll be doing the same tonight and for the next 29 days. There’s not really a point to this story, I just wanted you to have a reference point to think about tonight.

  • D. Shapiro

    Tim, same conclusion I came to. Savings of about $600 per year in cooling costs. Not worth it. 30 days in a tux in an effort to win a free one – I hope ithat’s worth it! It’s good entertainment for your readers though. Good luck.

  • @John M: If I attack you with a ping-pong paddle, no jury in the land will convict me. Watch it.

  • I don’t get it….Tim, I see now why your computer monitor and keyboard are 6 feet off the floor, you stand to type? No wonder your articles are short……especially when coming in from the heat…it must be tiring to stand and type. Have a seat man, relax!

  • @LewP: Sitting will kill you. I’m sitting as I type this, but I probably stand for 75 percent of the day. It’s much better for you.

  • @Tim Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know.

  • Wes Mantooth

    2 questions:

    1. What’s the penalty for failing to make it all month? Surely it’s gotta be something far more humiliating than merely failing.

    2 Can we make a mid-month substitution of a frilly-fronted shirt and powder blue 70’s style tux? I’d also like to see a couple days in full tails in a white tux, like Hanks’ character in Big.

    Gotta keep this thing fun if it’s going to otherwise result in the yelling at of women and children.

  • @West Mantooth: 1. I pay Zac’s tab on a weekend night at the Old Monk. 2. I like where your head is at. But I don’t think Al’s Formal Wear does those kinds of tuxes. I’ll ask, though.

  • Ket

    Slight correction: I like where your head is at. But I don’t think Al’s Formal Wear _still_ does those kinds of tuxes.

    I know they used to, I’ve got the photos to prove it!

  • Jonas

    Typically a bet or challenge is a win-loose proposition for both parties. This appears to be all win-win for Zac, what, with Patron XO sponsoring. Please tell me you were not that “foolish”.

  • Amy S

    Nobody can stay mad at a man in a tuxedo holding a large boquet of flowers. Just saying.

  • I feel your pain on the a/c issues. We have the same problem, same era home. We love the house, but summer just blows… hot air.