So...I'm learning a lot here at the psychotherapy conference...

Darlene is a bear if she doesn't have coffee immediately upon awakening. I mean, RIGHT AWAY, without question or hesitation.

Yesterday room service didn't deliver our morning coffee on time and I thought Darlene was going to chew through the wall!

"Humph!" she snorts. "Is this how they love me? Is it starting already? The OMNI thinks words are enough?"

She presses the OMNI Prompt Response button while I'm in the shower. I don't know what she said. Darlene is not normally given to saying mean things but the coffee arrived within moments after I emerged from my hidey hole in the bathroom.

"Humph!" she snorts. "It took them long enough!"

I look at my watch. It hasn't even been 10 minutes and there are thousands of guests here. Thousands of touchy-feely new age-ers (I can say this, I am one!)

Across from me, Darlene sputters. "Where's my bagel?! They forgot the bagels!! There isn't time! I'll be late to hear the Gottmans!"

She hops on the phone again. The upbraiding she is intent on delivering sounds like a polite, but strident, request. 10 minutes later we have hot, fresh bagels- no charge.

Darlene is mollified. I am totally pleased but Darlene has very tough standards. I can only think this has something to do with Tanisha telling her the OMNI loves her after they deny her an extra blanket. Once they swore their love, Darlene's minimum standards shot up through the roof.

But then, isn't that they way it always is when we fall in love?

The Gottmans think so. They said 69% of our marital issues are unresolvable. They said all marriages come with a set of perpetual problems- issues we will struggle with for the life of our relationship. They tell us this is inescapable and that our goal is to find people who have perpetual problems we can live with and then work on compromise. Our job as therapists is to help people learn to work on strategies for doing this.

I look over at Darlene and find her nodding understandingly. "You need to get their book," she says.

"What about you?" I demand.

Darlene smiles. Smug. "I already have it."

"Is it good?"

Darlene shrugs. "I don't know. I don't read books. I'm waiting for the CD."

At lunchtime Darlene takes me to a video lunch and learn lecture with Martin Seligman. He thinks we should focus more on helping people learn to be happier. He says we can do this by learning what our "signature strengths" are and then searching out jobs and situations that utilize those strengths.

Darlene has his book too.

When lunch is over, she turns to me, beaming. "I'm so happy!" she exclaims. "I think it was the coffee!"

I am reading this over to Darlene, searching out her approval when the phone rings...It's the freakin' OMNI calling Darlene to see how her breakfast was this morning! This call arrives on the heels of her discovery that last night the housekeepers redid her bed, including a freaking down comforter to make up for not giving her a blanket the night before.

"Do you have a down comforter?" she asks, giggling gleefully. "Ha-ha! You do not!" She is wearing a black slip, bouncing up and down on her bed, slinging her pantihose around like a feather boa as she leaps to her feet and begins to dance the hoochie coochie around our room. "That's right!" she crows. "They love me! Ha-Ha!"

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