December 20, 2009

You Asked For It... So Here It Is...

The really - not - so - very - clever - but - I - find - it - endearing - story - of how I became Chili Pepper and why my blog is called Art's Chili Pepper. So many people have asked me. In a moment of weakness, I promised Sande that I would tell her some day. Her persistence paid off, when I committed to telling it here on December 20th. Part of me doesn't want to tell you. Not because I don't want you to know. But because I so enjoy hearing all the guesses and educated explanations that I get in my email and comment boxes. Well, and the fact that it is so anticlimactic you will say, "That's it?"

I am sharing it today because today is a very special day for me. It is the anniversary of the day I made the second most important commitment in my life. The second best decision I have ever made. The one that has brought me unlimited happiness and joy in this world. Today is the day when, just as snow flakes started to fall, in a little old stone church, I married my sweetheart and forever best friend, Allen Robert Wachter.

In the earlier days of our marriage, shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland, my good husband, an EE went to work at a local engineering company. As part of his job description, he was assigned to equip and manage their new state of the art design and testing lab. Which, with its almost unlimited budget and high tech toys, was a dream job for my tech savvy hubby.

Now, a little more background is necessary to help you understand. That was about the time that call waiting was being added to all the new phones. You might be able to surmise this was in the day before cell phones. I know what you are thinking, I don't look that old. And thank you for noticing. (Ha! I crack myself up.)

Ahem. Anyway, Allen would often call me in the middle of the day to say hi or see how things were going at home. Now, one day he came home and was standing beside the phone in the kitchen and chatting with me as I fixed dinner. He started playing with the buttons, because boys and men alike must push a button if there is one within their grasp. He started reading the display of incoming calls. One name came up almost every single day.

Arthur Rodriquez. Now there are several odd things about this. One being that we didn't know anyone named Arthur Rodriquez. However, Allen had seen the name come across some memos. Arthur Rodriquez was a former employee of his company. Knowing that, and knowing that the calls came from his company switchboard, we deduced that it must be Allen calling home on his lunch hour.

Now, the weird thing was, sometimes the call showed up with his name and office phone number and sometimes it showed up as this Arthur Rodriquez. Eventually, we realized that those calls came from Allen's lab. It never made sense why it showed up with some random number and not the number of the lab and it never made sense why it showed a name that in no way was or ever had been associated with the lab. Actually, if I remember correctly, the man in question was actually affiliated with the San Diego office and had never even worked in Germantown. But hey, that is what it was.

Now, here is the thing. Allen came home one day and started flipping through the phone with his silly little grin and said, "Hmmm... did that Arthur guy call you lately?" I was confused for a minute and it must have showed on my face. He took full advantage of it, though. "It is awful funny," he went on, "That this name only shows up when I am not at home." I can't remember when I finally got the idea of his little joke but when I did some hugging and kissing might have been involved.

When I dubbed him my Mexican romancer he said that I must be his little Chili Pepper then. After that, when he called home from the office I would answer the phone with the most romantic voice I could and say something silly like, "Hello, Arthur. You know my hubby is not here." As all names are destined to around here, it eventually got shortened to Art.

I used that name so frequently, that some people actually thought it was his name! Which was very peculiar to the unknowing because Allen is of German heritage and happens to love Italian food more than any other ethnic food. Those who didn't know our little joke were always wondering how he got an Hispanic name.

When Allen set up my yahoo account four or five years ago, my standard "hundred acre wood" address had already been claimed. He was trying to come up with an address I wouldn't forget... can you imagine he thought I might forget? (If you said yes then you must know me well.) Thus, Art's Chili Pepper was born. Which, naturally spilled over to become the name of my blog not only because that is who I am but also that is why I write... because I am Art's Chili Pepper.



  1. Very sweet! I love it! I hope you two have a lovely anniversary today!

  2. Happy Anniversary!!! I hope you have a wonderful day. It certainly is beautiful with all the new fallen snow.

  3. Loved learning the story behind your nickname. That is so sweet. Hope you're enjoying the snow!

  4. Oh my goodness.. what a cute story!! Love it!!

  5. That is a cute story and I can just picture y'all joking around about Art calling! Sounds like something we would do around here :-)

  6. Ahhh. Thou art Art's afterall.

    Ha hah. Everyman need's spice in their life.

    So now I know!!! :}

  7. Sweet, cute and funny story Kat.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,