I think I have a clearer picture of things now. After some discussion, it seems the real issues are:
1. She's stressed at work. Some of her kids are especially challenging this year. Sure, they're only 5 years old, but they have to learn as much as possible and behave. The school has testing to make sure the kids are learning what they need to. If the scores are low, the state sends in a team to take over the school, and everyone's job is in question.
Note that the American public school system isn't exactly seen as the strongest on the planet. For years we've heard about how great schools are in Japan and Germany. There's a real effort to improve today...but remember that we're not Japan. I mean, our schools should have clubs for "Future Criminals of America" and "Intramural Arsonists" as well as "Nobel Prize Hopefuls" and "High Income Earners of Tomorrow." We have a little bit of everything here; that's just who we are.
2. The usual business about us not having children yet. That topic always rears its ugly head when she gets pissed about other things.
3. I didn't stand next to her lovingly at the grocery store last night. My wife is short and likes to wear those "tall shoes" that women have been sporting the past few years. Platform, I guess you'd call them.
These shoes slow her down; they're like walking on stilts. I walk at a normal pace, then hear her clip clopping several lengths behind me.
My wife thinks I'm taking off in an effort to intentionally leave her behind.
I had to hear a litany of bizarre charges against my character this evening, which I endured by doing the "active listening" thing I learn in psychology class in college. It works like this:
Her: You blahblahblah...
Me: That must make you very frustrated.
Her: And you never blahblahblah.
Me: I can see how that would make you upset.
Her: I hate it that blahblahblah.
Me: So that makes you feel bad?
You can go on this indefinitely. She could be saying, "I'm going to put a power drill up your anus when you're asleep," and you just keep giving non-committal, yet sympathetic responses.
Then we got pizza and rented a movie. She's better now. (She gets very cranky when she's hungry.)
Tomorrow we're going to a wedding in her hometown, which is about two hours away. Its for one of her distant cousins, I believe. She's explained the relationship to me twice, and I still don't fully understand it. I have only two cousins, so my family is much smaller in comparison.