I’m Cheating on My Husband (Honey, Don’t Read This)

Well… paybacks are hell;
And I deserve to suffer;
But it’s so worth it.
—————————————————————–

He is traveling… My mind wanders. A sly smile crosses my face as I picture possibilities.

What to do, what to do…

And like Phineas, a voice in my head shouts: “Maureen, I know what we’re going to do today! Make pancakes for dinner so the kids will like you more than dad.”

And with that, I cheat on Frank. I use his “out of town-ness” as a means to ingratiate myself to the children. Pancakes for dinner are just the start. There’s an indoor picnic (my 21st Century name for eating on the floor in front of the TV). There’s dessert and skipping brushing teeth. There a 3D movie in my bed, lights off, just like the movies.  There’s staying up just a little extra and no book reading.

I am evil. Bwah hah hah. Any chance I get to establish myself as the cool mommy, I take it. Even if it means cheating on Frank and doing with the kids something I would normally discourage in an otherwise normal school night.  You see, I don’t volunteer in the classroom; it’s taken me the whole year to schedule a “reading” session with my son’s class; the babysitter makes a better sandwich than I do and I’m pretty sure the girl scout troop is scared of me. So I’m going to take any advantage I can.

Mind you, I’m not good at hiding my cheating ways. Thirty seconds after this posts, his email will tweedle its arrival. He will read it (at least he claims he does), so I do this with full knowledge that he is now fully aware and I’m stone cold busted.

But he’s traveling right now and can’t do a damn thing about it.   Heh heh heh…

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Notes to Self — Open November 1, 2013

My brain is a sieve,
With, alas, widening holes…
…………..What was I saying?

—————————————————

Every year at the holidays, I have to re-learn, remember or re-argue something that I’m so sure I told myself not to forget the year prior, but clearly did. So this year, I’m writing it all down with plans to read it ahead of the year-end craziness.  Here it is…

Notes to self

The Honey Baked Ham store does not require you to reserve a ham. Frank is always right about this. Stop humiliating yourself by insisting each year he is wrong, storming to the internet, only to find out he is right.

The Honey Baked Home store is open on Sundays during the Holidays. Again, Frank has the memory of an elephant here – let him have it.

You will debate with yourself as to whether you’ve bought too much or not enough for the kids at least 5 times.  Don’t think that this year is worse than last. They are all the same. And yes, you bought too much, but you always figure it out before Christmas Day.

Frank will be of very little help in the “did I buy too much or not enough” saga. He will simply witness the several debates you have with yourself that you insist having him present for. Don’t expect him to do more than nod. Again, this one works itself out in the end.

At their most limbic level, kids like empty boxes, no matter what the age. Simple is better.  Remember this when ordering presents on-line.

Don’t waste all the best Buddy the Elf on the Shelf hang out spaces early in the season.  It’s a looooong December.

You put the C7 lights on the evergreens and the mini bulbs on the roses. You wrapped only the red bud tree, not the birch. It requires every flipping extension cord you own.

Volunteering to holiday-sit the class gerbils always sounds cooler than it really is. They are just more things you have to keep alive. Think twice.

No matter what the witch-y voice in your head says, you haven’t been the only one doing things for the family for Christmas.  Give him some credit.

The Costco sized, 18-sleeve box of Ritz crackers will seem like a good idea December 1. Shortly thereafter, it will seem like a colossal waste of space. And then in the blink of an eye you’ll look in the box and find only 3 sleeves left. It’s a good call. Buy it and stop debating it with yourself.

Consider this year having a fancy Christmas Eve evening meal, instead of Christmas Day evening meal.  Or be ready to ditch that put upon feeling that comes around 4pm Christmas Day when everyone else is lounging around recovering from all the ruckus and you have to (wait, want to, remember?) cook.  Christmas Eve might just do the trick, and left over standing rib roast is still amazing…

Try to wait a little deeper into December before cutting a Christmas tree.  The week before Christmas 2012 ours had the moisture of a cocktail toothpick… not good.

Please add to this list each year, as I have a nagging suspicion I’ve forgotten something…

Camping Out… What Was I Thinking?

There’s no place like home:
A warm Aga, my house smell,
Bedding that missed me.

*********************************

I could have stopped at the title, right? You all know what this piece is going to contain: tales of insects the size of your palm; the stickiness of sweat that never evaporates; sentient rocks that migrate to the perfect position under your sleeping bag at the exact moment you finally drop off; a forgotten item that sends a child into fits of despair.

But wait… there’s more. We camped out at the zoo, which happens to be located more or less in the city.

Do you know what animals do at night? Well, it seems very few of them sleep. I didn’t realize that the peacock was nocturnal, but he sure as hell felt compelled to announce his presence several times during the night. Asshole.

And there is an insect, native to the zoo apparently, that makes the most peculiar noise. To replicate it, do the following. Go find a kids balloon, un-inflated. Put it in your mouth (warning: do this when the kids are asleep). Now chew with your mouth closed and your fingers plugging your ears. That eek-a-eek-a-eek-a noise? That is exactly what they sound like. But they do it, thankfully (?) at a slow, waltz-like pace… eeeek-a….. eeeeek-a….. over and effing over again. I kept praying the damn peacock would eat them. No such luck.

When the animals weren’t doing that they do in the middle of the night at a zoo, then the city filled in with its own orchestrations. The Cincinnati Zoo is right next to several hospitals. It was Saturday night. What happens on Saturday nights at hospitals? Ambulances like to visit. A lot. The occasional helicopter flew over, at times seeming indecisive about which roof top to land on, instead rather content to just hover for many looooong minutes. I know there were ill people aboard, so I didn’t curse them – I was grateful I was on the ground and not in the air. Rather, I cursed myself.

What the hell was I thinking? I was the one who found this event. I paid for it. I talked my hubby into it. I shared it gleefully with the kids, as I wanted to get them to quit asking “to camp out”. I figured the zoo camp out was an easy way to tick that box until next summer.

[Note: except for the sleeping (or more accurately the not sleeping), this was an exceptional event. Small group. Nighttime walk around the zoo. Animal visits. Behind the scenes tour. Really, a not-to-be-missed opportunity that I recommend to anyone near Cincinnati.]

It is simply that my body is soft. It has no clue how to deal with sleeping on the ground. As it is, I’ve reached the age where I can hurt myself when I sleep in a normal bed. Imagine my body’s reaction to a sleeping bag on summer-dry dirt. My god. The next day I felt like someone had beat me with a stick. In really strange places. With a sense of just the right angle to maximize joint pain and hamper mobility. It took me 40 minutes to make sandwiches for the kids. Later on, for some reason, I decided to bake, and try as I could, I just couldn’t get all the ingredients assembled in less than 30 minutes. My body was screaming; my brain a garbled mess from the total lack of good sleep. It took a strong cup of coffee at 2pm to finally shake me out of my stupor and get me somewhat productive the rest of the day, although I was in a coma (in my nice, comfy water-bed thankyouverymuch) by 9:15pm.

Here is the funny part. Did I say funny? I meant masochistic part. I would do it again. The kids loved it. It was relatively easy. There were toilets near by. We didn’t have to drive far. But next time, I won’t talk my husband out of the blow up mattresses (“they’ll be a hassle” I insanely told him hours earlier); and I’ll pack an adult beverage or two to ease the transition to dreams. Perhaps with some assistance, those nighttime animal calls will morph into some bizarre dream that will be worth it for the retelling.

[I must thank The Embiggens Project/Face like a frying pan for this post. It tickled me tremendously earlier in the day, and at one point during a sleepless interlude, I started thinking about it… and I started to giggle… which turned into silent body earthquakes as I tried not to wake anyone else. Tears were streaming down my face into my ears… I couldn’t stop. And since I couldn’t make any noise, it made the whole thing that much funnier. It was a welcome respite during the otherwise tortured audio events of the evening.]

Nothing like passing on your fears (more tales from the beach )

The warmth of the sun,
The ocean’s rhythmic wooshing…
My soul is happy.
———————————————–

I love the ocean. See the picture below from our hotel room for this Florida vacation.

Photo

I can hear the ocean rise and fall from our balcony. If you sit at the table in the kitchenette and look outside, you can only see the water, no sand –it is like you are on a cruise. (Cruise = heaven on earth for me)

I have rented two loungers and an umbrella for the week. They are about 30 feet from the water. Glorious view over the top of my book, past my sandy toes, toward the pretty blue hues.

Here’s the problem. I am perfectly happy to stay 30 feet from the water. I don’t mind walking around in the foamy bits, wading out a foot or so and letting my feet get sucked into the sand. That’s fun too. But I’m really totally fine going no further into the water.

Call me a victim of the 70’s and the movie Jaws. I know the chances of me getting eaten by a shark are more remote than my chances of winning the lottery (I didn’t look that up, I’m just hoping this is true; if you tell me otherwise, I’ll delete your comment). But I don’t care. I can’t see through it and there are no boundaries… that’s enough for me to stay at the edge.

My far-braver husband has no such worries. He takes both kids out 40 feet from shore (it is still quite shallow) and paddles around. All the time I’m completely panicked, watching from my umbrella shaded oasis. I motion them back closer to shore out of simple fear, always scanning the water for tell-tale bad omens. I am such a wimp.

Nevertheless I felt a little bad yesterday when my daughter got spooked. While way out with Frank, she saw a jelly fish. It wasn’t so close as to sting her, but enough to make her swim a hasty retreat back to the shore, where she remained for the rest of our beach time. Why did I feel bad? Because I was so happy. Happy that she was close in and happy to let my irrational fears take a nap for a while since she was not out to sea.  Let’s be clear – I don’t  scare my kids with death-tales-of-the-deep; but my actions (staying close to shore; asking them to not swim out so far) likely speak for themselves.

Today she once again didn’t want to venture out far… my happiness was tainted with a little regret that her innocent naiveté about the ocean has been burst, but not so much that I encouraged her to go out. Instead, I set up the sand toys and the pop up tent right next to me, a safe 30 feet away from the sharks, jelly fish and vicious rip tides.

Mother of the year – clearly lost it again.

The Simplicity of Men

Man’s simplicity
Brings joy, laughter, easiness;
Yet often ignored.
————————————————–

Happy (belated) Fathers Day to all the men out there who are dads. And if you don’t have children, well, happy guy day. Because I think we need to celebrate guys. As a genus, I am very fond of them. There are some species and subspecies that I think are a**holes (like ones who hurt women, kids and each other), but I choose to believe they are few and far between.

One reason I like them so much is they are simple beings, really. Food, water, sex and the gratification of a hobby are about all you need to provide Man.  If that just offended you I implore you to listen: I like men. I really, really do.  But you are simple. (Example: How many men just read that last line “I like men. I really, really do” and went instantly to some whore-like thought? Some of you, for sure… that’s what I mean. You are simple and predictable… fun.)

(I feel compelled to clarify: I don’t sleep around; I am happily married and faithful…despite my lustings for bathrobe man and running boy…)

My dearest exemplifies this simplicity often. Case in point:  on his birthday back in March, I had a fever, the baby sitter canceled, no date night…  his birthday was shaping up poorly… and I asked “What can I do to make your birthday special?” knowing he had all these strikes against him.

“Pole dance. Check! I can whip up the pole pretty quick,” he deadpanned. Relative to the answer I expected — cough cough coblowjobugh cough cough — this was quite original.  And just another example of the wonderful, simple, predictable Man.

Some women don’t appreciate this. They want men who can read minds, anticipate their feelings, pay full attention during the 4th quarter. These women are insane and clearly so high maintenance they shouldn’t breed.  Men can’t read minds. You have to tell them what you want. And you know what? I have found if the request is reasonable, they’ll deliver.  I told my beloved that our wedding anniversary was a mandatory flower-giving event. The only one in our calendar. I could have have chosen to not tell him and then get pissed off when he gave me only candy or a card, but I didn’t — I told him. I did so because he said once “men typically don’t want to piss women off… just tell us what’s going on…”. So I did. And 19 years strong, he is still delivering the goods.

So to those women out there who live their lives disappointed in the men they claim to love, step back and count your blessings. Learn to laugh and be grateful for the companionship of one so easy to understand. Be clear what you want (but don’t push it…). And I think you’ll find they’ll do right by you. Learn to appreciate how they love you; how they love their children (even if it isn’t how you would do it); learn to love how they fold your shirts (even it if isn’t how you would do it).

And if that doesn’t work, install the pole and I’m guessing they’ll forget all the other bitchin’.

Addendum: Since this post is about guys, I asked Frank to read this. His concern was that it made him/other guys seem shallow. This is not my intent. I think relationship-wise, Man is simple. But this doesn’t preclude depth of feeling, depth of intelligence, depth of capability across all the domains of life.  More reason to love Man: depth and simplicity, a lovely combo.

Do your new reading glasses make my ass look fat? The evolution of a marriage…

Small, square, the ad read:
“…A cuddly renaissance dude…”
With that, I was hooked.
———————————————-

Today I celebrate 19 years of wonderful marriage to Frank. Wow. Nine-teen. That’s a lot. We’ve known each other 20 years – yikes!  that’s like two decades! It has both felt like a very short period of time and like forever, because it seems I can’t recall much before we met.

I’m not sure I’m going to add anything new to the “anatomy of a marriage” genre, but I thought a trip down memory lane would be fun to write. So I present to you my marriage, in 6 stages:

Dating, 14 months: We spent a lot of time at my apartment. I lived alone and it was snuggly.  During this time Frank killed a rat in my apartment (the rat had the strength of 10 men and the daring of a playboy centerfold; I was terrified). He took me sledding for the first time in my life (winter snow is a little thin on the ground in middle Georgia).  It was a lovely place and a lovely time. I enjoyed our courtship a great deal. (I know, I know, who the hell calls it a courtship…)

Marriage years zero to 4: Our first apartment together. I moved in first, a few weeks before the wedding. I knew when the washer and dryer arrived the day after I moved in — my first major appliance purchase ever, let alone with another person — that this was serious. Why the 100 wedding invitations and the white dress hanging in the closet didn’t also convey this, I don’t know. But the washer and dryer… that was it. It was a great apartment. All new building, third floor on the back. We could watch the fireworks at Kings Island every night from the deck (ok, so you had to stand at one end and lean over the railing a little). We lit fires in the fireplace (also a novelty to this childhood victim of gas heat).  We sat on the floor and ate on the glass-topped coffee table in front of the TV so often I made a little table-cloth. (It currently lays folded on a shelf 4 feet from me now; we’ve never been able to part with it.) When we started rehabbing my husband’s childhood home, spending all but sleeping hours elsewhere, the place felt less lived in. Imagine my surprise then when we moved out in 1997: I sobbed uncontrollably at the loss of our first marital home. Even Frank shed a tear.

Homeowners, Part 1: We were virtually immobile for the first 2 years of our life in this home. The previous 18 months of near constant rehabbing had stripped us of our youthful vigor (being newly married and mostly broke, we did almost all the work ourselves. We started by removing the entire roof, trusses and all, and setting new trusses with a crane, if that gives you an indication of how much work we did…). The walls remained boring beige. The last few bits of rehab went untouched for years. But we enjoyed being homeowners. Frank bought me a go-kart disguised as a lawn mower which I joyfully drove like a maniac every summer weekend. I planted a few vegetables. I took a landscape class and redid the front yard. Frank put in a concrete driveway that could withstand the landing pressure of the space shuttle.  Five years after moving in, and nearly 10 years into our marriage, we decided to start a family and quickly (and thankfully) after that, our daughter was born. (I loved painting her nursery (thanks Teneal!) and would silently weep when years later it was undone by another family.) We had cats and house plants and relatives next door and across the street. It was a good party house and the vaulted ceiling hosted a 12 foot tall Christmas tree each year. When we sold the house in 2005 to the first people who looked at it, we were pleased someone who appreciated our hard work, craftmanship and obvious love of the place had purchased it.

The Expat Years: In 2005 we moved to England for my job; Frank became a stay at home dad. We learned to drive on the other side of the road and call it rubbish and motorway and car park and mum. I loved it… and it was hard. Redefining your roles in a marriage and as parents isn’t easy, and often I struggled balancing work (and my perceived higher expectations being an expat) with being a second-in-command parent with being a mom with being a wife with wanting some alone time. But we learned to go with the flow.  Two years into it our son was born and I watched with amazement as my husband grew into an expanded role as caregiver and home-keeper and I chilled out about being the primary breadwinner and an expat. Although we were happy to come back to the US in 2008, I will always love England. I never did fully say goodbye to our rental home there… not sure why.

Growth & Maturation: Remember 2008? Gas prices were sky high? House prices were rock bottom? We returned then, rented a home and stood ready to finally build a house on the 5 acres we had purchased in 2000 in a dream location in the country. But we had to wait. Had to get one kid in school and one in daycare. I had to get used to a new job with what seemed like a 24 hour clock. Frank had to restart his engineering business. And we had to decide on how to proceed with building the house.  Have Frank be the general contractor or use a builder? Will the bank loan us the money in this economy? The house we designed will cost HOW MUCH to build? Meet with the architect and redesign the house smaller with fewer bells and whistles. Revisit the budget, crunch some numbers. Argue with the homeowners association that we weren’t quite yet ready to build… These were the longest 18 months of our marriage I think. My son wasn’t getting along in day care; we were falling deeper in love with our daughters school 45 minutes in the opposite direction from our 5 acres. Did we really want the custom home? Was country living really the right thing for our little family? Was day care really the best option for AB at this time? Did we want a nice house but no money for vacation for the next 20 years, or some other path? When the universe presented to me, one January afternoon in 2010, a 4 bedroom house less than one mile from school on over an acre… an English Tudor no less… with one of those rock bottom prices nearly half of the dream home’s… well, the rest as they say is history. It was one of the most mature things we ever did – picking the collective future of our family over an old dream that didn’t really fit anymore. It was like finally parting with that really cool pair of designer pants that you bought on deep sale at Saks on a whim… they fit, but you never really had the right place to wear them, but you couldn’t bear throwing them out.  Selling the 5 acres felt like taking those pants to Goodwill. You know it’s the right thing, but you still wonder if you made the right decision – will you have just the right event to wear them to come up in a few days…

Homeowners, Part 2, No regrets: 2010 – to present.   I love my marriage. I love my kids and husband and the family we make. I love my house. I (mostly) love my job. We have a good dog and a short commute.  We sold 5 acres of specialty property in a down economy. We can take a vacation each year. The cars are healthy. I have to honestly say I am more content now than I have ever been. Don’t get me wrong — the first 19 years have been wonderful and I’m happy for the journey (and often dumbfounded at my good luck that started with reading that personal ad one NyQuil-drunk March evening…). And yet right now, everything seems to have come together at the same time. I have always mocked those 40-ish actresses who report that their 40s are sooo much better than their 20’s and 30’s. That they know themselves better, feel more comfortable with themselves, etc etc. I don’t feel like I have that level of self awareness – I have no clue if I “know myself better” or not. However, when viewed through the lens of the last 20 years… of the evolution of my married life, well then I must agree. It is, right now, the best. Amongst all the really amazing and wonderful great times, now is the best.

All my love, Frank. So very glad you picked me.

Oh, Great… New Guilt (flavored with Gratitude)

(the following haiku must be spoken in your best wrestling announcer voice…)

It’s a G word fight!!
Guilt v. gratitude… cage match!
The victor? Stay tuned…
………………………………………………….

I work full-time and my husband stays at home with the kids (one in school full days, one in half days). He manages the household – laundry, cooking, grocery, a little cleaning, home and car repair. I bring home the bacon, manage the finances, do some yard work and also clean house when I’m sufficiently motivated (e.g. when company is coming).

This set up has been working for us for about 7 years. In those seven years, I’ve become thoroughly experienced in a variety of guilt:

– how much I like my job
– 7am conference calls that mean I don’t see the kids in the morning
– 8pm conference calls that mean I tuck the kids in at bedtime
– That between 7am and 8pm conference calls, I don’t give Frank as much attention as he deserves and I want
– How I don’t contribute very much to the non-financial aspects of this family
– That I can’t recall the last time I made it to a dentist appointment for the kids
– That the kids more or less like him as much as me now
– That he doesn’t get much time with people over 4 feet tall
– That when I get home from work sometimes all I want to do is hide under the bed and not talk to anyone or do anything, which means he never gets a break.
– Working out since I’m already not seeing the kids much

Well, friends, I have something new to feel guilty about, and it is an interesting role reversal guilt: Frank has gotten a job.

We’ve always known this would happen. Long ago we decided that once our youngest started full-time school, Frank would return to work. We need the income to support some choices we’ve made (namely private school). And it would be nice to take a vacation to someplace other than my parents’ house. And our savings account is quite dusty… You get the idea.

But now the time has come. He job hunted, found his engineering skills still very marketable, and has a great new job starting in a month. The kids know that he is going back to work. Here is just a sampling of what I’ve heard them say over the last few weeks:

–         But who is going to take care of us (because clearly we are now going to just leave them home alone…)
–         But I’ll miss daddy
–         But daddy has always been the mom
–         But I don’t want him to go back to work

So now on top of all the other guilt that I’m experienced in, I now get to add the “I don’t make enough money to fully support us and now the kids are sad because dad has to work” guilt. Wow, that’s a fun one. Now, no one is making me feel this way. Frank hasn’t overtly said: hey, would you please make more money?  But would he rather not have to get a job that makes $XYZ and instead do something that makes some ill-defined amount of money and is super flexible? Sure he would.  And the funny thing is, I would too. These last few weeks, as we’ve managed kid and adult sickness, job interviews, extra yard work, new spring activities for the kids, doctor appointments, etc etc., it has become very clear to me how much I’ve come to rely on his flexibility and the work he does around the house.

I’m also feeling a wee bit guilty about the nugget of resentment I’m realizing I have because him going back to work is going to mean more “work” for me, too. (that has to be the most bizarre sentence structure ever) I’ve truly benefited from him handling the daily stuff and now I’ll have to handle some of it too.  Laundry, picking up around the house, grocery shopping, post office visits, and on and on.  (Again, I’ve always “known” how much he handles at an intellectual level, but the last two weeks I’ve felt it “real time”.)  The concept of taking what little discretionary time I have in the evenings and dividing it up across more chores is not a thought I enjoy lingering on.

Part of me keeps snarking at myself: you have a great job that you love, your kids are healthy, your husband is a saint; boo hoo hoo, you have to work around the house some more so you can have your private school/vacation cake and eat it too; cry me a river.  I get that. I respect that. All good points.

That’s why I’m pleased the majority of me has been realizing how much gratitude I feel for Frank.  He graciously, and with almost no debate, pulled himself from the workforce to do right by the kids and our life during the last 7 years.  He doesn’t complain unreasonably. When I’m beat and want to hide under the bed when I get home, he diverts the kids’ attention so I can do just that. He reminds me that we are a team… I have my role and he has his, and together is how it all gets done. And now that he is the one having to change it up (again!) he’s been totally cool.

So I think it is time to end the G word versus G word battle raging in my head these last few weeks, and remind myself what my friend Lynette told me many years ago – guilt is a useless emotion. (I’ve also really enjoyed reading Becky and Susan’s posts over at Working Moms Against Guilt about their recent transitions – very inspiring; so nice to know I’m not alone.) Instead, I will keep gratitude high in my awareness and enjoy watching this family explore new routines and responsibilities (the kids have no idea that they are going to get tapped to do more around here… announcing that should be fun…). We’ll figure it out.

I’m Sick (or Why They Make You Take Vows)

Her head, heavy as lead;
Her throat, makes sounds like a goat.
South from there sucks too.

…………………………………………………………………..

I’m sick. (pathetic cough, grimacing swallow)

I have a headache – actually, anything north of my shoulder blades feels like it has been knitted together with steel wire. Stiff, pokey, extra heavy.

My sinuses have decide to expand to monumental proportions, and I’m quite confident they would have burst out of my face if it weren’t for the steel wiring.

My throat is currently home to… (I couldn’t find a word to adequately describe what feels like “my flesh having unsuccessfully met a cheese grater” so for inspiration I decided to google “images of sore”, at which point I lost my desire for further descriptive words. Don’t try that search at home, it will haunt you.)

And my fever, despite assaults by way more ibuprofen than the manufacturer thinks I can survive, has held on. 103 sucks. 103 for two days has left me gooey and useless. I spent all day yesterday in either the recliner or in bed.

To top it off, my son and daughter are also not well – fevers, infections — but they are well enough to insist on joining me on the recliner or talking to me approximately .0005 seconds after I finally drop off for a nap.   Trust me when I say that I continue with my not mother of the year streak.

Which leaves Frank. Frank the wonderful. Frank the sent from heaven. Frank the “I don’t deserve you”.

Today, Frank earned the “that’s why they make you take vows” award.  As if yesterday wasn’t bad enough (my inability to do more than lay down required far more attention from him than you might think), today topped it by a lot.  I’m not going to tell you what happened (What?!? Me not reveal something embarrassing and personal? Surely this is the antibiotic talking…). Just know that it involved me and required his help. Awkward help. God love you kind of help.

And he stepped up. Did what needed to be done without complaint. He could have made some jokes about situation, but he didn’t.  I love this man. I’d like to say that I would do the same for him. If I had a better memory I might recall such a circumstance in our 19 year history, but I don’t.  I also have a fairly horrible track record when it comes to patience for the sick. After about 36 hours you had better be well, because my attention and sympathy are waning. (This last sentence really applies to other adults, not so much for the kids; somehow the kids are blameless but the adults are faking lay-abouts…) All this adds up to some doubt on my part as to whether I would be as good to him as he has been to me. Nonetheless, I will hope that I, too, step up.

So this post is dedicated to my beloved.  Thank you thank you thank you for picking me. I’m a better person for it. I promise to do my best to never put you in a situation that nominates you for this award again.

Men, Magazines and Me

A sewage eating
rodent died in Frank’s colon
gack…help…must…not…breathe….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have been trying for ages to find something to write about that would fit the above haiku. It is one of my all time favorites, obviously not for its artistic quality but for how I believe every person living with a grown man can identify with it and readily reflect back to their own version.

I know, it’s gross, but if you are here looking for high art, then I suggest the back button. (Note, my last posting was the anomaly, not this one…)

Anyway, my inspiration was cleaning. About once a month, usually with the waxing moon, I am possessed enough to clean and straighten the house to mother-in-law acceptability. This time, as I was working my way through one of the bathrooms (“… playdoh goes downstairs… coat hanger to the closet… legos to AB’s room… fork (fork!?! eww, who eats in here!?) to the kitchen…”) I came across our requisite stack of magazines. Well, HIS requisite stack of magazines. If there is a publication about something with wheels, he receives it at alarmingly quick intervals. And then he reads each one, cover to cover.

In 30 minute increments.

Twice a day.

In one of two bathrooms.

Yes, I have two bathrooms containing stacks of his magazines.

Now, I have no issue with his love of literature. I have no issue with the regular exercising of his internal organs. My issue is that said literature keeps expanding said exercise periods such that I’m not sure he does anything but poop between dropping off the kids in the morning and picking our son up before lunch. I also resent the number of trees killed between his magazine obsession and, well, his other paper filled endeavors.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just a few magazines. I mean, as a guest in someone’s house, it is always interesting to nose about in their bathroom reading material on your way to picking through the medicine cabinet, right? It gives great insight about your friends, and provides much gossip for the car ride home. But I’m a little self-conscious about what people must think when looking through ours… Here is what I imagine goes through their head.

1. Good grief, how much reading can one man do in the bathroom?

2. What’s the difference between Rod & Custom and Hot Rod Magazine? All the cars look the same.

3.  This is a book called “Building A Shed”. It has 218 pages. What in god’s name does he do in here?

4. Street Rodder? Car Craft? Really? I didn’t know that there were this many magazines about cars. See point 2… I’m confused. Wait, is that a hot chick on the cover… cool.

5. Fine Homebuilding Magazine. Never heard of it. “15 different ways to put in stair railings”. Man that sounds boring.  What’s in the medicine cabinet…

And then they emerge, a little shell-shocked, because the medicine cabinet only reaffirms their belief that we are a little weird  (6 different types of children medicines, most out of date, 3 tampons, 2 tile samples and bag of cough drops).

Oh well. I picked him nearly 20 years ago, so I guess I’m stuck with him (plus, as I’ve said before, I’m no picnic either).  I’ll just keep buying Febreeze and insisting that he purge the magazines every 2 months or so.

And to potential visitors, you have been forewarned. (Apologies in advance.)

A New Definition of Normal (Not for the Squeamish)

First the dog threw up…
on the kid…. and then the kid
threw up… on the dog.*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When work gets a little nutso, I tend to call my husband. His voice just seems to lower my blood pressure and remind me what really matters. Today was like that: I called him as I was heading to a meeting and told him “I just need a little normal”. He laughed, wondering how bad it must be if the happenings at our home seemed normal, but proceeded to tell me about his morning, AB’s morning, etc. And then he told me about our “normal” dog.

Seems Lily the wonder poodle went out to poop this morning, very normal indeed, but then she pooped two or three more times while in the yard. That’s not normal. When she finally came back in, Frank noticed that she still had poop hanging out of her bottom. Again, not at all normal; in fact, a little alarming since this has happened a few times in the last few days.  Then he shared the best part of all: as he was pulling the poop off her bottom, he pulled a paper towel out of her ass.

Half sheet.

Totally intact.

And after he did this, he proceeded to pull a second half sheet paper towel out of her ass. It appears that just like a canister of wet wipes, when you remove one, the next one pops up, waiting to be extracted.

Oh my god. I don’t think normal will ever be the same again.

We then had a great time with the puns. It is no longer “select a sheet” but “select a shit”.  Plus, the new selling line is the “quicker pooper-upper”. This went on for several minutes and I encourage you to add your own thoughts in the comments section.  He then threatened to rinse them out and lie them side by side with other slightly used paper towels to see if I could tell the difference. The call ended soon thereafter.

(For those of you wondering why I feed my dog paper towels… we caught her red-handed on Sunday licking the “breakfast-bacon-draining-paper-towels” which she had fished out of the garbage; had no clue she had already scarfed down two.)

Anyway, before I ended the call, I proclaimed my continuing appreciation for my husband and his willingness to deal with these types of situations. (I would have collapsed immediately upon noticing the fluffy end sticking out; he doesn’t rattle near as easily.) I returned to spread sheets and conference calls, but kept reflecting on the visual image of him, with the kids mesmerized by his side,  pulling out the paper towels like a magician fishing scarves from inside his clenched fist. I’m sure people wondered why I kept smiling.

(Note: Thanks to Frank for the wet wipes and magician metaphors! Stolen with his full knowledge.)

(*by the way, only the first 8 syllables are truth; the rest is just funny to visualize)

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