Archive for October, 2012

5 Ways to Stay Married for 80 years (or less)

October 13, 2012 8 comments

On the eve of my seventeenth wedding anniversary, I recall our best man’s speech at our wedding reception, in which he wished us happiness for eighty years.  EIGHTY YEARS.  You have got to be kidding me.  There’s a man who clearly didn’t excel in math or held a mistaken belief that bacon cheeseburgers increase longevity.  Okay, so we’re not hitting numbers quite that impressive yet, we are getting up there.  Generally, it’s fair to say that if people’s mouths drop open when you tell them how long you’ve been married, it’s a damn long time.  And still, I would do it all over again.  I adore my husband and I love all the things that my marriage has become and I feel that I would be remiss if I did not share some tips on maintaining a marriage for five hundred years over a decade.

Forgive, but remember forever.

Whoever came up with that “Forgive and forget” nonsense was clearly never losing an argument with a spouse.  Use this technique sparingly, but know that one day that memory of the time someone failed to notice your new shoes or that you mowed the lawn will win your argument and maybe net you a nice dinner out, or at least another apology.  You must absolutely forgive with all sincerity, but you still need to be able to call out your spouse on the stupid things that they have done, for the rest of all time.  That’s called “having a shared history.”  A word of warning:  This goes both ways.  Try to avoid doing stupid things.  I’ve been hearing about one damn pan of burned brownies for going on seven years now.  Dude cannot

Honesty is a dangerous policy.

I can’t stress enough how vital complete honesty is in a marriage.  However, it can be a minefield of hurt feelings and grudges if you aren’t careful with it.  For instance, I rely on my husband to be totally honest with me about which clothes make me look fat and which don’t.  He has, sadly, taken a completely ridiculous amount of time to learn the difference between “completely honest” and “completely blunt.”  A little diplomacy, please!  You can’t say, “oh no, you look like a cow in that.”  You should say, “That one looks better.  This one doesn’t flatter your curves.”  Also, no matter what ridiculous thing your spouse might be trying out with his facial hair, the appropriate response is:  It’s your face, do what you want.  Believe me, this, too, shall pass.  Not many men will actually go the distance with mutton chops.

Don’t go to bed angry.

This is a classic gem that still holds true.  I think the idea is that you should not let unresolved conflicts linger.  In reality, it’s just a safety issue.  Why in the world would you think it’s a good idea to piss someone off, then lie down beside them and go to sleep, completely defenseless?  Do you have no sense of self-preservation?! This is just insanity.  Do you have any idea how easy it is would be to smother someone in their sleep?  Personally, I employ a guard cat at night, just in case, but I do my level best to make sure that I’m still on Hubs’ good side when we go to sleep, regardless of what level of crazy I have introduced to his life that day.

Keep Secrets

For each other, that is, not ever from each other!  Look, you don’t want anyone to know about the time you pooted so loud it scared the dog, right?  You’re relying on your spouse to keep that secret, even though it’s probably the funniest story he has and it’s killing him not to share it on Facebook.  Return the favor.  When you made that vow about better or worse, you also vowed to bear witness to some of the most embarrassing and hilarious events of your spouse’s life.  And you must never speak of them.  Ever.  It’s a special kind of torture, to be sure, but it must be done.  Or everyone will know about your digestive issues, forevermore.

Love is Patient

Any woman who has ever needed five more minutes to blow dry her hair or find the right pair of shoes knows how true this statement is. (Not at all, is how true.)  Love isn’t always patient, there are moments when it’s not kind and it is sometimes stricken with a fierce jealousy but it will endure all things, if you help it along.  Marriage is not always fun and it’s not usually easy, but if you’re with the right person, it is always worth it.  As long as you can still lean on each other in the hard times, forgive the bad moments and laugh at the same jokes, you’re doing it right.

To my husband, (who will never read this, because he hears quite enough of my babbling in real life, thankyouverymuch), I love you more today than I did on our wedding day.  And I really love you more than that day you deleted Grey’s Anatomy without asking if I had watched it yet.  But I forgive you.  Thank you for being my person.



English! Do you Speak it?

October 11, 2012 10 comments

Do you ever have times in your life when you feel like no one is hearing you?  Don’t you wonder if you have somehow begun speaking a foreign language without realizing it?  Do you, like me, have nearly irresistible urges to go all Samuel L. Jackson on the world?

“Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you.”
photo courtesy of

I strongly believe that this is the reason women are so often labeled “nags.”  I’m not nagging, it’s just necessary for me to repeat myself thirty-two times in order to make my point.  And even then, more often than not, I have been so unclear and confusing that one has no option other than to simply interpret my words the best way they can.  Through much observation and careful study, I have developed the following guide for interpretation.

The Kids

What I say:  Kids, I need you to (do chores, homework, get ready for bed, get ready for school…)

What they hear:  Please go into the other room, turn on your favorite television show or video game and enjoy yourself.  You have no other responsibilities, so don’t even worry about it.  Also, please close the door so that I won’t disturb you with my incessant shrieking.

My response:  Incessant shrieking, of course.  I am certain, even though we don’t know our next door neighbors well, that they know both of my children’s full names and what their nightly chores are and also that my children are not capable of remembering to brush their teeth unless they are reminded five times at increasing volume.

The Doctor’s office

What I say:  I have questions about this new medicine, can you please address these concerns?

What they hear:  I am going to be a completely ignorant and hysterical mother.  Please brush off my concerns and tell me things that make no sense.  I won’t know the difference, I’m just a stupid non-medically-trained person who needs reassurance with no substance.

My response: Since it’s generally unwise to be snotty and rude to people who have any measure of control over you or your children, I hold my temper.  And repeat my (valid) questions.  And ask for help.  And tell the nurse in no uncertain terms that I will not sit idly by for two weeks hoping that a medicine that is not working, will magically start working, while my child is clearly getting worse on the medicine.  I don’t buy it.  I might not have a medical education, but I do have common damn sense and I have a right and a need for information and help.  God knows I’m paying enough for it.  We’re already hundreds of dollars in the hole, even after our very good insurance has paid, and we have a couple of inconclusive test results and worthless prescriptions and a best-guess diagnosis.  The least you can do is talk to me like I’m an intelligent person.

At Work

What I say:  I don’t know/remember how to do that.

What they hear:  I know exactly how to handle that issue, but I’m not going to tell you because I’m spiteful like that.

My response:  I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know!  There are people at work who are absolutely convinced that I know how to do everydamnthing.  While that’s flattering, it is also annoying as hell when they won’t let it go.  Sometimes I don’t know.  Sometimes I could figure it out, but I don’t have time and you should figure it out on your own.  Sometimes you just need to ask someone else.  Virtually all the time, you need to accept my answer and leave me alone.

With Hubs

What I say:  Hubs, can you please help me with this chore?

What he hears: Please just sit there and enjoy your baseball game/alien show/episode of “How it’s Made” while I take care of everything.  You worked all day and I just sat at a desk for ten hours and ate bonbons, so I’m totally refreshed.  No worries, I’ve got this.

My response:  Okay, maybe I’m not being totally fair.  He’s not always like this.  It’s mostly just when I have had a spectacularly bad day and need help with things that I normally handle just fine on my own.  Or the days that I’m especially tired and overwhelmed.  Or the days that I am tired of the damn baseball on tv.

The Cat

What I say: No, Squeaky, don’t lie on the laptop.  I will pet you, just lie down over here.

What she hears:  Please get all up in my face and make sure you lie down on whatever else might be taking my attention.  I am completely incapable of petting you unless you have my undivided attention, so I’m relying on you to eliminate all distractions.

My response:  Well, duh.  I give her my undivided attention.  She’s my cat and she’s old.  She’s also more devoted to me than all of my family members combined, and she’s perfectly capable of smothering me in my sleep if I neglect her.

She asks for nothing, except every drop of love and attention that I have to give.

Clearly, I bring these frustrations on myself.  Until I improve my communication skills, I have no right to expect people to understand me.  It’s perfectly reasonable to think that “Go brush your teeth” means “Vanish into your bedroom until I forget that you were ever born.”  In the interest of self-improvement, I hereby vow to continue to educate myself in the ways of speaking with clarity.  And volume.  Lots and lots of volume.

A Disjointed Mind

October 6, 2012 2 comments

So, yeah.  I haven’t been writing lately.  My daughter is still sick and that’s pretty much crowding any other random thoughts out of my head.  I could write volumes on that subject, but it gets tiresome, for me and for everyone who has to hear it.  But since I am under a fair amount of stress, it occurs to me that I should be writing.  It calms me.  So here I am.  Please bear with me on my rambling post here, because I haven’t a clue what I’m about to write.  The only thing I’m sure of is that it will be disjointed and random.  But maybe that will be fun for us, who knows.

On Politics:

I vastly enjoyed the Presidential debate this week.  It’s a nice reminder that even the highest ranking politicians are just regular people and fighting for the highest office of the land isn’t all that different from fighting over the last cupcake.  You go, guys, way to entertain and frustrate your poor moderator beyond all sense.  After staring at Mitt Romney for all that time, I have to wonder if he was specifically chosen for his generic old-rich-white-guy look.  He looks like every president out of every movie in the last twenty years.  I also learned that, according to Obama, trillions of dollars are this big.  I listened, I really did, but I was distracted the whole time by my insatiable need to mock.  I’m just lucky Hubs didn’t slap a strip of duct tape on my mouth. (p.s., Mitt Romney, if you really want to win this one, please never say “poor kids” ever, ever again.)


This big. via

On Parenting:

My daughter has entered a phase of telling me what I don’t know.  I know, that sounds excruciating, but she makes it fun.  The winners of the week are as follows (I couldn’t pick just one):

“You don’t know their personal lives.  They could suck butt all day long, you don’t know.”

“You don’t know about Russian people.  You don’t know about their dwarfism problems.”

Well, she’s right.  I don’t know much of anything about who’s sucking butt and it’s completely accurate that I was not aware of widespread dwarfism in Russia.  I’m pretty sure she also doesn’t know about these things, but I’m telling you, this is a refreshing change from most of the things that teenage girls think their moms don’t know.  I mean, these are in addition to me not knowing how she feels about anything, how to do English homework and what she should eat, but they’re fun little surprises.  Like finding a toy in your bowl of cereal (before you add the milk.)

via I don’t know.

On Food:

Cool weather is coming and I am getting excited about homemade stuff.  Winter food is just better suited to long simmers and whatnot.  This week I’ll be making beef vegetable soup, chicken and dumplings and a gigantic batch of chicken broth for my vomity child. (We will eat other things, but they’re nothing worth bragging about.)  Also, I served my near-disastrous homemade spaghetti sauce for the second time this past week and it was even better received than the first time.  Huzzah!  I can’t explain what is so comforting and soothing about having a big pot of something, that you made out of next to nothing, creating delicious smells throughout the house.  I mean, seriously, making the grocery list was ridiculous.  I need to buy some meat and vegetables and I will transform them into something completely different.  It’s a small thing, maybe, but I have to take my accomplishments where I can get them.

mmmm…soup. via

On Lawn Care:

I’m pretty sure I broke my new lawnmower the other week.  Fortunately, it’s probably just something like spark plugs, and even more fortunately, I still have my old mower, so there’s no hurry.  However, I have a situation now.  My new mower has a tank full of gas.  My old mower has just a smidge of gas.  My gas can is empty and it’s close enough to winter that I don’t want to refill it.  So…I need to run the gas out of my new mower.  Which means I’m going to have to address this lawnmower issue.  Okay, actually, I’m going to have to get Hubs to address it.  This lawnmower is kind of a point of contention because he says I broke it because I overfilled the gas tank.  Okay, yes, I overfilled the gas tank A LOT.  My mind might have been somewhere else while I was dumping gas all over everything and making my entire yard a fire hazard.  I still don’t think that would break a mower.  It was probably just a coincidence.  Anyway.  Maybe I’ll just buy another gallon of gas.

How come my cats won’t do this? via