Posts Tagged ‘Marriage

27
Mar
19

Mill Street Blues

It all started innocently enough, as many spectacular disasters do—with an abundance of good intentions and a dearth of interest in doing research and checking references.

The Jarhead and I, having survived multiple military deployments, thirty-two income tax seasons, and five home improvement projects—including one whole house renovation–decided to go into business flipping houses.

It made perfect sense at the time. As the more creative member of the team, I would come up with the designs, choose the furnishings and fixtures, and do the accounting, while he—as the stronger, fitter, and more mechanically inclined member of the team, would be the muscle, the engineer, and the eye-candy.

As with our marriage—ill-advised as some considered it to be back in 1985—we knew it wouldn’t be easy. As with raising children, we knew there would be challenges. As with military deployments, we knew we would need to plan well and be prepared for surprises. And as with income tax returns and other home improvements, we knew there would be tears, heated exchanges, and homicidal ideations. But we also knew that with patience, dedication and—if necessary—copious amounts of alcohol, our business could be a smashing success.

And so, one month after the Jarhead retired, we bought a domain name, created an LLC, acquired a trailer, and started shopping for investment properties. There were other steps involved, as well. I’m just listing the highlights.

You’re welcome.

We didn’t issue a press release—mostly because no one reads the newspaper anymore, but also because we weren’t sure anyone would care that we were going into business, and because we didn’t want to have to admit it later if the endeavor was a colossal failure. But we told a few friends, and word got around.

Those who didn’t hate it, loved the idea. They imagined the Jarhead as a midwestern Tarek El Moussa to my shorter, plumper, and false eyelash-free Christina. Or as a taller, darker, and less excitable Chip Gaines to my shorter, plumper, blonder, and less patient Joanna. Or as a shorter, older, and handsomer Jonathon Scott to my shorter, plumper, blonder, and slightly less masculine Drew. You get the picture—with my apologies.

And just over a year later, here we are—still married—and about to embark on our second flip. There have been ups and downs, setbacks, and surprises, which I hope to cover in future posts.

And even as I joke about spectacular disasters and colossal failures, from my perspective it’s been a mostly positive and highly educational experience. Case in point: I’ve learned how to (and how NOT to) install vinyl flooring.  I’ve also developed new appreciation for people who show up for appointments and meetings on time, and I’ve learned many new words for ordinary household devices.

For example, cabinets that don’t appear level when hung, are pecker-heads.

Screws that won’t turn at the speed or in the direction you want them too, are also pecker-heads.

Cordless drills with lithium batteries that won’t hold a change are quite vexing, and, therefore, are also pecker-heads.

If you type it often enough while watching someone hang kitchen cabinets, your Android keyboard will eventually recognize the word pecker-heads.

Apologies for the blue language. However, if you’re easily offended, you probably shouldn’t be here in the first place.

And for those of you who aren’t easily offended, be sure to tune in next time for Mill Street Blues II: Hunting and Blathering.

Advertisements
05
May
16

Throwback Thursday ll: The Limits of Togetherness

Despite my best intentions to write something fresh for this post, I seem to have failed spectacularly. Between writers block, spring cleaning, and the upcoming marriage of El Noble and his lovely Betsy (more on that later) I haven’t had the time or the energy to write anything but checks and to do lists! With that in mind–and in the spirit of romance–I beg your forgiveness and invite you to enjoy the paranoid classic from 2013: The Limits of Togetherness!

Cheers, and enjoy! #i’mnotlazy #motherofthegroom

I love the Jarhead the pieces and enjoy spending time with him. But there are some things the two of us will never do together. Ever.

I’m not talking about boring things like competitive bird watching or icky things like traveling to a foreign land to sample latest recipes involving beetles and grubs. Rather, I’m referring to certain sports and outdoor activities that, frankly, I would be more inclined to do with a complete stranger or a mortal enemy than with the man who promised to love me until death do us part.

The first thought that comes to my mind is rock climbing. This is primarily because of that blasted commercial where the woman proudly tells us how she and her significant other spent their credit card reward points on equipment to scale a giant tower of sandstone instead of buying a diamond. I saw that spot and thought, well that would be fun—for the one who comes back to a pile of insurance money.

I feel the same way about activities involving open water. I have no problems with the idea of a trip that involves the two of us cheerily casting our lines from shore at a bustling campground, or dropping a line from the end of a dock surrounded by plenty of witnesses. But there is no way I’m going out on a lake or the ocean—be it on a yacht or a cruise liner—with the man I love when the only thing standing between him and freedom is a railing.

I know what you’re thinking: That woman is paranoid. Although I prefer to call it precautious, I also know what I’m like to live with and that some days, even in the face of hard evidence, a jury might be inclined to acquit.

I am also wise to the fact that if he really wanted to get rid of me there are plenty of ways he could do it right here at home and without breaking a sweat. Things like poison and acid come to mind (well, maybe not to yours; but I’m a fan of Breaking Bad, so, there you have it) as do murder for hire and a seemingly random but ultimately diversionary sniper attacks (thank you, John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo.)

But what’s great about poison, acid, contract killings, and sniper attacks is that they generally look suspicious and, therefore, tend to arouse the curiosity of law enforcement. This, I’m given to understand, is a big deterrent for those wanting to get rid of someone without having to experience any unpleasant consequences like lethal injection or lifetime incarceration. Thus, I feel pretty safe in my own home and going about my daily business.

Things like fishing and rock climbing, on the other hand, are different. Because they already carry the element of danger—and because accidents really DO happen—if you want to get out of a long term relationship without looking like the bad guy, they’re practically doing the work for you.

“But the Jarhead doesn’t have reason to get rid of you,” you might be saying to yourself. “And he’s a good guy, so you can trust him.”

Yep. And I’ll just bet that’s about what Scott Peterson was banking on when he invited his wife to get into that boat—assuming she did so of her own accord. And I’m pretty sure all the other men and women who have ever died at the hands of their own ostensibly loving spouses were under the exact same mistaken impression.

And so it goes that I will not be taking any fishing or rock climbing trips with the Jarhead any time soon. Nor will I be joining him on any hunting trips, or caving expeditions—that is, unless we go with a group and I have made absolutely certain he doesn’t have the financial means to have paid them ALL for their silence.

29
Nov
15

Psycho Babble

Just released–and just in time for the holidays–it’s Psycho Babble: The Rants, Raves & Riffs of an Uncommon Blonde!

Cover B-Psycho Babble

Comprised of more than 50 of my favorite posts–remixed and retooled for the paperback market–Psycho Babble offers up laughter in six chapters, including:

On Children and Parenting: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger crazy.
On Marriage and Relationships: And they lived happily ever after. And they lived.
Random Fears, Frustrations, and Fantasies: Hoping for the best while preparing for the (absolute) worst.
Obsessions, Confessions, and Possessions: For those for whom there is no such thing as too much information.
On Politics and Culture: Alienating friends and family one paragraph at a time.
Serial Thrillers

Plus Bonus Material, including one short story and the first chapter from my upcoming novel, Forty-Love.

For more information visit www.createspace.com/5813363 or go to amazon.com!

Thanks!

 

28
Aug
15

Road Trippin’ 2015

For the second time in two years, I set aside my fears and phobias this month, and agreed to accompany the Jarhead on week-long adventure to parts heretofore unknown to us. Although this trip did not involve Canada or the Rockies—unless you count flyovers—like our 2013 journey, it did carry an element of risk to mind, body, and soul.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. So rather than sitting at home waiting for death to find me in the pool, in the tub, or at my desk, I crossed my fingers, tossed my hiking boots into a suitcase—along with enough clothes to impress both Ginger AND Mrs. Howell—and headed north to Alaska by way of Minnesota.

To be fair, much of the trip was not unknown to us, as it began with a six hour car ride from Oshkosh to Minneapolis. If you think 6 hours is an excessive amount of time drive a distance that would ordinarily take only 4 ½, you would be correct and can therefore cancel any plans to have your head examined. If instead of your own mental wellbeing you were concerned with our driving and/or navigational skills, it should ease your mind to learn that we took the scenic route.

Yep, for reasons known only to him, the Jarhead decided he wanted to take his time and travel to the Twin Cities by way of Tomah, La Crosse, and Rochester. Although he will deny it, I suspect he chose I-90 over I-94 for the simple fact that he has travelled the I-94 route—back and forth—twice since Memorial Day and simply wanted a change of pace.

As long as we were taking the circuitous route, we decided to drop in on a good friend of mine whose house stands but a mile or two off of the highway between Rochester and Minneapolis. As I expected, we caught her a bit off guard, but as it had been months since we had seen each other, I felt it would be worth surprising her even if she was already in her pajamas. And, oh, how I would love to provide a photo of that moment she warily opened her front door! But since I don’t want that visit to be the LAST time she speaks to me, you’ll just have to imagine how shocked she was to find us on her porch. (Sorry, T. Lo!)

From there we continued on our trip to Minneapolis where, the next morning, we took an unforgettable trip down memory lane on our way to the airport. This seemed a fitting way to begin our journey since the Jarhead and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, and because apart from Oshkosh, the longest we have lived in any one location over the course of our three decades together was the three and a half years we spent in the Twin Cities.

We started this segment of our trip with a drive by Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis figures prominently in our lives since it is where my friend LaVon and I used to spend hours walking and, later, pushing babies in strollers. Although it is also where my mother’s relatives used to hold their family reunions when I was a kid, it is probably better known to my immediate family as the place where El Noble learned to ride a two wheeler in April of 1991, and where he subsequently found himself up to his chest in ice-cold water about a half an hour later.

From Lake Nokomis, we continued north toward Lake Street. Along the way, we spent twenty minutes looking for the duplex where we lived for about a year—since neither of us could recall the address—and another ten discussing what was different about it and why it had taken us so long to find it. We also paid a visit to the four-unit brownstone we lived in before moving to the duplex, and the building next door where LaVon lived when we first moved there. These two were much easier to find owing to the fact that we remembered they were situated on 11th Avenue somewhere between Powderhorn Park and 38th street.

After another discussion about the changes we observed to the two structures and the neighborhood, we continued north to Lake Street and followed it east toward St. Paul in search of the big old Victorian whose second floor we occupied when the Princess was conceived. As was the case with our first two former dwellings, we had to circle the neighborhood a few times because we couldn’t recall the street address.

Although it still took us longer to find it than we expected, the task was made easier by the fact that we knew it was located at the corner of its block on Marshall Avenue, a few blocks west of Snelling. Even with that much intel, we still missed it the first two times we passed it and, due to the volume of traffic in the area, did not have the chance to get a good look. Thus, we could neither assess nor admire it as we discussed all of the memories we had of the place. Even without the benefit of the visual aid, however, we had a pretty good laugh recalling the time El Noble came to us crying after discovering that, unlike his friends who lived downstairs, he was not African American.

Having visited our fourth Twin Cities residence only six or so years ago—and lacking the time to travel there and back before we needed to be at the airport—we decided to forego a drive to Windom Gables and headed for the highway. From there, it would be a short drive to the terminal, an even shorter walk to security, followed by a LONG walk to the gate, and an even longer flight—to Anchorage…

23
Apr
15

A Haunting in Oshkosh (or, Offending the God of Grid Lines)

I recently told the Jarhead that when he dies, I intend to haunt him.

It may seem backward for me to haunt him when he’s gone since it’s usually the dead that haunt the undead. (Perhaps I should say the living, since—thanks to the likes of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer—we all associate ‘undead’ with vampires.  But, as usual, I digress.)

But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense for me to do the haunting while I’m still kicking. For one thing, if wait until I’m dead, I may not get the chance to haunt the man because he may not be alive to experience it. Even if I go first and he doesn’t immediately die of heartbreak the moment expire, I may not have the opportunity to haunt him. After all, if my death certificate buys me a ticket on the down elevator, I’ll be so busy grumbling about all the good and wonderful things that are happening to all my ex-friends and ex-boyfriends that I won’t have the time or energy to haunt anyone. And in the unlikely event that I somehow land a seat on the up elevator, it will only be because I became a better person in the intervening years, which means I will have lost my marbles and therefore won’t remember who the Jarhead is, much less that I wanted to haunt him.

And exactly why DO I want to haunt the Jarhead? you may be wondering. Based on everything I’ve written about him so far there would seem to be no motive for me to haunt the man. He’s a decent, hard-working, patient, practical kind of guy. The kind of man who never complains about the food or the condition of the house—even when he’s forced to eat leftovers for dinner three nights in a row because I’ve been at my desk all week trying to perfect a novel or hack out a new blog. The kind who wants only to be warm and comfy at home, and to get out in the woods once in a while to connect with nature or whatever.

So here it is: Although the Jarhead IS that guy, he STILL manages to get on my nerves now and then. Yes, even Mr. Clean Marine has those moments when I could just clobber him. Until recently, it used to happen quite regularly. In fact, due to some phenomenon I have yet to discover and in which scientists have yet to take even a passing interest, for a number of years he seemed to be the most clobberable about every 29 days and for about two days straight. It was eerily predictable, and frustratingly unexplainable.

But while I may have violent thoughts, I do not believe in violent action. I much prefer a passive approach to problems. That’s why, in our younger days, he routinely would lose his keys or misplace his comb within ten hours of committing a clobberable offense. This, too, was an uncanny coincidence, I would have said then—were it possible for me to do so with a straight face. The keys would always turn up within a few minutes—behind the dresser, under a couch cushion, or wherever I had put them during my fit of pique—and we would laugh together and blame the cats. Unfortunately, we were oddly cat-less for a while in 1996, so I had to give up that tactic and find a more reliable form of agitation.

And with this haunting idea, I think I’ve found it. Oh, sure, I’ll have to wait until he’s gone to make up for years of monthly clobbering offenses. And while I honestly hope I’ll be waiting many more years to exact my revenge, what fun I intend to have—after an acceptable period of mourning, of course.

First on the plan is to do EVERYTHING I have always wanted to do but apparently wasn’t qualified to do—and do it MY WAY. For the first time in my life, I’ll be able to *gulp* use the lawn mower. Not only that, I’ll be able to mow it in any direction or sequence I want without having to worry about offending the god of grid lines.

I can already see myself, in my granny-style bathing suit, cut off shorts, and protective eyewear (which, according to some people—many of them blind—is for sissies) listening to country music (just because he wouldn’t) doing the boot scoot boogie across the lawn (because those who can dance SHOULD) pushing a brand-spanking new mower (because, yes, I am going to waste money on a new mower when the old one works perfectly fine as long as we tie this here piece in place with a bit of twine.) And besides, I’ll have to buy a new one because I don’t know how to sharpen the blade. Ha!

And how will I unwind after a hard day of licentious lawn care? By enjoying a glass of lemonade while holding the TV remote controls. All of them. Every last one. I may even carry them around with me from room to room. Or maybe I’ll rearrange their batteries or decorate the tops of their buttons with nail polish. And when I’m done with the remote controls, I’m going to watch every single adaptation of every Jane Austen novel I can find On Demand, online, and at Red Box.

Although I will not be able to stare into his big brown eyes and laugh as I desecrate his remote or decorate the lawn with swirls and zigzag lines, he will be with me in spirit. And he will know not only what I am doing, but also why. And you can bet part of him will be enjoying it all as much as I am since, after thirty years, we BOTH know how the other can be.

This all assumes, of course, that there is an afterlife. And I sincerely hope there is. Otherwise, he will never know all the fun I’ll be having with that lawn—not to mention his pickup and his power tools. And it would be a shame if I were to go to the trouble of painting them all purple or giving them to complete strangers—if he wasn’t somewhere in the great beyond laughing right along with me.

Just in case, perhaps I shouldn’t wait til he’s gone. Maybe I should start today.

10
Jun
13

The Limits of Togetherness

(Originally posted Thursday, March 21st, 2013)

I love the Jarhead the pieces and enjoy spending time with him. But there are some things the two of us will never do together. Ever. (For those of you whose mind went right to the gutter, I’m sorry to disappoint, but this is not that kind of column.)

I’m not talking about boring things like competitive bird watching or icky things like traveling to a foreign land to sample latest recipes involving beetles and grubs. Rather, I’m referring to certain sports and outdoor activities that, frankly, I would be more inclined to do with a complete stranger or a mortal enemy than with the man who promised to love me until death do us part.

The first thought that comes to my mind is rock climbing. This is primarily because of that blasted commercial where the woman proudly tells us how she and her significant other spent their credit card reward points on equipment to scale a giant tower of sandstone instead of buying a diamond. I saw that spot and thought, well that would be fun—for the one who comes back to a pile of insurance money.

I feel the same way about activities involving open water. I have no problems with the idea of a trip that involves the two of us cheerily casting our lines from shore at a bustling campground, or dropping a line from the end of a dock surrounded by plenty of witnesses. But there is no way I’m going out on a lake or the ocean—be it on a yacht or a cruise liner—with the man I love when the only thing standing between him and freedom is a railing.

I know what you’re thinking: That woman is paranoid. Although I prefer to call it precautious, I also know what I’m like to live with and that some days, even in the face of hard evidence, a jury might be inclined to acquit.

I am also wise to the fact that if he really wanted to get rid of me there are plenty of ways he could do it right here at home and without breaking a sweat. Things like poison and acid come to mind (well, maybe not to yours; but I’m a fan of Breaking Bad, so, there you have it) as do murder for hire and a seemingly random but ultimately diversionary sniper attacks (thank you, John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo.)

But what’s great about poison, acid, contract killings, and sniper attacks is that they generally look suspicious and, therefore, tend to arouse the curiosity of law enforcement. This, I’m given to understand, is a big deterrent for those wanting to get rid of someone without having to experience any unpleasant consequences like lethal injection or lifetime incarceration. Thus, I feel pretty safe in my own home and going about my daily business.

Things like fishing and rock climbing, on the other hand, are different. Because they already carry the element of danger—and because accidents really DO happen—if you want to get out of a long term relationship without looking like the bad guy, they’re practically doing the work for you.

“But the Jarhead doesn’t have reason to get rid of you,” you might be saying to yourself. “And he’s a good guy, so you can trust him.”

Yep. And I’ll just bet that’s about what Scott Peterson was banking on when he invited his wife to get into that boat—assuming she did so of her own accord. And I’m pretty sure all the other men and women who have ever died at the hands of their own ostensibly loving spouses were under the exact same mistaken impression.

And so it goes that I will not be taking any fishing or rock climbing trips with the Jarhead any time soon. Nor will I be joining him on any hunting trips, or caving expeditions—that is, unless we go with a group and I have made absolutely certain he doesn’t have the financial means to have paid them ALL for their silence.




Calendar

April 2019
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Back Issues

Blog Stats

  • 8,056 hits
Advertisements