Friday, August 29, 2008

Love Requires a Sense of Humor

"When is our anniversary, Christy?"

"I can't believe you've forgotten, oh ye of the everlasting memory! It's been almost ten years and you've forgotten! August 29th, 1998!"

"Oh, I didn't forget. But you might want to look at the calendar."

"I don't have to look at the calendar. I wrote it on there months ago. Tenth anniversary in big letters on the 29th. Maybe you need to look at the calendar."

"Ha! Hahahahaha! I am looking at the calendar, Christy."

I stomped into the kitchen and ripped the calendar off the fridge. I jabbed my finger at a square and said, "See! Tenth anniversary!" Nick grinned from ear to ear as he pointed to the date again. I'd written it on the 28th.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

10 things I've learned about marriage in the last 10 years

Tomorrow is Nick's and my tenth anniversary. Tomorrow is also my mother's back surgery. Life is messy like that. The joy gets mixed up with worry.

10 Things about I've Learned About Marriage

  1. Marriages are unique. There is no one right way to approach marriage. So it's ok to ignore supposedly universal advice if it doesn't fit my marriage - like "Don't go to bed angry." I go to bed angry all the time. I wake up angry, but rested. Then I can have a discussion instead of a fight.
  2. I can't give everything I've got to work, the kids, church, my friends, and then serve Nick whatever is left over at the end of the day. He's my husband. He deserves better than scraps of me.
  3. If I'm not getting what I need, I have to tell Nick. I have to be specific. I can't say that I need time with him. I have to say I need 15 minutes every day for him to listen to me. Then he will understand and give me what I need or we'll fight about it and find a compromise.
  4. When I start to hide little, unimportant things from Nick, we are heading toward rocky territory. That's the time to pull out the stops and figure out what is really wrong and fix it.
  5. Some things do not stay fixed. This is the nature of the world. Mountains crumble, canyons deepen, rivers change course, compromises erode. Take a deep breath and fix it again.
  6. Marriage is not a competition so don't keep score.
  7. Sex is important, and that's ok.
  8. Always make sure that what I'm hearing is what Nick is saying and vice versa. There is nothing wrong with being a parrot, especially when furious. Sometimes saying "I am hearing you say blah blah blah" is the quickest way to uncover a miscommunication.
  9. Nick will never forget the Juice Newton bet, the combo gas station and burger king bet, or any other bet that we've ever had when I've been wrong (which is about 90% of them). So I don't make bets unless I'm prepared to be teased about them for the next 30 or 40 years.
  10. Marriage isn't a choice that I made 10 years ago. It's a series of choices that I have made over the past 10 years and that I will continue to make for the rest of our time together. It's a constant process of choosing Nick over the alternatives. And sometimes, I make the wrong choice. Sometimes he does too. But I think that if we each choose each other more often than not, we'll make it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

because that annoying trickle in your nose might just turn into the plague and land you on your back for a day or so. Blech.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday 13: 13 Small Rants

It's been a long week.
  1. People who don't know the rules for a four-way stop should not be driving through four-way stops.  As a matter of fact, perhaps the driving portion of the driving test should include a four-way stop just to insure that at least someone on the road besides me knows what to do.  Sitting at the stop sign and waving everyone through is not the right thing to do.  Powering through the intersection without stopping is also not the right thing to do, even if you do honk to warn everyone.
  2. Boys go to school and they require a pencil bag.  Pencil bags are not the sole domain of girls.  Perhaps you could reduce the inventory of some of the hearts, unicorns, and rainbows and have more than one boyish or neutral bag.  And for the record, not all boys like camoflauge.  Even if all boys do like camoflauge, not all mothers like camoflauge.  So, you know, maybe just a plain blue bag would be useful?
  3. I understand that it is easier on teachers if all children have identical supplies.  I'm behind the teachers on that.  I'll buy the yellow pencils and tell my kid to stop whining about it.  But next time, maybe you could just take your list to a few common stores to make sure that the very specific items you request are readily available?  I'm quite unhappy about stopping at three different stores to find large pink erasers.  Surely the ubiquitous white ones would have served just as well.
  4. Yes, your daughter is very cute and smart.  That's no excuse for being a pushy little queen bee.  You need to teach her how to play with others instead of laughing it off.  She's going to make social mistakes - she's three.  But you are at least 33 and you should know when to step in and teach her some skills.
  5. Please stop emailing me to come to your desk unless you are truly available.  I hate trotting across the office just to have you ask me to come back later.  If necessary, we can schedule a meeting for a time when you are free.
  6. Stop airing scary commercials during family programs!  If a movie is rated R, then there is really no need to advertise it during a G rated television program.  You'll get more bang for your buck if you save those advertising dollars for the later evening, and I won't have to dive for the remote to pause the TV for nightmare prevention. 
  7. While we're talking about nightmares, how about you kids just stop having them, please?  I know that your genes are working against you here since both your dad and I have had our issues with bad dreams, but seriously?  Could you please just grow out of it?  I'm really tired.
  8. I don't know what is up with you, nose, but I've had enough.  Either run or don't run, but stop this sort of half-hearted drizzle.  Now.
  9. You are my friend but if you nag me one more time, you will not be.  Stop expecting me to prioritize your work simply because we're pals.  I have a lot of work to do and frankly, you're pretty low on the totem pole around here.  I know who butters my bread and it isn't you.  Friendship is friendship and work is work, ok?
  10. Howsabout you reporters give the Olympic athletes time to catch their breath and compose themselves before interviewing them?  I know we're all atwitter to hear what they have to say, but we can wait for five minutes.  I can't understand them when they're speaking between ragged breaths anyway.
  11. Why did you stop working again, cd player?  Do you know how sad I am?  Did you really have to stop working at the exact moment that Claire was having a screaming meltdown?  All I wanted to do was play her favorite song so she would get a grip about whatever preschool tragedy started all the screaming.  But no.  You declined to cooperate and I had to endure the screaming.  You are toying with me, I think.
  12. The vacuum works better when you empty it.  It's not hard to empty, really.  It will take less time and energy to empty it than you are expending by complaining about how worthless the vacuum is.  So just do it already.  (Sadly, this one is directed toward myself.)
  13. You know it's been a long week when you can't post a Thursday 13 until Friday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Festival of Our Own

Last week, I received a postcard in the mail about a multicultural festival in a nearby park. I set it aside for later consideration. On Saturday after spending far too much time at Target aquiring school uniforms and supplies, I remembered the festival. The children were stir-crazy from shopping. The weather was absolutely perfect. So, I packed everyone up and off we went!

Tower Grove Park is huge. It's not the biggest park in the city, but it's close. It runs 12 or 13 blocks East-West and 4 or 5 North-South. I didn't worry when I didn't see festival signs right away. I told the kids to keep a sharp eye out for dancing throngs while I manouvered into the central drive of the park. I started to worry a bit when I realized that parking was readily availabe. Suddenly, Jacob hollered, "There! It's over there! And they have a bouncer!" Claire took up the bouncer chant. Then sadly, I realized that we were coming up on a birthday party. We kept driving.

Eventually, I realized that I'd made some sort of error. There obviously was no festival that day - just reunion after birthday party after wedding. The idea of returning home with bouncerless, baklavaless, still stir-crazy children was not appealing so I parked and chased the children out of the car.

I looked at water lilies. The lily ponds are beautiful and I was amazed by the breadth of color. The children chased the ducks and counted the ducklings.

We played in this fountain.

There is a wading pool between the bubble jets and the building. Jake ripped off his shoes and shirt and was soaked in less than twenty seconds. Claire followed suit giggling, "I'm like a mermaid!". They played there for an hour or so while I soaked my feet in the pool and my face in the sun. We dried off on some nearby swings before I finally dragged the children back to the car under protest.

I found the postcard on the table when we returned. It clearly stated that the festival is on August 23-24. I'm grateful for my error, although I really would have liked some baklava.

Friday, August 15, 2008


We took a week out of our regular lives to go to the beach. We rented a bigger care and drove many hours in order to:

  • swim in Lake Michigan
  • dig in some sand
  • pick blueberries
  • sleep
  • read umpteen books
  • eat ice cream, corndogs, and other vacation food
  • figure out how on earth to recycle cans from Missouri in Michigan (not as easy as one would suspect and quite possibly illegal)
  • illegally dump (sorry, nameless business with the open dumpster but we were desperate and didn't have room in the car to haul our trash all the way back to Missouri)
  • discover that we all really like each other
  • discover that we all really like each other better when we aren't driving from Michigan to Missouri in one long day with entirely too many potty stops

Now we've been back home for almost a week. We have:

  • caught up on the laundry
  • almost gotten the sand from our hair
  • remembered why we were stressed out before we took the vacation
  • eaten most, but not all, of the blueberries (pancakes, anyone?)
  • recycled Michigan cans in Missouri without fuss, bother, or illegal activity
  • taken as many potty breaks as we want to without the shrill voice of the driver screeching that no one could possibly need to urinate every twenty minutes

So, back to normal almost. School starts on the 25th, so we've got one more week of official summer left. We have two more months of summer weather, though. I have done almost nothing on my list from the beginning of the summer, but have accomplished much that wasn't listed. Good enough. I'm ready to get back into our normal routine. I've been out of my rut for too long