Category Archives: Husbands

Keeping the love alive

1mzyx3

A good marriage doesn’t just happen, it takes effort. If you want to keep the spark alive and the journey joyful, you must be creative and at that, my husband is a pro. He has thought up dozens of tricks and schemes designed to keep our marriage fun filled and adventurous.

There is one particularly adorable game he invented that I’d like to share with you today. Every once in a while, when life gets stressful, my husband pretends that we don’t speak the same language. Maybe a more accurate description would be that he pretends the English I speak is a dialect foreign to his ear. He understands the individual words, but is completely befuddled by the order I string them.

Isn’t that cute?

Yeah, it’s totally hilarious.

Except those times when it’s not.

Which is pretty much every time.     

Here’s an example:

Friday last week was a travel day for our family meaning we were up early, wouldn’t get to bed until late and were highly likely to experience tension throughout the day. To make matters worse, I was sleep deprived. I hadn’t had a solid night of rest in days. By Friday I was a wreck. I actually started breakfast that morning with a warning to my sons.

“I am on extreme edge,” I told them. “If you want to live to adulthood, tread lightly today.”

And this is how my husband interpreted that warning:

“Goody! She wants to play the language game!”

He starts small. I’ll ask for ‘my top’ and he’ll hand me the lid to the crock pot, things like that. But since that is only mildly annoying he generally escalate rapidly.     

That Friday things hit critical mass on our way to the airport.

While giving Mowgli directions I used the term “U-turn” but Mowgli (because he’s such an amusing guy) decided what I really said was “YOU Turn”.

So this happened:

He asked “which way?”

I replied “U turn!”

(Because when you are struggling to communicate with your spouse the obvious solution is to not change what you said at all but just add exclamation points.)

This continued for a few more rounds until finally I said:

“I don’t care, Just U-turn!”

And then this happened:

Mowgli barked: “Left, right? What is wrong with you?” 

And I returned with: “Me? What is wrong with YOU? I said U-TURN.”

(FYI if you are not reading the growing tension in that dialog then you are either single or drunk)

This is when the cursing started.

Mowgli: “WHICH (Expletive) WAY?”

Me: “I don’t (expletive!) care!” 

You know it’s a good game when everyone starts swearing. We were having SO much fun.

Sadly I had to ruin the party. We actually did need to get to the airport. So, I organized a set of words that even a monkey could understand and shared them with my love:

“Turn whatever (expletive!) way you need to make this (expletive!)  car go in the opposite (expletive!) direction!” 

And he did exactly that.

And we spent the rest of the day a boring married couple.

Sigh. Good times.

Oh well. I’m sure we’ll play again soon.  

 

 

How to get your wife to rotate your tires

it's not unpaid child labor, it's a coveted maintenance internship.
it’s not unpaid child labor, it’s a coveted maintenance internship.

 

Mowgli wanted to rotate our tires and I did not.

It’s not the first time we’ve disagreed. It won’t be the last. That’s marriage. It wouldn’t even have been an issue if not for the fact that, a couple weeks ago, we decided to sell the car.

Causing Mowgli to really want to rotate our tires

And me to really not.

For what it’s worth, I stood on solid ground. Tire rotation is preventative maintenance and the car was for sale. SALE. Not to be ours any longer. I could hardly be bothered to put fuel in the thing let alone concern myself with uneven tire wear.

But Mowgli wouldn’t let it go and thus forced me to employ diversionary tactics. I packed our precious free time with activities so that there wasn’t any room for superfluous auto care.

Because I love him.

Then, finally, we had a prospective buyer and I thought the whole episode could be put behind us.

I was wrong.

Once again Mowgli brought up the damn tires and now, with time no longer on his side, he needed my help.  

“No. Hell no.” I told him. “Not for a million dollars, not for a billion. Not even for love. Why? Because it doesn’t need to be done.

“I thought you’d say that.” He replied and then my husband, the love of my life, said the ugliest thing I’ve heard come out of his beautiful mouth ever.  

“Alright,” he told me, “I will just do it tonight…after dinner…”

After dinner. *GASP* After Dinner! *GASP AGAIN!*

Can you believe the impudence? After dinner is together time, family time, us time. It is for relaxing in each other’s company only. Cell phones are off, cocktails poured, and conversation engaged in. We might play a game but “after dinner” is always labor free.

And Mowgli knows this. Suggesting he work “after dinner” was akin to suggesting he hit a strip club, booze up with the boys, gamble away our savings then fall asleep on the couch in the middle of a video game marathon.

In other words, my husband had just told me that my refusal to help sparked in him a Cro-magnon fire that would burn all night.

I didn’t go down easy. I’ll tell you that much. I stewed hard for a good thirty minutes.

Then I rotated the tires.

Or, more accurately, I talked our sons into rotating the tires.

I still had to supervise (they’re just boys) and that’s almost more work than doing it yourself sometimes.

So I’m still mad.

And just because the car rides smoother and the guy bought it on the spot, doesn’t make me wrong.   

Nope.

 

 

 

0 and 1 at the half

pzivw

Oh, like you don’t.

Mowgli’s on a business trip again. I’m home with the kids again.

For the record, I generally don’t complain about such situations because in them, I’m generally having a much better time than he is. 

This time though, that is not the case.

We’re moving house.

My days are spent packing, unpacking, phoning utilities, paying deposits, cleaning everything and dragging three less than enthusiastic boys around with me while doing do.

Meanwhile, Mowgli is doing something else.

(I’d be more specific about his activities but pretty much everything is better than moving, so it doesn’t really matter.)

Then, late Thursday evening, my beloved husband made what will go down in history as one of the gravest mistakes of our marriage.

He sent me a photo of himself, drink in hand, lounging in first class on a 787. (In other words, flying in a four star hotel).

What was I doing when said photo arrived? Organizing a trip for the boys: tent camping in Ireland. (In other words, camping in the rain).

Mastercard, take me away.

Will he make that mistake again?

Hello Paris? I’d like a suite…

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

 

How not to Budget

 

Once upon a time my husband and I were DINKs (double income, no kids) with little to worry about and nothing to budget for.

Then one day, life (doing what it does best) marched on and we found ourselves up three kids, down one job and watching our spending.

It happens to the best of us.

Happily, I turned out to be an astonishing penny pincher and, as long as Mowgli believed things were tight, we stayed in budget.

This meant, however, that I had to watch my own public spending closely. If Mowgli got even the slightest hint the dry spell was over, out would come the checkbook.

Examples:

I bought a table.

Mowgli treated 30 of his closest friends to a night on the town.

 

I booked a trip to Hawaii (for a family wedding).

Mowgli bought a car.

 

I naively mentioned we had money in the bank.

Mowgli bought another car.

 

See what I mean?

After a while I realized I had no other choice but to beat into my husband that, no matter what he saw, we were truly and completely broke.

So two Fridays a month, after kissing him sweetly, I would whisper in his ear,

“Today is payday. I paid the bills. We are broke.”

And it worked brilliantly. He wouldn’t spend $20 without authorization.

Then, we stopped being broke.

That’s when I realized how wrong I had been. That’s when everything backfired.

That’s when I tried to plan a fun filled, no work, beach side, vacation only to discover Mowgli did not want to go.

Who doesn’t want to go on vacation?

“Men twisted into believing they are penniless.” My wise sister informed me.

Oh. So maybe that wasn’t the best way to budget.

I realized I had difficult choice to make: tell the truth or never leave home again.  

Does he look smug to you?
Does he look smug to you?

So I sat my darling husband down and told him how much money he makes.

Two days later he bought a 4 wheeler.

Two. Days. 

I’ve unleashed the beast.

Hope that beach serves Mai tai’s. I’m going to need a few.

 


 

 

Shower Wars

 

A few years ago Mowgli and I had a new hot water system installed that supplies a crazy efficient, near continuous flow of hot water to our house. In fact the only time our water goes tepid is if there is massive demand like a pipe breaks or two bathtubs are filled simultaneously. As long as we remain conscious of who’s doing what in our modestly sized home, there is wicked hot H2O for everyone.

Which is why, when the water cooled minutes into my shower the other day, I did what any other normal person would do. I turned up the heat. 5 seconds later, I turned it up again. 4 seconds later…

That’s when it occurred to me: Mowgli and I were showering together and not in the good way.

If you cut out of our house the area that includes Mowgli’s office and bathroom, my “office” (a cubicle off the kitchen) and bathroom, and the hallways between the two, it would measure maybe 400 square feet.

400 sq ft. Is it really possible for two humans living so close together to have no idea what each other are doing??!

Apparently.shower

So, instead of turning off my faucet and allowing my hard working husband all the hot water he deserved, I cranked the tap to its stop and showered like I was in boot camp.

Minutes later I opened my bathroom door and found Mowgli rushing down the stairs. Before I could complain that because of the water war I was stuck with enough deep oil conditioner in my hair to light Rome on fire he says,

“Something is wrong with the hot water. Can you wait to shower so I can fix it for you?”

Oh that’s right; my husband is a much better person than I.

It’s why I married him.

I remember.

“Yes darling.” I replied. “I can wait.”

 

 

 

  

 

 

Saying “AH”

 

Getting dental surgery is a bit like blacking out…

In a bar…

By yourself…

On a Tuesday when everyone you might normally be celebrating with is at work, or asleep or being, in some other way, a productive member of society.

Examine the similarities: both adventures begin with you in a dimly lit room, in a comfortable chair, surrounded by pleasant people.

Even though you are a complete stranger, everyone is interested in everything you say and wants nothing more than to see you entirely at ease.

Eventually someone (not you) orders a round of drinks. Shortly after that someone (only you) consumes them.

Hours later you wake up. There’s a vast amount of unexplained stiffness, some swelling and a black hole of nothing in place of your memories.

 

Incredibly, for me this was an elected experience. I asked to do this. A few years ago I lost a tooth (no, not in a bar). It took awhile, but I was finally ready to replace it. Now that it’s over, all I can say is, well, fool me once…

 

My brain stopped swimming about 10 or 15 hours into the day I was hoping to spend more conscious time with. It was then that tiny pieces of actually memory began to form.

I remembered waking up in the middle of surgery and, amazingly, fully understanding where I was and what was happening. An island of clarity in the IV sea, who knew that was even possible?

I took stock and, wiggling my jaw, realized it could open at least another quarter inch. A quarter inch! In a mouth that’s like upgrading to business class. Surely my dentist would want to know of this. Surely he would welcome the room.

So I told him.

However, as anyone who has ever been either A) to a dentist or B) completely inebriated already knows, ones ability to communicate (under those circumstances) is one’s first ability to go.

What came out was,

“arunlsgjeltnklds….”

“Jolie, you need to stay still.” The fuzzy faces over me instructed. Obviously, then did not understand that I was trying to help.

“fgujluisontloisng….” I tried again, managing to point at my mouth moments before another tequila shot dripped, dripped, dripped into my slippery veins. Playing tag with consciousness I thought,

“That’s it. I’m finding a new crowd to party with.”

I don’t think I said it out loud. Though I don’t suppose it would have mattered.

 

Much, later someone gently shook me until my eye lids (which did not wish to be disturbed) lifted. (Asleep or awake people? Make up your mind!)

A voice told me it was time to leave (Closing! Last call!)

And then that same voice, made me stand up!

(a command I will never forget or forgive).

Someone (the bouncer?) called Mowgli (1-800-UR-WASTED!)

Next memory: slumping over his arm so he could lead me out of there. Which he did (expertly) and which I allowed only out of fear that “voice” would next command I cart-wheel.

In the car on the way home we had a long conversation about what I had been through.

Conversation. Back and forth discourse. He talks, I talk…

4 hours later I made him repeat everything we both said. Then, 6 hours later, we went over it again.

“I can’t believe you don’t remember this.” He said.

“I can’t believe you thought I would!” I told him.

(On a side note, my ability to “fake normal” in front of him may have had some influence on the longevity of our marriage.)

 

About 20 hours later I was completely back to normal.

(Proving, I suppose, that it was dental surgery I had and not a rousingly good time at the watering hole. Hangovers from the later last longer. So I’ve heard.)

Aside from stitches and a pile of anti inflammatory pills, two items of interest surfaced:

1) An ache in the side of my jaw that did not get operated on and

2) A bruise in the middle of my left arm.

What the hell? Did we brawl?  

Well, at least I didn’t lose my purse.  

make me say "ah" I dare you.
make me say “ah” I dare you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Driving

 

I had two very amusing posts saved for you, I swear.

But then Friday rolled around…

and Mowgli and the boys took me on a little adventure.

So instead of giggles today, I’m offering a rare glimpse into the mind of a wild man and his offspring.

It started here…

20130602_114959

Yes, after the “Road Closed” sign. Where else?

In case you can’t see, the sign behind reads “Travel beyond this point not recommended.” Following that is a list of suggestions (e.g. bring water, flares and contact your next of kin) for those who insist on traveling the road anyway.

And why, with all the warnings, did I insist you ask?

For one, Son 2’s birthday wish this year was to cross Cache Creek, a creek several miles down the closed road.

(You can’t deny a birthday wish. The universe implodes.)

For two, by the time I saw the sign Mowgli was too far ahead to stop. The best I could hope for was serious complaining about the ridiculous road when I caught up.

And the road was horribly rediculous. I was motivated to complain.

20130602_114640

 

 

 

20130602_110929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the kind of road that takes a month of yoga to recover from. The kind of road that a sane person thinks twice about driving with a just car.

And my family wanted me to drive it in a car pulling a 5000 pound trailer?   

As I hauled two and a half elephants through quick sand, around craters and over the thin remains of recently washed out road in the rain, I wondered,

What kind of sucker am I?

20130602_115544

Once I got stuck in mud up to my bumper and had to drive backwards down a hill. Unable to find Mowgli and our camp, I turned car and trailer around three times on a road not designed for such maneuvering. I  swore repeatedly that if I got out alive, I was getting a divorce.

Good times.

Eventually, however, I found him. We settled into camp, had a cocktail and mostly recovered from the hellacious journey.

(Mostly. They’re talking about acupuncture to stop the nightmares.)

But here’s the kicker…

We didn’t make it to Cache Creek.

Winter hasn’t quite left that part of Alaska. The trail to the creek was too awful to pass. Even on ATV’s.

Remember son-of-wild-man’s birthday wish and the imploding universe?

Then you know what not getting to the creek means.

I have to go back.

I’m wondering again,

What kind of sucker am I?

 

 

 

Watch out Tom Sawyer

 

When it comes to getting work out of people, Mowgli is the master. That man could cajole the laziest of the lazy into gulag style labor, and get a “thank you” in the end. He’s superhuman, faster than a cracking whip, more powerful than a union boss, able to churn out productive employees with a single e-mail. No one can resists him.

Not even me.

Because he’s sneaky. He makes you believe only YOU can solve a problem, only YOU possess the necessary skills, only YOU can save the day.

It works EVERY time. Which is why last month I removed, repaired and replaced 2 ATV carburetors and have a third waiting for me to get to. All because of that man.

He started small.

Could you pick up overhaul kits for me? I can’t get to the store. You are the best wife. I’m so lucky.

Then upped the ante when his business trip ran over.

If you would just disassemble them. That would keep me from falling hopelessly behind. You are a lifesaver. You know that? My angel.

See how he does that? Desperate pleading followed by flattery? Genius.

Once I’m into the job, thing fall apart rapidly.

You notice what? Hmmm, I don’t know how to fix that. What do you think? Wow, you’re brilliant.  This carburetor is going to be in much better shape than the one I repaired…

Ego sufficiently stroked, I dive in. Dammit if I didn’t do a super job too. 

That’s when Mowgli pounds in the final nail.

Amazing. You have the touch, a gift. You’re like the carburetor whisperer.

Awe, gee. I’m blushing. And then…

I humbly bow to your expertise. It pains me, as a man, to say this but you are the carburetor Queen. I wont mess with them again, I promise. They are all yours.  

(Gush), ah honey, you shouldn’t….hold on, WHAT?! Carburetors are not rocket science. Got five minutes? I’ll teach you everything. I am not queen. I do not, even to the most ignorant, have a “gift.” I overhauled the last one at my desk, still in my bathrobe…

You repaired a carburetor at your desk!? Incredible. You truly are wonder woman.

All right, that’s enough. You win.

Move over Tom Sawyer, there’s a new con man in town.

So, we meet again...
So, we meet again…

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Readers

 

My apologies dear Readers,

For the following missing post

This blog, once stalled and back burner-ed,

I now fear is completely toast.

My husband’s in need of returning

My house in need of a maid.

28 days are all’s left for crafting

before present’s need be ready to trade

Food is in need of buying

clothes dirty and piled on the floor.

Three kids are in need of waking

and shuffling out the door.

There’s still turkey left to process

before hanging the holiday lights

while bells need perpetual ringing

to end rounds of brotherly fights.

The constant calls for donations

flood my soul with sadness and pain

For the love of sane and peaceful,

where’s the peaceful and sane?

So for now and the foreseeable future

to stave off feeding this gloom

Me and my favorite boxed wine

will stay safely locked in my room 🙂

 

Please see us next week when we return to our regular scheduled blogging.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

 

The Guy-flick

 

I admit, once I had children movie viewing forever changed. Not that pre-babies (I also admit) I was much of a movie heavy weight. I scare easily. Like, really easily. A 30 second thriller preview is enough to keep me tossing all night. As a child I was so reliably chicken that my brothers rated movies by me: “Disney”, “action/adventure” and, “stuff Jolie can’t ever see”.

Given that simple consistency, the change that came with mommy-hood was a surprise. In what other ways could my mind ruin cinema?

I’ll tell you in what ways. The guy-flick, the more intense action/adventure style drama that most men are drawn to. I can no longer watch a guy-flick. Now when I do, the movie is spontaneously stripped to its most painful, gut wrenching, heart breaking moments. Action and adventure are deleted. In their place a continuous loop of suffering and agony is permanently logged into my brain. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen to guys.

 Must close eyes... Must not watch...

Allow me illustrate…

(WARNING: major spoiler alert)      

 

Red Dawn

Guy version: A group of teenagers band together to defend their town and country from invading forces.

Mine: a girl blows up and a boy gets shot by another boy.  

 

Black Hawk Down

Guy version: Elite forces drop into a war zone to execute a challenging military operation.

Mine: Dead soldiers everywhere. One in a dilapidated building thousands of miles from his loved ones. Another guy gets kidnapped and beaten – for weeks. The only lucky guy is the one who falls out of the helicopter. And he fell out of a helicopter.

 

K-19

Guy version: A group of Russian submariners save the world from a massive nuclear accident.

Mine: This movie is sub titled “The Widow Maker.” Need I draw you a picture? Many men die. Horribly.  

 

Das Boot

Guy version: Movie depicting the experiences of a German U-boat crew during WWII.

Mine: Movie where everybody dies, in German.

 

Everything Clint Eastwood did before 1995

Guy version: Lone hero fights.

Mine: Who’s dying first?

 

The Sand Pebbles

Guy version: The story of USS San Pablo as it travels through China

Mine: Mowgli selecting movies just to torture me. Steve McQueen watches his buddy die, slowly and painfully then turns around dies himself. Slowly and painfully. I think Candice Bergen is in this one, but it’s sort of a blur…