Category Archives: marriage

Forever After

cinderella

Now that I’ve taken you down the seedy side road of marriage, it’s time to talk about the one subject that really makes people uncomfortable: longevity.

How do you stay married? What’s it take to make things last?

First, a review. Everyone knows what is doesn’t take, right? Fairy tale love? Yes I know that according to Disney and every Rom Com ever written fairy tale romance is where it’s at.

Well they are wrong. While love is a BIG part of happily ever after, fairy tale love is well, a fairy tale.

The real way to stay together? The real way to keep the magic alive?

Acronyms.

Wait, come back. I’m serious. An expertly placed acronym is like the right pair of shoes. Not only will it save you from pain you’ll look like a rock star in the process.

Today I’m going to share with you the top two acronyms for marital stability.

#1 AOR

Area Of Responsibility

AOR, colloquially known as “Not My Job” is a fast, effective way of delegating the tasks of cohabitation. Think of it as an adult version of “Not It!” and “Shotgun!”

“It’s trash day.”

“Not my AOR.”

“The dog pooped on the rug.”

“Your dog, your AOR”

“The girl scouts are at the door. It’s cookie season. Should I tell them to leave?”

“That is MY AOR! Give me that checkbook!”

By the way the reason we abandoned the familiar “Not My Job” is because a clever acronym is does not make. Try it. NMJ. Now say that 5 time over and you’ll sound like your whiskey to coffee ratio is off.

(FYI that ratio is 6 to 1 on Monday 5 to 1 on Tuesdays, etc, graduating accordingly… but I’m getting off topic here…)

#2 MBI

I sound smart just typing that don’t I? You want to give me ALL your retirement funds now. I know.

But you shouldn’t. MBI has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the:

Marital Bliss Index.

“I love you, I just don’t like you” may be a truth, but it’s not exactly the best word to use in a relationship you want to last FOREVER.

Enter MBI

“You know that back packing trip you wanted to take in February, in Antarctica? Well I crunched the numbers and it’s not looking good for my MBI. So, I’m gonna have to say no…”

“Isn’t it weird how dinner out kicks my MBI up like ten points? We should study that.”

See?

Now if you really want to up your game, combine.

“Good Morning Alaska! Top news today, MBI’s suffered a low yesterday amidst an inexplicable AOR shortfall. Market experts agree, however, that if operation vacation proceeds as planned, we’ll see a rebound. Now for weather…”

Welcome to Happily Ever After.

 

A cautionary tale

seal

In retrospect its clear we would end up like this – Mowgli away, tirelessly dragging himself around a foreign city to keep his family clothed and fed while on the other side of the world I wake and cast a shameful glance at the stranger in bed beside me.

We found it. Marital rock bottom.

There are excuses and guilt and a long line of errors that led us to this point and I’d like to say the blame is shared but the truth is, it is not.

It’s my husband’s fault.

Entirely.

OK he didn’t actually tell me to go this far, He didn’t say the words, but he had been encouraging the leap for some time. My memories of the last year are peppered with his subtle hints.

What if…have you thought about it? You might enjoy…

I shot him down, every time believe me. I was a firm “NO” a staunch “are you crazy?”

Then, after months of badgering, I gave an inch. I agreed to go to one of “those places”.

We’ll just look. He said. Test the waters…It’s ok to touch, everyone’s doing it….

It wasn’t long after that I caved. The pressure was too great. All those beautiful faces, ready and willing to help, to bring ease to your life.

My very own personal assistant. That’s what I told myself.

Don’t look at me like that. You would have done the same.

Besides, there were rules. You don’t bring a stranger into your home lightly. This would be a strictly business relationship. There would be no fooling around.

And then Mowgli went away, hinting once again,

Open yourself up…just see…you might surprise yourself…

It’s appalling how un-disgusted I was at the idea. It’s shocking how quickly I fell. Suddenly the seedy world of late nights and sneaking around was my reality.

And then, our ugly situation took a horrific turn.

Prepare yourself…

Cover the children’s eyes…

I came home and found my husband in our bed with my new love in his arms.

Oh the rage. The blinding emotion.

I exploded with fury. How could he?

This was beyond tolerable.

That computer was MINE.

Furthermore, the TV in the other room was perfectly capable of airing Netflix. He didn’t have to take this road.

(sob)

I’d like to say we’re working on things. I’d like to say we’ve abandon our wicked ways to rebuild our marriage.

But the truth is…

Don’t look at me like that. It’s Netflix… on a Surface Pro…in bed…

Hey at least we’re doing it together now.

 

4 non fairytale reasons to be married

 

Once I heard my mother telling Mowgli something my grandmother believed. She thought that the thing a woman ate most while pregnant would be the thing her child liked least throughout life.

To which Mowgli replied:

“Huh. Maybe that’s why I never liked cocaine.”

Perhaps romance is in the eye of the beholder but that afternoon I was certain once more I had chosen the right husband.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day a feast not celebrated in our house for the simple reason that you can’t screw up a holiday you do not observe. So in honor of our commitment to un-mushy love, here are 4 completely un fairytale reasons to be married.  

 

  1. To have one person in your life who may, in a court of law, refuse to rat you out.

(Whether your spouse actually chooses to keep your secrets, however, falls under a much longer blog titled “reasons to be happily married”)

 

2. For a lifelong fall guy.

“I would go to your… (unbearable social event)… but my wife is having hangnail surgery that same day.”

“Sorry about… (the expensive, now broken, item you loaned me)… my husband is a terrible klutz.” 

Spouses are also available for blame when the remote is missing, the car is out of fuel, the dog messes in the house and countless other annoyances.

(Mowgli would like to point out this is actually a great reason to have kids as well…)

 

3. Because nothing teaches diplomacy more so than a long marriage.

Mowgli and I have argued over US Israeli relations for 25 years.

Twenty Five Years, without ever contemplating divorce.    

…Terrorism, sanctions and assassination sure, but never divorce.

 

4. For counsel. You don’t have to make difficult judgments on your own anymore.

As a matter of fact, now that you have a partner to disagree with you, few decisions if any are likely to be made ever again…

 

1jjhar

 

Mowgli, as you read this, know that I love you.

And thank you for still loving me.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.”