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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

I’m back from a week long vacation with the family.  It was a great time.  Scratch that, it was great the first two days, good the third day, OK on the fourth day, I’m ready to be done on the fifth, I question if I like these people the sixth day and wow, I hate you guys so much on the seventh day.  All in all, a great week.

I’m an introvert (a blog for another time), which means social interactions drain me.  It doesn’t mean that I hate being social, which is a common misconception about introverts, but as the social interactions continue, my energy levels drop.  I enjoy hanging with the family, I really do, but the need for quiet time and isolation increases as time goes by.  It is even worse when screens are not allowed on our family vacation.

No screens is the brain child of my wife, God bless her.  It is her desire for us as a family to focus on each other for a week.  As far as I can tell, she loves this concept and enjoyed the tech-free week.  And I will admit, it was good for the family and it was good for me.  I recommend it to all the families out there to spend time together unmolested by internet, Facebook, Instagram, snap chat, etc.  But for me, it’s as appealing as exercise or an enema (roll credits).  There is no doubt that exercise is good for you, but most people don’t look forward to exercising, especially if you aren’t used to it.  And don’t get me started on enemas.

But just like exercise, dieting, etc., you get to a point where it feels good.  You start to wonder why you haven’t done this sooner.  The same is true for eliminating screens from your life.  Taking a break from email, Facebook and the internet is a wonderfully cleansing activity.  But then you get home, and the TV is back, Wi-Fi is back, and it’s like at the end of a good run is a Dunkin’ Donuts and you decide, “One donut won’t hurt.”  Next thing you know, you haven’t run for years, because donuts and watching TV are way easier than exercise.  I’m not ready to give up my devices, but I love the fact that I have kids and a wife that don’t mind (or at least they fake it well, which is all I really ask) focusing on our relationships together as a family.


I was at Walmart today buying a gift for my daughter’s birthday.  Some glitter from the gift got on my face.  The cashier pointed it out to me and highly recommended that I clean it off before returning home.  I looked at her and knew exactly why she was telling me that I had glitter on my face.  I had to laugh.  Walmart, saving marriages from gross misunderstandings every day.  Where is this commercial?

 

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So, my mother-in-law has a dog.  Scratch that, she has a daughter who happens to be a dog.  No, she has a partner, who happens to be a dog.  The point is, my mother-in-law has a dog that is very, very important to her.  She has been divorced for eight or nine years, and as far as I can tell has no interest in getting into another relationship.  This dog is the closest thing to a relationship that I have seen her in.  I don’t say this to be mean, but I am simply attempting to set the stage for the importance of this dog to my mother-in-law.  She is a mix, but with a lot of Cairn Terrier.  The dog’s name is Annabelle.

Not Annabelle, but a pix that looks like her.  Just imagine this dog black, mixed with white hairs.

Not Annabelle, but a pix that looks like her. Just imagine this dog black, mixed with white hairs.

In October, she wanted to visit our family.  She requested to bring Annabelle.  I said, no.  It’s not that I have a problem with little cat-sized dogs.  Scratch that, I do have a problem with little cat-sized dogs, but the stories that I heard about Annabelle did not impress me.  When my wife visited them over the summer, Annabelle barked and growled at my kids.  I found this unacceptable, so she was not allowed in my home.  This did not go over well, but I did not budge on the safety of my children.  So, when we visited them for Christmas, I was very curious how things were going to go with this dog.

Annabelle barked and growled at my kids, my wife, and me.  Unacceptable.  This dog needs to be trained.  This dog needs discipline.  I will tame this dog.  I knew it would be better for everyone if this dog was friendly to my family, but I also felt that I was the Dog Whisperer, and the only thing this wild mutt needed was a little taste of me.  By Christmas day, Annabelle no longer barked or growled at me, nor my wife.  The kids were still an issue, but now I could tell her to stop, and there was a chance she would listen.  My mother-in-law even stated, “I knew you would be able to control her.”  Darn tootin’.  ‘Cause I’m the Dog Whisperer.

On Christmas day, the house was in chaos.  Mother-in-law was in the kitchen cooking.  My wife was sick in bed.  The cousins and brother-in-law were playing in the snow, and sister-in-law was caring for my wife.  Annabelle needed to be walked.  I volunteered, after all, she and I were friends now.

She was leashed and we were off on our walk, or closer to a run.  I see a guy drive by and all I could think was, “This is not my dog, dude.  I would never own a little dog like this.”  Then, she started pulling on the leash as if she had somewhere to be and she was late.  This dog needs to be trained, I thought.  I pulled the leash and told her to stop.  She kept pulling.  Her leash got tangled.  Served her right.  I decided to enter a tennis court, remove her leash and set her straight.  We walked into the fenced-in court, trudging through snow taller than her.  I took the leash off, thinking, even if she runs a little, we are in a fenced-in tennis court, so where could she go?  The leash is off, and she bolts away through the small opening in the tennis court fence. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no …”

I yell, “Annabelle COME!”  She stops.  I exhale.  OK, now, nice and calmly, “Annabelle, come.”  She doesn’t move.  She just stares at me.  She is about 10 feet away, but she might as well be 10 miles.  I need her to come to me so that I can get the leash back on.  I take a step towards her and she runs away another 10 feet.  “Annabelle COME!”  She stops.  She stares at me.  I stare at her.  I take another step.  She runs away another 10 feet.  I stop.  I stare.  She stares.

She stares back as if to say, I’ve got to do this.

No, you don’t have to do this.

I have to do this.

This does not end well for either one of us, Annabelle.

I stare.  She stares.  And with a wink, I swear I saw a wink, she takes off running.  I run after her while continuously screaming ANNABELLE!  And as I am running, I can’t help but think, why is this little dog’s name Annabelle?  Why couldn’t I be yelling Butch, or Hank, I’d even settle for a Sam, a name that could go either way, but I’m yelling through the streets of Minneapolis, Annabelle.  I can’t go out like this.

Then out of nowhere, a huge dog runs out into the street towards Annabelle, probably named Butch or Spike, or something like that.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no,… ANNABELE!! COME!! Luckily the owners of the big dog come out of the house and reign in their manly dog, but of course they hear me screaming Annabelle and running down the street.  “It’s not my dog, but can you grab her!?!”  Annabelle takes off running, straight for a very, very busy street.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no … All I could think of was, “Today is Christmas.  I can’t kill my mother-in-law’s dog on Christmas.” Cars drive passed, but she makes it across safely.  I see the house up ahead.  She is clearly heading home.  I get my cell phone out of my pocket.  I call my brother-in-law.  “Please help me get Annabelle.  She is loose and heading towards the house.  If at all possible, please be discrete.”

I finally make it back to the house.  I see my brother-in-law, and he gives me the thumbs up.  That could have went all kinds of bad.  I get to the backyard, and Annabelle starts barking up a storm at me.  My brother-in-law informs me that no one knows a thing.  Good man.  I walk into the house, up the stairs and into our room.  My wife is still in bed.  I am wheezing.  I pull out my inhaler and take a hit.  “Is everything OK?” my wife asks.  “Just the cold air”, I respond.

I return to the back yard.  Annabelle barks at me.

I thought, you and I are going for  a walk.  You are going to come to me and I am going to put this leash on you.  Then, we are going for a walk.  I’ve owned dogs that would eat you for breakfast.  We are going for a walk.  “Annabelle, come.” She stops barking and stares at me.  “Annabelle, come.”  She takes a step towards me.  I bend down, I put the leash out in front of me and calmly, but sternly say, “Annabelle, come.”  She walks to my hand, I grab her by the collar and hook her to the leash.  We went for a walk.  She did not pull, she did not run, she never let the leash go tight.  She never barked nor growled at me again.  She still barked at my kids, but we will work on that next time, but at my house.

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You ever forget that it was Valentine’s day? Or your anniversary? Or your girlfriend’s birthday?  If so, you have ended up at a florist five minutes before they closed.  At this time, you will see a group of guys huddled around a refrigerator looking for the last remaining rose to appease their partner.  It’s a supportive group of people.  We encourage each other.  We commiserate, and we share our own personal stories, “Forgot my wife’s birthday.”  The other man replies, “Anniversary.”  The two men exchange glances as if to say, “I’m here for you buddy.”  I call this the Doghouse Club.  A time and place where you will never be judged, always supported, and always forgiven by those who have been there.  A place where you could probably get a hug from a complete stranger and a “There there”.  I found a new time and location for the Doghouse Club, a gas station on Christmas Day.  Where you can buy a bag of chocolate chips for five bucks, but be consoled by another man with his story of forgetfulness, “I forgot the meat for dinner.  The wife was not happy.”  We exchanged glances as if to say, “I’m here for you buddy” and I wished him a Merry Christmas.  I would’ve given him a hug too, if he asked for one.  I’m just sayin’ …

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So, the story I am about to tell is true. It may go down in history as one of the weirdest moments in my marriage history. It was one of those moments, when you think to yourself, “What is happening right now?” It may be one of those, “You had to be there” stories, and if that is the case, then I apologize. But make no mistake, it is true and it just happened.

My wife is sick, and in her virus-infected state she has requested something to read that will “not involve her brain”. I couldn’t find my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, so I gave her several options. I gave her Double Sin by Agatha Christie, Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton, and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young. I am a huge fan of mysteries, so those are most of the books in my collection, but I said to her, I recall that the Toby Young book was funny, but I don’t remember it as I read it a long time ago. I also told her that I seemed to have some memory of her reading it before too, but I did not know why.

I leave the room and go downstairs so my wife can choose and read her book to get her through her debilitating illness. One minute later, she calls to me and asks “Who gave you this book?” My reply was, “I have no idea.” Her response was, “Are you sure?”

Let’s take a moment to analyze this situation. If you are in a relationship or have ever been in a relationship, especially a long-term relationship, you might have already surmised my situation. I have been married for some time now (yes, I could be more specific, but that would require brain power. It’s not that I don’t know, it’s just that I want to finish this blog rather soon, and I do not have the time nor the energy to take a break from writing and figure out exactly what year of marriage it is for me. I digress) and my marriage alarms were going off in my head like a three alarm fire. My first reaction was that she clearly knows the answer to her own question. She knows who got me that book, but more importantly, I have no idea who gave me that book.

I cautiously walk up the stairs, my brain racing to determine who could have possibly given me that book. I am wondering if the mystery book giver could land me an extended stay in couch town and a “we are closed indefinitely” sign placed on the Wife Fun Zone. I arrive in our bedroom and she hands me the book. “Who wrote that?” she asked. I look at the book, and inscribed on the title page, it reads:

TO BRETT,
THE GIRL WHO JUST HANDED YOU THIS BOOK WANTS TO JUMP YOUR BONES!
unreadable signature

Again, my wife asks, “Who wrote that?” Again, I respond, I have no idea. “Do you want to think about it?” she says. Alarms blaring and we have just upgraded this situation to DEFCON 1 (nuclear war is imminent). I take a moment. What is my exit strategy? Another moment. Think. Think. I have no choice, I have to go with the truth. “I have no idea who gave me that book.”

“Do you recognize the handwriting?” she asked. “Nope.” I replied. Now let’s enter awkward silence. During the silence, I leaf through the book, as if the book itself would give me the answers I need to get out of this situation. And, lo and behold, about half way through the book is a piece of paper with writing on it. It states, in clear legible hand-writing and different from the title page hand-writing:

HI MY LOVE –
I ASKED HIM TO SIGN THE BOOK, “WITH LOVE, FROM TOBY …” BUT I GUESS HE HAD HIS OWN IDEAS … I LOVE YOU! LEAH

In a glorious, triumphant tone I announce, “YOU gave me this book!”

“What!?!” she replied as she yanked the book away from me. She looked at the note and busted out laughing. The unreadable signature on the title page was now clear to both of us. It read, Toby Young.

Hilarious! And yeah, that just happened.
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In relationships there is nothing worse than when your partner asks a question that he/she already knows the answer to. It is like they are laying a trap and they are just waiting for you to step in it and get stuck, forced to gnaw your own leg off to escape. It is kind of like when your wife asks you if she needs to lose weight. Of course you need to lose weight, otherwise you would not be asking. But if I respond that way, I’m the a-hole. I’m just sayin’ …

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So, I have decided that there is no proper way to ask a woman in a grocery store if she is a stripper or not.

I have also decided that strippers do most of their shopping between 4 and 5 and nine times out of ten are dragging a kid in tow.  I can’t prove this (see above), but I believe it to be true.

I went to the nicest Walmart I have ever seen today.  The people were still ghetto.  I am convinced that Walmart has an ugly requirement.  Not a single good-looking person was working there, NOT ONE.

If I sold sweats, especially crushed velvet sweats outside a Walmart, I would make a killing.

Taco Bell was sued this year because it was claimed that their “beef” burritos only contained approximately 35% beef.  Taco Bell responded by stating that their “beef” burritos are actually 88% beef.  I don’t have a problem with their burritos only being 88% beef, what bugs me is the fact that they refuse to tell the American public what the remaining 12% contains.  The only thing they will state are spices.  I haven’t eaten at Taco Bell since, and won’t till I find out what that 12% contains.  I eat hot dogs for Pete’s sake, I’m not picky, I just want to know what it is.

April first is taken seriously in my house.  The trick last year was my son getting my wife to come running in response to him yelling that he broke his leg.  Very funny.  This year, my son brought home a pink slip.  The pink slip stated that he disrespected the lunch ladies.  Leah said to me, “Has Brett talked to you?  It’s not good.”  I gave Brett a stern talking to for a full minute before he broke and said “April Fools!”  My wife began busting out laughing.  Not as funny this year.

I just read an article that surveyed hundreds of business people asking if it was OK for women to cry at work. More men than women said it was OK.  Women stated that crying made the women appear unstable.  This is further evidence that women are vindictive, evil creatures.

Marriage is interesting.  It is clearly religious, yet most people desire to get married, including atheist and non-traditional relationships, such as homosexuals, and this in spite of the obstacles in front of them.  What is it about marriage?  It is clearly more cultural than religious.  It is one of the few traditions that if you do not participate in it could be awkward.  Nonetheless, I wish the best to my buddy, Nick who is marrying a wonderful lady, Laura tomorrow.  Good luck you guys!  No jokes, just best wishes.

My wife is very excited about attending the wedding tomorrow.  She asked me if I was excited.  I said no.  She did not understand why I wasn’t excited for the wedding.  I only had one response, “Cause I’m a guy.”  There better be an open bar.

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Sorry for the long lag between blogs.  If I could blog everyday, I would.  I’m just sayin …

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So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and if you are like us, you have already celebrated the day or at least mostly.  As far as I can tell, most people celebrate the day the weekend before the actual day.  So, when I tried to get dinner reservations for Saturday night, it was impossible.  So, we went to dinner on Friday night instead.  We went to a hoity toity place called Kil@Wat, and I did not misspell the name.  Why the ‘@’?  I have no idea.  The restaurant was in downtown Milwaukee and we were dressed very nice.  Quite frankly, she and I looked awesome.  Her more than me, but that is to be expected.  As we were dressed to impress, we felt empowered to make fun of other people’s attire.  For example, the woman with too short skirt with the waist band just below the neck and about 20 pounds overweight.  The overweight part was fine, but not the too high, too short skirt.  She was not as bad as the woman with the knee-high boots with short short BRIGHT orange skirt and matching low-cut BRIGHT orange top.  She was also about 6 foot 3.  She may have been a hired escort.  I hope she was, because then it would have made more sense, but that might just be me.

OK, back to the restaurant.  The service was amazing.  Our waiter had an assistant.  Seriously, the waiter had an assistant.  What was the assistant’s job?  Good question.  He was to make sure that our water needs were taken care of.  He was peddling two types of mineral water.  I can’t tell you more than that because the idea was ridiculous as far as we were concerned.  Good ol’ Milwaukee city water was just fine by us.  Despite the great ambiance and excellent service, the food was only so so.  We will not be back, but we had a good time.  Plus, we had an excellent coupon, cause that’s how we roll.  On the actual day we will go to Red Robin as a family which is something we have been doing for the past four years I believe.  We will have a good time.  My kids and I will probably forever associate Red Robin with Valentine’s Day.

The whole experience has gotten me thinking of Valentine’s Day and what’s the point of the day.  If you are single and don’t want to be, I can only imagine that the day sucks.  If you are married, then you may be getting your yearly flowers as a gift, if you are a woman, and guaranteed sex night, if you are a man.  It is kind of sad when you think about it.  On one hand, it is beautiful to think of a day that celebrates love.  On the other hand, it is sad that a day created by Hallmark (I don’t know this) is required to get some loving from the person who should be providing the loving on most days anyway.  The irony for me is that I do not know if I have ever got loving on Valentine’s Day.  Not the actual day at least.  Often the day before, or the day after, but rarely on the actual day.  Weird huh?  I can’t complain though, I don’t need Valentine’s Day to get some, which is nice.  My wife will take one for team on a regular a basis, which is nice.  Too much information??  Now take a moment to think of all the people who are hooking up over the next 24 hours.  OK, don’t think about it too much, it might creep you out.  Nonetheless, whether it is once a year, once a week, or daily, I hope you, if you are able, can get your love on this Monday.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Last Thursday I woke up and it was 8 degrees below zero.  EIGHT FRICKIN’ DEGREES BELOW ZERO!  And I am not talking Celsius, if that has any meaning to you.  For those of you that are lucky enough to live in warm states, let’s bring this temp into perspective.  The temperature would have to raise a full 40 degrees to reach the temperature of an ice-cube.  An ICE CUBE!!  This means on Thursday morning, it was WAY warmer IN my freezer than outside.  Why do I live here?  It was cool to throw boiling water into the air and watch it instantly turn in to snow (see my Facebook page to see video).  Simple pleasures.  I’m just sayin …

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So, on Monday I had coffee with a buddy of mind.  He is getting married, so I have to hang out with as much as possible before his wife completely takes the rest of the little remaining manhood he has left.  I was telling him that I am on a quasi “diet”.

Fried Twinkies

Fried Twinkies are a yearly offering at the Wisconsin Fair. Leave it to Wisconsin to take an unhealthy snack to a whole new level. Also home of chocolate covered bacon. Hmmmmmm bacon.

–BREAK–
OK, I am at the dentist, or actually, Brett Jr. is at the dentist.  And this older gentleman just walked up to me and said “Playing with the computer huh?” He then proceeds to tell me how he has had a computer for the last four years and how he enjoys it and can pay all of his bills online now and that he never even uses stamps anymore.  Really?  Welcome to the 21st century.  WHY OH WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL THE NEED TO TALK TO ME?  I am literally typing on my computer and giving ZERO openings for conversation.  This happens to me ALL THE TIME!  I am so pissed right now.
–END BREAK–

Anyway, I have mentioned before that I am trying to tighten things up, so I am on a minor diet.  For me dieting is simple, I cut out fast food, try to have a HUGE breakfast, decent lunch, and light dinner.  My goal is to go to bed slightly hungry.  If I want a treat, I eat it, I don’t starve myself, or completely change my diet, just make the modifications listed above and I usually lose weight.  I couldn’t tell if I have lost weight yet because I do not believe in weighing myself.  I go by feel.  This is how I think everyone should do it.  The scale is your enemy and only makes you feel bad about yourself.  Don’t do it, just go by feel, because that is the most important thing anyway.  As I was talking to my friend about this, I told him how often I get hungry when I do this, and it got me thinking about obesity in America.  How often do people feel hungry?

Some how, some way we have gotten to a point in our culture to believe that we should never be hungry.  This is especially offensive considering the millions of people who are hungry daily, but I will save that high horse for another time.  Again, I think dieting is simple, you must burn more than you take in, and that’s it and do not let anyone tell you different.  If you burn 2000 calories daily and you have a diet of Twinkies, but only eat 1800 calories worth of Twinkies daily, guess what, you will lose weight.  That’s a fact!  Will you be healthy?  Of course not, but you will lose weight.  But here is the thing, if you burn more than you take in, you will be hungry, and hungry daily.  So, how can you lose weight and NOT be hungry.  But we work so hard to never have any kind of negative feelings that it would be very difficult to lose weight if you hated being hungry.  I think this is a problem.  We as a culture believe that we should never have valleys, but strive to move from peak to peak.  This is crazy and the true inspiration of this blog.

Valleys are important.  It is important to fall.  It is important to fail.  One thing I have learned in my relationship with my wife is that it is the hard times that improves our good times.  It is the fights and the difficult discussions (which I hate by the way) that bring us to the other side.  Whenever I do what I do best (take issues and dig a Grand Canyon hole in my soul and bury them under 2 tons of concrete to never see the light of day again) things never improve.  Trying to go from peak to peak is an illusion and never works.  It is OK to be hungry, as a matter of fact it is crucial if you plan on reaching your goal of losing weight.  You may not get that HD TV you want if you are trying to get out of debt.  You may have to have that hard discussion if you want your relationships to improve.  Trial by fire is not just a euphemism, but a reality of life.  Peaks are awesome, but you must start in the valley for them to be truly appreciated.

That last line was cheezy, but true.

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I have both male and female research assistants.  As a matter of fact, most of my research assistants are female.  A couple of days ago I had a meeting with my students and I said, “Hello ladies.”  One them was male, and he was quite taken aback by my greeting.  I find it fascinating that in most cultures (I have no research to back this statement, but I believe it to be true) that if you are addressing a group, and at least one of the members of the group is male, you may address the group in “masculine” terms and that is acceptable.  Now granted, it would be better to say “ladies and gentlemen” or “hello everyone” or something more neutral, which of course would be more appropriate, but it is interesting that in most cases, if you use the masculine term, no one will be offended.  However, if you use a feminine term, I pretty much guarantee the guys will be offended.  What’s up with that?  It’s a cultural thing I know, but I am growing more and more interested in traditions that have absolutely no bearing in any thing than, “that’s just the way we do it.”

For example, despite the fact that the modern world knows that sneezes are NOT caused by demons or supernatural powers that need to be appeased upon every sneeze with a “God bless you”, it is rude to not make this statement when someone sneezes.  This is not even a religious issue.  There is not a church, nor a religion that would tell you that this is something that God requires, at least no church or synagogue that I am aware.  It makes me wonder what other traditions exist or will not exist 50 years from now.

Another cultural phenomenon that I personally support, but when I think about is still fascinating:  Do you know that in other cultures it is perfectly acceptable, as matter of fact expected, for men to hold hands when walking together?  In other cultures it is also perfectly acceptable for men to dance together.  In some places it would be considered provocative for men and women to dance together in public, yet in this country, if you walk into a place where men are holding hands and/or dancing together, guess what, you are in a gay bar.  Which means you are either a homosexual, you walked into the wrong place by accident, or you are a Republican congressman (Yeah, I just said that).

So, what’s my point?  I don’t really have one, other than the fact that we do and believe in things that may not have any basis in fact or evidence or logic.  Is that OK? Of course it is, but don’t pee on me and say that it is raining.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I am married to an emotional being.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make fun of her or claim that she is some crazy b&#$! or something, because she is not.  I love her to death.  I say that mostly because it is true, and partially because she reads my blog.  She actually doesn’t read my blog regularly, I don’t know why.  She reads it in batches and is never up to date.  For example, recently I told her that I was going to the bathroom and she asked “Because you have to go, or because you need a break from your family?”  At first I was confused by this response, then I realized, wait, that is from my blog (see Everyone Poops …).  So, I clearly need to make sure that what I write here does not get me into trouble.

Ah fuck it!  If I can’t say it here, I shouldn’t say it at all.  Pardon the language, but that is how I feel.  I digress.

As I was saying, my wife is an emotional being.  This is an issue.  It is an issue mainly because I am not.  Now, I am not a robot, but let’s just say that I could vacation on Vulcan and have a good time.  If you have no idea what Vulcan has to do with emotions, than you are a better person than I.  It also most likely means you were having sex in high school, while I was not.  Once again, I digress.  It’s not that I can’t be emotional, it is just that under most scenarios, I do not find emotions helpful.  Let me paint a picture for you of an actual exchange between my wife and I.  Now, this exchange is true in nature, but not true in fact.  In other words, the following conversation has never actually happened, but if you were to exchange the topic for just about anything else, it probably at one time or another has happened in my home:

HER: “Hey Love, can we talk?”

[Note: NO conversation that begins with “Can we talk?” is ever good.  If your wife ever opens up a sentence with “Hey, can we talk?”  “Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen!” cause you are in for a bumpy ride.  If you don’t know where the “…linen” quote is from, again, sex in high school.  It’s called trade-offs.  My point is, as soon as she says “Hey” I know that the next few moments are not going to end well for me.]

ME: “Sure. What’s up?”

HER:  I’m tired.  I am sick of being tired.

ME:  You should try to get more sleep.

HER:  I can’t get more sleep.  I have too much work to do.  Between work, the kids, the house, making food, cleaning … and you, there is not enough time in the day.

ME:  Then you should cut out some of those things so that you don’t have as much work to do.  I could even help out more.

[Note:  Did yo notice that last sentence?  You see I am not an idiot.  I know that my wife works a lot and I can be a pill sometimes.  So, I am offering to help.  I am a great guy! Right?  WRONG! Let’s continue]

HER:  “I can’t just stop doing things!  Those things are important to me.  I do them because they are important to me, my family is important to me.  And because of all the things that need to get done, I am stressed about stuff and I don’t get enough sleep.”

[The following line is a rookie mistake.  I know it every time I say it, but I can’t help myself.]

ME:  Then what do you want from me?

HER:  I just want you to listen!  God!  Why are you such an ass!

ME:  Sorry.  Umm, I hate to change the subject, but do you know where my tool box is?

HER:  It is probably in the garage.  Why?

ME:  Oh no reason, I just need to go drill a hole in my skull.  I am pretty sure it will take me to a better place then the rest of this conversation.

[And scene]

OK, the last part never actually happens, at least not out loud.  So, here is the thing, and I know at least half of my reading audience is thinking “Why can’t you understand?” and the other half is screaming “Preach it brutha!”, but this is a story more about me than her.  You see my wife is an emotional being, but I am a problem solver.  In my mind, I have absolutely no idea how listening to a problem will ever solve a problem.  Just because you name a problem does not make it go away, it’s not Rumpelstiltskin (OK, if you don’t get that reference, then you just need to read more.  That or watch more cartoons).  However, for emotional beings, just talking about a problem makes them feel better.  I will never understand this, but it’s true.

It’s funny, on paper, my wife and I should never work, but we do.  Although I can do without emotions much of my life, they are important to the world and to me.  Much like politics, having extremes can bring things closer to the middle where things belong.  She also just keeps me in check.  She is not afraid to tell me I’m an ass sometimes and that’s a fact.  I’m also a little afraid of her.  A healthy fear, I think, but I am fairly certain that although I am more than twice her size, she would kick my ass in a fight.  I’ve seen her angry.  If you know her you might not believe me, because she is a sweet person, but think Hulk, probably not green Hulk, but gray Hulk (again, high school).

So, to all you emotional beings out there, stay emotional.  But don’t forget, in the long run, problems should never stay problems, they need to be solved.  So, make sure that you keep that problem solver in your life, they serve an important purpose.  And I am learning, as a problem solver, that a hug may not solve the problem, but it will sure make life a lot happier and make life less like high school, if you know what I mean.
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My oldest son had his first karate lesson yesterday.  It was a free trial with him and the instructor.  He gets three more lessons at a reduced rate, then if he wants to continue he will join a group.  During the lesson, he could not contain his excitement.  His entire body was smiling.  It was fun to watch.  I have decided that one of the perks of children is getting reminders of “pure” joy.  It is like the first time you do something you always wanted to do, like riding your bike, your first Christmas, Disneyland or sex, it’s amazing how exciting it is your first time.  Actually, probably not sex, that is more awkward and generally gets better once you know what you are doing, but maybe that’s just me. [awkward pause]  Anyway, it was fun to watch.  Possibly the greatest perk to being a parent is seeing joy in your kids.  Not funny, but true.  I’m just sayin …

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