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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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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The family is on a no-tech holiday, more on that later. As a result, the blog will be back next week. Here is what I have planned for the future: My No Tech Vacation, Emotion vs Logic: Battle of the Titans, and a multi part series on Wisconsin. So, stay tuned. In the mean time, here is a quote that I like:

“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

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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, last February, my wife and I were enjoying a lovely Valentine’s dinner and I had what in my opinion was a brilliant idea: Anti-Valentine’s Day.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not actually against Valentine’s Day.  As matter of fact, I enjoy Valentine’s Day a lot, but I got to wondering about how fake it might be, or at least has become.  You may have heard people say, “I don’t celebrate V-Day, because everyday is V-Day.”  Well, other than the fact that this is usually a statement made by guys, the lazy, and people in general full of BS, it did make me ponder about the authenticity of V-Day.

Why was I so interested in creating Anti-Valentine’s Day?  The simple answer is, I don’t know, but the more complicated answer involves a trip down memory lane involving “The Salmon Incident”.  My wife and I were in a long-distance relationship in the beginning.  She lived in Oxford, England.  I liked Oxford.  I would have moved there if I did not have ties in the US.  Nonetheless, whenever I visited she would cook me a nice dinner on the first night, usually salmon.  I am sure you are aware of England’s reputation for fish and chips, but they also, according to my wife, have excellent salmon.  She would rave about the high quality of their salmon and how it was the best she ever tasted.  So, she used my visits as an excuse to cook salmon.  After the fifth or sixth time she cooked me salmon, I finally had to tell her, “I’m not a huge fan of salmon.”  It’s not that I hate salmon, but if I only had salmon once a year or every couple of years, I would be just fine.  Needless to say, she stopped cooking me salmon and now every time we discuss the need to not have secrets in our relationship, we refer back to the ‘The Salmon Incident’.

So, it got me thinking about relationships.  I bet every relationship has secrets.  I am not talking about big secrets, like a secret love child, but little secrets, like I hate that one shirt that you always wear.  So, during our Valentine’s Dinner, I revealed to my wife an idea for a new holiday, Anti-Valentine’s Day.  At first she was dubious.  She felt strongly that this was a veiled attempt at getting permission to tell her a secret.  After ten minutes of convincing her that I had did not have any big surprises for her, and thereby ruining Valentine’s Day, she was willing to hear me out.

Here is how it works:  Once a year, I recommend February 15, you get to share one secret with your significant other.  Again, this is NOT big secret day, but a little secret.  I think it should be the day after Valentine’s Day, that way you don’t miss out on getting some, because you ain’t getting any after Anti-Valentine’s Day.  For example, I told this idea to a friend of mine, and he had a little secret immediately.  I was actually surprised how quickly he had his secret, it was clearly ready and loaded in the chamber.  He was upset that his wife never empties the trash.  She will allow the trash to pile as high as the ceiling, but she will never take it out.  This is a great example of a secret to be shared on Anti-Valentine’s Day.  How would this not be positive for any relationship?

Now would be a good time to apologize to any unsuspecting person on the receiving end of this idea.  If you choose to do this with your spouse and it blows up in your face, do not blame me.  But aren’t these the secrets that grow and fester in any relationship?  It is easy to let things go in the beginning, the lust phase, but what about 5-10 years down the road?  When will you pick up the dirty underwear off the floor and snap?  The 10th time?  100th time?  Hence, Anti-Valentine’s Day, the savior or destroyer of relationships.  My wife stated that in order for this day to work, there must be rules agreed upon by both parties.  For example:  The secret can’t be huge, it must be a minor secret that falls in the annoying category.  You cant’ get mad.  If you agree to do this, know blowing up at your partner.  It must be something that can actually be changed and surgery doesn’t count.  If you are not happy with your partner’s breast or penis size, well, you just need to come to terms with that.  This also includes being overweight.  If you think your partner is too fat, well, good luck with that one.

So, what is your salmon incident?  Do you have something you have always wanted to tell your spouse, but it has gone on too long and you are afraid it is too late?  If so, maybe Anti-Valentine’s Day is for you.  If you try it, I would love to hear how it went, but don’t blame me if it goes horribly wrong.

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My wife kept pushing me to reveal my secret, convinced I was hiding something.  The only thing I had was that she often left a room and kept the lights on.  She also does this thing where she will walk into the living room while I am watching TV and complain that I have all the curtains closed.  She will then open all the curtains and say, “That’s better.” and then leave.  What?  She doesn’t do this anymore, because I have already told her, but if I hadn’t it would be a great candidate for Anti-Valentine’s Day.  The question is not what is your issue, but how quickly will it jump to your brain upon reading this blog?  Was it 10 seconds? A minute?  Or immediately upon reading relationship secret?  I’m just sayin’ …

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Do NOT let your daughter watch this movie. Just say no!

So, I know what you are thinking, “How cute.  She’s a little mermaid.”  WRONG!  Not that mermaid.  Disney’s The Little Mermaid was possibly one of the most popular movies with little girls.  It was the classic story of a beautiful girl giving up everything to be with the man she loves and everything becomes perfect as a result.  Worst story for little women, EVER!   Tangled was also a popular movie.  A girl trapped in a tower so that an evil women can remain young and beautiful, (because this is most important to women), but she is saved by a scoundrel of a man and life is better.  This in spite of the worthlessness of the man.  You see, you can be a thief and a no-good, but you’re a man, so you still make a woman’s life better.  Don’t get me started.

Did you know that in the original Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, she dies?  In the original story by Andersen, mermaids differ from humans in two key aspects:  mermaids live up to 300 years and mermaids have no soul.  When mermaids die, they turn into sea-foam.  When the Little Mermaid requests that the Witch make her human, she is asking for more than just a boyfriend and to be anatomically correct, she wants love and a soul.  So, the Witch makes her human in exchange for her beautiful voice.  The Little Mermaid must make the prince fall in love with her or she will die.  The movie is pretty true to the story up until the Little Mermaid saves the prince from drowning, but then things change dramatically.  In the story, the prince is set to marry another princess.  Like the movie, he does not know that the Little Mermaid is the one that saved his life, because she can ‘t talk.  When he meets the princess, he is convinced that it is she that saved his life, and he falls in love with her immediately.  They are to be wed and the Little Mermaid is going to die.  Here is the cool part.  In the original story, the Little Mermaid’s sisters make a deal with the Witch.  They sell her their hair in exchange for the Little Mermaid’s life.  The Witch agrees, but the Little Mermaid must take the knife, that she provides to the sisters, and kill the prince.  The witch says that as the prince’s blood flows on her legs, they will combine to a mermaid tail again.  The sisters give the knife to the Little Mermaid.  But the Little Mermaid sees how happy the prince is with his new wife-to-be and can’t bare to kill him.  She turns to foam as the sunrises.  Isn’t Andersen’s story better?  It is way more realistic.  The book is always better.

You see, even Hans Christian Andersen knew that men do not solve all of women’s problems.  As matter of fact, they often make things worse.  The perpetuation of the idea that men solve everything for women needs to be squashed, but I have no idea how to make that happen.  This is why the Princess and the Frog did not do well with American audiences.  First of all, she was black, and second of all, she was independent.  She did not need a man.  As a matter of act, the man needed her.  From a Disney financial perspective, a bust.  Crazy.  It was an awesome movie.  As far as my daughter is concern, it will be the only female dominated Disney movie that exists.

A Disney female character I can support for my daughter.

So, why is my daughter a mermaid?  She is beautiful, manipulative, and will destroy me.

Mami Wata pictures almost always have her wearing a watch and with a snake.

A brief mermaid lesson:  Many cultures have a long history of water spirits, or mermaids.  One of the most popular water spirit from Africa is Mami Wata.  Mami Wata is often seen as a mermaid.  She is believed capable of healing the sick and bringing good luck.  However, she also has a temper, and will drown those that disobey her.  Her name actually comes from the English words “Mommy Water,” and is portrayed wearing foreign clothing and jewelry as her followers believe she is from another world.  In European lore, mermaids would lure sailors with their song and beauty.  Ships would crash into rocks as a result.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses ties himself to the mast of the ship in order to avoid the song of the mermaids.  The story of mermaids has been around for at least 3000 years and most agree, they are beautiful and dangerous.

That’s my Violet.  She is beautiful and dangerous.  She lures me in with her cuteness and makes me obey her every wish.  This morning, like many mornings, we ate breakfast together.  I fixed her breakfast (often blueberry waffles with peanut butter) and I make myself my usual, granola with berries and various other fruits.  Today it was blueberries and bananas.  When she is finished with her food, she wants to eat mine.  No, you don’t understand, she wants me to give her some of my food.  She wants me to share my food.  Me… Share…  MY food.

If you ask my wife what was our first issue as a couple, she will respond quickly and easily.  On one of our dates, she grabbed some food off of my plate.  I was shocked.  She will tell you in clear detail, as if it was yesterday, that I proceeded to explain to her that taking food off my plate was in no uncertain terms, unacceptable.  I do not share food.  The relationship almost died right then and there.  And here I am this morning, and multiple previous mornings, sharing food with my daughter.  There is no other explanation, she is a mermaid.

I don't stand a chance.

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Last night, I was watching a cable TV series called, Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  This is not an endorsement for the show, but let me just tell you that the title of the series is quite accurate.  It’s a TV show about gladiators and the  apparently crazy times surrounding the time of gladiator fighting in the arena.  I don’t know why I watched it, but I did.  It has Lucy Lawless in it.  Remember her?  Lawless used to play Xena in Xena the Warrior Princess.  That show was awesome.  Anyhoo, there was a scene in which one of the gladiators was ordered to disrobe and the guy was standing naked in front of some important woman.  It was full frontal nudity.  Remember when a penis flashed at the end of Fight Club, and that was kind of shocking?  When did it become OK for the penis to be hangin’ on cable TV?  I don’t care if you are a man or woman, homo- or heterosexual.  If a man is standing before you naked, you are sneaking a peek at his junk.  The thing is, I couldn’t NOT look at it.  What’s up with that?  Does that make me gay?  I’m just sayin …

Another female character I approve of for my daughter.

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So, if you have NOT read the previous blog, please read it here first, before reading this one.

My wife was disappointed that in my previous blog I did not make it clear to my readers that I am NOT the person depicted in Mindreading 101.  God bless her.  You know what my first thought was to her statement?  I should go on my blog and be an even bigger a-hole and really piss off my readers.  I don’t know why, but that is funny to me.  I love things that don’t make sense.

The other thing that went through my mind is, why?  My friends know me, and they are not going to be tricked into thinking I am someone else because of a blog.  I just don’t think about things like that.  I just assume that not every reader is going to like or get every blog, and I am amazingly OK with that.  Nonetheless, in an effort to make my spouse happy, which is very very very important to me, here it goes.  I do not treat my wife like the blog, Mindreading 101 would suggest.  I do NOT need a beer to hug my wife, a shot of vodka, maybe, but not beer.  I’M KIDDING!  I kid cause I love.

I have to run.  I want to have dinner ready before my wife gets home, so she can just sit down, relax and eat.  Cause that’s how I roll.  I’m just sayin …

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So, this blog is going to be shorter than I want, but I simply don’t have the time to give it the time it deserves.  But, nonetheless, I must give a short lesson on mind reading.  If you are a female, you do not need to read this blog.  For male readers only.

OK.  If you are a male and you are in a relationship with a woman, I have a quick lesson to give you.

Lesson #1:  Women change their minds.  Women are always changing their minds.  As a matter of fact, women can not stay on topic to save their lives.  This is not the real problem, however.  The real issue is that the woman will change their mind, but will neglect to tell you.  I am not exactly sure why this is, but it is true.  To add insult to injury, they will expect their male partner to realize that the mind has been changed and will get angry when the male does not realize it.  So, what do you do?  Simple.  When you find your self in a situation where it is clear to you that the rules have changed; take the following steps:

1.  Take two deep breaths

2.  Recognize that at some point your woman has changed her mind about something and hence the rules.

3.  Take a break.  This can be a short break, such as counting to three.  Or you can excuse yourself to the bathroom.  Or, better yet, run down to the local pub and grab a beer, and then rejoin the conversation.  Little known fact, beer makes women easier to understand.  You probably thought it was that beer makes women more attractive.  Not true, or at least not completely true.  Beer turns on the woman-understanding part of your brain.  Scientific fact.  Look it up.  Beer also causes men to say I love you to other men.  They are connected.

4.  If you had a beer, this step will be much easier, but if not, still possible, but a little more difficult.  Try to think about what insecurity, fear, or need of support is at the heart of your woman’s new rule change.  If it is insecurity, give her a hug, and no matter what the issue is, tell her that you will always be there for her.  If it is fear, look her in the eyes and tell her that everything is going to be alright.  If it is support, just listen and give her a big l’ hug and say I got your back.

Here is the crazy part, and if you are a male, you will definitely recognize this as crazy.  If you successfully complete step four, it will solve the problem, no matter what the problem is.  WHAT!?!?!?  That’s right.  But I know what you are thinking, Brett, step 4 doesn’t address or solve the problem.  You are right.  Unfortunately, you are dealing with a species that does not deal in logic, and that was your first mistake.

Is it mind reading? Of course, not, but she will think it is and that is all that matters.  Your welcome.

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When someone says, “Hey.  How are you doing?”  What they are really saying is “Hello”.  This is at least true in the US.  I don’t know when this happened, but it is true.  No one really wants to know how the other person is doing, which is sad.  If you don’t believe me, the next time someone asks you how you are doing, actually tell them.  And not a one word answer, but give them the details of how you are doing.  Watch how quickly their facial expression changes and they change the subject.  At least that is what I do.  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m just sayin …

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