Archive for the ‘Sweetie’ Category

Before I dive into a blog post that involves a bit of a whine, I feel I should explain my hangnail theory of suffering and complaint. Years ago, my sister was talking to me about something (I don’t remember what exactly) that was really bothering her. However, she also expressed a little bit of guilt for complaining about something that she felt was minor compared to major troubles that other people were experiencing. I told her to think about how much a hangnail hurts when she has one on her finger. It may be the smallest piece of skin and seem like nothing in itself, but hangnails HURT. They hurt like crazy, and I always feel so relieved when one is finally gone. I told her, “When you hurt, you hurt.” Comparing your hurt to others’ hurts doesn’t help your hurt to go away and rarely even dulls that constant nagging hangnail pain that can take over your thoughts.

My hangnail for the last week has been a temporary bout of single working motherhood while Mike was out of town for work. I won’t go into the boring details of trying to maintain a work schedule and stay on top of work deadlines after being sick for two weeks and then being home alone with the kiddos. The particulars of my temporary single motherhood may change from trip to trip when Mike leaves town, but the overall effect of exhaustion and stress have been pretty constant over the years. And I don’t want to complain too much because I recognize how lucky I am to have such a great parenting partner around most of the time. And also, because I recognize there are men and women all over the place for whom this is a normal condition. Normal to be the sole caregiver/organizer/taxi service/nurturer/disciplinarian/provider. Normal to be solely responsible for getting kids where they need to be, feeding them, keeping them on schedule, playing with them, comforting them, perhaps even yelling at them (*gulp*) on occasion. Normal to know that sickness cannot be accommodated with extra rest. Normal to live with the demands of work life and home life without consistent help. And, just as I could not explain how I manage to get through my temporary full load on my own, I doubt many single parents could explain precisely how they manage. These are just the types of situations where you deal with the hand you are dealt. Week by week. Sometimes day by day or hour by hour.

The kids and I had our good moments and bad this week. School was attended. First-grade homework was completed. Meals were eaten on a regular basis. The weekend brought a trip to our neighborhood pizza place for dinner out, a sleepover for both kids together in one room (which they think is just the best thing ever…until the 4-year old wakes up crying at 1:30 a.m. because she’s slightly disoriented from sleeping on the floor), and a little more TV watching than they would normally get. The bad moments usually involved me losing my cool and yelling at them or losing my whine containment field and babbling to Mike about some random work stress. I’ve told him before, I try and teach the kiddos not to say, “I can’t.” Especially if they haven’t really tried to master whatever challenge is in front of them. Say, “It’s hard.” Or, “I need help.” But don’t just say you can’t. This is a very tough lesson for me to try and embody when I can’t successfully juggle work and home duties, sometimes even when Mike is around and trying to cover for me. I can no longer function well on very little sleep, which used to help me work much much later into the night than I can do these days. Some would argue I never functioned well that way.

How do single parents do this all the time? It’s an impossible question to answer with specifics, I am sure. Hopefully, some or many have support networks of friends and family. Hopefully, they’ve adjusted to this normal in such a way that everyday stress levels are manageable. The single parents I know have stress, yes, but also have amazing relationships with their wonderful kids. They have much to be proud of, from what I see of their ability to juggle work and home and life and chaos. I have to think it helps when you can acknowledge that one bout of yelling or one extra-lenient moment doesn’t affect resilient kids at all, as long as they know you love them and are doing your best. It’s one of the reasons I never subscribe to anything close to a “mommy war.” Who am I to lecture someone else on how to raise a kid, or criticize someone who is working his or her fingers to the bone to maintain a household? So, I apologize for whining about one week of extra duties and stress, but I will express how happy I am to have the hubby home again, finally, finally, happily.  Except, did I mention he got sick while working away? I’ll try not to throw every responsibility back at him all at once, to give him a day or two to recover.  Maybe. Potentially. Perhaps.


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My Poor Hubby

This exchange from an episode of 30 Rock illustrates well the sort of behavior of mine that my poor Sweetie has to put up with on a day-to-day basis.

Jack says something to Liz (Lemon).

Liz starts ranting on and on and on about some old memory of hers.

Jack says:  “Lemon, this is a part of our problem. I give you a simple managerial suggestion in a professional context and I get back the second half of a Judy Blume novel.”

I’ve given up trying to pretend that I don’t babble incessantly to my husband. I do.  I’m a babbler.  My good friends know this about me.  Nowadays I just sidle up next to Sweetie and say something like: “Honey, do you have time for the second half of a Judy Bloom novel?”

Bless his heart, he usually says yes.

But you know I’ll rant about it when he says no.

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Well, I suppose it was bound to happen.

We live in Maui.  Centipedes live on Maui.  Centipedes bite things.  We humans can be pretty threatening. 

We got bit by a centipede!!!!   

And when I say “we”, I mean “Sweetie.”  And when I say “Sweetie got bit by centipede,” I mean – “THANK GOD I did not get bit by a centipede!!!!”

Sorry Sweetie.  Way to take one for the team. 

I guess the centipedes around here were tired of getting sprayed to death.  And tired of being flung over a fence.  The word is out that our home is not friendly to centipedes and one decided to get on the offense.

So, Sweetie and I were sitting here in our living room, minding our own business and watching some TV.  And he starts rubbing his leg.  And then he says “hmmm…..I think something bit me.” 

And a few seconds later, he stands up.  He’s trying to look at the back of his leg.  And he says, “I think something stung me.” 

And his leg starts to hurt.  And he says “I think I got bit by a spider!”

This finally draws my attention and I leap off the couch and started hopping around the living room. 

What!?!?!  Spider?  Where?!   WHERE!!??

I’m dancing around the living room.  Sweetie is looking around, trying to think of what to do.  Meanwhile, his leg is starting to burn.  He goes to the reclining chair he was sitting in.  He pushes it back.  He looks underneath into the darkness and:

“A-HA!”  he yells.

“AAARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!”  I scream.  For no apparent reason. 

And he points under the chair and tells  me “It’s a centipede.”

“EEEEERRRAAAGHHHHHHHH!!!!” I scream.  For good reason.

I hop around a little more and Sweetie grabs a kleenex.  He makes a grab for the centipede and flings it out from under the chair into the light.  It’s a teeny tiny little thing and can’t get very far on its tiny legs.  Sweetie grabs more kleenex and manages to grab onto the thing while I run into the kitchen for the Ziploc bag.  Because – you know me – I gotta examine the thing before we kill it.  We throw the kleenex and centipede into the bag and zip it up.

And there it sat:

Pretty gross, huh?

I think centipedes actually bite from their second segment/set of legs.  I’m not sure how this thing was crawling around Sweetie’s chair and managed to bite him on his leg.  All I can say is – I think Sweetie is extremely lucky this is just a little guy.  He is much much smaller than the last two centipedes we found in the house.  As the books will tell you, a bad centipede bite can feel like a shotgun blast and can hurt for a couple of days.  As it was, Sweetie put an ice pack on his leg and said it just felt like someone was holding a lighter up to him.  Oh, that’s all.  I can’t even imagine what a huge centipede bite would feel like.  I don’t want to know. 

For some perspective:

Yes, he was small.  But boy was he tough. For the record, I didn’t spray him or throw him over the fence.  I beat him with the bottom of a Sierra Nevada beer bottle.  

Hey, I like the Dalai Lama – I didn’t say I was *as* peaceful as him.   

I hope this ends the Chronicles of the Centipedes here on Maui. 

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So, Sweetie and I jumped on a plane today headed for sunny California!

Lucky for us, sunny California is not as sunny as it was a week or so ago.  Last week, I was hearing all about the heat wave and the 100+, 110+ hot temperatures.  But we landed in Sacramento tonight and it was downright lovely.  A little wind has kicked up and I think the temperatures will be in the cool 90s for a while.  I hope.  We’ll see.

Anyway, Hooray!!!!!! We are in California.  It has been almost six months since our last visit – probably the longest amount of time I’ve spent away from my family in a long long time.  Definitely the longest amount of time I’ve not seen my nephews since they were born.  And there was Nephew #1 with Big Sis smiling at the bottom of the escalators tonight.  I wanted to smother him with hugs I was so happy to see them both.     (I know, I know —- it’s like I just discovered these emoticons or something.  Lighten up.)

Behind the scenes here, the last few weeks, Sweetie and I have been working hard to organize his family’s biennial reunion gathering.  If you remember, I attended two years ago when Sweetie and I were engaged.  I was introduced to many many members of the extended family and enjoyed a few days of hiking, horseback riding, lounging around, and chatting with my soon-to-be-family in Utah.  It’s been two years of getting ready for the next one.  And it is in California and fell to Sweetie’s immediate family to organize.  A while ago it was handed over to Sweetie, his mom, and me.  So, I’ve been trying to get head counts, and reservations, and activities organized, and so on and so forth.  And, ready or not – the family is descending in a litltle over a week!  I’m sure to blog more about that later (or not – you may have noticed I’m notoriously bad at finishing some blogs.)

Sweetie and I flew from Maui to Oahu to catch our plane to California.  Then, of course, the plane takes off from Oahu and flies right back past Maui on its way east.  And I gotta tell you, the ocean around Maui and Oahu today was the most gorgeous I have ever seen it.  Bright light blue at the shore fading into deep shades of blue so clear, I could see the waves and the coral from the plane window.  Stunningly beautiful today.  One of those days I feel quite blessed to be living in such surroundings.

And then, flying above California, the sun on the west side of the plane was the deepest, darkest, brightest red I have ever seen as it set.  I was on the opposite side of the plane, and we were landing, so I only had a bit of a glimpse through the windows.  But wow.  Maui’s got nothing on that sunset.

So, Sweetie and I are now settling into Mom’s house.  We will, no doubt, be shuttling back and forth between our moms’ houses.  With a possible side trip to LA while we are here.   Tomorrow morning, I am walking a 5K with Big Sis and the family.  Then a little BBQ.  It’s all good.

But I gotta say – What the WHAT?!  I am in the air and out of Internet range for one day and I log into my computer tonight to find out – WHAT?!  Sarah Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska?!  Stepping down?  Not even finishing her term?  For what?  I’ve been following some of the Alaska blogs so I know about the ethics complaints, and the legislature going against her wishes to take stimulus money, and the resounding defeat of her horrible attorney general pick.  But for what?  Because the going got tough?  Because attacks got personal?  Because she felt like she couldn’t forward her agenda in her own state?

I don’t know the answer for sure.  I’m just surprised that someone who was touted as having the tenacity of a bulldog ended up giving up her elected office like a whimpering Chihuahua (no offense to Chihuahuas).  Maybe she knows of more things that are going to come to light that she can’t excuse away.  Maybe she wants to go “hike the Appalachian Trail.”  Maybe her advisors are really so stupid as to think this is the best way to launch a bid for President.  ?? Who knows.  I just honestly hope that her loyally rabid followers don’t try and turn this into what a great opportunity for her to support national candidates, or jump on the national stage, or whatnot.  In my experience, if you can’t stand tough in your own job, you have no business seeking a tougher job (and let me tell you, my old co-workers and I have stood tough for years in a workplace that can chew people up and spit them out in weeks).  Much as I think Sarah Palin is amazing fodder for crazy political stories, I stand by my earlier opinions that her rhetoric and particular brand of politics are poison, her qualifications for national office are atrocious, her viewpoints are narrow and dangerous, and I’d prefer she disappear from the national stage. 

And with that, I should sleep if I want to wake up for a fun run.  Sorry for the hodgepodge of notes here.   Just thought I’d write something before all my day’s memories are gone. 

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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Wedding Vanity Update

Yes, I’m trying to work on some good entries about the wedding and honeymoon. I’ll get them done…….someday.

I have to brag about some things though. Sweetie and I really had a great day. Here are some reasons why.

1. We had the best guests ever. Really. Folks were so happy and in good spirits. The wedding coordinator at the country club could not stop telling us how nice our guests were. I don’t know. Maybe other wedding guests are grumpy. Or demanding. Or maybe she was just humoring us. But I looked out at the sea of smiling faces, and watched everyone talking and enjoying themselves, and I know how far many of them traveled to see us wed. And I knew they were the best guests ever.

2. We had the cutest ring bearer and flower girl ever. No really. I can’t tell you how cute and good these guys were. My youngest nephew as ring bearer was a hoot! We was awesome all day. Hung out with us women in the prep room. Took pictures with the guys. Carried the rings with the utmost diligence. Didn’t pick his nose during the ceremony. Stood right in front of the groomsmen looking snazzy the whole time. Even took some adorable pictures that caught a smile on his face. The only thing he would not do?? Hold the flower girls hand. No way. Nope. Absolutely not.

She, also, was a fantastic trooper all day. Hung out with us women in the prep room. Sat down quietly to draw after her dress was on. Handed me two pictures as a wedding present. Laughed whenever the photographer told her to smile. And the cutest thing ever? – well – she had been showing me a ballet move for two days – the one where you put your arms over your head….palms and fingers facing each other – what do they call that? Very cute. When Sweetie and I watched one of the videos of the processional, we saw the two of them standing to walk down the aisle….waiting for their cue….and then….right before they set off together….Snap!….her arms went up over her head….little ballet move….and Snap!…her arms were down again….and she marched towards the aisle with her flower basket in arm. Holy crap!! It was soooooo cute!

3. We had the best flowers ever. I was pretty sure I could count on our florist to put something nice together. When we were talking to/interviewing florists for the wedding, she really seemed to “get it.” It helped that she wasn’t the woman who kept talking about my “red” flowers. Uhhhh….red is not one of our colors. The flowers she put together – everything – for the men, the women, the tables, etc…..all were awesome. Beautiful. She even ordered tuberoses from Hawai’i and stuck some in my bouquet so we had the sweet scent of the island with us all night. Fantastic.

4. We had the best toasts ever. My sister was happy and proud and emotional and funny. She spoke from her heart. She said the nicest things about us. She almost made me cry, but mostly she made me want to hug her and my Sweetie at the same time because I listened to her and knew how awesome they both are. The best man – well, you kind of had to be there, but it was priceless. Something along the lines of……I am going to describe their relationship using the language of love…………mathematics.

And then he pulled out a graph. It was hilarious.

5. We had a great site. I’ve been browsing lots of wedding photos from other weddings. Lots of nice elements to other places. What I love about the pictures of our site is that – from every angle in every picture – you see nice nature backgrounds. A pond, golden brown grass, evergreen trees, fall-colored trees, flowers. Could not see the road, or the reception building. Just nature. Which is very us, I think.

Those are just some of the highlights of a crazy good day.

I think brides must fall somewhere on two ends of the spectrum. Some (dare I say the bridezillas) seem to see disaster in the smallest flaws, get upset at the slightest upset in plans, or feel the need to order everyone else around to get what they want. Some (hopefully me) see their wedding day through rose-colored glasses. And, barring any major disaster, are just plain tickled at all the good wishes, happy faces, and crazy behind-the-scenes events that no one else will know about. I’m sure a hundred brides out there would insist they have the best of everything also. But, darn it! it was my wedding day! So I can brag all I want. *stomp*

hmmm….I guess this can be counted as a wedding post.

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So, Sweetie and I have been attending some pre-marital counseling sessions. Given the chance, we would not have thought to do this ourselves. But, we asked my old pastor to travel to marry us, and my church has for years asked their new prospective married couples to get pre-marital counseling before marriage.

So, off we went.

I think we are a breath of fresh air for the woman we’ve been talking to. She rarely has people come in *before* some sort of relationship breakdown occurs. Here we sit in front of her – attentive to what she has to share, agreeing in many of our answers, downright laughing out loud together. And, thanks to a couple of consistent communication snafus we have, it’s been advantageous to attend these sessions. She’s not asking a lot of questions – or trying to figure things out. We told her a couple of things we recognize as problems. And she’s been sharing some interesting communication tools with us. These are not rocket science ideas. But, due to the fact that a) we’ve been together long enough we have our own form of “shorthand” way of talking, and b) we are both old and stubborn, and c) we both have feelings that are sometimes sensitive – we tend to not take the time to follow some simple steps of communication. We don’t always take time out of the day to really check in with each other. And, when we have something to complain about, we tend to just burst out with a complaint. Not necessarily asking each other if “hey is this a good time to jump down your throat about something” or “hey, here is something constructive to suggest, along with a small complaint.”

Simple stuff, huh?

Not really. I’d love to say we’re one of those couples that never, ever argue. Not about anything. Not ever. Kiss kiss.

We’re not. We’re foible-y humans (see above, re: old and stubborn). We get tired. We get stressed. One of us gets cramps from time to time.

So, I say – bravo to pre-marital counseling! I think it’s giving us some good tools that we can use for the rest of our marriage. I think, for young couples out there, it’s probably good to talk to someone about what bumps in the road you can hit before you commit. Maybe it’s good just to talk to someone about why you want to commit to this other person. It doesn’t take that much time. We’re busy. We’re working and planning a wedding. But, if this whole thing called Marriage is something we’re willing to spend so much time on, isn’t it worth it to sit down and talk about what that all means before you do it? Or just talk about something as simple as communication? hmmm….

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