When You Can’t Really Say No-

Text from the Husband on discussing vacation plans:

Husband: Can we stop by nephew’s camp?  It’s on way- maybe a quick lunch?

Me:

It is not your imagination.  There really is nothing typed.  Because I didn’t respond.  Because this isn’t really “asking” me something. this is telling me something.  This is telling me something the Husband knows I don’t want to do, but really, how bad a person am I if I say no?

So before you hand me a verdict on “guilty”- lets really look at my case:

  1. I am a strong believer in yearly family vacation (it is one thing my parents did that I thought was a great experience)
  2. Family trip does not need to be long, expensive or exotic
  3. Family trip includes only members of the immediate family.
  4. We have a rule that unless a trip is done to specifically see a friend or family member, we do not visit anyone.  We came up with this rule while prepping for a trip to California and realized that we had more friends/family there than we had days on the trip.  To have seen everyone would have been unrealistic, and we didn’t want to choose one person over another.
  5. We are not a spontaneous lot- we’re those irksome planner types.  I have a pretty solid idea of what we will be doing on each day of the trip.
  6. This trip involves multiple destinations.  When planning out the trip, I have taken into consideration driving distances and scheduled activities.
  7. On the day we are driving to destination D (supposedly near the camp) we will have been on a college tour that morning.  I know we will not be in the vicinity of the camp till past lunch.
  8. The camp is not really “on the way”- it is at least an hour west from the road we need to be on- putting us way off schedule by about 4 hours (if you can’t tell- I don’t like to be off schedule)
  9. My nephews are 8 and 12.  They are at a camp that they love.  When we do see them in real life, it is from behind there cell phones because in the real world- apps rule relatives drool.  Seriously, do they really want to leave, I don’t know swimming and fun, to spend an hour with Uncle Dufus and Aunt Sarcasm?  When they never actually talk to us anyway?
  10. On the day we leave destination D, we are heading to Destination E, and shockingly, another college visit- which has a scheduled time.  It is not logical to try and visit them.
  11. I know the Husband does not really care about visiting the boys.  I know it is his sister goading him- guilting him into not “caring about the family” (but wait- there are at least 15 blogs in that relationship- so I’m stopping at that)
  12. I have literally been planning this trip for 4 months.  (I don’t mean every day- I mean in general)- why was this question posed 3 days before departure?

As of right now- I don’t know what we’re doing.  I don’t like that the Husband has put me in this position, and I have told him that. (People in relationships – think about what you are asking of your partner, and always tell your partner when you are annoyed and what you are annoyed at- this is relationship 101)

So: What’s the verdict?

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Change: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a Princess.  This Princess had lived her life fairly effortlessly, but she had some self esteem issues.  She didn’t realize that she was basically a decent person, so she was always trying to prove her worth.  She always tried to be nice to people and went out of her way to help others, but not out of a sense of altruism, but because she felt she needed to, so people would like her.  She did not feel worthy on the inside- she was looking for validation from external sources.

One day the Princess met a Court Jester.  He was not a nice person.  Most people did not like him.  He was smart, but arrogant.  He was attractive, but did not take care of himself.  He was quiet, but not shy.  He thought everyone around him were his inferiors. He drank way too much.  He did way too many drugs.  Of course, the Princess thought this would be an excellent project.

The Princess saw all the bad qualities that the Jester possessed.  But she kept thinking, if only he would change, he could be a great person.  He has all the positive attributes one needs in the world, he just needs to change.  And she kept thinking – he just needs to change, and she was the one person in the world that could make this possible.

And the Kingdom laughed.  Because the Kingdom knew that people don’t change just because the Princess wants them to.

But the Princess kept on dating him.  And married him.  And she kept trying to change him.  She made sure his clothes were always clean.  She made sure he had grooming necessities.  But he did not care.  He still left his beautiful clothes in a pile on the floor.  He still let his hair get unfashionably long.

She told him he needed to stop drinking.  She would pour bottles of alcohol down the sink.  He just bought more.  With her money.  He laughed at her and told her she was useless.  But she still tried.  Because if he would only stop drinking, he would have a great life.  Couldn’t he see that she was going to make a great life for them?

She ignored the sight of him drunk on the toilet, sleeping against the wall.  She ignored the cigarette burns on the floor of the den.  Because he was going to change.  Because she wanted him to change.

What the poor, sheltered Princess didn’t realize was that people don’t change if they don’t want to.  She didn’t realize that the change has to come from within one’s self, that the jester was never going to change because she wanted him to.  She didn’t realize how sad she had become.

The Princess had money.  She had a nice car.   She had made a pretty apartment and had beautiful clothes.  The Princess had all the things she had ever wanted.  She didn’t understand why she was so sad- because she had everything.

One night, a fairy godmother appeared in her dreams.  (Another version says that it was a pea under the mattress, but we’re sticking with fairy godmother.)  FG told the Princess that she needed to change.  Yes- the Princess needed to change her thoughts and actions, because the Jester was NEVER going to change his.  The Princess didn’t deserve to be sad and unhappy all the time.   The Princess felt conflicted at first- to leave the marriage would be to admit failure- she had failed to make the Jester into a Prince.  She had wasted so much time and energy on this person…..Was leaving her only option?  Was walking out the door the only thing that would make the Princess happy again?

Yes.  The Princess realized that yes, leaving was the only possible solution.  The Princess had to pack her pretty car with her pretty clothes and her cat, and the Princess had to flea the dungeon that she had been living in.  She unlocked the chains that kept her shackled to this farce of a marriage, and walked across the drawbridge to a different kingdom.

And she lived happily ever after.

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the U2 Concert…

Coincidence.  That’s the word of the day.  I was going to see U2 last night.  New Jersey Transit was all sorts of messed up, and the Husband was going to be a train behind me. I texted him that it was just so crowded, he should just meet me at the seats.  But in a bizarre coincidence, my husband happened to get on the same car as me, and the exact same part of the car.  The odds of this happening  are…. I don’t know…I have my writing cap on now, not the math one….

After we exit the train and begin walking to the stadium, I heard my name…..I turned around and it was one of my best friends from high school.  We’re friends on Facebook, and we chat, but I haven’t seen her in 30 years.  1987.  The year Joshua Tree came out.  Joshua Tree- the album that was going to be glorified by U2 that very evening.  Coincidence.

So on a night already filled with nostalgia, I was really transported back in time.  For just a little bit, my memory was very clear.  The 80’s just came rushing back.  It was the decade when I graduated High School and College.  Got my first real job.  Became friends with the three most amazing women.  Fell wildly in love.   It was the decade when everything seemed possible.

And as I walked to my seat I looked around.  People were showing ID and buying beer, but the ID was just a formality.  It was clear we were all well past 21.  it was clear that a lot of people were wearing clothes that were old enough to buy a beer.  The crowd was moving a bit slowly, and the conversations centered around tuition bills, and retirements, and arthritis.

But then the stage lights finally started to light red, and we realized there was movement on the stage…..

And the crowd started to sing ” ‘Cause tonight, we can be as one”-

People began swaying, tapping their feet….

Standing and jumping in the air….

And when I looked into the eyes of those around me….

I didn’t see people thinking about retirement….

I saw people as they were in 1987….

Young, full of hope and full of dreams- ready to take on the world.

And as they sang side A- I mean- the first half of that album is almost perfection, filled with songs most will instantly recognize.  But if you’re going to have a tour that is centered around an album, you need to play the flip side.  The songs that you might not necessarily remember.  And the crowd- well, U2 didn’t come on till 9:20, so I’m going to say a lot of the audience hadn’t been up this late recently.  And with the average age being around 47, there were a lot of trips to the bathroom, and some muttered grumblings about the volume…..  and there eyes started to show their age again.

But I looked at the Husband, who I’d met by coincidence tonight, and met due to a coincidence 25 years ago- and I smiled.  It’s wonderful to go back in time for a little bit, to think about places, and things, and people that you may not have thought about for awhile.  I have amazing memories, of love and loss, happiness and sadness, good and bad- and I treasure every one of those moments, because they have made me the person I am today.  I don’t want to go back in time- I don’t wish I could change anything.  I’ve had a pretty great yesterday- today is pretty awesome- and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Temperatures: A play in one act

The Setting: Booth in a deli in New York City, 2017

The Players: Mother in Law, Waiter, Son, Daughter in Law

Waiter approaches table, notepad in hand:

Waiter:  Can I get you something to drink?

Mother in Law:  Do you have diet black cherry soda?

Waiter:  Yes.

Mother in Law: In the can?

Waiter: Yes

Mother:  Is the can cold?

Waiter: Yes

Mother in Law: Very cold?  Because I don’t like ice.  I don’t want the soda to be made cold because of ice.  I only want it if its a very cold can.

Waiter:  Yes.  Very cold can.

Waiter begins to walk away

Mother in Law: And make sure you bring me a cup of ice.

Waiter returns with soda, ice, and complimentary bowls of cole slaw and pickles, and quickly leaves.

  Mother in law touches all six pickles in bowl.  Takes one and bites it.

Mother in Law: Blah.  These pickles are warm.  Who serves warm pickles.  Pickles are supposed to be cold.

Son: They always serve them like that.

Mother in law picks up pickle and hands it to son

Mother in law:  That is NOT how a pickle is supposed to feel.

In what seems like 3 hours, but in reality is only 5 minutes, waiter returns with plate of stuffed derma

Mother in law:  Can you bring us a bowl of cold pickles.  Cold.  Like from the refrigerator.  Cold.

Waiter takes bowl of apparently ill tempered pickles.

Mother in Law:  Is the derma hot?  Derma has to be hot.

Son:  Ma, there’s steam coming off it.

Mother in Law:  Fine.  If you’re sure it’s hot enough.

After another eternity seeming 5 minutes, waiter returns with corned beef, pastrami and hopefully cold pickles.  He places food and sprints from table, clearly shattering the table to kitchen speed record

Mother in law touches all the pickles.  But doesn’t take any.

Mother in law: Cold pickles.  But is the pastrami warm?  You know how I like my pastrami warm.

Mother in law rises to use rest room.  Waiter chooses that moment to bus table, taking with him a touched but uneaten bowl of cold pickles.

The End

 

 

 

 

Screwed….

It’s been an eventful 12 hours for me.  The Husband got home from the Dominican Republic last night at about 9.  My daughter got home about the same time from her pre-community service mani/pedi.  Things from husbands trip are literally all over the house.   Daughters things are also in disarray as she finished up packing for her trip.  Her trip which required me to wake up at 2:15.  AM. Because we had to be at the airport at 4.  AM.  And since this is the city that never sleeps, you must give yourself an hour to drive 15 miles.  (FYI- we reached JFK from Manhattan in a record 22 minutes.  Then spent 45 minutes searching for caffeine and tried to bribe retail doughnut establishment into opening early but stale cough drop and forever stamp not enticing enough)  But anyway.  I’m tired and cranky and house is a mess and there is a bag of moldy laundry fresh from Caribbean.

Now look at my featured image.  See that screw?  That lonely screw that looks like its missing its friends?  I found that under the dining room table.  Obviously I looked under the table- but no screws were missing.  I looked under the chairs, turned them over, but alas- everything was intact.   So where does the screw belong?  Who knows.  You see, we share our abode with a cat.  A cat who sees things on the ground and bats them around.  So the screw could literally belong to any piece of furniture in the house.  From any room. I’ve been wandering around my small, sparsely furnished apartment in search of the hole where this screw belongs.  And I can’t find it.

But never fear.  I have a strong premonition that tonight, we will find out where the screw resides.  You see, my Mother in law is coming over tonight- visiting from Florida.  I’m sure she will sit on, or put something on, whatever this screw belongs to.

Please tune in tomorrow for the continuation……

Dear Husband….

The Husband has spent the past few days in the Caribbean, celebrating the 50th birthdays of four of his friends.  I’m going to allow you a rare glimpse into our personal lives by sharing our email correspondence.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Hi!  Hope you are having a great time.  It has not been same around here without you.

Going to sleep was different- it was funny sleeping under the covers- I missed playing tug of war with them in middle of night.  I think I figured out your secret though….after you pull them you roll on top of them so I can’t possibly dislodge you….But the jig is up- expect a better comforter grabbing competitor when you get back!!!! LOL

It was also odd not to be wakened by your sexy voice, asking…”Are you eating breakfast?  What’s for breakfast?  Do we have bananas?”  And as you’re eating breakfast, the age old question…”What’s for lunch?  And have you thought about what you’re ordering for dinner tonight?  Maybe we should pull up the menu so we can plan a food strategy….”  And speaking of food- the dog actually ate all her food….she never does that when you’re around……

It was lonely when I was doing a face mask and a hair mask.  No one entered the bathroom saying…”Ooh- what’s that brown stuff on your face?  Does that stuff really work on your hair?  Is this really relaxing for you?  Have you thought about breakfast tomorrow?”  I needed to turn up the music to drown out my sorrow….

TTYL

TO:  Wife

FROM: Husband

All good.  Went snorkeling today.  I wasn’t allowed to dive for some reason.   Food is awesome.  All inclusive and they always have a food spot open.  Amazing. Oh well.  BTW- did I pack underwear?  FYI- Told you that you can’t survive without me.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Did you check outside pocket of suitcase?

TO: Wife

FROM: Husband

Got it.  Thanks.  I’ll be home soon!  Miss me?

 

 

It All Started with Playboy

Spoiler alert.  This is not about porn, nor is it written in the style that I refer to as humor-  In rare form- I am actually seeking input.  

A friend of mine received a subscription to Playboy.  It was addressed to Mrs. John Doe.  She jokingly told my friends and me about this and we had a good laugh.

Except I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this.  And not as a joke.

Wisdom and insight are the two most valuable things that come along with wonky eyesight and achy joints.  I think of myself as someone who is fairly intuitive- I get a feeling, and I’m usually right.  I believe this gift (and curse) comes from watching many years of Columbo and Monk.  And for the past few months, by internal radar has been pinging.  Something about this subscription seems off (apart from the obvious).

Why did she receive a fully paid subscription?

A joke?  She is very mannerly and ladylike.  If this was a joke, it would be especially cruel given the type of persona she exhibits.

A free magazine subscription?  While I’ve received Good Housekeeping for free, I can’t imagine Playboy being a” just wait, there’s more” addition to something once purchased.

A mistake? Well- someone paid for it.  That requires a credit card.

Her husband ordered it? Perhaps.  But who pays for porn anymore?  Isn’t that why the internet was invented?  Free porn?

And the way the subscription was addressed: Mrs. John Doe– that’s the part that was irking me.

Why did the address label say this?

So of course, being the trusting soul that I am, I came to the conclusion:

Her husband is having an affair.  Probably long term.  He told the affairee that he would leave his wife once their youngest went off to college.  September came, and he stayed with his wife.  The subscription started in December.  This is her way of letting the wife know that something is amiss.

And yes.  I have been struggling with this since December.  I am basing everything on a feeling.  So yes, part of me is a bit obsessive and crazy (a big part)….but still…..

And to answer the next question swirling around in your head- do I trust the husband? And my answer is no.  I’ve always wondered if he had a roving eye.  But to be fair, she is my best friend from college, and though we communicate several times a week, I don’t see them that often.  I’m just basing this on a feeling- the fact that he fits a profile in my head of a guy who would cheat.

I have not told my friend these suspicions.  Obviously- I have absolutely no proof.  I could be wrong (though that happens so rarely).  And yet…….

So does one’s spidey sense get stronger with age?  It there something beyond madness to my thinking?  Am I crazy? (I mean about this one specific thing- we don’t have to do an entire personality profile)  Or do I just need another hobby?

The Tale of a Husband Packing- a play in 1 act

The Setting:  A living room in NYC

The Players: A Husband and Wife (for this performance, played by me and the Husband)

The Premise:  Husband is packing for a weekend jaunt with his posse, four of whom turn 50 this year.

H: Which suitcase should I use?  Medium or small?

W:  Small

H: But the stuff doesn’t fit in the small.

W: OK.  Use the medium.

H: How much underwear should I bring?

W: One for every day plus an emergency pair.  

H: Should I bring linen pants?

W: Are there any restaurants with dress code?

H: How would I know? (husband is cluelessly throwing clothes into suitcase-in hope that wife will take pity on him and help)

H: Do you know where my dive card is?

W: Is it in your dive bag?

H:  Why would my dive card be in my dive bag?

W: OK.  Check your ski bag.

H: Not funny.  I can’t scuba without my dive card.

(Wife stands up, looks in pocket of dive bag.  Amazingly finds dive card, log book and 15$ Belize currency)

W: Voila.

(Husband is holding mask and breathing tube, looking at them quizzically.)

H:  Do you know how to connect the tube to the mask?

(wife takes the apparatus from husband)

W: Is your insurance paid up?

H: What?

(wife correctly puts mask thing together)

W: Nothing.  Here you go.

H: Cool.  I didn’t realize you had to take that piece out and slide it in there.  How did you know that?

(husband continues to throw random sporting things in suitcase)

H: Should I pack my inhaler or carry on?

W: I think you should carry on.  You know, if you have trouble breathing while you’re mid air and all.

(husband is browsing through box of travel size toiletries)

H: What’s the difference between facial moisturizer and facial cleanser?

W: You have two masters degrees, right?

H: What?

W: You clean your face with cleanser, and moisturize with moisturizer.

H: Do I use moisturizer?

W: Bring it in case you get sun or wind burn.

H: So I use it after the cleanser?

(husband puts toiletry bag in suitcase.  struggles with closing suitcase)

H: I hate the zipper on this suitcase.  It’s in such an awkward spot.

W: I promise you- all suitcases have zippers in pretty much the same way 

(wife effortlessly zips suitcase)

H: Have you seen my headphones?

W: Gym bag?

Husband is finally packed- suitcase, tennis racket and tote by front door.

H: How are you going to survive without me?

THE END

 

 

Outlaws: A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  In honor of the day, the husband, the daughter and I went out to dinner with my parents and my Father-in-law.   I then posted a picture of my daughter with her two grandfathers on Facebook, much to the dismay of my divorced mother in-law. Evenings such as this are always thought provoking, and now, blog worthy.  So in the spirit of my recent lists,you will be relieved to know, I now have the honor of adding- how to be a good parent-in-law.

In no particular order:

  1. When your grandchild is born, suggest that you should co-parent, because you know exactly how things should be done
  2. Do  continue to buy your child underwear. Everyone wants Mom to purchase their boxers, briefs and thongs
  3. Ask them how much money they make and how much their mortgage is.  Pout when they say it’s none of your business.
  4. If your child marries someone that is a different religion, make sure you supply them with all the cultural doo-dads your religion uses.  I’m sure your son/daughter in-law wants to learn Yiddish.
  5. Rearrange the things in their home.  They love to see you reorganizing their bathroom cabinets.
  6. If your child and their spouse are going through a rough patch, make sure to ask for a house key, because you will be moving in when the offending spouse moves out.
  7. If you are divorced from your child’s other parent, get mad every time your child sees your ex.  Nothing spells family harmony like Facebook comments.
  8. Talk about all your child’s exes, and how great they were.  This should be accompanied by sighs.
  9. When dining at the home of your son/daughter in-law, make appreciative comments like, “Oh.  This is an interesting way to make steak.”
  10. Give your opinion on literally everything.  Back it up with “But you don’t need to listen to me.  What do I know?”

Families are a wonderful thing.  Cherish these moments.  It can only make you closer. Alas, I don’t think I will have the pleasure of becoming a mother in-law.  For some reason, my daughter doesn’t want in-laws  to be married.

 

Pre-Marital Counseling: Renovation

I am sort of obsessed with HGTV.  I an awed by the creativity and thought process of the design professionals.  They are able to see a vision in their head, and then make that idea come to life.  I am also intrigued by the interpersonal dynamic of the couples purchasing a home.  I like to see how they interact, compromise, and get through difficult situations.  Because of this,  I feel that pre-marriage counseling should be in the form of a home show.

It would start with the host/real estate agent giving the engaged couple some fake money in order to purchase a house.  The catch is- they give them 10% less than what houses can be purchased for in their desired neighborhood that match their exact criteria.   We then move on to Stage 1- short answers.

Step 1:What type of house does the couple want?  If they’re both  craftsman, they can move on to step 2.  If not:  Can a sleek contemporary marry a cozy Victorian?  Will she go crazy when he uses her doily as a dust rag?  Will he go crazy when his marble console table is overrun with frog statues?  Can a two story colonial be content with a ranch?

Step 2 Closet space.  Has one partner already claimed the master closet?  Has the other partner commented more than once about the number of shoes owned?

Step 3 Open concept.  How does partner A react when B says…”I know this looks like its a load bearing wall, but just imagine if this wall didn’t exist.  Look how open it would be!  How much could it cost to take down this wall?”

Step 4 The backyard.  Partner A says “How hard could it be to maintain a five acre, sloping yard?  Look how much room for entertaining.”  What does B think about mowing a hill?  And entertaining large crowds?

Step 5 Color.  “OMG look at that gorgeous shade of yellow in the living room!  I’ve always dreamt about living in a room that looks like the sun” says A.  B, dressed in black, thinks what?

So now the couple has completed the first stage of pre-marital counseling.  If they still want to get married, we move them onto Stage 2- the practical exam.

Step 1 Begin by making the couple share a single vanity bathroom for a week.  Frankly, if they can survive sharing a sink , they can face any obstacle life throws at them.

Step 2 Then let them renovate the bathroom together.  Have them remove toilet and trail toilet excess throughout house.  Have one partner accidentally break tub, the only thing they were keeping from the bathroom.  Let them miscalculate how much tile they need, and after laying it down, let them realize they are lacking tiles to complete job.  Then tell them tiles are now backordered for 8 weeks.

Step 3 Let them hire a contractor to fix kitchen.  Have contractor work for a week, enough time to take everything out, then have contractor not come back for two weeks.

This would be the end of stage two.  If the couple survived this, they are lucky enough to make it to Stage 3-timed reading.

Purchase five items of assemble yourself furniture, including a bookshelf that must be secured to a wall.  Leave them in middle of floor. Place instructions in front of them.  Give them one hour to complete.  Use of internet or phone a friend not allowed.

I firmly believe this form of pre-marital counseling would help you decide if your partner is indeed your soul mate.  If you could make it through this, you can survive anything.