My Sister was in town recently, which as I’ve told you, means I saw a bit of my Mother.  She usually has something to say about our parenting skills (again, you know how much I like people talking about my parenting)  My sister and I have always been open about talking to our daughters about sex (age appropriate).  The conversation went something like this:

Mother: I don’t know why you have to talk to the girls about sex

Me: Well, it’s a natural thing.  I want daughter to learn the right things and not have hang-ups.

Sister: Yeah.  I don’t want my kid to feel shame when thinking/talking about sex

Me: Totally.  The way you taught us left me filled with shame.

Mother: No it didn’t.  I was very good about teaching you those things.

Sister: No you weren’t.  I felt shame too.

Mother: No you didn’t.  I did it the right way.

Me: Mom, if we’re both saying the same thing, you have to at least consider that what we’re saying is correct.  You tried, but we’re telling you that your method didn’t work.

Mother: Yes it did.

I know parents make mistakes.  I’m sure my daughter has a list that she’s waiting to spring on me.  But I HOPE that I can acknowledge when I made a mistake, when I did something wrong, especially if my daughter tells me.

My Mother is a know it all (seriously- she makes me look like an amateur) Whenever someone says anything, she knows better.  My daughter mentioned that she wanted to look at a certain college.  My Mother immediately said, “That’s in a bad neighborhood.”  I asked, “When were you there?”  My Mother said “40 years ago.”  Now I realize that some things stay the same.  But guess what?  Some things change.  My Mother had no basis for her statement, but she will say it loud and repeatedly.

I really know that my Mother has my best interests at heart.  I know she says things in order to help me out.  But here’s the problem:  her statements are not always logical, factual or realistic.  She will read one article on something and declare it the absolute law, because it backs up her beliefs.  She will not even consider another opinion on pretty much anything:  there’s her way or no way.  And she has opinions on everything.  My daughter wanted a certain type of make-up brush for Christmas, which I bought her.  As soon as my Mother saw it she said “You don’t want to use that.  It’s horrible.”  Had my Mother ever used this item?  No.  Does she know anyone personally that used this item? No.  She just didn’t like the idea of it.  I told her that sometimes people need to try things out themselves- learn from experience.  She just shook her head at me.

See, that’s another issue with my Mother’s parenting skills.  She gave us a road map as to what we should and should not do.  She told us exactly how to proceed through life without teaching us how to make a good decision.  She never taught us to think about our actions.  We all know this is bad.  We need to make mistakes.  We need to get hurt.  We need to get dirty.  I know my Mother did these things out of love because she didn’t want us to feel pain or hurt.  But guess what, you still feel pain and hurt, because those things are unavoidable.

My Mother gave us the facts that she thought were important, not the facts that we needed.  And I have accepted that she didn’t know any better.  I have no issue with the fact that she made mistakes.  My issue is that she refuses to accept that she made mistakes.  In her mind, she did everything right and would not have changed her parenting choices at all.  This is why it is difficult to have an adult relationship with her.  She still tells me all the things I am doing wrong with regards to everything, and still tries to give me directions on how to live my life.

Yes, today is blog as journal day.  Today I randomly write down things that annoy me about my Mother, because it is somewhat cathartic to write the words down.  When I write it down, it releases a little something in me.  I feel a little bit better.

And as always, I often wonder why I am so screwed up, and then I spend some time with my Mother, and I wonder how am I so normal.


The Water Bottle

I love my water bottle.  I mean, I really love it.

  1. It holds 32 ounces of water
  2. It’s curved like an hour glass, so it’s easy to hold
  3. It’s narrow enough at the bottom so it fits comfortably in cup holders at the gym and most movie theaters (this is actually rare for a bottle that holds 32 ounces)
  4. The cover is pink!
  5. The cover is a screw top, which means that unless I don’t close it properly, it is leak-proof, so I can throw it in my bag without worry

In short, it is my perfect water bottle.

Now here’s the story:  A few weeks ago I was at the movie theater.  I left my treasured water bottle at the movie theater.  I realized it when I was about halfway home.  The movie theater is about a 30 minute walk from my house, and it’s also not a convenient mass transit ride. (I live on the east side, the theater is on the west- it’s basically a Manhattan nightmare).  I was very bummed.

When my daughter got home she asked about my day.  I told her my tale of woe.  She sympathized.  She knew what that water bottle meant to me.  So she put her coat back on and made the trek to the theater and retrieved my water bottle for me.

My daughter did the hour round trip to get me my water bottle.  She simply said, “I know you would do this for me.  I know you have done this for me.”  There are no words for how I felt.

Now, this is one of those moments that I am going to say it’s nurture.  My daughter was nice to me because I have been an awesome Mom and raised her to be an amazing person.  Don’t you dare tell me it’s nature…

So, is it silly to be enamored with a water bottle?  Yes.  Was it necessary for my daughter to spend an hour retrieving the water bottle?  No.  Do either of those things matter?  Probably not.  My daughter did something sweet for me that didn’t cost any money, and she did it without expecting anything in return.  That’s pretty much the only gift I will ever need.

Advice: Should You?

This week I spoke of opinion/criticism and I spoke about family.  Today, we’re going to sort of combine the two subjects and talk about advice.  Specifically, parenting advice.

I do not like to receive unsolicited  parenting advice.  There you have it.  I don’t like when anyone tells me what to do with regards to the child that I am raising.  If I want an opinion, I will ask.

Also, I do not offer unsolicited parenting advice to people.  If someone asks my opinion, I will gladly give it, but…  Sometimes I do talk about parenting when I am blogging.  Though I may be giving advice, I am not aiming it towards any specific person, I’m merely sharing my thoughts on a subject.  I think writing about parenting in the abstract is not really advice (my blog, my rules)

I have a rough plan when it comes to how I want to parent my child.  If something is not working, I figure out how to change course.  So far, this method has worked for me.  The rules that I have thought about and put into practice work FOR ME.  They are great in our specific family dynamic.  They might not be great in someone else’s. (my house, my rules)

I have had people scoff at my parenting notions.  I have people that make very passive aggressive comments about how I choose to raise my child.  To say I get annoyed by this is an understatement.  It’s not that I don’t value other opinions, but let’s just say that I don’t like certain things about their children, so why would I want to repeat their mistakes?  This most closely applies to my Mother, because I see which of her actions caused my bad behavior patterns.  Behavior patterns that I find so abhorrent that I refuse to have my child ever thing the same way.  But enough of my emotional baggage for today.

(On a side note, if you do not have children- please don’t ever tell someone how to parent.  Just remember, everyone is the best parent in the world until they have children)

Now we come to the crux of my problem that I am writing about today.  I think my Sister is making a huge parenting mistake with my niece.  Notice how I used the word think.  I don’t know for sure if it is actually a mistake.  I have no actual psychological training with which to base my thoughts on, I’m going off of instinct.

I know that I don’t know everything (seriously- I know it often appears as if I think I know everything, but I really don’t think it or know everything).  But… My logic meter is telling me that my sisters actions don’t compute.  My emotional meter is telling me that my sisters actions don’t compute. Yet, I remain silent.  Because I don’t like to give parenting advice.

Should I break my rule?

When breaking a rule, you have to ask what the benefit will be.  I run the risk of my sister not ever speaking to me again. (she runs a little hot and holds grudges and is a blamer)  I run the risk of her giving me unsolicited advice.  But…is telling her my feelings going to be beneficial to my niece?  See, that’s the unknowable thing- I have no idea if I’m right and my sister is wrong.  I have no idea if my way of doing something is actually better.  Because there are no definitive rights and no definitive wrongs when it comes to parenting.  Different things work for different people in different situations.  Parenting doesn’t come with a rule book.

I’ve actually talked around the specific subject with my sister.  I know her feelings on the issue and I’ve tried to hypothetically point out things to her, so I know her stance.  To delve more into it would be pushing the boundaries.  I know I don’t like when my personal boundaries are pushed:  shouldn’t I respect the boundaries of others?  The issue is also one that would never specifically affect my child.  I have no personal knowledge of the issues faced, so it makes my opinion less valuable.  Do I have the right to comment on something I really know nothing about?

So here I sit- wondering what the best course of action is.  Because I just don’t know what to do.



Relationships: Family

Since John Mahoney of “Frasier” fame passed away last month, I’ve been working my way through the reruns.  Along with being a funny show, it was also filled with surprising bits of wisdom.  One episode has Daphne asking “Why is it so easy to love our families, but so hard to like them.”  Truer words were never spoken.

My Sister and my niece were in town a few weeks ago.  They live in Seattle (I know- odd Frasier connection), so we only see each other once a year.  As they were staying with my Mom, this meant I saw more of my Mother and Father.  Even though my parents live in New Jersey, I try to limit how often I see them.  Because, you know, it’s easy to love your family, but hard to like them.

Nothing increases my stress level more than time with my Mother.  Arguments abound.  We’ve never learned how to communicate with one another.  Every conversation turns into a yelling match, and a show down as to who can interrupt the others the most.  I don’t think I completed a sentence for four days.  It ends with my Mother saying something along the lines of “I’m not screaming.  I’m Italian.  This is how we talk.”  My Father is the opposite though- he sits stoically in the chair and says little.  And my Sister, well, she is the Queen of pushing buttons.  She is also the most sensitive person on the planet.  She thinks every sentence uttered is a personal attack against her.

Happy day.

I love my family.  I truly do.  But spending time with them is excruciating.  I had a headache for the better part of the week because we are truly unable to communicate with one another in a rational manner.  I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when we are together.  I try to stay calm, but my Mother and Sister often say the most ridiculous things.  Ok- to be fair- they may not be ridiculous if you are a stark raving lunatic, but if you’re trying to be a somewhat logical, rational person, their statements may come across as a tad antagonistic.  My Mother has opinions on most subjects.  If she doesn’t have an opinion on something it’s because she doesn’t think it’s a “worthy” topic.  Needless to say, my Sister has the exact opposite opinions of my Mother.  And she makes that known.  In fact, I believe that all the residents of my 19 story apartment building know her opinions on everything.

But I think you get the idea that the visit was mainly spent yelling.

I love my family.  I know they love me and would always be there if I needed them.  I just have a great deal of trouble being in the same room as them.

Never fear.  There will be a few more posts that detail some of the more fun moments of the trip, as I try to logically break down exactly why you can love, yet not always like your family.

The Stovetop Smoker

My Husband likes food.  He loves to go to new restaurants and try new things.  He really loves things that are smoked.  Now, we live in an apartment with no outdoor access, so smoking food is not the easiest thing for us, but one day we were out and saw an indoor, stovetop smoker, and an idea was born:  Husband said, next time I needed to buy him a gift, that was what he wanted.

Now, when Husband says that he wants something material, I usually get it, because he really doesn’t covet much.  But an indoor, stovetop smoker?  I smell more than cedar chips.  See, Husband is not great at reading directions, and putting those directions into actions.

I told him “Here’s the deal.  I don’t want to smoke meats.  I don’t really like smoked meats.  This is not a hobby I want to pursue.  So if I get you a smoker, it’s all on you.  You learn how to do it, and you’re responsible for it.”  He said “of course.”

So I bought him a smoker for the December holiday season.  And January rolled around and he kept saying “We should break out the smoker” and I would ignore the use of the word “we”, and tell him he was free to use it anytime he wished.  And the smoker sat untouched for January.

February strolled in and he said, “Let’s smoke salmon today.”  And I went into the cabinet where I had put the box containing the smoker and handed it to him.  “Have Fun” I said.

“Can you help?”

“When I bought this for you, I specifically told you that this was not a hobby I chose to pursue.”

“But I don’t know what to do?” (he was whining by now)

“Guess what?  Neither do I.”

“Yeah, but you know how to read instructions”

And all I could think was , yup, this man has two masters degrees.  “I have faith in you.” I said.

Which led to more whining.  So I said, “Here’s the deal.  I will stand next to you while you do it.”

“If you do it once, I’ll get how it’s done.”

My frustration level was at about 1000.  This is not something I had any interest in doing, but how much of a fight was this worth?

I read over the really simple instructions for making smoked salmon.  I told him how easy the process was.

Whining by him.

So I stood next to him in the kitchen, reading him the instructions as if he was a three year old with finger paints (because yes, that is the level of complexity- finger painting)

And the meal turned out fine, if you like smoked salmon, which I don’t.  But anyway.

The other day he wanted to make smoked chicken thighs.  I said optimistically “You remember how to do it?”

”Just help me one more time.  Then I’ll know it.” He said.

”Place wood chips in small pile in center of smoker.  Place piece of Tin foil on top.  Put rack atop that.  Add chicken thighs.  Close cover.  Put on stove on medium”  I said, from memory.

”Wait, what?” He said.

The smoker may end up in the donation pile.

It’s All Your Fault

“Oh, I had a lousy bowling ball.”

“If that guy didn’t start talking I would have won.”

“My wife was 100% wrong about everything.  That’s why we got divorced.”

Have you ever heard statements like these?  Statements uttered to explain a loss or something not going right?  The people that make these statements on a continual basis are Blamers.  Blamers blame everything around them.  They never take personal responsibility.

It’s hard to deal with a blamer.

I realize that sometimes there really is an external reason that something goes wrong.  Printers break, pens run out of ink, people you are relying on don’t follow through with what they said they would do.  There are all sorts of legitimate reasons why a failure can be blamed on an external source.  But for the most part…

Next time something goes wrong, write down your first reaction.  Do you blame equipment?  Do you blame someone else?  Or do you rationally try to figure out what really went wrong?  Did you try to print something two minutes before it was due?  Did you have an extra pen?  Did you give the person you needed information from the proper amount of lead time and did you follow up with them?

I know why people want to blame outside elements.  They don’t want to admit that they did something wrong.  They don’t want to admit they made a mistake, or didn’t plan, or didn’t think.  They don’t want to admit defeat.  I get that.  No one wants to lose.  Losing sucks.  You never hear the cheer “We’re Number 2.  We’re number 2.” During the Olympics I heard people saying “Gee, is it worse to get a silver medal in the Olympics or to come in fourth?”  Seriously?  The fact that you worked hard and by any standards are a winner doesn’t matter because you didn’t take home a piece of hardware?  Or, the “right” piece of hardware?

It’s hard to admit that you aren’t the best at something.  Every time you don’t get something you want, it takes a little toll on your ego.  It’s easier to pass the buck, so to speak.  If you can blame something or someone, your brain rationalizes that it’s not your fault.  If it’s not your fault, the you feel better about yourself.  Simple.  Except you probably don’t feel better about yourself.  Not really.  You’re really just avoiding the issue.  You’re not learning from the mistake or the failure or the loss.  And you end up in the exact same place you started.

People who succeed in life are not usually blamers.  People who succeed in what they do look at their mistakes and failures as learning opportunities.  People who take personal responsibility usually have pretty decent self esteem and confidence,because they believe in their ability to persevere in the face of challenges.

It’s also hard to be in a relationship with a blamer.   When you are in a relationship with a blamer, you end up feeling that everything is your fault.  That’s hard enough for an adult, but what if you’re the child of a blamer?  How do you think the kid feels?  Think of all the different ways a young child would react to living a life with someone who always puts the blame on something or someone else.

And as you have surmised, your homework assignment is to figure out how you react to adversity.  Do you take responsibility or do you blame?  And then figure out if that is the best thing for your life and your relationships.  I can make it into a quiz if you want…



The One Where I’m Not Very Nice

My Husband and I were invited to a surprise birthday party a few weeks ago.  I wrote about being annoyed because of the way the party was organized, but that’s a whole different issue.  Today I’m going to talk about the actual party.

The party was at a bar/arcade thing here in the city.  I knew I was going to be late because I had to attend a college meeting at the High School.

So anyway.

I walk in the door of the place about eight, whereas everyone else had been there since about six. (the not so hidden meaning is that I was completely sober, while others, to varying degrees, not so much)  After having to find my ID in my wallet and show it to the bouncer young enough to be my grandson, I entered the place and looked for the crowd.  Now, the birthday girl is the girlfriend of one of my Husband’s friends, which translates to, I knew a bunch of the men there.  When I found the group, I kissed the cheeks of the guys I knew, including my Husband.  I hugged the birthday girl and put my coat on the designated coat bench.  I then rejoined my Husband who was playing a four person Pac Man table.  Side note:  if you grew up in the eighties and have not played Pac Man literally against your friends, you must do it- it’s hysterical.  You not only chase the ghosts, you chase your friends.

But anyway.

When I got to the table, Husband moved away so I could play his spot at the table. and he stood behind me, telling me the rules of this version.  The woman across the table slurred out “Hey.  Why’s he helping her?  Why is he talking to her?  Where did se come from?”  Apparently, she had claimed my Husband.  She was wondering why I was coming between them.  And she was mad about it.  She was competing with me for my Husband.  It was amusing, cause she resembled a monkey squawking, and annoying, because she resembled a monkey squawking.  I mean she was loud and screechy.  We played another round of table Pac Man, and then my Husband, guy friend P and I went around the arcade in search of other versions of 80’s nostalgia.  Galaga and Centipede, FYI.  I am not particularly dexterous at video games.  I like the ones where each hand only controls one thing- anything more than that is too much.

After a round of games, we came back to where the group was hanging.  As I went to get a slider from the food platter, the howler monkey tried to attach herself to my Husband.  On a side note- have you ever watched a slightly inebriated older person try to hit on a guy who has no interest?  I think it should be videoed and showed to woman above the age of 45.  I know- I’m throwing women under the bus.  But consider this a PSA:

Picture this:  Woman of about 55,  attractive and obvious she takes care of herself.  But, here’s where we begin to see the chink in the armor.  While her clothes fit her body, they really don’t fit an older woman.  OK- begin the round of complaints- everyone should be able to wear whatever they want- God knows you all would think I dress too young too- but here’s the thing:  some clothes should be left to teenagers.  Wearing the same styles as a woman in her twenties does not make you look twenty.  Depending on the look, these clothes may actually make you look older.  Certain materials are not as forgiving to a woman with a more mature body, no matter what the body looks like.  You can’t turn back the clock.

I came and joined the group, watching this woman try to make inane chatter to my Husband.  Even though I was opposite him in the circle, she maneuvered her body so that she was facing him with her butt to me. (hence my comment about some fabrics being more forgiving than others)  She was separating him from me.  (Also, for the record, Husband is not a George Clooney look alike.  He is an average 49 year old guy with a Dad bod, but still has a full head of hair.

The problem was, this woman had an air of desperation.  If you want to meet a guy for a relationship, this is not the right route.  If you want to meet a guy for sex, this is probably fine, but don’t expect the guy to be their in the morning.  Or the phone number he gave you to be real.

No one likes desperate.

Desperate is an unattractive quality.

Another conversational circle involved me and my Husband standing next to one another.  She actually came and  stood between us.

Now why didn’t I say to her that I was his wife?  Well, first off, this was pretty amusing.  (remember, I’m still sober).  And secondly, she ignored me every time I tried to talk to her.  As in, turned her head.

After about an hour, someone clued her in to who I was in relation to my Husband.

Then she tried to be nice.  Then she started sucking up.

“Oh.  He’s so good at Pac man.  Does he play at home?”  This is a direct quote- you can’t make this up.

“He just wins at everything, doesn’t he?” she said.  Another memorable line for the ages.

Of course, this was my turn to have fun.  I gave her a look that pretty much summed up how I feel about woman who try to push other woman out of the way in order to get the attention of a man.

So is there a moral?   No, not really.  I thought it was an interesting story.  i thought it was a more interesting fable about women who are trying to hard to be in a relationship.  I get it.  Single can suck.  I know I have what some would refer to as an advantage: I’m in a relationship.

But really:

Nothing is worth making yourself into a conniving idiot.  If you need to stand in  front of another woman to get a guys attention, or loudly ask why he’s talking to someone else, you need to rethink your game plan.  Do you think these are qualities anyone wants in a partner?  There’s nothing wrong with being assertive and going after what you want- but it’s how you do it that matters.

Just like with anything: it’s the path that matters.  The way you choose to live your life and attain your goals matters.  Respect yourself and respect others.  Without respect we have nothing.



Why Valentines

Back in the early days of our relationship, Husband and I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Hallmark holiday we called it.  Day specifically intended to make people spend money.

Then, when our daughter was born, we still didn’t celebrate it with each other, but we made sure we had things for her.  Little presents, candy, whatever.  In elementary school I watched as she made little Valentines Cards to give to her classmates.  I remember how excited she was to make a little cardboard mailbox in school, and come home with a box filled with little notes and candy and whatever else kids put in the boxes.  Valentines Day had become another reason to celebrate my daughter.

Then a few years ago, Husband and I began celebrating Valentine’s Day.  No presents, (we all know that I hate receiving presents) but we would go to dinner. And it is nice to go out on Valentines Day, even if it’s an overpriced prix fixe menu.  As long as you go out during the rest of the year too.

Here’s the thing:  it’s supposed to be a day to celebrate your relationship.  But you should try to celebrate your relationship at least once a week.  All year.

I know.  Babysitter.  Expensive.  Exhaustion.  Lack of free time.   I get all that- been there, done that so to speak.  But figure out a way to celebrate your relationship.  One night, stay up a little later and watch a movie or tv show.  Play a game.  Get up 20 minutes early to have coffee together before the rest of the house is up.  Something.  Anything.  Just once a week.

Because relationships need to be worked on.  Relationships need to be nurtured. Your relationship should be one the top priorities in your life.  If it’s not, you seriously have to ask yourself why it isn’t.

On top of spending time with your significant other, I want you to think about it another way:  think about what lesson you are teaching your children.  Children don’t learn from what we say.  Children learn from what we do.  They learn from our actions.  If we show them that relationships don’t need to be worked on, that our significant others aren’t important, what lessons are they going to being to their own relationships?  What kind of partners are they going to end up being?  Your children are watching how you and your partner treat one another.  They’re watching.  Remember that.

Treat your partner with courtesy and respect.  Fight fair (because kids should see you get into and out of arguments).  And show them the love.  Show them the wanting to spend time together.  Show them that you want to be alone with your partner.

Because if you don’t respect your partner, or treat them with courtesy, or fight fair, or show them love, or want to spend time together, or want to be alone with them- if you are not making a little effort to be with them:  what are you doing with that partner?

And there’s your Valentine’s message…..


How Do I Put This?

There are about a thousand ways I can approach todays blog topic, because it brings up some observations about me, my personality and my relationships.  When I figure out how to discuss it, you guys will be the first to know.

I am a fairly organized, type A sort of person.  I know- I just revealed a fact you did not know.  The majority of my friends are like me:  we plan things months in advance, we deal with lists and our planners are never far from us.  I have one friend who is not a planner, but she understands my not so laissez faire attitude, so she adjusts a little for me (the very definition of good friend).  I surround myself with like minded people.  And lets face it- I live in a city not really known for its laid back attitude.  There’s a whole bunch of people here just like me, and actually, much more organized than I am.  Ok- so here’s point 1.

My Husband is somewhat type A like me- he likes things organized and planned out.  However, he is not actually a planner.  He hates the actual task of organizing.  He continually double books himself  because he makes plans and either doesn’t write them down, or doesn’t check his calendar before he makes new plans. ( I have many fun and interesting stories about having to play plan Jenga after he’s successfully booked us/him at four different things on the same night)  Now, since my Husband is technically type A-, his friends are a little more varied:  he has friends that are total planners, and friends that just go were the mood takes them, who live life with a devil may care attitude.

This past month, this cause some problems.  We made plans with a couple, S and R, a month ago.  They wanted to do something fun, I suggested a Motown Revue at a club, they agreed.  I bought tickets.  A month ago.

Two days before the event, S calls my Husband and says, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a comedy show at X?” Which would be great if A) I hadn’t already bought tickets for the music revue, and B) the comedy show wasn’t sold out already, cause everything in this city sells out in advance. (side note- if a New Yorker is walking down the street and sees a long line, the New Yorker will often just join the line because they assume whatever it is is worth waiting for.  That’s how we found the absolute best cream puffs ten years ago).

I was irrationally angry that S wanted to change plans right before game day.  My feeling is, if you want to go to comedy, just say that in the beginning.  A type like me sees that behavior as passive aggressive, whether or not it actually is.

We had a similar situation with R.  R was throwing a surprise birthday party for his girlfriend.  He gave us the date a month in advance.  No problem.  I blocked it out in my calendar.  Problem was, until two days before the party, we didn’t know where, or what time the party was.  This was after my Husband texted the guy at least six times.  When he finally got back to us, we realized the party was not in Manhattan- we would need to take a railroad.  Which runs on a schedule.  Meaning to be there for the “Surprise” we would have to be on a certain time train.  Which conflicted with afternoon plans that I had.

Now I figured out how to make all the plans work- I did the whole arrange the puzzle pieces thing.  And on Saturday morning, the day of the party, we get a Facebook invitation.  R is having a SECOND party for his girlfriend, and it’s DOWN THE BLOCK from our apartment.

I was not happy.

Of course, it took 30 seconds for me to realize I have something else to do the night of the 2nd party.  It took my Husband 20 minutes to figure out he had something the same night as well.

But, we figure it out, you know, putting all of our brain power into it- cancel Saturday, figure out how to work in 2nd party, etc.

So tonight is the night of the second party.  I also have a meeting tonight that I need to go to.  When I told two of my friends that I was going to race out of the meeting as soon as it’s adjourned, one of my friends said

“You shouldn’t go to the party.  Tell your husband there’s no need to go cause it’s not your friend.  Why should you go to the party anyway?  You already have plans.  You knew about this meeting.”

I told her that this was something I had to fit in, etc, and she argued why I didn’t need to go, etc., and though she made valid points, I knew I had to fit in both.

And this brings me to the next conundrum:

What’s the line for what events you should attend with your spouse?

I am really independent, and I give my husband a really long leash.  He goes on ski weekends without me, yearly guys trips, and attends many parties without me. (for the record, I hate large gatherings.  i hate introducing myself.  I hate small talk)  I am most definitely not the tag along spouse.


I think there are some events I must attend.  This not so great planning guy is actually one of my Husband’s closest friends.  I often see him socially.  This is a party I would feel bad about not attending because the friend is a good guy.  I had to figure out how to make this work.

So, in my longest and most convoluted post ever, here’s the questions:

  1. Can planners and non planners be friends?
  2. Do you need to attend every event as a couple?
  3. Do you need to book things a month in advance?

Thanks for listening to this weeks dilemma!!


The Fight

Today. for something completely different, I’m going to talk to you about a fight/disagreement my Husband and I are having.  This is not to be cruel to my Husband.  This is not for you all to tell me I’m right and he’s an idiot (you can do that any day of the year).  I’m writing to explain how in a disagreement, both parties are right and both parties are wrong. And different people are going to perceive the situation differently- some of you will side with me, others with my Husband, and most will just think we’re both nuts. I’m trying to show that an argument, no matter how petty, is still an argument.  Call this a life lesson.

It’s hard to tell a story without bias.  It’s out natural inclination to tell a story highlighting how great we are.  You all know I’m not so great, so this might be easier than I thought.

On Sunday afternoon, my Husband and I will be attending a classical music concert.  We actually both love classical, and we try to see a live performance a few times a year.  The concert is at 2, ends about 4, and is probably a 20 minute subway ride from out house, meaning he’ll be home in time for much of the Sunday football line up.  I will be home in time to do laundry. (see- bias.  I can’t help it.  I’m trying to make you feel for me)

My Husband said he was going to invite his Father over for the game.  Fine.  I said.  I have laundry and house stuff, and I’m betting my homework for writing class will not be complete, so I can have a productive afternoon/evening.

Then he asked if he could invite his Aunt and Uncle to the game.

Now, I’m going to point out that “ask” means that the answer could be yes or no.  When you ask a question, you have to know that each answer is a possibility.

I said “No”.

Here’s the thing.  I have things to do on Sunday.  I don’t want to entertain.  I happen to like his Aunt and Uncle very much, but I don’t want to rush in the door and Voila, people arrive 10 minutes later.  I don’t want to watch football.  It’s also hard to talk to his Aunt if there is football on- our apartment is not that big.  I have other things to do.  4:30 means we are going to need to supply a meal.  There are all sorts of dietary issues, and most of them are not health related.  Cooking is a pain for this group.  Alas, ordering in food is no picnic either.   These are things my Husband doesn’t think about/deal with.  These are things I will need to contend with.  I don’t want to contend with them.

Why does he want to invite them over?  Well, obviously it’s a nice thing.  His Uncle has Parkinson’s, and his situation is not getting better.  I know my Husband would like to spend more time with him.  I get that.  My Husband feels very guilty about things with his family.  I usually don’t feel guilty about things.  To me, if you feel guilty you are doing something wrong.  I usually feel good about my decisions. (be prepared though- there will be a guilt induced post soon)

I am not a “family gathering” type of person.  My Husband is constantly trying to push this value system on me.  I am not particularly close with my parents because there are just all sorts of issues and I feel keeping them at arms length is beneficial to my mental health and stability.  Truth be told, my Husband would benefit from keeping his family at arms length, but that’s his cross to bare.

But, back to Sunday.

After I said I didn’t want to watch football/entertain on Sunday, he said “Didn’t I say I’d go to the concert with you?”

Now- this is where I got mad.  First off- I don’t like tit for tat.  I thought an afternoon date of something we both enjoy would be fun.  I didn’t think it was a bargaining chip.  I don’t think like that.  I don’t do things just to score points.

Secondly- he asked a question.  I gave an answer.  Don’t ask a question if you aren’t prepared for the answer to be something you don’t want to hear.

So. we’re at a stalemate.  I’ve made him sad.  He doesn’t like my disregard for family.  That’s fair.  But this is one of those things- it’s who I am.  I am not the type of person who wants to be surrounded by family.

We’re speaking and all, but it’s an overly polite sort of thing.  And eventually we’re going to have a big discussion.  But the problem is- he is never going to be happy about the situation, because there’s a quality in me that he doesn’t like.   He sees me as cold, and frankly, I am a little cold and detached.  That’s my defense mechanism.  But I won’t apologize for it.  It’s who I am.

So there you have it.  The story of a fight.  I hope I was able to give fairness to both sides.  Disagreements are never easy- figuring out how to get past them is even harder.  I think the true test of a relationship is not what we fight about- it’s how we get past the fight.

Thanks for listening!