Tag Archives: marriage

Going Home

I get to go home tomorrow.

Hopefully.

Assuming the weather cooperates.

I’ve been on the road for five days. If all goes well I’ll get home late tomorrow evening.

Five days is probably peanuts to a lot of the “road warriors” out there that travel for their jobs, but I’m ready to go home. I drove to tonight’s stop for 2.5 hours through a mixture of blinding, white-out snow fall and slick dangerous roads, to short periods of sunny skies and clear roads. It would switch from one to the other about every couple miles, typical of Michigan or probably any other place in North America in the winter these days.

I’m in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for the night. My knuckles are still white from the two hour grip on the steering wheel as I tried to avoid sliding off icy roads. For dinner I ate a McDonald’s Southwest Salad and I’m drinking a cheap bottle of wine scored at the local Wal-Mart a ½ mile away. ( I suddenly wonder how often the word “wine” appears in my posts?!?)

‘Cause remember, work travel is a romantic and sophisticated thing!

The blood is slowly flowing back into my knuckles.

Not to get back on the local motel thing, but I’m in the most adorable little local motel I’ve ever stayed in. I may have to get on Trip Advisor and leave a five star review. Outside there is an epic snowstorm, crazy, blinding, accumulating snow… at least the last time I looked. In the back of my mind I’m thinking if there were anywhere to be stranded for an extra day this would be a fine place.

But I’m ready to go home.

I’m seriously ready to go home.

I want to sleep in my bed. I want to hug my wife. I want to see my kids. I want to see my goats.

In a few days I’ll have forgotten anything about this trip like so many before. The next one will be on the horizon to prepare for. This was a successful trip and the next one will be too.

That’s what I do.

The hardest part for me is the leaving, the walking out the door.

Sometimes I have to talk myself up, like Stuart Smalley.

“You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and doggone it people like you.”

Once I’m on the road though, literally five minute later, driving down the road, the salesman shows his big handsome face and I’m like “YEAH BUDDY LET’S GET THIS SHIT DONE!”

So I get it done.

Can you say “Jeckyl and Hyde?!?”

A loud dose of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” through the car stereo helps. There isn’t a set of car speakers out there capable of playing this song at an adequate volume.

When I’m gone, I don’t think it’s easy at home. My wife definitely notices, suddenly a single parent for several days. My kids? With their crazy teenage lifestyles, sometimes I seriously wonder if they know I’m gone.

I hope they do. I really do.

But when the time comes I’m always ready to come home.

To sleep in my bed. To hug my wife. To see my kids. To see my goats.

I get to go home tomorrow.

Hopefully.

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Psssst… George, you’re killing us over here.

Clooney

George, c’mon, seriously?!? You just said all that gushy, romantic shit on TV? At an awards ceremony no less? Dude, what the fuck, did you not read the handbook they gave you when you got married? C’mon, it’s the handbook… THE HANDBOOK… and you were supposed to read it! But obviously you didn’t. Or maybe you just skimmed through it like some kind of savant and thought “whatevs, I got this, I’m George Fucking Clooney.” But you should have read it… especially the part about not showing up all your fellow men in front of other women… especially millions of other women!

The morning after the Golden Globes my family and I were sitting around with the TV on and all the stations were recapping the highlights of the previous evening’s festivities. I didn’t watch the awards, it doesn’t really interest me. Maybe the rest of the family watched some of it, I don’t really know. But the highlight among highlights was apparently when George Clooney got up on stage to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award and after thanking a bunch of people he (more or less) said this:

“So congratulations to all of you for having a very good year. I’ve had a pretty good year myself. Listen, it’s a humbling thing when you find someone to love. Even better if you’ve been waiting your whole life and when your whole life is 53 years. Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.”

Upon seeing a short recap of this part of the speech that morning, my 14 year old son turned to me and jokingly asked “Dad, how come you never do that for Mom?”

I smiled and listened closely for the inevitable chortle from my wife.

“Do what?” I answered.

“Give a romantic speech like that” he said, egging me on.

I thought for a minute and then replied with the best I could come up with. “Well, I guess because no one has ever thought I deserved to receive a really prestigious award like that.”

“That’s because you don’t” chimed in my 17 year old daughter with a smart-ass smirk on her face.

Wow, tough crowd!

Look, I can dress up nice and “product” up my hair and stand around and look handsome with the best of them. But I’ll admit, I’ve never been that great in the “romance department”. Apparently a lot of guys aren’t if you take a long stroll through the ROMANCE section at the local Barnes and Noble.

But what really is romance? Is it what you see on the screen at a movie theatre? Is it what you read in a $6.99 paperback you found in the book section of a Wal-Mart? Is it pouring your heart out at a gala event of overpriced celebrities while our materialistic, gossip driven world watches in awe?

Perhaps on rare occasion it’s those things.

Or is it climbing onto the whirling carnival ride of life with someone you love and frantically pulling down the security bar… a ride that starts slow but before you know it is moving and spinning and you’re hanging on for dear life through weeks and months and years of changing shitty diapers, not sleeping, driving to a million of your kid’s sporting events, lifting them up when they’re down and guiding them to places you’d always felt you should have gone, celebrating victories and mourning losses, working endless hours to pay endless bills, watching family and friends battle illness and tragedies and everything else the world wants to fast-pitch, 90 miles per hour at you on a daily basis… only to be the happiest two people on earth when you’re given ten minutes at the end of the day to share a glass of wine and talk about anything other than the carnival ride that’s just stopped for a short moment to let a few people off and welcome a few new people on.

“Three tickets please.”

No author or screen-writer is making a living off of that story. Maybe no one is even writing that story. But maybe that’s what romance really is.

Had I actually been watching the Golden Globes, when those words poured out of Clooney’s mouth like an oversize serving of mushy cream-of-wheat being scooped from a cast iron cauldron into a cereal bowl, I imagine I would have heard the collective swooning sighs of millions of breathless women and the sounds of flapping pages as all of the Nicholas Sparks books sitting on shelves lifted off in unison and began flying around houses like doves at a royal wedding.

That’s a tough act to follow.

But it’s fiction. He’s a celebrity. He’s not real life.

I have nothing against George Clooney. I like him as an actor. He’s probably a great guy and he gave a speech that evening that was honest and moving and inspirational. He’s certainly one of the most handsome celebrities around right now. MAN is he fucking handsome! He seems compassionate and whether you agree with his politics or not, he actively uses his fame and wealth in many philanthropic ways and I respect that.

He and his new wife have probably just climbed onto their own version of the whirling carnival ride.

The toothless “carnie” is standing in the control booth with a pocket full of tickets, ready to push the start button.

George, you need to read the damn handbook…

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How I Met Your Mother

Mom and Dad, how did you guys meet?

Ummm…. well…. uhhh…. we met at church.

But you guys don’t go to church.

Umm… uhhh… well we weren’t actually at church, we were near a church.

You were NEAR a church? I thought you met at college?

You’re right, we did meet in college. We met in a… uhhh… a poetry reading class… yeah… it was a poetry reading class…. poems about love and stuff like that…

C’mon, seriously… you did not! Besides, I thought you both studied completely different subjects, neither of which involved poetry.

Ummm… uhhh… yeah, well we did, you’re right, we only had a couple classes together in all the years we were there.  But I used to….ummmm… I used to write poems about Biology for your Mom and she….

Shut up… you’re so lying… so, how did you really meet?

Okay, look… I know we’ve portrayed this image that we are both very wholesome and righteous… but the truth is… let’s see, how do I say this… the truth is… maybe you should sit down.

Why should I sit down?

Just sit down… see… your parents met in college at a… at a…. at a…..

Okay, look, we met at a Toga Party… there I said it… it was a Toga Party… a drunken, hedonistic Toga Party.

Kim and I met at a Toga Party at Colby College in early Fall 1986.

The details are vague these days, but yes, this is a true story. I don’t remember if this was the first night we actually spoke to each other but it was one of our first experiences together while “courting” and it’s the story we tell when people ask “how did you meet?”

Please don’t think any less of us.

Some friends in the dorm I lived in were throwing a party and the theme was bed sheet togas and kegs of cheap, shitty beer, because that’s a surefire way to have a good time. I found myself, mid-way through the evening, sitting next to one of my close friends, both of us on chairs that were perched precariously high atop a small table so that we were way above the mob-scene below. Between us sat a keg of Budweiser and we were repeatedly filling up soggy, beer soaked paper cubs that the crowd of guests held up to us like we were rock stars signing autographs. That’s when I saw her, this beautiful girl, wrapped up in a twin bed sheet that was decorated with a kind of floral pattern that looked like wallpaper you’d see in your great-grandmother’s house. I instantly wanted nothing more than to peel off that wallpaper!

I’d seen Kim around our dorm before, she was a freshman and I was a sophomore but we had never made any serious connection. But this night was different, maybe it was the sexy bed sheets we were wearing, maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the rockin’ 80’s tunes shaking the walls, maybe it was the beer, maybe it was just karma… or maybe it was the beer.

I don’t know, but this would be the night that changed our lives.

I was wrapped in a dark blue sheet. In college, if you had dark colored sheets, you didn’t have to wash them that often which was good because washing stuff meant hauling a giant bag of laundry down to the washing machines in the depths of your dorm basement and hustling pockets full of quarters from everyone you knew.

Around my waist was a three inch wide black, spiked and studded belt that belonged to my brother, I think maybe picked up on a semester abroad in England. It looked like something straight out of a Clash band photo… or a really bad gay porno movie. Wrapped around my head, like a headband, was a thin gold mesh scarf and that was topped off with a pair of dark black sunglasses. I looked like a circa-1980’s Jim McMahon, except I was wearing a dark blue toga… and a gay porn belt.

You can see why she thought that was hot, right?

I don’t remember if we “hooked-up” that night. Maybe we passed out somewhere, it’s not really important. What’s important is that this is how Kim and I finally connected, on a fine evening of Greek culture and sophistication.

Our relationship is still going strong, 27 years later, with 20 of those years married and fifteen of those raising kids. We’ve got a good thing and we try not to take it for granted. It’s not always easy, but we make it work and when things are challenging, when the kids are driving us up a wall, it’s good to look back on those early days when life was more carefree.

The best thing about this story… there are no photographs… at least none that we are aware of!

How did you meet your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, pet? Please share your stories!

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Of Anniversaries and Birthdays and Mid-Life Crises

Today my wife and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Kim and I met at Colby College in Waterville, Maine in 1986. We got married in North Reading, Massachusetts, her home town in 1992. Our reception was at the Hawthorne Hotel in Historic Salem, Massachusetts. We moved to Michigan in July of 1993 and bought the home that is the theme of this blog in December of 1995. Two children, several jobs and lots of pets later, here we are celebrating 20 years as husband and wife.

Ours is not a perfect marriage, none are. But it’s pretty close. We’re very similar people and we like each other. Yes, I specifically used that word… “like”. We like each other, we’re friends, we get along, we know when it’s okay to talk to each other and we know when it’s best to leave the other to themselves. That old adage that opposites attract should be thrown out the window. Opposites don’t attract… well, perhaps they attract, but do they last?  People that are the same, that have the same interests and personality traits have relationships that last. Sure, we are in love too. But “love” is one of those vague words that has so many levels of meaning. It’s a word for young people testing the waters of newly discovered relationships. It’s a word for romantic’s spending a week in Paris or watching a sunrise on the beach or picking daisy’s in a field. It’s a word that’s important in our lives, but when it comes to a successful marriage words like friendship, commitment and loyalty should trump the word love any day. When you’re raising kids and trying to pay a mortgage and thinking about college years… you better be friends… you better be committed and loyal… and you DAMN WELL better LIKE each other!  So, to my wife, if you are reading this… I may love you… but I really LIKE you. Thanks for being my best friend.

Today is also my oldest brother’s 50th birthday!  This is quite the milestone day! I have two older brothers, both of whom I look up to tremendously and who have been friends and mentors to me. Unfortunately they both live far away and I don’t get to see them that often. But they are important in my life and I wish the oldest the happiest of 50th birthdays today.

I have to admit, as I sit here and type this morning, all these large numbers, 50’s and 20’s make me feel old and throw me deeper into my so-called mid-life crisis, which I have written about periodically and that I suspect I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life. Mine is not the traditional mid-life crisis of fast sports cars and yachts and trips to the Caribbean. It’s more of a “can I check the fuck out and become a quirky, long-bearded homesteader who raises bees and writes poetry and doesn’t have to deal with the daily shit storm of life?” But that’s not very responsible and fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) I am a mostly responsible guy and understand that’s not a suitable option at this stage of my life.

Plus, I’m not sure my wife would “like” me anymore!

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My Chinese Zodiac Sign is…

It’s all coming together now…

I discovered today that I was born in the Year of the Goat (or Sheep or Ram depending on where you look) in the Chinese Zodiac. Wow, I feel so enlightened! Clearly that is the reason that I get along so well with Naughty and Heath. Us Goats, you see, apparently are creative types, crafty and artistic. We’re dreamers and worriers, charming yet introverted, overly concerned with our appearances, romantic and sweet and caring. Okay, my wife would probably argue the “romantic” part, but damn, that’s pretty accurate.

Anyhow, I never really believed in zodiac and astrological mumbo- jumbo, but here’s a few excerpts about us goats.

From www.chinesezodiac.com

Occupying the 8th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Goat (or Sheep) symbolizes such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and calmness. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center. Their nurturing personality makes Goats excellent care-givers. They’re quiet and reserved because they spend much time absorbed in their thoughts.

Home and alone is where Goats feel most comfortable. There they can express themselves artistically, whether it’s by painting, cooking or participating in whatever artistic endeavors they enjoy. Goats prefer the couch because there they can relax and explore their minds. They don’t need elaborate furnishings; only items reflecting their desire for art.

When traveling or seeking entertainment, Goats prefer groups or venues that hold many people. Goats spend money on fashions that give them a first class appearance. Although Goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.

This site even classified me as a Fire Goat:

Not nearly as sensitive as other Goats, Fire Goats don’t need the approval of others. Fire Goats always put themselves ahead of others. They’re social creatures who typically will have a close-knit circle of family and friends.

From http://www.chinese-astrology.co.uk/goat.html

Goat people are elegant, charming, artistic, gifted and fond of nature. People born under this sign are also the most creative. They are also very delicate, their good manners and charms always bring many admirers and friends.

Goats are insecure. They need to feel loved and protected. They are easily drawn into complex predicaments. This being, so, they usually shy from confrontation, pull back when faced with heavy decision-making and blatantly refuse to take an unpopular stand in a conflict.

Goat people are dreamers, sometimes, they are pessimistic, hesitant and over-anxious worriers! They can be lazy sometimes. If Goats have any choices, they would definitely choose to marry a wealthy person and sit back for the rest of the lives. Also, they are obsessed with their appearance. This plays an enormous part in their sense of personal stability.

Disorganized as they are, business is definitely not the strength in a Goat. Instead, the Goat will make a good craftsman or artist or writer and can confidently take up any career demanding artistic talents and creativities.

Goat people are very romantic, sensitive, sweet and darling. In relationship, they could be sometimes a little bit bossy and lazy, but with their gentle and caring nature, it will be hard to resist Goat people.

Yeah baby, I’m romantic, sensitive, sweet and darling… and hard to resist. I’m starting to like this whole Astrology gig!

“Yeah… ummm… Steve, your uhhh ‘need to be loved and protected’ is showing.”

Admittedly though, it’s not perfect, I’m definitely not that great at the whole romance part of a relationship. I’m not really insecure, although I was as a much younger person. And I am able to be organized, if only because life requires me to be.

But overall it’s pretty accurate! Now granted, these descriptions are probably written in ways that the average person reading would say, “yeah, that sorta sounds like me.”

My wife on the other hand… she’s a Monkey. Don’t tell her I said that. While reading the descriptions of the Monkey, I thought, some of that sounds right but she’s really more of a Goat than a Monkey, which is probably why we get along so well. She’s sort of ½ goat, ½ monkey, whatever that looks like. One site said this: The monkey has a good chance of becoming famous or well-known. Perhaps I need to start being a little more Monkey and a little less Goat.

So I guess I still don’t really believe in any of this stuff. Anyhow, I’m glad to discover that I am a Goat. My wife texted me from the County Fair last night and told me that one of the families is looking for a good home for two dwarf doe pygmy goats. I don’t really know what those are or if it would be a good idea to add two more to the flock.

My response to her…

“Sure go for it… would give me another year of blog material!”

How about you… what’s your Chinese Zodiac sign? Is it accurate? Are you a believer?

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Roses are red, violets are blue
Here’s a short poem I’ve written for you
These words, they are here to bring you a smile
To make you feel special and loved for awhile

I’m sorry I didn’t buy roses today
But money’s a little bit tight as you say
So I chose a more fiscally sound endeavor
Some words on a page that will last you forever

See, roses bring joy for a moment in time
The bright, shiny petals, surely sublime
Yet those stunning red flowers that beckon your gaze
Will shrivel and wilt within a few days

But the beauty of words, like a river they flow
The greatest of gifts a man can bestow
When summoned from down in the depths of the soul
With deep adoration, these words they extol

So, carry this with you each day of your life
Each day we awaken as husband and wife
I’ll love you with every ounce of my heart
From the day that we met, ’til the day we depart

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Fall in Love Again

One of my blogging friends, Robyn at Love vs. Goliath wrote this post the other day about investing in her relationship with her husband.  These two (and her kids) tell an amazing love story about being reunited after a long immigration battle. I’d encourage you to visit the site and poke around, it’s very interesting and uplifting.

Her post reminded me that it is so important to make time for your spouse or partner, to find time away from kids and jobs and all the stressful and time-consuming things that envelope our lives, and find ways to rekindle those incredible feelings that people feel when they first start falling in love. My wife preaches this to me sometimes, and while I have to admit she is pretty good at it, frankly, me being a guy and all… I am not always very good at it.

Reading Robyn’s post hit home for me and I sat down and wrote a little song. I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but perhaps this year I’ll try to make more time for my relationship with my amazing wife.

You can listen to the song on Grooveshark here:  Fall in Love Again

and here are the words:

Baby, let’s fall in love again.
Head over heels in love again.
It’s much too easy just being in love with you.
I want to fall in love again.

Baby, let’s fall in love again.
Head over heels in love again.
It’s not enough just being in love with you.
I want to fall in love again.

Let’s climb to the roof and stare at the sky and watch shooting stars go by.
Let’s jump in the car and go for a drive with nowhere to go in mind.
Let’s lie in the sand, grab hold of my hand and know that the world is right.
Baby, let’s feel that way again.

Baby, let’s fall in love again.
Head over heels in love again.
It’s much too easy just being in love with you.
I want to fall in love again.

I’m looking forward to reading what you all have to say this year. Wishing you a happy, healthy 2012!

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