Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On Signaling and Subtext in Married-People Texting

"En route to get Sean. The expensive pistol class is full, but I'm first in line if someone cancels. We got this Cub Scout thing. Hope you're resting!" 
"Don't forget to take food coloring to the meeting with you." 
"Thanks! :D"

Now let's look at that in detail, shall we?

"En route to get Sean." 
Translation:   Don't worry, I remembered that I'm supposed to pick up our son. (This time.) As long as I continue to remember it all the way home, I will probably get him before the babysitter closes, as far as you know.
"The expensive pistol class is full, but I'm first in line if someone cancels.
Translation:   Remember yesterday, when I brought up an Ernest Langdon pistol class in October, and I really wanted to go, and I suggested that maybe I'd take your van and sleep in the back, and you asked why not just get a motel? And I allowed as how the class is a little expensive, and you got me to admit how expensive, and then you sort of grudgingly accepted it, but you were fully on board with the van-camping concept, even though I'd started to think maybe a motel was more reasonable?
Well, by the time I contacted the class host, they were waiting on someone to confirm the last spot, and he did. So now there's no slot for me, which means you don't have to worry about how expensive it is! It's a clear win. However, I'm the first one on the alternate list and it would be unusual if no one canceled in the next two months, so . . . it's probably still going to happen. I'm considering stopping by the plasma donation place on the way home to see what the fund-raising potential really is.
"We got this Cub Scout thing.
Translation:   I'm on such a roll, I also remembered to cancel gym night and will take the little Wolf to his cub scout meeting. Have you ever wanted me more feverishly than you do right now?
"Hope you're resting!
Translation:  I'm also sensitive and caring, so I remember that you didn't feel good this morning. I just hope you feel better and you're getting some rest before your work obligation tonight. Seriously, I am maxing this husband thing out today.
"Don't forget to take food coloring to the meeting with you."
Translation:  That's all very impressive and all, honey, but we both know you completely forgot about this. You should probably thank whatever is out there that you have me to remind you.
"Thanks! :D"
Translation:  Shit. I did completely forget about that. It's not a great feeling, but I'm buoyed by the certain knowledge that in five minutes I won't remember feeling bad about not remembering food coloring. I'll just wonder why I have "SEAN FOOD COLORING" written on my hand.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This is going to hurt.

The twins, Thing One and Thing Two, turned 18 today.

This was turning into a long post in which I tried to explain what we've been through during these boys' adolescence. It's a long list of reasons I have to be angry, to be heartbroken. There's really no way to explain it all in one blog post, but more importantly, there's no way to write about it without putting it all out into public, even if it is on a small blog nobody reads, and I just can't quite bring myself to do that to them. I don't know what they'll be like in ten years, but I assume the things I write about them on the internet will still exist at that time. Suffice it to say that I know everybody talks about how trying their teenagers are, but I'm not talking about normal teenage rebellion.

What matters today is what they've decided to do going forward.

Thing One has decided to move out and live with his biological mother a state away. She continues to blame all the abuse and neglect he suffered before he was removed from her home by Illinois DCFS (47 counts of child endangerment, if I recall correctly) on an unnamed male babysitter she left the babies and toddlers with one day while she was looking for work. He doesn't have a car or insurance, doesn't have a job, and graduated from high school by the skin of his teeth. He has a few hundred dollars saved and a few boxes of stuff to take with him. There's not much we can do about this except keep making it clear to him that he can come back to us if he changes his mind or needs help (as long as he's willing to live by our house rules--no violence, no threats, no drugs, and full cooperation with medical professionals.) This means that I'm going to have to have biological mom at my house today at noon. I honestly don't know how that's going to go. It'll probably be anti-climactic, but My Bride is taking our youngest son elsewhere pretty soon anyway, just in case. She can pull up out front, load up, and go. Anything else is going to be considered trespassing and will be dealt with by some poor schmuck who's getting paid to deal with it. I don't expect violence from her, to be clear, just drama, lies and emotional manipulation. It's a personal strength she has learned to rely on over the years.

Thing Two has made a better choice, under the circumstances. He never bothered to get a driver's license or a job, but he has saved almost twice as much money as Thing One. He, too, graduated high school by narrow margins. Both boys have expressed an interest in joining the military; neither was accepted. But six months ago, Thing Two was unpredictably volcanic. He told us and his psychiatrist over and over that he would not take his medications, and he told us he would never speak to a therapist again, nor would he talk to us about anything that was bothering him. About three months ago, he relented and began visiting a great therapist, then softened a bit on his other treatment, but he still maintained that he was moving out of our house when today came; he had nowhere to go, no car, no license, no job or prospects, but he insisted over and over that he would simply leave and be homeless so that he would no longer have to follow rules or deal with his mental health. We were scared, if I'm honest.

Only a week ago, Thing Two relented again. He now plans to stay here with us and make a step-by-step plan to work toward independence. He and I will go to the DMV today so that he can get a driver's license. He's been applying for jobs, and he will sign up with a temp agency in the meantime so that he can save up some money while he lives here. While he lives here, at least, he will continue to take his prescribed medication and to see his therapist regularly. We will help him any way we can. We'll help them both in any way we can, actually, but I don't think it's been clear to Thing One that he may be putting himself outside our capacity to help, and that scares me to death. But the day had to come eventually, and I guess I knew that.

So, if you don't mind, wish us luck, or pray for us, or whatever you do when you can't do something, because there's not so much for any of us to do for Thing One for the next little while except try to be ready for whatever happens next.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

14 Years

Today is the 14th time this day has come around since I married My Bride.

We did a lot of things wrong, but we did some important things right. We jumped into marriage, not by marrying too soon, but by deciding to engage too soon and then refusing to consider whether we should re-think marriage. But we got away with it.

We bought a tumbledown money-pit of a house that is now our only debt, and proceeded to demolish a bunch of it and then bog down when we tried to get it renovated. But we got away with it.

Instead of paying back our school loans immediately, we went into debt to buy that house and a car and some appliances. It took us years to pay all that off, but we got away with it.

Then we adopted twins with severe learning and emotional disabilities brought on by years of abuse and neglect followed by years of sliding out of one foster home and into the next--twins whose abusive biological mother is a member of our family and thus could never be completely escaped. We knew we were accepting that there would be a strain on our marriage, but I don't think we had any way to conceive of how bad it would get. I know I didn't. But those twins are turning 18 in a couple of days, and although there are still big problems, there's reason to believe we may have gotten away with it, even though, in a stunning display of hubris, we added a third child seven years ago, because why not?

We've gotten away with all those things so far because we did a few big things right. We reached a decision point a few years ago, and we recognized it for what it was. We knew that we either had to be willing to change or to accept that the marriage was over. We chose to change. We consulted with professionals. We learned to talk to each other in new ways. We learned to share with each other the way Seneca told Lucilius to behave with a real friend, holding nothing back:
“Why should I keep back anything when I’m with a friend? Why shouldn’t I imagine I’m alone when I’m in his company?”
We paid off our debt (except that mortgage that keeps hanging in there) and decided not to take any more on. We've stuck by that for years now. We're slowly starting the process of finishing the renovation of our money pit, with much-simplified, much-less-ambitious versions of our original plans. We'll be renovating with an eye toward simple livability in order to sell the house for a profit in a few years and move. And the twins are . . . . well, the jury's still out on that one, but we're entering a new phase. One is looking for a job today; he's put himself in a tough position, but he graduated from high school and he's decided not to run away and be homeless when he turns 18, and that's something. The other will be moving out on his birthday to live with his biological mother. That's terrifying to us, but . . . it's his decision in the truest sense. We can't stop him and we can't take the consequences for him. And that's really it. We've put in the work and time to create spaces in our life that are for the two of us alone. They aren't much, but they've kept us together. They've been enough to remind us, when we need it, that we love each other and neither of us is willing to let this experience end.

So, for today, I'm not going to worry about it. Today I'm going to celebrate this woman who loves me so much. We're going to enjoy each other. We're going to enjoy our children today. We're going to have fun together. I'm going to make her laugh! And she will know that she is loved and safe and appreciated.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Monday . . . Here, Have a Turtle.

I'm working on something about how my holster habits are changing, but I want to go to the gym this morning and also help my son build a fortress, so . . . lotta deadlines. 

Yesterday was Father's Day, so we hit the state park and came back with pictures of turtles and snakes. Enjoy!

This little lady was digging in the gravel at the edge of the pick-a-nick spot when we arrived. I hope she wasn't trying to lay eggs, because we disturbed her. Unless she's male and he was just digging out a worm . . . also likely.

Look how smug! And hey, if you've ever wanted to retire by working way too hard in a beautiful place, that little restaurant/boat shop across the way is looking for new management.

"Look out, Indy!"

"Bro, do you even bro?"

So many snakes . . . not sure what these were, to be honest, but I wasn't totally sure they weren't moccasins, so we left them alone. They wanted no part of us, either, so it worked out.

We caught one living thing that day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Aw Yiss . . . We Goin' to the Bike Shop, Girl

This is shaping up to be a great afternoon.
  • The last day of student attendance is over.
  • Paperwork is done.
  • Grading and finals are nearly done.
  • My Bride is coming over in half an hour, and she's going to take me to R&M Cyclery to look for her new bike. You wanna go ride bikes? We are going to ride bikes!
  • After bike shopping comes Thai food, followed by a stop at Floyd's Thirst Parlor for an end-of-year celebration with her colleagues.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Actually, I DO know what day it is . . .

It's my little sister's birthday . . . and her husband's birthday was a couple of days ago . . . . and their second daughter will be born soon.

They're kind of springy people.

Happy birthday, kiddo!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Overheard in the kitchen

ME: I should have scraped that paint off years ago. That's like having ten percent more window.
HER: Thanks! Bring me that razor blade?
ME: No problem. Yeah, so that looks . . . really good . . . . especially when you reach up for the top part and your shirt pulls up a little . . . .
ME: Why?
ME: That's not why . . . .
HER: I mean it! I'm in front of the window! It's a window! IT'S TEN PERCENT MORE WINDOW!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I can't blog what just happened . . . .

Because My Bride says that if I do, I'll never have sex again. So, for the record, I am not blogging what just happened. In the living room.

Just now.

See, honey? Your secrets are safe with me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is that the one with the DeLorean?

Overheard in the living room:

Me: "Hey, look what's on that St. Louis channel: Airwolf!"
My Bride: "That a big deal?"
Me: "Airwolf was one of the finest television shows the 1980s had to offer."
My Bride: "I thought it was a movie? With that guy in it?"
Me: "Well . . . . maybe there was a longer pilot, I guess, but it was a series. It had Jan-Michael Vincent flying a futuristic helicopter and Ernest Borgnine as his mechanic."
My Bride: "Ohhhh! I was thinking of Teen Wolf."

This was immediately followed by My Bride leaping out of her seat and across the room to fall into the desk chair at the computer desk. She apparently thought she could prevent the blogging of her pop-culture faux pas . . . . but you can't stop the signal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Overheard in the Kitchen: Miracles

The kitchen is bright on a summer morning. Don is cooking breakfast for His Bride; she is reading a book at the small round dinner table with a red checkered table cloth. The children are asleep, and so the cardinals can be heard whistling outside the window. The kitchen smells of hot oil, toasting bread, and rich coffee. Don has a pan heating for eggs and another with shortening heated to a liquid state. Using an ice cream scoop, he carefully ladles out a large dollop of leftover mashed potatoes from a tupperware container. With any luck, in a few minutes he will serve His Bride delicious potato pancakes, with smooth white centers enclosed within brown, crispy outsides. He flattens the dollop in the center of the pan and sprinkles garlic salt over it. It would be fair to say that he is feeling smug at the prowess with which he is cooking his wife breakfast in gentlemanly fashion. In a moment, he plans to break the eggs one-handed because he once read that this impresses women.

Don: "Whoa!"
Bride: "Whoa what?"
Don: "I'm not really sure . . . I've never seen that happen before. The potatoes melted."
Bride: "The what? What did you do?"
Don: "I didn't . . . I just put a scoop of mashed potatoes in the oil to make, you know, like potato pancakes. Like latkes."
Bride: "So what's wrong?"
Don: "I put the potatoes in the oil, and flattened 'em out, and they just disappeared. It was like they melted into the oil. It's actually pretty freaky. Can starch even do that?"
Bride: "Honey?"
Don: "Yes dear?"
Bride: "That's a container of Crisco I fried fish in awhile ago."

I figure it could have been worse. Could have thrown a pat of butter on there and eaten a spoonful cold . . . or filled a big bowl of mashed potatoes in thrown it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, thus starting the Grease Fire of '09.

Never did find out what Crisco pancakes taste like.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Overheard at Bedtime II: The Re-Overhearing

The family is gathered in the living room just before bedtime for the three sons. Son I and Son II, twins separated by mere minutes in age, are 13 years old and beginning to realize that the adults don't actually know anything worth knowing. Son III is two years old and beginning to realize that there are endless ways to stay awake an extra 15 minutes.

Mama: "Bedtime for Sean!"

Son III: "No."
Son II: "You hear that, Sean? It's your bedtime!"
Son III: "No."
Mama: "What?!"
Son III: "No."
Son I: "He said it's Sean's bedtime. Like it's time for Sean to go to bed."
Son III: "No."
Mama: (Wearily) "OK, fine, great, now go to bed. I was sure you said 'Sean's bath time' and he was going to thi--"
Son III: (Sprinting to bathroom) "My bafftiiiiiiiiiie!"
Papa: "You just said 'bathtime,' honey."

Son III: (Stripping off shirt) "My bafftiiiiiiiiiie!"
Mama: (Teeth audibly cracking like ice under pressure) "Yes, thank you, I know that.
Papa: "So now he thinks he can put off bedtime if he g--"
Mama: "YES."
Mama: "THANK YOU."
Mama: "I KNOW."

Son III: (Head peeking into living room) "Bafftie?"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Overheard at Bedtime

Donovan's voice, from upstairs: "KANE! SHUT UP!"
My Bride: "I'm going to ignore them."
Your Hero: "Yeah, we--"
Your Hero: "Uh--that isn't--"
My Bride: "I mean, I'll tell you this much, I'm not going to yell at them, you know?"
Your Hero: "But . . . ."
My Bride: "You know what I mean."
Your Hero: "Not really. That was the opposite of not yelling at someone."
My Bride: "Look, my side hurts, OK? Cut me some slack."
Your Hero: " . . . ."

Safety First . . .

Ever see the Peanuts movie where they all learned to ride motocross bikes? Same basic ratio of body to helmet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm a Goofball But I Love You

Nine years ago, this gorgeous creature took the plunge and got married. It hasn't always been a lot of fun to be married; her husband can be demanding sometimes, and dangerously immature at others. That is not hyperbole; sometimes his immaturity involves accelerants and explosives. Her children can be more than demanding; it takes amazing patience to deal with them day after day and still find a reason to cherish them every once in awhile. But if you've looked closely at this self-portrait, you might have noticed that her expression could be interpreted in a number of ways. She may have been going for a naughty librarian pout, but anyone who looks closely at the eyes and notes the arch of the eyebrows might note surprise, shock, and perhaps a note of apprehension about the future. It's an intriguing window into the soul. But what could she have seen that would put that hunted, harrowed expression on such a pretty face?

I think it's simple, really. Today is her ninth wedding anniversary. She has been married for nine years now, and the time has gone by faster than anyone expected, just as it always does. Next year will be ten years . . . and she never really considered herself a person who could have been married for ten years. But more than all that, at the true center of her disquiet, there is an epiphany, a realization, that seems in retrospect as if it should have been perfectly obvious all along. It's the kind of understanding that seems to dawn suddenly if only because we have been avoiding it by any means necessary until it was no longer possible. So what put that haunted look in her eyes?

It has suddenly washed over her as a wave washes over a toddler napping at high tide: she has not merely been married for nine years. She has been married to this doofus right here for nine long years, and there are long years yet to come. So many years.

I love you, My Bride. Please don't leave me for putting your naughty librarian portrait on the internet; nobody reads this anyway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Is Best In Life?

So, what else did the boys enjoy at Round Cove, besides the machine guns and grenade launchers and Clovis-point arrowheads? Well, for red-blooded young men of almost 13 years of age, what else?
A puppy, of course! "Sam" here was the star of the party, but "Angel" put in an appearance, too.

(Why? What did you think I meant?)

And here we see Donovan explaining the role of "Sorcelocks" in his epic fantasy project, The Vampire War Saga. We showed up without hats on the first morning, which immediately struck me as foolish, so we invested in three stylish chapeaus. Kane picked out a light woodland boonie hat, Donovan got a black ball cap emblazoned with "Special Forces" and a large badge . . . and I chose to suck up to our hosts with a tan Hero Gear hat, because you can't go wrong with a little flattery now and then.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm So Proud of Her . . . .

I borrowed My Bride's van yesterday to go get the dogs. When I keyed it on, the CD player began playing where it had left off. It was an audiobook . . . . it was very familiar . . . and then people cowered before the Vogons.

It was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And a single tear welled up in each eye as I considered the magnificent creature I have wed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

McKnob Style Mea Culpa

I don't think my wife handles cough syrup very well. She took something last night, and somewhat later in the night there were . . . . stirrings. Being a gentleman, I responded gallantly, gently, and yet with alarming alacrity. It soon became clear that she was in that sort of in-between time before you really wake up, so I proceeded with efforts guaranteed to wake her happily.

Those efforts failed. In the end, I gave up, put my arm around her and went back to sleep. She says she doesn't remember anything but a dream in which someone was, and here I must quote precisely, "gnawing on my face." I debated whether to tell her what really happened or let it remain a bad dream, but in the end I decided to come clean. Did you know that Walgreen's doesn't carry "I apologize for molesting you in your sleep" greeting cards?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

My Bride wants to go dancing tonight. Apparently, that implies that I have to go dancing, too. Personally, I sense a trap. When I wanted to sign up for dance lessons so we could go out and dance together on a regular basis and I could learn how to dance, she didn't want to do that. Too much money, too much time. Can't do it.

Then, a few months later, when she wanted to take some kind of aerobic dance exercise class (ZUMBA!) for the same price, I failed to connect the dots. I even stopped going to Thursday-night USPSA shoots so I could stay home with the kids, but I never stopped to wonder why dance lessons were OK as long as I'm not allowed to attend.

Then, yesterday, she told me we need to go out and have fun . . . . so she invited us to go dancing with her friends. Doesn't smell right, does it? If I see a camera, I'm out of there. In fact, I probably should have learned my lesson when she set up that game camera in the backyard. I just wanted to get a little practice in:


(Hat tip to 2gm from , who sent me this just when I could use it most.)