Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

It has come to my attention through a recent disagreement with my husband that I have a few idiosyncrasies that apparently drive him completely and utterly insane. Those of you who know my husband can agree that this should be a far cry from surprise. As kind and funny as he is, he is also a very opinionated and somewhat overbearing man who uses the word "hate" much too loosely. The words "dislike" and "do not care for" don't exist in his vocabulary. He replaces them, however carelessly, with the word "hate."

I try not to discredit him for this, instead I often innocently compare him to Lennie, a character in John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, who is unable to recognize his physical strength. My husband is like Lennie in that he cannot recognize his own strength both physically and verbally. The same unacknowledged power lies behind his all too playful and often painful shoulder punches as well as his poor use of powerful words. Having this understanding allows me to take each overstated, exaggerated use of words like "hate" with a grain of salt, and offers me hope that he does not actually "hate" the little quirks of my character, but accepts them for who I am as I have agreed to do the same for him. One day, after rehashing our idiosyncrasies so often, I hope that we can learn to love each for them and not love each other any less because of them.

1. He hates that I listen to 96.5 KISS FM because it reminds him too much of my younger sister.

I can take this statement one of two ways: a) He feels that my sister and I have poor taste in music because we listen to this Pop/Rap/R&B station or b) He feels that I am too old to be listening to the same Pop/Rap/R&B station as my 20-year-old sister. I would like to defend myself by saying that if any other station could make me laugh or keep me entertained as much as the staff at this station does I would probably listen to them as well. My music tastes vary so greatly that I could listen to almost anything, but I choose to stick with what I know and, unfortunately for him, what I know happens to be a station he does not like.

I had hoped that my refusal to listen to Spelling Bee Champion hopeful, Fergie, would be enough to save me from his disappointment, but alas, it was not. I am left to accept that he does not agree with my tastes in this genre, just as he is not willing to leave me alone about listening to Ani Difranco, Alanis Morissette, or any of the other independent female artists I love. So be it. My loyalties do not lie with his favorites either.

2. He hates that I am on MySpace.

If his argument was about exposing myself to all the crazy, fucked up people who are no doubt lurking for their next victim on MySpace, I could understand and accept his discomfort, and I would willingly work with him on this issue, but you know as well as I do that his "hatred" for the megasite is all about MySpace being mainstream, and God forbid he or I have anything to do with mainstream.

I know I've said it repeatedly, but perhaps he has forgotten that MySpace has been a social experiment of mine since day one. I have an irrational fear of calling people that I can't seem to shake, and no matter how hard I try I can't avoid the damper this puts on my relationships with friends and acquaintances alike. The strain is understandably caused by feelings of a onesided relationship; I would never make that call and therefore it seemed like I didn't care, and we would inevitably lose touch. The problem is I did care I just couldn't muster the courage to pick up a phone and say so.

MySpace has given me the opportunity to do what I do best--communication through writing. I was once told that MySpace was the new phone number and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get in touch with those old friends and keep in contact with those new acquaintances through messages and inane comments. If my husband can't see the positive changes that this website has made on my personality then I don't know what to say other than I will stop pressuring him to join even in jest.

3. He hates when I stress out about balancing the checkbook when all he wants to do is watch a movie together.

This one baffles me because, honestly, what's more important; making sure we don't overdraft our account or watching that movie from Netflix with an infinite due date? Part of me wanted to bite at this new pet peeve and scream "Well, fine! You take care of the finances!" but how could I do that when it's obvious where his priorities lie? Another part of me understood that this statement went much deeper than money and a Leonardo DiCaprio film. What he's actually referring to is my amazing talent of making mountains out of molehills, stressing myself out to an astonishing degree and depriving us of life's little pleasures. I'm incapable of relaxing. My mind has a constant assembly line of What if's and What now's and I often end up paralyzed by my own negative thoughts. I can see where this would be frustrating for him, and in afterthought, I can see that I should be working harder to solve this problem, if not for him, then for my own health. But all realizations aside, I can't see where watching a movie should take precedence over figuring out why the bank has us at $100 less than my own records. Overdrafting by miscalculations is a very dreadful occurence and should be avoided at all costs.

In closing I would like to say that I love my husband very much. He is a voice of reason when I can't hear my own. He makes the phone calls when I can't find the courage to make them myself. He keeps me on my toes when I've been feeling completely sane for entirely too long. We are the perfect example of opposites attract and our relationship couldn't flourish without a little give and take. Lucky for me I think he takes the brunt of it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

I don't consider myself an independent person. If something has to be done, and I have to do it alone, I will, but if I can avoid going it alone I will by all means. I don't like to make phone calls to the cable company or our mothers alike, and I don't like to go shopping by myself, either. I would actually rather put up with Jon nagging me about how long I'm taking than go by myself and take my good old time. It's weird, I know, but I don't mind it most of the time; however, it makes this time of year a little uncomfortable. Jon has a business conference in September every year, and it usually leaves me alone for a week. Half of the bed is empty, there is only one person to cook for, and all of those little, pesky tasks that I usually drag him along for? Yeah, those are all mine, too. During these solitary weeks I don't generally get much done. It's like all of my focus and interest goes on the trip with him.

Each year has gotten a little easier. I think it's because a) I'm not nearly as needy as I was in my early twenties when he started taking these trips, and b) I usually spend the weeks leading up to it pumping myself up for all of the things I get to do while he isn't here, like watching the chick flicks that he won't come within ten miles of, and getting away with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner (he doesn't do sandwiches for dinner). I also think it's easier because I've gotten to know a lot of his co-workers and I know that they are pretty cool guys who aren't going try talking him into exploring the hotel's topless pool upon arrival. It's shameful that it has taken this long, but I am much more comfortable in my own skin than I was 5 years ago.

The only thing that could possibly make his absence a little harder this time is that his conference is in Las Vegas this year and I am quite jealous. My retaliation is to leave for New York City the day after he comes back.

I drove him and two other guys to the airport at 6:15 this morning. One of the guys parked his sporty, yellow Mitsubishi Lancer in my garage and I have the keys (last year I was left with a silver Hyundai Tiburon). Let's hope I don't get too restless. I might be tempted to see just how fast it will go.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Friends, Old Friends

"You'll never guess what happened to me today!"


"I was in the backyard with the dogs and I almost stepped on a snake! It was like... 2 feet long!"

"Yeah. It's been making all those holes back there."

"Oh.. you've seen it?"

"Yeah. His name is George."

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Her Majesty, The Decemberists

It was April of 2006 and we were on a road trip to Maryland for my cousin's wedding followed by a charter bus tour of Washington, D.C. the day after. We loaded the back of the Aztek with a weekends worth of luggage and set off with my husband behind the wheel, my brother in the passenger seat, and my 17-year-old nephew and I relaxing in the back. This was our first long trip since purchasing an iPod, and let me tell you, more preparation went into downloading music and creating play lists for the little mechanism than packing our suitcases. We had 3 iPods on board; my little blue mini loaded with what I like to refer to as my "chick" music, my husband's 30 GB that had been recently filled with play lists catering to the special requests from my nephew, and we had my brother's 60 GB iPod that seemed to me to contain every piece of music written since the beginning of mankind. We literally had weeks worth of music at our fingertips for the 6 hour drive to Silver Spring.

Unfortunately I can't remember much of the music played on the drive south. I barely touched the mini that was stored safely in the messenger bag at my feet. I mostly remember filling the nouns in a book of Mad Libs with various parts of the human anatomy and using an array of creative, raunchy words for adjectives, all in good potty humor. I also remember feeling miserable about being on this trip at all as the night before our then 6-month-old puppy, Jack, ran away from the dog sitter in an effort to make it back home to us. Rather than sleeping and preparing for the long trip, we spent the night scouring the neighborhood and calling out to him, often sneaking up on an animal in the pitch-blackness only to run away screaming when we found that it was not our dog, but a skunk. It was eventually discovered that he had been taken in by a nice couple two doors down who found him cowering on their back porch at midnight, and were so kindly trying to get a hold of us, but we didn't receive the news until a few hours after we arrived in Maryland.

I had a great time in Maryland. The trip included some of the most entertaining outcomes in my history with Mad Libs, my first time to a Dave & Buster's where I blew all of my money on the Flaming Finger machine, and some of the most delicious fajitas at a Plata Grande Restaurant. The trip also gave me the most time I've spent with my brother since we both moved out on our own, and with him came his eclectic music tastes. I remember most clearly on the dark drive home through the mountains. It was late and none of us could sleep and so my brother was entertaining us with a few out-of-leftfield songs from his vast selection. I remember a song about fingers the most, which he said was The Decemberists:

“Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters.”

I heard the lyrics and I heard the childish, sing-song way they were sung and I immediately wrote the The Decemberists off as a band I wouldn't be listening to anytime soon.

One year, four months, and another road trip later I'm finding that I made a grave mistake, just like those two years I told my husband I absolutely would not eat Chipotle because I didn't want steak or chicken, but ground beef. It sounds strange, but The Decemberists are my new Chipotle, this miraculous entity that I refused to acknowledge for so long, but eventually broke and found I had been missing out on something wonderful the entire time. I am absolutely smitten. Now I listen to "The Mariner's Revenge Song" and see beyond strange lyrics about crushing fingers and being eaten by a giant whale to appreciate their awe-inspiring storytelling. I spend my days wandering around humming to songs like "The Engine Driver" and "We Both Go Down Together," itching for the next chance to get in the car and start up my iPod, which now holds every song from 2001-2006, or to go home and press play while I work in the office on minuscule tasks I've created just to stay in there and listen to my new obsession. I'm ashamed it took me this long to give them a chance, and I'm a little ashamed of my uncontrollable, crazed behavior, but like I said, it's uncontrollable and I'm infatuated.

I will never again doubt my brother's taste in music.

The Bedroom Caper

Home alone on a Saturday afternoon. The laundry has been sorted and prepared for the short journey from bedroom to laundry room. As I'm reaching for the baskets I notice the unmade bed out of the corner of my eye. I decide to straighten the blankets and fluff the pillows before exiting. I take a moment to admire the precise fold in the recently purchased comforter and the inviting mound of pillows. Call me crazy, but I've got a thing for well made beds.

Fast forward to ten minutes later. The washing machine is thumping quietly and I'm back upstairs, rounding a corner in the hallway and just about to step into the bedroom when I'm confronted with this:


An obviously unmade bed.

First I delve into my unusually faulty memory to determine if I had, in fact, made the bed only ten minutes before, but I quickly come to an affirmative conclusion. This is followed by a very short moment of panic, because really, how does a bed unmake itself? Was there someone in the house with me? Had the mischievious gremlins who I continually blame for all misfortunes and missing objects truly come to life? Had some poor man with an uncanny sense of humor die during construction of our house in the 1960s and his ghost thought it comical to come back for one last prank?

I stand staring at the bed for what seems like hours when I notice a clue. A supiciously round lump has formed under the blanket near the end of the bed. I poke it.


At first the mysterious mass does not move so I poke it again. My stomach drops as the lump begins moving and reconfiguring itself. I force myself to gather all of my courage and slowly pull the blanket back, revealing that I did not have an intruder, an infestation of gremlins, or a problem with poltergeists.



Just a dog with low tolerance for central air and bright sunlight.