Tag Archives: husband

From the “Vicarious Traveling” Travelogue

15 Jul

blog imag swedish fish

Friends went to Sweden which means that parts of me also went to Sweden (my mind as well as my inner tall, blonde, multilingual, weirdfish-eating self).

My favorite part of the trip was returning home and attempting to incorporate the concept of “fika” into my life.  “Fika” is a daily Swedish coffee break except coffee is not required and it often lasts for over an hour.  It is time spent socializing, unwinding and having a not insubstantial nosh.  A sort of high tea but with lots more umlauts.  A respite, but with dried fish included- like surströmming or tatami I washi.  (Thank YOU Wikipedia!)

Imagine if employers in the US authorized an afternoon break with food and friends and World Cup bonding and such.  They would be just like the unauthorized breaks we take in the morning now, except those can sometimes feel edgy as people really seem to want coffee with the half and half that was right in the breakroom refrigerator as of 5PM yesterday.

Then imagine a job where folks stand around the water cooler while holding ceramic mugs talking about non work-related things like reality tv, sports or standardized testing and know that I would no longer be working there by now (assuming that I passed the background check).  I like people but I hate prolonged small talk.  Who am I kidding?  I hate chit-chat of any duration.  Even if it means avoiding work.

I do appreciate the spirit of fika though, as I believe that we all need to individually reassess and relax a little during the middle of the day or possibly earlier in the day or most of the day, even.  Some would call that being “underemployed” but I’m going to go with dreamer/fika.

When I told Spouse that we would begin fika-ing ourselves silly during the middle of the day while The Boy was at school, he may have misunderstood.

Next day, he showed up for our first fika bearing gifts of champagne, chocolate and a Lyle Lovett CD (don’t ask).

And when I busted out the knäckebröd and lärtsoppa och pannkakor, he didn’t say much either which is everything you could want in a fika.

With lingonberries on the side.

The “F” Word

13 Jun

My husband said it (again).  And he said it knowing that I would overhear.

And react.

Why, why do I let him manipulate me so?

(And why do I sound like a 1940’s forlorn movie ingenue?  Never mind; we know that I adore sounding like a 1940’s movie ingenue.  The forlorn part is a bonus.)

He said that our house was “filthy.”

Not “messy” (check), not “cluttered” (check plus), not even “in need of a good once over.”

Had he actually said that our house was in need of a good once over, I could at least enjoy making fun of him while being angry: at what level do the “overs” stop?  Why not a twice or a thrice over?  (I love the word “thrice”- so underutilized, I almost wish he had said “once over.”)

Our house is many things including a source of never-ending food for the boy and his friends.  (How does it get there and why can’t the fairies ever remember to put the caffeine-free Cokes in the fridge?  I’d hate the boy but right now I’m too busy being mad at his dad.)

There is one thing, however, that my house is not.  Ever.  And that is filthy.  Public restrooms are sometimes filthy.  (I say sometimes because I once had a positive experience in a Penn Station restroom that, consequently, negated my right to generalize.)

My house is not a train station lavatory.  As the only female in the house, feline included, I will admit that there are moments when the bathroom is less than daisy fresh.

But “filthy?”  An entire house?  Based on what?

Ah, the heart of the matter.

For every “F” thought he has, for every “F” word he espouses, I counter with the “G” word.

“G.”  As in German.

The very genetics that make him insist on being early for being early for any event- have you any idea how mortifying it is to be, not only the first guests to arrive at a dinner party, but also the guests who ask at what time the party will terminate?

Those genes are responsible for his liberal and unwarranted use of the “F” word.

His heritage made him drop the “F” bomb.

It’s horrible.  And it works.

Because before I posted this, I finished a hands-and-knees cleaning of the laundry room floor.  I found five dollars and three guitar picks.

And I’m just mad enough to clean the kitchen too.

Artistic License

28 Mar

Here’s the truth behind last week’s post titled “When this whole world starts getting me down”:

I did clean the window screens and windows and,

I did freak out over being the only person who gets anything done around here because I am the only person who gets anything done anywhere.  Also, yes to drama queen.

After that I was forced to utilize my artistic license in order to better cope with reality:

I was stranded on the roof while husband was at the hardware store but eventually he came home.  With a cactus plant.  “It was only $3!” he said.

I did not witness a gentle rain storm wash through the valley.  Instead, I feared for my life as a storm rolled over me and, in an over the top attempt at survival, I flattened myself across a span of roof so that my body was below lightning rod level.  I still have shingle grit embedded on my face.

Apparently I don’t truly know any Drifters songs because I kept confusing “Under the Boardwalk” with “Up on the Roof.”  It’s just that “oh when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof and your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fire-proof” sounds way more like someone up on a roof than someone “down by the sea.”  And what’s with all the prepositions in Drifters song titles?  No wonder I was confused.

My arms remain the weakest part of my body but I vowed to begin strength training- if I survived.

My neighbor did come over and help me down once I screamed over the  seemingly constant yipping of her dogs.  And even then she didn’t come right away.

Also she did not bring lemonade.

Oh, she brought a beverage alright.  Not immediately because she was watching Dr. Oz who recommends drinking the juice of three lemons and three limes for an instant energy boost.  So she ran three lemons and three limes through her juicer and gave me that to drink.  I tossed it back and felt nothing but the enamel on my teeth erode.

Shortly thereafter the school bus pulled up and deposited the boy.  When I told him of my misadventure and let him know that his bedroom window was where I got locked out, he replied that “he never asked for air anyway.”

It’s good that I have an artistic license and not a carry permit (like Mr. Nugent).

When this whole world starts getting me down

21 Mar

Spring arrived early so the window screens had to go in NOW which means that I had to get the screens down from the attic, set them on the lawn, scrub them and clean the windows.

By the time all that was done, I was tired and dirty yet determined, by now, to get just one screen in one window because if anyone else wants street air, you can put in your own damn window screens.  Who died and made me screen queen?  Drama queen, for sure, but window screens?  I hope you can hear me.

Lacking a queen’s minions, I climbed onto the roof and, with rubber mallet in hand, slammed a window screen into place and secured it like nobody’s business.  Ted Nugent loaded up on five-hour energy drinks would have difficulty busting through that screen.  Mosquitoes and moths, no problem.  But the Nuge?  Definitely a challenge.  Already the house felt fresher.

Knowing that with screen in place I would have to climb off the roof, I positioned a ladder nearby.  I knew that the ladder was a little short but the bigger, safer ladder was way over in the shed and all I wanted was to be done.  So I kept the smaller ladder and figured that spouse could hold onto my ankle to help me down.

If he were here.

While dangling from a gutter is a less than ideal time to recall that spouse decided to “run to the hardware store,” hanging from a gutter contemplating why women marry at all, is worse.  And, my arms got really tired.

So here is why living in a small town is bad: because it is impossible to “run” anywhere.  No matter what the task, there is always someone eager to chat.  Even if you say that you are in a hurry and that your wife might be (literally) hanging from the roof, there is always a neighbor, friend of a neighbor or stranger who will ask: “well now, what’s she up there for?”

And here is why living in a small town is good: because after sitting up on the roof for 45 minutes, singing all The Drifters songs I know (one), watching a rain storm in the hollow, seeing a robin build a nest and noting that I need a pedicure (I am still a queen), a neighbor came over, popped the window screen out and helped me back in.

And she brought some lemonade.

Over the River and through the Wood

22 Feb

To grandmother’s house we go.  Why?  Because my husband and I think it’s important for our son to maintain a relationship with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  And it is.  It’s so vital, in fact, my husband says he will think all about it while the boy and I actually drive it- 500 miles in two days.  He’s a real trouper, that spouse.

In some ways it’s good that the spouse stayed home.  Like when I stress ate, for example.  With my family around, not only is stress eating a given, it is fully supported and encouraged via a cornucopia of day-old baked goods sitting on the counter waiting to sustain a person until dinner at 3:45PM.

So when I stress ate the cheese Danish, the apple pie and the sprinkles- no ice cream- just sprinkles, the last thing I needed was my husband “supporting” me with words like: “you don’t even eat candy on Halloween and now you’re in the corner scarfing down Skittles like they’re a bowl of flax seeds,” or “I’m certain that your folks have pictures of our kid somewhere in the house- did you check the closet?  That’s a pretty big closet, maybe they decided to decorate it.  With pictures.  Of our son.  Now let’s put those cream puffs away, shall we?”

His support can be so cloying, I just want a milkshake.

Also without the spouse, traveling was pleasant for most of the trip.  Almost the entire ride went well until late yesterday when, with 15 miles to go, the boy turned on me.  Tired, hungry, stiff and bored, he declared that: he was tired of being in the car, our entire iTunes playlist needed to be chucked, school was a waste of time, I was a mouth breather and he missed Dad.

Well, I missed the spouse too.  Not because I needed someone to turn down the music, defend my large adenoids, note which artists were inappropriate (Beastie Boys, Eminem) or tell me that I drive too fast, too slow, too crazily or too vengefully.  Nor because I missed having someone slam on a brake pedal that doesn’t exist, or claw at the air like the brother who lives in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.”

I missed the spouse because, in an attempt to make me feel better about my family, I know that he would say that the three pounds I gained (in two days) ended up in all the right places.  And I needed to hear it.  He’s a real trouper, that spouse.

Antibiotic Season

14 Feb

Because antibiotics come with a warning to avoid direct, prolonged exposure to sunlight, winter in upstate NY is definitely the best time for an infection.

Any kind of sunlight is so rare here in February that come March, when the faintest hint of green appears in our lives, when we are so desperate for kelly-tinted nourishment, we lose common sense and, in a moment of reckless abandon, double our order.

I am, of course, referring to the Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie.

Boxes ordered so cavalierly in January- as if bleak calories count less than regular calories- are stashed away and hoarded.  Some end up in the freezer for summer, others are intended as gifts while others are hidden for those days when Mommy wants a shot of whiskey in her coffee but it’s seven-thirty in the morning and she has to drive a certain someone to Middle School.  Of course, some cookies are simply eaten.

Or is it simple?  Once the Thin Mints make it into the house, what surely follows are the marital spats over the true definition of a serving size, the discussion that, no, Keebler grasshopper cookies are not the same as the Thin Mint and if they are, in fact, that much alike, why don’t you eat the damn grasshopper cookies and leave me the Thin Mints?  And no March would be complete without “The Wasting of the Thin Mints by Crumbling Them over Ice Cream” monologue- you either want ice cream or a cookie (or seven), not both.  The world is made up of two kinds of people- be a decider.

The lack of prolonged sunshine combined with the consumption of Thin Mints followed by swimsuit guilt is enough to make a person sick.

Which is why I needed antibiotics in the first place.

I hate Girl Scouts.

Actual length of our discussion: 59 minutes

11 Nov

When we recently set the clocks to standard time, my husband accused me of being “An Hour Squanderer” because I took a perfectly good hour- an hour that we could have spent planting garlic, stacking wood or making the love (Sure.  I would have gone for making the love but I stopped listening before he got to “garlic”) and, instead, wasted it by:

sleeping: 36 minutes

talking on the phone: 12 minutes

reading a WSJ article about the new Tom Waits CD (an even more insulting waste of time because “Tom Waits hasn’t been interesting in 20 years”): 10 minutes

enjoying a Reese’s peanut butter cup: 1 minute


feeling bad about it (it was early.  In my defense, it felt like 9:30AM): 1 minute.

It’s all that Halloween candy lying around.  After it sits on the counter for a while, it begins to take on the role of fruit bowl and one feels virtuous in selecting a piece (or seven).

I counter spouse’s assertion and contend that I am a “Time Warrior” due to my ability to recognize time wasters and circumvent them.

Like just there- in the previous paragraph.  I could have used way more words to describe how having a 13-year-old who dawdles then hurries when getting ready for school in the morning ultimately takes longer which is why I must yell a full 5 minutes before we have to leave (for a full 5 minutes), or how being married to a guy who insists on arriving early for everything- not just concerts- but flights, dentist appointments and surgery too, ends up wasting time because we inevitably sit in some nondescript holding tank where I am forced to sigh and mutter- a lot.  And fidget.  Captain Punctual’s rigidity often results in my having to fidget as if I will never, ever be comfortable again all because I could have been home pairing socks instead of sitting here.  (Mind you, I don’t pair socks.  We go by thickness in our house.  But still.)

So I saved 157 words (see above) and said what needed to be said and I was succinct: “this sucks.”  Two words.  A time saver.  Brought to you by “The Time Warrior.”

P.S.: You’re welcome.

Why having a blog is like having an affair

7 Nov


I wonder if anyone can love my blog as much as I do.  Answer, no.

I have gained weight by taking my laptop to quiet, out-of-the-way, restaurants.

I brush the Entenmann’s crumbs off my pajamas before blogging.

I lie to my spouse (“I’m paying bills,” “I’m writing a complaint letter to the USPS,” “I’m googling an image of the dog’s rash.”  I think I panicked on that last one- we don’t have a dog) so that he won’t know how often I blog.

I think about future posts while I am “with” my husband.  So far he hasn’t noticed; is that good?

It will end with one of us moving to Italy where she will live poor, but happily, and incredibly well fed.  If I had to guess, I’d say it will be me- a blog has no appreciation for rustic bread and fantastic wine.



30 Oct

October 30, 2011: I have begun wearing socks regularly.  While that may seem hardly worth mentioning, I assure you that the donning of socks is huge.  Going barefoot is how I defy winter.  Going barefoot is my feet saying “hell no” to dampness and cold and a mild case of frostbite- just one and it involved Teva sandals, Jack Daniels and poor judgement.

I have also readied the house for winter ice cream consumption: Redi-Whip whipped cream, sprinkles, maraschino cherries and stretchy pants.

During the months of December, January and February, I eat more ice cream than my entire family does in June, July and August; eating ice cream in the dead of winter is my gustatory machismo saying “hell yeah” to my stomach.

To me, having a hot fudge sundae when it’s really cold out says: “I’m one badass, winter-loving mother.”  (With lots of body fat.)  That, and “I’m too scared to get a tattoo.”

To my husband, eating ice cream when it’s cold out says that I am emotionally eating (again) and that the approaching holidays are fraught with way too much extended family time and expenses and that, maybe, he should not listen when, come December, I will tell him that the only things I want for Christmas are some high quality chocolate-sea salt-caramels.

Instead, his brain will lead him to think that if he gets the caramels, he will inevitably face a Spring filled with radical dieting and “I can’t wear a bathing suit” lamentations and so, he will consider that what I truly need this Christmas are some high quality chocolate-colored wool socks.  He should not think.

Men can be so practical.  (Really?)  And wool socks are certainly great.  But my husband knows.

He knows that no matter how frequently I wore the socks, or how lavishly I praised the chill-repelling qualities of the socks, he knows that from the moment he gave me the socks on, I would, on occasion, contemplate using the socks to suffocate him while he slept because he failed to get the chocolate-sea salt-caramels.

He knows that given the right circumstances- full moon, hormonal imbalance, because it’s Tuesday (or Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday, etc.), he knows that I would kill him and then motor into town for a scoop or two.

And so I am expecting some fabulous candy this holiday season.

October 30, 2011: it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Missed Manners

12 Oct

I am officially lactose-intolerant intolerant.

If you can’t eat dairy, let me assure you that as a frequent hot fudge sundae consumer, I sympathize.  However, just because dairy messes up your insides, you need not answer the question “would you like cream with your tea?” with “I’m lactose intolerant.”

By now we all know what lactose intolerance means and we are well aware of the many ways it can manifest.  When you say you are “LI,” you have now introduced an array of sights, sounds and smells that have no place at high tea.  Two words best left private.

Essentially, you are somewhat allergic.  Say that if you must.  Drop an “I’m vegan” if you want to appear righteous.

For an even simpler reply that leaves your inner workings out of the exchange, try “no thank you.”

When my mom offers me fruit, for example, I don’t answer that I’m “pesticide intolerant,” likewise using her bathroom (“single-ply intolerant”) or when borrowing wrapping paper (“dollar store intolerant.”)  I simply say “no thank you” or, in the words of my thirteen year old, “I’m good.”

As the mother of a thirteen year old, I assume that when he says “I’m good,” what remains unsaid is: “Oh!  Thank you.  Dearest Mother.  Giver of Life.  I know that my meager words will never adequately express how truly thankful I am.”  But we moms assume a lot.  In reality, he’s probably thinking: “I hate apples, why can’t we ever get soft toilet paper and wrapping paper kills trees.  Way to go, Mom.”

And I’m okay with that.  We learn from the children; committing a lie of omission is a skill that we often lose as we age.  Like when I ask my spouse if I look chunky and he forgets to omit.  The ideal answer here is: “you’re good.”  Two words that work.

There are many things that none of us should tolerate: racism, pollution, greed, ignorance, bad grammar, Dancing with the Stars, corruption- the list is endless.

All I’m asking is for ice cream and pizza to be left alone.

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