Tag Archives: marriage

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.

Dear Spouse: before you met me I was a philosophy major.

5 Jun

blog image rem

A lawnmower that runs for only 10 minutes (or until it catches fire) is actually the universe’s way of  encouraging you to: take small moments for yourself (and spend them with gaskets and sprockets and wrenches and such); to let go of the desire to “fix this once and for all” while knowing that there can be only one once and no other once but sometimes you might have a “one night only, manager’s special” kind of thing, and, also, to enjoy the spectacle that is life’s rich pageant.

That and I spent all the money we saved for a new lawnmower on downloads like R.E.M.’s 1986 album titled “Lifes Rich Pageant,” and some disco-era stuff by the Stones.

(Don’t be mad.)

“MACBETH” Act 4, Scene 3, Line 141*

8 May

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(* “Tis hard to reconcile.”)

Spouse said the  funniest sentence.  Or, rather, half sentence.  More like a fragment, really.

He began with: “when you reconciled the checking account…” and that’s all I heard.  I don’t know what he said next or what point he was trying to make because I stopped listening to him and started listening to my own brain as it began asking questions too.  Questions like: “reconcile?  Who uses a word like reconcile and what does “to reconcile” truly mean?  And what, if at all, does “reconciling” have to do with my accounting?  And why does Spouse keep staring at me like I, in my grip, doth the key to Heaven clutch?”

Note that I distinguish between “my accounting” and “my accounting thereof” because “my accounting thereof” is a phrase that I often use when answering Spouse’s more specific questions like: “what did you do with the money I already gave you?”  Answer: “you mean those few dollars that I took from your wallet?  A, you gave me nothing- I took those dollars and B, we are done talking about money, your wallet and my accounting thereof.”

Conversely, “my accounting” is how I would answer a different question like if Alex Trebek were to say “this person totally knows for whom the caged bird sings,” I would buzz in with: “is it Maya Counting?”

(I doubt that Alex Trebek would ever use the word “totally” but you can’t be sure.  Mr. Trebek has done some wild stuff including chasing down hotel room burglars in the nude.  For the record, Alex Trebek was naked.  I’m sure the crook was, at least, wearing a mask.)  Notice how I put my answer in the form of a question, though.

As for my personal accounting method, well, that’s what the ATM is for.  You go there and ask it for money.  If it says no, you keep working down until you hit a number upon which you both agree.  If it tells you to come inside, leave.

As for Quicken?  Until I met Spouse, I was pretty sure that Quicken was one of Santa’s reindeer.  Speaking of Santa (thereof), only 220 shopping days until my birthday.  (But really aren’t they all shopping days?)

And as for reconciling and such?

I keep telling Spouse that in order for a reconciliation to happen, a break up must first occur.

And that I can do.  

That Spouse.  He sure is funny.

We’re Back! (PS: there is no “we.”)

3 Sep

blog image jim gaffigan

Following our busiest summer EVER (what with the book tour to Paris and all- more about that later), FA&S is pleased to announce that we’re BACK!  With even more of the sarcasm you’ve come to expect (and love).  Mostly love.

Here’s a quick run-down of what to look forward to this fall.  (Note: due to time constraints such as feeding The Boy, conversing with Spouse, disagreeing with Spouse and ultimately no longer talking to Spouse, FA&S is simply TOO BUSY FOR FULL WORDS AND SENTENCES just now.)  And yet, somehow, we have plenty of time to type in ALL CAPS.  Go figure.  Until then…F.U.

“You leave me little notes on my pillow. I told you a hundred-and-sixty-eight times I can’t .. stand .. little notes on my pillow! ‘We are all out of Corn Flakes.” -F.U.  It took me three hours to figure out that ‘F.U.’ was Felix Unger!” ~ Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.”

See, we don’t always abbreviate, only sumtmz.  (PS: there is no “we.”)

FYI, here’s how our summer went (also, there is no “our”):

ALB to CDG.

UTI– best place to get a UTI?  Paris, France.  30 minutes and $3 later, antibiotic drugs delivered to my apartment;  I felt like Jim Morrison without the bloat.  Ego, yes.  Bloat?  Non.

POS– as rust eats away at the tailgate of my little red car, we head south on the

GSP to

NYC

and

LBI while listening to

NPR and, of course, the sounds of The Boy whining and Spouse yelling while stepping on an imaginary brake pedal that doesn’t exist.  Why anyone would need to brake while driving on a highway is beyond me.  With so many lanes to choose from, just glide over to one that you like better.

IRS– just when I thought summer vacation was paid for, a FY2012 adjustment shows up.  (Ended up at DQ for Blizzard Therapy.)

KGB– killer ground bees.  I didn’t die but my arm swelled up like Kathleen Turner’s head on steroids.  Not a good look for her, a horrible feeling for ME.

M.E.– because that’s who was attacked by the bees and that’s who is entitled to high drama (and eggplant parm) until the swelling goes down.

W-E-D- as in “til death do us part.”  As in, the average life span of a pioneer was 40 years.  “Death” was lurking around every corner in the 1700’s.  From bad squirrel meat to well, good squirrel meat, “death” was a just part of your first marriage.  Well anyone can honor a commitment like that.  (Side note: “W-E-D” begins with a “W” and contains three letters.  As does “WHY?”  Just an observation.  You’re welcome.)

WTF– which, until recently, I thought meant “with the fries.”  I now understand why friends would often text “?” to my answers.  Like when Harry texted: “ordered burger medium-rare and it’s burnt, wtf?”  And I replied: “enjoy the f- especially steaming hot with a little vinegar and cracked pepper.”  Or when Lucy wrote:  “wtf!  At Costco and they sold out of toilet paper!”  To which I replied: “I hope they’re warm.”

Oh, and about that book tour of Paris.  Well, in June, I did visit the City of Lights where I was, again, treated to the sounds of The Boy whining and Spouse yelling (plus bread, wine and cheese.  And wine.)  Also, I read a book on the flight over.  Hence the book/tour.

The book was Jim Gaffigan’s “Dad is Fat” but I think it still counts.  Also, I figure that the only way I will ever have a book/tour of my own is by linking words like “book” and “tour” and “me” into sentences and then releasing that energy into the universe.

And I’m pretty sure that I have the “ME” part down.

Plus, I’m certain that Mr. Gaffigan appreciates the plug.

Until L8R.

Rubber Stamps (Volume One)

13 Jun

blog image super pinky

Marriage is work.

Sometimes you just need a break from the daily participation of being married yet still want to be present in your relationship while, simultaneously, you have grown weary of hearing yourself repeat the same things.

For those times, I present a collection of rubber stamps designed specifically to improve communication by saving both time and oxygen.  Available on Etsy (Holiday 2013) and includes the following:

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re right.”

“I was hungry when I said that.”

“It’s only _______.”  (Fill in with relevant word(s) such as: money, a new roof, a minor dent, the weather, what I’ve been yelling about for the past three weeks, etc.)

“I was thirsty when I said that.”

“NO, I don’t want to go to the ________ concert.”  (I’m thinking Esperanza Spalding at Tanglewood but feel free to insert your own.  You can ask me over and over, every day from now until Sunday, August 4, and I’m still going to say no.  Hence the rubber stamp.)

“Are you kidding me?”

“I love ________.”  (Sure, you can go for the obvious, but who doesn’t appreciate a quirky fill-in-the-blank?  Examples include: wooden roller coasters, high heels, oatmeal, knishes, a belly laugh, Pinky balls and Mark Rothko’s No.  61.)

“Quirky is overrated.”  (Case in point: Zooey Deschanel.)

and

“I was tired when I said that too.”

(Available Mother’s Day 2014: the “I Hate You Too” Collection and the “My Purse Is Like My Vagina: Stay Out And There’s No Money In It Anyway” Series.)

An old-timer walks into the grocery store…

29 May

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…and, upon seeing you, wags her finger.

This can’t be good.  (Old timers in these parts are known for being forthright.  And loud.  It’s like they yell about everything– even a NICE DAY loses some of its JOY when you’re being yelled at about how lovely the LILACS smell.)

So, imagine Spouse’s surprise when, instead of hearing how the Boy is overdue for a haircut or that the country is being handed over to the Socialists, the old-timer merely shakes her finger and tells him that his gardens “look beautiful.”  (Side note: while both thoughts are somewhat true, I hardly call tweaking immigration policy so that young children can receive an education “handing over” the Constitution.  Plus the Boy looks nice when he is shaggy.  Also, the minute I tell him that he needs a haircut, he’ll decide to grow his hair in protest of the lack of expansive immigration reform.  Just watch.)

Anyway, at least she didn’t yell about the gardens.

Now back to me.  Because while I may have been away for a week or two, the world has not stopped revolving.  Even I know that.  However, if the world is still revolving, make no mistake: it’s revolving around me.  (And Bono.)

Don’t you think that in deference to all my hard work on my hands and knees with icy, numb fingers and achy, cold knees, don’t you think that Spouse was obliged to respond with something like: “Oh, yeah, my wife does all of that.   She plants tons of bulbs in the fall as I sit and watch slow-moving, plotless indie movies (“Wendy and Lucy”) while eating chips and other salty snacks right off my belly.  She’ll spend hours scouring bulb catalogs and plotting color schemes, studying the paintings of Renoir and Rothko to find a certain shade of poppy red or flax blue as I stretch out in front of the wood stove and nap (also on my belly).  She’s an awesome little thing, isn’t she?  She looks so fine and grows flowers- I truly don’t deserve her.”

Don’t you think he should have said something like that?  And LOUDLY.

No.

He said “thanks” and then brought home a bunch of items that weren’t even on the list.

Oh, I had some finger wagging of my own to do.

And, as an old-timer in training, I may have yelled.

You Dirty Rat

28 Mar

blog image ratatouille

To:  Spouse

From:  Management

Subject:  Dried Fruit Policy

When you spill dried blueberries on the floor and then, say, answer a ringing phone, or gaze out the window, what happens is this: your attention gets diverted from the dried blueberries on the floor long enough so that when you resume whatever it was you were doing before you spilled the dried blueberries on the floor, the blueberries have become a distant memory of “having at one time spilled” or “a nagging, unformed thought” that remain, in reality, dried blueberries scattered all over the floor, everywhere.

Now, those of you who have seen dried blueberries spilled on a floor are probably already aware of how dried blueberries on a floor look like rat turds in a corner.

Which is how, while searching the pantry for a Tagalong (or three), I came to screaming my head off amidst a mountain of scat. 

Convinced that we had Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (minus the cuteness and cooking skills) running rampant throughout the house, I yelled and yelled until I became weary.  Then I had two thoughts:

a movie about a gourmet restaurant with an animated rat running the kitchen- how did that even get made?

And secondly-

“I bet The Boy is eating in his room.  All those nights when he put spoons under his pillow because the teachers at school said that that’s how you get a snow day- he was probably eating yogurt with those spoons.”

Blueberry yogurt.”

“Blueberry Greek yogurt.”  (I’m not sure why I added the Greek part but it sounds ominous.)

“What if the house is now crawling with rats and we have to move and our house is condemned and we end up in the gutter?

Where there are even more rats.  Plus squirrels and rusty cans and things!

What then?  How could this happen?”

I screamed for as long as I could and as loud as I could.  (Answer: pretty long and very loud.)

I hollered right up until Spouse said “and so I guess I just forgot.”

Then it got quiet.  Eerily quiet.

So quiet and so still.

And I was so tired and so drained.

We had no choice but to go out for dinner.

We may even have to go out for dinner again tomorrow.

Effective immediately, new dried fruit policy: you spill it, you clean it and I pick the restaurant.

cc: Boy.

Spelling Kounts

6 Dec

blog image typewriter

The Boy, like Jesus, was born in December.  (And while this Boy’s mother admits to being present for the conception, that doesn’t mean she liked it.)

As I have written many times here at FA&S, a marriage is a team.  It takes a small village- one to do stuff and another to tell the doer how he did things wrong.  And how he spent too much money doing it.

Where I am weak, Spouse is strong.  (Mostly I get the vapors when it’s time to take out the garbage but I have also had moments of being too feeble to go pick up the Chinese food.)  And where he is weak, I am mighty and not shy about letting everyone know it.  Like right now, for example.

Which brings me to the heart of this week’s FA&S: Spouse cannot spell.  He is an outstanding non-verbal communicator (sigh) and a fabulous lecturer (today’s topic: “Why would anyone use an awl to open a paint can?  Of course you’re going to get hurt.”)  Also he is very good at bandaging things.

But spelling?  I am Deputy Mayor of Spelling in our marital village.  (And Chief Clerk of Capital Letters).

Back to Jesus.  I seriously doubt that Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave birth and then spell-checked Jesus’ name because Joseph was going off to process all the paperwork.

And I bet that Joseph never asked Mary how to spell “spoon.”  He’s not that kind of guy.  He’d rather sound it out and attempt to woo his woman by inviting her on a cruise this Joon while hoping that a midnight chocolate buffet makes up for any literary deficiencies he may have.

And Mary, saint that she is, would let it slide.

But what if the village messed up?  Suppose the village idiots were in charge that day?  Who’s to say that Moses was not supposed to be called “Mesos?”  It could have happened, prove me wrong.

What I’m saying, Boy, is this: a birth certificate is a piece of paper- one of thousands of pieces of paper that you will lock in a fire-proof box and schlep from one apartment to the next as you go about your life pausing occasionally to wonder how the person in the passport picture was so skinny then and why that person never took her bad self to a foreign land to meet an exotic, swarthy man capable of spelling both “exotic” and “swarthy?”  A man who can stop a misspelled word before it becomes a bureaucratic nightmare?

A piece of paper doesn’t make who you are.  But a typo, that’s with you for life.  (Don’t look at me- I was very tired what with the giving birth and all.)

So Happy Birthday, 7lb. 4oz. BABY B-Y-O.

You’ll always be Boy to me.

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.

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

and,

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.

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