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  • Archive of "husband" Category

    His name is Steve

    August 10, 2009 // 3 Comments »

    Posted in compromise, home life, husband, marriage

    After about a month in the house, I began to realize that Brian did not kill the water bug. The giant, menacing water bug that was lurking in my house. And the giant menacing water bug start to become a little more brazen, running into the bathroom when I was brushing my teeth or coming into the office while I was reading. The water bug was starting to get comfortable.

    I was not having any of it but I would not kill the bug myself. Bugs freak me out.

    So I finally snapped one night as I was going up the stairs and the water bug ran past the top of the stairs. I started screaming my head and B came running as if I was seconds away from dying. Which I was contemplating. It would either be a heart attack or a murder-suicide (in which the bug killed me and then turned his evil methods on himself).

    “Brian, the bug is still here. Why is the bug still here? I am freaking out.”

    And my dear, sweet, kind husband replies: “Well. He’s just minding his own business. He runs around in the hallway and doesn’t go in the rooms. And he doesn’t really cause any trouble. He’s kinda like our pet.”

    “Our pet?”

    “Yeah. I was thinking we could name him Steve.”

    “Um, Steve is a big, nasty bug. Steve is dirty. Are you emotionally attached to Steve?”

    “No, but I just really don’t want to kill him.”

    “I knew it! You’re emotionally attached to Steve. A big, nasty, dirty bug named Steve who is tormenting, tormenting!, your poor wife who just wants to walk down the hallway without wearing shoes. You know I keep shoes by the bed so I don’t step on ‘Steve’ in my bare feet?”

    “No…”

    “And now, you’re emotionally attached to Steve. You won’t kill Steve for me! You’ll never kill Steve! Our babies won’t ever learn to walk because we won’t be able to put them on the floor because Steve might eat our babies and we won’t want to kill Steve! And what about the cats? We won’t be able to get kitty friends because they might eat Steve and we’d have to save Steve from the kitty friends!”

    “Fine. I’ll kill Steve.”

    “Don’t kill Steve for me. Although I guess we’ll have to tell your sister that we can’t watch the baby anymore because Steve, a big, nasty bug is more important than the baby.”

    “I’ll go kill Steve. Because you’re right. Steve is a big, nasty bug who doesn’t belong in our house.”

    “I hope Steve isn’t a Stephanie.”

    In the end, it took about half a can of Raid to kill Steve while I screamed my head off as he tried to escape my husband, the terminator (cue music). He fought hard against it but ultimately he lost his battle and his giant, nasty bug corpse found its way into the kitchen trash. Which I made Brian take out on trash day in case I was attacked by a mutant zombie Steve.

    At night I dream about term papers

    May 14, 2009 // 4 Comments »

    Posted in choices, education, husband, marriage

    So I’ve been thinking about relationships and education lately.

    I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration focusing in Entrepreneurial Studies. I fantasize about graduate school. I take Continuing Education Credits at the local community college whenever money permits so I can continue to expand my skill set. I read at least three books a week.

    And then there is Brian. Brian was home schooled (he graduated from “Morgan Academy”). He put in a few years at a local community college but didn’t complete his Associate’s Degree. When the opportunity arose for him to learn a trade, he grabbed a hold of the opportunity. He is now a skilled finish carpenter. In the almost two years that we have been married, I have seen him read one book (“The Shy Little Puppy” which our 6 month old niece loved, FYI).

    The gap between our levels of education will continue to grow over time. Brian doesn’t dream about school. (He also doesn’t dream about his marketable job skills but I do). We both know that on our mutual wish lists for the future, more education for me is high on the list.

    We aren’t the only couple we know in this situation. We spend a lot of time with couples that have a college educated wife and a high school educated husband. Most of the husbands work in skilled trades, but not all of them do. Most of the husbands have also started a college degree but opted not to finish it.

    I wonder what this will mean for us in the future.

    Do you and your partner have the same level of education? Who has more? How has that impacted your relationship? Do either of you want to go back to school?

    Honey do? Honey Don’t.

    February 16, 2009 // No Comments »

    Posted in challenges, home life, husband, money

    In my head, I know “Honey Do” lists are one of the worst things ever.

    Partially because no one tells you to create “Honey Do” lists when they give you unsolicited marriage advice during an engagement and early days of marriage. People told me to not let myself go or to never go to bed angry or always tell each other our story of us. No one ever said “create a laundry list of tasks you’d like your spouse to complete and pass it along whenever possible”.

    The other reason I know that my “Honey Do” lists are horrible is because whenever I attempt to give one to Brian the response is usually something along the lines of “I refuse to submit to your unreasonable list of demands”. And while I did not think my lists were unreasonable, I have to respect Brian’s desire to not receive those lists.

    Lately, I’ve been sending him renovation lists which are remarkably similar to Honey Do’s but usually include items such as “build and install custom kitchen cabinets”, “obtain 4 quotes from heating and oil specialists” or “remove wall that is visually displeasing to my eyes”. Since he is a contractor, none of these requests are particularly unreasonable but would probably be entertaining to outsiders if the list fell out of his pocket.

    But with work slowing down (okay, screeching to a bitter and painful stop) in the construction industry, I’ve started sending Honey Do lists to him again. Because on the days he is a stay at home husband, I can’t come home and do everything. That’s not to say that he doesn’t do things around the house to begin with but it just really sucks to come home and have to cook dinner when someone else was home from work for the day.

    The recession is redefining our gender roles within our marriage. Which is entertaining because we previously believed that our gender roles were much more fluid than they actually were. And that was a surprise.

    We also didn’t expect that I would be the primary source of income. Or rather the steady source of income. When work is available, my husband makes considerably more money than I do. I’ve got to admit, it was a terrible blow to my ego when we first were married and I was very angry about. Now the roles have been reversed and I still don’t like it.

    So I cope by making lists. Lists about laundry and lists about cleaning and lists about how someone other than me should be spending his time. I hope that wall is out when I get home.

    A Very Romantic Rising Up Valentine’s Day

    February 13, 2009 // 3 Comments »

    Posted in husband, love, marriage, relationships, sex

    Our first Valentine’s Day as a couple was rough. In fact, it was so bad it made me wonder if Brian and I should even get married. I was drunk, there was a card with a picture of a dead rat (that I suspect Brian went out to buy while I was drunk) and then there was crying. We never had the intent of making a big deal out of the day but then it somehow was a big deal.

    We were inadvertently trying to keep up with the Jones’.

    Except Mr. and Mrs. Jones had crazy money and went out for a romantic dinner with flowers and chocolates and jewelry and more presents and we were just two drunk twenty somethings with a card that had a picture of a dead rat.

    The Jones’ may have won that night.

    But it changed the way we thought about romance and now those pesky Jones’ don’t have anything on us.

    Romance is baking cookies together on a Tuesday night (try our chocolate peanut butter chip macadamia nut cookies… they are amazing). It really doesn’t matter what we make though. It is the time together that really matters and playing in the kitchen is a fun way to enjoy each other’s company with the TV off.

    Romance is going to the community ice skating rink on a Friday night for the open skate. Sure the place might be filled with obnoxious teenagers and might resemble a roller-skating rink during the 80’s. Its fun to remember doing those things when we were younger and now enjoy new things together as adults. Plus we get to split a soda at the Penalty Box (the refreshment stand) and giggle as the teenagers point and laugh.

    Romance is pouring over paint colors while we plot and plan what our home is going to look like. We plan ridiculous color schemes and watch as the other one squirms. We make suggests that we think the other will love even though it may be something we hate. We get to envision our future together and share our ideas.

    If you are starting to notice a theme, romance has nothing to do with gifts or expensive dinners or showy displays of affection. Romance has everything to do with experiences together. Those experiences don’t have to be expensive but there’s nothing wrong with it if they are (but if the only good experiences you have are expensive experiences, you have some other issues we should probably be talking about instead).

    Without the day to day experience romance, the gifts are meaningless.

    Last year, Brian bought a beautiful jewelry chest for me and after our first Valentine’s Day together, I was shocked to receive it. It wasn’t opening the present that made the gift romantic – it was filling the box with treasures together. Remembering the ring he gave me on our honeymoon. Smiling about the diamond earrings my grandmother gave. Carefully tucking away his stainless steel ring I wore as an engagement ring until we found the right engagement ring. Without the memories together, it would have been just a box with stuff in it.

    This year we aren’t doing anything special for Valentine’s Day. There will be no fancy dinners out. There will be no tickets for the theatre. There will not be any lavish gifts.

    There will only be a man and a woman who love each other with a pure heart. There will only be me and my true love. After all, he is stuck with me.

    We are the lucky ones

    February 12, 2009 // 1 Comment »

    Posted in challenges, changes, family life, husband, money, work life

    I usually don’t like to blog about the recession – it seems pointless to me. My husband and I aren’t really that special as far as an economic example. We both have jobs, we have no kids, I have student loans, and we just bought a house. Sure there are differences between our situation and our friends’ situations but in most cases the similarities are greater than the differences.

    And besides, usually the recession doesn’t hit too close to home.

    Brian and I are the lucky ones. I work in pharmaceuticals and while there have been some layoffs in the industry, I don’t need to worry about it too much. Brian has much less job security than I do though. Why? He is a finish carpenter. He doesn’t work unless you want to build or remodel.

    We’ve been lucky though. Most days there is work for him. Most of the time, he can bring home a full paycheck. And on the days there is no work available for him, we try to remember that we’ve been given the blessing of an extra day to work on our home.

    We’ve heard the horror stories. We had a friend who kept showing up at job sites and asking if there was any work available. He had great carpentry skills but was usually find work as a punch out guy or a paint and spackle bitch. We know another guy who took a huge pay cut just to stay with the home builder he had worked for. It helped him survive the layoff but it certainly didn’t help him pay child support.

    The faces at the job sites are changing. Everyone is just trying to get by and many of the builders are just trying to keep their doors open. Supervisors are doing the work usually reserved for day laborers.

    This past week, there were three horrible days when there was no work for Brian. The first day wasn’t so bad. The second day was concerning and annoying. The third day had my stomach in a knot: how were we going to pay the mortgage? What cuts can we make to our budget? Is the peanut butter I purchase for his lunch every day too expensive?

    I also knew I was being ridiculous.

    By Friday morning, I was a wreck. Was this a sign of things to come? Would I become the primary breadwinner in our family? Had the recession finally hit our home?

    Fortunately there was work for Brian. And my sanity quickly returned as I heard the news. I could have danced around the office in joy. Once again, we were blessed.

    When times are good, it can be so easy for this carpenter’s wife to forget what the bad looks like. When people are buying new homes or remodeling their old homes, my husband makes considerably more money than I do. He makes a family’s life better by changing the space they live in, transforming it into something truly beautiful.

    But when the economic climate changes, our lifestyle changes very quickly. Even when we are the lucky ones.

    This past week was a reminder, while we don’t have to make any major changes to the way we live right now, this is the time to start cutting back a bit. Do we really need to spend this much money on a gift? Why do I think I need new clothes? How can I save money at the grocery store? Why do we have so many online game accounts anyway?

    So far, the biggest changes we have had to make involve changing our remodeling schedule for the house. While we had hoped to put in new windows this spring (the current windows are ancient), we’ll have to wait until 2010. After all, there are 20 windows that need replacing. That could easily cost us four thousand dollars to do the job properly. We’re going to wait a little longer to build our master bedroom suite but that’s okay. Keeping a roof over our heads is far more important.

    We’ve also had to rethink about how we want to vacation. While we had been hoping that 2009 would be a big vacation year, we just can’t spend money that way right now. And if at the last minute, there was work available for Brian, we would have to take advantage of the available work. We’ll probably go camping this year (while I have separation anxiety from my laptop until it fully sinks in that I’ll be able to catch up on my reading list).

    Navigating a recession and keeping your sanity means you need to stay focused on what you have and what you can do. I have a husband who loves me. I have a roof over my head. I have a good life. I can feel grateful for what I have. I can make wise choices with the things entrusted to my care. I can keep my eyes on what is coming over the horizon.

    Change is always coming. What “this too shall pass” really means is cherish it while you have it. Even if it is unpleasant.

    Cheering for the home team

    November 3, 2008 // No Comments »

    Posted in husband, reflecting on self

    I know nothing about football but for some reason, there is this very special place in my heart for high school football. Maybe it was one too many night in the stadium during my own high school days while my friends marched with the band or maybe there something about seeing all of the families in the stands. I can’t help myself. Friday nights in a stadium, hearing the drum cadence and seeing the kids on the field makes me excited.

    Brian has no concept of this. One of the downfalls to homeschooling is that it leaves kids with virtually no typical rites of passage. No prom. No graduation. No football games. Just home and school which happen to take place in the same place.

    Brian and I went to the big game on Friday night. My own Neshaminy Redskins versus the Pennsbury Falcons on Heartbreak Ridge. The two rivals on Senior Appreciation Night. It doesn’t get any more classic high school than this. It was a perfect game to take Brian to see.

    It was nothing that I remembered. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

    Sure the stadium was the same. Those giant concrete stands couldn’t change if they wanted to. The snack stand was in the same location. The Neshaminy Hall of Fame Wall was right where I saw it last. The marching band sat in the same portion of the stands as they did when I was a student.

    Everything was physically exactly the same but the experience I wanted to recreate for Brian just couldn’t be done. I left that experience behind in 2000.

    Because when we leave the past, we leave the past. We don’t just carry it with us to re-experience when it is convenient. It is why life is so precious.

    I can’t bring Brian back in time to experience things differently, even if I think he will enjoy the experience I had.

    I can take Brian to see my childhood home but I cannot recreate the experience of sitting in the family room, folding paper stars with my grandfather while my grandmother made dinner. I am the only one who had that experience and the time for that is over.

    Our experiences are our own. They are not transferable. It’s a onetime deal.

    The upside? I can have new experiences with my husband. And because I’m with my husband, those experiences are something that I could not have on my own.

    Neshaminy won the game on Friday. And in terms of a “new” experience (ie: Brian at a high school football game), it was fun but I think next time, I’ll leave my high school memories at home.

    Brian, Dorie and Stress

    October 29, 2008 // 9 Comments »

    Posted in family life, husband, marriage, reflecting on self, relationships

    I used to forget that men and women deal with stress differently. But I also think that most of us forget we deal with stress differently until we watch someone be beaten over the head violently with their own stress. Then we remember. And then we go back to the blissful state of ignorance when the poor victim of stress walks away. Life is great.

    This stops working once two people decide to walk down the aisle. Then, all bets are off. I’m not trying to scare the single friends out there but it’s true.

    Then you get the pleasure of living with your mate’s stress and their way of addressing their stress.

    Like many women, when stress hits I give myself a pep talk and pull myself up by my bootstraps. Your house collapsed and you have nowhere to go? Great, I’ll organize a community meal schedule and prep the house for you to stay with me for a month. I’m five minutes away. Oh you need a baby sitter with ten minutes notice? Great, by the time you pick up your family, the kids will be fed, homework will be done and my house will still be immaculate. Money is tight, we got a surprise bill and you don’t know how we’re going to manage it? That’s fine, I moonlight as a miracle worker, and I’ll make it happen.

    It sounds ridiculous but this is how I process everything in my head.

    Brian’s approach to dealing with stress is much different. He shuts down. He ceases to function. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. He’s okay with stress to a point, and then he is not. He just stops.

    I go into “Super Bitch” mode when I get to that level of stress. At that point, I’m going to get my shit done and you will not get in my way. Brian is very kind when he calls me “Cranky Face”. A little too kind perhaps. Kind to the point of lying to me.

    We both get a little annoyed with the other for our respective coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms that worked best when we were single are not necessarily the best coping mechanisms in terms of a marriage.

    I talked to my friend Carmella about this. Carmella is a marriage counselor and a newlywed herself. She is also my frequent voice of reason. When I cross over into crazy land with my expectations of other people, she is the one who can say I’m being unreasonable and I know that statement from her does not come from a defensive place. It comes from the voice of someone who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology.

    Carmella, of course, tells me that this is normal and most couples find themselves with similar responses. Which I find hard to believe at first. Because how did we as humans manage to populate the planet if the men-folk were shutting down every time stress happened? “Uh-oh Honey, some prehistoric beast is attacking our cave! No wait; don’t hide in the corner, save our offspring!”

    But while I am still contemplating the evolutionary implications of our stress reactions, Carmella tells me that the dinners I make are excessive. And she’s right. Because dinner is a massive undertaking in our house. It takes me at least an hour to make dinner every night. Maybe I’m going overboard but I want my husband to have one really good meal every day.

    The night after I talk to Carmella, Brian looks at me and says “you get home every night and it’s late. And then you make dinner and it’s late. And then you clean up dinner and it’s late. And then we watch TV but you fall asleep.”

    I deal with stress by trying to make a perfect meal and Brian deals with stress by wanting to watch television with a wife who is awake.

    We continue the dance of figuring out what it means to be in a marriage with each other.

    Happy Anniversary: One year down, the rest of our lives to go.

    June 16, 2008 // 2 Comments »

    Posted in husband, love, marriage

    Today is my first wedding anniversary.  Somehow, Brian and I have survived our first year of marriage with no visible scarring and still like each other.  The still liking each other part is important.  Sometimes I remind him that I promised to always love him but I made no such promises about always liking him.

     

    Comments like that are usually met with some response regarding him always liking me.  I don’t think that is true.  I have a tendency to do really stupid things.  Fortunately, he is much more mellow than I am and much more forgiving.

     

    Between the two of us, we make one very balanced and reasonable person.

     

    Brian and I never dated before we decided to get married (well, we had one date and then the next day, his mother died).  We also only knew each other for about three months before we announced our engagement.  And for two of those months, I tried to think of Brian as “Kelly’s little brother” and refused to learn his name.

     

    I have always been a firm believer that when you know, you know.  It’s that simple.  If you don’t know at the end of three months if you want to marry the other person or not, you’ll never want to marry that person.  You could convince yourself to marry that person but it isn’t really your desire. 

     

    Dating is highly over rated.  And it isn’t very effective either.  Dinner and a movie can only tell you so much about a person.  And most of us try to put on a good face for dating – you hide how crazy your family really is and you pretend that you normally shave your legs everyday.  Eventually, the façade has to come down and you have to decide if you really like or even love the person lurking behind the façade or if it was all just a waste of your time.

     

    What Brian and I had was a courtship.  For us, a courtship consisted of about a week’s worth of heavy, serious conversations about what we wanted from ourselves, from our lives and from each other.  It was intense and it was scary.  But, I can honestly say that during the first year of marriage, there were no surprises as to who the other person was.

     

    By having a courtship, Brian and I opted for the slow burning love that we often discount as boring.  We decided that it was more important to have an enduring marriage than just sparks at the beginning.

     

    You have to really know what your priorities are in order to have a sustainable marriage.  It isn’t something that you can just walk into blind.  I spend a lot of time wondering about other couples – after the initial spark is gone, are they as happy as Brian and I are?  What makes those marriages last?

     

    Peter Keating: The Tumor

    December 31, 2007 // No Comments »

    Posted in health reform, husband, relationships

    I have an MRI scheduled for Thursday evening after work at the earliest possible time I could guarantee Brian could make it. I didn’t want to wait too long to have the test done but I need to know that my husband is there. I am terrified of needles and someone will have to hold me still while they inject the contrast for the scan into my vein.

    I have always been a big baby about needles. The first time I remember receiving a needle was a traumatic and shocking moment and the experience has not improved from there. It does not help matters that I was sick and hallucinating at the time and I thought the old women in the hospital with blue hair were trying to eat me (in hindsight, I realize them telling me that I was “sweet enough to eat” was a lie intended to calm me down and not a promise of events to come). As an adult, I no longer blame those women but I do think that experience explains why I will never be a blood donor despite a belief in my family that blood donation is a patriotic and Christian duty. I suspect the Red Cross would rather not get my blood considering the ordeal I would likely put them through.

    Brian will have to be there in order for anyone to survive.

    The MRI is looking for a tumor my doctor suspects is currently growing on my pituitary gland and secreting hormones that should not be secreted. I am actually starting to hope that the tumor does exist. I’d rather know what is wrong than anything else. And I’d rather start treatment right away. In this case, ignorance is definitely not bliss.

    I decided that naming the potential tumor that is lurking inside my skull would be a very good idea. I wrestled with the idea of naming it for several days as I don’t plan on keeping it inside of my head forever and perhaps I should not provide a tumor with its own identity but I ultimately decided that while the tumor is in me, it is not part of me and therefore should not share my identity with me.

    I named the tumor “Peter Keating”.

    My husband, who is not well read and who is not an objectivist, was very confused by this. I think he was also confused at the naming of a potential tumor but I’m fairly certain the tumor is there.

    Perhaps I’m just putting the cart before the horse by treating a potential tumor as if it were here but at the same time, naming the tumor seems to make it better. As if by naming the tumor, I control the tumor. I control how long the tumor is here and I control what effects the tumor has on my life. It is almost as if I am Adam and God has given me the task of naming all creatures I am to have dominance over. I plan on dominating the tumor.

    The fact is, without some sense of control, the possibilities of this tumor are terrifying. And while I know at some point I will have to be able to surrender the idea that I can have control or I will be humbled by something unexpected, but at the moment, I feel like a sense of control is a good thing. It gives me something to cling to.

    The Hard Part of Marriage

    November 14, 2007 // No Comments »

    Posted in challenges, choices, family life, husband, marriage, relationships, sex

    The most difficult aspect of marriage is realized around the same time that you realize you want to shed some aspect of your life. You can’t. You are now unable to shed the skin you are in when it becomes itchy and uncomfortable. You can no longer escape your bad decisions when they no longer suite you. Your bad decisions now belong to someone else and in turn, their bad decisions now belong to you as well.

    In my pre-marriage life, I used to take solace in the fact that I did not choose my family. The egg and sperm that I grew from did not choose each other, they just happened to both be lurking in the same uterus at the time of my conception. I did not pick my parents but they were still my family. And by not picking my family, it became so much easier to distance myself from them or discount them as people. I may be sharing genetic material with them but they chose me.

    As a married woman, my family now is my husband. And I did choose him. I decided to marry Brian just as Brian decided to marry me. I decided to love him and build a life with him. I decided he would be my family. And for that reason, I am not able to discount him or distance myself from him for the simple reason that it was all my choice. I am married to both Brian and his decisions.

    Sometimes this scares the crap out of me.

    When we first completed our walk down the aisle, I suspected that the most difficult aspect to relate to the fact that I would be having the same sex every night with the same man for the rest of my life. And as the play-ette I was in my single days, this was a bit concerning. There would be no more bad day sex with an ex-boyfriend. No more mid-week booty calls. I would be having sex with Brian until we were either too old to have sex or until one of us died. Surprisingly though, thus far, it hasn’t been that bad. In fact, I find that I like it and the lack of a chase for sex means I have more time at night to moisturize, therefore maintaining my youthful appearance for as long as possible.

    But along with the consistent sex comes the consistent marriage. When Brian does something dumb, I can’t just walk away. I can’t through the towel in because I’m pissed off that Brian didn’t get my car fixed in a timely manner. When he comes out with a statement involving a bad idea being “really great”, I will still have to deal with the aftermath of that idea in the morning. And when I do dumb things, which I do constantly, I can’t just walk away from it. Suddenly, I have discovered that I must deal with the consequences of my actions.

    My life choices for the first time have truly become life choices.

    Life as a single person is transitional. Your friends, your job, your hobbies – these all can be replaced and no one needs remember but yourself. After marriage, someone will remember all of these things and more. My life story has now become so entwined with Brian that now he is my life story and I am his.

    It seems the binding of marriage has hit me in ways I did not know how to prepare for.