-My post on real estate the other day stirred up quite a little flurry of emails. A couple of them were soft and fuzzy like Easter bunny rabbits. And some of them were jagged and nasty with the intent to maim and cut me. Ha ha! I am a robot and cannot be cut. I still think the bottom line is – be smart and do your own research.
-The day when we have to be out of this house is creeping closer and will leap at me in a few weeks. Scary.
-I started reading Breed’em and Weep a few weeks ago. I do actually cry sometimes and I have bred some, so I guess I’m allowed. Her latest post, an open letter to teenage boys, has lots of good stuff in it. This post resulted in me sending her a fan letter, an action that always results in almost immediate remorse because I am a dork.
-If I could afford it and wasn’t moving and didn’t have to figure out how to pay for a new crown for my stupid tooth, I would buy SuperHero Jewelry.
-We had our first craft trade day at Leahpeah’s Craft. All I can say is that next month will be an improvement which is a nice way of saying I think no one traded anything. I’m reminded of a dance in junior high and no one wants to dance first. But next month, I’m uploading something(s) really awesome and everyone in their right mind will be compelled to participate because they will want one THAT MUCH. !!
-I interviewed for a job yesterday and found out that one of the people in on the call knew my uncle and his family from Arizona. Small world. This particular uncle is a judge and it brought to mind a very hyped up reunion we had one year when there were bodyguards following him everywhere. Us kids/teens all thought it was really awesome or rad or something. Good times.
-You’ll all be happy to know that my first marriage has been officially annulled according to the Catholic Church. I received the letter in the mail yesterday and it states it was no one’s fault and that we are all just great etc. I’m not Catholic but I do appreciate that these men are Holy Men and are acting in a way they feel inspired to. I don’t understand how a marriage of almost 14 years which produced 4 children can be annulled. (Um, we obviously consummated.) But in any case, my ex can now marry his wife in a Catholic church and have it be a valid marriage which makes them very happy and me happy by association. I suppose it also means that should we ever wish to, Joe and I could get married by a priest and have it be a valid Catholic marriage also. Religion is still a weird area for me. I think because I was raised in such a structured religious environment I am a little loathe to get involved or join any other organized religion. I mean, if I wanted to do that, why not just go back to the Mormon church? I already know all the good and bad stuff in that religion and have the 13 Articles of Faith memorized. Also, there is no sudden and repetitive kneeling in the middle of the service. Just lots of little kids and dry cereal and crayons.
-Joe upgraded his phone. This new, improved phone comes with voice texting. It’s my new favorite game.
For example, he says into the phone:
Leah comma I’m coming up on Topanga Canyon period I Love you exclamation point Love comma Joe period
And what I get is:
Betty, thank you hiding sheet tactile canyon. Lambda unit! Lilac, Chet.
To which I reply:
Oh, Chet! My tactile canyon is hiding under the sheets waiting for your lambda unit. I love you, too! Betty.
And he has no idea what I’m talking about.
Me, singing in a rather loud, operatic voice – ‘I’m going up to SHOOOOWWWEEEERRRRR!’
Joe, mostly ignoring me and continuing his email -‘That’s great.’
Me – ‘Well, that was quite less enthusiastic than the response I was hoping for.’
Joe, being the kind of husband that loves me – ‘Thaaaaaaaat’s GRRREEEEEEAAAAAT!’
Today is Joe birthday. He’s 37 and will always be older than me. And smarter than me in many ways, except playing Guitar Hero, loading the dishwasher the RIGHT way, cleaning the house the RIGHT way and never buying enough pairs of pants. My studies show every person needs at least 15 pairs of jeans and his side of the closet is severely lacking. But, that’s all ok because he changes light bulbs, generally always puts away the laundry (THE CHAIR LAUNDRY) and sings in an operatic voice when I need him to. He gets spiders down from the very high ceiling so I can sleep at night and cleans the hair out of the drain.
Joe also has a complete tool set of skills when it comes to deciphering kid-speak, which doesn’t come easy to parents who come into the parent game mid-stream. He hears, ‘No, I don’t have any homework.’ and now immediately translates that to, ‘I So SO do have homework, but I don’t want to do it right now. And if I say no, you’ll leave me alone. But then when I get a D on my test next week, I will blame you for not making me study so if you really love me, you’ll make me haul out my agenda book, with much protesting, and look over my shoulder while I pretend to look by running my finger down the page in a line as I fake check and then when you ask me what ‘Study for Test’ means in the third period slot, I’ll act all surprised and say Oh Ya! I guess I do have homework and I’ll most likely hate you instantly because I’m not getting to play Counter Strike with my FRIENDS ONLINE who need me to WIN THE BATTLE, DUH, but when I’m not working at 7/11 at the age of 28, I’ll thank you.’ He also knows that ‘I barely touched him!‘ means ‘I just smacked him upside the head but he deserved it because he touched my favorite golf putter – the one I stashed under the coffee table so no one would find it and HE TOUCHED IT.’ And, last but not least, teen girls that answer How was your day? with barely a ‘Fine.’ really mean ‘You are old and a man, a man that (eeewwww) has hair on his chest, so there is no way you could ever understand the deep, deep sadness I carry in my heart today when Tammy totally forgot to bring my sweater to school and I wore my white shirt with the long sleeves just BECAUSE she was supposed to bring it and the shoulders on it are weird without the sweater and all day I had to just wear that stupid shirt without the sweater and everyone, EVERYONE stared at my stupid shoulders all day and Tammy didn’t even care or say sorry! You should BE SORRY, TAMMY!’
And, none of that even takes in to account the skills he had to learn just to understand me. That list would be far too extensive, so let me just say, Happy Birthday, Joe. I love you. You are my favorite.
Imagine an easy chair. It’s brown, striped, not too big, not too small, and sitting in our upstairs bedroom. Never, and I really for serious mean ever, have Joe or I sat in that chair. We have never used it for its purpose, of housing our bottoms, because it has been, since day 1 in our home, covered with assorted clothing. Periodically, Joe will go through and hang up all the shirts, pants and bras that have been tossed from my body onto that chair and for a brief moment, possibly two, we get to view its soft and cushie seat. But then *snap* it’s gone. Because it’s nighttime and I just got undressed.
Two days ago, as Joe strode in the bedroom and glanced at where the chair should be, he stopped short and stared at the impossibly high mound of clothing, a good four feet above chair level. “What?” I asked. He said, “I’m going to get the camera. This is something that everyone should see. I’m going to post it to my blog.” And then *poof* the pile magically disappeared and we all lived happily ever after. And the pile was never seen or heard from again because I learned my lesson and always hung up my clothes. The end.
Actually, I asked him not to and very thoroughly explained why him doing so would damage me physiologically for years and he couldn’t live with the guilt. He promptly apologized and suggested we make flash cards of all our innermost feelings and meet up in an hour to powwow. Our marriage was strengthened and now we always hold hands.
Actually, I quivered my lips and let a large, single tear gently fall from my right eye while pouting, ‘You just don’t love me.’ Joe then fell on his knees, crying and asking me for forgiveness. I let him squirm for a bit and then laid my hands on his head and blessed him. We never spoke of it again.
Actually, I threatened him with the loss of a limb, a small limb, if he ever made such a rash suggestion again. He knew I meant business, so he ran out and got me a Chai latte and gave me a foot rub for the next two hours.
Actually, I batted my eyelashes and moved my shoulders suggestively and asked if there was anything I could do to change his mind. I can’t tell you the end of this one, but suffice it to say, we both have large hickeys in the shape of Texas, his on his neck and mine on my thigh.
Actually, I told him I would sort all the socks if he would promise not to. And then he hung up all my clothes. Dude, I had the worse deal, let me tell you. Two huge baskets full of dirty, holey, sometimes crunchy boy tube socks. I had to go through and touch them all, about half of which I picked up with two fingers, pinky extended, tossing them directly into the trash bin. The entire time I had the EWWW mouth on my face.
And that’s the truth.
I think about him every once in awhile. Like picking a scab, tearing off the top layer just to make sure it’s still there and it still bleeds. It doesn’t hurt anymore. Not really. But seeing the red blood reminds me of when it did.
We drank beers together for three weeks. My punk, unkempt hair pushed out of my face with my right hand and my left hand’s fingers curled around a clove cigarette. Or a menthol, depending on who had what. Sitting at the table outside near the heater, his long, dirty blonde and wavy hair and intense blue eyes but mostly his Italian accent floating through the air, I thought I must be in heaven. That finally, I was safe. ‘Darling,’ he said ‘you are lovely.’ and I knew that soon I would tell him the secret in my heart wrapped under soft layers of rose-colored ribbons.
The next night when I showed up a few minutes late, my nose anticipating the musky scent of sweat, mud and grass on his shirt that I loved, I searched for his soccer socks, fresh from practice. I ordered a beer, sat outside and smoked alone while staring at the wrought iron fence. My chest turned slowly darker with every inhale and my tears dried on the exhale. The soft cushion surrounding my heart hardened into a brittle shell and then broke into a thousand pieces.
I look at the bleeding exposed spot of what was a few years ago, but feels like a hundred, and then my husband walks in, sits down next to me and holds my hand. His scent of aftershave and coconut shampoo combine in the air next to me and it makes me laugh. It’s the most delicious scent I’ve ever smelled. The feeling I thought was intense love for the foreign man was barely more than nothing. It was the shadow of nothing. And even though it felt like a skyscraper, it was a mud hut, but it took time to find that out.
My husband leans his arm into mine while we sit side by side on the couch. I’ve been crying, crying for no reason that anyone knows of, and he hands me the handkerchief he keeps in his pocket for just such an occasion. He turns and looks at me, in me. ‘You are lovely.‘ he says straight to my soul. And I know that right where I am is heaven. I know I’m safe and it doesn’t matter if I’m sick or not. If I’m rich or not. He loves me. It’s not a secret that I love him and daily he unwraps the ribbons laced softly around my heart.
One of the tragedies of 2006 is that my two year wedding anniversary came and went without nary an acknowledgment from me on this blog, which was scarcely more than I gave it in real life. It falls on the 21st of December, and if you’re keeping up, you know that this year that fell within the Dead Zone, or as we like to call it, ‘The Great Crochet Marathon of Twelve Ought Six.’
When I was freshly back from Seattle in 2002, I met Joe at a networking meeting. I didn’t like him and I didn’t not like him. Sure, he was very nice but I was recently divorced and very concentrated on getting my shit together. I sure as hell wasn’t about to start dating anyone, especially someone that was a Catholic, had no kid experience and was still technically married to his first wife. So, of course, we started dating right away and became exclusive within the first two weeks.
Something you might not know about me: when I know something, I know it and there isn’t much that anyone can tell me that will change my mind. I feel stuff in my gut and that is the end of it. My gut has been my only constant companion and seen me through all kinds of trouble. So, my gut and I stick together. Imagine my surprise when my gut let me know that Joe was not only the really great guy he seemed to be but that also, I would love him, he would love me and we’d be together. Immediately following that message I spent many months pretending it had never happened. However, I did seem to think it was a splendid idea to invite him to meet most of my family a scant 7 weeks after we met. Huh.
Joe has been to Utah eight times in the past few years. The first time he met most of my brothers and sisters and the next time he met my parents. They all, of course, like him and love him. He’s a likable guy. But, they love him no matter how much money he earns or what he looks like or what kind of car he drives. Frankly, the only thing they take into account is if I’m happy. And here it must be clarified that my family looks at the word ‘happy’ in the way that God might: if you are learning, then you are happy because it’s the people God doesn’t bless that much that don’t have the opportunity for learning. Joe and I are so blessed. In fact, these past two years of marriage, we have been blessed beyond what I thought possible. That seems to be always the way.
I think one of the reasons that Joe feels so comfortable visiting my family is because they accepted him so completely. Even before we were married, my parents had us sleeping in the same room. My very Mormon mom. The one that didn’t alert me of my private parts until I was married to my first husband, well after the point of her grandson being implanted in my uterus. I hope my mom doesn’t mind me telling the entire world that, but I just thought it was so great the way she trusted my gut on Joe and I being together. However, my mom still sends my ex-husband Christmas and Birthday cards (with the usual $5 included!) as well as his new wife.* My parents might just rock in that Love the Entire World kind of way. And the World can always use more love.
But, back to Joe. These past two years or so have been rough but great. We moved a few times. We tried, somewhat successfully, to get my daughter to quit glaring at Joe. We started a business together, which ultimately failed. We went to therapy to figure out why we were still married. Joe started a few different jobs and figured out what he likes and doesn’t like in a work environment. I got physically mostly better most of the time. We were pregnant (again) and lost the baby (again) but kept it for the longest amount of time yet. And I learned that I could listen to Joe at least as much as I listen to my gut because Dude is smart! I also learned that if I get out of his way, Joe will figure out a way to do anything he wants, his own way. Man, that sounds a lot like me. But most of all, we got a start on figuring out how to be a couple and take care of each other in a kind and loving way.
Life is always hard. It’s always going to be hard. It doesn’t matter who you are married to or how much money you have or where you live. And really, the only defense you have against the world is your family, those people who love you and who you love and with whom you create a buffeting wall against the hard knocks of the world. The people that will laugh with you, not at you, when you ruined the fancy dinner you made for everyone. And not be embarrassed when you can’t stop going up to strangers and asking them personal questions because you find them so fascinating. And stand by you when you take huge risks and decide to do something that could be a large potential mistake and don’t care how it ends up as long as you are ok, because that is what is important. I’m so happy to have Joe be my family and that we are in this thing together.
Here’s to many more years of being blessed, Baby. Thanks for being on my team.
*My son asked me the other day why Grandma sends his Dad and Step-Mom birthday cards because isn’t that weird when usually people hate each other after divorce? I asked him if he wished she wouldn’t and he said, ‘Nope. I like that about Grandma. And you’d do the same thing, huh. You’re all ….. squishy like her.’ I’m not sure I have ever been so proud to be called squishy.
Here are some of my favorites:
And I have thanks to give:
Thank you, Universe, for continuing to teach me about myself. You are a tough but loving teacher.
Thank you, my beautiful children, for all the love you bestow me. And thanks for second chances.
Thank you, my parents and siblings, for the support and prayers. We are an odd yet perfectly matched set of 10.
And thank you, my dear Joe, for simply being yourself. Every step we take towards being ourselves together gets tougher, better and more vital to Us. I eagerly anticipate whatever comes next. Also, I miss you today. Happy Thanksgiving.