How Not To Have A Relaxing November

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA WHAT WAS I THINKING.

 

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I mean, it’s not like I have a lot on my plate.  It’s not like I’m attempting NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words of writing in one month.  I’m not like I’m trying to survive the first year with my twins – who, even though they just turned 9 months old, still wake every 3 hours at night.

It’s not like I’m trying to raise my 5 and my 8-year-old sons, and all the complexities that come with kids as they grow older.  Sure, they don’t pee or color on stuff anymore, but solutions to their problems now require me to actually turn on my brain.  On the whole, I think I found the random destruction a lot easier to deal with it.

It’s not like I don’t have all of the stuff I listed above, or a part-time job, or household chores, or family visiting, or holiday activities, or or or….

But I received the sweetest email a couple of weeks ago.

“Caspian is such a dear – he never does anything wrong – but he’s not really settling in/thriving here at the barn…”

I mean, if you’re going to get politely broken up with by a barn, it was the nicest, softest way to break the news ever… but it was still a bummer.   I couldn’t disagree with her assessment – Caspian seemed lonely and a bit sad at the new barn. It was obvious a change was needed.

The truth is, I spent the first few days after receiving that email trying to figure out if I even really had any business owning a horse.

Yes, Caspian was and is receiving the best of care…. but I almost never get to see him.  I actually do have plenty of time to spend with him.  The problem is that my free time is when most barns are closed.  I have time every morning from 5:30am-7am, and then again every evening after 8pm…. but what barn is going to agree to let a boarder traipse around in the dark like that?

I spent the next week after the email looking at the hard facts.  It’s hard to justify the expense of owning a “luxury item”, so to speak, when I have so little time to enjoy him.The problem with having an accountant for a husband is that I have started taking a longer view of how much things cost.  I think it’s easy to justify a horse when you are looking at the month-to-month.  Can I afford his monthly care?  Yes.

Even if I technically can afford it… should I, when I never see him?  The times I have available to devote to my horse are probably never going to work with a traditional barns, and it’s going to be quite some time before the twins are old enough to let me visit during regular hours. Can I afford him for another “wasted” year or more, knowing that the $400 a month I have set aside for him adds up to $4800 in one year? $9600 every two years?

That’s a lot of money for a once-a-week (if that) horse habit.

And so began The Great Depression of 2016.

I hate being an adult.  I really, really do…. but I just couldn’t see any way around it. Shopping for a new horse barn just made it seem so much clearer to me.  So many of the places around where I live are self-care.  It’s not that I don’t want to do self-care – I actually really enjoy mucking stalls.  It’s that I just don’t want to do it with four kids in tow.  I’ve cleaned Caspian’s stall quite a few times while wearing the twins, and it left me sweaty and grumpy. Somewhere in the middle of it, while I struggled to push the wheelbarrow through some damp grass, desperately trying to keep it from dumping over, one twin strapped in front, one twin strapped in back, sweat pouring down my face, I thought…

Wait.  Am I actually paying to do this?  I mean, I’m not just choosing to torture myself like this, but I’m actually paying good money to do it?  I’m paying money to never ride and never groom, and just spend my time pushing around my horse’s feces?

So I came home, and I had a long discussion with The Bean.  And then another long discussion.  And then we had several long discussions.

And then the Bean and I sat down and had a long talk a week ago on Monday night, and we came to the final decision.

We decided to sell our house.

I know, it was a bit of a shock for me too.  I went into it thinking the conversation was going to end with, “Yeah, let’s sell Caspian and we’ll just find another horse when the time is better.”  Instead, the conversation turned into “Why don’t we just bump up our ‘find a home with enough land for a horse’ plan”?

We’re not looking to move far – we both love our town.  We just want a little land for the horse, and maybe a little more room for when my mom comes to help me with the twins.

Hey, did you know what’s easy?  Deciding to sell your house.

Do you know what’s not easy?  Cleaning your house so that it’s ready to sell…. in less than two days.  We decided to sell on Monday night, and we were due to leave for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night.

It’s not that I live in squalor, but let’s all agree that unless you are one of those fancy-schmancy OCD people, there’s a big difference between having a house that’s straightened up and having a house that’s ready for a realtor to show at an Open House.

Two days later, with every closet organized, and every bit of furniture positioned just so, and every shelf arranged, the basement cleaned, the cobwebs dusted, the floors waxed, the bathrooms scrubbed, the Thanksgiving ingredients bought and in the fridge, it was 11pm at night and the only thing I had left to do was put away the laundry in my bedroom….

And I couldn’t.

I just plain ran out of gas. I stood there and stared at the last little bit of mess in an otherwise pristine (pristine for me, anyways) house, and I just…. I just couldn’t.

 

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The Bean, who was in a miraculously good mood, looked around the room with a smile.  “We’re almost done,” he chirped, coming in with another armful of clean laundry.

I looked at him, I looked at the maybe 20 minutes of work left, and I fell face first on the bed and started to cry.  It wasn’t even a satisfying cry, either.  A satisfying cry would have involved sobs and… well, energy.  I just lay face-first on the bed and tears leaked out.  I was so, so tired.

Did you know that you can shove a bunch of dirty laundry in trash bags and that it fits neatly in the trunk of a Honda Civic?  That’s what we ended up doing, and the clothes is still in there.  We haven’t really missed the items, either.  Maybe I should just drive it to the Goodwill and dump it?

Anyways, I made it through the rest of the cleaning and through a Thanksgiving that was amazing and perfect, and kind of hazy from a fog of exhaustion.

And now my days have become a crazy string of “Quick, feed a baby…. crap, there’s a showing.  Quick, clean the house and make it look non-lived in.  Quick, grab Artemis.  Quick, grab my mom’s dog that I’m babysitting for a month.  Are the boys getting off of school?  Quick, grab a snack so they don’t turn hangry while we sit at a park and wait for strangers to stare at the house.  Quick, return home and cook dinner.  Quick, get ready for work the next day.  Quick, quick, quick….

I moved Caspian yesterday to what I am hoping is his last boarding situation – he has an huge box stall, and turnout all day, and I paid extra for him to have hay in his face all day.  He seems happy, even if I am sad I don’t get to stare at the GORGEOUS Morgans at the other place anymore.  (I’m still disgruntled he ruined my stay at my dream barn, but oh well.)

As I unloaded him, I pet his fuzzy, yellowish-grey, barely-groomed face with the large, sad eyes.  He looked… like an abandoned pony, and it made my heart sad.  I hate being the absentee owner that people on horse threads make fun of.  Caspian deserves better.

… but the neat thing is that soon he is going to get it.  As I ran my fingers under his mane he leaned in to the contact every-so-lightly, ever-so-politely, and it was so strangely thrilling to be able to say, “Don’t get too attached to the ponies here.  This is just a temporary barn.  The next move, you get to come home.  Permanently.”

Timehop keeps reminding me that 9 years ago I was a cocktail waitress in a bar, just starting to date the unassuming car salesman who liked to sit at the corner and drink a bottle of Heineken and eat chicken strips with ranch.

And now?

Yesterday I had to rearrange all the seats in my minivan to make a road trip, and when we finally returned home The Bean stood out in the pouring rain at 9:30 at night rearranging them back to normal it so I wouldn’t have to deal with it in the morning.  Over Thanksgiving weekend he took all four kids out so I could get a much needed nap.  And this morning he put up with me snapping at him (sorry Bean – I’m a cranky toddler when I’m sleep deprived) over tiny stuff, and still managed to remember to make out a check and put it where I could find it easily and change the babies diapers before heading off for his ridiculously-long day at work.

And today?

Today is the first day I haven’t had a lot on my plate.  The house guests went home (don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing and I’m so glad they stayed), and today there are no showings scheduled yet. Today I don’t work, and I don’t have to do a 3 hour round trip to drive to return a vehicle, and my husband is kind, and there aren’t any holidays looming.

And now, today, two kids are in school, two babies are napping (at the same time!  For once!) and I am sitting on my computer, researching fencing options.

Dude.  Fencing options, and pasture rotation details, and sacrifice areas for MY horse who is going to be in MY backyard in a few months.

WHOA.

So….. does anyone want to buy a house?

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I’m Such A Supportive Wife

“Becky, I stopped by Target yesterday and picked up some diapers.”

“Oh, good -we were running low.  Thanks, Bean.  Hey, you…. you have, uh…. Have a fun time with your motorcycle today on your way to work.  Also… uh…. ride the wind?”

 
“What?”
 
“I’m just trying to wish you a motorcycle-y goodbye.”
 
“Ah. Well, as I was saying, I picked up diapers and they’re in the trunk of my car…”
 
“May the road rise up to meet you? Zoom Zoom? Taste the speed?”
 
“Becky, it’s raining. The roads are slick, so I’m not exactly going to be speeding. Did you hear me about the diapers?”
 
“Yes – diapers. Car. Trunk. Gotcha.  Look, I’m trying to be supportive here, and offer you a motorcycle goodbye.  I’m trying to be a nice wife, except I have no idea what you motorcycle people say to each other before you head off down the road.  May the road rise up to meet you? Break a leg?”
 
“What?? Break a leg? No. No, how about let’s not do that.”
 
“Well, what do you guys say to each other before you go out and do your motorcycle things?”
 
“We usually just say ‘Have a safe ride’. ”

“Oh.  Ummm.  Well.  Have a safe ride, dear.”

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Step-KLUMP. Step-KLUMP.

So the first day I missed posting it was because I got super angry at The Bean and stomped off to bed. I didn’t realize I’d skipped a post until I woke up the next morning. Whoops. Yaaaay, marriage.

The next day I missed was because I pulled something in my back. I tweaked my back by sleeping wrong, and then as I was twisting the Kraken around to do a back carry with my new TwinGo baby carrier, I felt whatever muscle I had tweaked actually cramp up…. and by the time I was done with my shopping trip it had gone from cramping to flat-out HURTING.  I managed to get home and survive the rest of the day with the help of my friends Tylenol and ibuprofen…. but by 9pm I was hurting so bad I broke out some of the pain meds I have leftover from my 2013 appendectomy.  By 9:30 I was still hurting, but it didn’t bother me quite as bad, so I floated off to sleep.

I didn’t realize I skipped a day until the next day at 8pm at night.  Wait a second…. hadn’t I committed to writing 31 days in a row?  Oh my gosh.  I’d skipped two days!  I really had to sit down and… I really had to…. I really had

I really…..

Man, I really wanted a drink of water.  Oooh, I should get a drink of water and go to bed early.  That was a great idea. I bet I could get 3 solid hours before the twins woke up for their first nightly feed.  Water, then bed.  What a solid plan.  G’night, Bean.

….. in case you are wondering, yes.  Yes, I really do miss my ADHD meds.  Someone really needs to come out with an ADHD med that’s safe to take while breastfeeding.  Pretty please?

The next day I realized I had skipped WAY too many days in a row, and no matter what happened I needed to sit down and post, even if I had already ruined the “31 days in a row” portion of it.

Since my back was still really sore I decided I would take a quick bath before I sat in my chair to write.  It was still early enough that I could soak my back, write a post, and still get to bed at a decent hour.

I started the tub running and dumped in a healthy amount of my favorite soap in the world:

 

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Nicole, you’re the bomb-diggity for turning me on to this. It rocks.

While the bath filled up I threw on a robe and went out to get the most critical part of any bath:  a Ziploc baggie.

Ziploc baggies are a girl’s best friend, and I’ll tell you why:  I like to read in the tub, and all of my books are e-books.  Now, normally reading in the tub on an expensive e-reader would be a dumb idea, but awhile back I discovered they sell these expensive little bags that you can put your Nook into so you can read in a tub.  I was considering buying one for a while, when all of a sudden it dawned on me…. couldn’t I just stick my cell phone in a Ziploc baggie and read on my Nook cell phone app?

The answer to that is: yes.  Yes, you can.  I’ve been reading in the tub in this style for years.  Back in the beginning I used to put my cell phone in a sandwich-sized Ziploc baggie and then put that baggie in a bigger, gallon-size baggie, just in case…. but over the years I’ve relaxed my standards to the point that I only use a sandwich baggie.

So, that’s what I did this time:  I went and got my Ziploc baggie, and toddled off to the bathtub, looking forward to my nice, back-relaxing bath.  As I kicked off my clothes and prepared to get in, I opened the baggie and dropped my phone into the Ziploc baggie from about 6 inches above. I mean, if you’re a mom of four and you’re about to get into an Epsom salt bath and read a book, shouldn’t you do everything with a little flourish?

Aaaand the answer to that is: No. No, you should not.

What I hadn’t banked on this time is that this particular shopping trip I had decided to save a little money and I had forgotten that I’d picked up some discount, no-name baggies from Grocery Outlet instead of name brand Ziploc baggies.  When I dropped the cell phone into the baggie with a flourish, the cell phone dropped into the bag…. and then dropped straight through the seam at the bottom of the bag and bounced onto the bathroom rug.

It all happened so seamlessly (pun intended) that I couldn’t figure out what had just happened.

I stood there and stared at my yellow iPhone on the floor for a moment, and then at the baggie in my hand, and then back at the phone.

Me:  “What?  I’m so confused.”

Brain:  “That’s your phone on the floor, stupid.”

Me:  “Why is it on the floor?”

Brain:  “How the heck should I know?  You think I was paying attention?”

Me:  “Well, I certainly wasn’t.  Why didn’t it go in the baggie?  Why is it on the floor right now?”

Brain:  “Well, neither of us was paying attention, so I bet you just missed the bag.  I bet you went to go drop it in, and you dropped it beside the bag and it fell on the floor.”

Me:  “I do have bad depth perception, so that’s certainly possible…. But isn’t it possible that the bag ripped?”

Brain:  “Shhhhh.  I swear, you get so caught up on stupid details.  Just put it back in the bag and get in the tub.  I am gonna release so many endorphins when that hot water hits your skin.”

Me:  “Shouldn’t I check if the bag is ripped?”

Brain: “SHUT UP AND GET IN THE TUB.  That hot water is getting getting colder by the second, and if you don’t get in while it’s still hot enough to sting your skin, you’re not gonna be able to pretend you’re Daenerys Targaryen and whisper ‘I am the Blood of the Dragon‘ to yourself.”

Me:  “OMG, you’re totally right.  But…. but what if the cell phone…”

Brain: “Quit being a worry wart.  Just put it into the bag carefully.  You’ll be fine.”

And so I did.  I very, very carefully slipped the phone into the bag as I stepped into the tub… and my iPhone very, very carefully slipped through the torn bag and plopped right into the tub, disappearing beneath the bubbles.

I yelped out a curse word and with one leg in the tub and one leg still out, I began fishing around for the phone.  It took longer than I wanted to find it, but finally I pulled it out.  All I could think was “I need to get turn it off and get this thing in rice… STAT.”  I don’t care if the new recommendation is to keep wet cell phones away from rice, I’ve dropped plenty of phones in water (please don’t judge me), and rice has saved them every time.

Feeling the urgency of the moment, I bounced up from my crouch, trying to lunge at my bath towel so I could dry off my phone and dash into the kitchen…..

Except I forgot that I was halfway in a tub….a tub full of water, and lots of soap.  Do you know what happens when you try to bounce up from a crouch when one of your feet is in a tub full of soapy water?

The splits.  The splits is what happens.

And you know, the splits are awesome if you are 15 and flexible and a cheerleader and stuff like that.

But do you know when the splits aren’t awesome?  The splits aren’t awesome when you’re 35, and fat, and your back hurts, and you’ve never been flexible a day in your life to begin with.

One foot went one way, one foot went another, and both of my arms sprang upwards in a desperate attempt to…. I dunno.  Cry out hallelujah?  I have no idea what my stupid arms were trying to do, but I do know that my iPhone was SO EXCITED by the whole fiasco that it jumped out of my hand (I swear I heard it say”Wheeee!!!!”) and it plunged back in the tub again.

Okay, let me do a little bit of explaining before I launch into the next part of this story.  Back when I was young and spry and single, I did imagine being naked in front of my husband.  Oh, whatever.  Every teenager daydreams about it.  I could totally picture it.  I’d be posed in a doorway, with my arms over my head or something, because that always makes your boobs look GREAT and your stomach look flat.  Anyways, I’d be standing there, all taut and sexy, with the light playing juuuust right over my skin, and I’d say something like, “Hey there, sailor.  Wanna dock your ship?”

Yes, I know that’s a terrible sex metaphor.  I’m not very good at sexy talk, okay?  My inept sex talk is not the point of this.  Stay with me, okay?

The point is, I did picture being naked in front of my husband, and in these daydreams I was always really in shape, and posing, and totally sexy.

What I did not picture was the way I was naked in front of my husband last week, as I dragged my angry, tired carcass through the living room with my sopping went iPhone wrapped in a towel.

In my daydreams I pranced about, nymph-like.

In my daydreams I did not limp heavily by my husband on legs that were not working quite right after being forced into unnatural positions.

Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP.  Not only was I not prancing, but I could feel things…. swinging.  Ponderously.  There are many things that make you feel sexy as a woman.  Feeling your belly and thighs and other jiggly bits flapping about in the wind from the force of your limping?  That is not one of them.

Honestly, it looked exactly like this, only I was more hunched over, and there was an iPhone in my hand instead of an arm:

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I’d like to say I was saying sweet, wifely, Christian things under my breath as I limped my way through the living room…. but I know I wasn’t.  I don’t remember exactly what I was saying, but it wasn’t nice, and it wasn’t repeatable.

Step-THUMP. Quiet spewing of profanity.  

Step-THUMP.  More profanity.
And that’s when I heard it, from over near the couch.

“OOOH.  Heeey, sexy.”

I ignored it.  I was NOT in the mood for teasing.  Step-THUMP.  STUPID &!&@! PHONE.  Stupid phone with its bleepity-bleep bag WITH ITS STUPID BLEEPITY-BLEEP RIPPING…

“Heeey, sexy.  Do I see boobies?”

Wait a second….was he…. was he flirting with me?  No.  No, there was no way possible he could be flirting with me.  I’m pretty sure that this was, hands down, the least sexy I’ve ever looked.

Step-THUMP.  Where was a clean @(*@&#*! bowl?  Step-THUMP.  Where was the bleeping bag of rice?

“Heeeey, sexy.”

Holy crap.  He was.  The Bean was honestly flirting with me.  The only thing propelling me forward and keeping me from collapsing in a puddle in frustrated tears was one good leg and stubborn anger….. and he was flirting with me.  Couldn’t he see me limping? Couldn’t he see my deflated stomach flapping in the wind? Couldn’t he see the pure, unadulterated rage oozing out of my very pores?  I limped over to grab my phone and shove it in the rice bowl.

Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP. Flap-flap. Step-THUMP.

“Whoo-whoo.  I seee your boobies…. Hey, sexy!”

And that’s when it hits me, and that’s where we come to the whole point of this post:    I always thought The Bean was lying, or just saying stuff to make me feel better….

But I think he’s telling the truth.

I honestly don’t think he notices the weight gain, at least not when I’m, errrr, “en deshabille”.

 

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So while my iPhone’s SIM card is now damaged beyond repair and I can only use it to go on Facebook or other apps, and then only when connected with WIFI,  and while I didn’t get the satisfying bath I’d daydreamed of, and even though I step-thumped my way into pajamas and straight to bed and spent the next few days sulking instead of writing…..

I dunno.  It’s a small price to pay for realizing that The Bean still loves me, and that he’s not nearly as hard on me as I am on myself.

Love ya, Bean.

Also… do you have any idea where we put your old cell phone?  I need to activate it tomorrow.

That’s My Story, And I’m Sticking To It

I didn’t see him there, lurking against the wall.

In retrospect, it seems odd that I would have missed him.  Six foot six, 240 pounds of pure muscle, shoulders like a linebacker…. it really does seem odd that I didn’t notice him at first.

I definitely noticed him when he reached out and grabbed me by my shirt, slamming my back against the wall with a force that knocked the breath out of me.

“BUY CHICKENS,” he rasped in an eerie voice, not unlike Bane from Batman.

Actually, now that I think about it, he totally looked like Bane from Batman.  He had a creepy weird mask, and evil eyes, and it was dark and rainy even though it was 8:30 in the morning.

 

Just like this, only I was wearing Wal-Mart jeans instead of a Batman suit and my back ended up against the feed store wall instead of the floor.

So anyways, there he was, all creepy and scary and demanding I buy little bitty baby chickens, but, well, you know me.  I’m brave, and strong, and it takes a lot to scare me.

“NEVER,” I cried, struggling to pull out of his inexorable grip.  It felt like thrashing against a brick wall, and for a brief moment I panicked.  I was trying to escape with all my strength, and he wasn’t even budging.  I kicked at his knee cap and he grunted at the impact, but since he was 6’7 and Bane and all, it didn’t really do that much damage.

“BUY CHICKENS,” he repeated.

I let my body relax, thinking I could lull him into relaxing his hold, but when I kicked off against the wall he barely twitched.

I paused, panting, and spit in his face.  “”Let go of me, you warthog-faced buffoon!  My husband has our monthly budget all planned out, and I would never ruin it like that!”

“BUY CHICKENS, OR IT WILL BE EXTREMELY PAINFUL… FOR YOU.”

“You think I care about pain?  You think you scare me?  My husband and I are a team!  We decided on this budget together!  I will not betray him!”

“BUY THE CHICKENS, OR I WILL REMOVE YOUR ARM.”

“I don’t care!  Remove my arm!  He is my beloved husband, and I will not turn against him!”

And then he said something that truly scared me.  “BUY THE CHICKENS OR I WILL PUT DOOR DINGS ON YOUR HUSBAND’S CAR, AND MASH A MOLDY BANANA DEEP INTO THE SEAT CUSHIONS.”

Bean, I could have withstood anything, even though he was 6’8 and 300 pounds of sheer muscle, even though his face mask creeped me out, and even though he literally had my back against the feed store wall.  My love for you is that strong.

But Bean.  BEAN.  He threatened your car.

Bean, I know how much you love that car, and I just… I just couldn’t let him do that.  I know that getting chicks will mean a lot of personal sacrifice on my end, as I prepare a place for them to live in, and set up the heat lamp.

I’ll have to care for them round the clock, and clean up after them, and… and… pick them up and hold them…. and it will be so hard making sure sure they get hugged all the time….
It will mean so much work and sweat and effort on my part…. but I don’t care.  I knew the moment the words left Bane that I would do anything to protect your car, even if it meant buying baby chicks that weren’t in this month’s budget.

That’s how much I love you, Bean.  I am willing to sacrifice for you that much.

BUY CHICKS”, Bane repeated.  “BUY CHICKS OR THE BEAN’S CAR WILL BE RUINED.”
And so I did.

So…. anyhooo…..

Do you think you can get home tonight before the feed store closes so we can pick them out together, or do you just want to go tomorrow morning?  I was thinking Ameraucanas that lay the blue eggs, Barred Rocks, and maybe a Leghorn would adequately prove my devotion to you and your car, as well as give us enough eggs.

 

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Really, Bean?

I have family coming into town tomorrow.

My dad is here in the states, visiting from Thailand, and I’m finally going to get a chance to meet my new stepmom.

My uncle is also coming up to visit.

After they arrive tomorrow the Bean and I are heading over to downtown Portland, to go to some uber-fancy Christmas party for his work. 

It’s all Filet Mignon, formal wear and fancy champagne flutes.

And guess who has a giant new hicky on her neck?

(PS:  I take back all the bad things I ever said about people who take pictures in bathrooms – it’s harder than you think.)

The Bean and I were…. uh….. “folding towels”, and I was like, “Yeah!  You fold that towel!  Woohoo for towels!   Folding towels is great!  Go laundry!…… wait.  WAIT.  STOP.  DID YOU JUST GIVE ME A HICKY?”

But by then it was too late.

Seriously, who even gives hickies anymore? We’re 31 years old, Bean.   Nobody is going to buy the whole “I burnt myself with a curling iron” excuse.

If anyone asks me about it, I plan on telling them, “Yeah, my husband – that guy over there – gave it to me during a vigorous towel-folding session”, and then refuse to elaborate.

Unless it’s my dad that’s doing the asking. 

In that case, I burnt myself with a curling iron. 

Performing for an Audience

Dear DragonMonkey,

Mornings are nice, aren’t they?

Your daddy and I think so, too.  Sometimes, mornings can be very, very nice.

Anyways, I have a little favor to ask:

The next time you wake up super early, can you make a little more noise?  I appreciate that you are trying to be quiet so you don’t wake The Squid up, but once you’re downstairs can you…. I dunno… announce your presence a little louder?

Sometimes when I, uh, hug your Dada, I get a little distracted and I don’t always notice you opening the door to my bedroom.

It has come to my attention that I also don’t notice it when you cross the room and climb up onto our extra big king-size bed.  What can I say?  Sometimes your Dada can be very distracting, indeed.

So, to help your poor old Mama out, can you please, please, pretty please make a little more noise?

It’s a little disconcerting to be in the middle of, uh, hugging, only to see something out of the corner of my eye, turn my head sideways, and see you a little over a foot away from my pillow, staring silently with wide eyes.

Actually, scratch that.  It’s not disconcerting.  It’s creepy.  It’s creepy as heck, and I’m pretty sure that image is going to be burned in my head for the rest of my life.  To be honest, I’m not sure who needs more psychological help at this point – you or me.  

It really didn’t help that you’ve taken to sleeping in your underwear – you looked like the world’s tiniest little pervert, kneeling there in your skivvies, silently watching us.  

Please, kid, for the love of all that is holy – please, just make a little more noise?

Love,

Your traumatized mother

Go, Bean!

“So, how about you, Becky?  You’re in college?”  The Bean leaned forward to take a sip of his Sam Adams, careful not to lean the elbows of his blue hoodie on anything sticky.

“Yeah, I’m working through the prerequisites to enter a nursing program.”  My shift was over, but as I’d made a beeline for the door, anxious to escape the bar after eight hours of dealing with football fans, I’d seen him there.  I’d only stopped by to say a quick hello, but one thing led to another, and an hour later I was seated on the stool next to him, cocktail waitress apron on the bar by my elbow.

“Nursing, huh?”

“Yeah, I think I’ll like it.  I mean, if I didn’t have to worry about money, I might do something like a Creative Writing degree, or maybe even Spanish… or Sociology… maybe a translation degree…” I trailed off with a laugh. “None of the things I like really pay the bills, so nursing it is.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  I was in school for engineering, but when I started making good money selling cars, I never quite finished.” He took another sip of beer, and I studied his face from beneath my lashes.  Man, he had really nice eyes.  Those eyes were incredible.

“Oh, that sucks.”  I sat there a moment, letting silence carry the weight of my sympathy.  He’d already complained to me about the way the car industry had tanked with the economy.  “How close were you to graduating?’

“I had one semester left.”  He laughed, shook his head, and took a big swing of beer.

I raised my eyebrows and and waited… but there was no punchline.  “You’re kidding, right?’

“Nope.”

“You were one semester away from graduating with an engineering degree from a prestigious UC school… and you just quit?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?’

“I was making really good money – like, really good– much better than I ever would have as an engineer.  It didn’t make sense to continue.”

“But you were one semester away, Bean.  Just one semester.” I stared at him, unreasonably irritated by the foolhardiness of his decision.

He gave a rueful shrug.  “It was really good money.”  He opened his mouth to change the subject, but I wasn’t about to let the matter drop.

There was a reason I was single, despite working in a crowded, busy sportsbar.

“You’re an idiot.  Seriously.  If you don’t go back and finish that semester and get your degree, you’re an absolute idiot.”  I set my drink down and stared at him hard.

His eyes met mine, and he held my stare for a long moment. 

“Maybe I will, Becky.  Maybe I will.” 

**********

Today was The Bean’s last final.

When he went back to finish his degree, one thing led to another, and he made the decision to start over from scratch and “do it right”, to use his words.

I may, or may not, have called him an idiot again.  I plead the fifth.

Two weeks into his first semester we found out I was pregnant with the DragonMonkey.

It’s been a little over four and a half years since then.

He completed the whole thing in four and a half years, from start to finish, despite working around 50 hours a week, moving several times, and having two kids.  In fact, for the last two years, he’s been working two jobs.  For a brief period there he was actually working three.

He is graduating with a 3.9, with only three B’s on his entire transcript.

He’s graduating the top of his class in the accounting department.  A really nice accounting firm in Portland has already snatched him up, and as you all know, in less than two weeks we’ll be living there.

Bean, I’d like to propose a toast.

Here’s to the hard work, and the sleepless nights.  Here’s to the lonely weekends, and the staying up late, studying ridiculously boring subjects.  Here’s to waking up at three so you can have everything ready for work and still show up on time to your 5 am math class.

Here’s to $300 tax books that the bookstore won’t buy back because there’s a “new edition.”

Here’s to skipping new movies, and vacations, and even our honeymoon so we didn’t have to pull out a bigger loan.

Here’s to horselessness.

Here’s to you getting up on the morning after we got married, kissing me on the cheek while I nestled deeper in the hotel sheets, and still making it to your Saturday class.

Here’s to not punching your fellow students when they complained to the teacher about juggling their school workload with their part-time, minimum wage job.

Here’s to all of our sacrifices.

Here’s to us.

I’m proud of you, baby.

Now… let’s go have a little fun.

I Want to Be a Veterinarian

I want to be a veterinarian.

I want to be a veterinarian specializing in large animals.

I want to be a vet specializing in large animals, with an emphasis on equines.

I want to be an equine vet who specializes in reproduction.

I want to be an equine vet specializing in the comprehensive service of assisted equine reproduction, specifically artificial insemination as a viable alternative to natural breeding.

Why do I want this?

I want to do this because the longer I am married to The Bean, the more it becomes apparent that I have married someone who enjoys the finer things in life.  I have married someone who likes nice suits and black tie affairs.  He likes expensive liquor, and fine cigars, and formal business transactions. I have married someone who enjoys the smooth sound of a 7 series BMW, who likes the idea of getting into local politics, who enjoys expensive dinners where the meat is served with sides of nearly unpronounceable french-sounding sauces.

I have married a classy man.

I want to be an equine vet who specializes in AI, because one day The Bean will let down his guard and bring home some equally classy business associates.

Knowing how important this meeting is to him, I will have taken a day off of work and spent all day preparing.  The house will be perfect, as will I.  The Bean will usher them in to the front door (which might even be a foyer at that point), and I will glide forward to meet them.  I will be by his side, well-dressed in an elegant black dress, features accentuated with tastefully applied makeup, hair pulled back in a smooth chignon.  I will murmur all the right things in a quiet tone, welcoming them to our home, taking them past the elegant wall hangings and gleaming wood floors as we go down the hallway.

Together we will enter the dining room.  

“Oh!” I’ll say as we enter the room, raising a well-manicured, horrified hand to cover my mouth in astonished embarrassment.  “Oh, heavens!” 

I will rush forward, my heels making a smooth clicking sound against the floor as I gather the large cylinder from the corner of the table.

“I do apologize.  Please forgive me, I really thought I had put away earlier.  This is so embarrassing. “

I’ll hug the object in my arms and give a self-deprecating laugh.  “Murphy’s law, right?  Don’t you just hate it when you accidentally leave a giant artificial horse vagina out on the table when company comes over?  I am so sorry.”

I’ll stride to the doorway, dress rustling against my legs as I sweep past them with my arms wrapped around the smooth cylinder.  As I pass by them, I’ll collect myself and turn, completely poised.  “Please forgive me gentlemen.  I am neglecting my hostess duties.  After I put this away back in the closet I’d be happy to bring you some wine.  Red or white?”

Happy Anniversary, Bean

Dear Bean,

See, this is the problem I have with anniversaries.  I should be getting ready for a wonderful, romantic evening with you, where we go out to dinner, or a movie, or something anniversary-ish like that.  It would be really fun to go out and celebrate the fact that four years ago we were exchanging our vows inside of a too-hot courthouse while my mom channeled her inner paparazzi and took pictures of your ear wax. 

Unfortunately, life is too busy.

I’ve got tons of stuff to do work today – I don’t think I’m going to get it all done in time before my boss comes back, and that’s stressing me out.  I suppose I could try to make a big, fancy dinner to show you my love, but I made plans with a friend to meet up at Westminster Mall and let the boys run around and get their energy out.  Besides, I’m not really in the mood to cook, and you’re going to be stuck sitting through whatever boring class it is you have on Wednesday nights (Strategy and Policy, I think?) and you won’t be home until late. 

If this were a movie, when you came home from class I’d be there to greet you at the door in some kind of filmy negligee, my hair shiny and straight, my mouth quirking at the corners as I lead you into the bedroom by your tie (I know you don’t actually wear a tie to work, but just work with me here.) 

Unfortunately, I’m not a night person – I’m a morning person.  By the time you get home, probably after 10:00 pm, if I am still awake I will be tired and grumpy.  My hair will be in a messy ponytail, and I won’t be wearing a negligee.

In fact, come to think of it, I don’t even own a negligee.  I look stupid in them – they don’t make them for women who are tall, so they don’t fit quite right and just look awkward on me.  I’m sure if I bought an expensive one it might fit better, but  I can’t see wasting that much money on something I’m barely going to wear.  I could get a decent pair of jeans for that price, you know.  I guess I could go buy it at Walmart…. But honestly, lingerie from Walmart just sounds kind of gross.  Besides, if I told you where I bought it from you’d probably get angry at me “supporting the Chinese”, and the mood would be ruined.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  So, it doesn’t really matter whether I have anything sexy to wear or not, because I’m going to be too tired by the time you come home, and you know I get grumpy when I get tired.  In the interest of honesty, though, if you were to come home early from class it probably wouldn’t get much better.  I’m in a grumpy mood today.  It doesn’t seem right to be grumpy on our anniversary, but there you have it.  I’ve been waiting for my grumpiness to lift so I could write you a sweet, loving, heartfelt note, but it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

It’s not for lack of trying—I’ve actually been trying to come up with sweet nothings all day long.  You’re really good at writing love notes—- me?  Not so much. 

What, do you don’t believe that I’ve been trying?  Well, I have. After almost eight hours at work, here is what I have come up with:

Dear Joe,
I don’t like you at all today.  But I do I love you, even though you really got on my nerves when you wouldn’t let me use your cell phone last night.  Still, we’re married, and we’re stuck with each other through good, bad and annoying, so here’s to another year.

Love,
Becky

PS:  Heat up the rest of the cold spaghetti in the fridge when you come home tonight.  We need to eat it before it goes bad. 

I also came up with a couple of poems:


Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
It’s our anniversary
I’m irritated with you

Roses are red,
The boys’ boogers are green
Now leave me alone
I’ve had too much Bean

Violets are Blue
Roses are Red
Hooray.  We’re still married
Now I’m going to bed

Yeah.  Sorry.  I did warn you that I was grumpy.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got today…. I know it kind of sucks as far as love notes go, so here are a couple of pictures of things you like to make it a little better:

Happy last-anniversary-spent-living-in-California.


I love you,
Becky

Pillow Talk

“I dunno, Bean, I’ve never really thought about it.  What would I do if you died?”

We lay on our backs in the dark, pondering in silence.

“It’s tough to say.  I love you, Bean.  What we have – the way it works between us?  Well, it’s really cool, and so much better than I imagined it would ever work out…. Oh, you know what I mean.  But I dunno… I don’t know if I would ever want to be married again.”

“Why, because it’s just been so terrible for you?  Awww, poor Becky…. just so burned in marriage….Being married is just so rough on her…..”

“No.  It’s not that.  I love you.  It works between us.  It’s just… being single is easier, ya know?  Marriage is a lot of work.”

“Yeah.”  He falls silent.  “I don’t think I’d want to marry again either.  I love you, Becky.”

“I love you too, Bean.”

“I’d miss you with all my heart, but yeah… you probably couldn’t get me to ink up on marriage again.  If you died,” he pauses, as if considering whether to go on.  “If you died, I could have the whole bed to myself.”

I’m not offended.  It’s just common sense.  Besides:

“On the other hand….I dunno, Bean.. what if I live until 90?  I don’t believe in screwing around outside of marriage, and 60 years is a long time to go without ‘lovin’, if you know what I mean.”

“Who are you going to be sleeping with?”  He sounds vaguely insulted.

I don’t know why he’s acting all hurt – he just killed me off so he didn’t have to share the covers.  I’m just admitting to a biological imperative that would be tough to ignore.  Sheesh.

“Bean, don’t be silly.  I’m just saying… imagine it.  If I died in a freak accident, you’re only thirty years old. After today you would never, ever, ever get any nookie again.  Not once.”  I’ve already told him that if I die he can find someone else to marry, but that he’s not allowed to sleep around. 

He pauses, considering. 

“Well, in that case, if (God forbid) you died, I think I’d go be a monk.”

I snort.  “Bean, you’d make a terrible monk.”

Now he sounds really insulted.  “And why is that?  I’d make a great monk.”  

“Really?  You seriously think you’d make a good monk?”

“Sure.  I could sit up there on my throne…. And order people around….”

“What?  Sweetie, monks are those guys that live in monasteries.  They are the ones who give up all their worldly goods, shave their heads, put on a scratchy brown robe and tend a garden with a bunch of other dudes.  What, are you going to grow vegetables to help the poor while maintaining a vow of silence?”

He pauses.

“Oh.  Uh, yeah.  I’d make a terrible monk.”

The bedroom fills with a comfortable silence.

“Then what are those guys called that I’m thinking about?  The ones that have the lavish robes, who sit on a chair and boss their concubines around?”

“You mean like Genghis Khan?”

“Yeah!”  His tone brightens.

“They don’t exist anymore.  I don’t think they even have a term anymore.  I dunno…… Mongolian prince?”

“Yeah!  Mongolian prince.  That’s it.  If you died, then I would go become a Mongolian prince.”

“What about the kids?”

“They’re older in this scenario.  They’ve got their own lives.”

“So, what… you’d be sitting up in your throne with people cooking you lots of steaks, ordering your servants around and sleeping all sorts of concubines?”

“Yeah!”  He sounds happy.

Now I’m the one who is insulted.  The silence in the bedroom isn’t quite so comfortable anymore, and he can tell.

“It doesn’t count,” he says defensively.  “They’re just concubines.”

“Mmmm-hmmmm.”  I’m admitting that my flesh is weak and that I one day I may have to marry some sweet Christian guy with a pot belly and a nice smile, and suddenly the Bean is dressed in velvet robes, eating filet mignong while surrounded by dozens of nubile young slave girls?

“They’re just concubines!  It doesn’t count!”  He is starting to sound a little desperate.

“Mmmm-hmmmm.”

“It doesn’t!”

“Mmmm-hmmmm.”

There’s an awkward pause while he tries to come up with a way to take back what he just said.  Finally:

“I love you?”

“I love you, too.  But no – you are not allowed to become a Mongolian prince if I die.   Ever.   And I don’t know what imaginary dimension you were living in, but yes, concubines count.”

He gives a heavy sigh.  “Fine.  Concubines count.”

We roll on our sides, silence drifting like a warm blanket across the darkness, lulling us to sleep.