Mystery Man

My husband and I have been married for 13 years.  And sometimes he still surprises me.  No, I don’t mean in the “he brought me flowers” or “he went to Jared” type of way.  Although I do get a few of those on occasion.  But he surprises me at times when he becomes this other guy for other people.  I’ll call this guy Ethan.  No, Rick.  That sounds like a fun-loving guy, don’t you think?

So Rick comes out at different times.  Like, if we go out with his job for the occasional bru-ha-ha after work.  Or take his team out for dinner and drinks to keep the morale up for work.  I sometimes have to take a second look at him to realize who he is.  Let me explain such an occasion recently when we went to a baseball game with some friends.

Neither of us are big fans of any sport in particular.  But we may accept the one-off invite to go to a game here or there.  On this particular day, the weather was gorgeous.  Breezy, balmy and the sun was out but not too intimidating.  Although the weather was acting perfect, he and I were on separate moons that day.  Not arguing or bickering.  But just not meshing and flowing either.  If you’re married, I’m sure you know that sort of day.  But I promise I won’t let that sway my opinions of this event.

So, we get in the car to meet the group at a friend’s house.  On the way there, I notice just how quiet we are.  I’m a talker.  I love to talk.  So I notice the lack of conversation.  No small talk.  Nothing to fill the silence.  But this is my husband.  He gets like this.  And I accept it.  (Lord only knows the things he “accepts” of me.  I’m scared to wonder.)  We arrive at the friend’s home to a house full of folks.  Already started drinking with music playing.  A huge smile settles on my husband’s face and I know immediately I am seeing the first signs of Rick.  After all the arrangements are made as to who was driving and who was riding with whom, we loaded into the cars for the trip to the stadium.  I was forced into the third row of a huge Chevy Tahoe with a wife I’ve spoken to only in passing over the years. But I am sitting behind Rick who is now in full force.  Talking, making conversation, asking questions to the group at the front of the car.  Laughing, joking and being what I’d call charming.  Once inside the stadium, he is focused on being such a people pleaser that he loses me in the chaos of folks entering to see the game.  And he barely notices until all the other husbands are walking in with their wives and making sure they have their tickets together.  This may be the one flaw Rick has.

The group of us are now at our seats.  My husband–oh I’m sorry, I mean Rick–begins to chat it up profusely with one of the couples sitting beside him.  Again, asking interest arousing questions, making jokes.  Showing this conversational side that I only get to witness every once in a while.  I’m at a disadvantage because I can’t hear most of the conversation going on between he and them.  And the couple on my side are busy talking to the other side of the group on their end.  So I’m sort of left out.  But that’s not the purpose of this blog.  To complain about me sitting at a boring baseball game in perfect weather, surrounded by thousands with absolutely no one to talk to.  No, that’s not what this is about.  This is about this guy Rick that I meet every once in a while who I think I may like to get to know a little better by seeing more often. Although I’m not altogether sure of this. I’d love to see what relationship he and I would have if we met alone some time.  (Maybe while driving in the car to some friends house to go to a game or something.)

But let me finish telling you about Rick that evening.  As always, Rick throws one liners and talks about topics I didn’t even know was part of his repertoire.  Rick buys rounds of beer for all the fellas and even drinks it himself.  (Something my husband never requests on the grocery list app we synced up on our phones.) He even has a beer preference!  (Ha!  Who knew?!)  And let me tell you the absolute best part.  We were put on the jumbo tron at the game!  Although they show folks time after time after time during the entire game, I for one have never been on there.  And I must say have never talked to someone who has been on it.  (Are we sure they don’t just continue to play old footage of games from ’94 and that’s why we know no one on there?) But to our surprise, the camera guy came to our section and taped us!  The entire group was amazed and so excited!  Screaming and waving at the camera and holding up their beers in mock celebration.  (Because our team lost horribly.) You want to know what Rick did?  Well, I’m gonna tell you.  Rick pulled up his shirt and aired all 250 pounds of his round belly to the fan-filled stadium! Isn’t Rick silly?  My husband would never do those things.  He’s a relatively reserved guy.  But these are the things that Rick does.  You never know what he’s going to do or say next.

Well now it’s time for us to go home.  And no one else notices it, but I can see Rick starting to disappear.  He’s still there mind you, but not as much.  He is still laughing and talking and throwing in digs as if timed beforehand.  But as his estranged wife, I can see Rick starting to step back into the shadows.  We say our goodbyes and give hugs with promises to do this again soon and get back into our car.  The man in the driver seat lets out a long, wide yawn and says something about being too old to stay out this late anymore.  And with that, Rick is gone.  We don’t ride home in silence this time.  The excitement of just being out in the fresh air and the fun of being on a jumbo tron for our first time coupled with relaxing effects of the beer, we are beginning to mesh a little bit.  So we talk.  But we talk about aching legs from the walk to the stadium from the parking lot, how much it cost for our wings and fries–noticing we could have went to Ruth Chris for the same amount we paid for fast food.  You know, the basic conversation of husband and wife.  Nope, I’m not complaining one bit.  As stated, I love to talk.  I’ll make conversation about anything.  I just wonder if these are things Rick would have talked about if he were there.

Toddler Humiliation

I am a first time mom.  Along with that comes the stress of constantly wondering if you are raising your kid properly.  Because of  that, you look for any opportunity that will make you feel good about what you have done so far.  Sometimes you may find yourself pulling at straws to find even one tiny little thing the little hellian you created is doing right to finally feel vindicated to wear that “MOM” title.

But remember the saying: “One step forward, two steps back”.

One step forward:  I watched my friend’s two little girls for her one day last week.  They are both older than my two-year old.  I’m gonna say one is four and the other is either six or seven.  Very nice girls. After being at my house for a short time, I was a tiny bit surprised how they never said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.  While playing in my living room, they kept jumping on the couches after me asking them numerous times not to.  And at one point, someone (no one has admitted to it even to this day) knocked a speaker to our tv off of its stand and just left it on the floor without saying anything.  These are not any actions that surprised me due to the kid’s ages.  But these things did make me feel good because my daughter was no part of it.  She does say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  She even says ‘excuse me’ when you’re talking to someone so as not to interrupt.  She was not running across my leather couches while wearing her shoes and she was not jump roping in the middle of my living room.  (granted, this last part is because she does not yet know how to jump rope but that’s not the point!)

Needless to say, I spent a small portion of that morning inwardly smiling because I was happy to see that the fussing and continuous hounding on my kid is actually paying off.  I was starting to get a little puffed up.  Proud even.  I was already having the conversation in my head how I was going to discuss my good parenting skills with my husband when he got home from work.  Surely he could benefit from the proven techniques I’ve integrated into raising our child!!

Two steps back:  Later that afternoon – after a trip to the park, indoor jump roping (as stated) and a quick walk through the woods – it was time for everyone (myself included) to take a nap.  I laid all three girls in the bed in the spare room.  As is the routine with my daughter, we read two stories.  My friend’s oldest daughter could barely keep her eyes open as we read the stories and was halfway asleep by the end.  I tucked them all in and eagerly headed toward my own sanctuary.  I could barely get out the room when my daughter sits up and calls my name.  When she sits up, my friend’s youngest sits up.  I soothe her and tuck them all in again.  This time, I make it out of the room and almost have the door closed when my daughter sits up and calls me again.  When she sits up, again the youngest sits up.

Let me here explain that my daughter is definitely going through the toddler “i don’t want to sleep, ask for more water, ask for another kiss, another hug, please put socks on my feet, door open, light on, babies lined in the right order and sing a song before I can go to sleep” phase.  I thought for sure that being with the other two, she would gladly and quickly fall asleep.  But after calling me twice, I knew we were going to have a problem.  I calmed her down yet again and this time actually made it across the hall into my room before I heard her calling me once more.  And you guessed it, when I went back into the room, her and her buddy were both sitting up looking at me.  The only difference was that my daughter was looking wide awake whereas her partner was looking droopy-eyed and might I add a little annoyed.  I knew this could get bad.  So I take my daughter out of there to sleep in her own room.  An idea she seemed fine with when I first mentioned it to her.  But as I’m sure you can tell, quickly disintegrated.  I put my kid in her crib, and she immediately started her list of requests.  No matter that I had just filled all of these before laying her down in the spare room with her friends!  Well, folks, the kid went into a one-sided screaming match once I told her no more requests would be filled.  My child started screaming at the top of her lungs, jumping up and down in her crib while beating on the side.  I couldn’t believe it!  Surely she knew her friends were hearing all this in the other room.  Surely she should be embarrassed to act in such a manner with an audience, right?  Ha!  Completely wrong, my friends.  And no, she did not do this for a few moments and then calm herself.  She did this for 45 minutes!  No, I didn’t say 4 to 5 minutes, I said FORTY-FIVE minutes.  Half the time I couldn’t make out what words she was yelling, but none of it mattered.  (i don’t think)  Because the racket she caused was unnerving!  And all the while, there were two sweet, peaceful and perfect little angels trying to get some sleep in the other room and at the same time allow me to get my rest to be recharged for them for the afternoon.  But my kid, the one I was telling you about who says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ sat there screaming like something possessed!  She did cry herself to sleep.  And you would think the story ended there.  And yes, yes it should.  But she didn’t stay asleep.  She woke up.  After only half an hour of sleep.  And basically picked up right where she left off.  And if you’re wondering–yes, she did wake up the other two.  And no, I did not get a nap myself.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what I am to do about this behavior!  What should I have done differently so that situation would have gone a lot smoother? How in the world did my friend get her two kids to just lay down and go to sleep without any arguments, bribing or requests? And why the heck wasn’t my husband home to support me with this hellian we created rather than out working a job?  Doesn’t he know that I need his help?

So.  Do you see why this entry is entitled ‘Toddler Humiliation’?  It’s because my kid definitely humbled me last week.  After the briefest moment of gloat I’ve ever seen.  There are many simple lessons to be learned from this.  Two I’m going to mention.  Kids are kids and I’ve got to readily accept this roller coaster ride having her has put me on. And I guess my main one is to revel in the good things my daughter does.  Be sure to compliment her on them when they happen.  But don’t get myself so built up that it’s so shaming when she brings me back down.  LOL  You got to love her!

Unsexy Realization

So, I have a question for you.  When did you realize that you look nothing how you’ve imagined yourself?  Have you gotten there yet?  Did it hit you years ago?  Is it a manifestation of a mid-life crisis ?

My demise came a few months ago.  My daughter was “graduating” from her Little Gym class and my family all came up to help us celebrate.  Video cameras and all.  Yes.  Video cameras.  Who knew that a fun family event would turn into a sad source of a memory for me?

I have what I’ve always considered to be a cute and fashionable jogging suit that I frequently wear when I need to be comfortable yet still want to look in style.  I got it from Victoria’s Secret.  Let me here mention that my body habitus in no way resembles a model from that company!  But I swear there must be something on those pages that gets etched in your mind that makes you feel–no, makes you think–that you don’t look like them, yet you don’t look far from them either.  Perhaps their “sexiness” in the outfit you buy lingers in your minds eye and then that’s the only thing you see.  Even when you put it on and stand in front of a mirror!  I don’t know.  But as stated, this was my ‘go to’ jogging suit.  And I wore it for my daughter’s little shindig.  Needless to say, those horrible cameras my husband and father had nerve to bring, captured a side of me that I thought looked A LOT different.  It was in those videos that I saw the real me.  From behind!!!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t looked into the mirror and inspected my backside before.  Who doesn’t?  But still, what I saw surprised me.  It shouldn’t have–but it did.  I come from a long line of inherited square booties.  My mom has a square-shaped booty, one of my aunts had a square-shaped booty.  Her daughter, my cousin, has a square shape. And sadly, my sister has the square!  Boy how I would “tsk” at her as she walked by me.  Sad that she was unfortunate to inherit the infamous square!!  Little did I know I’d be sporting it soon enough myself!  To be fair, I have no idea when the square actually showed up!  (Dear God has it been there this entire time?!) I had always checked out my butt when I got dressed, after a shower, at all the usual times one does it.  And never did I realize that it was not heart-shaped.  Well, let me not lie–I did realize it wasn’t heart-shaped, but believe me, it wasn’t a square either!  You do believe me, don’t you?

Watching that video totally changed everything I felt about myself.  I used to saunter past guys and not worry at all about what they were going to see when I went by. No, I didn’t flaunt it at all. But I wasn’t ashamed of it either.  I wasn’t nervous wondering if they were going to be checking me out as I strutted on.  But now, after seeing that video of myself, I want nothing more than to walk backwards away from folks.  Male AND female for crying out loud!!

So let me just tell you that I have come to a definite new idea of myself.  Sadly it is not a good nor happy one.  I am still trying to come to grips with it all.  Because it for sure took me by surprise.  And all thanks to a two-year old needing a recording of her graduation on learning how to do a roll.  (or somersault as they called it there)  Curses to my husband and father for bringing those wretched cameras!!  (Who ever invented those horrible things anyway?!)

In conclusion, beware those mirrors, folks!  They do not show you truly what others see.  My suggestion, have someone video tape you before you go anywhere and play it back before you walk out the door!!!  Be 100% sure you know what everyone else is going to see before you leave!!

You have been warned!!!