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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

30 is the new 20

I AM 30 TODAY! I realize I am unabashedly celebrating myself right now, but as you can see from the comment section...I'm the only one reading this! So 3 CHEERS FOR ME! Yeah.....

Alright. The truth of the matter is I love my birthday. I like to make it a big deal. And 30 is HUGE! It is a milestone birthday. Usually, all my friends and family oblige and the world stops spinning on its axis for the day so that I may command all types of affection and attention. Surely at 30, it would not be unreasonable to expect the proportional birthday response for such an auspicious occasion...fireworks, a call from the President (which I would not take for obvious reasons), Ed McMahon presenting me with a present on prime time TV?

But I got married 3 months ago. And the world keeps turning. You can't really expect everyone to celebrate you after they just spent a year throwing all manner of shower/party/gifts/wedding/attention to all your petty little demands. So this year I told everyone not to make a big deal about my birthday. And I am fine with it, really...I mean, the door to my office is closed right now and I am crying, but that's nothing. I'm over it. Who cares?

Actually, as it turns out, no one cares. Truth be told, I really am sick of having everyone's attention and adoration (I know, maybe I am coming down with something, maybe marraige changes your very soul...). I did just want to celebrate quietly with my new husband. Make a memory, go to know. And damn if everyone didn't listen to me...I have not a single plan for tonight. Cue the violins....

I am neither kidding, trying to be modest or attempting to do that polite thing...I really have had my fill of the celebrate me party circuit. But is it too much to ask that my husband remember that it is my birthday?

I believe this morning was the official end of the wooing phase of our relationship. Sadly, he did not remember my birthday this morning, and I am sure you would guess that I left for work dejected, shocked and sad. I mean you would have to play the odds if you were the bettin' type. That's right, always bet on black...well not in this case honey...

Surprisingly, even to myself, I was neither shocked nor awed by his lack of birthday well wishes. First, in his defense, he has a horrible cold today. And much as I may like to read into his oversight (he doesn't love me, the romance is dead, or my personal favorite...he is taking me for granted) the fact of the matter is it slipped his mind. He loves me I am sure. He will realize the mistake and call any minute now and shower me with love and affection.

And then he will hastily pull something together, because as sure I am of the fact that he loves me, I am equally as sure of the fact that he has not given an ounce of energy over to attempting to plan ahead for the big day.

That's alright though...because: YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! I'M 30!!!!!!!!!! The lack of any response to my birthday is not enough to get me down! I will celebrate myself! (clearly, I can blame my lameness on old age at this point).

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Folding 101

My husband does our laundry. I am convinced he does this because he doesn't trust me to do it. I base this on the following encounter we had upon returning from our 2 week honeymoon with approximately 26 loads of laundry to do:

Me: "I'm going to do the laundry!" (said with excitement as I thought I was doing something nice for him)

Him: "That's alright, I can do it, you look tired."

Me: "I want to do it, I'm not tired."

Him: "........."

Me: "I can do it, just tell me what I have to do."

Him: "Ummm, alright, just don't wash anything of mine"

I think I have a fairly strong argument that he doesn't trust me to do the laundry. And to be fair, he has a point...I have a history of laundry mishaps. But last night he did some laundry and I said I would help him fold it. As we were folding, I couldn't help but notice that he was rushing to grab all of his clothes out of the basket to fold and kept handing me my own shirts/pants/underwear to fold.

Me: "Are you not letting me fold your stuff on purpose?"

Him: "......."

Me: "Do you not like the way I fold?"

Him: "I just like my T-shirts folded a certain way."

Me: "Just show me."

Him: "......"

Apparently there are techniques to folding boxer shorts. Techniques that I can not hope to grasp. So last night I spent a good half hour going through his dresser and analyzing the way he folds his things. The good wife folds her husband's laundry. What a pain in the ass being a good wife is.

This is what marraige is about. Love means spending the night figuring out how he likes his undershirts folded, while he picks up the 30 pairs of shoes I have left all over the house. And there is nothing I would rather be doing for the next 50 years.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Philly Fringe

The above picture is an advertisement for a show in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. I believe the show is called The Adventures of Trixie Little & The Evil Hate Monkey.

I can think of nothing less appealing than the Fringe Festival. For me, anyway. I can intellectually understand that there is value in the Fringe Festival, that art is subjective and that this venue allows creativity and performance that otherwise would have no outlet to survive. But I drive a red volvo. I live in the suburbs, I can watch MTV all day, every day. Laguna Beach marathon...I am in. What I am saying is that I am as Ann Taylor as it gets my friends, and anything outside the very mainest of the mainstream is not really my bag.

It isn't that the art is alternative. I can deal with alternative for a night. I'll put on something trendy and stomach down Tappas and Mojito's with the best of them. My problem is that the Fringe Festival involves raunchy, sexual acts to a large degree. So while I am game for swimming outside the current once in a while, the thought of anything sexual being portrayed in public gives me hives. But we are going. Following a lengthy and hard fought battle between my husband and I, we are going to Fringe. I am leaving the center to hang out on the fringe for a while. And I have hives. Is it un-fringe to wear calamyne lotion under my trendy top?

What is worse it that we have been to the Fringe before, and caught the riveting performance of a puppet master who puts on the show from out of her vagina. HER VAGINA! I almost had a heart attack. No, I don't want to see your vagina, I don't want to know what turns you on, or what turns your friends on, I don't want to see your underwear, or worse, any of your private parts. I don't want you to tell me about the time you and your wife got drunk and tried that...and I don't want to tell you about anything that I may or may not do with my husband in our private intimate moments. I don't even like typing "private intimate moments"...

Do these people have parents, or any shame for that matter? Aren't they worried the store clerk from Ann Taylor will see a picture of them in their underwear on the Fringe website? How could you ever go in to buy a cardigan twinset again?

I would like to fake an epileptic seizure on the sidewalk to get out of going to the show, but people would probably mistake it for performance art...

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Happy Couple

Just testing out the picture thing. This took almost a half hour to figure out...and I'm the computer savvy one out of the two of us. Anyway, I love this picture. It represents our wedding, and our life. When we look at this picture we remember how happy we were at that moment. What we see, that no one else can, is me bum rushing the kid out of the church. If I had my way, we would have been in an all out where? I have no idea. I always feel like rushing.

If it were up to him, he would have glad handed everyone on the way out and we would have been making our way out of the church as the chicken got cold waiting for us at the reception.

We make a good match. Me pulling him forward, him holding me back...that way we move at the right pace for US.

Back on the Bandwagon

After a temporary rest stop, we are back on the wedding bandwagon!
My sister-in-law got engaged this past Thursday! I am so excited for her. I am also excited that I have someone to give all that bridal crap to! Yeah!

When you get married, you not only become someone's wife, you become someone's daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and part of the fabric of another family. This is almost more daunting than becoming a wife.

For me, I married into a great family. But I married the only son in the family, and he has two sisters. I never had a sister, so this is a double edged sword. I love having sisters. And they are both really good to me, they really include me as part of the family. But no matter how close I am to them, they are always going to be closer to each other. It is too much ground to cover to catch up...not having grown up together.

Which is fine, after all, my husband will never be as close to my brother as I am. But there is something different about sisters. You need to have one in order to understand the dynamic. And I don't have one. So I am routinely baffled by their bond.

For example, if I tell one sister something in matter what they swear on that they won't tell anyone...they always tell the other. This is something you can't help when you have a sister. I did not know that. Now I do.

So when the youngest one got engaged, I was so happy for her...I just was so excited. I talked to my husband non stop about it. (He was not so happy that his baby sister was engaged, but more on that later). It was like my sister had gotten engaged.

At the party for the engagement on Friday night, I squealed and hugged her, ogled the ring, gave her a small book on weddings and smiled pretty much all night at how happy she was. When the older sister arrived, I grabbed my neice, kissed her and held her, talked excitedly to my older sister-in-law about the upcoming wedding. I felt like I was just another sister.

But to tell you the truth, there was a point when the older sister said to the younger one "Promise you won't look at a single dress without me." and the younger sister promised. And I thought...I wish I had a real sister. And then the younger sister turned to me and said "and I won't buy a dress without you." which referrs to my incredible ability to haggle. And it occurred to me that I do, I have two if they would just gain a little weight...

(The Sisters)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The landscape of life

We have been working every weekend on landcaping our yard. It was truly a jungle, and we have ripped it all out, rototilled and regraded the dirt. Sounds like a huge project right?

Did I fail to mention our yard is approximately 10 ft x 10 ft? Yes, you would think we were working on the White House Rose Garden the way we fixate on the yard, or as I like to refer to it "the lawn".

This past weekend, we visited several nurseries ostensibly to buy some plants and then go to town landscaping. We walked around in 100 degree heat. It was brutal. At the end of the day, we went home with ....NOTHING!

It has been determined that we don't know anything about bushes, shrubs, trees, plants, flowers, or even dirt. We don't know when to plant, what to plant, or how to plant it.

This is going to cost us some bucks. We called a few landscapers (translate: I called a few landscapers, if I waited on my husband, we would be looking at a dirt pit for the next ten years). I was told that we can't plant until mid-September.

Pishawwwww...I intend to have a beautifully landscaped yard by September 7th...the night of the football tea party, I mean, fantasy football draft.

My life is currently a dirt patch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Football Tea Party

My husband plays fantasy sports. He is particularly into fantasy football, but to be honest, if they had fantasy midget tossing, he would probably have to think about it before declining.

Fantasy sports to me are like playing tea party. You pretend to manage a team, pretend to have a draft and make trades...each sunday you monitor your pretend team, in hopes of winning the pretend superbowl. So it's pretty much like a tea party.

Regardless, my husband has just called me at work to tell me that he has a pre-draft party tonight at a bar. He has known about it for some time. And truth be told, I have known for a while myself (one of my coworkers is in the league with my husband). The fact remains that he waited until approximately 2 hours before he was supposed to meet these guys to let me know.

Now, I don't really care if he goes or not. But I jokingly told him he couldn't go because I was implementing a new rule: if you don't tell me ahead of time, you can't do it. I was joking about this because my husbands Modus Operandi is to wait until the last second to tell me things so that he doesn't have to explain, argue or discuss anything. And this is actually a problem for me. Hence the joke about the new rule.

The conversation was as follows:

W: "you are not going tonight."

H: "what?"

W: "I am implementing a new rule: if you don't tell me about it ahead of time, you don't get to do it."

we are both laughing....

H: "ok, but for now how about this rule, I worry about me and you worry about you"

W: "no. that rule went out the window when you showed up on June 4th at the church"

And so we went round robin for a while.

He will probably go, we both know he doesn't need my permission, but if I pushed it, he would probably not go.

A good wife wouldn't push it right? Well, I'm not that good at being a wife yet, so I'll let you know how it turns out.

The Job

I hesitate to mention what I do for two reasons. First, I don't want to sound pretentious and second people generally don't like people who do what I do. I am an attorney (gasp!). So is my new husband.

My husband would shudder at the thought of telling someone what we do. More for the former reason than the latter. I agree with him for the most part. I hate when people drop the "I'm an attorney" line in almost all situations. However, in the course of getting to know someone, inevitably you ask what they do. My husband dreads this question, and therefore never asks it himself for fear that someone will return the question. He is a little overboard on the whole "don't tell them we are attorneys" thing...but whatever.

My job is more demanding than my husband's. I work more hours and it is less fun with more stress. I am a civil litigation defense lawyer specializing in construction law (although if I have to deal with one more plaintiff who slipped and fell in the grocery store because they didn't notice the jelly on the floor in the rush to the chip aisle...I will kill myself).

My husband is a prosecutor. His job is more important than mine, but less stressful, less hours, and certainly more court room time (which means more fun). It is my dream job, and I am secretly jealous of him getting to do it. As all important jobs do, his job does not pay as much as mine. Therefore I am what you call the bread winner.

Of course that's just if you looked at it on paper. In real life, my new husband does all the laundry. He does 90% of the cleaning and neither of us really cooks, but he is responsible for dinner most nights. Did I mention that he does all the yard work, food shopping and in general keeps our lives on track? Sometimes it feels like I contribute little other than my paycheck.

And I am bitching because I feel like I don't clean and cook enough. Well....yes, yes I am. Because I want to be a good wife, and if that isn't kosher with Betty Friedan then she can give me a call and I'll explain it to her. I'm not saying I want to quit my job and take care of my man, but I think I would find satisfaction in making sure the kid eats a healthy meal, and goes to sleep in clean sheets because of me. feels wrong to me to feel that way. I feel like I am letting women down by wanting to be a great wife. "How 50's of you" they say. And my husband doesn't get it. He doesn't see a problem here, thinks I am being dramatic. He is fine with me not doing anything domestic, "you worked hard today babe, it's ok, I'll get dinner"

And like I said in an earlier post, we do everything together, so I am always right there with him in the yard, or painting, or even figuring out the wiring on the deck, or the crack in the foundation...I hooked up our new printer the other day. I just can't get a handle on anything domestic. The very things I think I should be doing are the things he does almost by himself.

The last generation sold us a bill of goods girls..."YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL". Just kidding you! You can't. So the key is balance. Balance and learning the nuances of your oven so you don't burn everything that you put in it...despite following the directions to a tee...Betty Crocker my ass...I mean, COME ON! The directions said 350 for 25 minutes. What am I doing wrong here?

And you know what? It isn't alright to just do one or the are supposed to do it all. Can't just stay at home OR work, because women are divided on this issue. Each side makes the other feel inferior. If you stay at home and take care of your family, you feel like the career women are looking at you with pity. And if you are a partner at your firm, and don't cook for your husband or keep the house perfect or (god forbid) put your kids in daycare, then you know that the stay at home crew is whispering about how bad of a mother and wife you are.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Thanks for being such a great role model Hillary Clinton, but do you have a good pound cake recipe? That would really help me out.

**P.S. this is where the aforementioned night sweats come in.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The in-laws

(my father-in-law posing with me at the wedding...yeah...posing, that's right...we were posing.)

In-Laws. Its the underbelly of marriage that no one speaks of. Except Ben Stiller.

Actually, I have great in-laws. I love them, very much. They are like my own family...Therefore, I do not have any in-law problems (except I can't determine what to call my husband's mother so I just wait until she looks at me to speak to her). No, my problems are the types of problems you have with your parents. They are like a second set of parents, and quite frankly, I'm lucky to have them. I really hit the jackpot.

I have great parents. Seriously, they are award winning. But they live far away. My in-laws on the other hand, live only 15 minutes away. And since I started dating my husband seven years ago, they have taken me in as if I were one of theirs. For instance, every year I get yelled at by my CPA father-in-law for incorrectly claiming deductions on my w-2. He yells at me the same way he yells at my husband and his two other daughters. It is strangely comforting.

As a result, I act accordingly...I act like they are my parents. I do not afford them the courtesy I would extend to my boyfriend's parents...they get the same service that my own parents get. God help them.

And that's how it happened. A mere two months after my wedding.

I called my husband's sister and brother-in-law down in Baltimore to see if they needed help moving. My brother-in-law answered the phone and sounded a little off. When I asked him what was wrong, he said "we had some problems with the father-in-law today." I replied "really, what kind of problems?" and he said "you know how it is...father-in-law problems." to which I replied "If he is down there trying to help you, and you don't want him there, just tell him he doesn't know what he is doing and you don't want him around".

And only then did my father-in-law reveal to me that he had been pretending to be my brother-in-law. Yeah, you read it right. I insulted my father-in-law by making fun of him to ... him.

Turns out he was really hurt by the whole thing, which in turn hurt me. He said he felt unappreciated for all the help he gives us (he helps us work on the house all the time). So I wrote him this long letter about how much I love him and yadda yadda yadda...AND NOTHING. It was like the panda watch from Anchorman the Movie..."Day 3 and no word from my father in law"...

And that's the thing. No matter how much you love your spouse's parents, they still aren't your parents. It's a whole other family with a whole other way of doing things. And as the new wife, you need to figure it out and go with the flow. So the letter was a mistake. My family is big on cards, letters, expressing how proud we are of each other and how much we love each other (I got a card every other day from my parents through 4 years of college). But I'm not dealing with my family.

I'm dealing with his family. Not alot of card exchanging going on. A lot of getting up at 8 am on a saturday to help paint, or coming to pick you up at 1 in the morning when your car breaks down. In other words, while not verbal about it, they are pretty good at letting you know they love you. Right. Should have known better than the card.

Lesson number 492 about being a good wife:

Do not insult your father in law by making fun of him to his face.

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Hot enough for you?"

So we have no air conditioning, and it is hotter than that Nelly song in our house.

We have been trying to get the landscaping done since the wedding. Yes, we know how hot it is, we are aware of the heat wave...we realize that we could just wait until September. But we are new homeowners, and newly married. We are making all those mistakes that every new homeowner, newlywed makes.

So spare us the "hot enough for you?" as you stroll by on your way into town for an ice cream. Because the answer is "yes, Jackass, it is."

The heat just exacerbates the bigger problem: we have no established roles in our new marraige. We do every household job together. If something needs to be painted, we do it together. A meal to be cooked, we do it together. Cleaning, laundry, LANDSCAPING...all done together. Isn't that sweet? We are such a together couple.

Except if this continues, one of us will be dead within the year. Because inevitably, we have different opinions on how to accomplish these "together" tasks. And this always leads to one of us telling the other how wrong they are doing it. Then the person doing it (justifiably) gets angry. No good can come of this on a 90 degree day when you are working with shovels and pitchforks.

So this is where we found ourselves Saturday. It started out fine, it always does. "I love you honey, I'm so happy we're doing the yard together"; "I love you too baby, thanks for helping're so good to me".

And then the sun feels like it is sitting on your shoulder, and the dirt starts sticking to you because of the sweat coating your body. You start thinking of ways to get back at the crazy old coot that sold you the place...who plants a JUNGLE in their front yard?

And in all of an hour it goes from "look at the cute young couple next door, aren't they working hard today!" to "Jack do you think we should call the police on them for domestic violence?"

He thinks we should hatchet a huge stump. I know it won't work...first, the stump is too big to hatchet, and second THAT IS STUPID. And so I calmly explain that the hatchet idea is the dumbest thing I have ever heard and suggest that we leave the stumps can't win them all.

He tells me not to call him stupid. Then argues with me that we can hatchet the stump so it is under the ground and no one will see it. I then say that if I am not allowed to call him stupid, then I have no response options available to me. He says He would like to hatchet me, I reply that I would like to ram the shovel up his...well you see where this is going.

We are both covered in dirt, sweating, and angry. I can't speak for him, but I am seriously still weighing my options regarding the shovel and where I could put it. So we take a minute to cool off (purely in the figurative sense). I am going in to get a drink of water.

"do you want one?" "yeah, get me a water too"...and then I go inside and get him a half water with half apple juice, because I am the only person who knows that is what he means when he says "water". And he says "thanks baby" and I feel like a good wife. So we have a good laugh at our argument, and I say sorry first because it's my turn to, and we are back to being the cute young couple next door.

until 45 minutes later when he cuts down the hydrangea I wanted to keep...and the dance starts up again...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Mixing 101

It has been about 2 months since the wedding. The pictures have come in, the video has been reviewed and the thank you notes are getting done. But the wedding, and all the trappings that come with it are over.

Now it's time to get down to business. I am a wife. Exciting? If you consider night sweats and all out panic at the site of your bakeware exciting, then yes. It is mucho exciting.

I was truly not prepared for all this. I think I was distracted by all the commotion of planning a wedding. And we had bought a house (a fixer-upper) that required alot of attention in the months leading up to the wedding. Yes, I was distracted and unprepared for it...but I am confident that I can get this wife thing down. It just takes a little adjusting is all. Right? I'll learn to cook, figure out the washer/dryer, and cleaning can't be too difficult...

Skip 2 months ahead to present time. I am composing my blog in an effort not to lose my mind. Perhaps if I write it all out, it will be theraputic. Like keeping a diary when you were 8. So here goes.

The mixer referenced in my last post became the bane of my existence over the last three weeks. It was purchased at Williams-Sonoma after the wedding with gift certificates. Obviously, I was still in bride mode. The bride in me wanted it because it comes in cool colors that match your kitchen, and plus...all good wives have them. The wife if me should have known better.

So it sat on the counter, taunting me, for the past three weeks. Finally, in an effort to avoid doing yard work with my new husband, I declared that I was going to bake a cake this past Saturday. This would necessarily involve the use of the mixer. "See I told you I would use it."

(All Brides Beware...It looks as sweet as a Betty Crocker Muffin, but it is as evil as Lucifer himself)

It took three trips to the supermarket (did you know baking powder and baking soda are different? And there are different types of sugar?). I was undeterred and remained confident. With the Betty Crocker Newlywed Edition Cookbook by my side this would be a piece of cake...literally.

I am still not sure exactly what happened and when...I know that at some point my enthusiam turned to anger, and then panic, and then I was fighting for survival in my own kitchen. It was me vs. the mixer. Clearly I had underestimated the mixer.

Flour was everywhere, cake batter and frosting were on my clothes (despite my new apron) and I swear that mixer laughed at me when I turned my back on it. While I was not severely injured, I cut my hand and had to cut a chunk of hair that had gotten wrapped around the whisk-thing off. In the end I had made a cake, from scratch, and the frosting.

It took my husband 4 glasses of milk to get down one piece. He told me it was great, delicious, "right up there with my mom's" he said. The last comment was the clincher. I knew he was lying as soon as he uttered it.

Because that it the whole point. That is where the panic comes from. His mother, my new mother-in-law, has the wife thing down. I may have been a great bride, but this lady is a great wife. As was my mom. And somehow all the expectations that no one has for me anyway, are suffocating me.

And therein lies my personal crusade. I will kick the mixer's ass...or die trying.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Honeymoon's Over

Honeymoon's over! We kidded about it the entire ride back from the airport. I had heard of brides that felt depressed after a wedding, and I could understand it...see where they were coming from. But that wasn't me. My problem was a little different, and much more sinister...harder to overcome.

I was (and am) terrified of being a wife.

I was a great bride. Truly. I wasn't overbearing, did most of the planning on my own, and didn't command that everything be all about me for the entire year and a half we were engaged. I had being a bride down pat. I rocked as a bride.

But a good bride does not a good wife make. A good bride can pick out beautiful items for her kitchen; but it is the good wife that has to know how to use them. I have beautiful china and all the best appliances...I was a great bride remember? But that kitchenaide mixer sits on our counter and taunts me...a great wife I am not.

So this is a blog about trying to become a great wife. A type of guide...only not written by an expert. No, not a "how-to", definitely not...more of a diary of trial and error. I don't know how it turns out, but how hard can it be right?