Category Archives: Thy Wedded Life

I'm With Him

February 25, 2009

If you've been here before, you know that life - especially mine - is not a fairy tail. There was no white horse, no happily ever after, no castle with roses climbing the side.

What we got was messy, chaotic, brilliant, and hard. And full to the brim, even at the worst of times, with love. I could say that's 'cuz of me. Strange but true - I have never stopped loving anyone in my life. Anyone I have ever loved, I still DO love. Just... differently. Maybe, it could be argued, somewhat theoretically. Considering distance and time and...

I digress.

My point (and I hope there's one around here somewhere) is that we are now in a somewhat good time. Last fall, a crack appeared in the ceiling and we had to dig it out, find the source, patch it. They say that broken bones once healed are stronger than before. If that were true of relationships, my marriage would be made of titanium.

It's not.

We're human. We screw up. But we know how to choose to fix things, now. We know the difference between pain and anger. Into this wisdom, we've found a way to walk very gently with each other. To be very on-purpose with our communications. We stopped letting in people who are full of negativity. And we started cherishing the good, now that it's here for a visit.

thorrablot.jpgLast Saturday was the Icelandic version of Thanksgiving. This has been a pain in the ass in the past because it forces CD and I against our natural roles. Neither of us likes to be social in groups, but when forced - I'm the ice breaker and networker, he's the guy standing just to my left carrying two drinks with a pink cell phone, a tube of "Brick-O-La", and a Revlon compact stuffed in his pockets.

But for Thorrablot, he's got to be the first one through the door. He's the one who - quite literally - speaks the language. For those hours, it is his childhood memories being invoked. His traditions. His heritage. I'm the American appendage, somewhat clueless and mispronouncing most people's names.

Some years, his frustration at being forced out of his hard protective shell has triggered some last-minute scuffles. This year, I had decided that I could over-prepare us into a better start. I found a babysitter way in advance (it was adults-only because of space constraints), had formal outfits dry-cleaned for both of us, and made our contribution - a chopped salad with 9 different ingredients - a day in advance.

Then, at the last minute, disaster struck. My go-to pants? Were NOT what I brought home from the dry-cleaners. My husband had several suits, all lovely. But because of a bunch of reasons that all gathered to sabotage me - every back-up outfit I own was unavailable. CD ripped the house apart as I finally had to get in a shower. When I emerged - fully made up and blown dry and totally naked - he sighed.

Well, he made a pass. THEN he sighed.

"Here's the deal," he said, with the face that let me know I wasn't gonna like it. "I pulled our jeans from the wash and tossed them into the dryer on high. They should be done in about 10 minutes."

"You mean my jeans," I corrected. "It's a fancy occasion. The Icelanders will all be dressed up. You have to wear the suit."

"Babe," he shook his head. "We'll both wear jeans - it'll be fine."

I swallowed growing dread. "That's stupid. You won't feel right in jeans. It's not Icelandic."

"Screw being Icelandic," he answered, and I swear he almost laughed. "I'm with you. We're wearing jeans."

So we did. And?

We had a wonderful time.

Tags: Marriage, life, love, thorrablot, fashion, holiday, celebrate, relationship,
Posted on February 25, 2009 at 10:08 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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I Hate It

January 22, 2009

Where we lived when I was a teenager. My room is the 2nd floor window facing left.

Before I quit my job to be a SAHM, I was constantly cleaning. A walk from the front of the house to the back could take a thousand steps. I would pick this up, sweep that mess, drop those books into the bag. Not to give the impression that all my efforts actually equaled a clean house.

Uh, no.

I'm not a neat freak. Or a control freak. All my freakishness, frankly, falls in a whole different arena.

In fact, I was a pretty unruly and untidy kid. My parents once famously shoveled my room clean while I was at summer camp. Yes, it took rakes and hoes and implements of destruction just to unearth the floor of my closet.

By my mid-20's I'd found a habitable level of discipline. "Habitable" being pretty loose, and subject to change due to mood, weather, and musical choice.

Yet as low as I go (and I can go low) - I've got nothing on CD. That man actually leaves a trail, like the Peanuts character Pig-Pen.

It's important to know where the lines are. Strengths, weaknesses, expectations, etc. etc. And with him and me, that line? It's written with a fat-bottom Sharpie around the dishes, laundry, bathroom, and heads out on a rickety rail out to the trash cans in the alley.

We argued about it, as you do. We made lists, and split chores. Even with a housekeeper, keeping the house free being condemned as hazardous living quarters was always a battle. Much more than maybe your usual kid-and-dog-and-old-house-with-no-closets one.

You can see where this is headed, right?

No more cleaner.

I am a "stay at home mom" now. That means that not only does my fair share of the housekeeping fall on me - but his, too. Because, let's face it, his mess was tossed on top of Bear's mess and all that is piled on my mess. So it takes a bottle of Lysol and a big pair of bright yellow gloves just to get down to my undies in the hamper.

I hate it.

It makes me feel less than equal and a drudge to be dragging a sponge through a spill he left behind. I grit my teeth. Every time. I shout when he calls and stew with the injustice I feel.

Sara the wonderpoodle knocked over my milk this morning and I opened my mouth and just screamed.

I know I'll get over this. I know I have to. There is no money to make this go away. And after all these years, I know I can't change him. He does the chores he does. He fetches me coffee, even when it's out of his way. He washes up the dog vomit, knowing it makes me gag. He does a dozen other things that I know take up the time that cleaning would, and usually I'm grateful. Because he does contribute, in other ways.

But the housekeeping part of this SAHM/WAHM job description? I'm having an overwhelmingly hard time coming to peace with it.

I just...

I just...

I hate it.

Tags: Housework, Fairness, Marriage, SAHM, Chores, Wife, Husband, Life
Posted on January 22, 2009 at 04:14 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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The Fight

December 10, 2008

I haven't wanted to say it out loud. To admit it. Because it feels like some kind of personal failure.

About a month ago, CD and I had a fight.

The worst knock-down drag-out say things you can never take back fight since I quit my job. A fight so harsh and biting that I began to realize how precarious my position is as a homemaker - as an unemployed former corporate semi-muckety-muck.

What if I have to walk out the door? I wondered. What if I have to pack up that little boy and myself and then...then... where would we go? How would we live? Oh Dear Lord, I am at his mercy!

As the argument raged on, storming over days like waves on waves, my panic climbing up the back of my throat with the icy fury. I don't think I've felt so utterly alone in years.

Maybe ever.

It's all been too much. Everything we've been going through these past months. For both of us. And we faltered and then fell. And CD did and said some stupid things that I am struggling hard to forgive. And a friend of mine stuck their nose in, and made it so much worse that my face should have exploded. And of course, I was a total witch about it all. I cried and I shouted and made a mess of any sense of grace I might have chosen.

We've slowly turned the corner, now. Like an 18-wheeler pulling a U-ey in the Target parking lot. Inching forward - carefully. I still have this faint headache and heartache. Things will take a while to heal up from this one.

Maybe Bear and I will take a small trip somewhere, shake loose a little of these aches that cling to me like lint on a sweater. I don't know.

You just never get "there". Wherever "there" is. I thought that our happiness inoculated us from this kind of a fight. I thought our survival of that long, painful trip to the edge of reason gave us some extra kind of flexibility and understanding. I thought, after all this time, that we'd finally found a gentle place in our relationship that precluded this kind of anger and odds.

I was so very, very wrong. And that? Just sucks more than I can say.

Posted on December 10, 2008 at 11:37 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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And then...

July 14, 2008

So, CD quit his job!

I'll tell you after he's served his notice where he worked - and you'll get right away why this place wasn't a happy place to work.

Wait, wait, don't tell me - you want to know if he got a new one first?

HE DID!!!!!!!!

After all these years, he found a job he wanted and the job wanted him right back. (Well, 5 months of interviews later. No, not kidding.) He starts in about two weeks, and if I were any happier or prouder? I'd frigging explode.

For those who are curious - he's an IT SR. ADMIN. The new job bumped his title, but he was already doing the work at soul-sucking job. His long-term dream is to be a robotics engineer, and he goes to school part time for it.

Oh, and one more thing - the new job, like the old one, has the hours he wanted - 6AM to 3PM. He likes being home in the afternoons to help homeschool, take classes himself, putter on the house, and throw the ball around.

Excuse me while I sorta float around for a while :)

Tags: Quit, Job, Career, Hired, New
Posted on July 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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Missing You

April 03, 2008

Cd and Elizabeth in Paris with Helen and AngusI don't believe you're less if you're alone.

I don't believe that the world, like Noah's Ark, must be paired off 2 x 2. I don't believe that people must be married, even couples. Although I DO believe in the opportunity for marriage for all couples, if they want it.

That all said, damn howdy what it's like to be in love. To wake up to warm skin and a smile. To have the sun pushing up against the curtains and to hold it away, a sly smile and a murmuring of '5 More Minutes'...

To have my heart flip when I see him. To catch the soft little witticisms he slides into the conversation. The fingertips that push away the hair from my face, the steady expression as he handles the chaos of parenthood, the way he looks up at me as he's tugging on his belt and getting ready to leave for work - as though, for an ounce of persuasion, he'd throw himself back on the bed beside me laughing and earnest and his big eyes twinkling.

I'm not sure I grew up with the adults around me in love.

It was a different time, a different kind of social expectation on couples. But I saw my uncle and aunt adoring and appreciating each other in silences only they shared. I saw my best friend's father's eyes watch his wife whenever she walked into the room. I saw two men glance at each other, teasing about things that happened years ago as though it was just yesterday.

4 years ago or so, we almost lost this. And that makes it all the more precious that it has breathed back into life and stronger than before.

It makes me feel a little guilty - knowing some of the people I care about are struggling so hard to find love and others are in agony mourning it. Like somehow rejoicing is in bad taste, and should be subdued.

And we're broke, I'm sick, the cat is dying, and a thousand other things wrong. The roof is falling apart, the laundry is never done, and a dozen medical bills scream for attention from a basket on my desk.

But I can't help it. Our lives in the past years since I quit my job have blossomed. We hum, and hold hands, and flirt. Bear giggles and launches himself towards us with a happy laugh. The dog woofs to join in, and the days stuff full of everything and a thousand details besides.

And in the quiet of the morning, he presses the snooze button on the alarm and rolls over to face me. "5 More Minutes," I beg, my fingertips trying to cover my morning breath.

"Yes," he whispers, kissing my forehead. "Yes."

And later, I catch the woman in the mirror and feel so surprised. She is in the early autumn days of her life. Hard to see clearly, just another blurred face in the crowd.

But inside, my heart is young and wild and fluttering. Pounding out a simple rhythm, in love. And be humbled with the gratitude it brings.

Posted on April 03, 2008 at 10:28 AM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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Lord, I Suck At This

April 01, 2008

One of the problems I have with writing is that I am terrified of stepping on toes. And what I am about to say just might, so let me say 'hey, sorry' right up front.

Well, not sorry.

I am a firm believer that people generally do the best they can in the moment. Good Lord, I hope so. Because when I take my big feet and just insult the ever-loving crap out of someone, all I can pray is that they know I mean well and no harm and hey, I extend them the same benefit of the doubt - right?

But since this blog started in 2004 - despite trying at first to be all anonymous and stuff - some of my real life relationships have really gone downhill. People far and near who I have watched flake. It drove me into a deeper and deeper silence until, well, anyway.

Is it fair to love someone who uses the relationship as fodder for their creativity? As we broke up, my ex wrote a beautiful song dripping with irony and farewell... about me.

"A sentimental fool, to be sure..." he sings somewhere, over his guitar. And it I bite my lip and have no response.

So I say I mean nothing by it, but on the other hand...this is the story of my life. So it includes the people in my life. And I guess somewhere along the line, I have to stop apologizing for that and let it be what it is.


Two months ago we let our bookkeeper go. As $10 makes a difference on a weekly basis of where I can buy our food that week and for how much - the truth was that she (although a very reasonably prices and practically a member of the family) had become a luxury we couldn't afford. It was time for me to step up and take the reigns, as part of being the at-home half of this partnership.

But this is a huge mountain for me to climb. Not because I am dumb with numbers. Hey, I can actually publish a weekly financial breakdown of a multimillion project and how it is doing against budget with graphs and charts and a solid summary of spend.

But because between me and my own finances, I have a lifelong block. An emotional thundercloud that squeezes my heart and makes my hands shake. And my husband is worse.

I was brought up in a world compulsively obsessed with money.

And still is.

I can remember the discussion about how much things cost, and who got what bargain, and who was denigrated amongst whatever social circle for being perceived as living above their means. Inside my home, it was a vicious refrain that seeped into every day, every experience, as they constantly challenged each other for control of the money and the power they gave it over our lives.

What's funny is that I was never taught how to handle a checkbook or what a dollar bought. I was shielded from how much the house cost, what income bracket we were in, even mundane things like what the electric bill looked like or what was reasonable to spend at the grocery store.

But not shielded from the impact. Late at night, they would argue. A staccato, endless trill echoing upstairs.

A long, cold war that framed my growing up. And from which I escaped in body, but never heart.

I went to see a counselor about it in my late 20's. My ex had been the money guy and with him gone I was drowning. She helped me by having me simplify to the point that I didn't even have a checking account.

But I am older, wiser, and with an infinitely more complex life.

We live frugal, reasonable choices - but we pay way too much in what I consider "stupid fees". Late fines and such because I hate paying the bills. Hate it when there IS enough money. Hate it fanatically when money is tight and I need to make choices.

My husband, whose father raised him hand-to-mouth and one step away from ruin, struggles with me. While we had our bookkeeper, we were all right. It was not an issue between us. Never so much as an argument.


Oh, Lord. I suck.

I called him this morning. "You spent $16 on the debit card," I sigh, reading the daily balance sheet.

"What do you mean, 'YOU'?" he snaps.

"Well, you're the only one WITH a debit card, so I must mean.... YOU," I point out. "My card is still unactivated, stuck to it's introductory letter. Plus look, a charge just came in for $40 for the iPass transponder. Dang, I hadn't budgeted that for this week."

"I told you about that," he reminds me.

And I wanted to scream. There is an entire garbage bag full of mail I need to sort. A spreadsheet I need to fill out. And I am hunting for excuses not to do it. Simple, basic math. Simple priority decisions.

And this revulsion creeping up the back of my throat.

I have been fighting this battle all my adult life - which is now more years than my childhood so why do those lessons still haunt me?

I look around me and think that everyone else has got this handled. But when it comes to opening that electric bill, I am still the child in the grown-up's body, learning to deal. As I hang up the phone and think, time to make coffee - I'll do the rest later.

Posted on April 01, 2008 at 08:59 AM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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Voice Mail

October 14, 2007

God, I hate voice mail.

Prior to hating voice mail, I had a nice sideline going in hating answering machines. But you get older, times change, and you gotta update your habits.

Basically, if you call me...I'll see your number on the Caller ID and call back. Ignoring that thwudda-thwudda noise that says you said something to the computer.

This is, on occasion, I'll admit, problematic.

"Hey, it's Elizabeth. You called?"

"Thank God you called back so fast. So what's the number?"

"The number?"

"Of the emergency vet?"

"You need an emergency vet?"

"I LEFT A MESSAGE!! Diddums has swallowed a hypodermic needle full of crack and I need the number of the vet that helped you that time when it happened to you."

"I have never....! Why? Uh, I mean...."

"I LEFT A MESSAGE! Didn't you listen? This is life or death, here! I mean, poor Diddums, I think he's dragging himself to a corner to...oh, what is that number?!"

So, sure. Once in a blue moon, it causes trouble that I avoid my voice mail.

On the job, it was not unknown for me to listen to my voice mail barely once a week, on Fridays....

"You have 17,000 new voice mails! What is your frequency, woman? You think I got nothing better to do than stuff myself full of chat from your people?"

Instant messages, email, and text messages I am fine with. Prompt, attentive, responsive. But the bugaboo of voice mail has remained my nemesis.

Recently, we decided to turn off our home line. We never use it much, and it's costing us $50 a month to, in essence, give chimney sweeps and siding companies a way to contact us about their seasonal promotions.

So I've given myself permission, even though there is still some dial tone on it, to ignore the thing altogether in preparation for it being gone.

CD gave me the fish eye this morning, the phone against his ear, after I asked him if he thought I'd missed a call I was expecting.

"Please check," I begged.

"We have 33 new voice mail messages," he said with an arch of his eyebrow.

I shrugged.

"Have you EVER checked the house line for voice mail?" he pondered.


"Prove it."

I stuck out my tongue when he wasn't looking.

He pushed some buttons and listened a moment.

"Chimney sweep. Siding company. Chimney sweep. Credit card protection offer. Oh, Katie and some kid's mom are going somewhere and want to know if you want to go with," he relayed.

I looked interested.

"In SEPTEMBER," he added, all he-man snarky-like. "Computer talking, time sensitive offer. Hey, the counter tops are ready."

I looked in the kitchen where they are already installed. Turned back to the window, where I watched the drizzle that was delaying our annual pumpkin excursion .

He pushed more buttons. He listened some more. Counted them down for me. "20 more messages..." he sighed. "15, we're finally into October..." I scrunched my nose. "More computers, they love to leave messages...." I nodded. "5 more."

I waited.

He looked at me. "Sorry, hun," he said.

I shrugged.

"No big deal," I said.

But he knew better. He knew that this is why, deep down, I really hate voice mail. Because it never seems to be the locker of good news, of voices you really want to hear.

Ah, well.

Tags: voice_mail, humor, life, opinion, telephone, work
Posted on October 14, 2007 at 11:45 AM and filed under: Rants & Raves
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Easy to Leave

October 12, 2007

familyus175b.jpgMy husband spent much of his growing up years moving from small apartment to small apartment with his working dad.

Despite all the years since, I suspect CD still harbors this deep need to roost. To be rooted, and never left.

Life has very little to do with what we see when we look into the mirror at ourselves.

The mirror sees a pink-haired woman, with too many curves and slightly creased with age.

But I see more than a reflection. I see a rebel, a mother, a free spirit, a lover. I see the scars from falls I took in small strips across my skin. And in my heart. I see my own eyes, and all the stories they hold.

I can't know what he sees. In me. In himself.

Other than this gnawing sense, that where you live shouldn't be a place easy to leave.

No amount of time could hope to completely erase this from him.

No amount of love, or help, or maturity can wipe clean the truths we cling to as children.

Maybe that's why it's so hard for him to think of selling this house. Why it is so incomprehensible to his heart that this home, that holds so many of the memories of us as a family, would belong to someone else.

And I begin to see it now.

Tomorrow, Bear tests up in karate to a blue belt. On Sunday, we take our annual trip to the pumpkin farm. When will there be time, he asks me, to get to that list of things we need to finish on the house.

And there it is, behind his eyes.

I begin to see it now.

This is home in a way that no place has been to him since he was his own son's age.

This is the place I always come back to, the bed I share with him. This is where we eat dinner. This is where Bear lays out his Magnetix creations for us to admire. These are the boxes with the winter sweaters. And over there is the bin with the Halloween decorations.

And as awareness began to dawn in my foggy head, I reached out to him.

It isn't each other we're leaving
, I promise. If we sell this house and move - wherever we go, it will be home just as much as this place has been.

He nodded.

For years, I have been ready to go. To kick off a new adventure.

But it isn't only me that has to go.

And he's finding this house, hard to leave.

Tags: Change, Moving, Dreams, Childhood, Marriage, Life
Posted on October 12, 2007 at 09:56 AM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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The Way We Were

September 17, 2004

CD and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week.

Our love story isn't tidy. It was uncomfortable at times, and overlapped other lives. Too much drama.

When CD and I met, it was an explosion of chemistry. After the dust cleared, we agreed - looking at our goals and our situations - that it made sense to keep it casual. It was to be dinners and a movie. It was to be conversation and long walks. It was to be lighthearted. No hard feelings. No strings, no profound expectations, no exclusivity.

About 3 or 4 months into it, I rented my spare bedroom to a guy who was relocating to Chicago.

My new roommate, "Harry", was a co-worker of CD's . I'd met him about a month after I'd met CD. I'd had 2 or 3 dates with Harry and it had been "meh". He was more enchanted by my circle of friends than he was with me. So it was with a little relief that I stipulated that we would NOT date if he was living in my apartment. Completely platonic. He said he understood.

Of course, he immediately began acting as though we were married.

With sinking anger, I realized that I had gotten myself into one of those sticky interpersonal situations that are so agonizing for me.

Continue reading "The Way We Were"
Tags: Love, Relationship, Dating, Marriage, Story, Life, Together
Posted on September 17, 2004 at 04:54 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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Finding Out

April 24, 2000

The 5-year plan (and there was one) was to buy a home, upgrade the car, travel, and bank some money before embarking on parenthood.

Knowing we would want kids, I went to my doctor when we became engaged to get some preconception advice. He told us we couldn't start too early on the whole health kick thing. So I quit smoking (and gained 20 lbs doing it!), started intensive swimming 3 times a week and changed our diet.

CorporateDaddy (CD) was given some assignments as well, though of a more personal nature. But 15 months ahead of when we were going to START trying to conceive, I woke one morning from a surreal dream about us being pregnant.I shot into the bathroom and began digging around in the Bermuda Triangle of stuff under the sink, sure there was half of an old pregnancy kit in there from a "near miss" month.

CD was taking a shower, warning me that if I used the toilet I should under NO circumstances flush. I was a woman possessed. I found the wrapped stick and did what a person generally does to utilize it.Immediately, there were two pink lines. Two. CD was asking me what I was doing. I thrust the stick into the shower, inches from his big, nearsighted, brown eyes. The ones full of shampoo.

CD took the stick from me and held it close up. "What am I looking at?" he asked.

"How many lines are there?" I shot back.

He squinted for a long minute and handed the stick back to me. "Two." He confirmed.

"We're pregnant!" I shouted at him.

In my stunned state, I forgot his warning and turned to sit down. Flushing before I did so. CD didn't even notice.

Posted on April 24, 2000 at 12:00 PM and filed under: Thy Wedded Life
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