Marriage and My Wife

We were trying to get out the door, and Arlo was one shoe short of a pair. In these situations, I wander aimlessly, often looking in ridiculous places so that perhaps I might heroically discover a missing mitten in the back of the freezer. It’s never worked. Lindsay always finds the missing item because her goal is to succeed, and mine is to be amazing.

I was searching the fireplace when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the shoe behind the ottoman. Lindsay had already searched this room to her satisfaction, so not only had I found the shoe, I’d also found it in a place she’d already looked. Continue…

Sometimes when our matriarch grows weary of repeating herself, she makes a sign. That way, it’s impossible for us to misunderstand her intentions. Here are some of my favorites. Feel free to use them on your own husband, wife, lover, partner, child, dog, ferret, etc.

#1

Despite many friendly requests for me to stop, I continue to use the wrong milk on my cereal. You see, sometimes we have multiple cartons in the refrigerator, and occasionally I ignore the one that’s already open so as to experience the joy of tasting pure, fresh, cold, crisp, new milk on my 9pm bowl of Marshmallow Oaties. Continue…

airport

I don’t remember the exact order, but I seem to recall that “moving” is right next to “spontaneous combustion of one’s hair” on the list of life’s most stressful events. At least when your hair is engulfed in flames, there’s a quick and easy fix, and even if you can’t find a bucket of water, heavy blanket, or construction helmet in time, the panic subsides rapidly, leaving you with no other choice but to wait until it grows back. It’s physically painful, but logistically pretty straightforward. Moving across the country, though—especially when you have a house, two kids, and three cats—is a month long festival of stress, culminating in a splendorous display of emotional flames. Continue…

The beauty of domestic bliss is that it’s so elusive. Our family is usually at its most dysfunctional when all four of us are together. My wife and I try to discuss important “grown-up stuff,” which the kids react to as if it were a level-4 biohazard that can only be neutralized via obnoxious singing and fights over crackers. And it works: we stop talking to each other and start speaking tersely to them about being patient and waiting for us to complete our conversation about getting the gutters cleaned before demanding that we referee a snack dispute. Eventually someone becomes upset, we all feel bad, collect ourselves for a few minutes, and start the whole cycle all over again. Continue…

Yesterday, after returning from a five day long trip which required leaving my wife at home with both kids, I took a nap.  Now before you call the police, I want you to know it was an accident. There was no premeditation involved, so at worst I’m guilty only of involuntary napping. I fell asleep with my coat on and the only thing more indicative of an unwitting snooze is dozing off while standing.

My wife was nice enough not to wake me up and say, “Um…no.” At the same time, she didn’t put a blanket on me, dim the lights or even hush the children. Continue…

After feeding, comforting, dressing, teaching, entertaining, and loving our children, the remaining 30% of parenting is basically trying not to say the f-word in front of them. When they’re babies, it’s fine, blast away if you want. But as anyone knows, when they get older, children have a knack for repeating things, and when given the choice between “Oh my Golly” and “Holy Fu*king Sh*t”, they’ll always choose to yell the latter in front of the new neighbors.

The four of us flew to California to visit my parents for the week. Unfortunately, Lindsay has a head cold which she contracted because Arlo likes to give her sloppy kisses followed by brazen hacks that launch glistening clouds of phlegm into the back of her throat. The boy feels just fine, and is totally himself, but has that lingering toddler hack. If he gets to laughing really hard, or breathing heavily, he breaks into a chunky spell that makes one wonder whether a thousand-year old Rabbi just climbed two flights of stairs or perhaps a Thanksgiving witch is percolating gravy in an adjacent apartment. It’s jarring until you see that every child his age has a similar hack this time of year.

It’s either day 6 or 7. I can’t remember. After a while, the days without routine and electricity blend together into a foggy-headed smoothie that tastes like the middle of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” sounds. We’re all walking around with grim heavy-metal faces, but all feel confused and awkward, like maybe we accidentally ate some Percocet dusted catnip.

If you’re interested in seeing my family at its absolute worst, I recommend getting in a car with us for five minutes. Before we even start the ignition, there’s usually a heated kid-dispute over the rights to their identical car seats. The first child to arrive chooses his seat and then, when the second child is done playing with a rock or staring at a fern (because he knows we’re in a hurry), he looks to see which seat is already occupied and invariably chooses that one as his desired throne. If our older son has the seat first, his younger brother simply attempts to sit on top of him, but if the younger nabs it first, his older sibling claims to have been the victim of a systematic injustice, which has hitherto prevented him from ever having sat in that seat and argues firmly that it’s up to us, his mother and father – acting as a de facto war crimes tribunal — to do the right thing by evicting its current occupant and exiling him to the identical seat 16 inches away. Continue…

Every now and then, our matriarch sits on the front steps, staring into space holding a butterfly knife and a half-empty bottle of Old Crow bourbon. I mean that metaphorically, even though it accurately characterizes her mental well being. “I need a frickin’ [she doesn’t curse anymore] day off! I’m going to get a massage, see a movie and go to the mall … to…like shop or something. I don’t know, I just have to get out of here,” she said.

downloadLike anyone who gets a little too excited about a “me day,” she booked something called a “psychic massage.” That’s totally normal, right? Continue…