Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mr. Husband in Prose.

It is New Year’s Eve in The Villages, Florida. So far, we’ve survived my family Christmas and are about to survive an evening out with my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and our cousin Derek from Detroit. Big family fun. I haven’t seen Derek in four years. Mr. Husband met Derek last year during his Detroit vacation when he went to visit Mr. Older Brother. You guessed it, Mr. Husband played video games with Mr. Cousin. They know each other. They know the others’ gaming habits. They know how to massacre each other Mortal Kombat style. Is there anything else to know?

Mr. Husband and I have survived seven people living in a retirement village in a house that is built for retirement and not for entertaining. There are about 1700 very small square feet for us to move about on each others’ nerves. There is a very small shower for Mr. Husband to duck beneath and sprinkle his giant body. There are golf carts in which we can skirt away from family for a glass of wine someplace else. There is the forever blinding Florida sun and my parents walking on eggshells around their daughter who could erupt at any moment and often does. Be careful you don’t set her off. She is highly flammable and he simmers under the surface. We are barely surviving. Mr. Husband better than me, for he escapes daily and nightly into Left 4 Dead and Fable 2 while I suffer with my Hardy. Mr. Husband and Mr. Twin Brother are living it up in the magic world. I sit in the real world reading and trying to block out my father’s oxygen machine that runs at night to fill his blood with O2.

In order to minimize the damage, Mr. Husband and I stole away to the wine bar
yesterday afternoon for a leisurely glass of wine and some poetry. Our poetry. The fun stuff. I write a line, he writes a line, I write a line, he writes a line … we go on. We write and amuse ourselves. It is free entertainment. It is my escape that I get while my Mr. Husband pulls me lovingly by the hand and shakes away my not being quite as comfortable as I’d like to be at this time of the year.

From Urban Flats Wine Bar, December 30th, 2008

A glass of Merlot in the afternoon
Village wine in the village sun,
September vine come home to rest
We drink! We drink!
They laugh! They laugh!
Schedules damned to a normal life,
Then, the tablecloth washed, folded, and put away
What kind of wine are we? Red? White?
The glass remains empty as decision fails
We sit drinking, loving, looking at the liquid tannins galore
Life is here and now and will be forever there and here and more


That’s what we make when we sit and write together. Not so bad. Not so good, either. I can't figure out how to format the poem right and the capitalization is off and unruly. The grammar is hideous. We are making people cry with our attempt at a written craft. But it is the fact that the two of us can sit and be merry with very little and calm each other to bring a smile to each others’ faces. Mr. Husband has done many different things this trip to make me smile. He cares for me and even golfs with me. Yes, the man who swore never to golf again amused Mr. Twin Brother and I with his golf finesse. He did well. He got air. Mr. Husband isn’t all video games and poetry.
He’s got so much more in his pocket. I think 2009 is going to see a whole lot fall out of his pocket. Spill all over me. I don’t need a napkin.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fibulous Christmas!

It is the kind of day that we like best. Mr. Husband and Mrs. Wife got up around 9:30 to make ourselves a little bit Wii Fitter and then we settle down, he at his Xbox (Fable2) and me at my book (Thomas Hardy) with dictionary on lap. The two cats, Bonita Banana and Oliver Pants, play at our feet with their new Christmas mice and the cat tree we bought them for super-cat-all-the-time-climb-on-me enjoyment. Our in-law Christmas is over and still warm in our heads. We had a big old-fashioned family Christmas with the Stewarts, good drama included.

Before we get to the big old-fashioned family Christmas, we had a homecoming and Christmas miracle as Moser visited us on Sunday evening for wine, dinner, and lots and lots of programming speak. Moser is the one who is lost to us but found in Wine Country—our San Francisco buddy who I miss for the gossip and the wild stories and Jeff misses for the constant talk about geek stuff. He always brings cheer and walked in the door this year with three bottles of Napa Valley happiness. Cheery us!
So we fed him. He was excited to see the world from the blog—the world he reads about (or, actually, just looks at the photos)—and he was part of that world for about five hours. I made a pasta dinner and we drank a bottle of good wine and then sat before a crowd of liquor bottles, testing our little Mikasa cordial glasses (thank you Maja and Petar). We think we found the proper liquor in Grand Marnier. If not, we sure did laugh a lot and often and some more. Love my perfect little glasses for every occasion and any liquid.

We hurried ourselves down the road on Wednesday evening to the Candlelight service at church and then straight to the Stewarts in Riverchase for a proper family gathering. Mrs. Mother-in-Law prepared a fabulous spread of ham, biscuits, hummus, cheese, and Mr. Husband’s favorite peanut butter fudge. All seven of us settled down around midnight for our Christmas Eve nap. All of us—so we thought. Out on the driveway, youngest brother Chris stepped out for a smoke around 2:00 am. Slippery was the driveway and steep under his feet. He toppled and cracked his fibula and was rushed to the ER by my goodly and ever caring Mr. Father-in-Law. When the other siblings awoke on Christmas morning, we found a very hurt little brother Chris with his leg in a cast and drowsiness upon him. Poor Chris. We didn’t sing any songs this year, but we did watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Tradition lives. Mr. Husband is happy and Mr. Little Brother tries hard to smile. Fibulous Christmas for all of us!

The family still rang in the day with good cheer, mimosas, and gift upon gift upon gift upon gift. We were spoiled and flooded with things that we like and love. My Mrs. Mother-in-Law has a great knack for finishing off the most important part in our home—my reading nook. Last year, she gave us my reading table. This year, she completed the space with the perfect reading lamp. It was hard for me to move from my ideal space to write today. I have sanctuary. I have books, and now I have light. The little bit of light looks over my shoulder and beckons me to read. Calm. Light. Good.

All seven of us Stewarts sat around in our pajamas with a mountain of presents before us. We all drank coffee out of Christmas mugs, which is a Stewart family tradition. We opened gifts one at a time, everyone watching the others as we took turns. This is one of my most favorite traditions. I love watching everyone else open their gifts—I love seeing the surprise and the mystery revealed. It was wonderful with all of us being together. Chris’s broken leg didn’t ruin the day (not for us, at least), and we now have a story to tell for years and years. It was warm and wonderful.

And now we are off to Florida on Saturday evening to make Christmas happen at the Klusendorf’s in The Villages. I miss my own family—my ever laughing parents, the wine, my brothers, the wine, my sister-in-law, the cats, and the wine. We’ll see you soon, Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What the Dickens! It's Mr. Husband.

I was married once before. A terrible mistake that was revealed to me at every turn. Very short. Only nine months did I stay; shorter it would have been were I the woman I am today. Today I have a voice. Then, I did not. It’s good to grow up and discover oneself. My Mr. Husband likes to be the explorer who discovers me time and again—the one who knows me and strives to keep knowing me and helps me continue to realize and know me. The ex did not. I remember our only Christmas together when I opened my gift from the ex to find that he’d attempted to purchase Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for me but ended up purchasing a children’s book instead. A comic of some low sorts. (Not graphic fiction. A child’s book in truth.) I was so disappointed and the realization slapped me on both sides of the face—he doesn’t know me and does not wish to know me.

Knowing someone is so very important. Hearing the other person speak about their hopes and aspirations. It’s important to listen and be listened to. So very. My Mr. Husband listens, knows, and understands me.

Today, we celebrated our Christmas together before we venture to the in-law’s for our Big Family Christmas. My Mr. Husband always picks out super sweet and sentimental gifts. He is a thinker, so it is fitting that he thinks hard about gifts. He purchases gifts that have meaning and sentimental value like the wooden popcorn bowl he had personalized with the phrase, “make me popcorn”—my phrase. But, the most sentimental and touching gift that he gives me every year is a book. He listens to me and finds the most beautifully bound books with good sturdy paper and dark black ink. The font is most readable and there is always a ribbon for marking my place. This year was no exception.

Last year, he gave me a beautifully bound copy of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. We often laugh about how I sat down to read both Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary in the first year of my marriage. Well, I laugh and he just kind of looks uncomfortable. Anyhow, the book is what I wanted and he accompanied it with a lovely collection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets with the inscribed message, “To Sensibility from Sense.” We often laugh about how we are so not alike. We do a lot of "often laughing" when no one is looking. You see, while I feel, he thinks—we mimic a Jane Austen novel but we’re not sisters and we’re totally not wearing dresses all the time or looking for husbands. Anyhow, I digress. It’s funny. Really. It is. Trust me.

Oh, come and often laugh with us. It feels good. Throw your head back. Do it. Laugh. Be often laughing always.

This year, my dear husband spoiled me with lovely leather-bound Dickens: I unwrapped Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities to my screaming excitement. (Or, A Sale of Two Titties … for Monty Python fans.) The paper is so very fine and yet sturdy. The ink dark as dark needed and the binding is classic with a splash of leather to show off the title and announce to the neighbors that Dickens is here for dinner.
I will feel luxurious while reading my Dickens—novels that I’ve never before delved into. I will dive and feel good and read good and be happy. My Mr. Husband did a fantastic job.

We had other gifts exchanged between us, but the books where the gift that made me cry a little. They are the gift that reminds me that, yes, he’s listening and, yes, he knows me. That is more precious than any concrete gift.

In a couple of hours, we head to the in-law’s to enjoy our big family Christmas. The youngest brother, Chris, has been calling me all day to find out if what he’s looking at for this sibling or that is a good idea. He’s so cute. He’s, like, the best shopper in the family, but, yet, he still questions himself. He’s conscientious and cares. It’s nice to have that in a family. The Stewarts are a good bunch. We’ll go to candle-lit service at 7:00 and then play Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. All eight of us with two dogs and a cat will sleep in the same house and wake up tomorrow morning to see what Santa has brought us! It’s excitement. It’s family. And we are so very thankful for this great discovery.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Everyone should have a Harold.

Potatoes. I’m thinking potatoes. Twice baked at that. Tomorrow, we will get to see Grandmother Jean from Nashville. She’s coming to visit and, I will make potatoes and cookies and hope that Mrs. Mother-in-Law fills in the rest. I will cook today since Mr. Husband is lost to me. He’s gone. We’ve had such close, wonderful, loving, laugh-till-you-pee-a-little, fun times lately, that this break is well earned. Yesterday, Mr. Husband stayed home from work. He told me he felt sick a little when we woke up for work. I tried to make him Thera-Flu twice. I scolded him when I left for work at 7:00 am and noticed he was walking around in bare feet. Put some socks on, if you’re sick! Take care of yourself, so I don’t worry!

Later in the day, when I spoke with Mr. Husband around lunch time—a Mr. Husband who did not seem sick at all and was probably still not wearing socks—asked me when I was coming home. He wasn’t asking me because he was lonely and sick. He sounded like an excited little kid. Wait a minute! What was that in his voice? I heard it—the intonation was just enough not-right to make me suspicious. Mr. Husband had to admit that maybe he wasn’t sick and was actually awaiting a delivery. Uh, oh. He mentions Mr. Twin Brother. My Mr. Twin Brother who is lately prone to extravagant gifts. I know what it is. I know that when I go home I’ll see a new TV. I know it immediately.

I have to wait. By the time I leave work, even my boss knows what’s waiting for me. She hears of my excitement and emails Mr. Husband so she can play the I-know-something-you-don’t-know-game that is always an office favorite. I arrive home to find, sure enough, a new 42” LCD TV. Mr. Husband has become a five-year-old kid again, sliding around the house with the stench of happiness reeking from his every pore.
And I am amazed. Harold, Mr. Twin Brother, is now completely forgiven for that time I ran into him in Richfield, Ohio at a Dead show and he wouldn’t give me a measly five bucks for a falafel. Ok, wipe the slate clean. This is better than a falafel.

We are both kids again. We never would have bought a new TV for ourselves. We put our money into our wonderful house and we didn’t care about the TV. But, crazy thing, it makes a huge difference. We are both ravenous about Fable2 on Xbox. We notice, with the upgrade in TV, we can see the minute color changes in our dog’s fur. Fable2 is now more than ever. Wow. There is a difference. We didn’t know. We’d been ignoring it all the time. But we were easily happy in our obnoxiously out-dated TV world. The architects at work laughed at us in our ignorant low-tech TV existence. We shrugged.

So Christmas comes early to our world. We have already hung the outdoor lights and put up the tree (with Mr. Twin Brother via Xbox from Fort Hood). The cats are both snuggly by the fire and glad that we stay home so often during the holiday season. We are in house-mode still until the end of the year, trying to catch up from over-extending ourselves with a new mortgage and an apartment that is still ours until the end of the year. The season is upon us. I have this feeling, when I’m walking around and the thoughts are not pounding on my mind like buckshot, all of the sudden—I realize I am truly happy. I’ve never had that before. This. We are both very fortunate. We have a lot to be thankful for—we have each other and so much more. And now add to that a new TV that we didn’t expect or anticipate. But Mr. Twin Brother apparently couldn’t let us live like that.

While Mr. Husband and Mr. Twin Brother go on a quest, I will make potatoes for tomorrow. The entire Stewart family is going to church tomorrow morning for the Christmas carol service. Grandmother Jean is the star of the family show. Mr. Husband will take a break from dating the new TV, and he’ll hold my hand for a few hours before he comes home to caress the Xbox controller. I take what I can get.

Focus on my potatoes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Before the bird.

It is a lazy Saturday in Mr. Husband land. He’s fumbled around from one thing to another without any clear aim in mind: video games in bathrobe, a warm afternoon nooner, pizza for lunch with more video games, a movie in front of the fire, and folding laundry. He is happy. I am happy. We have no plans today. We stop in the middle of doing nothing much at all and stare at each other to smile, both of us secretly declaring how lucky we are. Here we are for one brief moment after a whirlwind two weeks that included Mr. Husband presenting at a Forum and me having publishers in town from Germany. It was busy.

And, then, here comes Thanksgiving. The year when my father passes down the Klusendorf Family Turkey Secrets to Mr. Husband.

This year, Thanksgiving is at our new house. Mr. Husband and I decided early on in our relationship that neither family will ever feel left out or feel second-best. It’s a hard task to accomplish, but can be done by applying much care. Therefore, the holidays alternate between families. If we spend Thanksgiving with my family, then we spend Christmas with his family and vice versa. We are finding now that we’re married that spending time with our parents is so important—it makes for family. We look forward to adding to this family one day, so we are always working to bring both families together. We are very fortunate in that both sets of parents genuinely enjoy each other. They have a good time together without our having to push or plead. Mr. Husband’s parents even went to visit my parents this past August—without our being along for the trip. We could hear the laughter resounding all the way from Florida.

Tomorrow we will buy our eighteen-pound turkey—enough for everyone. While both Mr. Husband’s brothers have girlfriend’s homes to visit for their own Thanksgiving, we are still planning on their sampling our first turkey in the new house. It’ll be new-house-turkey! It’ll still have that new-house-turkey smell. So we must have turkey enough for thirteen people, plus leftovers. On Wednesday, my parents, older brother, sister-in-law, and grandma will venture their way from Florida. We’re going to have a pie-making contest on Wednesday evening to kick off the holiday festivities. It will be my sister-in-law’s first visit to our new house. I am excited to show her all our nooks and crannies. My sister-in-law is often my best friend—the one who always brings the understanding and the shopping. Let there be shopping!

On Thursday, Mr. Father-in-Law and Mrs. Mother-in-Law will make their way to our home, a mere twelve-mile trek down Valleydale, and we’ll all work together to bring the Thanksgiving Day feast to life. Mrs. Mother-in-Law will bring the happiness and laughter that she always keeps close in her pocket, and Mr. Father-in-Law will bring his limericks. The two of them breathe life into any room. Add this to my parents, and you have a room brimming over with fun and family happiness. I am looking forward to it like it’s our wedding all over again.

We’ve planned for this day all year. We will break out the fine china for its very first dinner. Mr. Husband carefully helped me select placemats, napkins, and napkin rings that match. We have round placemats so that we can fit nine at our table that was purchased especially with many Thanksgivings to come in mind. Everyone will drink from lead crystal glasses or from Reidels. Everything will be perfect … and then we’ll wait for something to go wrong. Something will. And we know it. That’s ok. Our table will be beautiful and our house will be filled with laughter and the love of those that we like having closest. And then we’ll thankfully eat the bird.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Making our house really warm.

We finally achieved maximum house warmimum. We had to break-in our house properly in a way that can be shared with friends (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know what I mean?). We were good sports and let four kind hostesses fill our home with food, wine, and beer while various friends spilled through the door and filled up the floor. The weather was warm so that we could take good advantage of the inviting upper porch. The night was filled with laughter that spilled over the side of the bathtub and ran down the stairs. It is one of my favorite things to give people a welcome space to come and relax with conversation and laughter for a while. Bring on the brief, adhesive moments in life that glue us together.

Debs, Mindy, Hind, and Nicole set up the kitchen, arranging warm and sweet foods on trays for easy access. Finally, the sparkly and shiny stuff that we got for our wedding got to jump out of the cabinet and onto the countertops, coming to life for a few hours. All the Arthur Court and Lenox and Mikasa and Reidels were vying for attention from every onlooker. I encouraged them all, I’m not going to lie to you. Let all my little lovelies have their big moment. Mr. Husband was proud and agreed we’d done well with our picking and planning for the wedding registry. The registry had a theme: entertainment. And so we did.

Throughout the evening, various couples and friends poured through the door, coming to walk through our house that was lit up larger than Christmas and fine on display. My parents had arrived with older brother on Thursday in order to whip the house into shape. Mr. Husband soon became certain, convinced, and suspicious that my mother was trying to get our house ready to sell. When is too much HGTV just too much? Clear off the clutter. Bake cookies for the sugary scent. Hide everything you have or want to have or thought you have in a cabinet. Let your whole life move out to the garage. Store everything so that you forget it and never use it and then throw it out. My mother is a cleaning demon. She breathed her HGTV all over our kitchen and living room until it sparkled and smelled of “Buy Me!” While slightly annoying, she did damn good.

The party was open for kids. Bring your babies. Bring your kids. Bring the never-out-of-energy-Polish-twins-what-is-your-mother-feeding-you to run around our house and up and down the stairs. The dynamic of our circle of friends has changed drastically with all this obnoxious marrying and popping out with children once a year. Baby sitters are expensive. I know. I’ve gladly accepted forty bucks from the Halvorson’s when we didn’t expect it. I understand the cost. Let the children come and be merry, too. Don’t feed them beer, but let them run around with wild abandon. Fill our home with children’s laughter and questions. That is one way to ensure the warmth of a home.

Plus, this gives the Stewarts more opportunity to pose with other people’s kids to pretend that they are our kids and we are a family. Oh, yeah! Look how good we look with our pretend kids? Look how good my mother and mother-in-law look with my pretend baby daughter. I can do that kind of stuff all night. One day we’ll have our own, if we’re lucky.

The house, now, is properly warm. We are still cleaning up after the party. Putting glassware away, cleaning the decanters, sweeping and washing the floors. It was all worth it. There is nothing better than warming a new house with good friends. Mr. Husband was a social butterfly. I watched him being himself and being happy and talkative. I watched him in our house, among our friends, and fell in love all over again. We did this together.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Bruno’s the homegrown into big world grocery store in Birmingham, AL, had free food and wine tastings tonight at the store across from our neighborhood. That’s nice. Warm. Wine. Yum. Suffice it to say, that I no longer feel like cleaning for my parents and older brother who are due on my doorstep around 11:00 this evening. I feel like writing and perusing through various books. I feel like enjoying myself. Since it is the first visit of my parents and older brother to the new house, I must only take a brief moment to enjoy myself and flex my fingers and mind. Mr. Husband is working late much of this week to prepare for the publisher forum that is being held at work next week. He’s going to present some mind-blowing stuff to the publishers and be all brilliant like it comes naturally. I’m getting excited about wearing my proud badge. It’s a busy week, as always.

My parents and older brother are coming into town for our housewarming that is being held on Saturday night. It is a night of coming together of good friends to see our house and enjoy each other’s company. We haven’t had one new wedding this year. It’s time for a party—otherwise, how do we gather all the friends together for one night of laughter? Party. Yes. And we’ve invited the kids. We’re at that age where all our friends are sprouting babies. We’re still trying to sprout, and until we do—we want to be surrounded by everyone else’s babies. It’s so neurotic and true.

We planned the housewarming around our first anniversary. We call it Anniversapalooza. It’s all in the name. We were festive for three days. There was a bit of surprising heartbreak in the middle of that, but we won’t talk about that. That is never to be written about—you know who you are. Our first anniversary was about building traditions. Will we be the couple that always vacations on our anniversary, which is a very popular traditional sentiment? Or will we be the couple that snuggles at home together, locking ourselves away from the world to focus on each other and remember our wedding day? Ideally, it’d be nice to be the former type of couple—big vacation where we can lose ourselves in romance and adventure. However, the new house and scary economy force us to be the latter type of couple. And we like it. Tradition is saved. Let it be.

Sunday morning, we woke up and played The Newlywed Game on DVD—complete with 1970s couples where the women are giggly and oppressed (without realizing it) and the men wear colors so loud that today they’d be prominently pronouncing themselves as batting for the other team. The questions are a bit outdated and blindingly sexist, but the video clips from the real show with the squirming women and the clueless men make up for it. We’re addicted. It was fun just to be reminded of silly things like our honeymoon and strange things like “who was the most aggressive the last time you made woopee.” Love that word. We should all use “woopee” more often in every day speech.

Monday night, Mr. Husband and I drove home from work. We pulled into the garage and he put on our song—The White Stripes “We’re Going To Be Friends” (from the movie Napoleon Dynamite). He put his iPod on the dash of the car and gave me the sweetest card ever that slayed any fear a women could ever have and build castles in my heart. Big giant castles with a moat and dragon and everything. Then he ushered me inside to see my new china cabinet. Holy crap! That was totally not expected. Something to show off my sparkly stuff. Amazing. Mr. Husband is the most awesome and thoughtful man in the world. His gift totally made my gift of a Krupps Heineken Beer Tender look puny. That’s ok. He loved it. Draft beer in the kitchen. Dig it.

Later, we watched SNL and 30 Rock. We laughed and snuggled. The next night, we ate our one-year-old cake that was crusty and dry but surprisingly good (but strange). We laughed and it was just Mr. Husband and me. Just us. We planned for the future and kissed a lot between some other stuff.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Keeping it hot while far apart.

Mr. Husband cometh home. He is warm and snuggly in our bed now. Worn out from so much conference in so little time. He came home bearing gifts: mug and shiny new pen. My favorites. I forced him into a highly flammable costume from Party City as soon as he was beered and cheesed so that we could make his boss’s costume party. No matter what—you always go to the boss’s party. Always. We happen to be very lucky in that Mr. Husband’s boss is one of the best bosses in the world—and he’s incredibly funny and super smart. Winning combination. The boss knows how to throw a good party. And so we went—dressed as what I called Greek Logics. We were supposed to be scary, and I think that, for some people, Greek Logic is the scariest thing in the world. Huzzah!

It felt so good to hug him! To feel Mr. Husband’s arms around me. It’s like it had been years. I think I almost died. I’m sure I came close. And consider that we are always in touch. He’s never far from me via IM, phone, or email, but it is the physical presence that I miss. I miss hearing him breathe. I miss his bad breath in the morning. I miss wondering if he’s dying when he’s stuck in the bathroom for so long in the morning. I miss making him coffee and having him tell me how good it is. I miss seeing his eyes light up when he hears what's for lunch. I miss it all. There are certain things that Mr. Husband does to make sure that I do not miss him so much that it hurts and my insides start dying. He sends me photos. The airport photos are my favorite. This year’s group began with the photo in the plane. I love it.

There are certain things that I do to make sure that Mr. Husband doesn’t miss me so much that he gets shorter. I couldn’t handle that. For God’s sake, let my Mr. Husband remain the towering giant that I’ve grown to love in a very tall kind of way. I always try to pack love notes into Mr. Husband’s suitcase. I tuck them into pockets and between shirts. I place them lovingly into his man-panties as they lay folded on top of each other on their private side of the suitcase. I try to place them strategically so that he finds them occasionally throughout the week. He takes pictures of them and sends them to me with his “Wow!” and “I love you!” Must keep that blood-pumping-through-your-veins-hot-love-makes-me-excitable-all-the-time thriving between us. And we do.

Mr. Husband has an iPhone, so he’s able to send me photos of little things he stumbles upon and that remind him of me. Typically, they are things that he wishes I was with him in order for us to see together. I have my trusty camera with me at all times in order to document the boredom that sets in without Mr. Husband. The two cats were definitely bored. Mr. Oliver, the Senator, let me know loud and clear with poop bombs on the rug in the laundry room that Mr. Husband’s departure from home was unacceptable. The two cats would sit and stare at me every night. They missed the family aspect. I understand. Little Bonita, our bananna head, is never calm without Mr. Husband. She, too, stares at me as if I've forced him from home and fed him to the neighbor's dog.

Today will be cat Saturday! I’ve already made the coffee and will probably go and wake Mr. Husband soon with an English muffin and some eggs. I will wake him as he crawls all over the morning bed—taking up both sides of the bed. While in L.A. Mr. Husband sent me a photo of himself sleeping and taking up the entire bed. Bad man! I’ve got Mr. Husband well trained to sleep on only one third of the bed while, in truth, we practically sleep on top of each other. I get two thirds of the bed and share it with my cat. We have needs. However, my biggest need always is to feel his heart beating next to mine. I like his soft breathing that makes me feel safe and reminds me of his great love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

Harold is here. Harold says that maybe if I write about someone other than Mr. Husband that more people will read my blog. I say, he always was a slow reader. Mr. Husband is definitely the most exciting, thrilling, top-of-the-world, stupendous topic ever. We’ll see what Mr. Husband says about that poignant criticism. We’ll just see.

Or … I could take Mr. Twin Brother’s advice and write a blog all about Harold. Harold. My twin. The kid who no one knew could speak until he was around five years old. The kid who stuck a giant King’s Island pencil in my leg when we were six years old. The kid who refused to sit on the hump in mom’s bike kiddie seat (she had two kids in one seat—Bravo, mom!) that resulted in my losing an ankle to the vicious bike monster spokes. The kid who proposed the theory of rope-around-waist-and-tied-to-bike will result in faster running, which backfired and resulted in all the ends of my bare-feet-toes becoming bloody stumps for one summer. (His theory, obviously, was complete bunk.) The kid who always had a new idea. And I was the kid that always said, “That’s genius, Harold.”

I always thought he was a genius.

When we were little, Harold used to tell me what to do. Before we were one-year-olds—when we were babies. We had a secret language like most twins. I’m absolutely certain that our secret language was superior to all other possible secret languages. We were always superheroes. We were the Wonder Twins. I was a bird and he was a pail of water. Mom always made our costumes at Halloween. She even made the polyester tights for our Batman and Batgirl costumes. We were certain we could fly. We had a backyard spaceship tree. We had a neighborhood filled with kids like Johnny Odom, Mike Milner, Chris Vogel, and Andy Justin. We were renegades. We were always filled with laughter. And we were often discovering what things in nature could be set on fire. We lived in Ten Mile Creek in Sylvania. Bring on the flood.

Harold likes to take things apart. I was always afraid that Harold would steal my radio, my clock, my tape player, or my electronic microphone that attached to the special tape player. Why was I afraid? Because Harold took apart everything. Nothing could stop him. He had to dissect all electronics. The VCR. The little black and white TV. His own lizard. What makes it tick? What makes Harold tick?

Many do not know. I know. Kindness. He is all goodness. He is selfish, too, but when he’s not being selfish he is being ten times more kind and generous than when he is selfish. He comes to stay with me and we talk for hours. We never stop talking. We laugh. We do not live so much in the “remember when’s” as much as we understand exactly how the other one feels about things that are going on in each of our lives. That twin connection. He is easy going. I am uptight. He is free and relaxed. I am a wound-up bag of neurotic nerves. He is my other half and was always beside me growing up.

Today, he is here. He is downstairs watching TV (and hopefully not taking it apart) as I write and attempt to ready myself for lunch. We’ll go shopping. We’ll have constant banter over clothes that he needs to buy. I’ll make sure he looks good. He’ll make sure that I smile and forget my ever-present worries for a while. He’ll fill just a tiny portion of that big lonely void that Mr. Husband has left behind with his being in L.A. We’ll roll around Birmingham with happy little faces and not a care in the world. I wish everyone could have a twin.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Living at Level Orange.

We are back from Florida, and Mr. Husband is now in LA at the PDC convention. He’s totally geeking out. I am here single-momming it with the two cats and many friends who always come around in droves to make sure I’m ok while not in the special care of Mr. Husband. I believe that all my friends imagine me to be half-retarded and unable to take care of myself without Mr. Husband. They might be half right.

I’m still unwinding from Florida and our surprise trip for my older brother’s fortieth birthday. He’s old. Older than dirt, they say. I doubt it, but with my great youth—I’m no expert on dirt and its age. Mr. Husband and I saw the beach for the first time together for about twenty minutes in Vero Beach on Saturday morning. We are mountain people, not like hill people, but we prefer hiking and the woods to the beach. We drank up those awesome twenty minutes through a straw and will continue to digest the sand-in-toes-and-sand-on-ankles good brief moment we had.

Fortieth birthdays in my family are big affairs. My dad had a surprise 40th birthday party in the 80s with a belly dancer and plus-size stripper. I remember seeing the photos from the no-kids-allowed-party. Dad later surprised mom at Inverness Country Club in Toledo for her surprise fortieth birthday party. There’s something about birthday and surprise that is part of my very being. Mr. Husband has eagerly taken to the tradition and we can look forward to many more surprises in our future together.

While in Florida, Mr. Husband played video games with Mr. Twin Brother and I sat and bugged my mom when not watching Lifetime. On Friday, mom and dad woke me up at seven in the morning to decorate older brother’s birthday cake. Ugh. They said we were going to do it together, but the decorating fell on my shoulders with mom and dad telling me what to do next. Dad baked the cake and mom iced it for me. It would have been nice to get some warning and perhaps bathe before the cake decorating, but there is never enough time in our family. We are always rushing to meet some deadline. Mr. Husband slept through most of the making-the-icing and preparing-the-cake. He came and joined us in the kitchen to laugh and eat Pringles. My mom loves to feed Mr. Husband and always has his favorite foods on hand.

For the trip down to Vero Beach, where older brother and sister-in-law live, Mr. Husband got to drive with Mr. Twin Brother while I was stuck in the minivan with mom and dad and the cake. Every five minutes, we had to check the cake. Mom is a crazy driver—gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, gas, brake. Her tires squeal when she takes turns. Dad sits in the passenger seat and tells mom what to do. Constantly. Dad likes to put everyone into panic mode. They were absolutely certain that the cake was going to fall and the party was going to be ruined and then we’d all die in flames or something. Something bad is always about to happen to my parents. They live like that—on the edge at all times. My parents have a very good life and bad things rarely happen to them. However, they are always bracing themselves for immediate disaster. They are level orange at all times and always veering on red.

Mr. Husband totally got the good end of that driving to Vero Beach deal. Mr. Husband and Mr. Twin Brother are very close. They are buddies. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is one of those things that I count as a blessing. Mr. Husband actually likes everyone in my family. He understands their quirks and takes part in the end-of-the-world-at-any-second mythology to which my parents subscribe. They got a package deal. Mr. Husband takes it all in stride.

In the end, older brother was totally surprised—he couldn’t take his hands out of his pockets when he walked in the door of the country club. He didn’t know what to do. Sister-in-law was the best wife in the world that night for pulling off such an amazing party. The cake survived much to the incredible surprise of my parents who imagined the cake as a pile of goo after the first ten miles from The Villages to Vero Beach. And Mr. Husband and I got another weekend of close family sharing, laughing, and drinking really, really good wine.