Thursday, August 28, 2008

Etiquette Schmetiquette

It’s back to normal at the Stewart home. We’re still trying to relax after the most successful Birthannukah ever. Currently, we’re playing WordScraper with each other on Facebook and playing with the cats between turns. The cats have claimed the Wii Fit balance board as their own—their own little Birthannukah surprise for us. It is calm and exactly what we need right now as we gear up for new house countdown. There were a total of three super surprises during Birthannukah—it was hectic, edge of the seat kind of stuff. I surprised Mr. Husband one last time on the actual birthday (Monday) when we attended his surprise birthday lunch at work. How the man I married could actually think that I wouldn’t plan a birthday lunch—me, the planner of company birthday lunches—is a surprise for myself. I would never overlook the most important co-worker ever. Never.

I remember the first time I observed Mr. Husband in action was at a work birthday lunch. Three years ago in September 2005, I’d planned a big birthday lunch for Jeremie at Standard Bistro in Mt. Laurel. This particular birthday lunch was a white-table-cloth-kind-of-thing that was unusual for our group. The white-table-cloth-kind-of-place we went to that day serves a reasonably priced lunch while making us feel special in that white-table-cloth-kind-of-way. That particular day, Mr. Husband was the new guy at the company, and he attended the birthday lunch that specifically required an RSVP with a fellow co-worker who had not RSVP’d for either of them. For shame! The shock! I was angry with the co-worker and spoke sternly to him when he arrived with the at-the-time unknown Mr. Husband in tow. Mr. Husband stood like a tall tree behind the other co-worker as I railed into the co-worker about his lack of courtesy and manners. I actually explained the importance of etiquette; I was very specific in my rage. Mr. Husband, the new guy, stood silently behind the co-worker—not moving—just watching. I expected to see the new guy shocked at what could only be described as a bitchy, but thoroughly defined, tirade. Instead of seeing surprise, fear, or disapproval, I saw a man enamored and filled with respect for the fiery girl explaining birthday lunch RSVP etiquette. A truly absurd moment. Etiquette can be so very important to me. He understood. We played eye tag throughout the rest of that birthday lunch. We didn't speak again until the company holiday party in December. The rest is history.

To this day, even though he doesn’t need to, Mr. Husband always RSVPs to every birthday lunch. Even though I know his every move and it’s not really necessary. Good man.

On Monday, Mr. Husband was celebrated with a surprise birthday lunch at Don Pepe’s. I’d planned the birthday lunch for a week and a half—letting the programmers know of my intention ahead of time. Careful planning. There is not much fanfare involved in the office birthday lunch. It’s tell everyone where to go and when, and then it’s sit and wait followed by smile, eat, and be happy. We have a close office environment where a majority of the folks who work together also mingle together socially. Almost all of Mr. Husband’s team at work are also Wii Miis in our Wii world. That’s geek for friendship.

Around 9:00 that morning, I called to tell Mr. Husband that I’d forgotten our lunches on the kitchen counter. I told him I was stressed out at work and needed to get out of the office at lunch. Not exactly a lie, but for a girl who enjoys work stress and problem solving—it is a stretch. It was gloomy on Monday as Tropical Depression Fay dropped depressing rain all over our Birmingham. A perfect day for tacos and fajitas.

While walking up to Don Pepe’s, Mr. Husband looked down the sidewalk to see Casey and Will walking toward Don Pepe’s from the other direction. He said, “Oh, there’s Casey and Will. I guess they’re going to Don Pepe’s, too.” He didn’t put it together. How cute is that? Seriously. Surprise number three, on his actual birthday, and lunch at work. He doesn’t put it together. Casey and Will, the Architects at work, keep walking toward us. I look at Mr. Husband all grinny-grin-grin, and he goes, “Ooh! Did you?! Did you plan a lunch for me?” Yes, Mr. Husband, I did. Of course I did. I think of you with every move and with any bite during Birthannukah. The games are begun. But before they end—birthday work lunch!

On Tuesday, Mr. Husband surprised me for lunch. He came to my cube early, all hopping around and eager for his leftovers. Or so I thought. He was awfully skippy about run-of-the-mill leftovers, so I was surprised to find that when I walked into the lunch room, he had a dozen red roses waiting for me. The Birhannukah closing ceremony. May the world be filled with roses and may all couples take a week each year to celebrate the other one over and over and over. It’s totally worth it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You say it's your birthday.

It is day five of Birthannukah. It’s been a rip-roaring wild ride thus far. Though my Mr. Husband’s brain may be the size of a small planet, his people lack social situation understanding. That was not included with the giant brain bonus. It’s amazing that I can surprise this man year after year after year. I can and I do and I love it. He’s been thoroughly surprised at least twice during this year’s festivities where he was staring right at the situation and had to be told “this is for you.” To see the realization creep over his pale face in a smile from ear to ear that lights up his eyes in starbursts is the kind of stuff I live for. It’s the kind of stuff that reminds Mr. Husband that he’s the one—he’s the most amazing, wonderful, save-my-life-with-love kind of man that I want to spend the rest of my sure-to-be-very-happy days with. He puts the dashes between my words to make phrases. Celebrating each other is so important. Always.

One of the best things about Birthannukah is the food. I wake up every morning about an hour before Mr. Husband. I usually do twenty minutes of yoga and then work a bit via email before making Mr. Husband’s breakfast around 6:15 am. His breakfasts are not extravagant: English Muffins, bagels, frozen waffles, or toast. On the rare weekday occasion, I’ll make eggs. But with two people fiercely trying to hold onto their weight lest it run for the hills and grow to a disproportionate size, he prefers that I keep breakfast light. This means that I’m working with limited resources. Birthannukah food must be special at all times. Therefore, I must focus on food arrangement. Morning #1 saw English Muffins cut into heart shapes with raspberry jelly for color. Chocolate sauce complimented the gory display with the cut up pieces in a post-modern love sculpture at the top of the plate. It didn’t look exactly appetizing, but my point was made.

Mr. Husband greedily ate my hearts as he opened his first Birthannukah gift: The Official Ninja Book, Real Ultimate Power. We have a saying in our home—when in doubt, add a few ninjas for super-cool-awesomeness. It seems the author, Robert Hamburger, shares our sentiment. Funny book. Mr. Husband loves it. I followed each morning with another gory breakfast creation and a Birthannukah gift: Zen Garden and electronic screwdriver. But on Friday, I made him wait. You could taste and smell the disappointment in Mr. Husband’s voice when he heard this announcement. Nothing creates ants-in-the-pants syndrome like knowing that you have to wait all day for a gift.

Friday after work, I made up a phony story about our having to go to Micheal’s: The Arts and Crafts Store. I told him that we needed to pick up gold stuff for my mother-in-law because youngest brother Chris’s girlfriend Britton is celebrating turning 25 on the 25th of August. It’s her golden birthday. Nice. Of course, we wholly support self-created holidays, so this quest was believable for Mr. Husband. I needed his help. So we entered the store and I told Mr. Husband to try and find gold flowers in the silk flower section at the front of the store. I high-tailed it to the framing section at the back of the store.

The Framing Department counter was empty. No one there. I shouted into the back room. No answer. I panicked. I ran to a close-by aisle to find a guy stocking shelves. I explained to him my predicament and that I was crazy and anxious and please don’t ruin the surprise. He was eager to get away from me and find someone else to help me. As I waited near the framing counter, Mr. Husband walked up behind me. I turned around and acted like I was studying picture frames on the shelf next to me. I asked if he’d found any flowers. He said, “yes.” I said, “can you bring them to me?” He explains they’re in bunches and that we can go look at them. Panic. Ok. Regroup. “Can you go to the wrapping section to see if you can find gold paper or gold tissue?” I pointed to the furthest corner of the store. He sighed and walked off on his next mission. Such a good man. So very-very good.

The manager arrives and I try not to speak too fast. I explain to her that I’m here to pick up a framed print. I tell her my story about how it’s for a surprise and for my husband and she doesn’t even feign interest. She is so unresponsive to my excited need that I’m sure she cannot hear me, and I’m probably scaring her at this point. She gives me the framed print and reluctantly helps me take off the plastic bag so I can lay the framed print on the counter in plain sight. I’m sure she was rolling her eyes. As soon as the framed print is on the counter, Mr. Husband appears with a roll of gold wrapping paper in his hands. Good man.

I stand there with a silly grin on my face. Pause. I point to the framed print on the counter. Mr. Husband looks and says, “Oh, that’s cool.” No exclamation point. No glimmer of excitement. Like an observation from a uninvolved stranger on the side of the road who sees the carnival go by and knows he cannot join the parade. He stands there staring at it. I say-scream, “That’s yours!” It takes him a second. The woman behind the counter breaks a slight smile at our crazy joy. We cracked her. I cracked him. He is overwhelmed. He loves the Venture Bros. print from Adult Swim that is framed in red. Another bonus for the video game loft he'll have in the new house.
When we slide into bed that night, Mr. Husband whispers as we fall into sleep, “I really love you.” Oh, yeah. This is all totally worth it. All of it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Birthannukah: The Festival of Birthday Candle Lights.

It is that magical time of year again in our home: Birthannukah. We’ll have seven days and seven nights of birthday lights and birthday gifts. Mr. Husband and I began this tradition in 2006 during our first year together. We spoiled each other—we couldn’t help it. Two lonely people found each other and were overwhelmed with giving. It happens. It did for us, at least. We plan months in advance for the seven nights of gifts. Sometimes, the gifts come in the morning and sometimes they come at night. Traditionally, I cannot wait to give, so Mr. Husband’s festivus of light occurs in the morning and spills into the night. Mr. Husband likes to make me wait because he likes to see me excited like a five-year-old waiting for Santa all day. Men do that.

Today is the opening ceremony for Birthannukah 2008: Mr. Husband Takes the Cake.

As always, the ever Irish Bill and Ted are here as guest commentators to help usher in this momentous occasion for our radio listeners and geek reading public.

Ted: I look out over the field filled with crazed Mr. Husband fans, Bill, as they wait for the Birthannukah Backyard Tiki Torch to be lit.

Bill: Oh, this is a great event—look at the excitement on all their faces. The super flame, Ted. You can see that everyone in the crowd is wearing one of four collector t-shirts with Mr. Husband’s face on it that were issued earlier this year and sold for a limited time on

Ted: That’s right! Bill and I are wearing our Mr. Husband Goes to the Mayor t-shirts. Some fans have gone as far as to body paint—the true zealots are painted head to toe in a pasty white.

Bill: Gosh, Ted, can you hear that? They’re chanting his name in two clear syllables—the sound is deafening, “Hus-band! Hus-band!”

Ted: This is an awesome spectacle, indeed. The fans cannot keep from clapping their hands together and you can see acrobats shooting out from all corners of the crowd. Look! There goes one now! Oooh—bad landing. That must have hurt.

Bill: That’s right, Ted. This year, the head of the committee, Mrs. Wife, has hired a full carny circus to add that certain flair—

Ted: Carny flair—

Bill: That’s right, Ted, that special, pungent, colorful Carny flair.

Ted: Leaves a taste in your mouth, doesn’t it, Bill?

Bill: Sure does, Ted, like cotton candy and hours-old hot dogs. I’m sure all our listeners are familiar.

Ted: HaHA! I know I can taste it, Bill.

Bill: Ah, sure you do, Ted. Sure you do. So what are we looking at this year for our Big Headed Birthannukah Man?

Ted: Well, Bill, this year is a theme festival. As many of our listeners know, Mr. Husband is moving into a new house soon.

Bill: Ha—that’s right, Ted. Rumor has it that Mrs. Wife expects Mr. Husband to step into the man-takes-care-of-the-house role.

Ted: Oh, you know it, Bill. And those are some pretty big pants to fill!

Bill: Good thing Mr. Husband has big … legs.

Ted: Oh, Bill! Ha! You are terrible.

Bill: Look, Ted, I think something’s happening down there. The crowd is on their feet, and I hear more chanting—I think I even spy some gratuitous humping in the stands.

Ted: You know it, Bill. That’s the official sign that Birthannukah is about to begin. You can feel it in the air. You can feel it in the crowd’s great frenzy!

Bill: Oh, look, Ted! A woman is giving birth over there in Section M. Wow.

Ted: Wow, indeed, Bill. Gosh, you hardly see that anymore!. Birhannukah sure does bring out the best in a crowd.

Bill: And here’s our champion! Look at him running into the stadium with his arms raised. The crowd sure does love that!

Ted: Yes, Bill, he certainly knows how to work the crowd. And he certainly knows it’s his day! What a fine Birthannukah cap he’s wearing this year.

Bill: Yes, Ted, this year’s Birhannukah hat was commissioned especially for the opening day ceremony by Badgley Mischka. Spectacular.

Ted: Breathtaking! Love the feathers, Bill. That Badgley is a genius with feathers.

Bill: And it’s no secret that Mr. Husband loves feathers!

Ted: Well, we’ve got a great competition in front of us—Mr. Husband looks in fine form this year, feathers and all. He’s taking his time approaching the Birthannukah Backyard Tiki Torch; he’s careful.

Bill: As soon as he lights the torch, the games begin! We’ll find out if Mr. Husband can step into the householder mold.

Ted: Haha—this is going to be a great competition this year, Bill! Look at the fans! They’ve all got their kazoos out for the Birthannukah National Anthem!

Bill: Here it comes, Ted!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A candy-colored clown threw up on my walls.

Our walls are painted. It took us a few days to deal with it. It’s like a pastel-colored unicorn vomited a dollhouse all over the inside of our house while singing nursery rhymes. I think we saw them for the first time on Wednesday last week. We immediately hated the colors. H-A-T-E. Close to tears, I called my mother. The woman who has to buy a new house when she’s had her fill of painting the walls in any current house (at least three paint changes per room) offered to come fix the dilemma. Could my mother be a saint? Yes—she’s obviously the Saint of Paint. To increase my claim that the woman is a saint, her offer to repaint a few rooms is an offer to come to Birmingham from Florida after her Portugal trip and two weeks before her trip to Egypt (all with dad in tow to be a disciple on her Saint Paint pilgrimage). Clearly, this woman can help resolve the greater issues of interior design world peace in the Middle East that pertain to paint colors. Send my mom! She’ll repaint until there is no more war. And all you have to do is hold the ladder.

It was a fifty-fifty kind of day. See, while the wall colors tore out my heart and stomped them into the concrete slab that is our foundation, the kitchen offered us new life. We were reborn when we stepped into the dark, dramatic, daring kitchen we created. Mr. Husband and I were speechless. That’s how incredible was the effect. But the candy-colored walls still glared at us. We tried only to gaze upon the backsplash as she pulled the cabinets to grand cherry life. We tried to imagine the Uba Tuba without her pile of flour dust that looks like a baker went mad in our unfinished kitchen. We tried to ignore the hard pill to swallow with the wall color, but she snuck into the top of the kitchen and fouled our cabinets. How dare this paint be everywhere! We’ve never been so quiet walking through the house as we are every time we visit since the paint arrived and tried to ruin our dream. It’s like we have this sinking feeling. Our wall-color dreams have been stolen and are up for sale at the circus.

And we picked it out. We did it. There is no one to blame but Mr. Husband and Mrs. Wife. Those stupid little paint strips with their flash of hopeful color that mislead one. Damn you paint strips the size of a fingernail! Damn you and your fingernail dream of brilliance! The one major issue that Mr. Husband has been a stickler on from day one is “no yellow.” None. He hates yellow. I kind of share his dislike but can see it for a child’s bedroom. I guess. Maybe. Someday. But he abhors yellow. And now it seems that yellow may be the death of us. She surrounds us with her laughter. Look how she mocks us in my sunroom as she clashes with the sage in the living room. Every time I look at the contrast and see the clash, I imagine a clown getting into a drunk fight at the circus. But, like, not the night circus but the day circus. The day circus where the performers don’t really care and the animals are all asleep. Yes, there are definitely drunken day clowns lurking within our candy-colored walls.

And I’ve not even taken you to the library, yet. Our dream room. The room we’ve planned and designed so that it has the upper porch entry and front-of the house appeal. The room where we took out one of the two closets not simply to screw the next owners but also to provide a better space for books. This room is to be our haven. Our sanctuary. The place that will house our two computers and our passions: work and research. This room must be perfect. And we knew the perfect color because my best friend from grad school, Bhavesh, has it on his walls: "True Red" by Sherwin Williams. But when it came time to select the red for our most important room walls, Mr. Husband decided he was going to flex his style. Yes, the man who cannot dress himself felt he was up for the challenge. I gritted my teeth and sat back. He is important. Mr. Husband deserves a say. He chose “Showstopper Red.” This red is two color strips away from the darker “True Red.” But he persuaded me by throwing up the jazz hands: Showstopper! I’m a sucker for jazz hands. And I’m a sucker for Mr. Husband. Our carnival red walls are the first walls that may Paint Saint mother will repaint.

We will cope. We will continue to plan. Paint is not the end of the world … especially when you have mother like mine with a father who is willing to help. I’m going to have to write the Vatican after this miracle. For now, Mr. Husband and I think of the kitchen. Our awesome kitchen. We will get through this together. Seriously, though, the paint drama nearly killed us. Not everyone is so lucky as to have my mother who will save us from certain wall color hell through her benevolent acts of heavenly paint kindness.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Economical Humanitarianism

Furniture shopping and taking that great big leap deeper into debt can be blissful joy—as long as you jump without looking back. The walls are painted on Werewolf Lane, so it's time to get ready. Mr. Husband and I took advantage of the yearly Macy’s furniture sale on Friday night. We planned, we came, we shopped, we spent.

Are we being economically irresponsible at a time when we should be battening down the hatches? Are we making a mistake and living it up—enjoying the best time of our life without a care in the world? Are we reckless? Are we essentially driving down the busy highway of life without wearing a seatbelt while talking on the cell phone and attempting to apply mascara in the rearview mirror? Are we? Is this robot groom of mine leading us to an early financial grave while I ride shotgun clapping and laughing? A lot of people around us seem to think so. A lot of people are cautioning us to slow down. But Simon and Garfunkle are urging us to feel groovy, and we’re doing it. We are feeding the economy when she needs it most. Instead of reckless, we are economical humanitarians.

Eventually, it all comes down to “who do you trust?” Do I trust my Mr. Husband who has painstakingly carved out a budget that includes finite details and little extras that his wife needs like a small monthly clothes budget? We wholly believe we can manage this financial struggle. We are so American we’re star-spangled to the bone. Spend! Spend! Spend the money before it comes in!

Yes, I trust Mr. Husband. Completely.

So, give my Mr. Husband his ugly red man chair that hurts me to think of it to the left of our beautiful dark brown leather sofa. So he gives me my Dead Man Chair 2000 that makes Mr. Husband want to vomit when he looks upon it. Give it to us. Let us live the dream. Let us find bookshelves and the perfect little end table for Mr. Husband’s beer glass. While we are giving ourselves these little new perks, we realize that this is only a tiny portion of what we need. We still have years to fill each corner with the perfect shaped object to bring out its beauty. We didn’t go crazy. We’d never do that. We were careful and entered the store with a clear game plan after researching online. We knew what we wanted. We divided the store into his and her objects and we compromised and conquered.

It is important that we have a place for all our books. It is important that Mr. Husband be able to know that his wife is curled up comfortably in her favorite reading chair. It is important to replace the Dead Man Chair that I bought for $15 during my sophomore year in college—the chair that has springs sprung in its cushions that have made me always say, “there’s a dead man in there; you can feel his bones sticking out.” We'll keep the ugly chair for the cats, but we'll hide it in a guest room or something. It is important that Mr. Husband be comfortable in his video game loft. He’s already moved a doorway to ensure this outcome. It is important that we have a table for Thanksgiving. That is coming—I’ve saved for months for the perfect table.

We’ll have a comfortable home that we’re eager to spend all our time in while making each other happy. That’s the true goal. We are willing to sacrifice for this perfect goal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

If a brain meet a brain coming through the Vyde.

I am constantly learning from my husband. I learn more some weeks than other weeks, but there is never a dull week where my brain is not challenged by something inside his brain. They are not dueling brains. They are working-together brains. Good thing, too, because these two brains are housed right on top of each other in this tiny apartment where two cats tell us exactly what to do at all times. Funny how their itty bitty brains control our much larger human brains. We are at their mercy. Late at night is when we are most prone to kitty cat brain slavery. The doling out of kitty treats, the scraping of the litter box, and the filling of the many water glasses around our apartment that caused one friend to muse that our interior decorating mimics the ideas in the Mel Gibson movie Signs. We’re all waiting for alien brains to fall from the sky. I hope they’re cat alien brains that know how to fill their own water bowl and don't drink from the toilet.

It is late at night when the big Mr. Husband brain and the slightly smaller but still equal in every way Mrs. Wife brain meet to brainstorm and come up with ideas. Mr. Husband is building a video game. Besides his strong desire to date the girl at work who would not date, this was one of the first things I knew about Mr. Husband. He is building Vyde, which I have pronounced “Veed” from the beginning since my sometimes smaller brain has a knack for mispronouncing words. I think it’s a gift. In grad school, they didn’t agree. When we met, I googled him. Any man who is interesting must be highly googlable, too. My Mr. Husband was not necessarily highly googlable, but he did have one entry: a blog. Hm. Kind of interesting. I’d never met anyone with a blog:

I perused the site, keen with interest and looking for his history so my greedy eyes could snatch it up and store it in my smaller brain that did not yet know his larger brain. I did not yet have confirmation that his brain was anything more than a veiny capsule. I did not know yet that his brain was a thinking man’s brain. I was on the hunt for evidence of brain magic. What I found perplexed me. My girl brain did not understand what his big man brain was wrestling with: video games, web based components, API architecture, and arbitrary leaps across the grid. My feeling-much-smaller-than-normal brain was swimming in the unknown. It was also swimming in intrigue with a genuinely piqued interest and a big need-to-know-more factor.

I went to my sources. I asked Dowling. I asked Moser. I asked Baugher. All seemed to say the same thing. This big man brain is working on something overwhelming and nearly impossible (the “impossible” sentiment can be accredited alone to Baugher, who makes Hardy and his “Hap” look like a carnival ride with cotton candy and no cares in the world). My sources all scratched their heads. My main concern, though, was, “can it be done?” Nearly impossible is not impossible necessarily.

Last night, the two of us put our big brains together and I helped Mr. Husband with his story. Vyde must have myth. Vyde must have story. This is where my smaller brain swings into big brain action and concocts story after story, stringing them together as we talk and laugh about the details. Some of the funniest discussion in the world. Some of the best times in our shared life are when his brain comes and asks my brain to help him out, challenging my sleeping brain to wake and grow into spaces girl-brain never imagined before man-brain knocked. I’m happy to oblige Mr. Husband, for his big-giant-enourmous-man-thinking-at-all-times-always-logical brain is reason #46 for why I married him. And it is so very important to be inside his brain for some part of the day—to take part of my day and set it aside to learn about what’s making Mr. Husband tick. He makes my brain a little bit bigger and cozier indeed.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Werewolves drinking margaritas.

It’s been a big week in house-building land. We have our closing date. We have tile. We have our first trees. We have a stove. We have marble around the fireplace. We have so very much. And to think—we get to have each other, too. We are all too lucky. And to add to that, baby-making is, like, the best time ever. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, know what I mean? We have great happiness and a world coming together to provide a roof over our head for house number one in dream vision magic. Our closing date was set for September 11th. Oooh. Um. That’s awkward. We’ve asked that the date be changed to September 15th, which is a Monday and a full moon. I’m quite all right fighting off werewolves, but terrorists tend to scare me. Bring on the werewolves. We’ll let them howl around our kitchen door and be mindful that werewolves prefer a big dish of beef chow mein. We have a beautiful street. We’ve begun calling her Werewolf Lane.

Our first trees are one of the most exciting parts. The house begins to look like a home. We have something we’ve not yet identified and a palm tree. The palm tree was easy to identify due to the palm appearance while the other tree is just tree. We have tiny little rose bushes that the other houses do not have. We have the beginning of sprinklers as tubes sprout from the ground around the tiny front yard. Mr. Husband calls them black tubes of sustenance. We see monkey grass and imagine we’ll have a flying monkey farm reminiscent of Oz to keep the werewolves away. We imagine that everything is possible and happening. We are as alive as our tiny rose bushes and we’re reaching to the sun.

The tile in our master bath and upstairs bath (the bath that The Others will use when The Others visit) is amazing. That the builder takes time for tiny aesthetic details like laying the tile in a visually pleasing pattern sits completely right with us. There is time taken with this art. There is care. We see our little soap dish on the wall ready to drown bars of soap in its pool of water. We know that we’ll spend a lot of quality time in this bathroom. We thank the heavens that we will now have two point five bathrooms instead of one. No more danger for morning nostrils, though I am glad that Mr. Husband is regular. The bathrooms will be magnificent. There is a Kohler pedestal going in the powder room. Extra care is given to the bathrooms.

The kitchen got her stove and microwave on Tuesday. The dishwasher joined them later in the week. The three of them make such a happy couple. This is our first microwave. Though my dear sister-in-law gave me one in grad school, we left it behind when I moved in with Mr. Husband. Neither of us cared to cook with that kind of voodoo. Now we realize how important a microwave is for thawing different parts of dinner when a couple works too hard to remember to pull something out of the freezer in the morning. We understand now. We will not begrudge the thawing joy our new microwave can bring us. We’ll love her and treat her as one of the family. She can stay, and we will use her.

There is still primer on the walls. We cannot wait to see wall color and really know what we’ll be living with for years to come. The wood floors that will be dark as night will not come until much later. I imagine we’ll have faucets soon and lighting may come next week. Every week is Christmas on Werewolf Lane. Soon we’ll be living there among our new neighbors and fighting off werewolves together as we drink margaritas on our upper porch while rocking in our matching red rocking chairs. We’ll plan for the future on that upper porch as we watch the world below us and know that we did this together. Our kingdom. Our love. Our life. Werewolf Lane.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

One Pill Makes You Larger.

Today is our nine-month anniversary for being blissfully, happily, blindingly, ecstatically, delusionally, conservatively, unremittingly, relentlessly, fearlessly, comedically, wonderfully in love and married. I’m going to focus on the “fearless” aspect as I write about our big decision. Mr. Husband says he’s been waiting for a sign. We both know the clock is ticking. My friend Nader used to have this great joke when I was single where he’d stomp on the floor and ask, “do you hear that? That’s Heather’s biological clock ticking!” He’s a funny Arab who is often right in his joking. Mr. Husband and I knew that when we entered into this marriage-wonder-thing, we were looking toward the future and toward a family. We also fully acknowledge that it’s now or never. I am past that precious age of having time to wander and frolic without a care. The flowers will need to wait to be sniffed for a few years. It’s go time.

August 3rd, 2008 is the last birth control pill we’ll take. Yes: we. It has been a joint venture from the start. I went on the pill with Mr. Husband two years ago after being single and not really needing such contraceptive help. We’ve been taking Yasmin, and we love it. Except for the extreme boob pain once a month, all else is cake. Really good cake like the kind that surprises you for no reason. Like it’s not your birthday. We’ve had a good fun time with regulated everything. No crying. No mood swings. Very few cramps. Yasmin, dear Yasmin, you’ve been good to us. We’re sorry to see you go. But you must.

We’ve been grappling with this decision as we get closer to the house being built. The plan (of course I have a plan) has been to wait until after we are moved in. We’ll drink champagne on the upper porch and toast each other and then go off the pill. Then we’ll be like rabbits. However, with the birth of the Topazi baby and their year and a half struggle to get pregnant, we begin to wonder if we’re wasting precious time that we simply do not have. We begin to fear. And, oh yes, I begin to panic. I corner Mr. Husband. I tell him it’s time. He worries. He is silent. He tells me to wait. He points out that if we get pregnant now, we will not be able to afford all the cute and wonderful little things that we’d like to—we’ll be poor. We go to bed many nights thinking on this issue. We hold each other and we murmur to each other little thoughts and ideas. We try. We continue to panic. We think.

Mr. Husband is waiting for a sign.

We have signs-o-plenty this week. We are overwhelmed with signs. We have signs falling from the sky as if God is touching us with his very loving nudge. The big sign comes on Wednesday, July 29th. It’s time to call into the pharmacy for my birth control refill. I call. I am told by the helpful computer robot that the pharmacist needs to speak with me. I wait. I hear really bad music. I wait. A kind lady comes on the line and tells me that my prescription has expired. I ask her when. She tells me that it expired the day before. I ask, “So, you mean, had I phoned yesterday—you would have been able to refill for one more month?” She tells me that’s right. My logic is correct. “But since I called today, you cannot refill it?” Yes. That’s right, again. Bingo. I’ve got it. While it is no immediate tragedy, the pharmacy will phone my doctor’s office, it is something. Something. Mr. Husband immediately marks it as a sign. That’s what it is.

We went early to Mellow Mushroom this week, stopping off at the house first, to find cabinets in our kitchen covered up with plastic wrap, waiting to be exposed, waiting for the ceiling trim to be painted, making it safe for their premiere into the world of kitchens and super new house. We find this and we are stunned with the progress. Off to Mellow Mushroom to eat pizza and realize it’s all really happening.

Mr. Husband doesn’t look at me, but looks down at his hands and says, “I wouldn’t bother picking up another pack of birth control.” He says it. I was totally there. He wouldn’t look at me, but he could feel me begin to squirm and dance in my seat across the table. He looked up, then, with a smile beginning to spread across his face and we looked into each other’s eyes. The sign had come. The decision had been made.

The next morning, after we parted in the Mt. Laurel snickleway and I walked to my office leaving Mr. Husband at his, I stepped to cross Main Street and a dragon fly floated directly in front of me. I’m sure that the dragonfly touched me with his black wings as he floated by effortlessly. He touched me. Out of the blue. In the middle of Mt. Laurel. From nowhere. The dragonfly made his way and went on past me after gracing me with his beauty. Those who know me understand that sign. I am awake. We are both awake.

The greatest and scariest adventure of our lives comes now. We are ready.