Friday, August 28, 2009

Problems with Dummy Husband 1.0

Recently, there have been some minor malfunctions with my Dummy Husband 1.0 model. The problems began when I changed jobs and now work within the same company but five miles up the road and in a different building from Dummy Husband 1.0. The Corporation did not inform me that my Dummy Husband 1.0 model needed continuous support and attention. In my mind, if I purchase one of their top of the line robot husbands that they promise will take complete care of me—then, I expect Dummy Husband 1.0 also to be able to take care of himself. Not so.

Recently, as a sign of how bad things have become, what some might call graceful degradation, Dummy Husband 1.0 sent an automated complaint to the The Corporation to complain of missing parts. I think there’s a short in a memory chip in my robot husband, but The Corporation tells me that this is normal and to be expected. I say that’s shoddy service.

I know that some of you wives out there also have invested great time and money in The Corporation’s promised superior product, Dummy Husband 1.0. You need to be aware of bugs and incomplete functionality that I’ve learned can be normal occurrences in Dummy Husband 1.0. I've also learned that Dummy Husband 1.0 can be returned, after jumping through many fiery hoops, but how do we know that the next Dummy Husband 1.0 won't contain the same bugs, problems, and missing parts? The Corporation also is keen not to offer any promises about Dummy Husband 2.0.

Email sent from Dummy Husband 1.0’s automated complaint system:
from Dummy Husband 1.0:
to The Corporation:
date Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 9:50 AM
subject Technical Note for Dummy Husband 1.0

Be advised that Dummy Husband 1.0 makes no assumptions about the completeness of the wardrobe provided to him upon bootup. To ensure beltification, we recommend keeping a belt within visual sensor range or draping one around Dummy Husband's neck.

Do not choke Dummy Husband with belt, as this will void the warranty on your Dummy Husband.

Email response from The Corporation:
from The Corporation:
to Dummy Husband 1.0:
date Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM
subject Re: Technical Note for Dummy Husband 1.0

Dear Users of Dummy Husband 1.0,

We regret to inform you that serious malfunctions in the technical design of Dummy Husband 1.0 have limited our ability to successfully respond and correct such problems as the missing beltification and the nomemoryitis that has plagued some Dummy Husband 1.0 models. We recommend that when you find such problems, which may include but are not limited to overflowingtrashegeous, cannotmovefromcouchascular, and badbreathasis, you simply return the model in its original box with receipt taped to inside left thigh for put-down processing.

At this time, we do not believe that Dummy Husband 1.0 is dangerous, but, we are not ruling out the possibility of the unknown. We want to assure the public that Dummy Husband 1.0 was fully tested in our lab before its final release. We are confident but unsure that Dummy Husband 1.0 will accomplish all husbandly tasks if put before him in a written list, reminded to him several times before the task is to take place, and ample follow-up is conducted to see that tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner.

As a general reminder, we'd like mention that Dummy Husband 1.0 should never be left alone for long periods of time and should always be fed three meals per day to ensure optimum functionality. Dummy Husband 1.0 is built to be the perfect companion for Wife 2.0. We hope you continue to enjoy your experience with Dummy Husband 1.0.

Thank you,

The Corporation

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A fight to the death: BBQ Ribs vs. Filet Mignon

The Birthannukah weekend was magnificent. First, we had a slight bump in the road as we attended a rib fest at Sloss Furnace. Why was this a bump in the road? Because we didn’t have any idea about what a rib fest actually is. We thought it would be a well-organized romp in the park like beer fest. Not so. Rib fest is an all-out redneck, tailgaiting extravaganza. Wear your Auburn or Alabama hat and wear your team colors! Drink beer out of a can. Drink beer after beer after beer out of a can! Walk around and talk football—spin your theories about the upcoming season and this coach or that coach.

Yes, clearly, we were out of our element. And the most disturbing news: the ribs were not free! What! Yikes. What did we get ourselves into? Fortunately, we brought along our own football loving, beer-can-drinking Alabama boy who was able to show us the ropes. He got us in the door, so to say, where we mixed with the rib folks. We got some sample ribs, which was nice, but we were completely lost with our conversation about books, NPR, and trains. Turns out, the evening was incredibly fun as we learned how to tailgate and watched our friend expertly discuss the ins and outs of the upcoming Auburn season. It was like watching a very unusual Broadway play with Lynard Skynard playing constantly in the background.

Rib fest turns out to be a Saturday afternoon event—we went on Friday night. Lesson learned. Next year we’ll return with proper baseball caps that declare our love of one team or the other and brush up on who the coaches and quarterbacks are. Sure we will.

Saturday afternoon, I surprised Mr. Husband with a mountain bike. He’s wanted a bike for a while—ever since Brian, our neighbor who is an avid mountain biker, loaned us his bikes for a spin around the neighborhood last fall. Mr. Husband likes the wind in his face. Perhaps he was a dog in a previous life—head out of the passenger side window, tongue flailing in the wind as I drive. Perhaps. Buying bikes when we first discovered we wanted them didn’t fit into the grand financial plan at the time, so we waited. We waited so long that Mr. Husband forgot. But I did not. I surprised him on Saturday with the help of Brian and Sharon. Brian confirmed the bike choice and made sure all was in proper order, and Sharon picked up the bike for us and stowed it safely at their home. When I purchased the bike, I didn’t realize that I had no way to get a bike for a 6’7” man home. Nice. Goodly neighbors to the rescue!

I walked to Brian and Sharon’s and picked up the giant bike. I called Mr. Husband on the way back and told him to get a beer and meet me on the front porch. He was standing there as I walked up the street with gigantic bike in hand. He ran down the street to meet me with childish woops of joy—a bike! He immediately hopped on the bike, exclaimed that the size was perfect, and rode off into the sunset. Ok, not exactly—but he rode around yelling about how much he loved it and how it was the most perfect thing ever and asking how I pulled it off. It was awesome. The excitement and joy that he radiated filled the entire street like a flood of happiness. Mr. Husband said, “That’s what I like—the feel of the wind in my face!” And then I think he barked a little real quietly. That’s the Birthannukah kind of way.

Later that afternoon, I told Mr. Husband I was going to cook him the best steak dinner ever. He was fine with that—but, to me, that’s so old hat. The truth was that we had reservations at Daniel George in Mountain Brook at 6:00. At 4:30, I ironed Mr. Husband’s clothes and woke him from his video game (when he was not riding around on his joy-filled bike, he was playing Shadow Complex on XBox all weekend), and told him to dress for dinner. I informed him that he’d find out where we were going when we got there. Yes! I drove and he rode shotgun (and I’m sure he wanted to put his head out the window). We drove down 280 and exited before hitting Five Points or downtown. We excited at the Zoo and turned right into Mountain Brook Village. Mr. Husband had never heard of Daniel George. Score! A super surprise.

Daniel George is a beautiful little restaurant tucked away on a side street in the little village. Two tables were outside on the sidewalk, one of them waiting just for us. As we feasted on cheese and homemade bread, filet and potatoes, we watched the clouds make Birthannukah pictures in the sky and felt the breeze welcoming us to a fine Birthannukah night. The sun set as we sat there, me telling Mr. Husband all the reasons why I love him right now, and him feeling spoiled and really, really, really loved. He is. We are. So happy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's that Birthannukah time of year!

Hi there, Bill!

Hello, again, Ted!

Looks like we’ve got another smashing Birthannukah celebration in front of us this year.

That’s right, Bill. While this year might lack the glitz and glamour of Birthannukahs of year’s past, this year will still be spectacular.

Oh, the old economic recession card, eh, Ted?

You betcha, Bill. There’s no turning this economy around in time for this year’s Birthannukah festivities. I hope Mr. Husband can cope.

That’s too bad, Ted. I’m sure the council will do their best to make this year shine in a new way versus year’s past. There’s nothing a little paint can’t cure.

Well, there you go! That’s the spirit, Bill! Yes, we can!

So, Ted, I have the Birthannukah line-up in front of me.

Oh, you do? Well, Bill, let’s tell the people what they’ll be seeing this year.

Righto, Ted! Let’s get to it. But, first, let's remind the folks at home what Birthannukah is all about.

Great idea, Bill. You're so on top of things!

Aw, shucks, Ted. Thanks. Birthannukah, the festival of birthday candle lights comes once a year for a person and occurs around the day of birth.

You got to be kidding me! That's amazing!

Yes. (You know this stuff, Ted.) And it includes an opening ceremony with spectacular acrobatics, wild music, and some kind of animal circus. There will be eight days and nights of festivities with eight days of gifts and lots of other surprises.

That's right, Bill. And this year’s festivities begin with the Opening Ceremony at Sloss Furnace’s Stokin’ the Fire Rib Fest.

You don’t say! Ribs!

I do!

No way!


This is bound to be a magnificent start to Birthannukah.

I know, Ted. The fans have a lot to look forward to at this Opening Ceremony. In addition to Ribs, like 80 different kinds, beer, and live music, there will be a private ceremony that features bears on bikes, The Ringo Starr Flying Squirrel Circus, Fireworks flown in directly from China with tiny bits from Brazil, and midget tap-dancers that will be dressed up as pieces of gum.

Wow, Bill! That’s amazing! Did you say bears on bikes?

Yes, Ted, I sure did! And one of the bears, reportedly, can speak.

What, Bill? A bear that can talk?! That’s amazing.

Of course it is, Ted, but that’s Birthannukah for you. It’s not like the bear can speak three different languages. Now, that would be something.

Oh, gosh, Bill! You and your high standards. I don’t know where you get them.

Haha. HA! Ok, but enough about me, Ted.

Yes, let’s get back to Birthannukah.

Great idea, Ted!

So the rumor is that a T-800 is going to make a special guest appearance.

Oh, Ted, that’s crazy. We’ll all die!

No, no, no, Bill. This will be of the human-loving kind. We’ll be ok. And, especially, the birthday boy will be fine. I’m sure the festivities do not call for a ripping-off-of-the-human’s-head-while-a-robot-feasts-on-his-innards.

Ah, right, Ted. That is silly. That won’t happen.



No way.


So, anyhow, Ted, The ribs should put quite a smile on all the fans' faces. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what happens after the opening ceremony.

Anything could happen, Bill.

That’s right, Ted. There are a lot of surprises planned for this year.

That’s right, Bill! Part of the mystique of Birthannukah is about keeping the birthday boy in the dark.

He’ll never know what hit him, Ted.

As long as it’s not a T-800! HaHA! He’ll never know …

What’s that over there, Ted? Is that what I think it is?

Why, yes, I do believe it is, Bill. I can see clearly that we have an elephant approaching us, walking upright and wearing a little pink hat while carrying three monkeys in his pocket. By golly, is he playing the flute, or do my eyes deceive me? And what’s that over there …

Stay tuned …

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hump Day Massacre

Today is Hump Day. The middle-of-the-week-get-your-hump-on-holiday. We celebrate religiously. My good friend, Mr. CT, taught me once that great pleasure can be derived from the occasional hump. He used to hump my cube wall. He humped a lot of things, but in the end—I learned a valuable lesson. To hump is to show wild pleasure for a being or an object. I once humped a Dooney & Burke purse and was awarded with it as a surprise during my Birthannukah celebration. The message I take from this is that humping works. Clearly.

Recently, Mr. Husband and I started working in different offices. We’ve been very fortunate to spend the previous three years of our awesome (with lots of humping) relationship very close together—literally. We’ve been physically in the same building for four years, a year and a half of that within sneezing distance. When Mr. Husband sneezes, I was able to bless him (in case his soul turns out to be susceptible to demons). No longer is the case. I took a new position at our company and now am approximately five miles up the road at international headquarters. Now, if Mr. Husband sneezes I have to rely on either chance or one of his goodly co-workers blessing him to fight off potential demon attacks. Please, Gary, be kind and bless my dear far-away husband.

With the move to a new job comes the change in carpooling. Sure, this has also brought a renewed sense of freedom as we no longer need to wait on each other to get ready in the morning, but it has also brought independent driving to our doorstep. We’ll still drive together occasionally with Mr. Husband dropping me off at work, but more often than not—I am independent woman! The result of acquired independence means that Mr. Husband no longer needs to dance out the door with me in the morning around 7:00 am. He can linger a bit longer, dream one more getting-chased-by-monsters-and-fighting-them-off-with-super-ninja-skills dream, and take his time getting to work between 8:00-8:30 am.

Alas, we have discovered several drawbacks to this new routine:
1. Mr. Husband almost always forgets his lunch on the kitchen counter.
2. The Hump Day ritual has the potential of being overlooked.
3. Mr. Husband dresses himself, often to disastrous results.

Today, Hump Day, we discovered that #2 exploded as I failed to hump my Mr. Husband in the morning, which means he also did not get his morning song of the made-up variety. My fault. Two relied-upon-happy-things were missing from his morning. I blame myself. He remembered his lunch from Tuesday that he’d forgotten the day before, but #3 fell completely into the toilet. Mr. Husband came whistling through the door this evening with not one, not two, but four fashion infractions modeled on his frame. The horror! I rue the day I bought those $75 dress pants for him that hardly match anything and require specific shoes! Why would he take my favorite shirt and murder it like that? Does he hate me? Is this my payback for failing to follow established Hump Day protocol?

Here is my Mr. Husband. Here he is in his I-got-a-computer-science-degree-from-Georgia-Tech splendor. The shirt does not match the pants on two levels: style (casual oxford to dressy-dress pants) and color (blue and green do not match this color of brown, which also has a pattern—classic pattern clash). To top it off, Mr. Husband puts his everyday shoes that are way worn out and look like little boy school shoes together with stripey socks. What was he thinking?

That’s right! He wasn’t thinking. He couldn’t think. It’s not his fault. He didn’t know what day it was—he was confused. He was stumbling around in the dark, unable to manage his own wardrobe due to lack of the humping. The humping must prevail, and I dropped the ball. I fumbled.
I set my new job above of my Mr. Husband. Marriage fail.

Hump Day will be reclaimed … as soon as I get him out of those awful pants. I will set our life back to normal. My dear, dear wonderful husband will be restored to previous fashion heights.

Mr. Husband got me to go out with him back in 2006 by asking me to help him buy new clothes. He begged me, telling me that he simply couldn’t dress himself. Sweet, innocent man. He got the girl, and all of the clothes he had back then have been lovingly donated to Good Will. Today’s Hump Day massacre reminded me that my Mr. Husband requires careful attention.
I’m ready. Look at me all Scarlet O'Hara and all--I won’t let this happen again.

I'm hoping that one day we can put this terrible day behind us. One day.

Giggles, squirmies, and Oz

Mr. Husband and I were submerged in little kid land this past weekend as we visited his cousins in Knoxville, TN. I love these cousins because there are two girl cousins and one boy cousin. It is the two girl cousins factor that I dig—girls to chat, laugh, and gossip with. I remember when I first met the two girl cousins more than four years ago—they both waltzed into my in-laws’ home and immediately ascended upon me with question after comment after question. Like I was one of them immediately. They oozed friendliness and kindness. These are good people. The boy cousin is not so bad, either. He’s funny and radiates high spirit. He is always smiling, like his dad. Now, on to the extra good thing about the girl cousins: they like babies.

Each girl cousin has two kids. The oldest is eight-years-old and the youngest is five-weeks-old. There are two four-year-olds stuck in the middle of the oldest and youngest. What did that mean for our weekend? That’s right: giggles. And lots of them. One thing I find most infectious about kids is that everything is funny. Everything is light, bright, and ends in a great-big-head-thrown-back laugh. Mr. Husband and I were fortunate enough to sleep on-sight with the eight-year-old girl and the four-year-old boy wiggling outside our door early on Saturday morning. They were so excited to see the stranger-cousins sleeping in their house. The little boy had heard a rumor that Mr. Husband likes Transformers.

Of course, the fact that we have iPhones and can load hundreds of little kid games onto them quickly for optimum little-kid amusement made us easy heroes right out of the gate. But Mr. Husband had something I simply did not. (Mr. Husband is a five-year-old himself.)

Mr. Husband totally brought it. He arrived with a Transformer’s t-shirt on his back and the canon in his head. The little boy was told these facts (in simplified kid terms), and this made Mr. Husband the absolutely most exciting guest ever. From our cozy guest bed (where the mattress did not sink in the middle from Mr. Husband’s weight—note: we need a new mattress), we could hear squirming and question-asking and “why aren’t they up?” on the other side of the door. When we woke up and let the
burst of little-kid light and energy into the room, we heard a story about what the little boy had said earlier that morning during breakfast.

Little Girl: “Did you know that Guy staying with us has a Transformers t-shirt?”
Little Boy: “I like Transformers, I like that Guy!”
Little Girl: “Jeff likes Transformers.”
Little Boy: “Then, I like that Guy and I like Jeff!”

Awesome. This tidbit of kid conversation shines light into the souls of children: A) children are skilled in the art of logical thinking and can apply forms of the syllogism to any argument, B) children are so eager to be friends and so innocent in their liking that they are most likely the best creatures on earth, and C) children are the best judges of character ever.

Later that morning, we cured the little-wiggling-squirmy-ones by Mr. Husband’s incredibly apt Transformers-playing skills and my ability to jump into Barbie’s world as if I were seven just yesterday. The cousin-parents had a blissful, quiet hour to themselves that morning as both of us were busy cornering our childhoods upstairs. Everyone got a little gift out of that hour.

Later that day, after showers around, we hopped into the minivan, picked up one more girl cousin and rolled off to the American Museum of Science and Energy. Mr. Husband and the little boy cousin made robots while I made puzzles with the little girls. We ran around the museum from exhibit to exhibit learning about energy and Einstein and the Atom bomb. Mr. Husband and I were in happy land with all the sticky fingers and questioning questions. As a super bonus, our driving cousin let us drive the minivan back home from the museum.

There we were: Mr. Husband at the wheel with me riding shotgun with the music from the Wizard of Oz pumping through the speakers. We were in Munchkin Land. It was utterly awesome and so what we want. Thank you adult cousins and little boy and little girls cousins. Thank you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Disney and the Beach

Hands down, the best time we had on vacation was rolling through Disney: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom. And there was magic. Lots of it, but most of it was shining through a child’s eye. The biggest thing we learned at Disney World is that we need a kid to properly enjoy Disney. We need that moment of excitement that shines from tiny irises and blooms on the tip of a tiny child’s nose. Is it bad that we now have moved this up to the top of our list for why we want a child?

Number one reason to have a kid: so that we can really, really, really enjoy Disney.

That can’t be a bad thing, right? We want to spill all over the Magic Kingdom with kids pushing and pulling us and begging us for mouse ears hats with their names on it. We want to eat cotton candy for breakfast and race through Fantasy Land—stopping to ride the carousel and pointing out Cinderella’s story as it goes round. We want whiny kids crying around 5:00 only to be pacified by a dancing Minnie, Mickey, and Peter Pan. We want to dry tears as our kids stand in line for their very first Space Mountain. We want to live the fear, excitement, joy, and overwhelming happiness that comes from a six-year-old visiting Disney for the very first time.

As it was, we were giddy enough for a couple of kids. We raced into the park, Animal Kingdom on the first day and the Magic Kingdom on the second day, to see the park opened by pixie dust and a parade. It was blazing hot at the end of July, so we were lucky to have little to no lines for the first three hours of each day. We rode every ride we wanted to and then coasted for the remainder of the day.

We bounced over to Epcot and did the polka while drinking beer at the German
Biergärten. We rode the underwhelming Norway ride that Gary warned us against. We added that to the catalog of “Gary was right’s” that we echoed all day. We learned that Norwegians are oil-loving trolls who enjoy driving backwards. We’re still scratching our heads over that one. We got to the safari early in the morning and still didn’t see that many animals. The lions, it seems, are incredibly anti-social animals. Who knew? You’d figure with prides and all they’d be more bombastic and outgoing. The phony safari that we took on the Jungle Cruise surpassed the live animals—how can that be? I can never get enough animatronics. Never.

After two full days of Disney, two magical days that brought a new sense of kid-yearning to our hearts, we high-tailed it down to Vero Beach where we proceeded to visit our very first beach together. Stupid storm. Stupid, silly, annoying storm ran up behind us and washed seaweed up on the shore. Ew. It was three feet thick. That’s gross. And the water was cold. We definitely deserve a redo.

But we suffered. We pulled it out—we stayed for nearly five hours. We built sand castles and kingdoms and aqueducts. We farmed tiny little civilizations out of sand and saw them destroyed by Poseidon. We carved a Wasteland and saw a father and son carrying their last sole belongings across the rim. We lived with our butts firmly buried in sand and our feet digging to China. We drank in the ocean water and tasted salt on our lips. We swam in the waves on cheap plastic rafts and watched each other go up and down with moon’s watery caress. We relaxed that day.

Perhaps a bit too much. Mr. Husband, my sweet Irish-Scottish-big-headed-pale-skinned man failed to cover his feet with sunscreen. He didn’t lose the feet, but he came damn near close. I became crispy brown like an Indian princess of yesterday while he glowed all red and brilliant and covered in aloe. Poor man. He suffered for my sun. His feet are now pleasantly peeling and I see scraps of them littered throughout the house. I guess that’s my penance. I sweep them up and remember the day that we had nothing whatsoever to do at all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My kingdom for a good headshot.

As promised, Mr. Husband and I stopped and took one-handed headshots where we block-the-scenery-but-you-get-the-general-idea of what we’re doing. They are fun, full of life, and almost always contain a giggle or two. We crack ourselves up over and over while taking these silly photos. But, as most couples know, these silly photos that capture only the neck and the head of a couple while one member of the couple extends hand to snap photo, are essentially the lifeblood of all good relationships.

That’s right—without these couples-in-headshot photos—a relationship lacks the robustness of coupledom. I’m not one to philosophize blow-hardedly or discuss at Kilimanjaro-hiking-to-the-top-of-the-mountain length my ideas about strategery, but I am one to point out finer points of a situation that need to stay relevant. What I mean here, what I mean to say—what I’m trying to sing from the rooftops is … long live the obnoxious-smiling-couple-neck-up shots.

There are two things that I believe essential to a relationship that when they start to fade from a relationship, you might as well make an appointment to visit a lawyer: 1) going to the grocery store together is romantic, and 2) headshots taken by yourselves from various locations on earth are a sign that your romance is still on track. God save the absurd headshots where we block out the scenery—the photos where only you and him or her and you know where you were, what you were doing, and why you were so bloody giddy. They are personal memories (that often torture friends and family). Everyone wants to see your smile and his smile over and over and over from every possible corner on earth (not that it’s possible to tell what corner of the earth is currently involved).

So, you see, we carry this little philosophy along with us on every vacation,
adventure, walk in the park, or grocery store trip. We probably take more headshots than three couples combined. And we flaunt them to the world with blind assumptions that you care—you want to see us smiling in Florida, in Georgia, and occasionally in Tennessee. You can’t get enough of jazz hands. You wonder which arm will Mr. Husband use? You long to know if Mr. Husband will cut off most of my face with a camera held too high or if the photo will simply be nostrils and noses and nothing else. And we understand.

It is true that we are blessed with a gift: Mr. Husband’s enormously long arms, that do not drag the ground but float quite high above it, offer the wonderful advantage of often capturing a slightly bit more than our heads. Sometimes you can see a shoulder! Sometimes you can just barely make out where we are. Sometimes you can pretend that you can see more.

Ah, headshots, how I love thee! We got some premium headshots out of this last vacation. A whole eleven days of headshots. Amazing. I can’t wait to show all my friends and our families. Everyone will just love them. They’ll ask for more. They’ll make up places in their heads for us to visit and put us in their very own imaginary headshot photo. I’m sure of it. We’ll be on fridges and corkboards all over the world. People will write us letters asking, no begging, for more headshots.

My favorite headshots are the ones where we are laughing. The headshot-taking ritual has become quite the humorous event. It is sacred and peppered with laughter. It is ours. And we’re going to share it with you … because we know, are absolutely certain, and are without a smidgkin of doubt that you want to see. And now you know exactly what we did on vacation: we took headshots.