Friday, February 14, 2014

My Love Story


In honor of Valentine's Day, I figured I would jump on the blogging-bandwagon and write about love. I thought about writing about my love for my kids, but I decided I write enough about them. I decided to write about mine and the hubby's story.

Now, before I start, I should note, there is no magical fairy tale romance. No long lost loves, reconnected after years apart. No star-crossed lovers secretly dating behind their feuding family's backs.

The hubby (we'll call him J) and I met in August of 2009 at work. I had been working there since May and had noticed him around the building from time-to-time. Towards the end of June, one of my coworkers introduced me to a friend of hers from outside of work. We met the night before my divorce was to be finalized and dated for about 2 months. Things were starting to go downhill when I officially met J.

I worked as the assistant to the VP of Engineering for our company and also handled the buying of all the parts and materials that Engineering needed to do their jobs. J was in the Research and Development department, which fell under Engineering. I first got talking to J via email. It started out as him putting in requests for materials and following up on delivery dates etc.

I noticed one day that he hadn't been around much. The following week he sent me an email asking about one of his orders. I asked if he had been out of the office and he asked if I missed him. I told him not to be so presumptuous. The rest is history.

We started talking a little at work, in the lunchroom etc. One day, my girlfriend asked me what was going on with me and my boss's brother (we'll call him G). My boss's brother? I didn't know he had a brother! Shit! He's my boss's brother? Wow. This could get tricky.

The first time we went out, I was actually on a girls night out and he met us at the bar where we were. I was pretty impressed considering he came on his own, without any "bro-backup". We sat and talked for a couple of hours. Drinking gin and tonics and smoking cigarettes (neither of us smoke anymore). At the end of the night, he gave me a hug and we went our separate ways.

A couple of days later we made plans to go to dinner and then watch a movie back at my place. He lived with (my boss) and his girlfriend (our HR assistant from work - we'll call her S). Their relationship wasn't exactly common knowledge and was supposed to be a secret. J and I decided that we were going to keep ours on the down low for the time being, especially because he was my boss's brother. You know, nepotism, and all that. His brother wasn't thrilled at the idea. After all, J had dated another girl (we'll call her....never mind...I'll be nice...she can remain nameless...she doesn't come up again.) that had been helping at work, and that didn't work out, for any of them.

I remember one night, after we had been seeing each other for a little while, we were getting, um, frisky, and let's just say, we both fell asleep. Yep. Mid-frisk, we both passed out. We woke up at the same time and, after realizing what had happened, laughed our asses off. I mean, who does that happen to? The next day he asked his S if it was bad to fall asleep during sex. S's sister-in-law, who also worked with us, overheard and asked, in a shocked tone, who he was having sex with. Needless to say, that's when the proverbial cat was let out of the bag.

In the 4 1/2 years that we have been together we have had some amazing times. We have also struggled a lot. J has had major back surgery and knee surgery. We both lost our grandfathers. We have had issues with our ex-spouses. J was in a car accident shortly after we met and totaled his car.

When we brought our newborn home last February, we hit a really rough patch for a while. Everything we did annoyed the other. I found out after 4 year that it drives J insane when I leave a cabinet doors open in the kitchen. He had joked about it in the past, but suddenly it was being thrown in my face. He was under an incredible amount of stress. We had both been laid off the month after the baby was born. Luckily J had secured a new job and there was no lapse in work for him. Unfortunately the job he interviewed and was hired for was not what is was described to him as. Luckily, after about 4 months, he changed positions and is much happier there.

I struggled with his new job. Here I was, at home with a newborn, and he was off working and interacting everyday with people I didn't know. Our whole relationship up to that point had been the two of us together, all the time. We worked together, we lived together. (J moved in with me after few months of dating.) Combine the postpartum hormones with all that time sitting around thinking about it, and you have a recipe for a mental breakdown. I was incredibly insecure because of my post baby body. It had been a REALLY long time since we had fooled around or had sex. We didn't even make out anymore. I felt like I was losing him. I felt trapped in my own home. I was the loneliest I had ever been. It should have been one of the happiest times in my life but I felt like an outcast.

Why am I telling you all of this when this is supposed to be a love story? Because I'm trying to show you that everyone has problems. Ups and downs. Rough patches. It doesn't mean your relationship is doomed, it just means that it needs some TLC, some nurturing, some patience. But most of all it needs honesty. Luckily we both recognized what was happening and faced it head-on. I told him how I was feeling, the things that were worrying me and how his behavior was making me feel. J and I were just talking the other night about how terrible that phase was. The important thing is that we remember it and talk about it and it helps us appreciate where we are now and how much stronger it has made us.

That said, there are so many reasons why we work.

  • We have fun together. Some of my favorite times with J have been when we are running errands to Lowe's, or cooking up new recipes in the kitchen.
  • J likes the dark meat and I like the white meat on chicken.
  • J like the flappers and I like the drumsticks when we eat chicken wings.
  • J likes the softer fries with the square ends. I like the crunchy, pointy ones.
  • J is extremely handy around the house. Seriously. I swear that man can fix/hang/build anything.
  • He built an entire engine for his truck. By himself. With no experience. And it worked you guys! Do you have any idea how sexy a man under a truck with grease on his face is? 
  • I am incredibly attracted to J. Even after 4 1/2 years. The more time we are together, the more attractive he becomes to me.
  • J is an amazing father. He is stern (a little too stern sometimes, in my opinion) but he is fair. He loves his children, and mine and ours.
  • When I decided to stop drinking, J was right there by my side. He stopped too. I didn't ask him to and told him over and over again that he didn't have to. But he did. He was never a big drinker anyway and tended to get sick before he got drunk.
  • We put up with each other's families. Don't get me wrong, we both have amazing families, but they are family, and we all know how family can be sometimes.
  • He is sarcastic. I am sarcastic. It works. 
  • His eyes.
  • His hands. (I am very particular about hands. It is one of the first things I notice on a person.)
  • He doesn't cry. (Not many people know this about me, but I can't stand a man who cries over nothing. Many a relationship has ended for me because the guy cried over something pathetic.)
  • He's a great kisser.
  • I love the way he looks at me when I turn my head and catch him.
  • He isn't afraid of hard work. He is motivated to try and do whatever he can to provide for his family.
Good times, bad times, it doesn't matter. I love my husband. He is my lover, my partner, my best friend. I wouldn't change a thing.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

In My Closet

When More Than Cheese and Beer posted this week's Sunday Confessions Topic, In My Closet, I wasn't sure how to approach it. Do I write about what is literally in my closet or do I take a skeletons in my closet angle?

MoreThanCheeseandBeer

I mean, who wants to know what's in my closet? That's pretty boring, right? Clothes, shoes, suitcases, some pillows. I got up and stood inside my closet and looked around. Wow, I really need to clean this thing out. There are shoes that I haven't worn in years. The shelves are loaded down with old t-shirts, tank tops and shorts that I never wear anymore. I have more dresses that have gone untouched for who knows how long hanging up.

As I stood there, looking at everything I could donate, I started to reminisce about different times that I wore some of the different articles of clothing and shoes.

There was the dress I wore the first time the hubs and I went out. The big camo jacket he lent me when we went to visit his family in Tallahassee. On the shoe rack were the flip-flops I had been wearing when I slipped off the curb and broke my foot. The Uggs I bought myself the first time the hubs and I went to DC to visit my best friend and her husband. I also saw the chalkboard that I documented my last pregnancy on, peeking out from behind the clothes.


I couldn't believe it. All these memories hang in front of me every day and I rarely think about them. Instead, I go to the shelves that store the yoga pants, t-shirts and nursing tanks (even though I'm no longer nursing) that I wear every day.

I gazed at the clothes that I haven't worn in 2 years, and that's when I started remembering.

Stuffed away in the corner behind some dresses, I saw the edges of a large white box. The box that houses my preserved the dress I wore for my first wedding. I thought about all the planning that went into the wedding. How many inches the bridal store altered off the dress each time I went in for a fitting due to the weight I was losing to be in perfect wedding shape. The honeymoon and the first few great years of marriage I had, before it all started going down hill.


Hanging above and to the right is my navy blue Ralph Lauren blazer that I used to wear when I worked for a prestigious local real estate company 10 years ago. I started thinking about how that was where I worked when I became pregnant with my first 2 children and up until a month before my second was born. I ran my fingers over the now dusty shoulders and remembered the baby showers they threw for me. The excitement of expecting my first baby and then my second (surprise) child.


My eyes scanned to the left and the white Chico's bag caught my attention. I lifted up the plastic to reveal the sexy white dress I had purchased to wear on my 30th birthday, almost 5 years ago. Snug, tight fitting, deep v-neck, white satin dress. I looked a little closer and saw a tiny smudge of the lipstick I had worn that night. What a night it was. There were 7 of us, we rented a limo and went out for a night on the town.


I looked up and something red and shiny looked back at me. The red satin sheets I had bought when I did the boudoir photos for the hubby about 3 years ago. What a blast that was! I felt so glamorous - wardrobe changes etc. I kicked the hubs and the kids out of the house for what was supposed to be 2 hours, but turned into 5. He was furious. He knew I was having pictures taken, but didn't know exactly what. When he was on the way home I had to shove the red sheets up in the closet where he wouldn't see them. I had to hide the tie that the photographer had left behind. It was exhausting. I experienced what it must feel like to have an affair in your home and have to hide the evidence. No thanks, that is definitely not for me!


Hanging down with my pants were a pair of Aeropostle jeans I had bought a little over 4 years ago. I would kill to be able to fit in them now. I had worn them quite a lot that winter. It was not long after the hubs and I had met. I'm not as skinny now as I was then. The result of my divorce had caused me to lose a lot of weight. Too much, in the hub's opinion, but I don't agree.

A flash of yellow glimmered in among all my dresses. It was the bridesmaid dress from my best friend's wedding almost 5 years ago. I shook my head in disbelief that it was already approaching 5 years. That was such a fun week. Unfortunately, a combination of Xanax for the stress and an open bar caused me to totally flunk my maid of honor speech. She had 2 maids of honor and of course Liz's speech was rehearsed, coherent and perfect. I, on the other hand, was a total blubbering mess. My best friend still teases me for it now. I actually had a couple of people tell me afterwards that it was the most heartfelt speech they had heard. I only wish I could remember what I had said. Then again, maybe it is better I don't remember.


I turned to the right and saw a few of the shirts I wore during my last pregnancy hanging there. Not maternity shirts, but long stretchy shirts that I paired with leggins. My baby will be a year old in just over a week. My mind wandered back to when I found out I was expecting. The hubs had just had back surgery, and unbeknownst to me was going though withdrawals off the Dilauded he had been taking. Word of advise, don't break any big news to someone who is in the throws of withdrawals off drugs. Seriously. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. Thankfully, a few days later he took the news much better. Of course we couldn't imagine not having her now, but it was definitely a stressful time for us.


I was about to turn to leave, when I saw the dress I wore to the courthouse to marry my love. Short, spaghetti straps, white. I chuckled when I thought about that "wedding". It was probably the quickest ceremony in the history of ceremonies. It was August 3, 2012. We had the hubby's twins for the week. First my daughter came down with the flu. Then the following day it was my son, the next day was the first twin and Thursday was the second twin. I dubbed the photo album on my Facebook page Four Sick Kids and a Wedding. They looked miserable. Pale with dark circles under their eyes. It was the only chance we had to do it with all of them there, and that was the most important thing to us. We stood in the little 8x8 room with the cheap beach-themed decorations, kids sitting on a bench to our right, as the officiant spouted off the usual "do you take this man/woman" vows. I cried, we kissed, we signed the license and that was it. We were ushered out as another couple was ushered in.


As I turned off the light and closed the door behind me, I decided that I wasn't going to clean out my closet just yet. Sure, I may practically live my "mommy clothes", soft, comfortable, stretchy, but I never realized how many memories were housed in there. It is like a scrapbook of my life and important events.

While I may no longer wear those things, I'm not yet ready to let go of the moments in my life that they represent.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Pit and The Peak 3

It's that time again - time for the Pits and The Peaks link-up. I don't have a whole lot this week, it was pretty even-keeled around these parts.

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Pits:

- My dad went back to Tennessee.
- The 7 yo projectile vomited all over the hallway, right outside the bathroom. Twice.
- Had a difficult time with a loved one who is going through some emotional turmoil and can't get himself cleaned up.
- The baby kept me up pretty much all night Wednesday. She coughed when she cried and cried when she coughed. It was a nightmare. There was not enough coffee in the world to keep me going yesterday.

Peaks:

- Got a job interview for next week. (This could also be a "pit" since I really don't want to go back to work, but don't really have a choice.)
- The baby started saying "bubbles" and "nana" (banana).
- She also started pulling up and then letting go and standing unsupported for a few seconds.
- The 8 yo got a 92 and a 100 on two math tests. (She needed the confidence boost.)

How was your week?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pet Tails Introduction

So I overheard my human talking about a blog link-up that someone called More Than Cheese and Beer is starting and it got my nose twitching a little.

MoreThanCheeseandBeer 

My name is Bella. I am a 10 year old Golden Retriever. I have owned my humans since I was 10 weeks old. I started out at their mother's house where I lived a happy 6 years. When they started talking about getting a dog, it was suggested that I go to them as they have children who were all familiar with me and I am wonderful with them all.

My old family had to shave me when I was younger as I had terrible hot-spots that they said wouldn't get better unless they got rid of my fur. I hate going to the groomer to be shaved. It is so loud there. All the other dogs barking and dryers going off. But it sure feels wonderful when I get home. I swear I lose 10 lbs of fur each time!

I love playing with frisbees and barking at the neighbor's dog. I love to eat. I anxiously wait outside the dining room during every meal, spying for scraps that might hit the floor. The baby human is the best. She is always dropping things on the floor. But she eats a lot of veggies and I'm not crazy about those!

Here I am when I first came to live with my new family.

Here I am playing with the kids (obviously overdue for a shave).

For the first 3 years in my new home, I was the center of attention. Other than a few fish and a gerbil names Caramel (that's Ca-ra-mel...not Car-mle).

One day I heard my family's car out in the driveway and also a strange vehicle that I wasn't familiar with. I heard some talking through the front door as I waited, excitedly, wagging my tale and jumping up on my hind legs.

Then I hear it. An unfamiliar bark. What was it? Were they replacing me? This one sounded younger. Sounded hyper. I could hear my family coaxing this strange being to them and kept hearing words like "beautiful", "cute face", "so sweet".

I heard footsteps approaching outside and the key turning the lock. I ran out at the first glimpse of sunlight and there she was. She seemed to be a similar breed to me, but a little different.

Obviously I went up to her and sniffed her butt, because, well, that's what we do. We can't shake hands, after all. She seemed timid, afraid, confused. Then the human that was with her got in his truck and drove away.

"WAIT! You forgot your dog!!"

My humans called me to come inside as they led this stranger in the house with them.

 Here is Dixie the day she joined our lives.


 Here we are...I think we had just been wrestling.


This is us, still getting to know each other.

She was batshit-crazy. Hyper and jumping around. Apparently she is part Border Collie, part Golden Retriever. The next few months were a complete blur.

She didn't like to go outside for the first few days. She practically had to be dragged out there. I kept telling her that our humans would let us back in, that we were only out there to do our business and get some fresh air and exercise. It took about 3 days before she started to believe me. She told me her previous humans made her stay outside all the time.

From what I could gather, she was about 6 months old. She wasn't sure herself. She came to us with the name China. Our humans decided Dixie was better. She like it too. The boy human wanted to call her Stinky-Butt-Cheek. She said she liked that one as well. She just didn't want the name associated with the place she had come from.

After a few months of trying to get Dixie used to the basic commands, it was decided she should have formal training. We hired the same lovely man who had trained me all those years ago. The humans were expecting a baby a couple of months later, and we were all concerned that Dixie's hyper behavior would be a safety issue.

I tell you what, she is one smart puppy. She caught on to everything almost immediately. It came so easy to her. I have to admit I was a little jealous at how effortlessly she was able to pick up the new cues and commands.

With each week that went by, she seemed to be getting more and more calm. She is incredibly protective of our family. Any strange noise that she hears, she lets us know something isn't right. It annoys the mamma human sometimes, especially when she barks and wakes up the baby.

I wasn't sure about having someone to share the attention with at first. But now I couldn't imagine her not being here. I feel like a puppy again and I have lost weight from all the running around and wrestling we do together.

Dixie getting some attention from our daddy human.

She can be quite mischievous at times though. She likes to dig. The humans get very upset about that. When they let us back in and our paws are dirty, we have to stay in the office so we don't track mud through the house. Also, sometimes she chews on things. She says it is because she gets bored. She claims she is so highly intelligent that she needs constant stimulation. She always wants to play and wrestle. I don't mind sometimes, but I think she forgets she is about 8 1/2 years younger than me.

All in all, I like her, and I'm glad she is part of our family.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ageing

MoreThanCheeseandBeer

So this week, More Than Cheese and Beer chose "ageing" as her topic for Sunday Confessions. At first I thought she said "anger". That would have been much easier. I have anger towards a couple of people and a few things right now. But we'll save that for another day.

I wasn't really sure how to approach this one. I mean, sure, I'm getting older. I remember the first time I found a gray hair, and then a few years later a gray eyebrow hair. I couldn't believe it! I never thought about my eyebrows going gray. My mother told me to wait until I found a gray pube. Wtf? Those go gray too? Well, good thing I shave, that's all I can say.

Later this month I'm going to be turning another year older, God willing. Honestly, I'm looking forward to it. I have always loved birthdays. I remember when I turned 30 and most of my friends were going through some sort of early mid-life crisis, I planned a whole weekend of partying for myself. The ex and I were separated and working on a divorce. I had 3 of my best girlfriends visiting from out of town - DC, Jacksonville and Colorado. We had an "Around the World" party at my place on Friday and I rented a limo for a night on the town on Saturday. I bought myself a hot little white dress for Saturday night. I had a blast.

A few months later I met my hubby. He was 24, about to turn 25. The difference between how we handled our birthdays was incredible. He couldn't believe he was turning 25. I thought he was either going to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. I planned a celebration at a local bar with some of our friends. Cake, balloons, J├Ąger bombs. Good times.

When my best friend turned 30 she was a little freaked out too. I wasn't able to be with her as I had just been with her a couple months earlier for her wedding. But she was a little unsettled by it. No nervous breakdowns or anything like that. But something about it didn't sit well with her.



I love (nice) surprises. I like being taken out to dinner. I like getting presents. I like being spoiled. It doesn't happen all that often, so I figure my birthday is the perfect time.

Last year I was 1 day overdue with my now 11-month old. Needless to say there was no wild and crazy night on the town. But I was fine with that. I was hugely pregnant with horribly swollen sausage feet, gut wrenching heart burn and a frequent need to pee.

A friend of mine just posted the cover art from Green Day's Dookie album with a caption about it being 20 years old. I was in 9th grade when that album came out. Part of me can't believe I am old enough to have been in high-school 20 years ago because it seems like just yesterday. The other part of me feels like it was a whole lifetime ago. Which I guess it was when I think about everything I have done since then.

As a kid I remember always wanting to be older. I wanted to be able to go out and do the things my older brothers and sister could do. I wanted to be a grown-up. I wanted to get married and have babies. I wanted to be able to stay up late and eat as much ice-cream as I wanted. I was always told "When you're a grown-up you can do whatever you want." That sounded so awesome!


I know a lot of people who would trade almost anything to be a kid again. Don't get me wrong, I would love a break from the responsibility from time-to-time. The bills, the work, the stress, the kids, the dogs, the housework, the laundry, the cooking. The luxury of a soak in the tub or to be able to pee without interruption. To be able to settle down on the couch on a Saturday afternoon with a good book and a blanket. To be able to watch whatever I want on TV without worrying whether or not it is "appropriate". To not have to worry how I'm going to make this month's car payment or electric bill. To be able to go to bed and know that I don't have to wake up for anyone or anything.

Then I think about how lonely and quiet my life would be. The hectic craziness of being a mother and a wife and all the responsibilities that go along with it are what make me happy. Everyone wishes for a vacation or some time away every now and then. I couldn't imagine my life without my babies or my husband.

Yes, I hate the sleepless nights when the kids are sick. The hubby's snoring drives me insane. I could kill the dog when she barks and wakes up the baby. But I'm even less fond of the idea of not having those things in my life. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time when I was younger, single and childless. But I'm over all that. I don't look back and long for those days again. I look back and think about how I'm glad I had the opportunity to do the things I did, travel to the places I've been etc. (I do have to say, I'm sure glad things like Facebook weren't around when I was in the height of my partying days in college.)

I don't wish for the "good old days". Those days, although fun, were empty. Sure they were full of parties, and boyfriends, and beach days, and happy hours, and ladies nights. But they weren't truly fulfilling.

Ladies nights have been replaced with all nighters with the baby. Happy hours have been replaced with Tae Kwon Do and Soccer practice. Beach days now consist of dragging tents, and chairs, and floaties not coolers of beer. First dates have been replaced by snuggles on the couch once the kids are in bed.

And I wouldn't change any of it. (Except my flat stomach, un-wrinkled skin and boobs that sat where they were supposed to without extra help back. I'd take those back.)

So this year, as I approach the big 3-5, I look back on my younger days and appreciate them for what they are. A time in my life that everyone goes through. A lot of mistakes and bad choices and a hell of a lot of fun. I am glad I am having another birthday. Turning a year older. I embrace each year that passes.

Ageing. Aging. Doesn't matter how you spell it, it means the same thing. We're all getting older. One day, week, month, year at a time, and I'm OK with that.

After all, celebrating another birthday is better than the alternative!