Men, explained.

10 Nov

We were watching the Vikings lose (actually at that point they might have been winning); anyway, that commercial came on for Viagra or Cialis or something. The one where the guy is too ashamed to talk to his doctor but not at all embarrassed to talk to his imaginary reflection in the window – you know the one. The voiceover guy delivers the possible side effects rapidfire, hoping we don’t hear them. But we do – loss of hearing and vision problems are among them.

So I ask my husband “If you had to choose between never having sex again and losing your hearing, which would you choose?” After asking if I was serious and being told yes, he said “Well that’s easy – hearing, of course.” I verified that he would rather LOSE HIS HEARING than never have sex again; yup, that’s what he meant.

So then I asked “What about sight? Would you rather never have sex again, or go blind?”

He pursed his lips. “Now that’s a hard one,” he began. I was thinking FINALLY this guy is making sense! He continued “because seeing is such a big part of sex. You know? ” He was looking at me as though, yes, I really did know and yes, I could absolutely understand why it would be such a difficult decision.

I finally said “You know babe, I really think there is not a woman on the PLANET who would choose to lose her sight or her hearing in order to keep having sex.” He woefully agreed with me.

So. Doesn’t that explain an awful LOT???

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Written for my dad March 11. Happy Birthday Daddy.

10 Nov

That sounds so strange even to type. You died when I was 12, but you and Mom divorced before I turned one. You were 44 when I was born so would have turned 95 today- wow.

I have memories of you, but most are stories others told me. One is of you sleeping fully dressed during my infancy, boots at the ready at the foot of your bed. You slept like this so you could scoop me up and rush me to emergency and the oxygen tent when I turned blue and asthmatic, apparently frequently enough for you to get the routine down pat. Thank you, Daddy. I still have asthma today but I am still here, because you were my fireman.

Another is of Mom telling me how much you loved to dance. That makes me smile, because I know you passed that onto me, and somehow even made sure I picked Vini so I would have someone to dance with.

I remember three things for myself:

The time you took me to your sister’s farm and I picked ferns. She gave me a Mason jar with water to take them home in. Mom smashed the jar on the front step after you drove away, my punishment for enjoying my time with you.

The time you took me up in a rented two-person plane, flying me (I never knew you could fly until that day; you learned in the Korean War) over my town, pointing out my house, my school. To the day Mom died I never told her. It is still our secret, Daddy.

The time you died, and I went to your funeral, and I was afraid to cry when they played Taps though I wanted to so badly, though my eyes were burning and my throat filled with a giant lump. I knew better. Crying would make Mom mad. I was not supposed to cry for you. I was not supposed to love you.

I am sorry we never really knew each other, Daddy. Really sorry. I hope we remedy that someday.

How clean are you?

10 Nov

That was a poll question, with choices ranging from total slob to total neat freak. I had the hardest time deciding how to vote! Here is why:

My car is spotless. Nothing in it except my sunglasses, ever.

My closet is a disaster. Items hanging upon items, four and five to a hangar, half inside-out. Party dresses and shawls and backpacks all hanging from one hook inside the door, which tangle in my hair as I fumble around for two matching shoes.

My bed is made every single morning without fail, toss pillows included.

The clean laundry is unfolded in hampers downstairs, out of which we dress for weeks. Except for my husband, who painstakingly rescues, folds and puts away all his clothing immediately to save it from communal fate with the rest of ours.

There is not one dirty dish or item out of place in the kitchen, diningroom, livingroom, master bedroom, family room or bathrooms. Anyone can drop by at anytime and the house is visitor-ready.

I sometimes don’t shower for three mornings straight, washing only pits and nether regions, going to work with nubby legs and tangled hair pulled back in a clip.

So tell me, how SHOULD I have voted?!

Know what I hate? Just hate hate hate?

10 Nov

Finding out, story by story what a friggin’ EPIDEMIC of infidelity is out there. Why this should surprise me I don’t know; hell the stats have been out for decades about one in every 2 marriages ending in divorce. All those divorces aren’t due to infidelity, but it probably plays a role in at least half of them. So why am I surprised?

Maybe because when it hit me, it was a meteor from the sky, flattening, burning and nearly extinguishing me. To read statistics is one thing; to be one quite another. There are no “statistics”, just real live persons in pain. Statistics mean we are counted, that’s all.

Since my journey through the fire each woman – flesh and blood or cyber friend – who relates something similar is not relating a mere story. They are not statistics either.

And if I’m not, and they aren’t, then no one is. There is a world wide epidemic of screaming, bleeding women, cut through their psyches, reduced to their knees. Is that it, then? Are we that dulled, that enveloped in our own illusions that only raw pain, of this sort or another, can ever really REACH us?

I know it’s not just women; I know men are betrayed as well. Hell I was no angel in past years. But when I was less than loyal, I wasn’t in love. Somehow I thought it wasn’t “really” real – there wasn’t a real love to cheat against. But all I was doing was excusing myself, I am sure; finding ways to redefine my actions so they didn’t feel so sh*tty. Anyway, I got my karma – I got it where it hurt. Went from someone who never really believed in “that kind of love”, to someone who was living it, reveling in it – to someone who was nearly slayed by it. And wonder of wonders, we both returned from the near dead, new hearts and all.

May everyone have the fairytale ending. Maybe that is what this is – survivor’s guilt.

The counselor is IN

10 Nov

Remember that sign Lucy used to hang over her kiosk? Consultations 5 cents, I think. Well, I made at least a dime this past week, more like 15 cents! Two very close real life friends and one online friend shared relationship issues with me. I listened as best I could, made suggestions if I thought it appropriate and mostly just reassured them that their inner wisdom would lead them to the next right steps. I received emails this morning from all three of them; all have made progress and are feeling much more positive about the direction of their relationships.

I remember a coworker from an old job had a screensaver scrolling across her computer screen, white letters on a turquoise background. “Do the next right thing”, it echoed itself, all day long. This was way before the Spike Lee movie “Do the right thing.” The phrase just hit me. It struck me immediately as the only piece of advice a person ever needed. I really believe we all can access our intuition, our spirit self. We all have a Source, whether we call it God or something else. I really believe we are ALL led – it is just a matter of whether or not we listen and then are willing to follow. “Do the next right thing”. What I like so much about it is, not only does it remind us to focus on what is RIGHT, it both encourages action (“do”) and limits that action (“next”). Ahh – simplicity. I just need do whatever most needs doing next. The old longest journey/single step, eat the elephant/one bite, “one day at a time” concept. We all KNOW this stuff, right? Yet somehow we allow ourselves to be paralyzed into inaction because all we can see is the unattainable SOMEDAY contrasted against the unacceptable NOW. The goal is SO beautiful and so unreal; our current circumstances SO paltry and in-our-face. No wonder we just give up before we even begin.

I remember being so confused during my marriage crisis. I honestly did not know WHAT the next right thing even was most of the time. I was reduced to the bare minimum – praying for peace and serenity, for me and for him. I had no clue what the future held in terms of our marriage. I didn’t even know whether or not to answer the phone, or if I did what to say, or whether to say anything. At those times, the next right thing was nothing at all until I got clear guidance, another shine of the flashlight on the next few feet of the path. Hard? God yes it was hard. But the guidance was worth waiting for, every single time. So. “the next right thing” – and JUST the NEXT right thing. Let’s all do only that, right now.

Child of Mine

10 Nov

Ooh boy – nothing like being reduced to tears on the drive into work! Dam*n cold day for tears, too – one runs the risk of them freezing to one’s face.

MPR’s “The Current” played that song this morning. It was dedicated by a mom to her returning adult daughter, home in time for the holidays and her dad’s retirement party. The DJ said how it didn’t seem to matter how old a child gets, they still love this song, as do their parents.

Then it started. And I was no longer driving up 50th in my Audi TT, I was sitting on the edge of Cole’s bed singing to him, along with the song playing on his CD player. It was one of a bunch of songs on this CD that entertained us on our cross country drive to the Jersey Shore (“You’ve got to give a little love, have a little hope, make this world a little better…”). The kids were strapped in the back of my dear old Celica convertible, slathered to the 9s (more like the 50s!) in sunblock, shades on, jammin’. The CD was on full blast to compete with the wind and the interstate truck traffic. We sang our hearts out.

Cole inherited the CD; it was in his room and he listened to it darn near every night for months. When I would check on him, if that song was on or about to come on I would sit on the edge of the bed and sing along, quietly, so as not to wake him up. I could never do that with Max; much as I might want to, he would awaken with a start. All my singing to him had to be during waking hours! There was no sneaking in and out of his room – even now as a lanky 6’3″ teenager, he senses when I so much as crack the door an inch to see if he’s sleeping.

Another song from that CD, another moment: Sitting outside the offices of the clinic we visited every week for about a year, over in the Como neighborhood behind the fairgrounds. Paul McCartney’s version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. We would eagerly wait for the chorus, and then 8 year old Max, 3 year old Cole and – hmm – probably 10 year old Mom would drown Paul out, substituting our much cleverer version over his interminable, 22 la la’s in a row: “You can hear them saying La La, Dipsy, Tinky Winky and Po… NuNu… NARRATOR…and the baby sun (and the baby sun)”

But Child of Mine. I know that song must tug at every parent’s heart, must feel so perfectly appropriate for their own relationship with their own child. I am not narcisstic enough to imagine otherwise, and yet – the line “I know you will be honest if you can’t always be kind” was written for me to sing to Max. Oh, how I would tell myself in those days of struggle; comfort myself as the tears streamed that while Max might never learn how to ride that mysterious, wobbly bike of sociability, “He will never lie”. That tiny yet noble certainty, the one ray of light blazing through our clouds. How far he has come. Riding that bike, and a real one, with agility and ease, making his way. He still isn’t always kind, but who is? And even those unkind moments stem from his core honesty, his inability to sugarcoat – for to sugarcoat is to dilute the essence of a fact. And facts are the bones of life.

As much as I used to straighten up with brave pride at that line about honesty, I bawled like a baby at the bridge. How to tell him that the world didn’t mean to be cruel, didn’t try to make it so hard just to even BE? How to keep his spirit strong when just getting through one day at a time was such a struggle? I didn’t know. I still don’t. But somehow he – and I – have come out the other side relatively intact.

Child of mine. Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine.

Carole King

Child of mine

Although you see the world different than me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
All the new colors and pictures you’ve designed
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine.

Child of mine, child of mine, oh yes sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine.

You don’t need direction, you know which way to go,
And I don’t want to hold you back I just want to watch you grow.
You’re the one who taught me you don’t have to look behind.
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine.

Child of mine child of mine, oh yes sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine.

Nobody’s gonna kill your dreams
Or tell you how to live your life.
There’ll always be people who make it hard for a while,
But you’ll change their heads when they see you smile.

The times you were born in may not have been the best,
But you can make the times to come better than the rest.
I know you will be honest if you can’t always be kind,
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine.