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August 04, 2006

What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, Baby

Late yesterday evening, after yet another thrilling day of manipulating software data - which isn't nearly as titillating as it sounds - I entered the Belly of the Beast, also known as the spacious master bedroom suite at villa Cassandranita. Kneeling beside my carry on suitcase, I lifted out a hefty stack of magazines from a trip we'd taken weeks ago. This was a task I'd been dreading. The suitcase had been propped in a corner while I took care of more important things. But I couldn't put it off any longer.

Sorting through magazines and catalogs (always the multi-tasker, I'd thought to pick out some Fall clothes while I was stuck on the plane) my mind drifted back to the airport kiosk where I'd dithered over what I laughingly call some Grrrrrrrl-mags.

This was something of a departure for me. I can go years - literally - without reading that sort of thing. For some reason I find women's magazines faintly embarrassing. Oh, I'll casually peruse the titles in the supermarket checkout line like most people do with the National Enquirer: "Chicken With Seventeen Heads Found In Nebraska Corn Field".

But I would never do anything so plebian as actually buying one of them. I'm too ashamed to. So I suffer in silence, tantalized by the thought of what the "Six Things Your Husband Wishes You'd Do In Bed" could possibly be, or wondering if I ought to at least peek at "Perfect Jeans: How They'll Make Your Ass Look Awesome". And doesn't every woman want to "Look 20 Years Younger in Only Six Weeks"? Well of course we do.

Sadly though, since I refuse to part with $3.99 to discover the path to a flawless tuckus, or how to drive men stark raving mad with lust, I've yet to be mistaken for a 27 year-old... at least in the last two decades.

But there's always the September issue. I live in hope.

After our plane was delayed for the second hour, the Spousal Unit turned to me and said, "Why don't you get something fun to read for once?" I'd brought my usual thrilling fare: Foreign Affairs, National Journal, the Weekly Standard, more catalogs for home decorating stuff, ludicrously expensive Peruvian sweaters, the Territory Ahead, Sundance, Boston Proper (which I can somehow never resist thinking of as Whores Quarterly, though that very likely won't stop me from ordering something dishy from it) and Levenger. Catalog shopping is always somewhat frustrating as it generally takes about twenty seconds of desultory page flipping to figure out there's a vast disconnect between what I want and what I'm willing to pay for; the marginal utility of a pair of four hundred and fifty dollar distressed leather boots I'll wear only a few times a year being fairly unclear to me. Of course, they do look really yummy on that twenty-something supermodel. But even so, I'm fairly certain that extra three hundred and fifty dollars isn't going to make me look twenty-five years younger; nor will it make my aging derriere look as saucy and insouciant as hers does in those tight little jeans. But I suppose miracles are possible, even in the wilds of western Maryland.

At any rate, standing in the airport kiosk staring at that magazine rack I was overcome with my usual panic attack when dealing with anything "woman-y". I don't know why I get this way. I can't even venture into large women's department stores without feeling the same creepy feeling wash over me. I found myself eyeing other women, who were avidly eyeing the fashion mags as they surreptitiously checked me out in return. Looking down at my sandaled feet, I awarded myself major brownie points for my toenail polish. They didn't even look like my toes. This week's color: Tuscan Sun, the product of 15 minutes of my life I will never get back spent prowling the aisles of our local CVS for that divine shade of red that isn't too blue or too orange-y - sort of plumlike with just a hint of... well, Tuscan sunshine to warm it up so it won't clash with my skin color, which has peach rather than pink undertones. Cripes. Women are sick creatures.

Since my birthday in May, I decided to turn over a new leaf. Now before I get going, you have to realize this is coming from a woman who only used to don nail polish once a year for the Marine Corps Ball. And fake nails have never, and I mean never graced either my fingers or my toes and never will so long as God gives me strength. I generously forebear from judging other women, but I do have my principles.

I have been working really, really hard on making sure my toes are picture-perfect every week because it is summer and I don't wear shoes most of the time. Even my daughter in law approves, so I know this is impressive. And I catch women looking at each other's feet wherever they go. I do it. Other women do it. And there is nothing I hate worse than to see someone with toenail polish that is all raggedy - especially if it is bright red. I'd rather see bare toes, the way the Almighty made them. Proudly wearing nothing at all. Women do this kind of stupid stuff all the time.

ANYWAY...standing at the magazine rack, I stared at the bewildering array of women's magazines and tried to make a decision. And the first thing that struck me, because I haven't bought a women's magazine for quite some time, was how much they have changed. Even the more mainstream fashion mags seem to have become "Cosmo-ized". I may joke around a lot online, but I was getting embarrassed just reading the magazine covers. We've come a long way, baby, and I think I may be lost in this strange new world.

The first thing that struck me was that even though I tried to stay away from the steamier grrrrl mags (I won't buy Cosmo, for instance) even the more mainstream fashion mags sound more like Maxim or Playboy than Vogue. When did we become so trashy? Whoever said sex sells wasn't kidding:

12 little tricks to steam up your sex life The Man Issue: Men, Guys, Dudes, & Naked actors inside???? what the...??? Psssst! 100 secrets men are begging you to read... about their bodies, their hang-ups, & what feels good, better, best Hookers at the 'Gate: Washington's Sleaziest Scandal Yet

Yikes! Whatever happened to fall clothes and make-up tips? To work-out and diet stuff? To relationship advice and career tips? Stories about friendships, people solving problems, overcoming hardships? Medical articles? Family and psychology related pieces? You know, the staples you're used to seeing in a women's magazine? The focus seems to have shifted a bit.

goodwife.jpgA few days ago I was looking for something funny to write about and I ran across a little reprint from a 1955 article in Housekeeping Monthly called The Good Wife's Guide, and it really blew my mind, because although the young lady who linked it meant to be humorous, I am just old enough to remember doing an awful lot of those things in the earlier days of my marriage. Reading it struck me rather forcefully for several reasons.

The first was the strong negative (and scornful) reaction the women on that site had to the article. In a way, I can understand that, but in a way that really saddens me because I had a very different reaction.

I had a sense of something lost, of the passing of an age. I know that most women these days (even if they work in the home) would consider that kind of behavior completely inexplicable. Yet for most of our early marriage that was what I tried to do and it seemed to work pretty darned well. And I never once felt subservient or stifled. In fact, my husband almost never made major decisions without consulting me and almost always asked my opinion, though in many cases I wouldn't have been all that upset if he hadn't. Oddly enough, he used to complain (mostly jokingly, but not always) about the fact that most of the decisions ended up being made by me, or that he ended up doing what I wanted, though I didn't really insert myself into most matters or demand that I get my way.

I always figured he was busy at work and in a lot of cases it was just easier for him not to have to think about trivial matters, so he asked me what I thought and ended up taking my advice. And what he didn't really realize was that I asked his advice all the time and often took it, too because it was usually a lot better thought-out than what I'd originally planned to do - he just never noticed that when it happened. Either way, I found was that by showing him respect, I got respect in return. We had very clearly defined areas of responsibility in our marriage where each of us had the final say, but that didn't mean we didn't ask each other for help. It's just that once a decision was made, neither of us questioned the other person's judgment, even if we disagreed with it (and we sometimes did, since we are both strong willed people). And we didn't criticize. Whoever was in charge of an area was in charge. End of story.

The whole idea of people having (or aspiring to) defined roles in society, much less being willing to limit themselves in any way in service of any large goal, seems to have fallen by the wayside. People seem to feel that if they can't express their inner self to the fullest extent possible twenty four hours a day, they are somehow being diminished, marginalized, and treated as the Other. j-lo.jpgThere is a larger idea I've been struggling with that can perhaps better be conveyed with pictures than words. Mike at Cold Fury sent me a great picture essay a few weeks ago. I've been thinking about it ever since but haven't been sure what I wanted to say about it. He juxtaposed sex symbols from the past with the pop tarts of today. The contrast between what we thought was attractive then vs. now could not be more striking. It is a question of seedy excess versus understated elegance. One group seems desperate for attention, each upping the ante for the most garish or tasteless ensemble. The first, more modern group are extremely attractive people, but somehow they've managed to make themselves seem almost freakish.

The older group could be someone you know, only better. More confident, more attractive, more what you expect from a movie star. In other words, they're really not trying to stand out from the crowd. They're simply comfortable in their own skin. If I had to apply adjectives to the two groups, I'd call the first one unrestrained and the second, collected. Or if you want to put it in more psychological terms, the first is the id and the second the superego (though if someone wants to argue with me and say it ought to be the ego, I'm fine with that, too).

Over the past few weeks I've become fascinated by the thought that technology has had a powerful and very much mixed effect on our lives. On the one hand, it has freed us from want to a degree that is really unprecedented in history. Because of productivity gains, we are experiencing a degree of affluence that our parents and grandparents could never have dreamed of. But our new prosperity is not an unmixed blessing. At a recent party, a well-off DC woman solemnly informed me that the new generation would be the "first generation that didn't do as well as their parents". I had a hard time choking back my indignation. Both my children make more, even in constant dollars, than we did at their age. My basement is full of furniture and household goods we carefully saved for the time when they would start a new home. Some of it they have taken with them. Much of it we will be getting rid of. The truth is that unlike us, they can afford to buy new things. I remember going off to college in the 1970's. I didn't take much. Kids these days load up as though they were traveling to Bali Hai - even my youngest son, who had far less than his roommates - came home with a futon sofa, phone, rug, coffee maker, and a small refridgerator (most of which is still sitting in my basement). But what comes so easily to this new generation, they don't really appreciate. Easy come, easy go.

And the ties that bound our parents and grandparents together no longer seem to bind us as closely. Our children seem to struggle against societal expectations. When the world was still a hostile place, cooperation with other people was a precious survival tool. It allowed us to pool our resources and overcome the challenges posed by our environment. Specialization of roles in society ensured that things were done efficiently. But now that technology has eliminated many of the challenges we used to face, we can all afford to be generalists.

At work, many of us do our own typing and billing now. In the home, many domestic and parenting tasks are shared by husband and wife. My husband, for instance, now does a lot of his own laundry. I'd happily do it for him, but he got into the habit of doing it five years ago when he was in Japan for a year and I went to work full time and he decided that would be his contribution since I was taking on a new career. And to be honest, I do most of the rest of the housework, though he does pitch in from time to time.

I often wonder when my husband comes home late at night and I see his shoulders slumped with care after a long day, whether it would be possible, or even desireable, to turn back the clock? Whether I could ever be happy again busily rushing around the house plumping pillows, dabbing a bit of cologne behind my ears and some lip gloss on my lips, adding a splash of wine and some fresh cream to the chicken fricassee as I check the fresh flowers on the table? Being the one who ran the house, while he was the one who made sure I had a house to run?

I used to do all those things. No, not all the time. There were odd days when he came home and the beagle was throwing up and the boys had let the gerbils out in the den. But I do remember a time when my whole life revolved around that moment when he would walk through the door at the end of the day and I spent the hour or so before then making sure everything was ready for him - making sure the boys' hair was combed and their faces were scrubbed, making sure nothing was noisy or jarring, opening the windows so the house would smell fresh and clean, maybe lighting a candle or two in the window so he'd see it as he drove up.

Now I wait for his call every night at seven or eight. The stupid jazz ringtone on my cell phone still makes my heart beat happily every time I hear it. He won't talk much. He never does. And I'll run around the house and plump a pillow or two, and gaze stupidly inside the fridge to see what is for dinner if I haven't already decided. And the call means I can quit work and desperately try to pick up my house and turn on the front porch light so he doesn't trip and kill himself.

And I will try to remind myself not to talk about politics, or bring up subjects that I know irritate him because he's tired. It's really not that much to ask. And I will probably forget again tonight because I'm so happy to see him and we only have an hour before it will be time to go to bed. And there are so many times when I ask myself if it wouldn't be better to go back to the way things used to be, when I wasn't so damned assertive all the time. When I didn't do everything he did, when I had my own sphere and my own interests. When I wasn't so busy that I didn't have time for him, didn't have time to notice things anymore. When I wasn't so tired and cranky at the end of the day that it took a conscious effort to stop and think about his lousy day and what he might need, instead of mine. When seeing things from another person's point of view was no longer second nature but almost a foreign way of life? When did I stop being a woman?

My husband says I am too hard on myself, but that is only because he is a very forgiving man. He puts up with a lot. The odd - and the sad - thing is that in between that Good Wife and where I am there is the right balance. I just have never been smart enough to find it. I am not entirely sure that he would like it if the clock were turned back. I frustrate and aggravate him now, but he gets bored easily too.

Whenever I write something like this, I get accused of railing against feminism. And that's annoying because that's not my intent. I just think that we've lost something - a thing intelligent feminists should be able to recognize. Women used to be the glue that held families and society together. We were the guardians of morals, of family traditions, of relationships. We were the caretakers of so many things. Because we didn't have full-time jobs outside the home, we had time to focus on uniquely human endeavors that tend to be important to women in a way that I don't think they really matter to men until they vanish beyond remembrance or recall.

But now that we live in a world of two-career couples, I don't see extended families getting together for those endless, two-week summer vacations so much anymore. It's simply too hard to schedule all those work breaks. It's sad, because we are losing something precious.

And when my husband comes home from work, we don't have the peace I remember from those more leisurely days when I was a stay at home wife and mother. I miss that. I wish I could give them back to him. He's certainly not working any less hard, at least not that I have noticed. Oh, there are compensations. He tells me that even though I make him crazy sometimes, he can't wait to get home from work every night.

After twenty seven years of marriage, that's not a bad legacy. But still, sometimes I wonder...

Posted by Cassandra at August 4, 2006 05:26 AM

Comments

I was never much of a housekeeper. I subscribed to that "cobwebs can keep, I'm rocking my baby to sleep" philosophy much to my mother's exasperation.
She would actually circle the cleaning lady ads in the paper every time she visited.
I did/do love to cook and that's how I welcomed the hubby home. A decent meal every night except for Friday which was cook's day off. He'll proudly tell you that he's never been served Hamburger helper by me (not that there's anything wrong with Hamburger Helper, it's just not my thing).

This morning before I cruised by here, I got an email from my favorite little KV. Married at 18 and most would have thought her not old enough or mature enough to handle KV duties. Most would be wrong. Anywho, her husband got out of the Corps and they're like any other young couple struggling with balancing school, jobs and marriage.
To me, those were the best days though. I'm not sure why but I look back and wax nostalgic.
She may be closer to that Good Housekeeping ideal woman. She cooks AND cleans..:) She and the hubby teach Sunday school and participate in a young couples' support group run through their church.
I don't know what my point is or even if there is one. Just some things I thought about while I read your post.

Posted by: Carrie at August 4, 2006 09:52 AM

I think we all decide what we're going to do.

I always had sort of a schizoid house when the kids were small - it was separated into 'living spaces' and 'other spaces'.

The front rooms were always pretty clean. It was important to me to have the living and dining rooms and the kitchen and den look nice because you need to have some part of the house that is neat and orderly. So I spent a fair amount of time on them - I tried to keep them picked up and vacuumed every day.

I was a fanatic about vacuuming my den sofa - I didn't like dog hair on it, so I did that every day without fail. So if you never went into the back of my house you might get the erroneous impression that I was a fairly good housekeeper.

But my bedroom really wasn't in all that great shape. If you knew me well enough to walk into my bedroom I figured you deserved whatever happened to you :) And the kids' rooms weren't that much better. I'd keep them clean for a while and then I'd start refinishing furniture or painting or reupholstering or landscaping and I couldn't be bothered with worrying about what the bedrooms looked like. When I got off on one of my epic projects, I was consumed with it to the exclusion of everything else.

Then I'd be briefly contrite and clean like a madwoman until I got insanely bored and dreamed up some new scheme that required my talents.

Posted by: Val Plame at August 4, 2006 10:11 AM

It's ironic now though - my bedroom is much neater now that the kids are gone. I'm not sure what is up with that. Maybe it's because we finally have nice bedroom furniture and it isn't the ugliest room in the house. I used to hate to clean the bedroom because it I could never make it look as "pretty" as the other rooms when I was done. We just didn't have the money to put into it back then.

Posted by: Val Plame at August 4, 2006 10:14 AM

You've come a long way, baby? Maybe not, huh?!

I'm as egalitarian as "all-get-out", but true feminism is like racism; believing in the superiority of the "Us" versus the "Them". You can call me a Renaissance Man, but NEVER a metrosexual...whatever the HELL that might be.

Posted by: camojack at August 4, 2006 10:49 AM

Interesting read. I agree that we have lost something, but only because others who blazed that trail let it go...and doing some of the things that make home comfortable is one way of getting it back.

If you read Martha Stewart's Living magazine, it is about those touches that make your house cozy, but it is the mutual giving of assistance to one another, the love and commitment you have that make your house a home.

Otherwise, it is an empty artfully arranged space.

Posted by: Cricket at August 4, 2006 11:01 AM

I hate when I notice typos in my posts.

Argh.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 11:06 AM

What I meant to mention, and didn't, was that question I posed in my other post a few days back.

When I put it up there I laughed to myself b/c I knew none of the oinkers would touch it with a 10 foot pole. But I found the answer intriguing. It was the question about who was a better lover, the workaholic husband or the guy who strikes a better balance between spending time with the wife and kiddies and his job.

Well, surprise, surprise: the workaholic hubby won, hands down.

Actually I was not very surprised here, partially b/c I am married to one, and partially because I noticed the same phenomenon in myself when I started working. The explanation was, interestingly enough, that researchers thought that men who spent a lot of time at work felt a little conflicted about spending so much time away from their wives, and so they tried extra hard to please them when they were at home.

Interesting, huh? I thought so. It's not that they don't love their wives, but people are complicated. And they do try to balance things out. I find people utterly fascinating.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 11:20 AM

You didn't really think I was going to drop it, didja?

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 11:21 AM

I've been told...and choose to believe...well, never mind.

But a workaholic I most assuredly ain't.
(Heh, heh...)

Posted by: camojack at August 4, 2006 12:53 PM

Hey. It's not the only factor camo.

I think the operative factor here was interest and effort.

Actually when I thought about this, I could think of other reasons too. A guy who is a workaholic would also be more likely to be a guy who is intensely competitive. And probably a guy who values competence in whatever he does. And probably a guy with a high testosterone level. All things you'd expect to make him better in the sack, on average. Maybe not more considerate, but more competent. And if you add in that he genuinely loves his wife and does miss her...

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 01:03 PM

And then you've got that whole "good provider" thing going on...

*running away*

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 01:04 PM

At any rate, you have to realize that all of these study things only measure 'average' behavior, which is utterly meaningless on the individual level. They're just kind of interesting and fun.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 01:06 PM

Oh...well...interest, effort and competence I've got.

Bottom line? Ladies first...

Posted by: camojack at August 4, 2006 02:11 PM

Take heart that you needn't live up (or is it DOWN?) to that 1955 piece. Snopes.com describes it here http://www.snopes.com/language/document/goodwife.htm

You're a good example of modern women, Cassandra. You've "been there, done that" as a homemaker--have your own career, have your own successful blog, write exceedingly well, yet still take the time to think of the comfort and feelings of others.

"You've come a long way, baby"--from that purported 1955 piece--but you've defined the way YOU choose to live.

May you have a million "sisters"!

Posted by: frequent flier at August 4, 2006 02:54 PM

I've often thought about the same things. I think it's odd that now that the kids are grown and gone we are busier and have less time for each other than we did when they lived here.

Somehow I thought that we'd be less busy and have more laid back time without the responsibilities of taking care of children while working full time. But it seems to be just the opposite.

That's a great post Cassandra - it's very thought provoking.

Posted by: beth at August 4, 2006 03:49 PM

I don't know what the right answer is.

Some things I do better, now. I'm much better about picking up regularly and things like making beds. I'm worse about cleaning. I used to be a clean freak but not always the neatest person in the world. Now I tend to be neater but my house doesn't get cleaned as thoroughly because I don't have time. Go figure. I'm a far more attentive and energetic lover but I don't make homemade meals as often. And we're so tired half the time we're not even hungry anymore, or at least that's what I tell myself. Meanwhile the poor man is starving to death, but at least both of us still have our girlish figures.

Oh well, this is why the Good Lord created restaurants.

My husband says I need a maid. I think he is right but I am not the kind of person who has maids.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 04:17 PM

I'm waiting for Roomba to come up with some cleaning robots that do more than sweep and mop,personally ;-) I suppose I'll have to do it myself (sigh).

The trick is keeping the good stuff that you mention and not the bad stuff associated with it. Keeping Daddy Happy is fine, as long as Daddy is a good guy that doesn't take unfair advantage and does his part. I kinda like the world we have now, where "Daddy" can be replaced with "Main Wage Earner". As long as both in the marriage agree with the assignment of tasks, whatever floats yer boat is good. (My father was *always* the one who fussed about sweeping the floors, for example. Mom was much more relaxed about dust bunnies.)

My brand of feminism does not require ALL women to devote themselves to careers to the exclusion of everything else, but I do think girls should be expected to learn enough to earn a living on their own (should it become necessary) just as boys should be expected to know which device does the washing and which does the drying, since they will not be issued a wife when they leave home like the old days. I saw too many girls in the Rural Fastness of Maine get bit by the whole gender role expectation thing. Get married out of high school, have kids, stay home, then the guy just isn't there anymore and they have all the bills and no way of earning enough to pay them. It gets ugly fast, and they did things "right", according to many. That's not the time to discover life isn't fair.

I dunno about how being able to see things from another person's point of view has to be how you define yourself as a woman. Sounds to me like that is a quality any decent human being should possess. It shouldn't be a rare event, but it shouldn't be your default mode either. There's a balance between being self-centered and being a doormat, and I find male doormats as repulsive as the female kind. You have to have self-respect to respect others properly.

Posted by: bad cat robot at August 4, 2006 06:18 PM

Oh, I so agree.

I think this is why when I was a stay at home Mom I still got respect. I don't have blinders - I saw PLENTY of women who didn't. But they allowed that to happen, too. I used to say that if you lie down and act like a door mat, you shouldn't be surprised when people start to wipe their feet on you.

Women do weird stuff. They can be passive aggressive - they will get into power trips where they encourage other people to take advantage of them so they will be indispensible, then they cry victim. Well, 1 800 Wah wah wahhhhhh. Men aren't helpless. They can do a lot of things for themselves.

I noticed right after I got married that I was falling into a pattern where I was controlling my husband by manipulating him unconsciously. And he rightly resented it. I wasn't doing it on purpose - it's ingrained female behavior. We're extremely good at it, and guys pick up on it and it pisses them off. After about 3 months of this crap I figured out it was a destructive pattern and I cut it out. It wasn't just me - it was part some things he was doing and part me acting like his mother in response. But it takes two to set that up and usually it only takes one to put an end to it. I was lucky in that my husband was way more mature than most guys are at that age. He was always willing to be reasonable and he was considerate and a good husband and father.

I also think all women should know how to support themselves before getting married. You never know what life will bring. An equal partner may not choose to work, but she ought to be able to contribute if her partner is disabled. And her self-respect demands the knowledge that she can walk out the door at any moment and take care of herself. I think that is critical, especially for women because they are smaller and physically weaker.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 06:41 PM

I like to do some things for my husband. But that is something he has earned because he works so hard for me. I enjoy doing it, and he enjoys having me do things for him. He is funny - he doesn't like me to do too much for him. It makes him uncomfortable. But he likes me to do some things for him - it makes him feel pampered. I wish he would let me do more.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 06:44 PM

Well, if he doesn't want you to do anything for him right now, you can grab me another beer.

You know, as long as you were up.

Posted by: Pile On® at August 4, 2006 07:05 PM

Cricket:

Couldn't have restated the old but true cliche any better:

it is the mutual giving of assistance to one another, the love and commitment you have that make your house a home. Otherwise, it is an empty artfully arranged space.

Posted by: John at August 4, 2006 07:11 PM

Pile darlin'.... [smack!]

God love ya. Here you go.

[crack]

fizz....

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 07:19 PM

And all those nice things I just said in my email.... I totally take them back :)

Punk.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 07:21 PM

Uh, yeah thanks.

Don't be a stranger, I am feeling thirsty.

Posted by: Pile On® at August 4, 2006 07:31 PM

You're going to be feeling dead if you don't watch it there buster.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 4, 2006 07:35 PM

I think I told you: some years ago now, my wife gave me a brass bell to keep on my desk. If I ring it, she brings me a beer. Right away, with a smile and a kiss on the head.

I haven't rung the thing ten times in the years I've had it, but once in a while I do. She likes to do it, and -- like your own husband, I suspect -- once in a while, I like to have her do it. It really does point to something special.

Posted by: Grim at August 4, 2006 11:54 PM

I think you really zeroed in on the key there. She gave it to you, and you don't abuse it.

I've been faintly amused several times during our marriage at the delicate balance between two strong willed people and how quickly it can get out of whack if you don't respect each other. As I said earlier, I like doing things for my husband too but I like it because he doesn't expect it.

And he does nice things to take care of me all the time. When we were out in California, he used to bring me a cup of coffee every morning out in my office (I got up far earlier than he did). It was so nice - about 6 my door would open and there would be a cup of coffee and sometimes even a donut or some fruit or something because he gets mad at me for not eating. Men don't usually do things like that for women, which made it all that much nicer.

Now he doesn't have time (and anyway we both get up at the same time now) so he doesn't do it anymore, and I get up and make him a big lunch at 4 am. So it all evens out. But he still brings me Mimosas on Sunday mornings :)

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini at August 5, 2006 07:01 AM

The fact that TLB still supports and puts up with me after everything I've managed to screw up just boggles my mind. Nothing worse then letting your better half down!

But man do I know what you mean about two strong willed people getting out of whack over something totally insignificant sometimes. The big stuff will stand you shoulder to shoulder facing the world and then something that doesn't even appear on the proverbial radar will whack you right upside the head. A real "huh?" moment and "WTF are we fighting about?" Now THAT is when silence becomes golden! Definitely the better part of valor. Whew! :-o

Heh! But then y'all hold all the cards in that department now don't you? The capability to withhold feminine pleasures at the drop of a hat is so typically womynish!!! And painful. Very, very effective too. Cheaters! ;-)

Posted by: JustADad at August 5, 2006 11:24 AM

I didn't mean for it to be a cliche, but it does ring true. Living alone and not having something more than just you makes for some lonely and stressful times.

Home was more than just the apartment or quarters we rented or were assigned to. It was that heartfelt feeling of coming to a sanctuary
at the end of the workday, to be with people you
knew and loved.

Keeping it clean and some appetizers ready for a
moment of unwinding, of making the transition from work to home makes all the difference in the world.

Posted by: Cricket at August 6, 2006 05:59 PM

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