Monday, July 30, 2012

How A Duvet Cover Changed My Life And Made Me Plan A Trip To Italy.

Oh you know, just going to make breakfast...

Last night Brett "caught" me with a duvet cover, and things got really embarrassing.

We were making the bed, and when he left the room I surreptitiously snuck over to our linen dresser. (Yes, we have one of those. Yes, it's obnoxious.) As I quickly checked over my shoulder to make sure he hadn't returned, I pulled out a gorgeous, stark white, brand new, luxurious duvet cover. Lined in warm chocolate piping with our monogram in the center- it was a wedding present that I kept hidden away. It was...perfect. Apparently when I registered for it I never expected that Brett and I would have kids or pets, or be human in any way. I never actually expected someone would buy it for us when I put it on the registry. It was just so over-the-top expensive and frivolous, but someone out there probably knew I just HAD to have it hanging out in my linen drawer.

Where it has been since we received it. 2 years ago.

"What's that?"

I whirled around, shoving it behind my back as Brett stepped closer. "Nothing!" I shouted, which only made Brett smile and reach around me.

"What is this?" He asked as he incredulously unrolled it.

"Um. A duvet cover?"

"We have a duvet?"

"Well, yes. We got a really nice one for the wedding. It's in a box somewhere."

He looked confused as he smoothed out the white perfection of the cover, and watching him touch it made my pulse quicken.

"Don' Don't touch that. Is it weird I am really anxious that you are touching that? Please stop." I babbled as I backed against the linen drawer. He saw me back towards it and a wicked smile slowly spread over his face.

"There is more in there, isn't there?"


He moved me aside and found THE STASH. A set of sheets to match the duvet cover, pillowcases, other pretty bed things still in plastic and gleaming with their purity.

"God, it's like you are a Pottery Barn hoarder." He murmured as he started pulling everything out.

"BRETT! Those sheets are NOT to be slept on!" I yelled out as he started putting a perfect pillow case on his pillow. As soon as the words left my lips, I clapped my hand over my mouth, eyes bugging out.

And then I couldn't stop laughing.

I consider myself a relatively normal person with a few lovable (I hope,) quirks. However, as I watched Brett ransack this private drawer, I was alarmed at how stressed out it was making me. I also couldn't stop my maniacal laughter. What was I thinking?

Brett wanted to know the same thing. "So, what are the sheets and the duvet cover for?" he asked.

"Um. I think for show. In the future."

"Oh, ok. So, when we have people over in the future we have these on the bed, but when they leave.."

"Yeah. We change it. I think it makes total sense. Like throw pillows."

"There is nothing about a throw pillow that make sense."

"It's just- it's like guest towels!" I offered, my voice getting a little desperate. "You have them out when people come over...for them to use!"

"So, guests can use our duvet cover and fancy sheets?"

"God. No...but they can look at them."

At this point Brett was climbing into bed, a huge smile on his face as he tested out the sainted sheets he had just put on. He stretched and sighed, a huge smile on his face as he rolled around the bed like a pig in PERFECT, VERY EXPENSIVE SHIT. I watched slightly horrified from the doorway.

"Come to bed." He smiled.

"No." I whispered. "I am so annoyed with you right now."

"Okayyy!" he sang, jumping up. "Your loss. I'm going to go brush my teeth. I will be leaving the room in case you want to pull some towels made out of gold and angel hair out of the linen dresser to just look at and then put away."

As he left the room, I dressed for bed keeping my eyes on the sheets that had now practically been defiled. Inching towards them, I slipped in...

and smiled.

They were really nice. They were really, really white. They felt amazing against my bare legs and I tried not to think that I should shower several times before touching these to keep them pristine. I buried my face into Brett's pillow and finally let go. I don't need to keep things hidden away, afraid the living of life will taint their perfection. Nothing in life is perfect. These were...just sheets. It was just a duvet. We wouldn't have them in 10 years, I wouldn't be thinking about them on my death bed. They were not anything to really set on the altar of the linen drawer and worship privately. I guess I was just...waiting for the right time to use them.


I once read a story about an old women who, after she died, her daughter found an entire chest full of beautiful nightgowns that she never remembered her mother wearing. When she asked her father about the nightgowns- their silk perfection still nestled in tissue paper- her father just shrugged sadly and said: "She thought they were too nice. Maybe she felt undeserving. She was waiting for the right time to put them on."

That time never came, and if Brett hadn't forcibly made our bed with these sheets, my time to use them might have never come either. The thought made me incredibly sad because these sheets were seriously soft and scented with ground up unicorn or something magical like that. What "right time" was I waiting for? When would I wake up and feel like the world was incredibly perfect, everything was perfect, and that perfection deserved new bedding?

When Brett joined me in bed we sat up talking about how weird I am. I rolled over on my side and met his eyes. "We have boxes and boxes of perfect china, you know. Unused. Waiting for "the right time."

"Let's make the right time now," he offered. "Let's make occasions fit for china and awesome sheets- instead of waiting for them to come to us."

He was right. And I was tired of putting things in boxes waiting for the "right" time to pull them out. That book I'm always talking about writing? What better time than now? That gorgeous guitar I own but am afraid to touch? Let's break a few strings learning how to play that baby. That trip to Venice I keep talking about? Well- it's literally sinking, so I better go now.

And maybe my daughter, long after I'm gone will tell people her mother wore silky nightgowns and feather boas to breakfast. And invited her to tea parties with stuffed animals using her wedding china. And lived every single second of her life- a life that was truly and beautifully, unpacked.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I thought I wanted a Baby. But I guess I just wanted a lawn. Same Thing.

The other day I realized every one in the world has gotten pregnant except for me.

The realization came on a normal day. It was the afternoon, I was listening to the Spice Girls, drinking coffee, and scrolling through a friend's photos of her son, Felix. Never mind I have never physically met this girl. We are friends, her son is adorable, and no matter how weird Brett thinks it is that I spend hours going through her facebook pictures- I do it. I do it and I enjoy it, and I don't want to wear her skin or anything, so please stop saying that, Brett.

Anyway, on that particular afternoon it seemed like every real and imaginary and virtual friend I had was doing something with their kids. Or was having a kid at that moment. Or was talking about just getting pregnant with one. For one brief, sweeping and incredibly irrational moment I felt so. left. out. Like parenting was this elite and super colorful club that I was picked last for. If you were picked last for clubs like you were picked last for a kickball team. (And I was that person that no one wanted to play kickball with because of chronic asthma and penchant for lying in the grass.)

So, extremely off topic, but hopefully you understand how I felt.

The moment passed, as much of my irrational moments do, and then the heart of the issue became glaringly obvious.

I want a house.

The jump from wanting a baby to wanting a house is obviously extremely rational and very healthy. And truthfully, I don't want a baby right now. I like babies a lot. I like other people's babies. But I still like to drink wine at night and watch endless episodes of a t.v. show that is largely targeted towards preteens. I can't be bothered right now, is all I am saying. I have way too much wine to drink and t.v. to watch. There is simply no time to nurture.

The house thing started when a few of our friends became first time home-owners. They would have conversations with us about the "pains" of keeping up a permanent and expensive home. "Your apartment grounds are so lovely." They would croon. "I mean, who needs a backyard? You are so lucky that you don't even have to deal with that right now. God, Herb spent all of Saturday just mowing our lawn before we could even stop by the block party the Maschowitz's were hosting. We almost missed the lemonade."

Ok, so I don't have any friends named Herb. But, it's fitting given the situation. I want to have a lawn that needs to be mowed. I want to live in a Jewish neighborhood even though we're not all. I want lemonade, for god sake.

This weird need for a foundation is one I keep very private and very hidden, like a drug habit. So, it's nice that I'm putting it on my blog. Because no one will see it here, ever. I've taken to cramming real estate fliers in my purse like I'm pilfering sugar packets from diners. I have gone to a few open houses (hanging my head in shame over this,) alone. But, I always come up with a fake name and hang out in the kitchen far longer than anyone else, so it's totally normal. I check house prices with every city Brett and I visit or live in. And we've amassed quite a list. I'll casually sip my coffee over breakfast in Ohio and slip in how much a local brick 5 bedroom with a pool costs.

"I just...stopped by to check it out. There is a GREAT local country club nearby, and the schools are absolutely fantastic." I'll say. Naturally.

Brett will squint at me and clear his throat. "Why do we need to look at schools?"

I'll roll my eyes and sigh dramatically. "For the children. We don't have."

"You know you grew up in rural New Hampshire, right?" He'll ask. Meanly.

"What are you getting at?" I'll snap, and then soften. "I actually have some housing prices for there too. In my purse."

"Well, country clubs? I mean. Melissa. I'm still in grad school. You don't actually have a job."

I'll sniff. Because that is what people who belong to country clubs do. "I work in social media."

"You update your blog and play on facebook all day."

This is usually the end of the conversation.

It's honestly not about the country clubs or the block parties or the manicured lawn that our friendly neighbor Herb takes care of when we are out of town. I think this is the manifestation of my desire to (gasp, groan, cringe,) put down roots. And shop at Pottery Barn.

Maybe it is because Brett and I have spent this last year apart and I lived in an apartment that had ACTUAL BULLET HOLES on the outside of it. Maybe I see my friends toting their newborns around their newborn lawns as they drink lemonade with their newborn friends. Maybe I just stop moving around for a little while.

Maybe I just need a place that actually feels like home. Preferably near a country club. I'll even take a YMCA.

I think Brett picked up on this weird yearning, and, (most likely incredibly grateful I wasn't asking for babies,) said the sweetest thing to me the other day.

"You know," he sang to me as we walked into the apartment #2 we live in. "This place could really use some decoration. And more lights. And a few more fun furniture pieces. Maybe we should take a trip to  IKEA, and you can pick out ANYTHING YOU WANT to make this place more homey."

It was kind of like being offered a discount Swedish baby, a bar of chocolate, and a bottle of wine all at once. It was suddenly everything I wanted and needed and every inch a love letter from him to me. In that moment Herb could keep his mowed front lawn, and his stupid block party. I was going to buy us some new lamps, some cliche wall art, and make our own damn lemonade.

With vodka.


Monday, July 23, 2012

LITERALLY lost in translation.

The other day Brett and I were on one of our weekly road trips, and after a few hours stuck in traffic, we started getting a little short with one another. Quickly flicking my gaze up to the never-ending stream of cars in front of us, I realized that we were sort of stuck where we were for awhile. I had to make the best out of the situation. I had to relax him and woo him and make him feel loved and secure by the dashboard light. (See what I kind of did there?)

So I sang to him in Spanish.

About 2 choruses into the song, I was really getting into it. I threw my shoulders in, I shimmied in my seat, and when I looked over at Brett, expecting to see complete adoration, I was met by complete confusion.

"Why," he asked me incredulously, "are you singing so passionately about a pen?"


I've never been very good with languages. I'm good with people, and for some reason I feel like that makes up for it. When Brett and I were planning our big, month long trip to France, he enrolled in French classes at Stanford, for God sake. When he asked me if I wanted to join, I confidently told him that I was pretty sure I had a knack for the French language, and wouldn't want any formal education to mess up that innate talent. So, every Wednesday Brett went off for 3 hours of lecture, and I went to the local Mexican restaurant and drank margaritas.

As you do.

Of course, once we were in France, I was completely enthralled with the culture, in love with the people, and desperate to make friends every where I went. But the only phrase I knew was the phrase you normally use to ask for the check. And I say "normally," because I'm pretty sure I wasn't even asking for the check. God knows what I was asking for. But I did it with such flourish and with such passion, the check came every night.

Perhaps in a calculated effort to make us leave.

When we went to Italy, it was the same sort of deal. Brett took Italian, I waved my hands around a lot and ended up making friends with a Canadian couple in the laundromat because they were the only ones who understood me. I tried though. I smiled. I parroted back phrases I heard Brett use smoothly and with a quiet confidence I could not actually emulate. When I wandered off alone one afternoon and could not even order gelato by myself because the waiter had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER I was asking for, I slunk back to Brett with tears in my eyes.

"Maybe you were right." I sniffed. "I mean, maybe. But, I was so close. I almost ordered...something."

To his credit, (and maybe because we were on our honeymoon,) he didn't say a word, ordered me a glass of limoncello from a local cafe, and probably became best friends with the waiter because I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON.

And I drank the limoncello. And thought that maybe it was time I learned another language.

People are always surprised to hear I took 4 years of Spanish in high school. And when I say people are surprised, I mean no one actually cares that I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, but I like to pretend they do. But, they DO START caring when I finish my story and tell them that I actually only took 2 years of Spanish in high school. Spanish 1...and Spanish 2.

3 times.

I blame my Spanish 1 teacher, the cleverly named "Señora." Señora was like me- vivacious, a party girl, dressed loudly and had crazy curls that took over her whole face. And another thing we had in common? We spoke about the same level of Spanish.

She was beloved, so I'm not trying to drag her name through the barro, (mud. Thank you babel fish.) But she was sort of clueless. I mean, yes...I learned all the words to "La Cucaracha." I designed a "dia de los muertos" mask that the class all made as well and paraded around the halls of our small high school during lesson time. I ate salsa. I drew pictures in class, and she would swoop in, pick them up, and ask if she could keep them for herself. Never mind I was drawing those pictures during her lecture on verb conjugation. Never mind that she did half the lecture in stick figures. She was a hoot, people loved her, and I got an "A" in Spanish.

And then she retired, dammit.

Enter "Señor."

Señor was a compact, attractive, and charming man. HE WAS ALSO ACTUALLY SPANISH. After my first day in Spanish 2 he asked me to stay after class. I naively thought he just wanted to congratulate me on my awesome social skills and my ability to sing the entirety of "La Cucaracha." Instead, he beamed at me and kindly asked me "How the fuck did I make it to Spanish 2?" Except he didn't say fuck.

But, his Spanish temper did.

Needless to say I was kept after class EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. as he tirelessly worked with me. For 3 years. I'm surprised no one thought we were having an affair, pregnant, and married by the end of that time. He was the longest relationship I had had to that date, and the most mature and complicated by far. I'll never forget my last session- about a week to graduation. We were sitting in his hot classroom, and I was trying to adjust my jean skirt as I recited in broken Spanish what I had done that day.

"I ate of the fruit. I ran. I wore of the short pants and I gymnasium. I shop of cloth at night-time with my Mother's Mother..."

He looked at me, very sweetly, and pushed a piece of paper towards me as I continued my stream of banality.

"What this of?" I asked in Spanish. Ish.

"Please stop speaking Spanish. Please, please speak English." He begged. "It's a note. Saying you pass. You pass Spanish 2, and can graduate. Congratulations, good luck, and you can leave now."

So, we ended on really loving terms.

In all seriousness, this man had put up with more than...well, most have. Besides Brett. So, maybe they should meet. They can speak Spanish together, because I'm sure Brett knows it.

Anyway, I guess you can say that this brief hiccup caused me a little more damage than I thought. Señor was not to blame at all. In fact, I want to find him and shake his hand and reassure him that I am not a total and complete idiot. But, it altered the way I approached language. It became something I was afraid of. I shied away from it- and only when I found my "voice,"...much later in life...was I willing to look at it again.

After my passionate Spanish song about pens, Brett looked over at me and asked if I wanted to learn a language with him. "It can be anything you want. I know how you are about that sort of thing- so I want you to be comfortable. But, I want to really learn and master a language with you. We could do it together. Any language you want."

I leaned back, turned up the J-Lo that had just come on the radio and smiled at him. "How is your Spanish?" I asked.

"Not great." He answered.

"Bueno. I'm in."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cool Kid

A woman of many COOL faces.

The other day I was laying in bed, nursing a tepid coffee and reading up on burn victims. So, it was a normal Thursday morning. As I lazily perused medical documents my phone buzzed. A text from my friend had come through, and this is what is said: 

Meet for lunch now? Shady Grove? DO NOT COME DRESSED NICE OR CUTE. I just worked out and am sweaty.  

I glanced down at my outfit. I was wearing black yoga pants and a white tank-top. Not un-cute by normal standards, but throw in the fact that I had been wearing them for a day and a half  because I'm gross like that AND I APPARENTLY DON'T SHOWER WHEN TRYING TO MEET A DEADLINE, I fit the bill of her request.

Be there in 5.  I excitedly typed back while jumping into flip flops.

Now, this girl is a newish friend and, in my opinion, really, really cool. She's that kind of cool that is annoyingly effortless. And, true to form she pulled up on her bike in front of the restaurant I met her at, flipped her pretty hair out of her helmet, and beamed at me.

She looked cute. Damnit.

Even though she was the one that had just come from a run, I was the one that looked like it. I've never been able to master that chicness that comes so naturally to some women. I'm always slightly disheveled, slightly frizzing at the edges, chewing on my nail in the corner or accidentally pouring wine into my shoe. I watch women like her from afar and try to emulate them whenever possible. I'll buy the diamond stud earrings, I'll shop at J. Crew, and I always end up losing an earring in my drink and covering my sleek white skirt in grass stains by the end of the day. Usually when there is no grass around, so you can imagine just how awkward of an individual I am.

We had a wonderful lunch, but her bouncy hair and sparkling eyes stayed with me all day. Later that night, after I finally stripped out of my "non-workout-workout-clothes", showered, and crawled into bed, I turned to Brett.

"Do you think I'm cool?" I asked him as I struggled to smooth the frizzy curls that had immediately started springing from my scalp as soon as my hair got hip to the humid Ohio night. 

He put his fishing magazine down. (They have those! And he reads them! So cute.) and turned to me.

"Do I think you're what?"

"Do. You. Think. I'm Cool?"

"Do I think you're cool?" he asked incredulously as he batted my hands away from my hair. (he likes frizzy curls. He's a weirdo.)

"Don't make me ask again." I whined. "That's decidedly uncool."

"Ok, well. No. I don't think you're cool."

"You DON'T?"

"No!" he said, picking up field-fishing-hunting magazine or whatever it was. "No, I do NOT think you're cool. I think you're fun."

"Fun? That's not cool."

"Can we move on?"

"Ok, but why am I not cool?"

He looked over at me warily. "I'm not cool."

"So, I'm not cool by extension?!"

"Melissa..." he said warningly. But, at this point I could not stop laughing. Seeing my cute husband reading a fishing magazine in bed, as I sat and yanked on curls and asked him if I was cool- he was right...the whole thing was so ridiculous and so not cool it gave me the giggles. I put my face into the pillow and was laughing so hard I eventually snorted. Brett looked over, smiled, and patted my back.



I can't remember when I became obsessed with "coolness", but I know it was well before I started making friends with women like ol' sparkly eyes. I come from a very large family of women, and  they are all very attractive and loud, and you will find out from them your best physical and personal traits and all of the things that suck about you in about 5.3 seconds.

My sister Ashley is the worst. (And best.) Recently, when I went home, I came out to the pool in a bikini. "You look great." She offered noncommittally as she took a sip from her drink. When I blushed and smiled and asked, "Really? You think so?" She just rolled her eyes.

"Oh my god shut up. You're stupid." She answered.

This is a girl who in ONE DAY will tell me my morning hair looks like shit, my manicure is boring, but she loves my writing. This constant appraisal is definitely only something that comes from the special bond of being 10 months apart and a few states away.  But, in my mind, she's cool. She was the one that snuck out when we were in high school, not me. I was the one that was usually making my lunch for the next day as she primped, jumped into a car with people FROM MY GRADE and drove away. I would go to bed and write angry journal entries and put olive oil in her shampoo.

Which only made her hair shinier, damnit.

Anyway, I grew up wanting to be dangerous and fun and sexy like her. And, I went on to make friends with all types of women like that- women who were cool and who I wanted to be. Women who can cook an entire meal for a group of friends and still look adorable. Women who can play guitar and have tattoos and their kids look like they stepped out of GQ toddler, and women who are pristine, play tennis, and always keep on the feminine side of life.

I was thinking about all of this today as I went to get my nails done. I stepped into the nail salon, drenched and soaking wet from getting caught in a storm, but I was laughing as I wrung my shirt out in front of the fully packed shop.

"Sorry!" I sang out as I made puddles wherever I went. This made me start giggling, and I was still giggling as one of the girls handed me a warm towel.

"You not mad?" she asked anxiously as she helped me mop up.

"Mad?!" I chortled. "Why would I be mad?"

"The rain." She answered in broken English. "It makes so many unhappy. I like that you are happy. You come in, you always happy. I like you."


So, maybe I'm not "cool", but maybe I'll stop trying to be. This woman made me realize we're always looking at other people. We're always trying to figure them out, and be them, and not be them. Rarely we look inside and figure out the kind of person we are.

Maybe I am disheveled. Maybe I wasn't the coolest kid in high school- but I am a woman who laughs in a storm.

That's not that bad, is it?

In fact, that is pretty damn cool. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Most Stressful Day Ever, But I Learned Something, So That Is Good I Guess.

Do they have a travel version?

"Do you want your briefcase in the back of the car?" I asked Brett as we quickly packed up for a 3 day trip to 'corporate summer camp' in Texas. Brett, looking dapper and incredibly stressed in his suit looked over at me quickly. "Uh. No." he shot back, before uttering a few choice curse words under his breath as he struggled with our garage door. "Just- uh...OH YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" He exploded as the garage door exploded- leaving shiny and jagged clumps of glass scattered at his feet.

I took a quick survey of the situation, and after I realized he was not cut, and would not bleed out before 7am, I tiptoed through the glass and propped his suitcase against the curb where he would surely see it. Brett stomped over to the driver's side, threw his coat in the back, and we were off.

As we pulled into a parking garage 20 minutes later, both of our heart rates had returned to normal and we sheepishly grinned at each other as we discussed immediately drinking once we got in the plane. As Brett ducked in the back to grab his things, his features froze.

"Melissa. Where...where is the briefcase?"

"I left it for you next to your door. You were preoccupied, and I had no idea where you wanted me to put it."

" left it on the curb?"

" I left it where you would see it?"

"On the curb." He repeated. "On garbage day."

With both of us harboring resentment in our frantically beating hearts, we jumped back into the car and in seconds were speeding back home along the freeway. I was panicking at the speed Brett was pushing and immediately pictured a cop telling my mother that her awesomely awesome and favorite daughter had perished in a fiery car crash in Pittsburgh before 7:30 am. After her initial confusion: (That can't be my said it was before 7:30 am? No, there must be some mistake.) They would confirm that is was, in fact, me and that I did, in fact, die over a briefcase.

Not the most romantic way to go.

I didn't relax until our car pulled into view of our street, and Brett saw his briefcase waiting nonchalantly against the curb, like it was hoping to catch the next bus into town. To add to the drama, the garbage truck was just pulling into view. Brett frantically retrieved the briefcase, all but kissed it, and then climbed back into the car to be met with steely silence.

"We. Could. Have. Died." I hissed.

"I agree." He hissed back. "If this briefcase was trashed."

More steely silence. And now a lot of crossed arms and huffing.

By the time we got to the airport, we had both softened a bit and were just focused on getting on the plane and closing our eyes. As we waited to board, Brett got a call from work, and realized in the panic of the morning he had sent the wrong file to his boss. Or something bank-y like that. He proceeded to whip out his lap top and SIT DOWN on the ramp leading to the plane to quickly send the file. I was mortified.

"Brett. Brett- please. We have to board."

"5 seconds."

"No, actually, we have to board now."

"4 seconds."

"Brett! There is wifi on the plane! Send it then!"

"There is NO wifi on the plane, Melissa."

"Um. There is. I promise. Get on this plane right now. The file can wait 20 minutes."

"There is NO wifi ON THE PLANE MELISSA."

People were streaming all around Brett like he was an impeccably dressed pebble in a current. The flight attendants were eyeballing me angrily, and I was growing more and more impatient. I was NOT getting on that god forsaken plane to god forsaken Texas without my god forsaken husband. I full on begged him to get up, and he finally did, still tapping at the keyboard as we furtively slunk to our seats. As I wearily snapped on my seat belt the captain's voice came over the intercom.

"We're just about 5 minutes from take-off, folks. We will refuel the plane and then be on our way."

Brett looked over at me excitedly as if the captain told us a bunch of naked girls holding beer would soon be walking down the plane aisles. "YES!" He said as he gleefully jumped to his feet. "I'm getting off the plane. I'll be right back!"


Now, I am an incredibly patient woman and I have an incredibly high threshold for shenanigans, but this was my breaking point. I watched Brett bound off the plane and I swear to God I had had it. I fumed. I rolled my magazine between my shaking fists, I pictured the plane doors closing and the stupid briefcase and our stupid morning and suddenly saw stars and white and all the things cartoon characters see when they are mad. To top it off, a flight attendant got on the intercom, exasperation clearly in her voice.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we ask you to PLEASE turn off all electric devices, ESPECIALLY laptops, and EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE PLANE. We would like to take off sometime soon, so PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEATS."

The woman in the aisle across from me smirked over as I ducked down and covered my eyes, missing Brett's triumphant return to his seat. He sat down and buckled up, eyes twinkling, forehead covered in a fine sheen of corporate sweat.

"Was the file sent?" I asked coolly.

" But, there is wifi on the plane, so I'll send it then."


Needless to say, 20 minutes later the file was sent and a sheepish Brett had ordered me a glass of wine. I drank it, avoided his eyes, and stared out the window until my heart-rate for the 328748747 time that morning, had returned to normal. When I finally pivoted to look his way and try to argue my frustration, I saw that my husband, now in his rumpled suit, was peacefully asleep...clutching his briefcase.

All of my arguments, however valid, evaporated. Here was my husband- one of the hardest working men I know, finally resting after doing his job. This was a man that never stopped working-at anything-ever. He approached everything in life with that same sense of dutifulness and dedication. I thought of the times he patiently worked with me, patiently worked with my family, and patiently worked through any issues that had come up in our life. He would sit down on the ramp of the plane of life to send one last file because it mattered to him. Would I? Would I be the kind of person to do that?

Uh. No.

I have spent the better part of this last year on planes, and that is where I do my best thinking. (And fuming, apparently.) So, as I looked over at Brett and admired his persistence, I let myself admire the fact that I am not at all like that. A file can wait. A lost briefcase is a total drag, but not worth my life. 5 extra minutes on a plane leaves me with 5 extra minutes to dive into my book- but we need the influence of another way to balance us out. Brett needed someone to coax him into seat 9A and insist on cocktail hour at 10:30am. He needs someone that would look over and soften at his sudden sleep- and remove the wretched briefcase from his hands, and loosen his tie.

And I need someone like him.

(He also needs someone that stands firm in the fact that it WAS NOT MY FAULT that the briefcase was left on the curb.)

But that reminder can wait. We only have now...we only have today.

Today, and 6$ glasses of airplane wine.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Icky Bits. And the not so Icky Bits.


One thing I am fascinated with in marriages is how individual couples deal with the...I don't know...icky bits. It's a favorite topic of conversation among my groups of married friends once the boys get tired of us and leave to go drink scotch in another part of the house. (Hellooo 'Downton Abbey'. Maybe I should ask the ladies next time to join me in a rousing game of Whist so the men can enjoy their snifter drinks in peace.) I, of course, always broach the topic because I am arguably the most obnoxious wife in the bunch. In fact, when Brett pops into the room to retrieve another bottle or glass and happens to stumble into the middle of a conversation that is particularly scandalous, he'll usually raise an eyebrow at me, like, "You totally started all of this." And he's right.

But people keep coming to our house, so I can't be all that bad.

Anyway, one evening the girls and I were gathered in the parlour, (ha) and the topic of "icky bits" came up. "How close is too close?" I asked. Our responses were varied. Some women were a lot more open with their spouses, others were more discreet and shy. We've all been in relationships for long-ish amounts of time, so it was interesting to see how all over the place the offerings were. Some women cackled about how when kids come along, all bets are off. "I'll just go to the bathroom. I don't care who is in there, I don't care if the door is closed or open, I don't even care. I'll go on the side-walk if I have to." I, surprisingly, was on the more modest side of things. I lock doors. I won't even shave my legs in front of Brett. I have never plucked an eyebrow hair or done a face mask or anything in his presence. No, I'm not trying to maintain this feminine allusiveness. I don't entertain frothy ideas that Brett needs to only see me in a perfect state. This man has seen me in many, many states- and I'm not sure he'd say any of them were perfect. I just...I just get stupidly shy about the whole thing. I get so weird about truly intimate bodily moments, AND I AM OK WITH THAT.

So, today was a challenge in our relationship.

Now, I've talked about my period on here before. I talk about it with Brett. He actually doesn't need to "talk about it" with me because he likes reminding me when he knows it is coming. (Why, men? Why do you do that?) So, as far as icky things go, we just acknowledge it happens, I buy all my own supplies without him around, and it's over. I complain, eat the cliche bar of chocolate, and- scene. So, we still handle this in our "let's-avoid-everything-bodily-function-wise" kind of way. It works for us.

But today, oh today. 

Quick back story: I had a procedure done two months ago where a Dr. was all up in my baby-making parts and had to do a lot of stuff that was incredibly painful. She warned me that the next cycle would be worse than usual, and to be prepared. A month passed. Nada. Another month.


To put mildly.

The pain. Oh God, the pain. I actually got sick because of it. And curled up on the floor. And called Brett at the office. (naturally.)

Me: "Hi!!! um. So, I can't make dinner tonight..."
Brett: "Why? Is everything ok? You sound horrible."
Me: "Yes, everything is fine. No, no, everything is not fine. Oh, God. Brett, "it" came. "it" is kicking my ass. I can't even keep anything down because of "it."
Brett: "Oh, I thought it was coming. You've been-"
Me: "BRETT."
(and then I promptly burst into tears which is very helpful.)
Brett: (panicking) "Ok! uh...I'll pack up and head home. Thai take-out tonight? Should we go to the hospital? Is,...a drug or something? You can take? I mean..."
Me: "No, I'm fine. I think the hospital would just make fun of me and remind me I am having a period NOT in need of an epidural or anything, so just... Yes, Thai sounds lovely. And maybe some scotch."
Brett: "Are you allowed to drink alcohol when you're..?"
Me: "Please come home."

And he came home. With Thai in hand. And he valiantly made me a plate and fussed over me and let me pick the Anthony Bourdain episode tonight.

But the best part?

When I went to the bathroom to frantically take stock of supplies and see if I needed to make the dreaded trip out to buy more, I opened our bathroom cabinet and found that Brett had already done it. He stocked our Cincinnati apartment that we are only in a few days a week.

I'm sorry. That, in my world of "icky" is a love letter.

When I tentatively asked him about it later, (after dinner, I'm still weirdly weird about it all,) he just shrugged as he reached over for my plate to dig into my left-overs.

"I could TELL it was coming,"
"But, you needed it. I wanted you to have everything you...needed."

So, no epidural or hospital visit for me today, just a lot of blankets, a lot of couch time next to the man who went entirely out of our mutual comfort zone and...(big breath) BOUGHT ME A BOX OF TAMPONS. ON HIS OWN.

Keep your long stemmed roses. This is where real romance is happening.

(But no, I still won't shave in front of him.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tales From The Road

Driving into wedded bliss! Or the nearest McDonald's drive thru!

The other day, on one of our weekly road trips, Brett and stopped for dinner in Lima, OH at a place that was half cowboy bar and half seafood restaurant. I was jumping up and down with excitement that we were in Lima OHIO(!) since everyone on the planet knows that this is the town where the show "Glee" takes place. Brett was mildly exasperated with my overwhelming giddiness. Whenever he has days off he plans elaborate and fun-filled adventures, peppered with amazing restaurants and incredible food. And here I was, barely containing myself over a honky-tonk bar off of a highway that specialized in fake crab and fish sticks.

As we took our seats in a sticky vinyl booth, we started getting into an earnest discussion about one of my sisters. I had to shout to be heard over a woman in the corner, clutching a guitar and loudly mouth-breathing/wailing Alanis Morissette covers as the evening's entertainment. Brett was trying his best to keep up with me, but his brow was creased in confusion as to why I chose this 'intimate' location to discuss something serious.

"I'm really worried about her," I said over bowls of what looked like shrimp. "I feel like she needs a little more direction in her life. Right now she's grasping at straws. Like shooting fish in a barrel."

"Shooting fish in a barrel?"

"Yes. " I said impatiently. "You know, she's just throwing caution to the wind. She's not nailing anything down. She's shooting fish in a barrel."

"That's...not what that means."

"It is exactly what it means! Are you the expert on barrel shooting now?"

(shaking his head) "Ok, Melissa. Think of a barrel."

"I'm not doing this with you here. I want to enjoy my imitation crab salad in the land of Glee."

"Think of a barrel of fish. And you are shooting into that barrel of fish."


(trying not to laugh, the jerk.) "You would probably 'nail one down', so to speak."

"Right. Well, I meant shooting monkeys in a barrel."

(covers his face with his hands.)

"In the dark."


The absolute best part of our twice weekly road trips are little moments like this. I have to admit the thought of being in the car, every week, usually stuck in traffic at the exact moment I needed to urinate 5 times in 20 minutes- it was a little overwhelming. Brett and I were just sort of getting to know one another again. Did we really want to shoot ourselves in the foot (or the barrel) this early on?

Besides the initial bumps, we fell into a groove that started really working for us. He knew to pull over every couple of hours so I could get a disgustingly sweet McDonald's iced coffee, (and he knew not to judge me.) I knew exactly when I had to distract him when his hands started curling into fists after 2 hours of sitting in traffic. (Distractions varied from Disney songs, my trumpet impression, or pointing out random Amish people on the side of the road. Worked every time.) We talked politics, religion, the finer points of the plot line from "Pretty Little Liars." We laughed. We slept. We bickered occasionally, and we saw a lot of cows.

And we made some great memories.

-Like the time I drove at night while Brett frantically tried to finish a deadline. I was so tired I was hallucinating and seeing robots on the road. And I didn't want to alarm him, so I just kept whispering "Robots. Robot. Another robot there." under my breath. He was still alarmed, but he finished the deadline!

-And the time Brett taught me how to pronounce "Municipal." For some reason, I pronounced it "Muns-e-pull" and he was so tickled and delighted he actually mourned when I started pronouncing it correctly. So, sometimes I say it the old way just to make him smile. (I learned how to say it correctly on the road. Because I have this thing I do when I am bored where I just read signs and building names out loud. You would LOVE driving with me.)

-And the times that, when he thinks I can't hear him, he softly sings along with me (when I am loudly belting it out) to the radio. I pretend not to notice, but I love it.

The road may have at times brought out the worst in us, but it definitely brought out the best too. And we're learning more and more with every mile.

Like, shooting fish in a barrel is easy. Just like road-tripping.

Who knew?

(Disclaimer: I obviously know what is best for my sisters all of the time. Not really. But I love them. And am overbearing and opinionated. But they know that and love me just the same. Even though I usually have no idea what I am talking about.)