Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Key to a Happy Marriage; or Where the BLEEP are my Shoes?!

I’m not what you would call a “morning person”.  In fact, I’m the antithesis of a morning person.  Each morning, I crack open my eyes just wide enough to view the alarm clock so very rudely pointing out that I had, in fact, five more minutes to sleep.  Grumbling, I turn off the alarm before it sounds, swing my feet out of bed and tip toe to the bathroom, because if I walk like a normal person, Little Toots will hear me and immediate demand a diaper change.  Inevitably, she’ll wake up just as I plop myself on to the (freezing!) toilet seat.  I tinkle faster than humanly possible, and rush to her room only to discover that my husband has beat me to it.  Hmrph.  So, I wander into the shower, which spitefully switches from cold water to hot water erratically.  Goose bumped or second-degree burned, I brush my teeth, throw on an “outfit”, slap some make-up on and head downstairs.  At this point, I just want to get in the car and head to work, because at work I have one hour to myself before anyone comes in.  One full hour, in which I can check my email, listen to music, take my shoes off, and just breathe.

My husband is a morning person.  He’s annoyingly cheery, and somehow finds time to feed Little Toots, pack her bag, drink coffee, listen to NPR, and fiddle with his computer.  I look like a soppy wet rat, and my clothes don’t match, but he’s sitting there playing some MMORPG called Doom or Slash or something. He drops Little Toots off at daycare while I scarf down some grown-up cereal (i.e Super Colon Cleanse Bran Flakes, the off-brand) and try to get organized.  Today is a teaching day, and I’m super stressed because my kids are uncooperative little *expletive deleted*.  I look at the clock and realized that I should have left five minutes ago, but I can’t find my shoes.

Me: “Where are my shoes?  The black ones?”

Husband: “I don’t know.”

Me: “I left them by the door, did you move them?  Or did Little Toots move them because you know how she likes to carry my shoes around.  Or they under the couch?  Did she leave them in the middle of the floor, so you put them somewhere else?

Husband: “I don’t know.”

Me (getting angry): “They are my ONLY pair of black shoes, and I’m late!”

At this point I’m crawling around on my hands and knees to see if the baby stashed them under the couch, but all I found were two board books, a plastic number “3”, and a remote control.  My husband has gone upstairs to look, and returns empty handed.

Me: “I’m late, what am I gonna do? You always move my stuff, you never leave it where it is!  Don’t touch my stuff…” I’ve gone from speaking English to speaking some other worldly, screeching dialect.  I am completely irrational, rant and raving like a lunatic.  If this were Homer, I’d be tearing my hair and beating my breast.  I marched up the stairs, and lo and behold, under the pile of dirty clothes, I discover my shoes.  Now, obviously, I wore them upstairs and left them there, but it’s the morning and I’m a banshee.  I swoop down the stair and hoist the shoes into my husband’s face and say “I thought you looked upstairs?! I didn’t leave them there!  How did they get there?  YOU must have moved them!!”

I think, at this point, any normal male would be like, Woman, you are insane and I’ve had enough of this.  But no, not my man.  He just looks at me, gives me a hug, and sends me out of the door.  I have been screaming at him for literally ten full minutes and he just scoots me out, and goes about his business.  After I’ve been at the office for a while, I give him a call and apologize.  He tells me it’s ok, and we chat for a bit, ending the call by saying “I love you”.  This isn’t the first time that this fight has happened, and I know it won’t be the last.

The key to a happy marriage, or our happy marriage at least, is to let the crazy person come to their own realization that they are a crazy person, and never, EVER move their shoes.

Reflection on Summer 2011

This summer is special to me because, well, we’re broke.  Behind on the mortgage, disconnect notice, eating Ramen broke.  Not broke, as in “Aw, man, I’d love to go to your lake house for the week, but I’m broke” broke.  Broke as in “Honey, help me scrounge for change so we can buy diapers because we’re down to the last one” broke.

How is it that we find ourselves in this dilemma? You see, my husband and I had this crazy dream.  We wanted to be teachers!  We were going to change the world, one eager student at a time.  We were going to read poetry, and inspire young minds to think original thoughts!  We were going to write lesson plans, and grade papers.  We were going to eat terrible cafeteria food, and chaperone the middle school dance.  But, the great state of New York had other plans for us.  These plans involved seven college degrees, and six partial jobs.  Yes, that’s right.  Even working six jobs between us, we still can’t afford to put gas in the car.  My husband works at a bike shop, managing the web site and working the floor.  He also teaches classes at the local community college, as well as a State school and a private university.  I also work at a private college, tutoring and working with students with disabilities.  This summer, I also signed on to work as a library technician, and took a part time job at a clothing boutique.

Summer is always a hard season for us, because as teachers, we don’t have work.  My husband occasionally teaches a summer English class, but alas, apparently students were somehow proficient enough to not need summer help this year.  Once upon a time, I dreamed of having summer vacations with my family, driving down the coast, or seeing the Grand Canyon.  Now, I have night terrors of having the car repossessed, or not having anything to feed my daughter.  I find myself wishing for the day that I might have a salary of $30,000 with (dare I even write it?) benefits!

We keep on truckin’.  I wake up to a beautiful, intelligent 18-month-old, smiling and bouncing in her crib.  She doesn’t know we’re broke.  She doesn’t know that I want more for her, that I want to take her to Disney World in an outfit that was purchased, NEW, from a cute little shop without a “mart” at the end of its name.  All she knows is that her mommy and her daddy adore her, and while we can’t give her stuff, we can give her more love than any kid could need.  And honestly, she’s made me feel rich every day this summer.