The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: husband

Blessings Abound

Saturday afternoon was my daughter Mini-Me’s First Holy Communion.

It was an absolutely spectacular day filled with more blessings than I can count.

And today, two days later, I am still filled with such enormous gratitude and wonder, that words are failing me.

Why yes, I do still have PMS. How’djyaknow? Stay away from my chocolate, bitch.

But I know you’re dying for some details, so I think I’ll just give you a quick rundown in the form of a list. Here it is…

My Top Ten Reasons Why Saturday Rocked:

10. My husband, The Gatekeeper, cleaned the kitchen within an inch of its life Saturday morning. It was spotless and the counter tops were freakishly clutter-free. I don’t even care that I’ll be spending the next three weeks trying to find all the shit he stashed.

9. I never got around to ordering a cake for the party. But lo and behold, there was a chocolate quarter sheet cake with buttercream frosting at Publix Saturday afternoon just waiting for us to add “Congratulations Mini-Me.” Thank you, Publix, for planning ahead for mothers like me who don’t.

8. My friend Kathy who met me for a quick cuppa coffee on Friday and made me feel less guilty about not having any decorations or party favors: “Mini-Me is your decoration!”

7. Coming home from mass to a house that was not burned to the ground after I accidentally left my curling iron plugged in and resting on the edge of the bathtub. The worst part? It dawned on me as we were on our way TO the church, “Did I unplug the curling iron? Oh my God, I don’t think I did!”  So I had to sit through the entire mass with the most loquacious priest ever, sweating more than I usually do, wondering and praying and trying my damnedest to not let the undercurrent of panic prevent me from being fully present. It. Was. Torture.

6. Seeing my lovely daughter all clean and gorgeous and truly excited about receiving this special sacrament.

5. Eating my sister-in-law’s homemade Italian cooking and listening to the golden silence of all our guests as they reveled in the deliciousness.

4. Having Mini-Me’s best friend from her preschool (who we don’t get to see nearly enough) arrive for the party in her prettiest dress and bearing the heartfelt gift of an “Angel of Best Friends” figurine.

3. The weather was perfect and The Rapture didn’t occur after all, which would have been a real buzz kill. Nothing spoils a party faster than fire and brimstone. Well, that and my crazy drunk uncle who likes to ignite his farts with a cigarette lighter. He wasn’t invited though.

2. Miraculously completing the slideshow (with only minor technical difficulties) as my gift to Mini-Me, even though my laptop went haywire after several routine software upgrades last week and I haven’t been able to use iTunes or iPhoto since. Listening to our guests roar with laughter upon seeing dozens of pictures of Mini-Me covered in makeup, and pudding, and finger paint, all to the tune of Superfreak, was music to my exhausted ears.

1. Receiving the certified letter from the county Saturday afternoon right before we left for church stating the verdict of Ike’s dog-bite hearing last Thursday night: NOT GUILTY!

So, in summary, God is good, and I am grateful.

Thank you for being here and sharing the journey with me!

yours truly,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


Cuts Like a Wife

Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct, and Woefully Neglectful Wives.

Here they are, flashing their dirty bits yet again in the third (and final) of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister-post. 

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We are stay-at-home mothers and wives, among other things. We’ve already come clean about our not-so-perfect attempts at housekeeping and child-rearing, and now it is time to spill the beans about our marriages. 

Marriage is hard. There are ups and downs. If it were easy, everyone would or could do it. But we all know what the divorce stats are these days. This is not something to be entered into or written about lightly. I knew I’d need some input for this post. 

I asked my husband, The Gatekeeper, for ideas on this topic and he just sniggered.  I prodded him: “Come on Honey, here’s your chance… I’m writing about what a shitty wife I am… let me have it! What should I say?” His response was, “Well, basically just write about what you do any given day.”  

Nice. 

“Very funny,” I chided. “Yes, your life is so awful, isn’t it?!”

“Did you say life or wife?”

“Dude. You are askin’ fer it.” 

“Yep. Am I gonna get it?” 

Cut to the Barry White music, dim the lights, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, and 30 seconds later we were smoking cigarettes and checking our pulses. Kidding. We don’t smoke. 

My point is, I think we have a pretty good marriage. We like each other most of the time, we have a few laughs now and then, we love each other unconditionally, we support each other, and we both seem generally satisfied with the status quo… or so I thought. 

But last night we were both reading in bed and he started laughing out loud. I found this interesting because he had just started to read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was a Christmas gift to him from my parents all about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. President Elect Obama said that if he could only take two books with him to the White House, one would be the Bible and the other would be this book. Now, I have a hard time imagining that this nearly 1000 page historical tome would be laugh-out-loud-funny, but whatever. I, on the other hand, was reading Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark. This ought to give you a clear understanding of how different we are. But you know what they say about opposites attracting.

Anyhooo, I was just dying to know what in that big ol’ boring book could possibly be so damn funny and asked him to share. He turned to me with a smirk and told me to listen to this journal entry written by Judge Edward Bates in the 1850s (Bates was one of Lincoln’s opponents in the race for the Presidency in 1860):

“How happy is my lot! Blessed with a wife & children who spontaneously do all they can to make me comfortable, anticipating my wishes, even in the little matter of personal convenience, as if their happiness wholly depended on mine. O! it is a pleasure to work for such a family, to enjoy with them the blessings that God so freely gives.” 

Yes. Well that is pretty damn funny, isn’t it.  And funny that it is from a book called Team of Rivals, because isn’t that what marriage feels like sometimes? 

But back to that quote… now, is it just me, or have times changed quite a bit? 

I mean, excusez-moi, but I don’t know a single woman or child who lives purely to provide comfort and joy to their husband or father. Am I wrong here? Or am I just associating with the wrong people? 

Not only do I NOT do ANYTHING to anticipate the wishes and needs of my husband, but it is not unusual for him to flat out tell me to my face what he wants and for me to still not do it. And yet, I think he has it pretty good. Sure, there is a shirt of his that has been buried under a pile on my ironing board for close to two months that I keep forgetting to iron for him. And yes, I sometimes forget to buy his favorite soap or deodorant at the store, to the extent that he has to remind me umpteen times and then often ends up going to the store himself for it. And of course, I have been known to secretly stalk ex-boyfriends on Facebook once in a while. So what. 

I had one of my Aunties visiting me a while back and she was watching the clock one day. It got close to 5 pm and she said, “Aren’t you going to go get cleaned up a little? Put on some makeup? Your husband will be home soon.” I laughed until I practically peed my pants. “WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Should I mix up a martini and meet him at the door with his slippers too? Hell no! It’s garbage night. He needs to take out the garbage when he gets home, walk the dog, and then take Nature Boy to scouts. In about an hour I will be busy wiping the food off the floor and walls that Bucket Head tosses all around the room while he eats. Why on Earth would I go get gussied up NOW?”  But again, it’s a different world today. The way I see it, marriage is an equal partnership. Serve and be served. Give and ye shall receive. The wife is not property. The wife has a lot more on her plate than merely anticipating and acting on every need and desire of her master husband. 

Remember how I recently said that my parenting sins aren’t so bad compared to others’ sins and how life is all about making comparisons and justifications?

Well, I figure, I may not be the most attentive wife on the planet, but my husband could have it so much worse.  

One of my best friends was telling me just the other day that her husband was nagging her about not getting the laundry done. Been there. When my husband gets on my back about me not meeting one or more of my homemaking obligations, it usually lights a fire under my ass and makes me want to show that bastard by getting it done faster/better/more whatever, so I can then say “SO THERE!” But not my friend. You know what she did? She secretly took her hubby’s dirty undies out of the hamper, folded them, and put them back in his drawer. That poor bastard is probably wearing dirty skivvies right this very minute! HA! 

I know another woman who once peed in her husband’s chicken soup because she couldn’t stand all his bellyachin’ when he was sick and he had been treating her like shit. No lie. 

And I can’t even count how many of my friends hate having sex with their husbands and joke about how they avoid it at all costs and can totally live without it. Or how about that poor woman on Oprah last week who has been faking orgasms for 24 years?! Lordhavemercy. See that… there are a lot of people out there with wives way worse than me. 

So you see, I think my husband has it pretty good. Yes, I’m not the best housekeeper or cook. No, I don’t knock myself out to look pretty for him at the end of the day… who has time for that shit?  I may e-flirt shamelessly with Facebook friends, and forget to pick up the dry cleaning, or buy the right snacks. But I make sure that my husband has clean undies most of the time. I cut his hair every few weeks. I call his parents just to say hi once in a while. I give him back scratches and bake him cookies now and then. And I love him… with my heart and with my body, and way more than the national average for married couples, thankyouverymuch. 

So husband, you go ahead and laugh about how absurd it is that over one hundred and fifty years ago there existed a man who wrote in a journal that his wife lived to please him. I agree. That is hilarious. I’d really like to read HER journal entry. Oh wait, she probably wasn’t allowed to learn to read and write. Yes… times have changed, haven’t they? And honey, would you care for some more chicken soup?

Cornhole

(Please note: the following blog post was originally published in 2008, when I was clearly still on the sauce. Proceed with caution.) 

I love that my 9-year-old son is a Cub Scout… I do. He has a blast and it is always very wholesome, good clean fun, which I suspect is good for growing children. Soap carving, anyone?

But I have two problems with the whole Cub Scout camp-out thing.

1.) They have a very strict rule that no alcoholic beverages are allowed at camp.

2.) The other moms and dads are very nice. I mean VERY nice. Like the nicest people I have ever met.

In other words—I do not fit in there at all.

And being in the balmy, great outdoors around very nice, responsible parents and 30 loud little boys running amok with sharp sticks and pocket knives really makes me want to soothe myself with a cocktail or two.

But I muscled through the pain and managed to really enjoy myself, and there were a few high points that I’d like to share with you.

First, let’s talk about Cornhole.

Cornhole is a bean-bag tossing game that originated in Ohio. The board looks like this:

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

Apparently, people who play this game are very passionate about it. The dimensions of the board are strictly regulated, as are the bean-bags, the distance between the player and the board, the scoring, etc. However, I had never heard of this “game” until Cub Scout Family Camp when one of the dads asked me “if I wanted to play Cornhole” with him and I almost crapped my pants.

“Excuse me?” I stuttered.

At which point he tossed me a bag of dried corn, pointed to the game board on the ground, and taught me how to play. And you know what? It was really, really fun! But I was DYING, y’all. Because I couldn’t control myself and made a snide crack about how I had never heard the term “Cornhole” outside of the prison movies I so enjoy watching and HE TOTALLY DIDN’T GET IT. He cocked his head to the side and made a “Huh?” face and I quickly realized that I should probably not attempt to joke around with Cub Scout Dads about anything remotely related to S-E-X, prison style or otherwise. These dads are very nice. And very straight. And to some of them, Cornhole is no laughing matter.

But thank God for my husband. As soon as I finished my Cornholing session with Mr. Ohio, I ran as fast as my stumps could carry me to tell my man about the game and we giggled until our faces hurt. We don’t do that very often—my husband is actually one of those Nice Cub Scout Dads—but luckily for me, I must have rubbed off on him a bit (wink wink) because he does appreciate a good dirty joke from time to time. Not often enough, I say, but we’re working on it. I’ll keep rubbing.

So one more really funny thing to share, if you don’t mind.

The Scoutmaster organized an “Iron Chef” competition between the campers. The kids were divided up into three teams, given access to a pantry of processed foods, and taught various outdoor camp cooking methods, one of which is the Dutch Oven. Honestly, I should force my son to stay in Scouts just for the material.

After the cooking demonstration, the three teams were each assigned a secret ingredient to incorporate into their dishes. My team’s secret ingredient was popcorn. Now, I was just lurking on the edge of the group, having to follow my 19-month-old son, Bucket Head, around and make sure he didn’t wander off and get eaten by a bear, so I wasn’t really helping the kids choose the menu. But watching these other nice nice moms and dads strategize was fascinating.

The main rule of this contest was that the kids had to do all the cooking—the parents could only supervise and control the cooking fuel. But when I learned that my group was stumped about how to use the popcorn in their dish, I just had to butt-in. They had just settled on a simple trail mix of popcorn and nuts when I sidled up to one of the more assertive moms and asked her if we had access to marshmallows and butter. I then planted the seed in her head that if we made popcorn balls out of the popcorn, it would be a real crowd pleaser and something that the kids would have fun making. Wouldn’t you know it? That nice mom hopped on my idea faster than an Ohioan on a stiff ear of corn.

Now, I’m not used to being listened to by anyone other than my team of well-compensated, highly skilled psychiatrists, so suddenly being thrust into the mix of an Iron Chef competition with a team of eager scouts and parents reporting to me was quite the power trip. Suddenly, Bucket Head was fending for himself and I was melting butter and marshmallows in a Dutch Oven, fixin’ to lead my team to victory. You know that phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Well, imagine the extra chaos of an outdoor camp style kitchen with propane fueled burners and a very enthusiastic team of very competitive nice nice parents and their 6-year-old sons. It was mayhem. But the popcorn balls were my idea and I was not going to let my team down, dammit!

Well we oiled up the hands of these seven little kids, and I gotta tell you, I don’t think their hands were all that clean. But rules are rules and we had an Iron Chef style ticking clock to beat, so we greased ’em up and let them dig into the pot and grab handfulls of gooey popcorn and mold them into balls. It was messy. It was sticky. It was germy. But it was really cool.

Thank GOD it worked.  Just look at my glistening balls. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fast forward to the judging. My husband, who has a talent for garnishing, helped the boys plate up the other dishes and deliver them to the judges with those germy popcorn balls decorating each plate like something you’d see in a real restaurant—and I’m talkin’ about a classy joint like Cracker Barrel.

You should have heard the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” from the judges and other campers. The popcorn balls were a HUGE hit. In fact, the lead judge exclaimed that he hadn’t eaten an old-fashioned popcorn ball since he was a child and the nostalgia of it really touched his heart. Yep, those germy sweet and salty balls o’ mine won our team first place! The nice nice scout leaders even recognized me by name in the award ceremony; it may be one of my proudest moments. (Note to self: never underestimate the power of balls, and also, I really need to get out more.)

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