I am currently sitting in our partly constructed den looking at the snow flurries outside and wondering about the difference a year can make. Heck, the difference a week can make.
Last week, if it were 24 degrees outside like it is right now, this room would have been 26 degrees. We had open ‘air vents’ in the walls to the outside. We had mice doorways, mud wasp apartments and a billion ladybugs trying to nest inside. Just a few minutes in the room would have turned your fingers and noses blue.
Today, with insulation on the walls and sheetrock on part of them, even without the heat blowing it’s downright cozy in here. And without the deck outside, it’s like I’m sitting in a tree fort, the snow whipping and whirling past my window.
That phrase, “It gets better.” is the slogan, the mantra, if you will, in the project to prevent suicides in the LGBT community but it' one I forget applies to everything. Even long term construction on a house Husband sold to me as, “needs just a little work...” and this cold that smacked me down two days ago. The bumps and dips in a marriage, in a year, in a day even, get better with time.
That’s it for my deep thought on this, Christmas Eve 2013. It gets better.
And it is one I will repeat tomorrow when, after presents, we don our gay DIY work apparel and put up more sheetrock. It gets better. And when we do the same on my birthday and the day after that, and the day after that... It gets better. And when Husband is snipping at me to hold something tight and I am snipping back, I'll remember, it gets better.
And I will make sure to take a moment and look at the before picture and the after progress and breathe. I will remember to breathe.
But for now, I’m going to sit in my chair in the current construction zone, drink my cup of tea and watch the snow swirling about in the sunshine. It makes everything better.
Husband’s birthday is today. In two days it’s Christmas and my birthday the day after Christmas. Needless to say, the Christmas holidays are a loaded time for the two of us. Not only are we shorted the celebration of the day of our birth by the presence and presents of Christmas - case in point in picture of our living room right now -
So we have Birthmas Christday gifts and we also have the joy the angst and self-judgment that a birthday brings doubled by the end of the year self-evaluation and tallying goal successes and failures.
Last year, husband, Tigger the Dog and and I were driving across the country on his birthday. Husband spent ten hours driving - because he’d FIRED me as a driver - and then we spent the evening in a shoddy dog friendly motel with unenthusiastic staff in a not so safe area of Memphis. I attempted to make the motel room a cheery one with little surprise gifts and cards but it was an uphill battle in a room just off the dining room with no heat and an overwhelming smell of dog pee – not TTD’s pee by the way. Poor husband. I couldn’t even get the motel staff to wish him happy birthday.
Christmas was totally better. We were in Nashville in an actual hotel, a place we were to call home for three weeks. We spent Christmas dining on room service and eating treats Sister-in-law and Brother had surprised us with. Then we spent my birthday exploring Nashville and that evening drinking birthday champagne compliments of the hotel concierge. A good day.
And as we drank, we promised ourselves that this year, we were going to go all out. We’d set up the tree, light up the yard, cook a lovely meal and maybe even have folks over and celebrate our first year in Nashville…. But our kitchen isn’t getting installed till mid January. And, while we now have insulation in the den and the kitchen, we currently don’t have insulation in the attic, the carpet is stained with animal pee – again, and not TTD’s - and we’re using the guest bathroom sink as our kitchen sink and our laundry drying rack. There’s not really a space that says, sit down and stay awhile – unless it’s the space saying “you want to pick up a hammer and help us install the floor?”
But with all the things we’re missing here - family, old friends, a finished house, tornado free weather – we have gained time and the sense of self we were both missing. Husband is playing music daily, we both are writing and neither one of us have to manually push our shoulders down after a day at work. Or pluck our fingers out of the steering wheel after dealing with the ass hats on the freeway. Or spray paint the hair we’ve pulled out back on. We even go out nightly to see music or eat or hang out with friends instead of sitting in the TV room watching other people live, anything to not deal with the masses of crazy driving around.
Here we know our mailman by name. We know our neighbors more than to just wave at. Heck, we’re currently watching our neighbor’s African frogs for Christmas - and this is a good thing! We are making new friends and we have several ‘pet’ owls who have turned standing outside with the dog into an awesome game of Where’s Waldo.
Yes, the bugs are bigger here and the weather is more extreme but we also have bugs that light up and we can see the stars at night from the backyard and deer hang out in the shade under the tree near the tree fort. And the air is so much clearer when it’s not filled with me cussing it blue at the ass hat that just cut me off. Or me mumbling my murderous thoughts about the next-door neighbor who… well, she was just an ass. And Husband is much happier making music with people who can sing something other than show tunes and understand the importance of rhymes and descriptive verses and trucks. (I still don't get the trucks.) And the dog, well, Tigger the Dog has discovered the wonder of chipmunks and folks, there is nothing more exciting than chipmunks. She is happy.
To sum up my babble - HAPPY DAY OF BIRTH, Husband! It’s been a good year and the year to come promises to be an even better one!
This is why husband and I work:
At a traffic light Husband spots a car with woman passenger dressed in what looks like a fake Chauffeur hat perched clumsily on head, her hair sticking out the back in a scruffy bun.
HUSBAND: What do you think, stripper?
ME: I don’t know. That is a stripper type hat.
Like I’d know. I have vast experience with stripper hats. Like vast like meaning none. Ever.
ME: Pull forward.
Husband rolls forward a bit. The woman wearing a long black coat and is putting on her makeup. Guy beside her is way older and kind of hard looking.
ME: Yep. Stripper and her pimp
HUSBAND: All she does is take off coat, undo the messy bun and da naaa na na, na,…
HUSBAND: I don't think he's a pimp. I think he's just the boyfriend. He drives her there and holds the money.
ME: That makes him a pimp.
HUSBAND: Or maybe he answered the Craigslist ad for bouncer
And I instantly know what ad on Craigslist he’s referring too even though it’s been at least four months since I showed it to him
ME: OH, the ad to be a bouncer for the naked housecleaners
HUSBAND: Right. That’s what he must be, the bouncer for the naked housecleaner.
ME: Of course he must be. There's nothing else he could be, they could be but a naked house cleaner and her bouncer pimp.
And, with that mystery solved, we drove on.
I saw THIS yesterday and it made me laugh out loud - like loud snorting unattractive noisy laughter.
Since Amazon became my major purchase site, I’ve also had some issues with things not being exactly right – though never hamburger bun earmuffs wrong. In fact, the best gift I ever got from Amazon was a total mistake. Just not theirs.
I had just gotten married and, while I was changing my name on my license and social security card, I went ahead and changed my name on my Amazon Wish List to ej OldLastName NewLastName.
But I forgot to tell my family that I was no longer ej OldLastName. So, when Brother went looking for my Wish List, he found the Wish List for EJ NewLastName. And that EJ had this awesome bag on her list. So he bought it for me and Amazon shipped it out.
(NOTE: ej and EJ are different spellings in my mind. Brother knows how I spell ej and should have known that EJ wasn't ej... Just saying. )
Christmas morning, he called me up -
BROTHER: Do you love it? Do you love it???
ME: It’s fantastic! Thank you!
BROTHER: Was it what you’ve always wanted? (Giggle giggle snort.)
ME: Yeah... what?
BROTHER: I'm joking. It was on your Wish List.
ME: No, it wasn’t
Lots of back and forth and we finally figured out that he’d bought me a bag from EJ NewLastName’s Wish List.
I tried to do the right thing and contact Amazon to let them know that EJ NewLastName wasn’t getting her bag for Christmas and that they should probably put it back on the list.
Amazon said couldn’t help me. Amazon said they couldn’t give me any personal information.
ME: I don’t want her info. I just want you to put the bag back on their wish list.
AMAZON PERSON WHO COULD CARE LESS: I’m sorry. I can’t help you, Mrs. OldLastName NewLastName.
ME: But this poor EJ NewLastName is checking their Wish List and seeing that the bag was purchased and is checking the mail daily for her package and is going to be sorely disappointed that I’m walking around with her bag.
AMAZON PERSON WHO COULD CARE LESS: Would you like to return the bag?
ME: NO! I love it. I'm keeping it. I just don’t want EJ NewLastName not to have the opportunity to love it too.
AMAZON PERSON WHO COULD CARE LESS: I’m sorry Mrs. OldLastName NewLastName. I’m unable to share any personal information with you.
I hung up before the conversation made me love the bag less.
It’s been eight years. I’m still using the bag. And Poor EJ NewLastName never knew what happened. I'm only slightly sorry about that because it is the most awesome bag ever.
In fact, every so often, I troll her Wish List to see if she’s got something else I might like.
That’s not too creepy stalker, is it?
Christmas is a week away! Ack. And Christmas – or gift giving in general – means the wonder of the Amazon Wish List.
It wasn’t always that way with me. Shopping on Amazon became a thing when I met Husband. He doesn’t believe a gift is a good gift unless it plugs in or turns on. My family is a ‘thoughtful’ gift family and the more time you spend making it, the more thoughtful you are. Mom just made Brother an all Jean Santa Suit. She’s the winner this year of most thoughtful ever.
My first Christmas with Husband was a shocker. For both of us. All my gifts to were made and none of the plugged in. Heck, non of them were returnable. And all his gifts to me were practical and cold. Growing pains.
Now I know him and I know what will work for him. And what will not in a million years work for him. I’ve given up trying to get him shirts he would look great in or gadgets I think he might like and I and just stick to the Amazon wish list – for the most part.
You see, I’m ornery and I like to go rogue with him every once in awhile. Because I think the magic of gift giving is the surprise of the gift.
Like this guy.
I loved this guy. I thought he was perfect for our 8th anniversary. He made me giggle every time I looked at him. He make me silly with joy when I wrapped him up – in a box with his feet hanging out.
And Husband HATED this gift. It was evident on his face when he opened the box. And all that did was make me laugh harder.
He is now living outside my office window. I smile every time I see him. And that's the mark of a good gift. Though usually it's supposed to make the receiver smile too... Ah well, one out of two ain't bad.
But he LOVED this one –
Husband has always wanted a Porsche 356 Speedster. For this gift, I convinced my family to contribute money for a part of the 356 car kit. Twenty dollars for a hubcap. One hundred and twenty five for a bumper. Sixty for a side mirror. Then I bought a toy 356 and attached the envelopes containing the money and picture of the party to the corresponding car part on the toy inside the wrapped box. It was awesome to watch him pull it all out. I was as giddy as a school girl - even though it took him a bit to figure out what the heck I was trying to do. It didn't plug in or turn on or come from Amazon...
It still a happy memory – despite the fact that we didn’t give him enough money for a car and he still doesn’t have a 356 Speedster. Except for the toy. And he's over that.
Last year, we were driving across the country so Christmas and birthday gifts were nonexistent. This year, I need to up my game. So far, there’s nothing traumatizing for Husband under the tree. I've actually been following his Wish List.
I have a week to come up with something cringe worthy.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me