The Traumatic Changes to One’s Life that are the Result of Getting Married.

No one ever warned me of all the changes that take place when one gets married. Just when you think you have it all figured out, along comes a wife who takes your neatly organized bucket of life, and dumps it all over the floor.

My own wife could have warned me about her intentions with my apartment before we were married and she moved in. It’s not like she hadn’t ever been there before. She never mentioned that there were issues with the way I had things set up . . . she just moved in and started changing things.

The first thing she did as she entered our newly shared home was to walk straight over to my large Pink Floyd wall banner (that I had won at the fair) and remove it from its’s place of honor on the living room wall.

“Wwwwwwhat are you doing?” I asked nervously.

“This has to go,” she answered as she replaced the banner with two candle holders that were infested with fake flowers and little mirrors.

“Ummm… can’t we talk abou-” but before I could state my case, she had already moved on to the bathroom.

Little did I know, this seemingly small incident would set the tone for the next several days . . .  actually years.  It was from that exact point in time that the household was no longer mine, nor did I have any say in what happened within its walls. Our domestic relationship became one of her running around “doing things” to the apartment, while I followed behind saying things like, “Well, are you sure we should- . . .  I mean . . .  I really liked the way it was . . .  How about we talk about . . . ”

But to no avail.

Immediately following the desecration of the Pink Floyd banner, she went straight to the bathroom carrying a huge box of variously scented hair, skin, body, and face products. There was every type smell and flavor under the sun . . . mango, rose petal, pineapple, maple, passion fruit, and many others that were even more perfumery smelling. The combined smell of all of these smelly things gave me a headache and made my ears ring whenever I had to spend more than a minute in the bathroom.

Next she brought in another box that was filled with electrical hair altering devices. There were hair dryers, hair straighteners, hair curling machines and even one that put small waves in you hair so that you looked like you belonged in a Whitney Houston video. My single wall plug next to the light switch had suddenly become extremely inadequate.

Why on earth does a human need all this stuff in a bathroom?  When I was single, my bathroom had been a fairly simple room. It contained toilet paper, a dirty clothes basket, a basket for clothes that were almost-but-not-quite-yet dirty, and a towel. The medicine cabinet contained a toothbrush, my baseball card collection, and the bar of soap that I showered, shampooed, and brushed my teeth with. The only thing in my bathroom that needed plugging in was my electric knife which I used for filleting fish that I had caught.

But all that was gone now, or buried under the tonnage of her smelly stuff. She had even removed my collection of vintage fake vomit and poop from the shelf above the toilet, and replaced with “Precious something-or-other” figurines with creepy huge eyes.

The trauma from these changes was a shock to my system, and made it difficult for me to go to the bathroom . . .  so much so, that I had to relieve myself behind the apartment dumpster for a week until my psyche was able to adapt to being watched by the creepy large-eyed figurines while I did my business.

Next in her sight was the kitchen. Once there, she attacked the refrigerator, which was emptied of nightcrawler containers and all similar matter of live bait. The beer crisper drawer was emptied and filled with various vegetable matter. Flowery curtains were also added to the windows where my dream-catchers once hung.

But the changes were not just limited to the objects in the apartment. Rules were also added. Rules that did not seem logical to me. In fact, I had such a difficult time remembering and adjusting to the new rules, that a list was posted on the wall in the dining room that read like this:

  1. Clothes must be washed after each wear (instead of waiting until they failed the sniff test).
  2. No showering with the dog (my attempt at water conservation).
  3. Pizza can only be ordered once a week (I lobbied for cutting back to every third day, but again, was soundly vetoed).
  4. Showering is now a daily event (instead of waiting until I failed the sniff test).
  5. And finally, I was expected to discuss with my wife prior to deciding to skip work and drive to the Star Trek convention, rather than letting her know from my hotel room in Toledo.

 

Over the course of the following year, more changes were implemented . . . too many to even list. But I slowly became accustomed to them, and eventually even felt like things were getting back to normal.

That is, until the arrival of two daughters. Where once again my neatly organized bucket of life was dumped out all over the floor.

What Would/Did You Do?

We had just pulled into the parking spot of our family vacation destination, and had begun unloading our luggage into the room where we would stay for the next four days. It had taken us four hours of driving to get here.

My wife began removing clothes from the suitcases and laundry baskets (poor people luggage) and putting them into the dresser drawers provided in the resort room. We had already gotten past out usual argument about whether my clothes should be left in the suitcase or put into drawers like everyone else’s. A thought flashed through the back of my mind, not even a complete thought, more like the formations of what could turn into a thought. It involved not being able to recall seeing Natalie’s “Blanky” in the time since we had departed home.
Like nearly every parent knows, Blanky was a beat up, tattered child’s blanket that Natalie had held tight since she was an infant. Her grandma had sewed its remnants onto another piece of cloth to act as a backing. This due to the fact that the original Blanky had worn to a state where it was more “hole” than material. It reminded me of some precious historical relic, The Shroud of Turin or some flag that had endured many hard fought battles. 
“Where’s Blanky?” I whispered quietly to my wife.
She scanned around the room then paused for a moment thinking, and then looking back at me with shear terror in her eyes.
“We don’t have Blanky!!!” she answered in a slightly elevated whisper voice.
Just then, Natalie paused in the doorway of the room and looked at the two of us like she suspected something was going on. My wife and I froze . . . as if any movement or or sound would alert the child to the absence of Blanky.
Finally, Natalie went back to bouncing around like she had been.
The next minute or two involved an argument between my wife and myself using our whisper voices, and even whisper shouting. Statements were made such as “I thought you were going to …”, and “no, I was busy packing all the . . . ”
Once the whisper shoutings and blame assignments had concluded, it was on to the real problem . . . What to do about the absence of Blanky. 
What would you do? Or in some cases, what did you do? 
Opt for inconvenience and peace by driving home to get it? 
Endure the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would surely accompany a vacation without Blanky? 
Chance it with a substitute?

The Way it should BE.

As I walked in the door after my long day at work, I was met by my two daughters.

“How was your day, dad?” they both asked as they gave me a big hug.

“It wasn’t too bad” I replied, “What smells so good?”

“Oh, Natalie and I made nachos, tacos and burritos for dinner . . . after we finished cleaning our rooms and doing our homework.”

“That’s wonderful girls!” I said, giving each a big hug.

After a quick shower, I returned to the dining room where we all sat down to one of the best meals I had eaten in quite some time. In fact, it was so good, that after eating each delicious taco, I would get up and hug my wife and daughters and they would hug me back, telling me how wonderful my taco breath smelled.

Upon finishing the excellent dinner, the girls cleared the table and washed the dishes, and then the four of us retired to the living room to relax and watch a little TV. My wife brought out a heavenly double chocolate cake that had been made for desert.

“What should we watch?” I asked.

“How about something with rocket launchers and zombies!” replied my daughter, Hannah.

“Yes!” added Natalie, “and with fast cars and explosions!”

“Are you sure?” I asked, “Don’t you girls want to watch your stupid teenage drama shows?”

“No father, you have worked hard all day, we want to watch your show.”

“That sounds wonderful” I said as I hugged and kissed both girls.”

As I turned on the TV, my wife brought me a huge piece of the chocolate cake and my slippers.

“Thank you my lov- . . .”

Before I could finish my sentence, I was interrupted by a loud crash and a sharp pain in my nose. I winced in agony.

When I opened my eyes, my wife was gone . . .  and there was no sign of the chocolate cake she was about to hand me before the loud noise and the pain. Instead, I was lying on the couch with my daughter Natalie sitting on my chest. My daughter Hannah was standing at the end of the couch near my head, violently swatting at her sister with a tennis racket. Natalie was kicking back at her with her feet, in an attempt to ward off the blows. And with every second or third kick, her leg would come down with a thump on my face. Hannah’s racket aim left much to be desired as well, in that every other swat would crack me on the nose with the follow through. There was also a half-eaten piece of pizza lying face down on my forehead.

“WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!!!!” I demanded.

“Hannah stole the last piece of pizza!”

“Well Natalie keeps changing the channel from my show!” Hannah answered.

“I thought you girls wanted me to watch my zombie movie . . .” I said, somewhat confused.

Both girls looked at each other as if I had just spoken to them in Latin.

“Where did you get pizza? Aren’t you both full from the dinner you made me after you cleaned your rooms?” I asked.

Again they looked at each other and then both broke out in loud maniacal laughter.

“Made dinner? Cleaned our rooms? HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

I was more confused.

“Remember? You said I had worked hard today, so I could watch my show, and you guys made tacos and nachos and burritos for dinner, and we were hugging, and you said how wonderful my taco breath smelled . . .” I sputtered.

I stopped talking as my brain began to piece together the facts.

The girls started in with their wild laughter again, “HAHAHAHAHA! You’ve been a dead lump on the couch since you got home! HAHAHAHAH, he said his breath smelled good! HAHAHAHA!”

As the girls walked off, laughing hysterically, I began to realize that it had all been a dream. There was no taco dinner, or hugging or even chocolate cake.

My wife sat across the room with an amused smile on her face. I tried telling her about my dream, but had to stop when she began laughing as hard as the girls had been.

Being disappointed about not actually having a taco dinner or hugging, I decided that I wasn’t going to miss out on the chocolate cake. I rose from the couch and went to the little diner down the road from us, where I ordered a large piece of double chocolate cake . . .  a man can only handle so much disappointment in one evening.

Second Child Syndrome.

“Dad, how come there aren’t any pictures of me?” my younger daughter asked as she sat on the living room floor looking through the family pictures.

“Of course we have pictures of you,” I replied and grabbed a box of pictures to prove my point.

As I began flipping through the photos, I was alarmed to find that there really were no photos of Natalie. I mean we had the normal burst of photos taken within the month or two after she was born, and a few school pictures, but then the Natalie photos seemed to just taper off to nothing. Frantically I searched three more boxes, but all I came up with was one photo of her tonsils that we took to compare with a picture of normal tonsils in a medical book, and a shot of the back of her head taken when she had apparently wandered into a picture I was taking of my lawn mower.

As for our firstborn, Hannah, there were pictures of nearly every event in her early years. There were pictures of her birth, her first week, her first month, and all the months following. There were pictures of her first solid food, her first steps, her first bloody nose, Christmas programs, and playing in the snow, rain, and sun. There was even a picture of her first poop on the potty…and not just one of her on the potty…I’m talking about a picture of the actual poop.

Embarrassed and not knowing what else to tell Natalie, I simply said I was sure there must be a whole box full of her pictures that had been misplaced somewhere. And although it seemed to satisfy her for the moment, I still felt terrible at our failure to photo document our second child’s existence.

It bothered me so much that I even spent a few late-night hours attempting to cut out Natalie’s face from some of her duplicate school pictures, and gluing them onto some of the abundant photos of Hannah that filled the boxes. But try as I might, I couldn’t get the perspective between the cutouts of Natalie’s head and photo bodies of Hannah to match up quite right. The resulting pictures looked like mutant alien children with freakishly large or too-small heads, so I was forced to abandon my efforts.

My wife and I didn’t intentionally decide not to take pictures of our second child, nor do we love her any less than the first. I think that we are just more relaxed as parents, having survived our first one. Maybe a little too relaxed.

As I thought about it, I realized that it applied to more than just picture taking. One time, Hannah got some dog food out of the dog’s dish and ate it. My wife and I panicked. We rushed her to the emergency room, convinced she would succumb to dog germs at any second. But after a few eye rolls, the doctor on duty assured us that she would pull through, and indeed she did.

So having been through a few incidents like that with Hannah, we were a little less uptight when Natalie came along. So less uptight that when Hannah came in the front door and informed us that Natalie was picking dead bugs out of the car radiator and eating them, my wife’s only reaction was to tell Hannah to make sure that Natalie brushed her teeth when she was finished so that she wouldn’t have dead-bug breath.

Likewise with the pictures, after trying so hard not to miss photographing a single moment with Hannah, we realized that you just end up with mounds of pictures that make you wonder why you took so many of them. So we were not as camera crazy when Natalie came along.

We love both of our daughters very much, but I guess we went from fretting too much with the first one, to being a little too relaxed with the second. I think if we would have had a third child, we might have actually been able to get it right.

 

There needs to be some fashion standards enforced!

I get so annoyed at trends in fashion, the sizing of pants in particular. When I was in my teens, if I bought a pair of jeans with a twenty eight inch waist, they actually fit my twenty eight inch waist.

As time went on, I found that I had to start buying thirty inch jeans to fit my twenty eight inch waist. And now, a few decades later, I’m looking at buying thirty four inch jeans to fit my twenty eight inch waist!!!!

Is there no agency that governs the fashion industry to make sure that when they label a pair of pants as twenty eight inch waist, that they will actually fit a twenty eight inch waist??!!!

Anger issues ; I’m an Abuser.

I’m an abuser . . . . I have anger issues. I can’t stop the fury from welling up inside when I perceive that I’m being purposely messed with, and that’s when I lash out violently.

Who do I abuse?  . . . Oh, no no, I need to explain myself better. I don’t abuse people. I would never harm another sole, most especially the ones I love. It is things I am talking about . . . I abuse objects. Objects such as a weed-wacker that won’t start.

For some reason, I imagine that the weed-wacker has decided not to start simply to taunt me and make my life difficult. It laughs at my grunting and sweating as I repeatedly pull the chord for five solid minutes . . . . stopping only to swear and catch my breath. I mean, I know that the weed wacker doesn’t really have the ability to decide to make me angry or laugh at me . . . . At least when I actually stop and think about it.

But when objects like said weed-wacker decide that they are indeed going to act unruly, I can tend to go into a rage, or become spiteful. I want to make the weed wacker feel regret for its disobedience so I punish it by beating it to death with a golf club. Sometimes I laugh and sing weed wacker beating songs while I pummel it into oblivion.

When I load the dish washer, there are always those one or two pans that won’t fit into the dishwasher and require that I wash them by hand. It makes me mad. I’m not sure if I’m mad at the pans for being too big, or at the dishwasher for being too small. In any case, it’s the pans that receive the punishment.

But unlike the weed wacker, I choose to punish the pans with mental cruelty by humiliating them. I let them sit on the counter naked and unwashed for days . . . . Even weeks. . . . . Stewing in their own filth . . . . A spectacle for all other items in the kitchen to see. Sometimes while I’m emptying the dishwasher, I parade the clean dishes slowly by the oversized large pans and let the clean dishes ridicule them to add to their shame.

The worst offender is the computer. I know it hates me and I hate it. It likes to pick a certain key on the keyboard and designate it the “erase the story you’ve been working on for two hours” key. And apparently it chooses a different key to perform that function every day, because I can’t for the life of me figure out what I touched to erase my story.

It likes to freeze up in the middle of my moments of feverish inspiration. It infuriates me. I bang on top of the tower. I violently run the mouse across the top of the computer desk. I attack the keyboard with all ten fingers typing rapidly and randomly.

The computer strikes back in its own time by remembering all the keys that I hit during my tantrum and executing them all simultaneously causing a huge computer mess.

But I have the last laugh. I grab the computers power chord and yank it from the socket with a loud, “HAAA”. I just know that this must cause the computer pain. Even my computer genius friend has told me that it’s not good for them to do that.

Maybe I need counseling. Maybe I need medication. At least I’m willing to admit that I’m partly responsible for this dysfunction. However, I’m expecting that all of the objects in this house will step up and admit to their contribution to the problem if we are to make any positive changes in our relationships.

The Art of the Selfie.

When you mention the word selfie, most people automatically think of a teenage girl sitting in her room, or in the bathroom mirror, taking a picture of themselves while making a face that looks like a duck. Or you might think of a teenage boy, bare chested, making pseudo-gang-rapper signs and trying to look tough. But it is not likely that the term selfie would conjure up images of a middle aged semi-bald, pot bellied male . . . . Unless you live in my house.

I discovered my love for the selfie almost immediately after learning of their existence from my teenage daughter, and I now consider it my medium . . . My art form. 

It’s not so much out of vanity that I choose to selfie, it’s more out of self-amusement . . . Or at least that is how I justify my being a middle aged selfie taker. I just love pulling off a great selfie.

Now believe it or not, selfie taking is a skill that, like many things, takes practice. There is a learning curve. The first step is learning how to properly operate your phone’ camera . . . So you don’t end up accidentally taking a selfie of yourself trying to figure out how to take a selfie:

  
One needs to consider things like . . . What’s in the background:

  
And . . . Is the cat as excited about being in a selfie as I am? (This selfie cost me a rather nasty scratch to the nose):

  
But once one has ironed out some of the typical beginner selfie taker difficulties, there is a whole world of selfie taking that opens up. 

You can selfie yourself at work (which is a little more interesting if you happen to be a tree trimmer . . . And currently in a tree):

  
Or you can take one at work while other people are working and you are just standing there taking a selfie:

  
You can selfie on the morning your favorite socks show up in the laundry basket:

  
You can selfie your special alone time reading classic literature:

  
You can selfie while fighting for space in front of the heat register:

  
You can hijack a selfie:

  
You can have your own selfie hijacked: 

 
As your selfie skills progress, you can start stepping up your game with the use of photo editing apps:

  
  
  
 
But no matter how much fun you have getting creative with your selfies, the best ones are still the ones you take that have meaning . . . Like one with two beautiful daughters . . . Even if they aren’t willing participants 🙂

  

300 Glorious Followers!

300 whole followers! Zada is the lucky number 300!

Originally there was going to be a large prize package for follower number 300, but our finance department shut that idea down quite quickly . . . So you will have to settle for a hearty cyber handshake and a thank you!

Thank you to all 300 fans of the ridiculous that have ventured to hit the “follow” button!