The Second Marriage Dimension.

“Why did you change lanes?”

My wife doesn’t like my driving, and I don’t like hers. I thought that we had established this long ago and had an unspoken agreement that we would suffer our dislike for each other’s driving in silence. She had broken the code of silence.

“You know we have to turn left right up there don’t you? You are not in the right lane to turn left,” she added with no sign of stopping her lane change protest.

This is the point at which our marriage reality splits into two separate dimensions. There is the normal dimension, which we are all used to, where I switch back to the lane that my wife feels is more suitable for turning left. But there is also another dimension that is ruled more by thought and impulse. Every marriage has this second dimension.

In the alternate marriage dimension, I continue driving in the lane I had switched into, and my wife continues to express her dissatisfaction for my lane choice. I reached over and grabbed her nose and turn it slightly to the left. This changes the channel so that her voice is suddenly turned into music, and her mouth was a speaker. I continued driving and nodding my head to the beat of Led Zeppelin’s Good Times, Bad Times emanating from my wifePod player. I reach back over and pull down slightly on her right ear, increasing the bass level of the music. Once the song ended, her voice returned and picked up right where she had left off in her protest. Without a word, I reached up to the dashboard and hit the eject button. Instantly, a panel slid open in the roof of the car, and my wife, seat and all, was rocketed skyward towards an unknown interstellar destination.

Not everyone is aware of this second marriage dimension, but we all utilize it. After dinner last night, I set my plate in the sink without scraping the remaining dinner scraps into the garbage. When I turned back from the sink, I came face to face with my wife . . . the same wife who has made it abundantly clear that all food scraps are to be scraped into the garbage before dishes are set in the sink. She looked at me, and then at the plate in the sink with food on it. She frowned.

Once again, reality was parted and two separate dimensions began unfolding simultaneously.

In the normal reality, I quickly turned back around and grabbed my dish to scrape its contents into the garbage. But in the alternate dimension, I didn’t have time to correct my mis-step. My wife’s frown was actually a result of her charging up her plasma vaporizer weapon located just behind both of her eyes. With a strobe-like flash and whooshing sound, a beam shot from her eye sockets and struck me squarely in the chest. Instantly, the atoms that made up my body were separated from each other and scattered to the wind, leaving a pile of clothing on the floor where I had just been standing. My wife whistled cheerfully as she scraped the food from my plate into the garbage and fanned away the puff of smoke that my de-atomized body had left hanging in the air.

Fortunately, we all experience our marriages and relationships in the first dimension. If it were the second alternate dimension that was our marriage reality, there would be very few marriages left intact. Divorcees, widows and widowers would be the commonplace as the result of spouses being silenced, paralyzed, vaporized, flung out of moving vehicles in ejection seats, and many other forms of spousal impulse justice.

In the second dimension, I never got to hear the funny comment she made about lady whose wild hair matched the hair of the dog she was walking down the sidewalk. Her mouth was loudly playing Led Zeppelin music right up until she was ejected from the vehicle.

In the second dimension, my wife and I didn’t end up sitting together on the couch eating our favorite ice cream and watching an awesome movie together that evening. I had been vaporized shortly after dinner for my food covered plate transgression.

In the first marriage dimension, there are second chances and I’m sorry’s. There are happy endings and long lives spent together. The next time your mind instantly transports your spouse to the epicenter of an active volcano for saying you spend too much time watching football, just remember, somewhere in another marriage dimension, you are about to spend the rest of your life alone.

 

This story was originally published on Sweatpants and Coffee

 

 

Same Old Blog with an Added Feature.

Fear not my friends. I shall continue to bring you all of the silly stories you have come to expect from this silly blog. But, I will be adding a new aspect to some of my posting . . . Let me explain.

My wife told me many years ago, when we first began dating, that she was going to be a doctor, and that she was going to go to Africa to help children.

After we were married, and then children arrived, this dream of hers seemed to slowly move into the background. Raising two daughters (and a childish husband) required all of her time for several years.

As our daughters grew more independent, Cynthia was able to battle her way through nursing school . . . Not quite a doctor, but certainly a step towards part of her plan. Still, Africa seemed to be nowhere on the horizon.

Fast forward a few more years, and an opportunity arose for her to go on a mission trip to Swaziland, Africa. I was delighted that her dream, although seemingly on a minor scale, would be realized. Little did I know, that mission trip was just the tip of the iceberg.

A while after returning from the mission trip, the directors of the Compassionate Life Foundation, through which she went on the trip, informed her that they intended to step down, and asked if she would take over as executive director.

*Jaw hits floor*

Cynthia accepted and, to make a long story short, is why I am now killing time in the Johannesburg Airport, waiting to board my flight back to the U.S.

It has been an incredible, frustrating, rewarding, awesome journey.

Compassionate Life is a small foundation that provides the primary funding for the El Shaddai Orphanage in Swaziland, and the CLF care center in the city of Manzini, Swaziland.

There is so much to say, too much for one post, but I will share a a bit of my first experience in Swaziland with you as I sit in the airport waiting to depart Africa.

Africa is amazing. It’s like a different planet when you have spent your whole life in U.S.

The trees are foreign. The animals are foreign. The social customs are foreign.

There is fear:

Will that bug bite me causing a prolonged and excruciating death?

Do Wildebeests eat humans? And do they have the ability to get through the locked car door from which I am viewing them?

Will I do something to offend the people I meet?

If I smile and nod at someone who said something I didn’t understand, will I end up married to one of their daughters? (There are no limits to the ridiculous levels fear can take you)

After spending ten days in Swaziland, I now have some of the answers to these questions.

Our first days were spent at the orphanage located up in the mountains. I don’t know how anyone could spend time there without falling in love with the children. Most have lost parents to AIDS, some were abandoned, and others have stories unknown to us. When you hear some of these horrific stories, and then see the smiling faces that are a result of living at the orphanage, it changes you.

They love to have their picture taken, and indicate so by yelling, “Shoot, shoot” (a picture). When you ask them their name, they like to give you the name of one of the other children . . . . A sport that they find hysterical, and makes it impossible to learn their already hard to pronounce names.

The second part of our time was spent in Manzini at a center (which makes you think of some large community center building, but is a small concrete structure smaller than most houses here in the states. This center provides tuition, food and tutoring for students in the local neighborhood, and for some of the top students, will also provide money for college or trade school.

Again, there is far too much to say in just one post. I could write an entire post alone on learning to drive on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road, in the busy city of Manzini, where cars, people, cows and goats are going in every direction. I’m quite sure that the expletive took several years off of my life.

Or I could write an entire post on the Swazi people, who are quite peaceful, and mild mannered.

But I will just stop here with saying that it was the experience of a lifetime. And with Cynthia now acting as director of the foundation, this will likely be just the first visit of many.

Oh, I almost forgot,

The large, scary insect was a Dung Beetle, and quite harmless . . . Unless you are a hoarder of poop . . . In which case, you may suffer losses.

Wildebeests on the game preserve we were at seem rather uninterested in eating humans.

You can certainly offend people unintentionally, but I found most times, someone will politely let you know before you have gotten too far.

I am not aware of gaining any new wives during my visit.

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.

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.

The Unspoken Language of Love

Learning to interpret the unspoken communication in a marriage is one of the most valuable tools a husband can have in the pursuit of harmony. While all wives have their own versions of this language, here are some examples of my wife’s wordless vocabulary.

Raised eyebrow  . . . . I’m not quite sure yet, but I suspect you are about to do or say something that will make me think you are an idiot.

“Huff”  . . . You are an idiot.

“Sigh”  . . . I disagree, but it’s not worth the time to argue about it.

“Huff, sigh”  . . . You are an idiot, but you already know that, so it is not worth my time to say it again.

“Chuckle”  . . . I told you that you were an idiot, but you wouldn’t listen.

“Groan”  . . . Please don’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts for the fourth time this week, let’s just buy a new one.

“Groan, sigh”  . . . I wish you wouldn’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts, but I know you are going to no matter what I say.

“Huff, groan, sigh, smile”  . . . You are an idiot for trying to fix things that are beyond your capabilities, and I can do nothing to stop you when you are on a do-it-yourself mission, but that is partly why I love you.

 

Buy a whole book full of silly stories like this one:

Single Family Asylum

 

 

The Reviews are Starting to Roll In!

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It’s only been a few hours since the World Premiere of Single Family Asylum, but already the reviews have started to roll in:

“The perfect reading material for those extended sits on the toilet.”  – Plumbers Weekly.

“Complete Rubbish”  – The Society for Perfect Parenting.

“With writing like this, Ziegler is sure to make dozens of dollars”  – The Otisville Women’s Auxiliary Book Review.

But don’t just believe these reviews simply due to the pedigree of the organization from which they originate. Buy your own from copy from Amazon and pen your own favorable review!

Single Family Asylum

 

 

Horse Freak.

To say that my daughter loves horses is an understatement similar to saying that I merely like bacon. She is a certified horse freak. Every Christmas and birthday list she has ever made had a horse listed as the number one item.

I hate having to decline her request to own a horse since she loves them so much, but our yard isn’t big enough for the horse, me, and large piles of manure. Not to mention, my wallet is not big enough for a horse and all its food and accessories. And on top of all that, I just know that it would be me that kept the beast from starving, or freezing to death, or getting the mange (or whatever it is that horses get).

Like I said though, I really hate that she can’t have a horse because she loves them so much. But I also really hate just telling her “no, you can’t have one.” You might even say I’m cowardly. So instead, I try to “creatively” discourage her desire for horse ownership . . . and I must say that I have failed miserably up to this point.

My first attempt was when she was quite young and had just discovered horses. Having only seen them on TV, books, or in parades, I figured I could end her relentless begging for one by telling her that many horses have been known to eat small children whole. . . . snatching them up in their dragon-like jaws, leaving only socks and shoes where a child once stood.

I thought that her wide-eyed look of horror was an indication that I had successfully ended the endless pleadings for a horse, but I was mistaken. I had obviously underestimated her determination and her level of gullibility. After a few discussions with less “creative” thinking adults over the following few weeks, confirmed to her that I may have been exaggerating a tiny bit with my cautionary tale of carnivorous horses.

During our next “I want a horse” argument, I tried to knock her off balance by telling her she could have one, but it would have to live in her room with her (a room that was barely large enough to house my daughter and her bed and dresser). She then looked up at me with no expression on her face and silently walked away.

I once again thought I had ended the horse debate by outsmarting her . . . until I went upstairs later that same night. She had not only cleaned her room, but had also managed to get a large pile of freshly picked grass and a large pan of water in preparation for the arrival of the horse. I was both annoyed and amazed at her resolve.

Feeling cornered by my own genius, I then had to resort to “researching” the local building codes, where I found that all houses that had livestock living on the second floor were required to have 48 inch wide stairs. Since our stairs were only 32 inches wide, we would have to wait until we could afford to widen the stairs. This seemed to be an acceptable, although disappointing answer to her.

The problem with most kids is they get smarter as they get older. And then they start rehashing in their little brains, everything you’ve ever told them. This was especially true with Natalie when it came to anything concerning the purchase of a horse due to my past track record.

We happened to be vacationing at Niagara Falls when she realized that the whole ‘horse in her room’ was just a diversion tactic and that I may have once again been exaggerating a bit about the building code requirements. This realization led to an impromptu horse argument as we all stood overlooking the falls.

Wanting to end the loud argument quickly, but also fearing that I would spend my afterlife being slowly roasted and pitchforked for using deception as a way end the horse debate, I decided to switch tactics. I told her that she could have a horse if she swam over the falls, and survived. Once again, she looked up at me with no expression and quietly walked away. I assumed her silence was due to her anger towards me, but at least there was silence.

Less than half an hour later, I was hailed by an angry park ranger who soundly chastised me for suggesting that my daughter should swim over the falls as payment for a horse. Apparently she had cornered him to inquire what type of accommodations the park provided for getting someone back up to the top of the observation area after swimming over the falls.

So now, after failing to dissuade my daughter’s horse ownership obsession by way of fear, exaggeration, deception, and ridiculous deal making, I am reduced to being that mean dad who just says “no” whenever the horse argument comes up (which is about every other week).

However, as atonement for my misguided and less than ethical attempts to discourage her horse freakness, we do now pay for her to take riding lessons which seems to be an acceptable compromise . . . . . for the time being.

What it means to be a Dad.

Being a dad means vomit on the front of your shirt, poop on your hands, and magic marker on the walls. It means late night fevers, tools found rusting on the lawn, throw and catch lessons with future major leaguers, tea parties with princesses, science projects that are beyond Einstein’s capabilities, wicked arguments, pride beyond what words can express, anger that’s hard to contain, countless worries, and love beyond measure.

Being a dad means I would do anything to help you become the best you that you can be, even if you don’t like me for making you strive to be that better person.

Being a dad means hoping that when all the battles of strong wills pass, I will still get a hug and an “I love you, Dad.”

Happy Father’s Day!!!

Poetry Challenge (I don’t claim to be a poet).

I am certainly no poet, and I know it. But I was challenged by Elle Superstar to the “Love in ten sentences” Challenge. I had to write a ten line poem with the word Love in each line, and only four words per line. It proved to be quite tricky.

Sooo, here it is:

 

There’s love in pancakes
There’s love in kisses
There’s love in silence
There’s love in laughter
There’s love in debate

Love shapes the pancakes
Love causes the kisses
Love speaks in silence
Love sparkles with laughter
Love endures the debate

Of course, I am also to nominate other bloggers. This part of the process is the hard part for me. I am always afraid I’m “imposing” on the victim of my nomination or challenge. Many people are thrilled to be tapped for such things, but I think some are not so much. Anyhow, here are some challenge-ees

These three young ladies at DIY Just Cuz should be able to put their heads together and come up with some prose.

And I would have challenged the ever-poetic Sophie, but I see she has already taken the challenge so I won’t make her do it again.

So lets get another guy to weigh in on love (tee-hee!) and nominate Cookies Dad. . . . . Sorry bro.

Also Trudy so we can get a New York perspective on Love.

Finally, Cats at the Bar may be able to shed light on the Feline view of Love.

Oh yes, one more thing. I am also supposed to share my favorite love quote. Hmmmmmm, How about this”

“Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and harms any heart not tough or strong enough . . . . ”

Ode To My Couch.

I was just nominated by Elle Superstar to write a poem with a lot of rules. It’s going to take me some time to complete that challenge, so in the meantime, here is a poem I wrote as sort of a warm up for the challenge:

Ode to my Couch

I love you, couch
You never mind if I slouch,

Nor seem to fret or much care,
If I sit in my underwear.

Your cracks hide the chips,
That fall from my lips.

Your cushions filter the gas,
That I sometimes must pass.

Like a baby in the womb,
Or a mummy in a tomb,

On you I can lay,
And nap in the day.

I love you couch.