The “Other Woman” in My Husband’s Life

   

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  Now before all of you get all wound up with your panties in a knot over the title and tell me that no one should stand for infidelity. Let me clarify that, the other woman in my husband’s life is a Carquest Store. He sells auto parts, and has for about 36 years, first for his Uncle in a family owned 3 store chain. In July of 2014 that chain was purchased by an independent Carquest Auto Parts Chain.
     That is when things began to change drastically. He works 60+  hours a week, works every Saturday and no amount of whining and screaming on my part will change that. He loves his new boss, and to be fair and honest I like the guy too. I also think his wife is fantastic. But I also want my husband back. I don’t want to have to schedule my life around Carquest.
     A Good Morning, I love you text doesn’t fix it, and even that is absent now. His cell phone is broken and he hasn’t figured out the time to get a new one yet.
     I just want a man who knows how to balance work and family. One who knows that no one ever said “I should have spent more time at work”. Someone who makes time to take their wife to the ER when she has pneumonia, not send her with the 18 year old, because he has to work.  Someone who puts her first, because he knows it is the right thing to do and because he loves her. Not because he knows she will pitch a fit if she hears the word Carquest again.
     Our kids want a summer vacation, but they are realists, they know their Dad wont take time away. So guess what?  This year is the year that Mom says, I will take you to the beach…if he comes he does, and if he chooses to work…so be it!!!

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End of an Era

   

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     For what has felt like most of my parenting life I have been involved in Colrain Cal Ripken Baseball. Kyle started playing when he was in 3rd grade, he honestly played because all of his friends played, not because he loved the game. Connor tagged along to practice with him and instantly fell in love with the game. He practiced with Kyle’s team even though he was way to little to play.
     The first year Kyle played, Mark was a “helping coach”. From then on he was an actual rostered coach. It soon became known that I knew how to keep score, a highly prized ability. After that the book was mine, along with everything that came along with it. Keeping the crew of kids under control, let me tell you, its like herding cats. 14 little boys and girls under 10, all excited to play a position, or swing the bat. But someone needs to make sure they wear helmets and don’t swing the bat near each other. Someone needs to make sure they get to their field position and that they don’t bat out of order.

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     Very shortly I learned to carry a bag of tricks with me. It was soon nicknamed my “Mary Poppins Bag”, it had my score book, pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, snacks, drinks, an umbrella, a piece of plastic to keep my score book dry. It truly was a never ending bag of stuff.
     As both boys progressed through the age ranks, I continued to keep score. Connor played Summer Competitive Tournament Ball for 3 years. That bag went with me. Kyle graduated from elementary school and chose to play Golf in Middle School. Mark and I took over the league. I still kept score and carted the “Mary Poppins Bag” around.

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     Finally in 2012 Connor graduated from Elementary School, he continued playing baseball in Middle School.  We have spent 2 years trying to find someone to take over the league…with no luck.
     Finally this year we have found wonderful people to take our place. Tasha and Ray. They love the game as much as we do, and have young kids, and I can pass my “Mary Poppins Bag” to someone who will need it, and put it to good use. It is the end of an era, I am both sad and happy to see it go.

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Wow….Just Wow

     It is only Saturday and already this has been a hell of a weekend. All of it in an emotionally fantastic wonderful way. Last night my oldest son Kyle went to his Senior Prom with his wonderful girlfriend Kacie.  A night that was filled with joy, fun, splendor and nerves on his part. And on my part it was emotional in completely different ways. He is less than 2 months away from graduation, less than 2 months away from being let loose on the real world. I have news for him though, he will always be my baby regardless of how grown up he is. And he is pretty grown up,.he is almost 6 ft tall now, and a strapping young gentleman. Ready to make the world his own, and take it by storm.

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     At 11:30 this morning my youngest son Connor ran in his first 5K. He has an athleticism that never ceases to amaze me. He plays baseball, football and skis as well. He has recently began to run, as part of his baseball training, 5 miles 2 times a week and he truly enjoys it. Running is something that I abhor. It makes my wheezing worse, and we all know how much I like to sweat (dripping with true sarcasm.)  In the last year he has grown in height, he is taller than me, at 5’7″ tall now he is a tall lanky boy. He walks like he owns the world, and as a 15 year old he owns part of it.
     He stretched this morning and I dropped him at the Turners Falls HS to run his first 5K. 22:13 later he finished his first 5K, finishing first in his age class.

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     In 24 hours my 2 boys seem to have taken the world by storm. They are growing up, growing into respectable young men. With completely different ideas, views and passions. But they will always be my boys, my babies, regardless of how big or grown up they get.

Mud Season

   

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  Before or coinciding with spring this year in New England comes Mud Season. All that snow has to go somewhere when it melts. It melts into lovely rivers of water. Water that turns dirt roads like mine into mud pits. I live as Jeff Foxworthy would say, “if your directions say, turn off the paved road…you might be a redneck.”  My normally calm dirt road is full of huge ruts this year, ruts that you have to navigate carefully, bumping and holding onto the steering wheel with all of your might, as the car bucks and hops like some sort of deranged bronco.

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     Never mind the visual after effect left on my car. My poor Honda Pilot looks like it has been “Mudding”, there are splotches of mud all over the side of my car and streaks of it on the mirrors. All this from just navigating my road.
     I know what most of you will say, “you chose to live there, that is what you get,”  and yes you would be right. It is what I get, I also get temperatures that are at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer, and less humid than in the flatlands. A peace and quiet that can’t be achieved in the city or even the suburbs. The kind of bucolic peacefulness that it hard to come by.
     I also get the constant trail of mud from dogs that don’t know how to wipe their feet when they come in the house, as well as mud left my kids and a husband that know how to, they just don’t. Sand and dirt on and in the bed, from the same dog that believes that once the bed is made, it is her job and right to unmake it and crawl under the covers. Muddy feet and all.
     This time of year no matter how many times I sweep or mop, the mud is just there. Caking everything, like sticky cake batter, that doesn’t taste near as good. But it means that my family is enjoying the outdoors. All of them, kids, hubby and pets alike. Someday there will be no muddy footprints, and I will miss them.

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19 Things I Have Learned About Marriage

   

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      Yesterday I had been married 19 years. I remembered the day with all of its fanfare. The church, the reception, the pictures, my family, the bridal party. The last minute glitches, the missing bridesmaid bouquet and the fact it was raining the day of, and my parents driveway was a muddy mess. But most of all I reflected on the things I have learned about and while being married. It isn’t about getting married, it is about staying married. As I was getting ready to walk down the aisle and was a bundle of nerves my dad said to me, “we got this, it’s a lead pipe cinch.”  At the time I had no idea what he meant, 19 years later (and after wanting to smack hubby with that lead pipe a time or 2). I know he meant, it will be fine, you are ready. He and my mom will be married 49 years in July. I had great role models.

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1.  Patience
2.  Communication is vital
3.  Sometimes you just need to leave each other alone, or in the words of the Whalens..don’t poke the nasty beast with a stick.
4.  Married couples do not have to do everything together
5.  You really do need your own money.
6.  Sex is the icing on the cake, and who just wants a muffin
7.  Sometimes you have to to something drastic to jolt your spouse out of their “zone”.
8.  Being comfortable isn’t always the best way.
9.  Life can be full of adventures. If your spouse wont embrace them, do them alone. P.S. I bet they will embrace them after they see you having fun.
10.  Don’t let your kids rule your life. Once they are gone, what the hell will you do or talk about?
11.  If you think your house should look like Martha Stewart lives there-hire her.
12. Compromise, because if not 1 of you will always be unhappy.
13.  Don’t be a slave to your imposed schedule, spontaneity is fun.
14.  Hear each other as well as listening.
15.  If something is bothering you, talk about it. Bottling it up, just causes an explosion later.
16.  Don’t try and “one up” each other.
17.  Keeping score is for sports not marriage.
18.  Flowers for no reason are the best.
19. Remember why you fell in love and celebrate that.

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Americana

Some of my favorite posts on Facebook are the ones about things that are falling to pieces. The town in British Columbia that was abndoned for 30 years, yet looks as if the inhabitants have all just gone to work. The lawns are mowed, the houses are dusted, the public buildings are maintained. The company that owns this town hires maintenance workers, and security guards to keep this town looking pristine and tidy looking.

     Today I came across a post that was equally interesting yet twice as disturbing. A post about defunct, dilapidated and to be honest quite creepy and haunted looking  amusement parks. They are scattered across the country,
from Rocky Point in Rhode Island
to Santa’s Village in California. With a truly scary one in Ohio called Chippewa Lake Park, it looks as if you might find Jason hiding behind a rickety door at any moment.

     Maryland has a scary defunct amusement park that could top all the others through. It is called The Enchante Forest Theme Park, popping up amongst the weeds and dead branches you will find odd colored stones that look like evil gingerbread men. They are painted sickly faded pastel colors, pink, purple, green, yellow. Making the gingerbread men look both ill and gruesome all at the same time.

     Even Alaska isn’t immune from the disturbing, someone tried to put a hotel/attraction n that was meant to look like a large igloo.
  It now sits defunct, the windows are too small and it can’t be used. So in the middle of nowhere in Cantwell Alaska sits a big white igloo, it looks like an over grown marshmallow.
      Each state in our union is dotted with these, no one is immune. Disney shut down their  River Country Water Park in 2011. It was under the gun for years after a young boy died from a water born disease caused by faulty filtration. Finally in 2011 the State of Florida passed a law forbidding fresh water from being used in water parks. They have since opened bigger and better, water parks. But River Country sits abandoned, proving that even Disney Company is not immune to the, weirdness that dots our country.
      These closed amusement parks harken back to the days of parents plunking the kids in the car and taking them for an adventure. Those adventures don’t happen as often now, we travel by plane rather than by car and our children are attached to their electronics with an invisible cord. We don’t have as many uses for Igloo Town, or Rocky Point or Santa’s Village. We want Six Flags Amusement Parks, bigger and better and higher and faster. Not kitschy and cool or even creepy and scary.

As I Age

    

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As I age I have come to the conclusion that I was sold a bill of goods as a young woman and a young woman. This bill of goods was one that I willingly bought and paid for, shelled out those bills and change without a second thought. It was what I thought I was supposed to do.
     Work full time as a young woman, enter the dating pool, swim, float and sink at times. Try and find someone to settle down with, someone that I could embrace their faults and quirks.
Although I was never supposed to show them mine. It was the early 1990’s, and all of us women were supposed to be “perfect.” Never to let them see your flaws, we were one step removed from June Cleaver and Carol Brady.
     I found that person, settled down and married in 1996, yes do the math I will be married 20 years next year. In just over a week I will be married 19 years, the thought still boggles my mind. 19 years and 2 children, 3 dogs and 5 cats later. The woman that walked down that aisle almost 19 years ago was a very different lady from the one writing this post now. She was idealistic, and wide-eyed, and full of wonder about marriage and child rearing. The 19 year married me realizes that those are great qualities but they just don’t cut it in the everyday world.
     My children will only eat vegetables and fruit and meat and whole grains. No candy or junk, yeah right a lollipop soothes the tears of a crying 2 year old, and ice cream, who can live without it? Needless to say the idealism went out the window quick. I was also going to nurse my baby for a year, until the first time, holy ouch and this just doesn’t come naturally. I hated it, to put it mildly, gave it the required 3 months n then went to bottles. Judge me all you want, but I hated being a human cow, and I was a bottle fed baby and  had survived to 28 just fine!!
     As I watch the young girls dress more scantily each day I wonder what they are thinking. That they have to be perfect to fit in, perfect friends, perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect boyfriend, perfect grades. I want to tell them that perfection is hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. That keeping up the facade of perfection takes a toll that is just not necessary. I want to yell at them, “be yourselves, have fun, don’t worry about that extra pound or that hair out of place. Your true friends won’t care.” Only the ones that are worrying about being perfect will care. Please don’t think I condemn these young girls for attracting the wrong attention by wearing these clothes, that is not where I am going. I just want them to understand that even supermodels don’t look like that without being airbrushed.

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