Category: Marriage

A Tale of Two Kitties

“Why the windows are full west!”
– Jane Austen

Small Cat Syndrome?

J.’s nickname for me, despite my legendary Small Dog Syndrome personality condition, is Kitty.  Not from any simliarity to my real name, but because apparently I have a cat-like tendancy to hide things.  Not consciously, but it would seem that after I use certain things they have the obnoxious habit of vanishing into the ether.  I also do admit to tucking somethings away in their “designated place,” the geographic location I immediately forget.  This means that our marriage is a constant smorgasbord of rediscovered treasure.

Hairpins turn up in the oddest places, especially considering I almost never use them, but we find bushels of them every time we vacuum or dust.  Pens!  Everywhere!  They breed in my pockets, purses, and cup holders.  Despite practically never carrying cash, coins (of mutiple currencies!)  rain from me like I’m some fairytale maiden who got on a witch’s good side.  I lose my glasses at least once a day.  They have been found, variously, in my jewelry case, under the couch, in the shower, beneath my pillow, and in my purse which both of us had searched thouroughly four times previous only to finding them smugly nestled besides my wallet.  The possibilities truly are endless.  And without fail, whever something turns up from somewhere it doesn’t belong, J. rounds on me with a pointed finger and an accusatory voice.  “Kitty!”

Just so we’re clear, and so my mother doesn’t wring her hands and ask where she went wrong, our house is not dirty.  That’s the amazing part.  We’re minimalistic in our decor, specifically because neither of us like clutter.  We deep clean once a week.  There is absolutely nothing to attract the wildlife.  People comment on its cleanlines when they come over.  And yet, when I go to plump the pillows – voila!  That book I misplaced a week ago.

And apparently the way to really unearth all the things I’ve “mislaid”  is to install new windows.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful.  Our old windows were nearly a half century old, leaked heat out, let cold seep in, and were generally a source of larger than necessary utility bills.  The largest one in our flat faces west and made summers in the desert a misery!  It got so hot during summer that our blinds would melt – or at least warp to a fantastic and almost unuseable degree.  So, new windows equalled better utility costs, temperatures human beings can survive at, and less destruction of our abode.  Plus someone else was installing them.  Terrific!

Saturday morning at 8:30am (who does that?  On a weekend!) my phone shattered the tranquility.  The landlords told us the contractors wou!d be by in an hour to rip massive holes in our walls.
“J.!  Get up!  Clean everything!  Move move move!”
Despicably undomestic as I am, I’ve got enough feminine pride/residual 1950s guilt to not want total strangers see my house a “shambles.”  Poor J. was dragged from his bed and forced to dismantle window blinds while I made the bed, dusted (before a bunch of workman came to chip away my windows…yeah…) and fell to scrubbing even the bathroom with religious fervor.

It was when we invaded the office/storage space/Room of Requirement that things started turning up.  Piles of papers neither of us could identify.  Chords to appliances we have never owned.  Boxes for things we never ordered.  A couple of cups we never missed.  Ribbons, Christmas gifts bought months ago, a couple of paintings…  J. was laughing uproariously by the time we finished.  We’d thrown out masses of stuff and I’d taken to sulking from his teasing.  “Kitty!”

Then we headed back to the front room to move the couches.  And found sweet, sweet justice.

Beneath the sofa I found an external hard drive, a leather business folder, two textbooks, and a pile of notes.  All J.’s.  The dumbfounded look on his face was priceless.  I danced in a circle around him crowing, “You’re a kitty!  You’re a kitty!”

Naturally ten minutes later, he found my glasses.  Again.  The status quo resumed.

Small Cat sulks.

*Second picture from Hyperbole and a Half.

We Take You Now to the Small Dog Family Flat…

…where J. has asked C. to quiz him on information for his business law class’ upcoming exam.  For some clarification of the following snippets, it is helpful to note that his study guide seems to have been compiled by blind monkeys tap dancing on a typewriter.  Let’s listen in, shall we?

“Name the conditions for unconscionability.”
“One party is Comcast?”
“Focus.”

~~~

“Talk to me about minors.”
[J. grins slowly]
Not the ones in Chile!”

~~~

“Term meaning that the Court will leave you as it finds you.”
“…”
Impere-”
“Delecto.  I was mixing that up with In flagrante delicto, but I knew that wasn’t right.”
“Um, no.  No it’s not.”

~~~

“What is a ‘covenant not to complete?'”
“Uh, I think you mean ‘compete.'”
“Look.  It says ‘complete,’ right there.”
“Oh, so it does.  It’s wrong, though.”
“I could write a more coherent study guide than this!”

~~~

“Help, help, I’m being duressed!”

~~~

“Hold on!  Are they making up legal terms?”
“Looks like it.”
“But they can’t do that!  ‘Assign-ee?’  ‘Offer-or?’  ‘Oblige-or?’  These sound like video game character names!  And I’ve counted six spelling mistakes on this page alone.
“Calm down, C..”
“I can’t!  This is wrong!”

~~~

“That reminds me!  Have I showed you that YouTube clip -”
“Focus, J..”
“The one from the Simpsons?”
“Don’t.”
“It’s funny!”
“I don’t care.”
“You need to see it -”
“Pay attention or I will papercut you to death with this thing, so help me!”

~~~

“Ok.  Fraud.  Give me five examples.”
“Number one, inception.   DUNN.   DUNNNN.  DUNNNNNNNNNNN.”

~~~

“I am not a monkey.”
“Good.  Anything else you want me to mention on the blog?”
“Quiet, you.”

~~~

“Explain ‘reformation.'”
“Martin Luther nailed – ”
“We’re done.”

Ducklings, May I Ramble?

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
– Socrates

Confession time.  I was an excellent girlfriend when J. and I were dating.  I was independent, clever, fun to be around, liked trying new things, was optimistic, and supportive (oh, and definitely humble).  By anyone’s standards I really was a catch.

Alternatively, I’m starting to think that I really suck at being a wife.

To start out with, I am stressed all the time…but I think this is pretty understandable.  When we got married, I assumed the rent, food, utilities, car payments, insurance, two credit cards, and the general livelihood of two people, solely by myself.  Just so we are clear I am happy to do this, but I can’t lie, it’s an awfully big pressure.  I live in fear of unlikely events (pregnancy, job loss, etc.) because of how it will affect my family.  It’s a Great Big Worry to carry around all by myself and I confess, I probably exacerbate the stress by trying (in all my control freak, Small Dog glory) to plan and be prepared for every eventuality.  Which is, of course, impossible.

It’s also very hard for me to adjust my thinking to his.  His life revolves around school, I graduated two years ago and now work full time.  Most of his friends still live in the area or within an hour’s driving, most of my friends (exception of Margot and Angel) are in different states/countries and my nearby family is pretty busy these days.  Honestly, it can get terribly lonely working a subsistence job, having a thinned out support system,  and bearing the financial weight of two people.  I’ve always been pretty good at entertaining myself, keeping myself busy, but honestly it’s downright exhausting these days.

This stress builds up to the point the small things violate my sense of order.  If the rubbish isn’t taken out when I ask, if the house is a mess, if I have a bad day at work, or if…you get the idea.  Complete transformation into a snarling Gorgon.

Small things become massive disappointments, such as when J. applied for a job and didn’t get it (even though they wanted him) because he’s graduating in six months and they want someone for longer.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not fun to be married to these days.  I’m worried, shrewish, tired, easily irritated…I’m the exact opposite of what I was as a girlfriend.  And even though I’m sure a good chunk of this can be tied to my birth control being out of whack, I’m feeling miserable about it.

Le Reception!

“When the bride is one with her lover, who cares about the wedding party?”
– Kabir

I left work at 12 on Thursday to head an hour north to Marie’s home to set up for the reception.  I didn’t get home until nearly midnight.  It was quite the event!

The single other bridesmaid I actually knew (who is an absolute darling!). And yes, she is a foot taller than me.

Sadly I’m afraid I didn’t really get on with the other bridesmaids and attendants.  Nothing malicious, you understand!  It’s just that not a lot can trump shared history and the other girls had heaps of it.  I did overhear one girl say that she had known Marie longer than me and should have been a bridesmaid instead, which sort of was a downer, but one I didn’t take too seriously as there was probably some truth to that.  They’d all grown up together in the same neighborhood, lived together for years at school, etc.  By comparison I was a babe in arms, as far as Marie’s friendship was concerned!  But then again, she asked me (hurrah!) and I was resolved to be the best damned bridesmaid the world has ever seen.

Pretty!

So, after a couple awkward failed attempts to join conversations about people I didn’t know, I contented myself with jumping up and down on lantern stakes to drive them into the turf, setting up tables, hanging garlands, whipping up massive gauzy decorations, organizing boys for heavy lifting, carting gifts about, and arranging flowers – all of which suited me perfectly.

There a few mishaps, the boys recruited by the groom (severely underestimating the amount of work that needed to be done) didn’t show up as early as we would have liked.  And that darling other bridesmaid up there?  Well, we sort of had to construct her dress from the pieces of two or three other dresses.  What you can’t tell in that picture is that it is fearfully and wonderfully made – the safety pins colored with sharpies, the cinching, the half dozen people draping fabric and wrapping ribbon – it was quite the project!  But it was a great joke because it turned out so well, no one but those involved were the wiser.

In fact, everything turned out gorgeously, we were thrilled.  And more importantly, so was the glowing bride!

*Hopefully I’ll be able to get more pictures of the day from Marie when she gets back from her honeymoon.  Congratulations, love!

Supply and Demand

“I want to make Korean food this week.  Let’s to to the Asian market.”
“I just got back from the store.  You can go get things without me you know.”
“I like to go with you.  You tell me what I can and can’t buy.  Because I’d come home with Korean marshmallow pies and you know it.”
– C. and J.

We do and buy strange things sometimes.

J.’s been into a new exercise regimen recently, and after begging me for a few days for a pull up bar and finding a good deal on one, I gave in.  Naturally one thing led to another and now our house looks even more ghetto as he had to take off the door to our office to use it.  I resisted that for a couple of days too, but since I have my bike sitting pretty in the front room I had lost the aesthetic appeal already and didn’t have a leg to stand on. But as he works out everyday and I ride my bike faithfully (for an hour yesterday, kittens!  My legs are jello!) I suppose the loss of a door is alright.  Except when company comes over.

Then,because summer arrived quite suddenly this year–we went from snow to heat in mere days, what gives!–I realized, as I do every year, that I was dying.  I didn’t own a single pair of shorts.  So I marched into Old Navy and bought a stack.  Jupiter, Odin, and Quetzalcoatl, what have I been missing?!  You mean wearing these things makes my legs that much less glow-in-the-dark white, and keeps me cool?  What has a professional-only wardrobe done to me?!

Finally, while doing the grocery shopping yesterday, I came across almond butter.  I’d read of its awesomeness here at Thinspired, and from various health conscious friends and so snatched it up.  Go.  Buy.  This.  Stuff.

Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure

“It’s an area of Dublin that still has lots of character.  It hasn’t been yuppified to ****.”
Lisa’s spirits started a slow slither.  She was
desperate to live in a place that had been yuppified to ****.
– Marian Keys,
Sushi for Beginners

Every once and a while a strange urge takes hold of me, shakes me around a bit as I struggle to be free of its grasp, and and is finally, forcibly thrown off while I stagger around gasping and trying to reorient myself.  It’s the (understandable but currently impractical) desire to have an upwardly-mobile-ish change to our lifestyle.

Nothing desperate, you understand.  But maybe…an in-house dishwasher (that isn’t J., I mean).  Or a newer flat that doesn’t have creaky floors (or my Lord and Lady Stompington above us).  A second car, one that can manage the highways without 4000 rpms or a using half a tank of gas to get to the city (45 minutes away).

Now, I’m aware that I’m in one of the best phases of my life.  Newly (relatively) married, no kids, no mortgages, the ability to do nearly whatever J. and I want.  And yet…sometimes I have this strange desire to be just a bit further on.  First house together and past renting creaky flats.  First pet, instead of surreptitiously googling local breeders and the Human Society at work.  First real double income paycheck, instead of single-and-very-small checks on paydays.

Again, I feel as if this an understandable feeling, but I’m constantly shocked by what will trigger the flood of longing.  Today Wise and I headed out to get a cake for our monthly department birthday party.  The venue was Costco, wherein I have not spent previous quality time.  Oh dear.

Back, temptress!

There were boxes of strawberries that had not yet succumbed to slime and decay.  There were bags of frozen chicken that contained more than two or three breasts.  There were quality diamonds, iPods, lawn chairs, massive bags of chips, huge bales of toilet paper…yes, it was all very impressive.  But, above all, there were SAMPLES.

Wise and I wandered the store sucking down granola, salad, juice, and finally this.

And now, suddenly, I am wrestling the desire for a Costco membership, something I will probably not need until there are more than two of us…solely because I now crave a bottle of Roasted Blackberry Chipotle Sauce.  Aren’t I supposed to be craving babies or something?  Why do I want a dog and fancy fruit/chili sauce instead?

Think Pink!

“Ah, here it is.  Here’s our theme.  Here’s our answer.  Pink.  I want dresses made up in this pink.  Babs, take this to Kaiser Delmont.  I want shoes and stockings in this color.  Laura, everything goes pink.  I want the whole issue pink.  I want the whole country pink!  Lettie, take an editorial, ‘To the women of America-”  No, make it, ‘To the women everywhere.’  Banish the black, burn the blue, and bury the beige.” 
– Funny Face, 1957

Suddenly the shoe is on the other foot and I’m the one bridesmaid dress shopping.  And again, Shabby Apple (which has just launched their new bridesmaid line!) may save my butt, it depends on whether Marie will be having all us girls in the same outfit or just the same color. 

And what color could that possibly be for the bride who loves argyle, pearls, knee-socks, and perfect hair?  Pink of course!

I wish I wasn’t so technologically hopeless, I’d post pictures of the dresses I’ve found so far, but here are the links.

1st Option: really cute!

2nd Option: not great, but with a cute accessory, could be.

3rd Options: I can’t afford but love.

4th Option: favorite.  Duh.  It’s Dolce and Gabbanna.  It’s also prohibitively expensive.  But I’m thinking that’s the hair/lip/face look I’ll go for, if there aren’t any limitations placed. 

5th-11th Option: be my panel of judges, darlings.  What are your opinions of these?

Can anybody say “Color explosion?”

Never A Bridesmaid, Once a Bride

“Would you like to be one of my bridesmaids?”
“I’d be honored!”
“Bridesmaid…bridesmatron…?  What are you?”
“I’m not loving matron.”
“How about attendant?”
“Yes, that sounds appropriately royal!  I’d be honored to be your attendant!”
– Marie and C.

Well, well! 

Marie announced her engagement publically a couple of days ago, I got the good news early and bounced around enthusiastically in my parking lot (so as not to become the Stompingtons to my downstairs neighbors).  Then I emailed my mother and told her to ship over as many bridal magazines from the UK that she could get her hands on.  Marie tried a few months ago to steal the ones I trucked home with me to use for my own wedding, the minx.  I was thrilled to be able to send off for some of her own!

Then yesterday Hennessy texted me to say that we get to start making wedding plans for her as well.  And she walked in today with what I can only guess is a small, sparkly country on her left hand.  None of us in the office got any work done between 9 and 10 this morning.  Congratulations, Hennessy!  It’s a stunner!

Surprisingly, I’ve found I get lots more enthusiastic over my friends weddings than I did my own and I always love being included, whether it’s agonizing over flower arrangements, or being in the wedding party.  I love seeing my friends happy and will cheerfully bend over backwards for them. 

Also, I am deeply aware that the only reason my own wedding came together so well was because of the tireless effort and indefatigable support of this fantastic network of friends.  Daae offered endless tips from her days working for a wedding planner, Catriona helped me stuff envelopes for hours on end, Venice went dress shopping and helped me check out the venue, Peregrine flew cross-country to be a part of the event and drove hither and yon with Snickers to pick up flowers, Fairy housed my parents and siblings and attended every single party associated with the wedding from the bridal shower to the reception, Marie supplied food, drink, and blotting papers throughout the day in spite of not feeling up to snuff…the sucess of the whole day is a tribute to lots and lots of people doing me and J. a great many favors.

And I love to return favors!

I’m thinking Marie needs a fabulous English High Tea shower.  With decorations like these, food like this, and the usual required headgear.

An Upstairs, Downstairs Drama

“It is folly to punish your neighbor by fire when you live next door.”
– Publilius Syrus

Those of you who remember this little fiend, will be happy to know that he has departed for grimmer and more diabolic realms.  Alternatively, you will be saddened to know that he has been replaced with something far, far worse:

Our new upstairs neighbors. 

Artist's rendering of the neighbor's parties.

Not only do they fight, constantly, at the top of their lungs, specifically at ridiculous hours of the the night, but they are also completely incapable of walking.  No, no.  They stomp.  Which makes our ceiling shake.  And they throw parties with loud friends in which they, as far as we can tell, practice riverdancing.  Or dropping bowling balls.   

The other night, when we were watching a movie, we heard the door above us slam and moments later the light fixture started rattling around.
“Ah good,” J. said, “Lord and Lady Stompington are home.”
Obviously all this PBS watching is starting to rub off on him!

Spunky Chap With His Hat at a Jaunty Angle

“Strange to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition.”
– Samuel Pepys

The Marriage Mart, of Regency fame, is alive and well on this campus.  We’re getting close to the time of a semester (directly after finals, usually) that people rush to get married before the summer term starts up.  In fact I have a small horde of friends tying the knot in the next two months.  In a year or two, I’ll be attending baby showers.

This vid gets a Tip O’ My Hat to Sav for finding it, and check out her site for another dose  (that one in honor of the mutual lambasting by colleagues, acquaintances, and Fox News we endured for our less than hateful attitude towards current events in the capital).