Tag Archives: humor

Shifting Into Third. Maybe Fourth.

The other night, at family dinner with Pebbles and Bam-Bam — a feast consisting of leftover bratwurst and steamed broccoli — DH announced that he’d read my blog.

“Really?” I asked.

I’ve been writing since before I met my husband, 11+ years ago. He has been nothing but encouraging and supportive…as far as he’s concerned. And in part, I absolutely agree with him. He has bent over backwards to give me the space and the lifestyle to write. He paid the rent while I indulged in two years of MFA study in Manhattan. He puts up with my treacherous moods and fits of self-loathing. And he’s so appreciative of my instinct to explore.. from a distance.  But he doesn’t read what I write. Not unprompted, anyway.  Certainly not out of demonstrated personal desire to know what’s what among the squirrels in my brain. 

I try not to take this personally. I mean, all a writer really wants is to be read, right? We want to amuse, entertain, shock, and [insert one of countless possible reader reactions here].  We’re all hoping to spin sentence after sentence that beguiles another human, to apply a literary hand on the back of a reader’s neck and do not look away from the page motherfucker

Needless to say, I don’t think he likes my writing, the subject matter. Maybe it’s the cursing. Or he doesn’t know how to respond. Or my content and tone simply don’t resonate with him. In any case, several years back, about midway through writing my novel manuscript, I pretty much gave up. I know DH loves me. I know that he loves when I”m happy. And I believe he even loves the idea of being with a writer. But something about my writing does not… interest him. In, you know, the same way the Green Bay Packers official website interests him. Not by a country mile.

“Yep,” he confirmed, slicing into another bratwurst. “I read the blog today.”

I nodded.  I coached myself not wait for praise, no matter how badly I desired it. “Well thanks,” I said, swallowing some limp broccoli. “That’s great. Thanks.”

“I think you’re barely out of first gear, ” he added, reaching over with his fork to coax another bite of ketchup-soaked sausage into Bam-Bam’s mouth.

What?

“Pebbles,” I said, “You are not getting up until you finish that broccoli.” I fixed my hot gaze across the table at my sweet Kindergartener. What did you just say to me?

“I think you need to need to really do your thing,” he continued. “You know? Open it up. You’re… idling.”

I stopped. I dug deep into my mental files for some sage advice offered by our former marriage counselor. “Could you get me that bottle of red from the kitchen?” I asked.

“You sure you don’t want me to just hook you up to the bottle with an IV?”  Now he was smiling tha smug-yet-uncomfortable-with-the-words-that-just-came-out-of-my-mouth midwestern smile of his.

“You want to go ahead and get. me. the. wine?” I repeated.

“Is something wrong,” he asked. “Do you not want me to comment on it?”

“The wine?” I asked. I know what he meant.

“The blog.” He handed me the wine. “You know what I meant.”

“Oh no,”  I said. “Of course I want you to comment.  Of course. I mean, You’re the only one who will comment honestly. Who… actually cares.  I need your feedback.” Gears!? What do you know from first or fifth? You didn’t even finish my manuscript 5 years ago!

Then we got into it…. the medium of the blog, my purpose for this blog, my attempt to keep to a reasonably narrow scope. I argued that this is non-fiction, memoir-ish (“I think it’s been well established that the line between fact and fiction is quite blurry,” he countered.) I defended my desire not to seriously or permanently offend co-workers, family, and friends. (You publish anonymously!” he argued.)

And then I finally broke down and admitted how hard it is to be writing a blog at this stage in my life — in what I had imagined would be a much more illustrious literary career. Hell, at this stage I’d give my right arm for a fledging literary career.  There are so very many things wrong with that expectation, especially given the choices I have made,  but there you have it: the truth. ‘Atta girl!  Instead, I focus my work days on ghost-writing content-free executive emails and/or creating complex powerpoint presentations. And I’m blogging at night after the kids go to sleep in order to do something. Because this is the way life goes. And this blog is my little attempt to start again, to pull a thread of an idea, to practice and play, and eventually, turn out a story of merit that is actually published. Or maybe two. Someday.

***

“Darlin,” he finally said, “I’m so sorry.” He put his hand on my left hand, fiddled with my rings.

“For what?” I shrugged, pouring another glass of wine. “For telling the truth?”

“For being hard on you,” he said. “I just want to help. I love you and I want to help. I don’t always know how to express it.”

“I know,” I said. “I know you do.”

“I’m a little bit like my father that way,” he said.

“And I’m a little bit like my mother with the histrionic reactions,” I smiled.

He  poured himself another glass. Took my hand. “Hey. So. I don’t doubt you. I love your work and I react when it doesn’t seem true to who you are, you know? That’s all. I want you to realize that.”

I’ve been waiting to hear that for 10 years! Be it the look in his eyes or my second glass of wine, but I felt brave at that moment. I told him what I’d been waiting to tell him for a week.  “I have some other news, actually. Which — as nice as this chat is turning out to be — may actually further delay my writing career.”

“Yeah?” He put his arm around me and the girls slid away from the table to play quietly with their dolls in the other room. “What’s up?”

“We’re going to have another baby,” I whispered.

When I finally looked up to see his reaction, DH looked like I just handed him the moon and the stars on a platter. He’s been wanting another child for some time and I have been reticent — with what seemed like good reason. But these things happen when they happen, depsite our best efforts at control.  

“Guess we both need to downshift now, eh?” I smiled.

“We do…” He wrapped both arms around me and grinned. “We sure as hell do.” 

***

Everything between the *** never happened and in no way represents the truth or actual conversation we had on the evening in question. (This means I am NOT pregnant, mom.)  Just a little blog experiment, if you will, in blurring those fiction/non-fiction lines.

Idling in first gear, my ass.

Game ON, boyfriend.

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Filed under Humor, Marriage, writing

Pretty Thoughts for the Season

Yesterday was a glorious fall day in the DC Metro Area. DH usually does morning walk duty with Sadie and Dub, but yesterday I bolted shamelessly from my side of the bed to volunteer. And by shameless, I mean that I muscled through the shame I felt to get what I wanted. On days when I don’t have to be anywhere, playing with the dogs out while DH makes breakfast for Pebbles and Bam Bam is a mouthwatering luxury, and DH knows it. Add an overpriced cup of coffee, and the minivan practically drives itself to the dog run.

Right. I drove them to the dog run. It undermines one of my primary excuses for getting the dogs (to encourage exercise) but supports the other – the play side.

Nothing marvelous or extraordinary occurred while we played. Dogs sniffed and were sniffed, Frisbees were caught. But my three-dollar coffee tasted SO good between chucks of Dub’s slobbery, muddy tennis ball into the glinting sunlight. And all while Sadie mosied about sharing the love, as she as wont to do whenever friendly strangers are in her midst. Sadie is the Blanche DuBois of dog run visitors.

"I've always depended on the kindess of, well, you know..."

With all the unmitigated quiet in my head, I had the presence to ask myself why I loved this moment so much. I didn’t used to love this moment. Not with giddy enthusiasm, anyway. When we lived in Manhattan with Samson, and DH was traveling for work, I could be positively grudging as I buttoned my coat up to my nose while waiting at the coffee cart with our first Brittany. I’d spill half the coffee down my sleeve and curse a blue streak while I trudged to the run at Riverside and 105th. Then I’d drink what was left while Samson poked his nose through the iron fence and pointed squirrels on the other side. Feeling guilty for having a hunting dog in the city, I’d let him out of the run (after checking carefully for park police) to chase local vermin, and then inevitably, he’d gallop away and I would spend the next 15 minutes running about in a tearful panic, hoping he didn’t make it all the way to 96th street and try to cross….   

That was the worry of my life in those days — Samson getting creamed by the cars turning off of West Side Highway onto Riverside Drive. I was getting my MFA, and one memorable morning, Samson’s self-guided hunting expodition made me nearly late for a seminar where I would get to meet Arthur Miller, up close and personal. I thought I was going to KILL him. (Samson, not Mr. Miller. I almost leapt across the table and kissed Mr. Miller on the lips, so brimming with life and creative potential was I on that fall day…)

As I picked up a steaming pile of poop before we headed home yesterday, I drew the somewhat reluctant conclusion that Sadie and Dub inspire nostalgia for more carefree days. Once I got them loaded into the back of the minivan, I edited that thought. They help me be more care-free today.

It’s pretty to think so, anyway.

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Filed under Brittanys, literature, writing

More Than a Feeling

This one’s going out to my well-intentioned mother, who I’m pretty sure still doesn’t quite get why we insist on having animals in our house.  

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Humor

Dogs Are Good: A Riveting Update From Procrastinationville

So right. Nothing from me since August. And I have no excuses worth sharing — same old working-mother-back-to-school-gotta-go-pumpkin-picking bullshit.

A lovely lady I met at a baby shower sent me a note today asking for the link to my blog. I winced with great shame and considered not responding, because then I could feel even more sorry for myself and pine away with professional embarrassment… as any proper, no-good-quitter would.  Then I thought, hells no. I’m going to write a blog entry like a big girl who knows she should be writing — not in spite of her self-loathing and procrastinating ways, but because of them.

Sadie and Dub? The dogs are all good. Dub continues to poop in my house from time to time, which I find annoying but oddly forgivable. Poor guy. I think he’s actually so hyper and excited to play he forgets to poop when we take him out. Then he loses it around 4am. He does this usually on the mudroom tile. A lovely package to find on a chilly fall morning, while padding about in my UGG slippers.

Hey, it’s fall! I didn’t even write about our summer vacation yet!  Wait for it.. wait for it…

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Filed under Dog Training, Humor, writing

summer hiatus?

You could call it a hiatus. Or you could call it being really fucking busy with two kids and two dogs during the hottest days of Summer 2010.

Sorry readers, for being MIA for a week.  I have a few bits of breaking news.  Or perhaps I should say, as we do in the biz, “lessons learned.” (The “biz” to which I refer is, unfortunately for my spirit and my soul, IT consulting. Information Technology consulting. Makes me want to light my hair on fire, but it does pay the bills.) 

Lesson Learned #1: Do NOT Leave Treats in Pocket of Running Shorts (see Figure 1)

Figure 1. My (former) best running shorts

I walked into my closet and surveyed the clothes in a heap on the floor, pulled on a pair of shorts thinking I would go for a run, and discovered them to be… wet? Odd, right? I mean, the sweat from 2 days ago would have dried by now… so I look down and… am immediately reminded of my grey fleece. Samson (The original Brittany, if you haven’t been following) ate both pockets of my grey fleece when he was about 2 years old, probably going after the cheddar cheese we used to train him. So having the reaction only a dog-lover could understand, I smiled and laughed and had my daughter take this picture. Silly dogs.

Never mind that this set me back at least one week of running — which I have to say, worked out in everyone’s favor. Kids went to the pool after work more frequently, and I wasn’t dragging one of the poor dogs down the Arlington bike path in 90+degree heat. (A week? A whole week? You don’t have any other shorts? Those of you asking these questions must not have children and may God bless you for taking time away from your quiet weeknight to try and understand, but I just don’t have the energy to explain it right now.)

Lesson learned, Sadie and Dub.  Lesson learned. 

I now have my eye on a new pair of lululemons.

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Filed under Brittanys, Dog Training, Humor

Special Treat

someecards.com - Sorry I used my calmly assertive Dog Whisperer voice in bed

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Filed under Dog Training, Humor