Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Beginning

    It's now been a full year since I've been married. Today, in fact, marks the first day of our second year together, and I am no longer a "new wife".  Last night, on our anniversary, I spent a lot of time thinking about all of the changes that we've made, both individually and as a couple, and I realized that I'm proud of who WE are. It's so difficult to merge two lives together and try to find a way to co-exist (as pointed out so poetically by my husband in his entry this weekend), but we've managed to come out in the end stronger than when we started 365 days ago. For this, I am grateful. I never understood what people meant when they said that they love each other more with each passing year... it always sounded so very cliche' to me. But I realize that I love my husband differently today than I did when I married him. Loving him "more" is difficult to fathom, but I truly do love him more deeply, fully, and without exception, all of which I didn't understand as I stood before a hundred guests under that hot August sun.
    Despite our many flaws (yes, yes, I'm admitting that I have them, too), we've learned to come together as a couple and to work through them with a small amount of patience and a healthy dose of laughter. If I didn't have my husband there to harrass my every move, I would take myself too seriously, probably ending up a neurotic mess of a woman. And if my husband didn't have me there to nag his very existence, he would feel just a little bit empty inside. So, as I look back on this last year of our lives together, I want to end this blog with hope as we look toward the future. It's the end of one year and the beginning of a lifetime, the beginning of our family, and the time to expect great things. Thank you for sharing this time with us, laughing with us, and overall, for choosing my side (I can already see his eyes rolling at that one). Just remember, this is not the end. Afterall, we have a family that we're planning to start, so this is just the beginning.... Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pat's Turn

     Today's blog is being guest written by the husband in all those horrible stories you have been reading for the last 365 days.  It was suggested to us that if Shivonne was going to write for a year I should have an opportunity to give my thoughts on our 1 year anniversary.  Finally, my chance to settle some scores and let everyone know how the first year was from a man's perspective. 

     The answer is...pretty good actually, for me at least.  I was suprised how easy things went and how smooth the adjustment period was.  I had a good time, ate some good food, had some laughs...and other things, but I had to promise to keep this G rated.  I have really enjoyed telling people who ask questions of me that "I'm married now and no longer authorized to make those kind of decisions.  I'll have to send that to the boss."  Older ladies seem to get a real kick out of it and I, honestly, never cared much for my ability to do that for myself anyway.  I also enjoy how easily irritated she is.   It's probably a character flaw on my part but it's so much fun. 

     My wife, on the other hand, seems to think she moved in with an ogre.  I am honestly perplexed by this.  Let me give a little background here to clarify why I think I'm fairly easy to live with.  My father is Italian and was raised by an Italian woman from the old school.  What this means is that he came up in a home where he, and all the other Italian males, did absolutely nothing.  Laundry, cleaning, organizing...not a chance.  My father can keep a straight face while asking my wife to make him a bowl of cereal.  He is on a first name basis with every waitress in the tri-county area, his fear of cooking (even toast) is that great.  This was my example.  Shivonne believes, in her heart of hearts, that she lives with this beast. 

     I have my own room (which I keep clean...sorta), do my own laundry, feed myself most of the time, and clean up after myself (sorta).  Sure I leave a dish or two sometimes, sure I don't always STERILIZE the stove after I cook something but give me a break.  I shower in the basement with the spiders and vicious cats and use the tiny half bath downstairs so as not to dirty her bathroom (which her dad and I spent 5 weeks remodeling and I have showered in the new tub exactly twice).  I'm the one who gets up early and stays up late to let the dogs out.  I do all the yard work, gardening, mowing, cutting firewood... The list goes on and on but I believe I have made my point. 

     I have really enjoyed the first year of marriage but I'm thinking of ending it.  Not because I'm not in love but because I would love to read her next blog about her first year with almost any other guy.  I think listening to her whine about someone who, for instance, used her bathroom (because he is afraid of spiders) and expected her to do the laundry (because that's womens work).  If the lord is just he would have terrible aim and a penchant for skidmarks.  That would be hilarious....

P.S.  Let me tell you about how she just barged in here to tell me twelve things.  For the entire last year her blogging time was sacred.  If I attempted to speak to her about anything, no matter how urgent, she would literally shout that she was blogging and order me from the room.  How is that at all fair?  It's fair because marriage is about compromise...on the part of the husband. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anniversary Dilemma

    All women want their man to remember two dates: the woman's birthday and their anniversary. It's sad to say, but my husband would forget both without Facebook reminding him. Naturally, like the typical woman, I've been thinking about our first anniversary since, oh, the day after our wedding. What to get him for a gift (traditional 1st year paper present or something unexpected?), where to go for our special weekend (stay local and cozy or go away and try something new?), what will be meaningful, special, and thoroughly organized while still expressing a splash of spontaneity... you know, the usual. As the date has been drawing near, I've tested these ideas on my husband to see if his reaction warrants moving ahead and making reservations. However, he seems FAR less interested in this planning process than I would have expected, even for a guy. I've received noncommittal shrugs, "Ummms", and, my personal favorite, "Wait, we're getting each other gifts?"
    Well, three days before the celebration of one-year-since-we-made-the-biggest-committment-of-our-lives and he has yet to get me a gift can only mean one thing.... that I'm getting something wrapped in a garbage bag and purchased from the Dollar Tree, with a box of cheap chocolates, and perhaps a box of wine (if he's really splurging). Just the thought makes every romantic bone in my body ache arthritically. Now, I don't want to give the impression that I'm a high-maintenance princess that requires diamonds, a trip to Belize, and sky-writing proclaiming his love for me! Really, it doesn't have to be elaborate at all! In fact, it could be as simple as a well-planned gesture, homemade meal or gift, or even a letter telling me how much I mean to him (sprayed ever-so-lightly with cologne and rose petals in the envelope....). I mean, all I really want is something that requires a little thought, something that shows he listens to my needs and desires throughout the year, something that screams excitment, romance, and creativity all rolled into one. Is that really asking too much?

Monday, August 15, 2011


    Finally, a day that was fairly stress free! Only one session today, leaving me to accomplish all sorts of paperwork that had accumulated on my desk over the course of the last week. Enjoying my clear desk and calm day, I decided that yoga would be the icing on the cake. And it was. My Sun Salutations rocked and I even managed to master Warrior 3 (well, until I got a charlie horse in my foot, but this is my story and I'll tell it however I want to). Perfectly relaxed, I merged onto the expressway, only huffing slightly when I hit construction (seriously, at 8:30pm?). I made it to the back roads on my way home, and it wasn't until I had to slam on my brakes and swerve to miss the SECOND herd of deer that I realized my stress-free day was feeling a little stressful!
    My heartrate finally returned to normal as I pulled into the driveway. I was excited to see my babies and decided to let them enjoy a quick Puppy Playtime before bed. All was going as planned.... and then the neighbor dog arrived, his male dominance challenging Milo's "male dominance" (although I'm still convinced my dog is batting for the other team, but that's a story for another time). As the fighting began, my calmness not only flew out the window, but it broke the glass into a million tiny shards which I proceded to step on with bare feet. My attempt to divide and conquer fell short as I slipped and spilled through the wet grass in the dark evening. Everytime I grabbed for a dog, it was as if they had rolled in oil (perhaps the combination of rain and dog slobber?), making it impossible to hold on. I chased the fighters and the cheerleaders (yes, the other dogs just ran around, barking, waving their tails like pom poms, and getting in the way) for a good 15 minutes before beating whichever dog I could get my hands on, screaming at the top of my lungs the entire time (my yoga instructor would be so proud). I dragged Milo (and the cheerleaders) back home from the neighbor's yard, cleaned everyone off, and attended to my scratches and severely bruised palm. Thirty minutes later, my heart is still pounding out of my chest and my throat is raw. Can anyone say Namaste?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Boys Say The Darndest Things

    My husband spends time with a cute little tyke named Jordan. Jordan is 7-years-old and often (daily) says things incorrectly, or with just the right amount of seriousness that makes him easy to laugh at (daily). Today, Jordan joined us around our breakfast table and proceded to tell us a story about how he received a "female" on his computer the other day. Curious, I asked him, "A female what?" He looked at me blankly and said, "Just a female." It took me a few seconds as my brain quickly went through every possible meaning of "female" to a 7-year-old boy before I questioned him, "Do you mean an email?" He looked at me as if that was exactly what he had said the first time. I explained to him the vast differences between females and emails before he continued to launch further into his story. "Yeah, I got an email from my friend. But it had a picture of a female." Nervously, my husband and I looked at each other before pushing further. "Jordan, what was this female doing in the picture?" He looked at us like we were morons. "Nothin. She was a girl scout. She was playin' the piano!" (Oh, ok.... that should've been obvious....)
    Jordan then showed me the present that he brought me from his vacation to the East coast. I held it up to unveil a gigantic, touristy t-shirt which could easily fit my husband and his Italian belly. "Jordan gave me some salt-water taffy," my hubby said, trying to stifle a giggle as he looked at me and my new shirt. It's true... I envied his gift. But I thanked Jordan so much for the present, and then he kicked me in the butt with his next comment. "Yer welcome. I got you the extra large one, so it's just yer size." (My husband was shaking with laughter at this point.) For the record, I could shrink this thing 5 times and STILL have to use it as a night shirt! But he was so sweet to think of me on his vacation that I will happily sleep in my new nightgown this very evening. My husband, however, finds it commical to remention Jordan's opinion of my body, especially since yesterday I wore jeans that made me look "a little thick in the front and the back" according to my husband (good to know I get to look hefty arriving AND leaving). Coming from a 7-year-old little boy? Cute and worthy of a hug. Coming from my 33-year-old husband? Totally un-cute and worthy of a stabbing. Don't blame me, he made his bed!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Laughter: The Best Medicine

    Everyone has weeks in their lives where they literally feel that things could not possibly get worse than they are at that exact moment. And what usually happens? That's right. Things get worse. Sometimes they get MUCH worse. This has been the case with my week. Financially, emotionally, personally, and physically it's just all been a bust. At night I'm constantly waking or, worse yet, having nightmares about events that are causing me so much stress.... and to top things off, my stomach is refusing to cooperate with this anxiety I'm experiencing (if you know what I mean!). Yet, as I've realized over this past year, nothing pulls a couple together like an emotional crisis. So, despite the minor rift between my husband and I over the last few weeks, he has been 100% supportive of me in my time of need (which has not gone unnoticed and will not go unreturned). My guy has always had a way of making me feel refreshingly light-hearted when the world attacks me, which happened this very week.
    Unfortunatley, there was a falling out at my work where I was accused of being over-confident and under-confident at the same time. Additionally, I was told that one of my superiors simply finds my facial expressions frustrating.... yes, that's right. My company hates my face. So, while I was venting (freaking out) to my husband, trying to figure out how to come across as more confident and less confident at the same time, all the while making absolutely no facial expressions, he found yet another way to make me giggle and ignore the fact that everyone outside of our humble home is, with few exceptions, crazy. His simple solution was for me to get botox. This will obviously solve the problem of  my face, preventing me from moving my my muscles and offending those around me that are upset with everything above my neck.... and if that fails, he is willing to put aside money to invest in a semi-decent Darth Vader mask. By the end of the conversation, my heart felt lighter from laughter than it had in days. With the prayers of my family and friends, combined with the laughter my husband was able to provide me, I thing that I will finally sleep well tonight.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Man Smells

    I'm not sure what it is, but there always seems to be an odd smell that perpetually radiates from a man. The smell typically disappears after they clean up, but before they do, it can feel similar to snuggling up to a dead carcas. Women appear to take on whatever smell they put on themselves with lotions, body washes, perfumes, and deodorants. Yet men just have this odor that can be described as nothing other than Man Smell. It's a bit like a wet dog that was eating sauerkraut and then sprayed by a skunk. This aroma seems to intensify when a man is in an enclosed area (such as a car, bathroom (good God, the bathroom!), cubicle, etc.) or when the man is sleeping (I will never understand why a man's bedroom smells like death in the morning, requiring at least 2-3 hours of airing out time, even in the dead of winter).
    To expound on this point, my husband slept with me in my air-conditioned abode last night. It was perfectly understandable, considering the heat of the other rooms.... however, I woke up multiple times in the night and felt a wall of stench hit me directly in the face. It had nothing to do with gas (although that's a whole other problem) but everything to do with Man Smell. It was like a proverbial dutch oven that I couldn't escape. I commented on this "fragrance" when he awoke, but he couldn't smell a thing. Maybe it's like when babies have a dirty diaper and everyone in the room is grimacing while the baby giggles and plays with his toes, happy as a clam.
    My husband (perhaps trying to make up to me for stinking up my room) offered to run out to the store and purchase us some breakfast this morning. So he took my car and, roughly an hour after he returned, I got into the same vehicle to go to church. When I opened the door and got in, I realized that Man Smell had continued (nay, intensified!) from the previous night. I immediately called him on the phone and asked him exactly how many times he had passed gas during his breakfast run... he responded by laughing and saying that he hadn't. That's insane! How can men smell so rank for absolutely no reason? And it's not just my husband either (I can recall many a mornings waking my brother up for school and nearly gagging upon entering his bedroom). But women have to put up with an awful lot from these cavemen we share our homes with, walking around the house each day looking for something the cat dragged in, only to find their husband, brother, father, or son just sitting there, stinking up the joint. Tonight I'm choosing to go to bed prepared. I have a fresh canister of Vix vapor rub to smear under my nose to ward off those unpleasant Man Smells that are sure to wrinkle the sheets.