Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

What smell?!

Pretty sure the Lazy Labrador got sprayed by a skunk last night right before bedtime.

When we let him out, he raced down the deck stairs, there was a big ruckus with lots of barking and then the distinctly pungent “eu de skunk” wafted up at us.   We called him inside, I gave him a perfunctory sniff on the head and gave him the all clear.

But, he sleeps in Big Brother’s room.  And, when I went in there this morning, it kinda smells like Pepe Le Pew took a little nap in BB’s beloved robot bed.

Seriously, though.  Dealing with buying tomato juice, setting up an outside hose, trapping the only Labrador in the world who hates water, then washing, rinsing, completely soaking myself…?


What smell?  I don’t smell anything.

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My husband and I met when we worked together at an advertising agency in Boston.  The agency, probably as with most other agencies in the 90s, was chock full of young people enjoying the perks of working in, what was perceived to be, one of the city’s most glamorous professions.   Advertising and PR were profiting greatly off the booming budgets that came out of 90’s consumerism.   We enjoyed weekly staff meetings that included giveaways, themes, snacks and alcoholic beverages.  We enjoyed many a night out on the town with our coworkers — including our bosses — and laughed about late-night escapades over coffee in the conference room the next morning.  Life was good.  And THEN I fell in love.  And it got even better.

We snuck around.   For some reason, we were very concerned with not letting word of our relationship hit the rumor mill.  We confided in two friends (one, his roommate) and then enjoyed the game of it all.  The game of sending an email that said “Leaving in ten.  Meet me around the corner at the Cactus Club before the movie” so no one would see us departing together. The game of, after an overnight visit (gasp!  sorry, mom), one of us hopping off the T a stop before the other so we could saunter into work separately.   The game of standing next to each other in a bar during one of our company outings — acting like friends but knowing we were more than that.

Eventually, he took another job and we let our secret (nearly 3 months hidden) out.  Two years later we decided to live together.  Three years later we married.   And then these crazy boys came along.  Meant to be.

My husband.

My partner.

My lover.

My confidante.

My best friend.

My twelfth cousin six times-removed?

Um.   Maybe.

My husband’s middle name is Ross.  Before we married, my middle name was Ross (I dropped it).  My husband’s mother’s middle name was Ross.  My father’s middle name is Ross.  My husband’s grandfather’s middle name was Ross.  My grandfather’s middle name was Ross.   My cousin Emily?  Ross.  And so on, and so on.   On both sides.  Ummm….yeah.

Our wedding invitation read as follows:

Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Ross H.

cordially invite you to the marriage of their daughter

Miss Swooper Ross


Husband Ross S.

in Vermont

Seriously.  A stranger picking up that invitation would have certainly judged us as deep back woods Vermonters short on teeth and shorter on morality.  Kissing cousins in the truest sense of the words.

My Aunt Betsy did a truly amazing job recently of tracing my family tree back more than fourteen generations — all the way to my Great (10 times) Grandfather William Bradford who came over on The Mayflower.   My fingers are tightly crossed that no one on my husband’s side of the family is as industrious as Betsy.   Lord knows what familial connection we might find.

I choose to believe that the whole Ross thing just means we’re meant to be together.

And, I mean, our kids have all their limbs and no weird blood disorders.   So, that’s a plus.

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Well, it’s time to face the music.  It’s happening.  We’re getting one.

38 years of raging against the idea of a minivan.  38 years of telling myself I’ll never be “that woman”.  You know the one.  The one with more children than sense.  The one with raisins in her hair.  The one who thinks her child’s scribbles are works of art.  The one who’s always shushing her children in restaurants.  The one whose house is slowly filling with cheap McDonald’s toys.  The one who drives (gulp) a minivan.

Excuse #1.  Goodbye Old Friend. We’ve been driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee for seven years.  It’s been a great car for us but it has 106,000 miles on it and the back speakers are shot (Backyardigans theme song must therefore be played at volume 10 from the front to reach the children.  Husband loves this.)  The air conditioning is a little odd smelling and the heating on the feet is mediocre at best.  I frequently drive other people’s children to various activities and, as there’s no room for a third car seat, I have to strap Big Brother in the center with a lap belt.  Probably not the safest.   We have a typically Marblehead sized one-car garage and in order to get in and out of the Jeep  you have to shimmy around the open doors.   Sliding van doors, a third row, working sound systems, extra storage and all such things minivan would just be much more practical.  And, (sigh) I’m apparently all about practical now.

Excuse #2.  My uncle is a Toyota dealer.  My husband got his first Toyota from the dealership about a year ago and the service has been excellent.  My uncle will give me a good price on a good car and I know with 100% certainty that it’s a car he would suggest to his own children.  And, if anything goes wrong (like the gas pedal sticks and I run head on into a stone wall), I know they’ll put a shim on the brake pad for me.   Kidding.   Mostly.

Excuse #3.  My minivan will be black.   For some reason, I am obsessed with the idea that if I’m getting a freakin’ minivan then, lord help me, it will be black.   I seem to think that a black minivan says “I may drive a minivan but it’s a badass color.  Like, the color of my clubbing outfits, yo.”  Versus a red one which just says “Hi, I’m just another Mom with a minivan.”

Excuse #4.   As my friend Missy said to me…Who cares?  No one’s looking at you anymore, anyway. Sigh.

Plus, I think that Husband is really hoping to be as cool as this guy behind the wheel.

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My maiden name was a five letter, very simple, never mispronounced cinch of a name.   It had an “s” at the end that sometimes got left off but, for the most part, it was straight-forward and I liked it.  It fit with my equally simple first name.   Unfortunately for me, I fell in love with and married a man with a last name that is always mispronounced and even more often mis-spelled (well, I mean of course it was actually quite fortunate that I fell in love with and married him.  But, you know what I meant, right?  Anyhoo.)  I took his name, of course.  And yes, I do say of course because I personally believed strongly in taking a man’s last name in marriage.  It’s my opinion, no doubt, but I think that unless you have achieved something tied to your maiden name (i.e.  published a best-selling novel, become an Oscar-winning actor, solved world hunger) or maybe unless your husband’s name is just really, really, really terrible then it’s just confusing the matter not to take your husband’s name.  Particularly if you plan on having kids down the line.   Sure, I recognize that I have a number of readers (hello, B and hello, D and maybe hello, others) who will completely disagree with this philosophy.   To each her own.  But, unless my husband’s last name was the exact same as my first name (and that would be kind of freaky, eh?), then his last name was going to become my own.  And I would (and I do) carry it with pride.

Where was I going with this?  (look! a chicken!) Yeah, so I gained a difficult last name at marriage.  Difficult last name paired with the fact that my husband and I both come from pretty traditional families resulted in complete marital accord on the subject of our children’s names.   We agreed that we would not saddle our children with names that would add insult to the injury of an already challenging last name.  Their first names would be straight-forward, easy-to-spell, easy-to-pronounce and traditional.  Our boys carry first names that were familiar in the 1800’s and will again be familiar in the 2100’s.   Oddly, though, neither of them have a single classmate that shares their name.  Today, it seems more likely that young Quinn will have a duplicate friend than Robert or Ted or Mike.

And, while there are definitely unusual names that I hear and say to myself Wow, what a beautiful name or I wonder how they came up with that, I also immediately want to know what the child’s last name is.  Because while Sienna is a lovely name for a little girl, I just don’t think it works if her last name is Schlesinger.  And while Jayden and Aiden are fine names for a little boy, it’s lousy for him if he has to follow it up with Dombrovsky.   Know what I mean?

Mr. George Carlin (may he rest in peace) did a great bit about the wussification of  boys’  names.  Unfortunately, it picks on the name “Todd” which I actually like but it’s a pretty funny routine so here you go.

(Warning:  some graphic language.  But, I mean, it’s Carlin.  What else would you expect?)

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Ease up, everyone.  Call off the dogs.   Stop being so judgmental.  Have a little sympathy.

Jesse James is not a lying, cheating, Nazi-loving, stripper-grabbing loser.

He’s a sex addict.


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Bob Dylan had it right about the times, man.  Those of you not directly involved in parenting young children in the 2010 era might be surprised to learn a few things.  For instance, did you know:

1) No more prizes in cereal boxes.  Oh, the injustice!  Prizes in cereal boxes were such a fabulous manufacturer idea.  My mother could talk me right into Oat Granola Barley Bits if it meant I was going to get a pink plastic sparkle ring when I reached the bottom.   Turns out the prizes choked a few small children and, poof, they were gone!  Unfair, I say.  How is one to talk a five-year old into grabbing some Raisin Bran™ when things like Eggo Waffle Crisp™ beckon them from the shelves with smiling yellow bears and images of warm syrup on the box front?   No self-respecting child will be lured in by a metal scoop with overflowing raisins.   Where’s the Silly Putty™ egg in the box?!

2) Speaking of Silly Putty.  I generally hate Silly Putty.  It’s along the same lines as Play-doh™ as far as its messiness to pleasure ratio.   The scales tip too far in the wrong direction.  Know what it’s made of?  Silicone and (originally) particles of boric acid.  They’re like little toxic balls of breasts — “Silly Slutty” (couldn’t resist).  Anyway, what do you recall as the coolest thing about Silly Putty?  The image lifting, right?  The fact that you could press it against a comic strip and then bend and pull the putty, morphing Snoopy into a wiener dog before your very eyes.  Well, since the invention of that pesky printing press you can’t do that anymore.  For some reason, according to the Silly Putty website, the Wall Street Journal still works, though.  Which is weird.

3) Tivo / DVR.  So, elder generation parents, do you know that we parents in the technology driven world of 2010 can record television shows without a Betamax (remember the Betamax)?  Without a VCR?  Without those clunky tapes?  Yup, we can.  Right there in our tv.  What this means, however, is that, once recorded, our children’s shows can be on at any time of day.  And they are wise to this.  If Big Brother can pad out of his room at 7 am and turn on Wow, Wow, Wubbzy so that Mom can catch another 15 minutes of sleep before Little Brother rises, you can bet he knows Wubbzy’s in there later in the day.   Remember the days of “Sorry, your shows aren’t on right now.  Mom and Dad are watching the news”?   Gone.   They’re onto us.  Live by the TiVo, die by the TiVo.

4) Car seats are a total pain in the a** now.  I really think it’s possible  that if my parents used a car seat at all they stopped using it once I was old enough to sit up unassisted.  (I’d like some clarification on this, Mom)   Today, you can regularly see kids walking over to their car, swinging opening the door of a gigantic Suburban and extending long, strong legs and arms to deftly climb aboard.  Then they climb into a booster seat and strap themselves in.  The law in Massachusetts states they need to be in a special seat until they reach 8 years of age.  In New Jersey they have to be eight and eighty-pounds which just seems crazy.  As the mother of a bean pole, I can tell you that if we lived in New Jersey (which we will not.  ever.) Big Brother might well be enjoying a roadie in his booster seat before he tops 80 lbs.  I wonder if my mother’s right arm shooting out from the driver’s seat over my chest in the passenger seat at any sign of trouble would have qualified as a make-shift seatbelt?  She still does this, by the way.

Revised pregnancy rules would be a chapter in itself.   We were expected to abstain from smoking, drinking alcohol or eating pretty much anything that actually tastes good while we were pregnant.   What a total buzz kill (kidding, of course).  But, still I’m pretty sure my Mom’s water broke over a vodka tonic and a couple of oysters.   And look how awesome I turned out.

Heh heh heh.

Video is a little loud, fyi…

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Aw, Jeesh.

Oh, great.  Like Husband doesn’t already silently roll his eyes at the fact that I insist on my annual subscriptions to both US Magazine and People.  (“They’re different!  Really!”)  I can see it coming now.  This debacle just may not be going over so well tonight.

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