Saturday, February 14, 2015

30+ Years & Still Smiling

Me & my handsome Valentine.
My Valentine and I have been married more than 30 years now so I thought I would write something clever like, “Our Top 10 Tips for Staying Happily Married.”  It always seems that those list-type articles grab my attention in magazines…so why not, right?  Well, I asked my husband over a yummy Japanese lunch (hold the rice please and bring extra veggies!) to give me his top 5 reasons why our marriage works.  This was met with a blank stare that quickly turned to panic. “You are catching me unaware,” he complained.  Never mind that the same handsome guy with the panicked look just hours before gave me a beautiful Valentine’s Day card, in which he wrote at least 3 reasons why we work. Tony knows how to express himself well in greeting cards. His messages always make me cry because he writes what he would never say out loud. I treasure those cards.

”How about just your favorite reason we work as a couple,” I pressed on.  He said, “You cannot print it.”  OK then.

Our discussion quickly turned to some light jabbing that continued as we walked into Food Lion to buy dinner fixings—because eating lunch makes us anticipate our next meal and we decided years ago that we stink at Valentine’s Day so we stay home and mostly ignore it.  I offered that our marriage works because I tolerate his hats. My man loves his baseball caps, derby hats, Stetsons, beanies—you get the idea.  He countered with, “Our marriage works because I tolerate your rhythmic breathing when you sleep.”  Tony is nice enough to lie to me and claim that while I do NOT snore, I often breathe rhythmically and sometimes rhythmically, loudly. 

Goofing around at our lake house.
As I am typing this, I realize that the reasons we work are all right here.  We work as a couple because we enjoy each other. Tony is my best friend and favorite port in any storm. We laugh together—sometimes even at each other, but always at ourselves. We adapt well to situations. We eat Valentine’s dinner at home after many failed attempts at Valentine’s Day dinners out  (one ending at a fast food joint where we both snapped at each other because we failed to make reservations and every place we tried was booked and we had already burned through $50 in babysitter money before settling for grabbing a burger).  It works for us.  We have also learned some expectation management. Expectation management should be part of wedding vows.

My guy cracks me up.
We dream together. Over our Japanese lunch, we were busy making plans and dreaming out loud. I love that.  We also are getting healthy together (skip the fried rice, please) and sharing common goals makes us work as a couple.  Cheering for each other when our interests are different is how we roll too. Tony has run marathons and I have run along taking photos, ringing a cow bell and holding up a sign. I am proud of his accomplishments. He will be the first one to read this blog and encourage me to write more.

We do tolerate the things we don’t love about each other. I try to ignore those hats and I have even grown to love his beard. He puts up with my snoring (I mean, rhythmic breathing) and all the curbside treasures I drag almost weekly into our home.

And then there are the reasons that cannot be printed…Happy Valentine’s Day!
But Wait!! There's More... 

I want to thank my Valentine for braving the cold temperatures to go outside and get some much needed repairs done. Tony and John Stenz (our awesome neighbor and favorite party animal) fixed some erosion problems on the side of our house, which included digging a very long trench in our frozen yard.  That says "love" to me.  J

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Mouse, a Cookie or a Foosball Table?

It all started with a Goodwill purchase.

After more than two full days of sweaty work and a broken fitness record, I realize I just lived through what I affectionately call a “Give a Mouse a Cookie” moment.

You know the children’s book by Laura Numeroff with the playful, circular pattern where a boy gives a cookie to a mouse. Then the mouse asks for a glass of milk and then a straw (to drink the milk), a mirror (to avoid a milk mustache), nail scissors (to trim his hair in the mirror), and a broom (to sweep up his hair trimmings).  Next he wants to take a nap, to have a story read to him, to draw a picture, and to hang the drawing on the refrigerator. Looking at the refrigerator makes him thirsty, so the mouse asks for a glass of milk and then—you guessed it —a cookie!

So back to Goodwill where I bought my “cookie” that started my sweaty couple days and broke a personal fitness record. I love to pop into Goodwill when I am at our lake house. I go to look for items I might repurpose for my antiques booth, but I often find treasures to keep. Two weeks ago, I found a full-sized foosball table. We have wanted one, but didn’t want to spend the $200+ for one. So a $34 foosball table was too hard to pass up. Problem was, the Goodwill folks loaded the foosball table into our 15-year-old minivan for me, but there was no way I could unload it myself at the house.  Also there was the issue of space—price wasn’t the only reason we hadn’t purchased a foosball table. We had absolutely nowhere to even temporarily store the table…unless…

And here comes the “glass of milk” part of my story. I hired a couple of nice local firemen to come move “a few things” and unload the foosball table for me. I recently acquired a free trundle daybed from a sweet cove neighbor, but it was clogging our garage. So I spent several hours—logging enough steps to break my Fitbit fitness record!—clearing our two downstairs basement guestrooms of more scrapbooks than anyone could possibly ever fill (even with the tremendous amount of photos I take!).  

So here goes my circular story…I bought a foosball table so I had to hire two guys to move our treadmill from my crowded “scrapbook” room to what was the guestroom downstairs (no small feat!). They then moved a full-sized bed to what was the scrapbook room. They also moved two pieces of furniture that stored scrapbook supplies to two hall storage closets (which necessitated me cleaning and clearing those two closets). Then they moved the daybed from the garage to the room with the treadmill.  That way we gained two fully operational basement guestrooms and more importantly (circle ends here!) a space in the garage for a $34 foosball table!  Crazy?  Absolutely, but in “Judy” logic it all made complete sense.

But wait, there’s more…

The bonus? I donated two vanloads of stuff to Goodwill, created more livable space, filled our trashcan and exercised like crazy. On Friday, I walked 28,988 steps, 60 floors (mostly lugging scrapbook supplies to different floors of the house!) and walked the equivalent of 13.22 miles in my house! On Thursday, I logged 16,969 steps, 35 floors and 7.74 miles and I didn’t get started until 8 PM.  I also only logged four hours of sleep between Thursday and Friday! Then Saturday I logged 18,797 steps, 37 floors and 8.57 miles putting things away!

So all in all, I would say that was a $34 well spent.

Now I need to clear a spot for the foosball table in the house…wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Merry Christmas?

Is February 3 too late to send Christmas cards?

'Tis the season...should I still mail them or recycle them? Yup, I still have most of our Christmas cards taunting me from my closet and my to-do list.  I am the queen of good intentions. I buy graduation cards for all my friends’ children, my nieces and nephews…and often don’t mail them. My nephew just received his graduation card from us with his birthday card and Christmas card—several months late. I really mean well. It’s my follow-through that stinks. As I rang in the New Year, I vowed to address this flaw of mine (along with my previously admitted to procrastination). But that pledge was for 2015 forward, what do I do about last year’s Christmas/ Hanukkah cards?
I should have learned my lesson years ago. After buying mother’s day cards for all the mamas in our family, I would have our kids sign the cards (not easy for toddlers) and then forget to mail them. How ridiculous is that?

When I would call my mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, it seemed most years I was making excuses about her MIA card. I would even explain that we all had signed her card, which somehow was supposed to make it better. My mom would laugh and shrug it off like my other quirky traits, but I know it hurt her. I always thought I would mail a whole pile of the cards to her…someday.  As too often happens when I procrastinate, “someday” never comes.

So mom has been gone two years now and one might think the regret would make me change my ways. Yet, I stare at this stack of Christmas photo cards and the requisite Christmas letter that was supposed to accompany each photo and wonder what to do. We enjoyed the many Christmas messages and photos we received from friends and family.  When it quickly became apparent that I was in jeopardy of not sending out our Christmas cards, I switched my strategy to just answering cards this year. Problem is, I answered some of the cards when they first arrived and then got busy, fell behind and then the cards kept coming and the piles got mixed together and now I am unsure which cards I have already answered.

Which brings me to another question: is it worse to get a Christmas card in February, not get one at all or (gasp!) get two from the same deranged person—after all, who mails Christmas cards in February?

If you get one of my “Valentine’s,” please keep it our little secret. If you get a second card from us, just think of it as an extra dose of love (with just a cup of crazy added!).  Seasons Greetings!

But wait, there’s more…

When I started this blog last week, my goal was to write Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  This is Monday’s blog written on Tuesday evening.  Some habits do die hard. I am starting to think a better title would have been “Better Late than Never”—although that is up for debate too.