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This Life

5 Dec

eyes-1I lie in bed kissing the back of his shoulders. “My very own man”, I think to myself. Touching him as much as I can without waking him before sneaking out of bed. I know if I stay I will deprive him of the last bit of morning sleep. I watch a show, check the time, then crawl back into bed. This time with the intention of waking him. More soft kisses. His body smells are pungent but only pull me closer. A reminder that nature; biology know us better than we know ourselves. I was coded to feel this way about him. Not only written in the stars but in the cellular universe of my body. He coos. His lashes flutter. He looks at me, only one eye exposed, the rest of his face masked by blankets and pillows we have named. He smiles. Good Morning.

Life Without B

19 Dec

Walking into the house I left my sweater and shoes on, plopped onto the sofa confused almost about what I was to do with myself with B gone all week. I had just returned from dropping him at the airport, direction Colorado. Snow and cold are not really my bag, or the combination while also trying to balance on two skinny planks attached to my feet. No thank you. Skiing always seemed sort of elitist to me and the only elitist behavior I can appreciate is eating a well prepared meal made with quality ingredients because one doesn’t have to rent expensive gear or invest in a $200 jacket plus insulated pants. (I have also been known to state that I am too brown for the cold.) I lined up a string of baby sitters to keep me company and indulge in fun things like, doing whatever I want to do to pass the time until my darling husband comes back, but adult schedules are hard and some plans fell through.

DAY ONE: Figuring it was about time I paid my mother a visit I arranged a work shoot with a restaurant in my home town. I loaded my gear and the pups and headed for the hills. I don’t care to come home much. Since my parents divorced and our childhood home was sold it is more foreign to me than my visits abroad. Nothing is where I think it should be and the food is weird. Having spent the past decade in the city I am spoiled in that I can find healthy meals anywhere at relatively any time of day. Going home however, a fancy salad is one with iceberg AND romaine then sauced with dressing. And it is best to not be vegetarian.


DAY TWO: When B is gone all I do is wait for that first text. Wait for a phone pic of those cheeks and eyes.
It is painful and sometimes when he waits too long my heart aches.



Instagram shot of me enjoying the Texas Winter Sun.

Instagram shot of me enjoying the Texas Winter Sun.

I want that he has fun and enjoys time with friends but I also need to know he wishes I were there or hear in his voice that he misses me while he excitedly shares his adventures in the snow. But he is not good at this. What I get is that obligatory call or text on the way out or right before bed with nothing to say. I am sad but my day on my own was a decent one. In marriage sometimes I forget I use to be my own person. At times, having that break reopens the part of me where I do things for myself. It is healthy and I appreciate it but somewhat reluctantly. I miss his smell.

DAY THREE: A few texts come and go. B is tired. I want to hear him smile but I have company. We text our sweet goodnights then once my friend leaves the beers I drank whisper to me it wouldn’t be the worst thing to hear his voice. Awakened by my multiple texts asking repeatedly if he is asleep, (he was), I tell him I hope he is thinking about me,(he is, probably at this point not very favorably) and that I love him. I get the appropriate responses but no call.

DAY FOUR: I do not feel well. My tummy is all wonky. Probably because non Europeans are not meant to live on a steady diet of cheese and wine for breakfast.

Once, B had to move four hours away for TWO MONTHS. I was devastated and cried every single day he was gone. Most recent was a trip he had to spend on the road filming a commercial across the state,but that was at least two years ago. Again, cried everyday. I don’t know it yet, but I will cry tomorrow.
Anyway, it is a lazy day of Annie Hall, Pandora music, most of Season 2 of “Who the @#*! did I Marry” while cleaning, getting ready for my date with a friend. It’s her turn to babysit. We go to my favorite restaurant for dinner. I get to wear my new red shoes. Fancy. They hide between the bar and my stool because I prefer the bar top for dinner.

New Shoes

New Shoes

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve heard B’s voice. What I want to hear is an upbeat account of everything. What I hear instead is him call the house they are renting, “home” twice in a monotoned itinerary of what was done that afternoon. And when I get my feelings hurt he says, “you knew what I meant”, but I don’t, not the way he thinks I should. He is outside. Evidently unable to talk in front of anyone. It is a large house and he has his own room so I am confused but okay, if he does not mind standing in the cold. Less than ten minutes in, “My battery is dying. I’m at one percent.” Oh. Okay. Bye then.
What I understand from that call is that “home” is not where I am but wherever he is. B is always fine. Just fine. Fine with not talking to me for days. Fine with being married through a few short texts messages for a week. I do not feel left out. I feel unloved. Unworthy of a little forethought to charge a phone so that we can have a conversation. I go to bed upset and dream about ripping a man’s balls and cock off of its stupid naked body with my bare hands. Afterwards, I smile.



We are not built the same. I know he loves me because he married me, because he tells me so. Because of his day to day actions of unloading the dishwasher, being supportive in my choice to follow my dreams. Because he trusts me. Because he listens to my hurt feelings and curves his behavior. These gestures I try not to take for granted because they are the big ones. Sometimes though I miss the passion of our teen years or even our first few months in this life. The words that he cannot live without me because this is what I tell him, the hands he use to not keep off of me. Wrapped up in each other multiple times all morning. I feel like something is wrong with me for still feeling this way. When I am not near him all I want is to be. And when we are close, all I want are his arms. And when in his arms all I want are his kisses. And when he does kiss me…This feeling I wish I could take off like an uncomfortable piece of clothing because it is not fair. I try to remind myself maybe it is part of why he loves me. Because I would do anything. I am ready for day six but I still have more than a full day.

Thursdays are pint night at the neighborhood grocer. I head over to have a bite and a beer when my phone rings. Exciting! The conversation begins with, “we’re about to go have dinner and go to the Springs.” I roll my eyes with a smile, thankful he cannot see me. We chat for a moment before his premonition of having to get off the phone comes true. He says he’ll call me again later. He doesn’t. I read something recently about not holding your spouse responsible for your own emotional happiness. I admit this is something I must work on.

I wrap up my last true free night talking to strangers. Having the most interesting conversations I have had in a while. Something about the sharing of ideas and good debates from new perspectives. It was, and this is a word I do not use ever because of the sharp way it moves through the mouth but in this case, the most appropriate word; invigorating. It was a discussion about life, not about being married, not about home, not about what each of us “do”. It was exactly what I needed.

Once home, I sent a very direct message then dozed off waking up to an apology but I didn’t care because…..

DAY SIX: Blah, blah, blah, words. Time to shave my legs and fix my hair. I’m a little pissy but the closer B gets the more I warm up. By the time I pick him up from the airport, thawed and once I see those eyes and that smile, completely melted. What can I say?

The View from in Here

7 Aug

Out at a long and over due Happy Hour, while on the topic of all topics, a girlfriend confided in me that she just wished she had someone to take care of her. Although the way I remember it now after toiling it in my mind all night may be different than the way the words actually rolled off of my tongue, I believe my reaction was something like, “Well, that’s bullshit.” Maybe she saw my eyes as I opened my mouth to speak because she snuck in a quick, “NOT financially,” which was a double slap in the face. Even if she had misspoke, WTF?

I will be the first to proclaim, the loudest even, that I have a wonderful husband and that behind closed doors we are exactly the couple that most of our friends think we are. B is an easy man to fall in love with but if I said that being married is easy that would be a lie and simply saying that marriage is work, that would be the understatement of…infinity.

Let us take my friend’s statement at face value, even though she spent some time back peddling what she meant to say, (GF, I Love You!). Anyone who is out there looking for someone to take care of them should immediately pick up the phone, call the folks, let them know they are moving back in and hope they’re cool with it, because there is no such thing and if you think that sort of relationship exists outside of a Craigslist promise you are in for some hard life lessons.

Marriage is taking all of your own neuroses, childhood trauma, past relationship baggage, and idealized pop culture bullshit version of what you think love is suppose to look like, which is hard enough to sort out in your own mind as a single humanoid, then combining it with someone else’s turmoil that you will never be able to understand fully. Straight couples, factor in the automatic miscommunication that will occur from one another’s mouths to ears. Add in family stuff, monies, sex and the fact that other people are out there with boobs and penises and nicer asses and possibly better personalities. Ugh. It is not give and take. Sometimes it is give, give, give some more and take. Other times it’s take, give, take, take. Like Duck, Duck, Goose, it is never the same and at some point in the game both of you are running in circles trying to catch the other and the roles do not always alternate fairly. Marriage is a struggle to say the least. A constant mind fuck.

Here are some things I do that make my marriage pleasurable.

1. If I am not saying the words, “I love you” I am texting them or making them in a breakfast, or putting them in the washer with his favorite shirt and pants or getting up at five a.m. to mix them in a fresh juice.

2. I recognize that there is a time to sex and a time to get sexed and I take care of business when it is my turn for the former. I believe that any woman who holds out sex as a bargaining tool in a serious relationship is a frigid bitch who should count on another woman eventually filling that role.

3. I am not passive aggressive. If there is something to be said, it should be stated directly to avoid confusion, if possible with forethought and kindness so hopefully not after a glass of white wine.

4. I use intuition and my knowledge of my husband’s habits and attitude to try and counter any negativity in our home. If he had a hard day and I am in a bad mood I have to pull myself out of it and try to comfort my spouse.

5. I make sure when he leaves me each day it is knowing he is loved.

This is the short list. Writing these out is easy. Implementing them sounds simple, right? WRONG! Because even though he is lovely I am not a robot and have my own shit and so does he. Refer to paragraph Four, neuroses, childhood trauma, baggage, etc. But, I try to do all these things and what I receive in return is exactly what I put out. B reciprocates all of these things and even adds to them, which makes me in turn want to do more. But note that although we live most of our lives trying to be all love-y and schmoopy there have still been reports of flung plates, hurt feelings, bruised egos, tantrums and many, many, I’m sorrys.

I lived my twenties with on and off relationships. In hindsight, with no one that really loved me. I was free to do what I wanted and I did. I traveled, I went out, paid my own way. There were times I did nothing and it was glorious. Single me could mope for days and decide who I was in accordance with whatever show I was into. Single me ate out and didn’t need to care if there were groceries at home. Single me never had a man look at her confused and almost frightened stating he was out of clean clothes and if one had, single me would have probably laughed in his face.

Entangling my life with B’s was the most surreal moment of my existence. The good will always outweigh the bad but I have my thumb on the scale. We both tip it in our favor. All the hardships, all the misunderstood emotions at the end of the day, they don’t matter. Finding one another in the dark each night just to fall asleep touching makes it all worth it. I do not take care of him. He does not take care of me. We only nurture this life we have chosen to make together. It is what most people want but not many go into it thinking the hard stuff, “I want someone to worry sick over 24/7”, or “I feel the need to entrust my fragile heart to this other flawed person who, if they wanted to, could rip it apart with just their words”.

My sister and I use to ride bicycles. We also watched C.H.I.P.s Patrol religiously. Once, we tied our bikes together to ride up the street pretending to be on patrol. It was fun but once we got going I put my feet up on the bars to let her do all the peddling. She slowed but kept on until she couldn’t anymore. Her bike fell over, she busted her knee and there were tears. It is nice that I have found a man such as B to share this life with, who is so patient and kind and blah, blah, blah. But he was married before. For ten years! His core was just the same but there is some broad out there who thought he was just too much work. I am not saying I make all the difference nor am I saying that all people that are married are compatible but I might be suggesting that someone put their feet up. I just got lucky.

He’s no Bruno Mars but I’ll take it

4 Jun

Every once in a while I can hear B singing a tune. These are some I’ve been able to put in my notes before he sees me or before I forget. The first two are cheese. The last is my favorite. Whenever I get miffed and forget myself, wishing he were some figment of some other girl’s imagination I think of these and remember that I ain’t got it so bad. Enjoy

“I’ve got, the best wife in the worllllllllld
She looks real neat
She smiles real sweet

My wife’s, the best wife in the worllllllld
She smells real pretty
She never looks dirty


“I love my wife
She is the best
She gives me kisses
I love her chest…

*My personal favorite to the tune of a George Michael song as he was getting dressed

“Cause I’ve gotta have socks, socks, socks, I’ve gotta have socks.
Baby, I’m putting on my socks today to go outside to go and play because the sky is blue….”

*****In the kitchen to a certain Beyonce song

“If you like it then you’d better put some cheese on it…”

B says the darndest things

12 Feb

Waking him up for his favorite BBQ waiting in line for over an hour and buying us beers:

“You could have a worst wife.”

” I could”  he says.  Then thinking a moment, “I did.”


While watching, The Lying Game.

Me: “Sometimes I wish I had smaller titties so I could wear clothes like that.”

B very softly, shaking his head: “Shhhhhhhhhhhh.”


No longer a house wife my regular chores are getting pushed aside.  I noticed a shirt not going through the proper circulation.  Like-never.:

Me: “Did you dig that shirt out of the hamper?”

B: “No.  It was on the back of the [bathroom]door.”

Me: “Well, you have a whole closet full of cleaner ones is all I’m saying.”

B: “Yeah, but are they as awesome as this one?  NO!”


On getting married:

Me: “I was so scared you weren’t going to show up.”

B: “We rode together.”



Watching James Bond.  Someone says orphans make the best spies

Me: “See honey, you could’ve been a spy.”

B: “Who says I’m not?”



I Love Hearts

5 Feb


Garland Hearts in Amsterdam


Heart in a Window in Bordeaux


Sand Heart in San Diego


Heart in my Beer, Austin


Heart in the sky, San Diego


Heart on a Dumpster, Austin


Pate Heart, Toulouse

Pate Heart, Toulouse

Just when you think things can’t suck any more, they do.

15 Jun

Alaprazolam keeps her seated somewhat but makes her more confused than usual. Lorazopam at least lets her sleep at night but I think that is because she stays up for twelve hours at a time walking from room to room to room looking for what, she doesn’t know. “Why are you getting up?” ” I don’t know.” she says grabbing for her walker, her feet swollen and puffy with fluid from her poor circulation. Halo-something rather has the opposite effect of what ever the hell it was suppose to do in the first place. It is all trial and error. Our attempt at making- whose life easier? I don’t like to keep her medicated. I have cut back to keep her from being too zombie like. The worst realization I have had is that there is no pill combination that will bring her memory back nor pull her out of the fog; B and I living in that season of Lost where the island keeps jumping through time, given little clues to know which era of Betty’s life we are in.

We try and make sense of the swings. Forcing logic, listening for Mozart in a cat’s heat.
“Well, I gave her her medicine late.” “Oh, she didn’t get much rest last night.” “She’s reacting from the company. The pills… her lunch…I noticed when it’s dreary out she gets this way….” There is no rhyme; and reason left the building years ago.

There is just Betty. Betty who always gets her way then screams for help because we aren’t letting her do what she wants. She will let you know, she is NEVER coming back here once she gets home. And if you ask her, she hasn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday. She rolls her eyes at B when he calls her ‘Mom’ because she does not get why her husband is teasing her and why am I touching him? I sleep with the door locked and keep the knives at a distance. He is suppose to play along but pretending he is his father is too much. “Yes, MOM.” “What do you need, MOM?”…Then she looks at me and complains how B never comes to visit and asks again to call her husband.

Her husband. Up until his heart attack, my 79yr old father-in-law was doing everything on his own. Yes, they were in their own routine, and things have quickly deteriorated because that routine has been disrupted but still, a man more than B and my combined ages was taking care of this woman’s madness all on his own for years. Amazing. I have found notes around the house. “Gone to HEB. I love you, Bruce.” We know from him he tried to get all of his errands done while she was sleeping. We know from her, she was scared when she woke and he wasn’t there. It is something she says often in her confused searches, “He wouldn’t just leave and not tell me where he is going! Where is he!???” It has almost been three months.
And like clockwork, once Betty learns that her husband has died she immediately wants to call her parents. Doing some simple math you can see why this is problematic.

If it were merely Betty’s condition we were dealing with I could handle this better. I tell B if it weren’t his mother I could punch out and go home to get some sleep then come back to it with more enthusiasm. But then I remind myself if it were not his mother, we would be home.
We have help but the help has proven themselves unreliable and inexperienced be it private or through an agency. I am always on call. Just in the next room to come out and calm her. To dismiss the sandwich that is about to be made to prepare a real lunch. To stand over the caretaker to make sure she is being properly dressed, or being spoken to with the right tone.
I am tired. Tired of hearing what a wonderful thing we are doing. Tired of telling someone their spouse is dead. Tired of pretending this is the first time they have heard this. Tired of going through the same motions every night. There is a toll being taken. My eyes burn from crying this week. On Tuesday B and I were married ten months ago…
Sitting with the Hospice nurse as she fills our her paperwork, I cringe as Betty leans in to read…
Her nurse smiles and says, “We all do.” She is not wrong.

A negative thought

12 Jun

It is hard for me to be grateful for all that I have when I know that he is not and we have all the same things…But mainly each other.

Life with Betty

9 Apr

“Do you ever sleep?”
“I sleep when you sleep, Betty.”

She recognizes me, reaches for my hand, and on her good days gives me shit as any other mother-in-law would but she cannot tell you my name. And no, I do not sleep. I nap between the care takers’ shifts, periodically checking up to make sure they are more alert than I am, which sadly, even for the money, they are not. I had one pulled from our schedule and among the many apologies I received from the supervisors I found myself repeating a disgustingly PC phrase I learned when fired from a law firm last year, “She’s just not a good fit”, I said after a third phone call.

Think back to a time you have gotten out of bed to see why the t.v. was on in another room, or who was quietly closing doors or walking through the house. Usually it is a family member or roommate and all is well and calm. Betty forgets she was just up 15mins before and for hours will do this.

“It’s still light outside.”
“And it will be for the rest of the day, Betty. It’s morning.”

The most painful is when she forgets why we are here and asks for her husband. We relive his death in re-breaking the news.

Flipping her schedule has been hard. Something was lost in the days she stayed alone. Recalibrating her while orientating the care takers while taking care of B.

“Here is the vacuum, the cleaning products are in the usual places, under the sink, in the laundry room, under the bathroom sink as well. Please open the blinds last/first thing of your shift if it has not been done by the person before you. Do not give out any information. Do not small talk my husband. He is too polite to say he does not feel like being social. Do not worry about our laundry. If she asks to call her husband or where he is, the answer is he is gone but B and I are here, then please get us.”

Of all of this quiet chaos, I miss my husband. More than our house, more than my friends. I miss our privacy, laughing, our quiet time, lovemaking. I miss opening my eyes to feel rested. I miss when he didn’t remember his dreams. I miss when I could make everything better. But still there is no time to be sad, only more errands and appointments. Piling on the fatigue which seems to be never ending.

The Turn around Trip

1 Apr

B was busy packing for his ski trip. I was washing clothes and working my schedule to have a solid two days of quality time before he left on Sunday. I was excited for him because he will most likely never get me to agree to a winter vacation. It was a win win. He got to have some guy time on a cold trip and I was left behind to have Happy Hours and a something in the vault that I could cash in later. Loving as I am, I am still a woman.

Friday came. I had a tentative plan. A movie matinee, wine tasting at East End, and the little new green restaurant that had just opened up by our house, Farmacy…something rather. Lots of going out of town sex. Then Sunday morning I would take him to the airport, have a brunch, come home to watch Desperate Housewives, drink some wine and cry a little because that’s what I do when we are apart.
As the week carried on I would make him feel a little guilty for having fun without me, even though I told myself I wouldn’t because he really did deserve the trip, and I was sincerely excited to see him so excited. My husband. My world. But I also needed the time to myself. I had been working so hard the house was a wreck and I hadn’t seen my friends in a while. Not to mention, not getting much sleep.

Things had been slowly settling down since the break in. From what we gathered, it was some kid. A grab and go. I had just bought those pillow cases. The fucker pulled one off to empty the change bucket, my jewelry, and B’s grandmother’s silver. It wasn’t what they took but what they left us with, worry. To be honest, I think B took it harder than me. That feeling of helplessness. Of feeling safe in our home only to realize a sheet of glass is not much of a shield. Our charmed lives interrupted by the ugly of the world, but I suppose anyone willing to take such a stupid risk needed those things more than we will ever.
We got the window replaced and some motion lights. Up and down, B checked them over and over, yelling at the dogs, “Charli!!! YOU’RE RUINING MY TEST!”
We had been looking forward to SXSW so tried to act normal the same week when it came around. As if we weren’t afraid to leave the house. But again, things were settling and the trip was only a day or so away.

Eager to get home I ran out the back door from work. While at the longest light ever, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, then feverishly dialed B. His dad was in the hospital, our sister-in-law had posted. He had just gotten off the phone with his brother. Even after, he didn’t know how bad it was, but B never asks the right questions.
I got home, sent him to a friend’s with our keys so I could gather my thoughts. A few laps around the house wondering what to take with no idea of how long we would be gone or if he needed his suit. No, that was too morbid too soon, right? I had to have it all ready before he came back. I had to have my shit together and be calm before he came back. That’s what I do. That is my job. To know what to do even when I am clueless.
The dogs and our bags were loaded quickly enough. Thank God I had put gas in the day before. They had called the chaplain, his sister-in-law said.

The day B would have gotten back from his trip, we were unloading what we could fit of our city lives into his mother’s house. She hadn’t asked about where her husband was yet. That was just yesterday; over a week later. Her routine disrupted because that was HIS job. To take care of her. To know what to do when the rest of us were clueless. We have invaded her space on a promise that was made. Although we both knew this day would come, I knew in my heart sooner than later, even still, I thought we would have more time. I thought it would be different. I thought B would have some time to grieve. I thought we would have time to grow up a little bit more. There is no time for that. There has been no time to cry. Only in spurts does a heavy sigh turn to a choke to hold back the tears, but there is much to be done.