“You didn’t actually want to paint!” I said to Rob. The realization hit me suddenly, roller in hand, mid-roll, and I froze while paint dripped down my arm. I felt terrible.
“It’s fine!” he said, but then later he admitted, “I would have just left it. But I know you. You need it nice. So, we paint.”
How great is my guy? It hadn’t occurred to him to bother talking me out of painting the entire apartment, he just sucked it up and did it.
You may take this moment to stand up and applaud my husband for his awesomeness, thoughtfulness, and wonderfulness.
Later, he was all hugs and consoling pats on the back when I had a meltdown and could not paint another single stroke. After that, I was sent home to shower and relax while he spent the day finishing up by himself. I really hate moving, but since I have to, I’m glad to go through this with Rob. He is a good dude.
We painted two colors, a light slate blue that’s unusual but growing on me, and a color that I thought would be a hip modern camel-butterscotch beige, but what actually turned out to be a mustardy, baby-poop, project housing hallway tan. Bummer! I’m hoping that will grow on me, too.
The whole process of picking colors was frustrating and overwhelming. I’ve picked paint before and had both great success and horrible results. If I was doing it again, I would have borrowed the ENTIRE color deck selector from Home Depot rather than deal with traveling to Home Depot several times for a bunch of chips (at one point I had about 2 dozen different beige squares spread out on the floor of the new place and let Stu! pick what she liked; she told me to throw them all out and try again).
According to this article NYTimes, we are part of a growing trend of people that rent in NYC and buy in the suburbs. I wish we had thought of this before we spent months and months looking for something to buy here last year! We felt a little crazy taking this unusual real estate path, but it seemed like it made sense, and a year later, I’m excited about our decision. See? I do live and learn! Just not about picking paint colors.
I remember this feeling; it’s obsessive and nervous, frustrating and really annoying. I’ve taken for granted that I don’t have to deal with it anymore, it’s been nearly forgotten, and now it’s back. It’s different because everything is so different than it used to be, but it’s there. It’s not jealously, but it’s kind of close. I miss Rob. Here I am in my grandma’s couch in Connecticut and he’s not online and I don’t know where he is and I miss him and I can’t do anything about it and I’m frustrated. I can call, I guess, but that might spoil everything. I kind of like missing him.
OMG HE IMed ME! GTG!
I took an unscheduled blogging break because after the long weekend was over I was still recovering from the Fever and the Laying Around, so the most riving thing that happened is that the laundry piled up like woah and now I can’t walk in my living room with out stepping on dirty clothes. I went to the beach, though! On Memorial Day we kidnapped Nicole and drove to Coney Island where they have the official freak show and an unofficial one consisting of the riff-raff of Brooklyn that comes out of the woodwork to hang out in too-small bikinis on the boardwalk.
Yesterday Rob and I joined the march against Prop 8 through Manhattan. My feelings, of course, are, have always been and always will be that state-sanctioned marriage is a bad idea to begin with, but if it’s the only system in place to protect the families of homosexuals, I’m going to cheer for equal rights in the deeply flawed system. I’d love to change the system all together. Maybe one day.
Today is my second wedding anniversary. I know this because I wrote it down last week, after Rob looked up from writing on the calendar and said, “Do we have anything May 5th? I feel like we do.”
“I don’t think so, but it sounds familiar… hm. Nope, nothing on my calendar for that.” We racked our brains for a minute before it clicked. We just aren’t sentimental about it.
On Sunday night, my mother-in-law mentioned it excitedly, and asked if we had big plans. We didn’t. “Very romantic!” she said, sarcastically. But we don’t care.
There are Rob-related moments that mean a lot more to me than May 5. I remember the date we got engaged, April 22, and the date we first met, August 4. There another date I remember, too, but, you know, I’ll spare you, because if I told you the first time we decided to duet and it turned out to be your birthday, THAT WOULD BE AWKWARD.
I don’t remember all the important dates, though.
What I’d really like to remember, and can’t, is the first time I looked in my wallet, realized I didn’t have cash, and found his to take out a twenty. When did we become money stealing close? When did we reach the point that we started showering together occasionally for no other reason than to save time? How did I forget to take note of the beginning of the dictionary of inside phrases and jokes and songs we have? Shouldn’t I be celebrating the fact that he will always get out of bed and shut the window, or get me another blanket, if I’m cold? Furthermore, when was the first time he got out of bed, found wool socks, and put them on my ice cube feet for me so I wouldn’t have to stick my arms out into the frigid room to do it myself? I wish I thought to write that one down, because he does this on a fairly regular basis, and if that doesn’t deserve a party that what does? Also, when did it become ordinary to ask of each other, “Smell. Is my breath horrible? HAAAAHHHH!”? Because I really like that I can do that.
May 5, 2007 was fun, but it wasn’t what it should have been. Things I tried to make happen never materialized, and things that should have never, ever happened went on while I watched helpless (and no, Jen, it wasn’t you forgetting the ring!) I didn’t feel the way I should have felt, and if I could go back and choose between not having a wedding at all or having the wedding we did, I would have eloped because, in the end, there was only one thing I really cared about, and I would have gotten him either way. He was the best part of the whole thing.
(Well, him and that cake.)
In years past I’ve had a whole-hearted go at keeping kosher for Passover. I did it because Rob did, and I liked the idea of Jews all around the world doing the exact same thing together, just as they have for thousands of years. I’m not a fan of religion or symbolism, but I viewed this as more of a traditional thing, you know I love tradition*.
After thinking, though, and researching, I now see it more as a symbol of a religious commitment, and that changes things. It’s just taken so SERIOUSLY, and with a fervor that makes this decidedly un-religious lady really uncomfortable. I can get behind the spirit of keeping kosher for Passover for the sake of tradition (which for me would mean no bread, no cookies or cakes, etc.) but when the actual practice comes into play: inspecting labels for corn or peanuts, not eating peas or rice, making sure things with yeast don’t touch things that are k4P (even wrapped things), and a whole host of complicated, mind-numbing rules to remember**, and all in the name of keeping the big guy in the sky happy… that? I can’t get behind that.
In the Protestant branch of Christianity I was raised in, the concept of “the spirit of things” is a huge theme. In other words, if you felt that what you are doing in the eyes of God was alright, you were fine, even if other Christians didn’t agree. Protestant Christians are generally discouraged from looking down on one another for having different levels of observance, particularly in smaller matters. This is not true in what I’ve seen of Judaism, which bypasses the heart of the believer in favor of rules made up by an outside source.
All religions do this to some extent of course, and, of course, there are Jews who DO bend the rules to suit them and still consider themselves faithful. But this is not generally so (for instance, there is an enormous amount of criticism on President Obama’s White House Seder, which is being picked apart by several Jewish blogs I read).
Many find freedom in the bounds of religion. When I was told growing up I would “find freedom in Jesus”, though I never got how, exactly; the opposite always seemed so much truer. I am stunned when I see a Muslim woman wrapped head to toe as she walks about, with a peace in her eyes (the only part of her anyone can see) and a great deal of obvious affection for her husband. I just don’t get it. I respect it, I understand it intellectually, but I don’t get it.
The bottom line is, I’ve decided to skip keeping Kosher for Passover this year. I’m making k4P meals and treats for Rob, who feels differently than I do. As his wife and dearest friend, I want to help him do what he feels is important to the best of his ability, but I can’t participate anymore myself.
*I still love the Seder and festive meal (and hunting for the Afikoman)
**I can fully admit that, having been raised non-Jewish it is probably particularly difficult for me to do these things.
“Noooooo! I don’t want to!”
“You dragged me out of an event to come home. You claim you’ve never been sicker. You loose all rights to say ‘I don’t want to go to the doctor’ when you inconvenience me like this. Get dressed.” He throws me a handful of clothes, and I pull them on, pouting.
At the doctor’s office, I’m handed a thermometer. I place it so I have a good view of the reading as it goes up. 98.6 comes and goes quickly. It ends at 101.4: a fever. He gives me the world’s largest ibuprofen. “Oh,” I say, “I haven’t eaten.” He says it’s fine. “Really?!” I say. I was raised to believe that if so much as consider taking a single Advil without food it will eat through my stomach lining and give me horrible ulcers for life. He promises it will be ok. I take it and feel daring.
My ears are both infected. Rob looks triumphant; justification for him dragging me to the doctor is achieved! “Quit smiling!” I snip at him. He smiles bigger.
“Did your friend have mono?” the doc asks. Rob calls Tracy to see if that’s what she has. She is tickled by our random phone call, and reports negative on the mono. He draws blood for it anyway. Negative.
He pokes at my abdomen. Everything is fine until he gets to my spleen, which hurts so badly when it’s pressed I instinctively grab his arm and fling it off of me. Getting hit a lot as a kid makes me really quick to react rather violently if I’m hurt, even in a doctor’s office. I say I’m sorry, and so does he. Then pokes it half a dozen more times while apologizing, and I choke back tears.
He shakes his head. “I can’t explain it. You should go to the ER for a CAT scan. Better safe than sorry.” He looks truly concerned, and a lot like a handsome version of Andy Milder. These two things have always charmed me about this doctor, which, irrational as it may be, makes me more prone to listen to him, so I agree to go. (Not that the illness drill sergeant I married would have given me a choice.)
Rob worries about me, I worry about the waiting around I know we’re going to have to do, and we both worry about what this is going to cost us.
The girl who checks me in at the ER has a very inappropriate shirt on. Her belly and boobs are barely contained, and it’s distracting and unclassy. She asks me a variety of questions while I try not to stare and judge.
“Religion?” she asks and I’m caught totally off guard. “Um… none?” Then I think: Is this a good enough answer? I know why she’s asking: if I’m on the brink of death they’ll need to know which kind of religious leader to call to usher me into the great beyond. Later, I thought of so many other cool answers I could have given. When I started listing them to Rob he pointed out that the ER was not the time to start fucking with people, because he was playing Sensible Spouse that day. (We take turns.)
The triage nurse is cute and freckled. She asks me if I smoke or drink. I say no, and then go, “Oh, well! I mean, I drink, but not really, but I mean, a beer or two…” She nods and laughs. “I always catch people with that one!” I like her and start to think, “Ok, this is not so bad.”
The beds are set up in groups of two, and I’m lead to one with a sleeping woman in the other one. “Take off your clothes and put this on,” I’m told. Ugh. A hospital gown? I take off my shirt only and pull it on. Rob ties me up in the back, and I make him promise nothing is showing.
The nurse who comes to draw my blood either has one HELL of a hangover or the general personality of Velcro. I try to make her cheer up, because, for the love, if you’re going to shove something three inches into a major vein in my arm, you can at least crack a half-assed smile. Right?
Rob squeezes my foot and I talk to him about the dogs as she draws about four gallons of blood.
I look down after she leaves and am horrified to discover that she left the IV in my arm in case they needed more blood, or to start me on a drip. This is protocol for the hospital, but I was not expecting this, and it scared me half-crazy. I begged every doctor that came by after that to take it out, (they wouldn’t) and refused to bend my arm for the entire stay.
Rob distracts me from the IV with funny stories and corny jokes, and we giggle together. I move my arm and feel it, and I wince. He pats my shoulder. “This is that, ‘In sickness’ part!” I quip. He smiles. I smile. We both love when he is being husbandly and I am being wifely, even if the current situation is not exactly a trip to Disney World.
All non-patients are kicked out the ER so the doctors can do rounds. We tried to bargain with everyone to let Rob stay, but no luck. I start to sob, loudly, while three ER workers talked to me in soothing, condescending tones. Eventually he leaves, and I feel so scared and alone. We are like this, and having him there made me feel safe. Now I feel vulnerable. This has gone from not so bad to sucking the big one.
Three different doctors poked my abdomen (which stopped hurting so badly, even when I tried to make it hurt), and we decided on a few different things: a CAT scan for my spleen was too drastic. An ultrasound was better, less radiation. Then: No ultrasound, a chest xray was needed to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia spreading pain to my lower left abdomen. Eventually: an ultrasound AND an xray. I was wheeled (because I could not walk?!) to another room where the xray was, and left to wait, which I did glumly, with tears pouring down my face. Rob would be back, and not know where I went. When it was my turn, I told the tech I needed to talk to my husband and the doctor before the xray.
“What for?” he asked, in a really heavy Dominican accent, and in a tone that was really condensing and made me hate him instantly.
“I need to figure out if I can afford all of this stuff. Now I have to have two major tests done, and I want to find out how much they are first, and see if I can do one now and one later, or if I can skip one all together and if I can, which one should it be. So I will need to speak to my HUSBAND and THE DOCTOR before my xray.” I said all this while choking on my own tears, which made me feel like a weenie, but I was being as firm as possible. I don’t let myself get pushed into things, ever, even if I have to sob through standing my ground.
“Lady,” he started, and I saw red. Lady?! For real? Oh hell no you didn’t!
“Lady, this is the ER! Medicade will pay for it!”
“I. Don’t. Have. Insurance.” I said, and rolled my eyes.
“Well, someone is going to pay for it! This is New York! Just do what you need and figure it out later.” he said, chuckling. My inner conservative went batshit.
“I DON’T OPERATE ON THAT LEVEL! IF I HAVE A BILL I’M PAYING IT!” I would have gone on and on about how it’s that very attitude that is destroying the medical system in the United States, but I was fevered, and weepy and too freaked out about the stupid thing still stuck in my arm. And he was dumb anyway. I doubt he would have understood.
He slammed out of the xray room and went to the front desk where Rob heard him bitching about me. Asshole.
The cute Asian doctor heard me out and decided I could skip both tests and if something were to start bothering me, I should come back.
“One thing, though” he said “did we get a urine sample?”
Do you know how hard it is to pee, neatly, into a tiny cup while refusing to bend one arm?! I’ll spare you the logistics, but I did it. One word: Keagles. That sounds like a breakfast food, but it’s not.
He gave me a huge cup of water to drink to get my heart rate down before he would let me leave. When I came in it was 120, and the water took it to 74.
He took the IV out of my arm (FINALLY!) and we went home.
I’ve learned my lesson: don’t tell Rob to come home if I’m sick.
When our first flight landed, I Twittered that we were about to board our second flight in Atlanta to go on to Austin. My friend Krissi Twittered back, “I’m here too! Maybe we’re on the same flight!” It turns out we were, and when we compared seat numbers, she was in the seat next to me. Score! Rob was one seat behind. She offered to switch, but I refused. I love Rob, but he has a tendency on flights to zonk out and turn me into his human pillow. This includes occasionally reaching over in his sleep to “fluff” me. It’s kind of endearing, really, but it gets old, and I was running on two hours of crummy-quality sleep. I was not in the mood to be kneaded and smushed around for three hours, no matter how charming the smusher. Krissi was a much more un-evasive seat companion.
On another note, this is my last post as a twenty-six year old. And, (again), tomorrow, my podcast launches. Woo hoo!
My grandmother gave me a card for my birthday with a $50 tucked inside, and this charmed me. I was never excited about cash for gifts when I was in my late teens and early twenties because I felt a Responsibility To Spend It Wisely, and it kind of bummed me out. There would be something I’d want, but I knew I had car insurance due, and it never occurred to run up a line of credit (thank God). I’ve never been in debt, and I’m proud of that, but I also never spent my birthday money on something fun. I did this year, though. I ordered the yellow Bayan Hippo bag that I blogged about two days ago, and I have fifteen dollars left. I put it towards this, which is a little more expensive than $15, but it’s something I really want.
You may recall it being mentioned in my 2008 gift guide, under the section “For the Ladies to Wear”. I described it as “Hands down… my favorite item of all of gift guides.” Since then I’ve mentioned it to Rob about four times a month. I’ve also sent him the link randomly over IM in the middle of the day, and once, in video chat room with our friends, I showed everyone the link and said, “This is a really great necklace and I really like it and I hope that Rob buys it for me.” I would often pull it up on my laptop while we were side-by-side on the couch, elbow him, and say, “This is gorgeous! I want it.” We even got into an argument once, where he said, “If you want something, you shouldn’t hint at it! You should just say it!” and I was all, “Fine! FINE! I WANT YOU TO BUY ME THIS FUCKING NECKLACE!” He didn’t.
Today, I gave up and started to buy it myself, and as I was clicking, Rob wandered down from his lair office to take a break from editing audio.
“Look!” I said, all sassy “I’m buying this for my damn self!”
He squinted at the screen. “What is it?”
“The necklace.” I figured that was all the explanation he needed sledgehammering him with hints for so long.
“Which necklace?” he asked. “Can I see?”
He clicked to the bigger picture and shrugged. “Hmm. I’ve never seen this before. It’s nice.”
He’s dead now.
“There’s a special on flowers for Valentine’s Day!” said the local florist. We were walking by his shop, going home from the subway, and he was standing in the doorway. “$65 for a dozen roses!” he crowed, as if that was a great bargain. “Maybe I’ll see him in here for Valentine’s.”
Rob smiled and said, “Maybe,” and then when we were out of earshot, “You would kill me if I came home with $65 flowers!”
“I really would.” I said, and I wrapped my arm around him. I’m so glad he “gets it”.
Even if I had all the money in the world, I wouldn’t be down with spending that kind of money on something that will die in a week, and besides, roses are way too easy. I do love flowers, but not roses, really; I’ll take my flowers quirky, unique, wild and un-sprayed with pesticides. Cellophane-free. Real, natural grown, and not given out of obligation. Inexpensive, always, and presented with love. Like these.
I hung out with my little brother yesterday. I’m in a position where I can help him achieve SO much, but he doesn’t have the motivation to make even one step forward, and it freakin’ kills me! My uneducated parents didn’t do a good job in instilling the “you can do anything you put your mind to” thing in us; there were no long-term goals they shared with us, and there was no sense of “let us always strive to be better and press onward, through the most difficult, to the bright end”. It was always, “this is hard, I quit.” and “we deserve this luxury, even though we don’t have the money.”
I floundered around a lot when I left the house at age 20, and I didn’t so much pull myself out of it as marry out of it, which is marginally acceptable, but only because I’m a woman. My brother is still mired, and I don’t know how to say, “make one step and I’ll help you take over the world!” He’s a wickedly brilliant artist (his drawings, even the ones from when he was little, are jaw-dropping) and he wants to learn video game design and graphic design. Game design is about as hard to make a living at as fashion modeling is, but graphic design is not, and it’s a logical starting place for the long-term goal of video game designer. Sorry, snooze fest; my point is that, especially with the kind of natural talent he has, anything is possible, and Rob and I have about one bazillion friends in graphic design that would be willing to impart their wisdom to my kid brother, if only he were enthusiastic to learn.
In the meantime, I’m now trying to pull myself out of that whole mired mentality, too, because while I’m fine being married and living this life (which is really 90% Rob’s life), I’m not the person I want to be, and I’m certainly not the person that I want my children to become, which is forever my hallmark of success.
The Bible says women are to be man’s helpmeet, and I’m doing that, and loving it. (*kerBLAM!* That’s the sound of every feminist’s head exploding.) This wife thing, though? I’ve got it down cold. (Of course, I have the world’s most mellow husband to make it easy.) I need to do something else, too, in addition. But what?
I’ll keep you posted.