Sunday, August 29, 2010

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

She had so many children, she didn't know what to do!

The story of my life this week, it seems. Except for the "old" part. And the living in a shoe thing. Does living for shoes count? And while we are on the subject of shoes...Can anyone please explain this to me:


I mean, really? Really?! Some poor people out there believe that after years of blatant cheeseburger eating, combined with never stepping into a gym, that these shoes are going to miraculously make them "shape up". Shame on you, sneaker companies!

And shame on you lazy consumers. I know you've bought into the ridiculous claims these manufacturers are making because why else would you ever, ever wear these? Someone had the audacity to tell me, "Oh, they engage your core. I know it's working because my butt and calves hurt."

Of course they work, you idiot. It's called adjusting your gait.

Wow. Where did that come from? Joe would be so proud of me for taking such a stand (ha ha...get it? Stand...)

But I've digressed. I meant to talk about the children. And believe me, there are many. This week has been an embarrassing blur of kids' faces as they entered my classroom. I'm usually good at the name game, but my 6th and 7th period are HUGE. There are thirty-six kids in my largest class, which is the largest class I have ever taught.

I feel like I'll never learn their names. And with my listening issue I've mentioned before, that makes it doubly hard. This motivates me to attempt to name everyone as they walk through my door despite the fact that it highlights how inept I've been this year with this initial bit of memorization.


I look at a young man confidently. "Paul?"
He shakes his head with a smile. "Guess."
I crinkle up my nose. "No."
"It's Isaiah," Isaiah tells me. "Way off, miss." (sidenote: it took Joe and me 3 tries and a google cheat to spell this name.)
"They're both Biblical, aren't they?"

This is a typical interaction. The following is another way I've decided to deal with my issues:

I shake a student's hand, and say, "Paul."
Not-Paul looks at me, smiling, "Chris."
I shake my head decisively. "Nope. You obviously look like a Paul."
Paul-Chris walks in giving kids the look that says, Whatever, I'm a teenager. She'll never have an identity beyond the word "miss" anyway.

And when all else fails:

"Hey, Blue Shirt! Yes, you! Stop messing around with my scissors!"

Shameful. Absolutely shameful.

I am not the old woman who lived in a shoe, but apparently I have her memory. And if Joe ever tosses me out of the house (and he'd better not), I hope to reside in something a little more like this:

These'll kill your calves, too. And you won't have to look like Herman Munster, ladies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Loneliest Treadmill

There is a treadmill out there that is lonely. I keep meaning to visit it at the gym, but it hasn't happened once this week. I come up with lame excuses like, "It's too rainy to go to the gym. My sneakers will get too wet!" There's nothing worse than squishy sneakers and wet socks.

I've also managed to pull off the tried and true, "I'm getting back into the swing of things at work." This is not a complete lie.

But the poor little treadmill still remains unvisited.

Meanwhile, I've also neglected the Cuckoo's Nest. I realized it when Joe came home from work. I had dinner ready, and was reclining in his favorite chair (kindly keeping it warm for him). Joe sat down in front of the laptop and began to surf the net. This has become a habit--he is on the laptop constantly, looking up minute details and facts. For example, when I tied him down and forced him to watch the "Pride & Prejudice" mini series, he felt compelled to look up whether Pemberly was real or fictional. And to think this whole time I just accepted it as part of the setting and allowed myself to watch and enjoy the show!

I actually am going somewhere with this.

Joe sits down tonight, starts typing on the laptop (big surprise), and all of a sudden says, "You're behind on your blog, lady."

To which I reply, sighing, "I know. I'm just so busy this week." I look down at my crossword puzzle and say, "While you're on there, could you look up the last name of a baseball player named 'Rusty'?"

And Joe can't stop himself. "Oh,'re reeeeaaaal busy there."

You mean that cooking dinner, warming his recliner, and working crossword puzzles while listening to thunderstorms doesn't sound like a lot to do? I've been thinking about this. A lot. The first week back to school is tough. I've spent so much time trying to engage my students that I haven't been actively engaged in anything I want to do for myself. Things will settle, I'm sure, but I do worry that these gym sabbaticals I keep taking are getting progressively longer and longer.

And the poor little treadmill gets lonelier and lonelier.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

House Husband

Joe claims I have immasculated him.

In the World According to Joe, while I was "traipsing about town" today and "partying it up", he was stuck with the grocery shopping and house cleaning in anticipation of having a couple of esteemed dinner guests over. Needless to say, he was not overjoyed with me when I came home today and hollered, "Honey, I'm home!" Which I think is poop.

I was not traipsing. I know you were wondering. After all, I don't even know what traipsing technically looks like. I also didn't know that people honestly used the word "traipsed" anymore. It's a nearly extinct word, hobnobbing with the likes of "boudoir" and, well, "hobnobbing". I was actually sitting in a Weight Watchers meeting, secretly repenting for the dinner I was already planning on cooking for the aforementioned guests. I lost 1.4 pounds. I also used just as much butter in cooking dinner tonight, so I feel fairly confident today was a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of day.

As for the "partying it up", the party I went to involved a cake made of diapers, baby shower games, and fabulous gourmet cupcake--so if he was talking about the party in my mouth, he was correct. How I love thee, butter cream icing and sprinkles! And now that I realize that I ate a huge cupcake, a stuffed pepper, butter-saturated potatoes, French bread, and a butter-coated concoction disgustingly named a "Dump Cake", I'm actually filled with self-loathing for my lack of self-control.

Isn't that enough for you, Joe?

But noooo. He complained. With his eyes. With his grimace. With the sweat rolling off of his nose into the toilet he was cleaning. And he was pissed. Not because he was doing it, but because he was doing it all alone. Whatever did we do before we had eachother to share such misery with?

Oh, he got me back. He had a John Wayne movie on for what seemed like forever. When it was over, he put on yet another decades-old treasure featuring Paul Newman (*rawr*). It was payback. If the movie wasn't at least 50 years old, it wasn't going to play on our t.v. He kicked his feet up, cracked the whip, and said, "Cook for us, woman, now!"

And I did it like the little housewife I am. What goes around definitely comes around.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, the Shame!

It's a pretty sad state of affairs when my mother has to inform me about my mistakes in pop culture referencing on this blog.

Back when I gasped (sarcastically, mind you) at the fact that the Bachelor might not propose, Mom was kind enough to leave a voice mail for me telling me it was actually the Bachelorette. I sneered, oh excuuuuuse me at her as if I was too good to watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. There was definite attitude there, I'll admit it.

When I ask who the people from People and In Touch are, she is always the one to pipe in with the latest news. I usually shrug and give a social commentary on how I don't believe people should be famous for just existing (ahem, Heidi Montag, anyone?)

Then it happened again. Today I received a text message from my mother informing me that David Hasselhoff is no longer on America's Got Talent, and if I'm going to write about this sort of thing in my blog, I should get it right or run the risk of looking like a complete fool.

And she's right.

Even though I feel like I am in touch with music and movies, my television watching (specifically in the reality tv sector) has taken a direct hit since meeting Joe. Not that we don't watch television. I believe we watch too much, but the luxury of Hulu and Netflix have undermined our pop culture agendas. Err, my pop culture agenda, that is. Joe's isse has always been TCM.

For those of you not in the know (that would have been me before I met my hubs), TCM stands for Turner Classic Movies. They give John Wayne a lotta love. And Joe loves him some John Wayne. Since Joe met me, John Wayne has been curtailed quite a bit. This is not so much because of any distaste for the Duke, but really I can't stand the tinny background music, and the horrible child actors that seem to play a part of it all. It makes me crazy.

Reality tv, with the awesome exception of Jersey Shore, has also been all but been banned in this house, and frankly it's ruining my street cred.

So what do I do? I mean, when I mention stuff, I actually think I know what I'm talking about. But then my own mother has to bring me up to date on the state of the world, which is just sad. I envision myself furtively watching American Idol in the bedroom upstairs while I'm supposedly "taking a shower" or "on the phone", finger pressed on the channel button to switch to something less embarrassing at the mere sound of a floorboard creaking.

Oh, the shame of it all!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a Hassel!

The roast of David Hasselhoff was last night. I almost missed the whole thing, but I'm so glad I didn't miss the last half. As big a joke that Hasselhoff as seemingly become, I have to give him credit for hours of entertainment throughout my years.

Who can forget him as Michael Knight in Nightrider? I can't. Who can ignore what he did for the image of lifeguards and breast implants? Not me! And this final hour...oh, rarely gets better than that. What an awesome career. I'm not even being facetious. I mean, the man is still kickin' on "America's Got Talent." It never ceases to amaze me.

Speaking of hassles, school resumes tomorrow. At least for the teachers. Part of me is ready; the rest of me is trying to suppress a low whine of protest. When I stopped by school today, it was great to see people from my department. It was really great to see a few of my kiddos wandering the halls, even though I think they are crazy for willingly returning to school a week ahead of schedule. They seem to be on top of things.

I, however, am not on top of things. I have not accomplished many little home projects that I had promised myself (and Joe) that I would tackle. I have not yet crawled into the frightening caverns we like to call closets to organize them. That was supposed to be one of the first things I did. I have not worked out consistently. I have not read everything I was planning on reading. Apparently, this summer, I was all talk and no action.

Or was I?

Instead, I honeymooned in the Bahamas (admittedly, a high point). I spied on our ridiculous, toilet-toting neighbors. I watched the Food Network all day long, and watched my butt grow larger as a result. I joined Weight Watchers to fight the battle of the bulge (I'm still waiting to tell you about my success or lack thereof after next Saturday).

I went to classes to improve myself as an educator. I started to love writing again. I started a blog.

So, looking back on it, while this was not the most physical of summers, mentally it was a summer of first starts and fresh starts. Not too shabby, huh?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Say What?

I'm bad at listening. It's a problem, I know. While some people believe my issues are in the hearing department, I have decided tonight that the real issue lies somewhere between hearing and listening. And then, of course, it totally messes with repeating and telling.

For example, during my formative years, I honestly believed that I could coast through the "L-M-N-O-P" part of the alphabet song without anyone being the wiser that I was actually singing "elelomopee". Like I said, it's a problem.

Not only did I flub the ABC song (much to my present dismay), I actually got in an argument with a friend in eighth grade over the lyrics of the Vanilla Ice classic "Ice Ice Baby". I insisted that he was saying, "Ice ice baby, to hold, to hold" and that he "Flowed like a heartbeat daily and nightly." I still feel shame.

As an adult, I often find myself in auditory limbo. I make people repeat themselves on the phone two and three times even though I swear I'm trying to listen. I will often find myself saying things like "I can't hear your pitch" and asking them "was that even in English?"

The sad thing is, as I was complaining to Joe that he was in the middle of the bed tonight (and therefore in the path of my flailing right arm that has been punching him in the face lately), I found myself jokingly singing "I'm talking to the man in the middle" before I realized that I actually thought those were the words to the song!


Even more pathetic is the fact that my lyrical ineptitude in conjunction with the retardation of my hearing can only work against me from this point on.

First of all, Joe is in the music business. This means that he can know--with a great degree of certainty--when I'm messing up a song. What's worse, thanks to my tendency to overcorrect his grammar, he will definitely call me on it, and laugh at my expense. Which is what happened tonight.

Secondly, I could potentially mess up listening to something really important. For example, when I think I'm hearing Joe say "turn on Fox news now" what he could really be saying is "turn off Fox news now." Or when I hear him tell me "please don't buy any more shoes this month", he's probably really saying "please buy yourself shoes every month."

I shudder to think what I could have allowed to slip by me.

So now the cat's out of the bag, in a manner of speaking. Joe is probably going to read this, and then he will tell me "You even admitted you never hear things right", which I will inevitably hear as "I have to admit you're always right." This reinterpretation will clearly work to his advantage, making me glow, thereby loving him all the more.

And I will live blissfully on.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bereft of Bread...

Many weeks ago, while we were visiting Joe's parents, his father smugly passed a book across the kitchen table to Joe. I say "smugly" because I know that even though his father loves me, he knowingly gave Joe a book that would brainwash him into believing bread to be an evil thing.

I love bread. Let me put this more succintly: I love bread as much as I love Joe. Just as my life would never be fulfilled without Joe, it would never be satisfactory without bread. Or butter, for that matter. Or cheese. But mostly bread. And Joe.

I think you know what I mean.

It is for this very reason that Dr. Atkins and I have never really seen eye to eye. And now I have another diet guru to contend with. For about a month, Joe absorbed the tenets for Dr. Deny-Reagan-Bread's teachings. He would interrupt my own reading to tell me interesting tidbits from the book. For example, sardines are an excellent snack (barf), soy gives men breasts (very crucial to know and, in turn, avoid if you're a dude), and nuts and seeds are delicious and nutritious (hurray for good fats!). I actually have no issues with complying to a fair bit of the diet. Except the banishment of bread. Oh, and eating sardines.

So we stopped buying bread. We began speaking a new language, where we talked in tongues about buying organic and free-range and eschewing "Frankenfoods" and loaves of bread (sniff). And things were going well. Then, all of a sudden, I found myself sneaking back to the grocery store for crusty loaves of French bread to go with our soup. And, like the sinner he is, Joe ate it.

So imagine my dismay when he walked into the house today, smelled the butter browning on our bread, and declared that he would not be eating bread during the week anymore! I felt like the serpent offering the apple. I guess that would make Joe Eve.

The thing that kills me is that Joe is slim. He's got a kickin' metabolism and he works out all the time. If anyone should be able to have their cake and eat it, too, it should be him. And he squanders his powers! Meanwhile, I am likely to cave over a crouton. A crappy, store-bought one at that.

Let's face it. I'm not likely to ever give up bread. But the sardines you can have.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Other Woman

And so it begins again. This time of year that my husband feels the need--the compulsion--to fill a void that I apparently can't fulfill. No amount of wheedling or crying or tantrum throwing deters him.

I fling myself in front of the door, yelling, "No, not again! I can't take it anymore!" To which he laughs, and coldly replies, "You knew this was part of the deal from the beginning."

Can our relationship withstand this "other woman" with her witchy ways? She brings him satisfaction that I can't hold a candle to. He thinks about her when she's not not around, and looks past me to get a better glimpse of her when she's there. He blatantly worships the ground she walks on.

But how can I compete with a pro?

Football player, that is.

Yes, people, it's football season again. And it's stealing my man away. For the entire season, unless I have stats written across my forehead, I stand no chance whatsoever of getting Joe's attention Saturday through Monday. Unless I slather myself with hot sauce and pretend to be a hot wing, I won't even be on the radar.

I've decided it's good cardio for Joe, though. He jumps up and fist pumps Jersey Shore-style whenever his team makes a play he likes. He jumps up and down like an angry gorilla with his mad face on for plays he doesn't like. He becomes a walking emoticon all season long.

True, it is a nice diversion from Fox News. For a while. However, usually by Monday nights I find the sound of the cheering, screaming, paint-clad crowds (turned up to maximum volume, of course) to be as annoying as the vuvuzelas during the World Cup. And yes, all of my soccer ( friends, the vuvuzelas are super annoying to the unindoctrinated. They sound like a hive of bees.

I do realize I'm in the minority here on all counts.
So, it seems if I'm going to see Joe at all this season, I'm going to having to get more comfortable with football. I'm going to have to agree to a menage a trois with Joe and football and I'm going to have to pretend to enjoy every last tawdry, beer-saturated, television-screaming minute of it.
For the sake of my marriage.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Joneses

So we have these neighbors. I'll call them the "Jones" family. It's tough to keep up with them.

Joe literally turns purple trying to keep up with what they're up to because every time we come home, we are faced with a new surprise. Whether it's the flatbed trailer blocking half the driveway, or the poor little homeless-looking dog they like to allow roam around our busy cul-de-sac, the Joneses like to keep us on our toes (not to mention our property values down).

Do you smell garbage? It's the Joneses, kindly depositing their reeking trash bags out two days early.

Do you smell smoke? Perhaps it's the used barbecue coals they've been depositing down the weather drain.

Wait a minute....I think I smell something new...


The only thing that could possibly make this better for me is if I had a picture of one of us sitting on it and giving them the finger.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Attack of the Fluff

Hair. Everywhere.

This is not an unusual sentiment for me. After all, I have so much hair I look like I should be yearning for Zion. I get whipped in the face with my own hair on a daily basis. It deters me from braving windstorms (oh, so common in Houston) and even sadder, it makes me a liability in a convertible (actually more common in Houston).
I deal with my own hair very well. I don't strangle myself in the bath tub. I don't freak out about it while I'm sleeping. I'm at peace with my hair.

So here's what happened.

I decided I was feeling kinda fluffy today, so I decided to work out in our upstairs room. I put on the Kettle Bell DVD, and laced up my sneaks real tight. I meant business. I flailed around awkwardly, yet triumphantly for about 40 minutes. I looked something like this:

Don't be jealous.

Then I went down to the carpet for ab work. I was feeling victorious. And then I felt it. Fluff all over my face...My sweat was a veritable magnet for it. I wiped my face to get the fluff out of my right nostril, but I had more fluff on my hand and only made it worse! I turned red. I snorted. I coughed and sneezed. I made it five whole minutes before I cried mercy and hit the showers. And the whole time I knew who the culprit was, and it wasn't me!

Observe the face of true evil.

It actually felt as if she had rolled around all over the floor. Since I don't have a picture of that, I have doubled this image for effect. Please imagine her shedding all of her pelt--twice--onto our carpet.

I went from a happy Reagan to an itchy, dismayed Reagan.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Bummer

It's bumming me out that summer is almost over. The irony is, I keep wishing that summer would end so it wouldn't be so hot. It makes my brain melt--not unlike the dubbed copy of Jon Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" tape I carelessly (irreverently) left baking in the car when I was sixteen. I'm clearly warped.

Aside from the debilitating heat, I truly am a bit despondent over the demise of summer '10. It was too short for being such a momentous summer. After all, in the history of my life, this summer is a whole chapter--the summer I got married. This summer has been a pretty big deal for me as a result.

For that reason I want to hang on to this humid, dehumanizing season for just a little longer. What can I say?--I'm masochistic that way. This summer is like a tangible learning curve. Not only do I get to use it as an opportunity to recharge and refresh for the school year, but this particular summer I was supposed to find out the "rules of engagement", so to speak. And since I'm not even close, I find myself acting like the kids I teach. I cry out to the powers that be, "I'm not ready yet!" or "I just need a little more time to figure it out!"

Which is exactly the reason I need to chronicle this adjustment--er...journey. There's no way I'm going to figure out the dynamics of this new role--this relationship--in a summer, a year, or even a decade. It's like a secret of the universe that we need to figure out for ourselves.

So, as the seasons trudge past me, it feels as though summer has elbowed me in the gut. It's the bullying season. It flirted with me around June, winking and smiling. Now, come August, it's laughing at me and showing me its backside.

This summer was the best summer of my life. It was also the fastest. Poo.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Two Budgeteers

Ah the dreaded sit down. The moment of truth. Er...moments. The night you actually, finally, sit down as a couple and work the budget. I remember this guy I used to work with, Andre. Andre was a cool guy, and singlemindedly focused on getting a financial leg up in the world. He was a newlywed, and a devotee of Dave Ramsey. During our thirty minute lunch break he would adjourn to his car, kick back the seat, and munch on a sack lunch as he listened to Dave Ramsey on the radio. At the time, I had a significant amount of debt, and I wanted to be as disciplined as he was. He was almost out of the woods. When I asked him about his path to financial perfection, he enthusiastically regurgitated Ramseyisms. I was impressed, not just with the fact that he was doing this, but that his wife was handling it so well. The thought of being told I couldn't go shopping by a husband was enough to make my armpits sweat a little and my heart palpitate.

"Oh, there were tears," Andre chuckled a bit ruefully. "She was reeeeaaal upset about cutting her shoe shopping money off, but she got with the program." I chafed at the thought.

Let's face it. For my entire adult life, these size seven and a halfs have never felt the pinch as far as budgeting goes. I've never, ever considered not shopping. It's a sad thought, indeed.

And so far, Joe has been understanding of the fact that girls tend to cost more than boys. He seems to let it go without saying that I'll blow through some back to school dough, and then again at Christmas, and well, AGAIN at the beginning of summer. However, as we fill in our expenses on the budget spreadsheet, it becomes glaringly obvious that I am the big spender in this relationship. I cringe as I tell him how much a haircut costs. I wince as I concede that I don't need pedicures. I groan audibly when I add up the miscellaneous $2 Starbucks charges to find out that I have literally drunk $14 dollars a week--and they aren't even alcoholic!

The thing is, I have always been a "yes" person. Yes, I want to go out. Yes, I want a cute new skirt I don't need. Yes, I want to go to the Lady Gaga concert even though I can't stand her. Yes, yes, yes....I love the sound of the word. I like new experiences and doing fun things. I believe in the power of "yes".

Joe is a "no" man. The reality check. While some people might find this to be confining, I need that system of checks and balances. It's important we keep our goals in mind. It's important to realize that Starbucks doesn't grow on trees. He and I work toward a common goal, and I know that if I continue to buy whatever I want, we may never get into a house.

And I want a house! I want one badly enough that I now have to think before I spend, and that sucks a little bit. However, I also feel a sense of freedom in being able to say "no" to myself a little more. While I squirm at the idea of asking someone else if they're okay with me purchasing something, it also speaks to the fact that I'm not in this alone anymore. Consideration for my teammate, and vice versa, is part of this deal I signed up for.