I don’t really have a bucket list. Although I have written about NOT having one.
But of course, there are things that have been floating around in my brain that I know I’d like to do someday. And also of course, I’d like to do them before I die, since I think it would be hard to do some of them after I die. Although perhaps getting my novel published might be easier when I’m dead.
I’d like to see the Grand Canyon. My husband has been there. He knows I’d like to go too because I might have mentioned it a few (hundred) times. He has no objections to going again. But he’d like to drive out there. From Connecticut. In a camper. A camper is NOT on my list of things I’d like to experience. Maybe he could drive out and meet me. I’ll be staying at a bed-and-breakfast.
And I’d like to see “Carmen” and “Madame Butterfly.” My husband accompanied me to the opera once – to see “Tosca.” And he liked it. If I remember correctly, he said, “I’m really glad I got to experience that. I don’t care to experience it again.” So any future opera excursions will have to be with a girlfriend. It’s for the best.
I’d like to meet a movie star. Not just “How do you do?” as I said to Helen Hayes back in the 70s. I’d like to sit down and have a conversation with someone super famous – the kind of person that everyone else just turns around and stares at. I don’t want it to be an idiot though, so it has to be someone SMART and famous. So that probably really limits my choices. I’m leaning towards Steve Martin for some reason. I think he would be fun to talk to. I wouldn’t object to Ralph Fiennes. I have no idea if he is smart but I’d make an exception in this case.
One other thing I’d like is to have a perfume designed just for me. It would suit me so perfectly that it would make people smile when they walked by me. And I’d feel serene all the time. You could make a left hand turn from the right hand lane directly in front of me and I wouldn’t even mind. I could read sentences with “your welcome” and “back in its’ own place” and “I win, you loose” and my head wouldn’t even explode.
A few evenings ago my husband and I were driving through town, and I was enjoying the Christmas decorations in all the yards. I don’t like big bouncy blow-up things – and they always seem to be half-deflated and vaguely reminiscent of used condoms. But I like lights, especially little white lights. I’m confused though by the proliferation of lighted deer. They are kind of pretty, but I’m not sure what they signify. I mentioned this to my husband, and he said he thought they were reindeer. Which makes more sense, but to me they look more like Bambi than Blitzen. And I remarked that it would seem more Christmas-y if they were camels.
And I started to think about camels. And I realized something.
“You know what I would really like?” I said to Hubby.
To go to the Grand Canyon?” he guessed.
“Yeah, that too. But I would really like to ride a camel.”
“Is this some long-standing desire you’ve had since you were a little girl?” he asked.
“No. It just popped into my head. But now I really want to do it. I want to ride a camel.”
“They spit,” he said.
“Not at me.”
I smell too good.
All my adult life, I have been a decision-maker.
When I was a little girl, my hand was always raised in class. In fact, I was usually jumping out of my seat in my enthusiasm for answering a question. Any question: Where is Mexico? When was the French Revolution? What time is lunch? Having two older and very smart sisters – it was not always easy to get my voice heard. But I was a determined little shit.
Some folks think that kids become obnoxious know-it-alls when they get too much attention and praise for any tiny accomplishment. And that is certainly one way. When kids constantly hear how wonderful and amazing they are because they can eat and walk and poop, it’s no surprise when their tone-deaf little selves expect to be the next American Idol.
But I know that there’s another path to Obnoxious Know-it-All. The path of insecure but competitive little sister. That’s the path I took. You may think it’s a road less traveled, but believe me, a lot of
bad bosses executive decision-makers have arrived via that route.
How I wanted to go first in a game. To win one once in a while. To watch the TV show I wanted. To pick out the Christmas tree. To have a teacher say “Wow – You got all the brains in the family.”
When I was sixteen my parents moved and I switched to the high school on the other side of town. No one knew my sisters. (Except for one teacher, who had taught my oldest brilliant sister. And often remarked that I was nothing like her. Oh well.) I was me. I was in no one’s shadow. But to my astonishment, my light didn’t pop out dazzlingly from under its bushel. It turned out that I still was an average skinny high school wallflower.
And college wallflower. Although during class discussions I still about jumped out of my chair waiving my hand – anxious to have the professor notice me. And then I went back to the dorm and studied some more.
But then… but then! I got a job! And I was good at it. Who knew that a debit and a credit would make sense to an artistic, sensitive little English-major hippie? And once in a while the boss said, “What do you think?” To ME! Well, ‘What I Think’ had been bustin’ to jump out and take over. I could tell people what to do and how to do it. And I sure did.
I’m not mean. I try very hard to respect people. I’m tactful (mostly). I forgive mistakes. I look for the best in people. My parents – (and my two big sisters as well) – were examples of genuine kindness that helped me more than all my education and hand-raising to be a decent boss.
But I DO like to be in charge. I DO like to decide what to do. I DO like my suggestions to become The Rule.
At work. And at home. I’m The Boss. I like power. I like having my way.
Or rather, I DID.
I don’t want it any more. I don’t want to be the boss. I don’t want any more responsibility. I no longer wish to decide.
Last week my twenty-year-old cat went into a serious decline. We could see that he was suffering. My husband said, “What do you think?” The very words I used to relish.
And I said, “I think it’s time to help the poor old guy into his next life.”
And I no longer wish to decide.
Yes, I take it all back. Every complaint about living with my husband, that is.
Because I was just reminded of another roommate I had long, long time ago. My first college roommate.
Let’s call her Blanche. (I thought about calling her Repulsa, but let’s stick with Blanche.)
And what brought Blanche back to mind after all these years?
Well, a dear friend of mine told me today that he was having a small set-back in his recovery from hemorrhoid surgery.
And I simultaneously thought: ”Yuck” and “What a pain in the ass” – and that just led me right to Blanche.
When I first arrived at UConn, I was so excited – a campus, a dorm, a roommate – how cool was that? (especially after a year of night classes, and then commuting to the local little branch of the university) I arrived a day early, and had dinner that night with the other early-birds in my dorm. When I mentioned to them that my roommate Blanche had not yet arrived, one of the girls gave me a look that was full of pity. Then she caught herself, and said that Blanche was her roommate the previous semester. She said that they didn’t especially get along, but that Blanche was a nice girl. Nice try.
But I was determined to find the best of Blanche. We would be great roomies!
And then I met her.
Blanche hated all the dorm food. It was so beneath her. She never ate such garbage at home. She told me this while munching on her favorite snack – PixyStix. Straws filled with flavored sugar. She ate them daily. By the dozen. While reading romance novels.
Now I have nothing against romance novels. But Blanche read romance novels while I studied. I was a serious student. I studied from 7 to 11 every night. Blanche read novels. At at eleven, when I turned off my light and went to bed, she took out her books to finally study. 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Slurping on the sugar straws.
When she wasn’t having her alternate snack.
I’ve never been that crazy about chewing gum. But I found that sometimes it helped keep me awake when I was reading my medieval history text. You may think that I am about to complain that Blanche snapped her gum. Nope. Blanche thought gum was a waste of money. “I don’t know why you would bother to buy gum,” she said. “When I feel like chewing on something, I just chew on a Kleenex.” (yes, you read that right.)
And she was messy. Those Pixystix were everywhere. (I’m not sure what happened to the chewed Kleenex – perhaps she swallowed it. Or stuck it to the bedpost for the next night.) We had so much sugar on the floor, I warned her that we would have roaches if she didn’t cut it out. And she admitted that her boyfriend would not sleep over because her bed was always full of crumbs. Did that make her feel humiliated? Apparently not.
Blanche came from a family that was once rich and successful. They made some terrible investments, and were now getting by through sponging off wealthy friends (and moving often). Blanche’s tuition was paid for by Blanche’s politically-connected godmother – who was the recipient of a tearful plea, with the school’s past-due notice attached.
So they had fallen on hard times. Who am I to judge? I tried to empathize. But it was just a teensy-bit ironic that Blanche was ashamed of her boyfriend’s mother. “She works in a factory,” Blanche complained. I politely suggested that perhaps it was admirable for a single mom to work so hard in a factory so that her son could go to college. There was no shame in parents who were moochers, no shame in a bed too gross for her boyfriend – no, there was shame because his mother punched a clock.
Have I grossed you out enough? Wait, there’s more.
Blanche’s bathroom habits were the talk of the dorm. No one wanted to be at the next sink while she pretended to brush her teeth. And she saw no reason to actually bring a bathrobe when she took a shower. So we saw way more of her than we wanted. But we didn’t really see that much of her in an actual toilet stall. Blanche told me, “Bowel movements are disgusting. That’s why I only go once a week.”
I did actually feel bad for Blanche one night. She had an important party to attend. She had a velvet dress in her trunk in the storage area of the basement, but when she went to retrieve it, she found that her trunk had been vandalized - and the contents scattered all over the floor. Her velvet dress was very dirty. By this time, I had practically drawn a line on the floor so she wouldn’t come anywhere near me or my things. But I couldn’t help sympathizing with her poor dress. “Do you want me to see if I can help you clean it up?” I asked. “Maybe we can steam it in the shower.” But she refused my help. “I already took care of it,” Blanche said. “I sucked on the worst of the stains until they came out.”
That’s when I asked for a new roommate for the next semester.
And that’s why living with an eccentric husband is really an easy delight.
And do you know what I disliked most about Blanche?
Her boyfriend was really cute!
Their contributions to blogging are never-ending.
Just yesterday, I wrote so sincerely about the sweet decency of the man. (“My Husband Secures His Spot In Heaven”) Yes, he is heaven-bound. He is a saint.
An annoying saint.
Yesterday, I also said I would be back to laughing at his eccentricities today. And I figured that I would pull up one of my old posts – and there were so many to choose from. (“Let Me Hint Louder” “Cutting The Cheese” “I Solve Life’s Neurological Mystery” - I can go on and on.)
But I don’t have to re-blog an old post.
He’s even quicker than I thought he would be.
Because last night I made a very nice anniversary dinner – well, okay, I warmed up very nice Thanksgiving leftovers. I had turkey and stuffing in gravy, and some butternut squash and cornbread pudding. And he loved it. He was very appreciative.
Now he doesn’t exactly say, “Can I help with the dishes?” No – he always phrases it, “You don’t need me to dry anything, do you?”
And I said, “No, I’m okay – I just have the skillet, and everything else can go in the dishwasher.” But then I turned around and saw that I had the big heavy casserole dish from the squash. It wouldn’t fit on the drainboard, with the skillet there. So I hollered (in a very sweet way) to Hubby in the den, “I can use your help after all – to dry the casserole dish.”
“No problem,” he said.
And he ran to the kitchen (well, he almost ran), and he grabbed a clean dishtowel and took care of that heavy slippery dish for me.
Today is my wedding anniversary.
Twenty-two years ago – (to the disbelief of my family who had given up all hope) – and to my own surprise as well – I walked down the aisle of a pretty church and married a sweet crazy person. And I am still surprised (and happy and thankful and even relieved) today that we got married and that it has worked out this well.
I have a multitude of posts that poke fun at my husband’s eccentricities. I tell myself that it is never mean-spirited – it’s just a loving sort of teasing.
And it is extremely therapeutic.
I’ll post one of my funny-husband posts tomorrow. But for today, here’s a poem I wrote several years ago in honor of my husband’s decency.
My Husband Secures His Spot In Heaven
I am greedy for warmth.
Born in February, born cold.
Cold hands cold feet
Cold heart, according to an old flame
I thought I had loved well.
Tom makes heat.
It seeps into my side of the bed
Comfort to my bones.
I am the moon poaching the light from his sun.
The phone rings.
Jeff’s wife, two doors down.
He’s fallen again
In the transfer from wheelchair to bed.
Tom dresses in the dark.
It’s a quiet street. In the summer he has gone over in his underwear.
But tonight it’s freezing.
He puts on the clothes he has dropped by the rocker
Not so long before.
They might still be warm.
He carries his shoes as if I were asleep.
As if he believes the pretense.
Tom is squeamish.
More than most. Just words make him swoon
Should someone say surgery
Or syringe or
Jeff has bedsores and diapers.
Tom can’t look.
He picks Jeff up, carries him to bed
Tries not to look.
Thanks, says Jeff, also not looking.
No sweat, says Tom, although he is.
The sheets are fickle.
It takes only minutes to forget him.
They grow cold.
I hear Tom’s steps on the porch.
I hear the water running.
He washes. He coughs. He washes more.
He gets back in his side of the bed.
I have no warmth to spare for him.
Poor bastard, he says.
This Thanksgiving, I am not only thankful for all the wonderful things I have – I’m thankful for all the things I don’t want.
I have always been the type of girl who wants everything she sees.
I consider this an asset.
If I like everything, then it means I am really easy to please, right? Just think of how easy it is to buy me a gift, when I like a pretty notebook just as much as diamond earrings. (Okay, that may not be the best example.)
Of course, as easy as it is to buy me a present, it is dangerous for me to go shopping for myself. It is all so beautiful, I want it all. In every color.
When I got my first professional job, I also took a part-time job in a clothing store, so that I could buy some nice new clothes for my “real” job. Not only did I love all the stuff I normally love – I’d help a customer and she’d try on something I wouldn’t have considered – and I would see how cute that was too. And so I bought all my own taste in clothes and everybody else’s as well. The day I quit, I told my manager I just couldn’t afford to work there anymore.
And now that you can shop without ever leaving your house, well…now I want stuff that I have never even seen. And I can love stuff from all over the world. My desire is endless.
Because now that I am sort of mature…I have actually found a few things that I don’t want.
I am as interested in staying young as the next person – (okay, quite a bit more than the next person). But my idea of young is not exactly the History Room at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Nicole Kidman is a very beautiful woman, but I think she might be just as beautiful if her forehead …um… moved.
Otherwise known as tattoos. I love makeup. I wear it every single day. But I don’t want my eyeliner inked in permanently. For God’s sake, Styles CHANGE. How silly would I look now if I had my Twiggy lashes tattooed under my eyes in 1968? Yes, I have to put on my makeup every single day. But you have to be pretty lazy to think it’s too much trouble to draw a little line on your eyelids in the morning.
A STAR NAMED AFTER ME.
I can’t tell one star from another – even the famous ones. But you can now buy one of the insignificant stars and have it named after you or a loved one. I may be naive - but even I don’t exactly believe that those star-registry websites sell you a star, and don’t sell the same star to a
boatload rocketshipload of other fools who wouldn’t know the difference.
- Yes, see that star over there – that little dot next to all the other little dots – well that one is named Nancy.
- Ja, siehe diesen Stern dort – die kleine Punkt neben all den anderen kleinen Punkte – gut, das mann mit dem Namen Heidi.
- Si, ver esa estrella alla – que pequeno punto al lado de todos los otros pequenos puntos – asi que uno se llama Consuelo.
I love all my little kitties. And if I had a dog, I would love my doggie too. I don’t have a dog only because I came to my senses just before I walked out of the Agway with Bob, the no-tail little rescue mongrel that was blackmailing me with those big sad eyes. But as much as I baby all my cats, I don’t dress them up. They don’t have Halloween costumes or Santa suits. Shit, they don’t even have store-bought toys. I tend to wad up a piece of paper and say, “Here’s a ball!”
I have a friend who has a magnet on her dishwasher. It has a little arrow that points to “Clean” or “Dirty.” I admit that my husband calls me at work to ask ”Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?” So yes, those phone calls might be prevented. Instead he would call to ask “Is the arrow pointing to ‘Clean’ right?”
Yes, the wave of the future is tweeting your resume. I had a hard enough time getting my resume to two pages. Future resumes (and hiring decisions) will be based on 140 characters. Good thing I am close to retirement age.
(I promise I will be silly again in a few days, but I’m somber today.)
One night over dinner, about thirty years ago, my father was feeling philosophical. He started talking about events that happen in your life that change you. Not just for a while, or in some superficial way – but change who you are.
He told me about how his sister’s husband had died suddenly of a heart attack – which I remembered had happened when I was about nine. That would have made my father still in his thirties. He said he was the one who had to tell my uncle’s mother that her son was dead. He said it was the most difficult thing he had ever done, and that it changed him forever.
I asked him what he thought were the three most life-changing events in his life.
Dad thought about it for a minute and said, “World War II, marrying your mother, and having you kids.”
Not a bad answer.
Interesting though that here was a man who fought in a war when he was just a kid, and earned two purple hearts, and I’m sure saw some horrific things – but telling an old woman her son was dead was harder.
And Dad asked me what my three most significant events were.
Now I was only in my early thirties – still not married, still struggling to find a career. I hadn’t really experienced that much of life.
But I didn’t have to consider it for long. I knew what events had changed me.
“The Vietnam War, The Beatles, and Kennedy’s Assassination.”
My father scoffed a bit at my mention of The Beatles.
But I defended my choices.
Those events – including the phenomenon that was The Beatles – transformed the way I looked at the world. The Beatles changed our culture – they made it possible young people to question the status quo. And I did. Vietnam made me question what adults were telling me. I understood for the first time that important people can be wrong. People with power lie.
And the first change of all was Kennedy’s assassination. I adored Kennedy. His death was the most shocking event I had ever experienced. And I experienced it in my home. His death was personal. Evil was in my living room. I saw Oswald murdered. I was twelve.
It has been fifty years. Those days in November are as clear to me as when I was that little girl – stunned and bewildered in front of the TV. The person that I am – the one who always needs to know WHY – was formed on November 22, 1963.
I wrote a poem recently for my other blog, With Resistance. And today, it seems appropriate to share it with you.
KENNEDY WHEN I WAS TWELVE
The old Sylvania
Had three channels
Though one was ghosted
It didn’t matter those few cold days
They were the same
Speaking softly over repeated images
I stood more than sat
Before the grainy pictures
My hands to my mouth
When the accused was murdered
In my own living room
I decided it didn’t happen
Threw out the papers
Burned the scrapbook
On Main Street that summer
I stopped before the record store
Where in the window
The President’s photo
Framed in black
This is too long I thought
For my dream
And so he died for me
And not November
I have just about everything I want. And most of the stuff that I don’t have – well, it’s just because it hasn’t worked its way up my priority list yet.
I have a nice house, nice car, a very nice and very big wardrobe (and a nice big closet in my nice house to hold it all). I have every face cream and blush and concealer. I have perfume and fabulous jewelry – thanks to my nice hubby. And books and art supplies.
Sometimes I wonder what else I might want if I had a really really big wad of money.
I don’t want to win this wad in the lottery or anything. No. I want to DESERVE it.
How would that happen?
Well, here’s a totally realistic scenario: In my novel (that I’d love to find an agent for - hint, hint), Oprah Winfrey plays a small role. She performs a small but sweet act of kindness. And here’s the fantasy part: My novel becomes a best seller. But that’s not what gives me my fortune. No. It’s Oprah. She reads my book (she’s an avid reader, as you know), and she is so pleased with her little part in my plot-line, that she gives me a ton of cash. Let’s say One Billion Dollars. (She’s very rich, as you also know.)
Totally possible, right? And of course I’d do all those altruistic things that all the Miss America contestants would do: Feed the Poor, Fund Cancer Research, Protect the Bunny Rabbits, etc. But Oprah wants to make sure that I keep some of the billion just for myself. She stipulates that I must keep 5% to spend on me. That’s fifty million. That’ll do.
So what would I do with fifty million dollars?
One thing that really rich people have that I envy is good art. I used to live in a town whose public library would loan art in addition to books. I would take home a painting (well, a framed print of a painting) and prop it up on my kitchen table. And I’d look at it over breakfast for the three-week loan period, and then trade it for another one. I had Renoir and Modigliani and Winslow Homer. But if I loved breakfast with these copies, imagine how nice it would be to have REAL art with my cheerios.
Here’s the one I would especially like:
This Gauguin – that has enthralled me since I saw it in a book at twelve (just when I was waiting for breasts of my own) – is absolutely perfect for my next expenditure.
Because I want a house in Tahiti. I love tropical islands. Not that I have traveled much. But I did do my student teaching in Puerto Rico. And I just went to St. Lucia for four days. And I saw “Mutiny on the Bounty” when I was that impressionable 12-year-old who discovered the Gauguin painting shortly afterwards.
So I’m buying a house on the beach in Tahiti.
And I would never want to be lonely. I’d pay for all my family and friends to come and visit any time they want.
And my husband can have a boat. He’s always wanted a boat. I’ve never wanted a boat. I had a boyfriend once with a boat. He mostly just worked on it. We seldom went out on it. It was a waste a money. And marinas smell. My husband doesn’t even have good sea legs. I don’t think he’d use his boat much more than my worthless old boyfriend did. But with $50 million, hubby can have one. He can work on it all he wants. He doesn’t have to take it out on the water. He can even just look at it. I’ll be on the beach.
And that takes care of the big stuff.
But you know what else I’d like?
A chauffeur. It’s not that I hate to drive. It’s that I hate to park. I’d like someone to drive me to shopping or yoga or zumba or hair appointments (But not to work. As soon I take delivery on the billion, I’ll retire instantly, thank you very much.) My chauffeur will drop me off and pick me up. And I will never have to parallel park (or even parking-lot park) ever again.
Now you may be wondering why I wouldn’t – with all that loot – just have the yoga instructor come to me. Because I like class. I like to see what everyone else is doing. Mostly to make sure that I am not the worst one in class. Or if I am the worst one, at least I want to make sure that everyone better is at least younger. So that I am the best one (or not the worst one anyway) for my age.
But the hairdresser can come to me. That might be okay. Because the other thing I would absolutely spend big bucks for is great hair. Don’t get me wrong. I love my hairdresser. She is smart and fun and she does a good job considering the pathetic cowlicky wreck that I was born with. But how I would love Fabulous Hair.
Maybe Chris McMillan could do my hair. He does Jennifer Aniston, Diane Lane, Anne Hathaway, Sarah-Jessica Parker, and Jennifer Lopez. But he also does Jim Carrey, which would probably be really good experience to have before you try to do me.
And I’ve done the math. Even if I spend $1,000 per week on my hair – every week – and live to be 100 – the total I would spend on my hair would be $192,400. That’s only 3.8% of the $50 million that Oprah is giving me for spending money. You can’t get much more frugal than that.
And I want flowers. Fresh bouquets of flowers in every room.
A while back when I had a brief (18 months) try-out of early retirement, I had fresh flowers on the kitchen table every day. I didn’t have much money, but I allocated $20 per week for flowers. I could certainly do that now if I wanted. But working again made me too busy to remember. In summer, when I can just go out and cut some flowers from my garden, I still usually forget.
So I want flowers. Every day. And not just on the kitchen table. I want a bouquet in the bedroom. And in the bathroom. How lovely that would be?
And finally – there’s just one more thing that would make make my life perfect.
I want handmade shoes. Made just for me. I’ll fly to Italy and have a chauffeur bring me to a little old shoemaker (since I won’t want to park on those narrow streets). Old Giuseppe will measure me with infinite care, and make my perfect shoes. They’d fit my oddball feet. My bunions. My knuckly, spatulate toes. They’d be even more comfortable than the $5.00 flipflops I bought in the drugstore ten years ago, which to date have been unsurpassed for their flawless fit.
I’ll have them made in every color.
The day after the wedding I attended in St. Lucia, we were literally knee-deep in mud (at the volcano) when the bride started a sentence with “My husband….” She stopped mid-sentence and said, “That sounds weird.”
If she thought it was weird in her mid-twenties, think about how weird it was for me – marrying as I did at forty. (almost forty-one, but let’s keep it at forty.) I had never thought those words – “My Husband” – would ever be part of my vocabulary.
After the initial weirdness, I liked the way it sounded. “My husband.” Yeah, I thought, I got one of those. I sprinkled it liberally in all my conversations.
It felt a little like I had joined some popular club. It certainly wasn’t a very exclusive club, but one that I thought would never have me for a member. And I had been all right with that notion (staying out of the club) for a very long time. In fact the longer I had been single, the more I appreciated the freedom of it.
But when I joined the Married Ladies Club, and got to say stuff like “My Husband” and “My In-Laws,” I found I enjoyed being in that sorority quite a bit. I especially liked saying “My husband’s job” – by which I meant: taking out the trash, shoveling snow, and killing bugs.
Yes, “My Husband” felt very pleasurable making the trip across my lips.
After several years, I found that the phrase “My husband” was gradually being accompanied by something else. Usually an eye-roll. You know the context: “My husband ate the cake I made for the party.” “My husband bought me pot-holders for my birthday.” “My husband forgot to pick me up.”
This use of “My Husband” is also a part of a club. It is the Married Ladies Exasperated Club. It is also not exclusive. You can join as soon as the honeymoon is over. The membership fee is high. But we all pay it. It has a very strong support group, called “Oh yeah, I’ve been there.”
Before I joined either of the “My Husband’ clubs, I had, on a very occasional basis, used the term “My Boyfriend.” This always sounded presumptuous to me. I was never quite sure he (any he – of which there were multiple but short-term) considered himself “My Boyfriend.” “My Lover” was even worse. I’m not very superstitious, but I was certain if I ever used that term, it was sure to reveal itself immediately as untrue.
But “My Husband” was not as equivocal as Boyfriend or Lover. That is what he was – BY LEGAL DECREE. I wasn’t jinxing myself by calling him such.
And last week, when I watched My Husband haggle with the jet-ski dude, I refrained from the old familiar eye-roll (though I may have been doing it a little in my head). After all, he was My Husband enjoying his vacation in his own way – getting a great deal on something that he knows he will buy anyway. Manicure for me; dickering for him.
He came back smiling, so I knew that he saved us at least ten bucks. Maybe twenty, but he was only smiling, not strutting. He went back to the room to stow our shit so we wouldn’t worry about it as we jet-skiied our butts off. (That’s literal, by the way; there’s plenty of vibration).
The previous water-daredevils (which is what I was now considering myself) finished up (alive) and returned the jet-ski, and so it was our turn. But My Husband had not yet come back. (“My Husband is late again.” Eye-roll.)
The rental dude came sauntering over – that’s what they do in the Caribbean – they don’t walk or even stroll. They saunter. And he said:
“Where is your man?”
And “My Husband” was re-born. No longer “My Husband” but “My Man.”
I liked it.
I got one of those.
I felt like I earned it somehow.
Yeah, I got My Man. Like Fanny Brice, Like Billie Holiday.
He’s a bargainer, a worrier, a nervous traveler (to put it mildly), a reality TV watcher, a too-fast driver, a wine connoisseur, an ass-aficionado, a sleep-kicker.
But he’s My Man.
And he kills bugs.
I just came back from a fabulous destination wedding/vacation in St. Lucia.
My husband and I think we are traveling when we drive from Connecticut to Rhode Island and stay in a bed-and-breakfast a WHOLE night.
So this was WAY out of our comfort zone.
And so worth it.
And as long as we were doing something so atypical for us, I decided that I didn’t have to be cautious, self-conscious me. I could be fun-loving, adventurous Not-Me.
I had a beer at 10:00 AM. That’s when the bar opened. So that’s when I had a beer. Drinking for me is one glass of red wine with dinner once a week. A morning beer? Definitely Not-Me. And there was a swim-up bar in the pool where you can sit in the water and have a fancy drink. And I did… what they called a BBC – Banana, Bailey’s, and Cream. Okay, so it was a banana milkshake with a miniscule amount of liquor. It was a drink. In the pool. In my bikini.
I rode a jet-ski. I am a complete vehicle chicken. No motorcycles, snowmobiles – not even a mo-ped. But when hubby saw the jet-skis and said, “I’d like to do that,” Not-Me said, “Sure!” And we raced through the water with me hanging on to him (and to the jet-ski with every muscle in my thighs). And I never (which means fewer than six times) said “Slow Down!”
And speaking of vehicles – I stood up in a moving one! The whole group went for an excursion in open-air land rovers. The guide said, “This isn’t America – you can stand up in a moving vehicle.” And so we did. And I did. Standing up holding the roll-bar while we skidded through hair-pin turns on the sides of cliffs. And Not-Me liked it! I smiled even!
(I will admit, I didn’t get off the vehicle when they stopped to let people play with the boa constrictor.)
This excursion took us to a botanical garden – perfect for regular old me. But we also went to a volcano, where they encourage you to strip down to your swimsuit and smear volcanic mud all over you for a full-body mask. My self-conscious hubby went on the tour instead. But Not-Me. Not-Me slathered myself in mud in front of all our friends. Who I hope are dear friends who didn’t take any photos.
I danced. I love to dance, so it is not so strange. But hubby doesn’t like to dance, so I often oblige by remaining seating and just bouncing in my chair wishing I were dancing. Not on this trip! Every night, I took to the dance floor (or rather, the dance-sand) by myself, with other women, with the bartender… anybody! And I danced my butt off. I danced until I felt my twice-broken metatarsal snap. Luckily, it was not thrice broken, just protesting. And let me tell you, popping your metatarsal is so much more fun when you do it freaking out to “Mony Mony” instead of cleaning the attic.
I cried at the wedding. Oh sure, you say, you always cry. (Yeah I do. So what?) Anyway, I misted up a bit during the incredibly romantic wedding ceremony. And then again when the bride danced with her father. And Hubby saw me leaking a bit and took my hand and whispered, “You’re missing your Dad.” And then the tears really flowed. All normal. Here’s the Not-Me part: I didn’t run off to fix my makeup. No Siree Bob – “Hot, Hot, Hot” started and I joined the conga line with mascara tracks on my cheeks.
One more day there and I’d have worn that boa constrictor.