notquiteold

Gracefully Aging – With Resistance

The Conspiracy

Summer re-run: Here’s a reprise from when I first started blogging. But I wasn’t doing illustrations back then, so at least the drawing is new.

 

THE CONSPIRACY

I have a theory for everything.  Some of my theories are what my family calls “out there”, but I have one theory that has abundant evidence supporting it.

I believe that when a boy reaches a certain age, (probably when he discovers his best friend/body part), his father sits him down for a serious and confidential discussion.

It goes like this:

Pretty soon girls will come into your life. And eventually you will marry.

When you get married, your wife’s expectations will be very high. So you need to know the secret of lowering her expectations- a secret  passed down from father to son for generations.

When your wife asks you to do something, you don’t argue. You say ‘Sure, Honey’.  But then you screw it up so badly she will never ask you again.

Here are some examples:

Laundry:  Red shirt in with the whites.

Vacuuming:  Suck up the cat toys.

Cooking:   Two words – smoke detector.

Cleaning the Toilet:  gritty cleanser on the seat.

Changing diapers – you don’t need any hints on this.  You will mess this up.  Don’t show any improvement.

If you are okay with looking completely incompetent, you can even go all the way to loading the dishwasher and watering the plants.

Son, just lower the expectations.  Screw it up and you are off the hook.  For ever.

There are a few chores that do not apply:

Taking out the garbage.  This is a man’s job. Folklore has it that in the nineteenth century a man tried to get out of this duty by dropping the garbage.  But it was a horrible mess, and his wife made him pick it up.   So just do it.  However, I don’t mean, ‘just do it’ – like literally – let your wife ask you at least three times.

Mowing the lawn.  This is a man’s job.  It entails equipment, and that’s fun.

Barbecue –  this entails fire and lighter fluid, and that’s fun.

Car maintenance – you get to buy tools.

That’s it, son.  Follow this advice and you will get through marriage relatively painlessly.

Oh, one more thing –   NEVER EVER say, ‘What did you do to your hair?

father&son

My Life – In Chocolate

I’ve been feeling guilty all week.

Because I wrote so lovingly about ice cream several days ago.

And neglected the other love of my life:

Chocolate.

I’m sorry, Chocolate. I love you too.

So here is a history of my romance with Chocolate.

The first chocolate I remember is a Hershey bar. My grandmother (Babci in Polish) used to buy Hershey bars to give us every Sunday when we visited. (and Juicy Fruit gum and little bags of State Line potato chips)  A Hershey bar is pretty mediocre in my mind today, but I have fabulous memories of Hershey bars salted by potato chip fingers.

 

Hershey

Across the street from my house was a little store. We called it Paul’s, but it was officially Lavoie’s Market. Paul Lavoie was a butcher and mostly sold very good meat at his hole-in-the-wall tiny shop. But he had a nice supply of candy bars for us kids, and almost every candy bar from my childhood was first tried at Paul’s. My favorite for a long time was a Sky Bar – because you got four different little bars.

sky bar

 

I loved the idea of having an assortment in one candy bar. There was one slight drawback, however, I hated the white stuff that they called Vanilla. It was a kind of marshmallow nougat that I didn’t like. You’d think I would just stop buying a candy bar that I didn’t like 25% of. But no. My solution at age eight was logical to me. I ate the disliked piece first, so it wouldn’t be the lasting taste in my mouth. But how, you might wonder, would I know which of the center pieces was the bad one? That’s where the finger poke in the bottom was the solution – just like you probably poke your Whitman’s Sampler today.

Speaking of Whitman’s Samplers, my Aunt Lil often had a box of those at her house. I did not like soft centers (I still don’t). But I had perfected my poke skill on the Sky Bar, so I was all set.

And on the topic of centers, I was in a love-hate relationship with Chunky.

chunky

I liked the consistency of the chocolate and I liked the thick bar. But I don’t like raisins and chocolate together. Does that mean that I never bought a Chunky at Paul’s?  Of course I did. I bought EVERY kind of candy bar, even ones I didn’t like. Just not as often.

But somewhere around the mid-sixties, the Pecan Chunky was introduced. No raisins. Problem solved.

And of course I loved Three Musketeers (big and fluffy) and Milky Ways, Snickers, and Mars. What’s not to like?

And Almond Joy and Mounds bars. But why can’t dark chocolate have almonds too?  Life is so unfair.

I did not like gritty candy bars – that means no rice or crispy stuff – Nestle’s Crunch, I’m talking to you.

But I loved Reese’s peanut butter cups. I do not consider peanut butter gritty. i consider peanut butter heavenly. The only drawback in the 50’s was that they were only sold in singles.

??????????

And there was a small chocolate bite that I still see once in a while in convenience stores called the Ice Cube.

ice_cubes

It was penny candy back when I was a kid, and it’s still pretty cheap, I think. And it is an ultra creamy bit of hazlenut-flavored chocolate. And they freeze really well.

Which brings me to the subject of frozen chocolate bars. Sticking a Milky Way in the freezer was a great treat. And you could slap a frozen Charlston Chew on the table and it would shatter into very satisfying little shards.

But the best frozen candy bar was a bar I could only get at the town swimming pool. The concession stand at Page Park carried a candy bar called the Milk Shake. And they kept them in the freezer. After an afternoon of swimming, I’d spend thirty cents (a fortune in those days) for a frozen Milk Shake. I can’t even remember now what they tasted like, but they smelled like chlorine.

Now, of course, my taste is more sophisticated (except for Ice Cubes and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, of course.)

For mass-produced chocolate, I like Lindt truffles and Dove chocolates. And Dove gives you the double pleasure of the sweet treat and a sweet affirmation on the inside of the wrapper.

And then there is the BEST chocolate. I think if you are going to eat that many calories, they might as well be the best calories available.

And I have two choices for best chocolate:

About 15 years ago, I was in New York on business. It was February 13 and I was returning to Connecticut the next day – Valentine’s Day. So I went out that evening looking for someplace better than a drug store to buy my husband something better than a Hershey Bar. And on Madison Avenue, I came upon a long line of folks waiting in the freezing weather just to get in the door of a tiny shop. This must be the place, I thought. And it was. It was Leonidas, which sells Belgian truffles at $40.00 a pound. I can afford that about once every five Valentine’s Days.

And best of all – there is an amazing source of chocolate right here in Litchfield County. At Thorncrest Dairy Farm, they make chocolates every day from that day’s milk. And the chocolatier, Kimberly, knows by the smell of the milk which cow it came from. And different cows have different sweetnesses and different boiling points to their milk – and so are suited for certain chocolates over others. (per Kim, anyway, who may be a little crazy on the subject). But she certainly knows how to make good chocolate. So I believe her. And so I always ask for something from Princess.

 

charisma

My husband with Charisma at Thorncrest Farm. She’s a big girl. And she kissed him.

 

 

Ice Cream Memories

My husband had to go pick up a part for his show car tonight. It’s an hour’s drive to the special store. (There’s a better name for this parts place, but I don’t know what the technical term is – “Expensive Shit Emporium”, maybe.)

Anyway, Hubby didn’t want to make the two-hour round trip by himself. So he asked me nicely to come along.

I asked him nicely for a bribe.

And he came up with a good one:  Frozen Yogurt.

So I daydreamed while we rode in the convertible through the sunset in Hartford. It was hazy and smoggy and pretty and I didn’t even have to hold a conversation, because the convertible on the highway is very noisy.

And while he discussed wires or knobs or what-the-hell with the guy at Ripoff City, I played Yahtzee on my cell phone – losing six games in a row to the “Bill”, my computerized opponent, who I think is sleeping with the computer who rolls the dice.

Hubby finally came out from Bend-Over Boutique, and off we went – finally winding up at Kiwi Spoon – the frozen yogurt bar we like. The fro-yo is refreshing, the fruit toppings are real, the store is spotless, and we can sit and have a wonderful view of the traffic whipping past. (But atmosphere is overrated.)

And it got me to thinking about how much I’ve loved ice cream over the years.

And yes, I wrote about ice cream just last week, but I didn’t do it justice.

icecream

When I was a kid, we would wait for the ice cream man. We’d play hide-and-seek in the waning light and listen for those magical bells.  I liked Good Humor better than Mister Softee – but whichever came first was what we’d take. None of the parents in the neighborhood could afford ice cream every night, but they seemed to coordinate it so that all the kids got ice cream the same night, and none on the same night. No jealousy allowed.

On special nights we’d walk over to Litchfield Farm Shoppe and have a cone. They had terrific maple walnut.

And on extra-extra special nights, my dad would say to my mother, “Get your purse. We are all going out for ice cream.”  We’d pile into the station wagon and drive to Roberge Dairy. Oh, their coffee ice cream was wondrous. And Dad would have one too – that was a big treat for me – to see him splurge on an ice cream cone for himself too.

I hated having sticky fingers and I learned to eat my ice cream really fast. No drips allowed. (Not to mention the danger of someone bigger than me – I won’t mention any names but they had the same Mom and Dad as me –  always offering to “neaten it up” and losing quite a bit of my ice cream in the  process. I still finish my fro-yo while my husband’s cup is still full.

Those dairies disappeared as I grew up, but there was always Guida’s in New Britain. And Baskin-Robbins came around right about the time I had to start watching my calories. But from my tiny first apartment, it was a little over a mile round-trip, and so I’d splurge as long as I walked there and back.

And now, there’s great fro-yo bars everywhere. So I can have my treat without feeling too guilty.

And when I am not worried about guilt – like last week after I finished my photo session – I go to Arethusa Dairy near my home. Arethusa Dairy is owned by the proprietors of Manolo Blahnik shoes. They have more money than they know what to do with, and so what they decided to do with it was build a dairy farm. They have some of the finest dairy cows in the country. They have a big fancy barn, with a sign over the door:

“Every cow in our barn is a lady, please treat her as such.”

And they do.

Arethusa’s cows have mattresses, massages, and special shampoo depending on hair color. They are very happy ladies. (Wouldn’t you be?) And they give amazing milk. I choose coffee ice cream still. It has little grains of ground coffee right in the ice cream. It is rich and flavorful, and I am transported back to Roberge dairy watching my dad enjoy his chocolate cone.

ice cream

Waiting for the ice cream truck.

 

Looking Good

The other day I was getting ready for work, and my hair and makeup came out especially nice – very rare indeed. And I loved what I was wearing, which was just a black v-neck long-sleeved tee (but that’s my favorite thing to wear with jeans).

So after I made the bed, I documented my satisfactory appearance with a quick selfie. Okay, about 20 selfies, but this one was pretty nice:

June selfie

 

I need a photo for my book jacket, and I thought this might be a contender. I look happy and I would just need a little photoshop for the undereye wrinkles.

So I uploaded the photo to my Facebook site, to get some opinions.

And I did!  Most people thought I looked pretty nice  – and young  – and you can’t get much better than that.

But book-jacket material. No way.

“Too grainy”  (that’s atmosphere)

“Too dark”   (that’s atmosphere)

“This is in your bedroom, for God’s Sake!”  (okay, that may be too much atmosphere)

“This is your novel. You first novel. Maybe your only novel. Your precious baby. Have a professional photo done.”

And so I scouted around the internet for someone nearby who could do it right away.

And whose pictures made ordinary people look pretty. (and young) I found a great photographer who can take me tomorrow.

And now I am stressing.

Because according the photographer, I need:

* Two outfits. I figured I would just wear my beloved black v-neck. Do you think my grey v-neck would constitute two outfits?

* Nice jewelry. That’s an easy one. With my black v-neck, I like the small gold seahorse necklace my husband bought for me on a business trip he took without me to Las Vegas. (Yea for guilt.)

* My nails looking good. This confuses me. I want a head shot. I don’t think it will be one where I am playing peek-a-boo. But I will do my nails right after I finish typing.

* My makeup with me. I guess a small suitcase would work.

 

And according to the internet (just google ‘tips for looking great in photos’), I need:

* Makeup without sunscreen. It appears that sunscreen can get white-looking under flash photography. So of course I have six different foundations. They all have sunscreen. That’s what you are supposed to wear. So I went out and bought makeup made especially for photography.  The internet says that you can use a good book jacket photo for about seven years. I hope that new foundation has a long expiration date.

* Contour. I haven’t used contour since 1987. But I need to use contour around my hairline and down the sides of my nose, or my face will look very flat. I figured I could just use a swipe of my bronzer, until I read that it has to be matte. No shimmer. All bronzer has shimmer – that’s how you get bronze. But I found a matte cream to powder foundation in brown. I might get to use it again if I get really really tan.

* Ditto for matte eye shadow. I recently bought a 14 color palette. One shade is matte. But I wanted a choice, so I bought some more.

* Ditto for matte blush. I have 8 blushes in my bathroom. One is matte. Luckily, it is one I like.

*Powder. You need to set all this makeup. I have some loose powder. I bought it in 1987. So now I have another new powder – pressed not loose – which reminds me of what my mother used in 1957. This one should last me until 2027.

* Teeth whitening.  In my mouth right this minute. I am multitasking.

* White eyeliner to line the inside edge of my eyes to make my eyes look bigger and whiter. I have one of these. It came in a sample box of makeup. I didn’t know what to do with it. But now I do.

* Murine. To get the red out.

* Lip liner. I refuse. It is NOT 1987. But I have a nice lipstick I love that is quite matte and makes a clean line. And gloss for just the center of my lip. I have Chapstick. Close enough.

* False eyelashes. I have some.  They are a bit droopy after a few wears. So I bought new. Self-adhesive they claim. I hope so – or they might fall off at an inopportune moment.

* Eyebrow pencil. I have fallen in love with eyebrow pencil lately so I’m all set.

*Great hair. Shiny but not too shiny. Full but not too full. Sprayed but not sprayed. Framing my face but not hiding my face. It will never happen.

And I have an evening appointment, so I also need to remove all the makeup I’ve worn during the day and start fresh. With primer of course, which happily I have.

I am going to have to leave work early.

I can’t believe I thought I looked good enough in the selfie.

 

myeyeswlashes.jpg

Me in my falsies – false eyelashes, that is.

 

 

 

 

That Much Better

I love small pleasures. The little things in life charm me more than the big once-in-a-lifetime surprises.

Mostly because once-in-a-lifetime is too seldom.

But I can experience small joys every day.

Like the ivy that grows on the building I work in.

ivy

 

 

Or blueberries.

blueberries2r

 

I love blueberries. And I have blueberries for breakfast every morning. I can be happy every morning!

But once in while a simple pleasure can actually be a double pleasure.

Joy with a kicker.

For instance, I love getting into my car after it’s been baking in the sun all day. I love that dry heat that goes right into your bones. (I have very cold bones). And here’s the kicker:  just when I think, “Okay, now I’m getting too hot” – the air conditioning jumps up and that feels great too. A two-phase pleasure.

And speaking of cars… yesterday when I was driving home, the sunlight just hit my diamond ring in that perfect way that makes hundreds of little prisms all over the car. It made me very happy. And then – AND THEN – Johnny Mathis came on the radio, singing, “Wonderful Wonderful.”

And peonies!  A few days ago, I cut the last of our peonies and set them on the table.  So pretty. And my husband walked into the room… he of the stuffiest, least-functioning nose on the planet – and he said, “It smells so nice in here!” Oh, so nice to have beauty AND fragrance.

Here’s a rare double pleasure:

I realized last night that the shoes I was wearing were really comfortable. I had worn them all day, and it was well into the evening and my feet didn’t hurt. My toes didn’t hurt, my heels didn’t hurt, my instep didn’t hurt, my bunion didn’t hurt. My feet felt great. And the bonus bit of happiness:  those shoes are really cute!

 

cuteshoes

 

And the beach!  There are so many pleasures at the beach. I love the sun, the seagulls, the sound of the waves, the joy of little kids running on the hot sand in that tiptoeing sweet way.  The beach is a multitude of delights.

And just when you think it can’t get any better – you stop for ice cream on the way home.

 

icecream

 

 

 

Blurb Time!

I did it!  I finished my book!

I’ve drafted and re-drafted and edited and re-edited.  and I’m done.  Time to move to my next step.

My cover designer (how cool is that???? – I am going to have a cover!) reminded me on Sunday that even though it is extremely cool to have a cover, you know what else I have?   A BACK COVER!

And I need a blurb.

Yes, I need 150 words on the outside that makes you want to read the 92,000 words on the inside.

I am pretty good at writing 92,000 words to tell a story. And I am also pretty good at using 600 words to blog a story.

But can I sell a story in 150 words?

So I am taking a poll.  What do you think?

 

JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED

Cynthia Breault needs a new life.

She’s not miserable. She’s bored. Bored with her safe monotonous job; bored with her cautious loneliness.

Thanks to an unexpected financial windfall, Cynthia opts for early retirement at fifty, hoping to find a new passion. Soon, she thinks she’s found it – in the form of a failing boutique abandoned by its mysterious owner. And the shop is not the only thing the proprietor has deserted. There’s a very nice husband left behind as well.

It’s perfect.

Until Cynthia meets Shannon Miller.  Shannon is fourteen, a tough and defiant casualty of the foster care system.  And she’s pregnant.

Cynthia is irresistibly drawn to the sarcastic teenager, who awakens long-buried memories and desires.

Cynthia takes the leap. She offers Shannon a deal. With strings attached.

If they both get what they want, does it matter that their scheme is just slightly illegal?

The More You Toot, The Better You Feel

This Father’s Day, I thought I would post some man-type humor.

Farting.

Yes, men think farting is utterly hilarious.

And I have to admit, I often think so too. I think one of the funniest movie scenes in history is the campfire scene in “Blazing Saddles.”

But only the concept of farting is funny. Not the actual farting. Especially man-type farts.

No offense Dad-in-Heaven, but your farts (especially in your later years) were not funny.

(And what, dear husband, makes you think that just because we have been married 21 years, you can fart like I’m not even in the room?????)

But the ‘Concept of Farting’ IS funny.

Here are two old farting memories that make me laugh even now.

One day when I was about 15, I went shopping with my mother. We were going to a store called Service Merchandise.  This was the kind of store where they displayed only one of everything, and then you wrote down the number of the item, and someone went into a back room and brought it out.  It was like the opposite of Costco. I forget what we went for. But the store itself has no further role in my story, so what the hell.

Anyway, Mom drove us over to Service Merchandise and there was no place to park. Back then, my mother liked to get the best parking spot in the lot (unlike now, where at 90, her driving skills makes her park where she won’t have another car within 20 yards of hers.) So we parked way in the back and I was just about to get out of the car, when Mom spotted someone pulling out right near the entry to the store. And Mom got really excited about being able to park in the front, which sometimes made her mangle her English a little, and she hollered, “Don’t get out yet, Nancy. I am going to fart in the trunk!”

I wept.

 

Memory number two:

For many years, I worked in a very high-stress job with some people I really loved. One of these was a manager who reported to me. Let me call her Alice (because she will probably be mortified that I am telling this story). Alice was and still is a very caring woman and a good friend. Her job, though, like mine, was demanding. Alice is a very private person by nature, and it was difficult for her to share her feelings. So she internalized the stress of the job, and her subordinates only saw her serious, exacting side, and never the gentle and sweet soul that I had grown to love.

The fax machine stood in the middle of the dozens of cubicles where all the staff worked diligently a zillion hours a week.

One day Alice was sending a fax. The fax got stuck momentarily in the machine and when it finally ejected, it came out with a loud and very evocative raspberry: “PPTHHPTHPFFTHPPPT!!!”

I just happened to be walking by, and that SOUND made me turn in my tracks. And there was no one there but Alice.

She looked at me and the realization dawned on her.

“You thought that was ME!” she said, horrified.

And then… we started to laugh. Just a chuckle at first, and then more giggles. Then we completely collapsed. We screamed and cried and held on to each other.

And all the staff sitting soberly in their cubes started to poke their heads over their gray walls. And couldn’t believe it.

I don’t think they had ever seen Alice laugh.

“WHAT? WHAT?” they all asked.

But we couldn’t explain.

But they all liked Alice a lot more after that.

 

cubestare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slimmer In Seconds

(A repeat from last year – now that Beach Season is here.)

 

Thank Goodness!

My first trip to the beach this year was somewhat traumatic.

But my next trip is going to be perfect.

Because SELF.com just sent me the most fantastic beach tips:  “How To Fake Slimmer In Seconds!”

And it’s so easy!

1. Break out the sparkly nail polish.  Use a flesh tone though, because, like a neutral shoe, you look longer when you don’t break up your lines. Between my fingernails and toenails, I’m good for an inch and three-quarters of ‘longer’.  Maybe even one and seven-eighths.

2. Play up good bones. Define your jaw with contouring cream. This slims your face and makes you look more angular. Since my face is as round as a cantaloupe, I am going to use this tip every day, not just at the beach.

3. Add some ‘brow pow’. (That’s a quote; and it’s clever.) Anyway, a strong brow make your face look more svelte. Yeah, svelte is SELF’s word too. Be careful, though. Even though they recommend a strong, thick brow, I’m pretty sure they meant two.

4.  Highlight your hair. Dark hair throws ugly shadows and emphasize a full chin. (I sent an email right away to Penelope Cruz. I’m sure she’ll thank me for her thinner-looking chin once she goes blond.) And you should part your hair on the side. Everyone knows that an asymmetrical part is very slimming.  I already part a little off-center.  I just need to go deeper. Maybe as low as Donald Trump’s. That would be quite asymmetrical.

5. Emphasize your abs. This is genius. You buy foundation two shades darker than your skin, and saturate a makeup sponge. (SELF says ‘dribble'; but that’s just gross.) Then you suck in your abs and trace the outline. I’ve sucked in pretty good, but I still can’t see much. I’m not deterred, however. I can draw pretty well, and I have found a nice photo I can copy. It’s Matthew McConaughey.

6. Use shimmer. For this one you need iridescent eyelid primer. Perhaps the quart size. Smear this all over your collarbones to make them stand out. This technique makes your neck look long and slim. Then use more highlight to add a line down the center of your arms and legs. This will draw the eye to the bony parts of your limbs and away from the fleshy parts.  I believe this is called the Halloween skeleton costume strategy.

And that’s all there is to it!

I’m ready!

Slimmer In Seconds!

 

Storage Space

We finally! (yes, that’s Finally with an exclamation point!) had a beautiful Sunday here in Connecticut. And so we took a nice drive in the convertible. We were headed towards the shoreline for a lobster dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

Top down, the sun on my face (and kneecaps, I found out later), the radio blaring. And although I would have readily given the birthday boy his choice of music, he was in such a terrific mood he tuned (without my even begging) into Sirius’ sixties channel for me.

With a convertible, the radio actually has to be blaring – to be heard at all. But the surrounding racket has an advantage too. You can sing at the top of your lungs.  Which I did.

“Down in the Boondocks” – corny, great beat
“I Saw Her Again”    – ah, the harmonies
“Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me”    – smooooooth
“Don’t Sleep In The Subway”   – Carnaby Street
“Mony Mony” – the best dance song in the world
“A Whiter Shade of Pale”  – weird and groovy
“How Sweet It Is” – cool enough for my beloved JT to sing it a decade later
“To Sir With Love” – the song I wanted all my life as the father-daughter dance at my wedding (until I was a 40-year-old bride and it was obviously no longer appropriate)
“Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” – cute Herman
“Do You Believe in Magic” – teenage kissing music
“Please Please Me” – well, duh…Beatles
“Sunny” – I spent my allowance on that 45
“Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” – it’s the build
and finally -
“Ode To Billy Joe”  – monotonous melody, but how I loved the mystery.

I belted out every song. And every line.

And I won’t itemize the entire playlist on the return trip, except to say I knew all those lyrics too.

Half-way home it dawned on me how many songs were stored in my brain. The sixties of course has the big center parlor up in there, but there’s also an attic full of James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Cash and Cyndi Lauper and a foyer with U2 and The Goo Goo Dolls and Pink; and there’s Gene Autry and Perry Como and some Disney tunes in the basement. And every Christmas song ever written.

I don’t think I have an unlimited amount of storage capacity in my brain. All those song lyrics are probably taking up more space than they should. Space that I need for other things.

If I could delete a few songs, I might have some room for other things.

I need to make a few trades.

I’ve decided to give up 25% of the Four Seasons, and 40% of the BeeGees, and 100% of Bobby Goldsboro.

And in exchange I’d like to remember:

- Where I put the only good photo of my college self.

- The directions – or at least the name – of that great restaurant we found by accident last year.

- How I tweaked that dinner roll recipe so they came out perfect that one time.

- Whether I took my allergy medicine five minutes ago, or do I still need to take it.

- The location of the property tax bill I just had in my hand.

 

searching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pig-Headed

It’s my husband’s birthday.

I won’t tell you how old he is, but let me say with some glee:  Older Than Me!

In celebration of his birthday, let me pay tribute to the good and bad side of one of this strongest traits.

Pig-Headedness.

My husband is stubborn.

Probably the stubbornest person I have ever met. Maybe the stubbornest person who ever lived.

He will never give up. He will never give up an opinion or a grudge. (He still hates his first-grade teacher.)

He won’t give up a broken tool. He will fix it. Or perhaps, put it in the cellar to fix “one day.” We have a very crowded cellar.

He won’t throw away left-overs. I ate the Easter ham for the next nine days. He ate the Easter ham for a month. (He is still alive, but that is only because he is too stubborn to admit he was poisoned.)

When we buy a new car, it does not mean that he will part with the old car. He still has his (non-running) 1979 Porsche.

He has: rakes with no tines, shoes with no soles, pens with no ink, watches that last kept time in 1981. When he lost weight, he wore his old clothes for so long that one day as he walked from the kitchen to the den, his pants fell down to his ankles. Thank goodness he was not at the Post Office.

But here’s the positive side of pig-headedness:

He really does sometimes fix stuff that I would have thrown away. He has repaired vacuum cleaners and jewelry and computers.

And he will keep plugging away at something that he does not know how to do until he can do it.

Before he finally retired (and he keeps saying he will go back to work), he was an amazing salesman. Because he never gave up until he got the sale. Yes, he was one of those obnoxious salespeople that will just keep on until they wear you down. There’s good money in that, by the way. And his customers actually liked him, because he got their business through sheer stubbornness and determination – not lies.

And also because the other thing he will not give up on is: People.

I don’t have a lot of friends. He has a ton of friends, and he keeps them.

He is still friends with this little girl:

tom cowboy

My husband in the ever-present cowboy boots with his childhood friend Amelia and her dad.

 

He is also still very good friends with the girl he dated a few times in high school, more than fifty years ago. Am I jealous of his relationship with this old sweetheart? Only jealous that he can keep friends for so long. I am not exactly friends with my old boyfriends.

When he had surgery several years ago, he received cards and flowers from his customers. And although he has been retired for a few years now, these same customers call every now and then to shoot the breeze.

Years ago, a girlfriend of mine had a problem and called to discuss it. With my husband.

And although it is annoying (which is the diplomatic way to phrase it) to be married to a guy who saves broken staplers, he also saved something else this year that makes me love him still.

He saved the life of an old friend. He didn’t do this alone; his friend’s sister was the most important factor in saving this guy’s life. But my husband was critical too.  This guy is a funny, smart and sweet person, who over the course of many years, developed a serious drinking problem. And one day last summer, my husband received a phone call from his friend’s sister. His friend was in the hospital, dying of liver disease.  “End-Stage,” the hospital called it, and were not bothering to even treat him. His sister – as stubborn as my husband – would not give up on him. She had a specialist come in and convince the hospital staff – loudly – that her brother did not have to die. And so the hospital reluctantly began to treat him. And the hospital was not the only source of resistance. My husband’s friend has given up too.

So my husband went to the hospital. And he told his friend, “I am keeping you as a friend. I need you in my life, and I refuse to let you go.”

He was the only visitor (other than the sister) that his friend had.

But sometimes one friend who won’t give up on you is enough.

Just recently my husband stopped by his friend’s house. He was remodeling the dining room.

Happy Birthday to my pig-headed hero.

 

thehappycouple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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