Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Own Abbreviations

Things I write out the long way frequently online, and wish other people knew my abbreviations for:

ICBWAT - I could be wrong about that, mostly written when I’m sure I’m not.

IWBIWFU - It’s weird, but it works for us, needed since my husband and I are strange.

ETA: I suppose you could also use IWBIWFM - It’s weird, but it works for me.

YWNGTC - You would not get the chance, my (usually unspoken) response to IWHI, for I would hit it posts on TD. (Yeah, I don’t post much there anymore.)

WMYTYGTC - What makes you think you’d get the chance? See above.

So does anyone else have their own unique abbreviations? Feel free to add them in the comments.

It Rained on My Birthday

At least, it rained all morning long. Having just turned 67, I can be philosophical about rain on my birthday, but we had a lot of errand running to do, and the heavy rain made it inconvenient. We were going to go pick up my birthday cake and a few odds and ends at Whole Foods, and then go see Maleficent, at my request.

John thought there was an early showing of Maleficent, but it turned out that that was for Saturday only, as I found out after he dropped me as closely as he could to the theater before going to park the car.

He always does that. When it’s raining, he drops me off as close as he can to wherever we are going, parks the car, then braves the rain on his own. When we are done, he goes to get the car while I wait until again, he gets as close as he can to pick me up. He has done that for as long as we’ve been together.

So we decided to go see if the cake is ready early. As I waited inside the door for John to finish parking the car, I saw the fresh flower display. I picked out a combination to make myself a bouquet with, and when my husband found me there, I announced that we were buying me flowers. He didn’t argue over that, or the bag of mix and match cookies that I added to the cake, milk, and rosewater that we went there for originally.

The reason I am dwelling on the cookies, the flowers, and the rain is because ever since DWTS ended, I have had romance on my mind. Well, not so much on my mind, but it’s been on the minds of the young fangirls I hang out with on Tumblr, as they review every look, gesture, hug, and sentence that occurred between “Mavis” and “Mikhael” throughout the season. I frequently see things like, “I want someone who holds me like that” or “I want someone to tell me, ‘I don’t need you to be better. I need you to be you and I’ll do better.’ ” Sometimes it’s, “I won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t look at me like that.”

I appear to be the only one who gets an entirely different lesson from these last several weeks, the lesson that goes, “It has never occured to me to tell my husband ‘I don’t need you to be better. I need you to be you[rself] and I’ll do better.’ I bet he’d love to hear that.”

I’m not sure about the lovestruck gaze. I think if he caught me gazing at him like that, he’d assume I was having a neurological event and rush me to the emergency ward. But he might like it if I could at least refrain from rolling my eyes when he launches into another story about his latest day of dam inspections.

Of course, I have been on the other side of this situation: accepting crumbs and trying to convince myself that they were true love. I understand the younger ladies of my internet acquaintance who are shaping their views of what it is possible and reasonable to expect in a relationship. I’m glad they are determined not to sell themselves short just to have a man* in their lives.

I hope though, that life will broaden their views of what constitutes not selling themselves short. I may have to pick out my own birthday flowers at the grocery store, but I don’t have to wade through a rainy parking lot to get the car. My husband may not send moony-eyed looks in my direction, but he will do battle with my problems with only a plastic teaspoon, if need be.

So maybe I don’t need him to be better. Maybe I just need him to be himself, and I’ll be better. 

Or maybe we could both just be ourselves, because we seem to like each other that way.

*or woman, but I associate the kind of “you need one, so do what it takes to get one” thinking with advice pressed on heterosexual women. I could be wrong about that.

Monday, June 2, 2014


The ironclad rule of Southern Ladyhood Hospitality, or so I have gleaned from polling everyone that I knew would agree with me, is that if you really want to invite someone, whether to an event or just to hang out, is you do it yourself. You don’t necessarily have to send a handwritten note: a card, a phone call, even a text message is fine. Secondhand invitations, we all agreed, are out, even if they come via a close family member, like, just to use an example pulled out of thin air, a son.

Okay, in other, totally unrelated news: we had a visit from my son, his GF, and my steppish (to use my son’s term) grandson over Memorial Day weekend. They were actually in town for Neal’s stepmom’s family get-together, but they stayed with us because his stepmom ran out of room. They also extended their stay a few extra days to have time to spend with us. Yay! Having a four year old underfoot is more exhausting than I remembered from my days when I worked with them for half an hour at a time and then handed them back to their moms, but it was fun, too, and way too quiet when he left. I am just now getting to the point where I don’t hear the little one’s voice around the house and remember his shampoo and toothpaste smell.  We took him to the aquarium in New Orleans and to the local park, which has a Splash Pad, read a lot of books, and patronized a few local restaurants. We also had "quiet time" (a euphemism for nap time) at home, which Nonna needed, whether Ace did or not.

Four year olds are fun, if wearing. Like his coevals, Ace asks a lot of why questions. He also talks right over the answers, usually with another why question. My attempts to answer his questions were frequently punctuated by low-voiced utterances of “Mom” by my son, when he deemed my answers too complex, too abrupt, too God-knows-what, leading me to finally complain to my husband, “If that little brat doesn’t quit his whining, I’m going to smack him one. Thank goodness that at least the four-year-old knows how to behave.” 

One of the “why” questions I did not have a satisfactory answer for is why I didn’t go with them to Neal’s dad’s house to go swimming. When they first arrived, Neal told me that his stepsister had told him that I was welcome to come to her house to swim with them so I could spend more time with Ace. He understood why I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I told him I like his stepmother and stepsister, and to say I appreciated the offer, but that John and I also needed some alone time anyway, since John had just come in from an out of town trip and was preparing for another one.

Ace, however, did not understand why I didn’t just come along with them every time they went. I could hardly tell a four year old the real reason that I don’t want to be around my son’s dad, and it was hard to say no to meltingly brown eyes, so this rapidly became a small problem in an otherwise enjoyable visit.

My son finally admitted on their last day that Ace had been overhearing his stepmother keep telling Neal that he was welcome to bring us along with him to play in the pool, and that Ace had overheard. In addition to being eternal askers of “why”, four year olds are the original pitchers that have big ears. Don’t say anything in front of them that you don’t want repeated, and repeated, and repeated elsewhere.

Which reminds me: I did, despite my son’s lack of faith in my ability to understand four year olds, get to babysit for Ace while my son and his intended went out to dinner. I’m not sure of all of what I said to the little one before he finally fell asleep, but I bet it made for some merry conversation on the four hour drive back to Houston.

But at least I wasn’t there to hear, “Mom!”