resonant: A crow with something in its mouth. Text: KEEP CALM AND CARRION (keep calm and carrion)
Well, it's six months now since the spouse became a pastor and our marriage became weekends-plus-Wednesday-dinners.

We've done crazy things like this before. When we first got married, the only job I could find was 90 miles away, so we rented a house halfway in between and split the commute. And of course in recent years we've been separated frequently so that we could coordinate his grad school with the kidlet's middle school and high school.

None of it was unbearable. But looking back, I'm beginning to think we were all sold a bill of goods on the subject of the Two-Career Couple.

Read more... )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] indywind offers this invitation to self-indulgence: an anecdote from your real life. (Your kidlet says the darnedest things, and I love how you share overheard remarks in such a way that I can practically hear them myself).

I'll give you two, one spouse-related and one kidlet-related.

1. So I'm sitting with my laptop, and the spouse gets up to go to bed, and I say, "Could you put out the lamp while you're up?"

He says, "I will put it out, and then I will put it out," and looks at me expectantly, and when I don't get it, he says, "It's from Othello." And he goes to walk upstairs.

"Hang on," I said, "can you put out the lamp?"

"Didn't I do that?" he says.

"No," I said, "you just made Shakespearean allusions at it."

2. So the spouse and I are complaining, which is one of our favorite pastimes: my co-worker talks all day and never does any work, and his classmates are slackers who don't do the required reading, and winter came too early, and I hate talking on the phone but my brother won't text, and so on.

The conversation turns to the children of one of our neighbors, and the spouse says to the kidlet, "You're not really doing your part in demonstrating the behavior expected of a teenage girl, you know."

She replies, "No, because you two are doing a better job of it."
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] norah prompts: Is your kid aware of the extent of your fannish involvement? How have you two navigated that? Is she fannish, and how? What about your partner?

For a while I worried about the kidlet accidentally intersecting with the smutty side of my fannish life, but she's fourteen now, so I'm not worried about it any more. I was reading plenty of smut when I was fourteen, most of it much less life-affirming than fanfiction.

I mean, I think I later discovered that [personal profile] calico was about fourteen the first time I sent her a feedback e-mail that said, "That story you wrote was incredibly sexy!"

Read more... )
resonant: Cat biting cake (Caaaaake)
[personal profile] terrio prompts: What is your favorite pet you've ever interacted with (either yours or someone else's) and why?

When we were first married, we went out and got a marmalade kitten. We named him Henry. He lived less than two weeks before crawling into the underside of the recliner and dying of distemper. It was very sad.

It was winter, and -- you know how cat-lovers are always aware of the vast number of homeless strays out there without any hope of a home? -- and yet we could not find a cat. We wanted a cat so badly, and there just were none.

Finally our vet told us about a farm in a town called Good Hope where two sister-cats had both had litters at the same time, so they had ten or twelve kittens between them -- too many even for a farm. So we went out there, and we came home with Alice.

Read more... )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
The hedgehog knows one great thing, but when he called from school to ask the fox to find his social security card and fax a copy of it to him so he could sign up for a job, the fox, in removing a metric shit-ton of useless paper from the top of his dresser, also located his father's post-WWII military discharge papers and a hundred-dollar bill.

The fox kindly left the hundred where she found it, but pocketed a Starbucks free-drink coupon as her reward.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. --Archilochus

The fox knows many things, and one of them is where the hedgehog lost his checkbook this time.
resonant: otter floating on its back, eating a clam. Text: KEEP CLAM (keep clam)
The spouse and I spent a romantic evening: he held the boycat still while I injected the poor creature with saline solution. Then he did the dishes while I cleaned out the litterboxes.

A starry-eyed young co-worker once asked me what was the most romantic thing the spouse had ever done for me. I said, "He cleaned both bathrooms after the Night of the Rotovirus."

Happy Valentine's Day from the Domesticated State!
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
OK, I injured myself cutting an ice cream cake. That has to be a new low. (And it was with the knife that I swore only to use for cake "because," I said, "no matter how many times I run it through the sharpener, it never gets sharp enough to cut meat.") So I'm typing w/right hand only while I elevate my left thumb.

The spouse said, very authoritatively, "Sit down. Elevate it. Put pressure on it. Don't stand up or look at it until this timer goes off in ten minutes." Later, when I stopped freaking out, I said, "Did you learn that on boy scouts?" and he said, "No. It's something I thought you would say."

The ice cream cake was shaped like an igloo. I spent more than an hour making it and I never even got to eat a piece.

The kidlet has 3 friends sleeping over, belatedly celebrating her 12th bday. Last time I looked downstairs, they were all on the Wii, dancing along to "Rah, Rah, Rasputin."
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
In cleaning off the pile of paper on top of the microwave, I found a piece of hotel notepaper with "Andrea, room 453," and a phone number written on it in unfamiliar feminine handwriting.

When the spouse came home from the gym, I showed it to him and said, "I know all about your fling with Andrea."

He said, "Hey, how do I know you didn't have a fling with Andrea? You could be accusing me to deflect attention from yourself."

So there you have it. One of us had an affair, but we can't remember which one.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Doesn't everyone have words and phrases that only have meaning in their own families? I want to hear yours, too!

Walter: Sad, but not with ordinary sadness -- with that voluptuous melancholy that you can sink down into and enjoy.

For a Spanish class, the spouse was reading the poetry of Lorca in Spanish, and he read me "The Ballad of the Water of the Seas" (there's a not-great translation here). The poem has a repeating refrain of "the water of the seas" (el agua de los mares), and the last stanza says, more or less: "And you, my heart, where was your deep bitterness born?" "Bitter, very bitter is the water of the seas." So we would go around saying, "Bitter, very bitter."

Well, of course "de los mares" makes you think of Walter De La Mare, who was melancholy his own self. So eventually we wound up saying, with mock solemnity, "Walter, very Walter."

Read more... )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I am so happy to be home again, where I can see my cats, and go to the gym, and read in a quiet room, and go where I like without accounting for my time to anyone, and decide for myself how clean things need to be, and eat normal food, and converse with people who have some imagination!

There were some pretty nice days on our trip. We went to Daiso and bought a bunch of cute little bento things, though I already wish I'd gotten more. We took the kidlet to the aquarium, where she petted skates and rays and sea cucumbers and leopard sharks while the spouse and I talked to an adorable book-quoting deep-thinking xkcd-reading naturalist about animal intelligence and crows that collect loose change. We saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit at sfmoma. I ate dim sum for the first time.

But there was this heat wave that closed off many of our usual means of escape. (It was unpleasant to take walks, and we get glared at if we plan too many day trips). So we spent a lot of time cooped up in a very small house with the in-laws. Who were probably doing their best, but it wasn't a very good best.

Man. Every year the spouse forgets what this is like. Next year I'll say, "Maybe a week? Ten days at the most? Because we get on each other's nerves so much?" and he'll say, "Oh, let's give it two weeks. Why not?"

Things I no longer have to do: )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Materials)
When we got married in 1989, someone gave us a set of flannel sheets as a wedding present. The fitted sheet had a small pattern of dark blue and teal scattered over a cream-colored background; the top sheet and the pillowcases had that plus a border of dark blue with a teal pattern. Very pretty. We used them every winter for years.

The fitted sheet was the first to go, wearing thin in a mysterious pattern that I finally figured out was friction from my leg stubble. (I'm abrasive! Literally!) Flannel sheet sets are expensive, especially for a queen-sized bed, so instead of throwing out the whole set, I bought a fitted sheet in solid dark blue.

After several more years, the pillowcases went; this time the spouse's abrasive face was to blame. I couldn't remember where I'd bought the fitted sheet, and I couldn't be confident of matching that blue, so instead I ordered pillowcases in a teal-and-cream stripe.

Last spring, the flat sheet finally ripped. I used it upside-down for a while, but it was a bordered sheet, and it just didn't look right to tuck the decorative border in at the bottom and use the plain end. Again I couldn't remember where I bought anything, so I bought a flat sheet in a solid pale blue, and put it away in the cedar chest to wait for autumn.

I finally got the flannels out last week, and I made the bed: dark-blue fitted sheet, pale-blue top sheet, teal-and-cream striped pillowcases. The spouse said: "What sheets are these?" and I said, "Don't you remember? They were a wedding present."
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (My mind)
Me: I think "Beauty and the Beast" is the little black dress of fairy-tale remixes. Listen: "Beauty and the Bride: Or, The Princess Beast."
Spouse: "Beauty and the Empire: Or, The Beast Strikes Back."
Me: "Planet of the Beauties: Or, The Beast and the Apes."
Spouse: I don't think we talk about the same things other people talk about.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Caaaaaake)
We've got DSL now, and I've been celebrating by, you know, looking at YouTube videos and downloading music and doing all the stuff that normal people have been doing for the last seven years. (Anybody got any Caetano Veloso they think I'd like? Or any Dan Bern for someone who adores "Jane" but has never heard any of the other songs?)

Also, I have a new e-mail address, which is in my LJ profile, in case you wanted to e-mail me anything.

The spouse bought a new Windows laptop, which is making him swear a lot. The spouse is the classic absent-minded professor sort, and he really just wants the computer to read his mind and provide him with content so he won't have to remember that, for instance:

- "that little colorful round thing" at the bottom left of his screen is the Start icon, or that
- tech support can't help you if you use the words "thing," "icon," "button," "checkbox," "document," and "program" interchangeably, or that
- laptops have batteries that need to be charged occasionally.

Which makes me the in-house tech help. Huh.

When I get an alert on my Mac, I pretty much always know what it means. But Windows computers are always popping up alert boxes that say incomprehensible things ("Warning! You have begun to arglefrast the whoopthruster without first unhembling the manifrost! Continue or Cancel?"), and from what I've seen, Windows people just seem to be in the habit of clicking the little X and going blithely on.

These mixed marriages are always complicated.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (My mind)
Tonight at dinner the spouse and I were coming up with community theater mashups. (Well, first I had to define 'mashup' for the spouse, who typically listens to nothing but Beethoven and the Beatles.)

"Children of a Lesser Godspell."
"OklahoMa Rainey's Black Bottom."
"The Lion King and I."

We had to stop after "The Elephant Man of La Mancha," because we were both singing "The Impossible Dream" and flailing our arms around.

But wouldn't you pay good money to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamgirls"?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
The in-laws' Christmas sweater this year is fleece. (The very thought of a whole sweater made of fleece makes my hands sweat.) It's a shade of pale pink that no one over three would actually choose to wear. It makes me look like the large economy-sized bottle of Pepto-Bismol. On the plus side, though, it came from a national catalog. One that gives refunds for gift returns -- cash money! To spend someplace else! Off to the post office I go.

I have to wonder, though. The spouse and I have been married for thirteen years, and they've given me a sweater every single Christmas. Just how many sweaters do they think I need?

Meanwhile, three nights in a row we've been awakened in the wee hours by the bed collapsing. Read more... )

Why we read

Jan. 6th, 2004 08:10 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
"The recycling bins have to go out tonight," I say to the spouse as he prepares to go back to work after dinner.

We've got a windchill of twenty below here, and on the ground there's about two inches of snow with a half-inch of ice on top. There's no actual sidewalk down to the alley where our recycling gets picked up; you have to slither down a small hill carrying a box the size of a coffin cut in half the short way, which has been laden with old newspapers, and then come back for an identical box filled with plastic, glass, and metal..

"Well," I say to him, "you can pretend that you're in a Siberian work camp."

His eyes light up! He flings his scarf over one shoulder with a theatrical flair and says, in what I assume is meant to be a Russian accent, "Ivan, I do not believe in God, but I shall suffer and perhaps then I shall understand!" And then he staggers off into the snow with two weeks' worth of newspapers and empty milk jugs.

Remember that when someone asks you, "What's the practical use of reading literature?"
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Spouse: So did you get any new stuff in choir practice?
Me: Yeah. We have a pretty nice setting of that "Set me as a seal upon your heart" thing and a "Surely he hath borne our griefs" by a contemporary of Bach's, only I've forgotten his name.
Spouse: [offers several names]
Me: No, none of those.
Spouse: [shrugs] He had a lot of contemporaries.
Me: Yeah. It's something we have in common with Bach. Actually we have even more contemporaries than he did.
Spouse: There, you see? Progress.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
So today the door comes off one of the cabinets. It's too heavy for me to hold it steady and wield a screwdriver at the same time, so I ask the spouse to come and hold it for me.

This puts our faces a couple of inches apart, so we mug at each other for a while, and then I say, "I wrote a scene like this for a story once."

"You did?"

"Yeah. The guy with the screwdriver says, 'I love you,' and the other guy drops the door."

He gets this goofy grin on his face and says, "Aww. That sounds so nice." (This is what he always says when I describe a particular story to him. Either that or he remembers that they're nice but forgets that they're explicit. He doesn't seem to be able to keep both of those concepts in his head at the same time.)

Then he says, "You know, you may actually have created a completely new kind of smut."

I sigh. "I've told you before. There is nothing new about this. Most slash is like this. Hell, a lot of romance novels are like this. The only thing that's not like this is the smut that men like."

He's silent for a while, and then he says, "Isn't that sad?"
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I put together two-dozen-odd pieces of pastel-colored plastic to assemble a large birthday present for my daughter.

And ... I'm neither bleeding nor crying. Go me.

I also have my own car back (sporting a new taillight panel and a new bumper and smelling faintly of paint). After I returned the evil loaner to the body shop, I had to throw away the packet of tissues that had been in there, because they smelled so strongly of smoke and cherry air freshener that I couldn't bear to get them near my nose.

The only thing I regret about parting with the loaner is that it means the end of the spouse's efforts to describe its personality. First he christened it Willy Locar. Then he said, "That car won't go anywhere but between El Paso and Las Vegas." Then he said, "No, I take that back. It will also go between a dreary storefront fundamentalist church and a dreary basement strip club disguised as a lingerie shop."

We're unlikely to meet again, since my own car will mostly only go between the library and Barnes & Noble.

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