Category Archives: marriage

50 thoughts on turning 50: #11 An elephant for a dime

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Here’s the thing about money that I’ve learned over the years: you can live with a lot less of it than you think you can, if you learn the difference between a want and a need.

A need is something you’ll die without – or at least be unhealthy without. A roof over your head, or at least adequate shelter. Food, and I mean real food, not convenience food or food-like substances. Medical treatment, and that includes preventing illness as much as treating it.

Don’t get caught up in the myth that you can have everything your heart desires and pay for it later. Buy a house you can afford, not one that’ll impress your family, friends and coworkers. So the kids have to share a bedroom; generations of Americans grew up sharing space and were better for it. Drive a car that gets you where you need to get, even if it’s not new, cool, or can double as your mobile “sanctuary.”

If you don’t have the money to pay for it, then don’t buy it. And just because it’s a good deal, doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of it. An elephant for a dime is only a deal if you have a dime - and you need an elephant.

It’s a lesson that took me decades to learn, but once I did? Life got a lot less complicated and I was a lot more satisfied.

This post is part of my series, “50 thoughts on turning 50″. Read more here.

Bats in the belfry

The essentials of bat whacking: gloves, a tennis racket, and a bag to dispose of the body.

The essentials of bat whacking: gloves, a tennis racket, and a bag to dispose of the body.

It’s midnight and I’m lying in bed, reading a book, when all of the sudden I hear the pitter patter of little feet scurrying in the ceiling above my head.

Dammit. There’s something in the attic.

Bandit sits up and cocks his head to listen, then jumps down from the bed to follow the sound around the room, eyes fixed on the ceiling.

Great. It sounds like maybe two somethings.

I call to my  husband, “David! Something’s in the attic!!”

He’s just gotten home from a long day at work, just taken a shower, and isn’t interested in whatever phantom noise I’m panicked about. Spring usually brings a procession of bugs and spiders and weirdo beetles I’m always calling for him to kill. No emergency, he thinks. I wait. The scurrying continues.

“There’s something in the attic!” I call.

When darling husband comes into the room, he cocks his head to listen, wearing that “there’s nothing there” impatient frown … and then he hears it too.

There’s a critter line dancing right above our heads. Continue reading

50 thoughts on turning 50: #8 The price of admission to a happy relationship

(disclaimer: there is swearing in this video. It’s the price of admission to hear the message)

I had just finished washing the dishes. After I’d cooked dinner and cleaned up. Put the leftovers in the fridge. Washed the posts and pans and my dish and utensils. Darling husband was in the living room, engrossed in a TV show, his dinner accoutrements on his TV tray.

We’re pretty casual about dinner at our house. It’s just the two of us here at the old funny farm so there’s no real timetable for meals. And now that the weather has gotten warmer and the sun lingers far into evening, we eat later than we would in the winter.

When I’m finished eating, I like to pick up the mess. The longer it sits, the longer I have to wait until I can put a period on my day and just sit and relax. I’d rather get the mess cleaned up so I can park my rear on the couch and chill.

Darling husband, on the other hand, can sit for an hour or more, eating or watching whatever British mystery he’s hooked on at the moment. I’ll have cleaned up the kitchen, checked email, let the dogs out and generally tied up my day in a pretty bow when he gets up from his recliner and brings his tray into the kitchen.

And that’s where I am now. Kitchen picked up, last of the day’s tasks finished. And sitting in the sink is darling husband’s plate, fork and glass. Continue reading

A little Valentine’s story

I mused on Facebook today about Valentine’s Day and thought I’d share it here, since you know how I’m such a romatic and all …

Once upon a time, all of the women without significant others felt worthless because they were without significant others, and all of the women with significant others put pressure on their significant others to do outrageously expensive things to make them feel significant, and everyone fretted and worried and spent money they didn’t have and had sex they didn’t want to have just to try and make each other feel significant. Then everyone woke up the next day and went on with their lives. The end.

On a serious note … Why waste the pretty worrying about your relationship status today, just because the greeting card companies want you to? Live, love, drink wine, eat chocolate, hug your dog, then get up tomorrow and change the world. You don’t need a significant other to do any of that.

What Would Susan B. Say: “The Bachelor”


“I would not object to marriage if it were not that women throw away every plan and purpose of their own life, to conform to the plans and purposes of the man’s life. I wonder if it is woman’s real, true nature always to abnegate self.”

- Susan B. Anthony, letter, 1888 (as quoted in “Failure is Impossible”, by Lynn Sherr)

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’ve been watching this season of “The Bachelor”. Not because I’m enjoying the show, but because it’s like a massive train wreck that I can’t tear my eyes away from.

Am I the only one who sees this show for what it is: a dating game that sets women’s rights back a hundred years?

If you’re not familiar with the premise of the show, here’s a recap: Handsome Guy is presented with a group of about two dozen women, all who are vying to become Mrs. Handsome Guy. Handsome Guy whittles the group down by wooing the ladies with outings to exotic locales, fancy dinners and romance, and generally trying to get them all to fall in love with him. Once he’s done that, he picks the one he wants and offers her a proposal of marrige. The women, on the other hand, have convinced themselves the day they meet Handsome Guy that they’re desperately in love with him; they then befriend and betray each other, all with the goal of sticking around to the end and hopefully get the coveted marriage proposal.

It looks very much like emotional prostitution. Continue reading

Adventure Girl strikes again, which is why Darling Husband may be a teeny bit cranky tomorrow

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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be married to Adventure Girl, just ask yourself, “Why is Darling Husband so cranky?”

I had the brilliant idea this week to put flower boxes on the gate that goes across the driveway to keep the dogs in the yard. It’s a wonderful gate that Darling Husband constructed after I experimented last summer with chicken wire and snow fencing. An unsuccessful experiment, I might add.

I thought the window boxes would serve two purposes: look pretty, and hopefully give the dogs a reason not to jump on the fence. Because these dogs jump on the fence and eventually someone is going over. (Again; last week Scout took a flying leap and sailed right over. But that was a fluke.) I figured a visual barrier would help.

I bought the boxes and gave Darling Husband instructions on where I wanted them hung, leaving him to figure out how to do it. He’s an exacting kind of guy and I knew he’d make sure it was done right. I could tell he had some doubts about what I was doing, but over the last year or so he’s stopped arguing with me. Or in his words, “I give up.”

And so he hung the boxes. And I planted the flowers. And doggone it, they look fantastic. Even he said so.

Then he brought up the one thing I hadn’t considered: that the weight of the boxes on one side of the fence might cause the gate to be unstable. I kind of remember him bringing that up before he started the project, but I ignored him, and he was in an amiable mood and figured this was one of those projects where, if it didn’t work out, it could be undone fairly easily.

So the plants look great. But sure enough, he’s right. Try and open the gate. It’s super top heavy.


So now he’s out there trying to figure out a way to shore up the gate without having to put a post actually into the driveway.

Darling Husband is a man of many ideas, some of them good, some of them exceedingly more complicated than they need to be. It’s best if I stay out of this fix it situation. The flowers look great, and he’s still in a pretty good mood from the success of that.

But if he’s cranky tomorrow at work, just know that it’s not your fault. Adventure Girl struck again.

Mommy knows how to get a job done

The dogs helping darling husband get the yard ready for sod.

Back in March, I informed darling husband that I was doing to order the sod for the yard, and that the only thing I needed from him was to get me a load of topsoil. That, of course, started a discussion about how I couldn’t just put down top soil, that I needed to prepare the yard and fertilize and blah blah blah. The end result was that darling husband took over the job.
The goal was to have the grass in by the end of April, so that it would have time to settle before we got into dog romping season. But as you can guess, other things got in the way. The truck needed to have the shocks replaced before the warranty ran out, taking up his only day off. Bailey hurt her leg. Darling husband needed more time to overplan.
So this week, I informed darling husband again that I was going to order the sod, top soil or no top soil, and that I was going to put it down and hope for the best. Which spurred him to go out last night and turn some soil (see, we don’t need as much top soil as he thought!) and to go to the garden center to find out when we could have the sod delivered. We may have grass by next week.
Darling husband often overdoes a job – he’s a bit of  perfectionist, so he tends to over plan, over prepare, and over do. The benefit of that is that the job will be done right, whereas I do things half-assed and with half-effort. If I even hint that I’m going to do something, he’ll jump in to take over.
See, I know how to get a job done.

The car salesman who lived up to his reputation

Darling husband David is looking for a truck. Understand that when I say “looking” I really mean obsessing about a truck.

We’ve talked about him buying  a new vehicle for a few months. Our original plan was, after the first of the year, to trade in the Xterra and either my car or the dogmobile, but the truth is I love the dogmobile and Cassie needed a car, and neither the car or Jeep ended up being worth as much as we thought they would be. So I keep the dogmobile and we gave Cassie the car.

Not that we can afford a car payment. But then again, who really can afford a car payment in this economy. But his Xterra isn’t serving his hunting needs well anymore and he wants a truck.

He really wants a truck.

So after more than a month with every spare  moment spent looking online and visiting dealers, he found one at a dealership in Webster that seems like a great deal. (Should I say the name?  Probably not, because it was a horrible experience.)

The truck is a 2007 Dodge Ram with low mileage, all the bells and whistles you can think of. Darling husband has been to the dealer several times already, and asked me to go with him last night to talk to the salesman because it seems like they might have been able to work out a deal and he might be buying a truck.

And David really wants this truck.

Going in last night, David had an offer from the salesman for $18,995 for the truck and $2500 for his trade in. David countered with $17,995 for the truck with the $2500 trade in. They left it a few days ago that they couldn’t do that deal. But the salesman called David yesterday and said he thought they could work something out.

So we skipped dinner and went out in the frigid cold for the dog and pony show that is car buying.

Mike the salesman started the negotiating with $18,995 for the truck and $1,000 for the trade. Wait, that’s not the deal David thought he was being offered two days earlier. Somehow, we went backwards.

All we wanted to know was if he could take another $1000 off the figures he’d given David a few days ago; if so, we’d have a deal and we’d buy the truck.  If not, we totally understood and would keep looking.

But that’s too easy. Instead, the salesman has to move numbers around and pretend like he’s making a new deal. Less for the trade, more off the truck, less off the truck, more for the trade.

And on and on, for an hour. All the time, he’s making it seem like he’s making some great sacrifices, when really he’s just playing with numbers.

And then the salesman came to the offer of $18995 for the truck and $2500 for the trade - the original offer he’d made to David two days earlier. And no, he wasn’t going to budge on the price of the truck, considering that he’d made all of those sacrifices already.

You get what’s happening here, right?

When we said, Thanks but it just isn’t going to work, then Mike the salesman decided that since we were only $1000 apart we could split the difference – $18,495 for the truck, $2500 for the trade in. We needed to play this game for an hour? He could have started with that, we would have agreed, and we would have bought the truck. Done and over in 10 minutes and signing the papers.

But after an hour of the baloney and manipulation to come to the same place we started two days ago, neither David or I felt comfortable with the salesman anymore. After the line of bull he’d been spewing, I wouldn’t trust him to buy a pack of gum.

We said we’d have to think about it and got up to leave, and he gave us the “Well, if you’re not willing to work with me …” speech.

At which point I just wanted out of there. Even if he’d given David the deal of the century, I wouldn’t feel right giving them my business. The guy was totally untrustworthy and lived up to every stereotype of the used car salesman you can think of.

Fortunately, David has other options – his cousin Mike Clemons is a salesman at Doan and we love our salesman Mike Holbein at Hoselton. All honest, reliable, completely not the stereotypical car salespeople. It’s just that no one has the perfect truck on the lot right now. But they’re looking. David’s also connected with the guy who buys the vehicles at auction for our mechanic, and he also just found out his other cousin’s husband, Tim Wearkley, is sales manager at Wentworth.

Truth be told, David is so picky about what he wants it will have to be a miracle truck and deal for it all to work.  But with so many other options from reliable salespeople, chances are he’ll find exactly what he wants. It just might take some time.

As for me, I’m staying out of it. I don’t care what kind of truck he buys or  how much he pays for it. As long as I don’t have to be there when the deal is made.

Dogmobile, oh dogmobile, how I love you

Oh, dogmobile, how happy I am that you’ve joined the family!

Oh, dogmobile, what fun you were! For 30 miles or so, before the rear differential went and you had to spend a week getting fixed.

Oh, dogmobile, what fun you are now that you’re fixed! Except that you still need to pass inspection. Really, what’s a little vapor leak … OK, a large vapor leak … among friends?

Oh, dogmobile, despite your faults, I love you! I love that I have enough room to haul two stinky dogs around town and the adventurous ride and the cassette player. I told darling husband not to throw the cassette/CD adapter and all of those tapes away because we might need them someday. Thanks for proving me right.

I love you, dogmobile! I love you even though I have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to sit at the mechanic’s while you get those last quirks fixed. When you’re done we’ll have a nice adventure. Maybe we’ll take the dogs through the drive thru at Tim Horton’s. Then you’ll really be part of the family.

Ah, hunting season! Arrows, antlers and all things camo

Darling husband and his mule deer in Wyoming

It’s official: hunting season is here.

Today is opening day of bow hunting season here in Rochester, a day that’s been eagerly anticipated by darling husband and his friends and family. His cousin Christine lamented this week that she wouldn’t see her husband for the next couple of months.

She’s got it good. Hunting is on my darling husband’s mind 365 days a year.

Officially, hunting season is just a few months out of the year. In reality, though, it’s a year-round activity that includes planning food plots, planting food plots, managing food plots, studying deer habits, scouting perfect tree stand locations, hanging tree stands, organizing hunting equipment, walking the land, and getting together to talk about hunting.

And let’s not forget the countless hours spent pouring over the Cabela’s cataloges, ordering stuff, trying out stuff, sending stuff back, and getting new stuff. The customer service reps for Cabela’s deserve a gold star and a big bonus for dealing with darling husband’s inability to make a decision and stick with it.

As much as I  joke, I understand the obsession with the activity. Some men play golf, some play poker, my husband likes to be in the woods. At least we get a tasty meal out of it.

What I don’t get is the need for all of the stuff.

Take a look at one wall of darling husband’s hunting room, or as our daughter calls it, “the kill room”: Continue reading