marriage

Why I’m Fine Without Facebook

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Four months ago, I made a decision to delete my Facebook page. I went back and gave it a second chance a few weeks ago. I have permanently deleted it (again).

Here’s why:

Before Facebook, I knew that I was often irrational. That my feelings Facebook deletesometimes got the best of me and that I often said things that maybe people shouldn’t say to other people. But then I realized that my parents did it and my parents’ parents did it and we all turned out OK.

Before Facebook, I knew who my true friends (and family) were. I knew that I could pick up the phone and call a select few people and they would be there day or night. And my Friend list didn’t comprise 400 people, most of who have to rely on Facebook notifications to know when my birthday is.

Before Facebook, I knew that, as a father, I am flawed. I knew that I could be myopic about projects; often ignoring all else in order to finalize something I was working on that would benefit my family. But I also knew that I spent a lot of time with my kids and my wife. That most of my weekends I spend running back and forth from one sports game to another and when not doing that, often playing with my kids in the yard throwing balls, riding bikes, you know…family stuff. But I also knew that I hug my children–a lot. A lot more than I was hugged as a child. And I tell my kids how special they are and how much I love them. And I have to believe, that no matter how I might yell sometimes, my kids can’t help but know how much I love them–because I’ve shown them.

Before Facebook, I knew that 15 years of marriage can make things seem a little stale–that maybe it’s not quite as exciting as it is when you’re first dating. But I also knew that my marriage was strong. That what we have as a couple is the envy of millions of single adults. And maybe we don’t have date-night as often as we’d like, but it’s not because as a man, I don’t care about my wife–that’s just life. You make sacrifices and you live with it. Period.

Before Facebook, I knew that I had a mild case of body dismorphic disorder. Despite being more active and fit than the majority of men I know, I still felt as if I’m somehow not skinny enough, or strong enough, or active enough.

Before Facebook, I could enjoy a person’s company, unfiltered by knowing every proclivity and every opinion they’ve voiced. Their personal political views, or sexual orientation or the crazy things that went on in their heads that they kept to themself didn’t interject itself into our relationship. Who cared? We’re friends because we “jive” not because we agree.

Before Facebook, I could pretend that the people I thought cared about me, actually cared. I didn’t have to wonder why someone I grew up with never comments on my posts, or why they act like I don’t even exist online. If I called and got your vmail and you never called back…I knew to let it go.

Before Facebook, men were men and women were women. However ‘wrong’ society might feel our actions to be, the consequences were ours alone to endure. We didn’t have memes telling us that traditional gender roles are outdated and that we’re somehow wrong if we feel that men should still do these sorts of things and women should do these sorts of things. And before Facebook, if a couple didn’t adhere to gender roles…great…they’ll work it out between them and live a happy life.

And on that note, before Facebook, I knew that my wife worked hard. That her full-time job and the time she spends with the kids often goes unremarked upon. But then, the same could be said of me. I didn’t need a women’s group pointing out how much money I should spend ensuring my wife gets spa treatments or nights out with the girls, while ignoring the fact that I work 10 hour days (incl. commute), come home many nights and cook dinner or bathe kids (or go straight to the ball field) and still do all the many other things required to keep a house from falling down around us.

Before Facebook, no one was constantly pointing out every woman’s successes and demonizing the efforts of men. Sure, maybe there wasn’t absolute gender equality in every facet of life, but we were surely moving in that direction on our own and everyone was benefitting from it.

Before Facebook, I didn’t feel guilty not evangelizing my faith. I’d come to grips with that the fact that I’m more a “James the lesser,” than a John the Baptist and was fairly confident that my sincere belief in God would suffice to qualify me for a seat in heaven, rather than the works that I did here on earth trying to convince others that free will should be trumped by fear or guilt.

Before Facebook, if I didn’t want to purchase a used pooch from the animal shelter, no one made me feel horrible about buying a bred-for-the-family dog from a reputable breeder.

But Facebook takes all of these things…all the things that makes life, life and it makes you feel like you’re wrong for living it your way, while trying its darned best to ensure that you live it “their” way. And that’s wrong. It’s OK if you want to surround yourself with others who live and love and feel as you do and you shouldn’t feel as if every time you look at Facebook, you have to defend yourself or your actions or feelings to someone else just because they post some strongly worded comment or picture-story that has 3,000 Likes from some international agency of change.

So I’m OK letting it go. No more will I be ruled by hurt feelings just because people didn’t agree with my posts. Likely, Facebook just didn’t show it to that many people anyway. It’s playing with our feelings and our lives and I’m quite through with it.

I’m OK without Facebook.

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A Blogging Resurgence?

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After reading a family member’s Facebook post today, I was moved to send her a link over to “I have to wipe his what?” blog. Which led me down a path, as these things often do, to sending my good friend David over at “Life of a Father of Five” a note saying, “Hey man, I don’t blog much anymore. You have my permission to remove my blog from your blog roll, GUILT-FREE!”

Which he declined on moral grounds stating that maybe one day I’ll get off my lazy butt and start blogging again. (I paraphrase)

I really should, and I know this. It’s not that I don’t have time so much as it that the little bit of free time I do have, I like to spend lying in my bed at night with my wife in hopes that she’ll take pity on this graying stallion and let me practice my “oh so overused” moves on her before she falls off to sleep by 9:30 p.m. So see, it’s really nature preventing me from blogging…not laziness.

In truth, I’ve started and deleted a number of posts in the last year. Usually, I recognize them for what they are–wallowing in self pity–and I, realizing how pathetic I sound, delete the post rather than joining the ranks of the millions of others out there similarly enamored of their own depression.

But I hereby declare, maybe not a resurgence, so much as an EFFORT…to blog more often. And while I realize I have probably lost every regular visitor I have, perhaps I’ll use my professional marketing skills to just blow this thing outta the water.

For now though, it’s 9:23, which means I only have about 7 minutes left to woo women. Which should be plenty of time…and then some.

 

Today is my son’s actual birthday, and I forgot to tell him Happy Birthday…

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Romi’s comment prompted me to at least make a small effort to blog, so here goes.
BTW: Yes, the title is true. But in my defense, we had a family party last Sunday and he’s having a dual-party with a bud of his next weekend, so cut me slack for forgetting that today is his actual birthday!!

image Day 3: CareerMom comes home this evening sometime around dinner. Her flight lands around 4ish and then she has to trek all the way up through Atlanta to the burbs. So, figure around 5:30-6 p.m.

I looked around the house with a critical eye this morning and it was NOT pretty. Normally when she’s gone, I have time to work, take care of the boys AND clean, but this time around, the cleaning part fell victim to work that I had to do after putting the boys to bed. I had not swept. I had not vacuumed. I DID turn on the dishwasher and a load of clothes (no folding…), so yeah me!

One thing I will say though, is now that the boys are 5 and 2 years old, it is WORLDS easier than it was when I had an actual baby to deal with, which is ultimately why I have been looking upon this pending baby in August with such dread. CareerMom’s job is not going to get any easier, nor will it involve less travel as long as she’s with this company. So this time next year, I’ll be blogging about doing this all over again, except this time I’ll have a 6-month old to deal with!

What’s a guy to do? My job is important too, but just because I don’t travel, then by proxy, it’s less important. It means that when she DOES travel, that extra hour or two I usually gain by not having to take the kids to daycare, or pick them up, when she’s here working from home, is now built into late night work while everyone else sleeps. I mean, even though my boss is a mom herself, and she understands what I’m dealing with, she’s also still my boss and my deadlines are her deadlines.

I’m sure CareerMom would balk at the mere suggestion that her career is more important than mine, but each time she goes out of town, leaving me to do my usual duties, plus hers…then we really see what’s #1 around here. Cuz, when I told her that this was a BAD week for her to be gone, I don’t remember her saying, “Really? OK, I’ll get out of it.”

I submit, clause 7 from a random Partnership agreement:

Management Duties and Restrictions
The partners shall have equal rights in the management of the partnership business, and each partner shall devote their entire time to the conduct of the business. Without the consent of the other partner neither partner shall on behalf of the partnership borrow or lend money, or make, deliver, or accept any commercial paper, or execute any mortgage, security agreement, bond, or lease, or purchase or contract to purchase, or sell or contract to sell any property for or of the partnership other than the type of property bought and sold in the regular course of its business.

Restated for Marriage
The partners shall have equal rights in the management of the partnership household business, and each partner shall devote their entire time to the conduct of the business. Without the consent of the other partner, neither partner shall on behalf of the partnership make decisions to increase the capital expenditures, increase the net assets (either human or inanimate), or dissolve third-party relationships with other partnerships. In the event that either partner stays absent from the partnership for a length of time that detrimentally affects the performance of the other partner, upon said partner’s return, the partner who faithfully remained and carried out the duties of the partnership, shall have the option to immediately disregard any and all provinces within this partnership; thereby, freeing the partner to spend money flagrantly, drink heavily, and generally act in a manner that might normally be deemed inappropriate.

The sad truth though, is that upon her return, though she will immediately “set me free,” instead of going and doing something fun for myself, I’ll probably just sit down and do more work.

Yeah, I’m THAT behind.

*sigh*

Go ahead, take away my Man Card

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image Men have codes. We have a LOT of codes. And the funny thing is, for a gender that has, historically at least, been maligned as little more than sex-starved warmongers, most of our codes involve things like chivalry and bravery and good stuff like that.

But, if I’m being honest, we do have codes about sex and war, so there is some fact at the bottom of all that history.

At night, I have a routine. Once the kids are in bed, I get myself cleaned up, check my e-mail and then I usually retire to bed with CareerMom where we lie in bed and watch TV (unless we have other things on our minds). Most of the time, CareerMom is good about letting me watch what I want to watch because, unless we’re engaged in witty banter, she’s usually asleep within 30 minutes anyway. So the few times that she does actually want to watch something, I give in.

And that’s how I started watching “The Bachelor” this season.

Yeah, I know, I know. Don’t start with me guys!

To be honest, there are things about this show that redeem themselves, such as the 25 beautiful women walking around all dolled up for the first few episodes. But, as time goes on, and the Bachelor sends them home one by one, the eye candy dwindles and you’re left watching some young stud try and woo these women using all of his charms.

Now one of the codes we men have revolves around how we married guys rally behind our single brethren. At the risk of sounding like a pig, it’s a bit of a “living vicariously through another” thing. Sure, I may be happily married, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate watching a master at work. Heck, I bet even Bob Ross would have appreciated watching, oh I don’t know…what’s that “Painter of Light” guy’s name?

Anyway, I’ve been mentally giving this year’s Bachelor a “You go BOY!” as he cut the list of ladies down to these last three; but last night, I must say I lost all respect for the guy. Even followers of “The Code” have a line and that line involves marriage. When you get down to the nitty gritty and you start talking marriage, then I think you have to stop and re-evaluate your actions and perhaps adopt the “other code” that we married men follow.

The Married Man’s Code:

My wife is my best friend. Her trust I shall not betray. Daily, I am tempted, but my promise is stronger than any temptation. I can look, discreetly, but I shall not touch. I respect my wife and I will not disrespect either her, or her memory, in the presence of others.

There’s more to it, but we sort of make it up as we go.

But this Bachelor guy, he’s a piece of work. Now granted, so much of this show is manufactured that it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. But what IS obvious, is that this guy is a couple of dates away from asking a girl to marry him, and he’s spending the night, in the same room, with three different women. Even I can’t get behind that.

But I think what clinched it for me last night was when the second woman asked him the question: “Your house is on fire. What one thing would you grab as you ran out the door.”

I’ll pause here and ask you this question. What would you grab? Well, I’ll tell you that the first thing that came to my mind was, “my son.”

What did our Bachelor say? “My Air Jordan tennis shoes” or something like that.

I’m sorry, did you just say that you’d grab your shoes over your child? And this is after making a huge deal about family and how important they are. And while I’m bustin’ on this guy, here’s my other complaints:

  • Do you own anything other than a dark sweater and jeans? These ladies are dressed to the hilt for you and you have on your Levis.
  • OK, so you have a BA in Psychology. Still, quit staring at the girls like they are bugs. It makes them nervous and then they just start gabbing and saying stupid stuff, which you should know.

I can only imagine how the parents of these girls feel as they watch this guy, who their daughter is in love with, close the blinds on his love-nest with another women. Sheesh.

There is another code I’ve yet to mention and it goes something like this:

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me….”

Behind every memory…is a Coffee Mug?

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If there’s an adult male in your house over the age of 32, it’s a pretty good bet that if Gordon Elliott and the cast of “Doorknock Dinners” were to suddenly show up at your house and go scrounging through your pantry, they’d find a number of unmatched coffee mugs, complete with various pictures, logos and catch-phrases.

I thought about this as I was emptying the dishwasher and trying to find a place for some of our mugs the other day. Now, CareerMom is an avowed packrat, and I’m generally a “tosser” (and not in a British kinda way). I don’t generally get sentimental over knick-knacks so its easy for me to just throw things out. Not so with CareerMom.

So I was a bit surprised at myself as I rearranged our current coffee mug inventory, to find that there were some, that for whatever reason, I just couldn’t throw out. Some of those mugs are like little markers pointing at some very good, and bad times in my life and I’m hesitant to get rid of them.

If you’re interested, come…walk with me:

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I got this mug at the Georgia Renaissance Festival back in 2000. CareerMom and I had just gotten married the fall prior and I had quit a very lucrative contract job (making the same money 9 years ago that I’m making now) so I could move back to Atlanta and get married. I remember that we really didn’t have much spending cash, but I really wanted one of these cool mugs (filled at the time of purchase, with beer) because it was really hot outside and because I really liked the mug. So, CareerMom bought it for me and I’ve treasured it ever since.

 

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I grew up in Alabama, and though I wasn’t lucky enough to go to the U. of Alabama, I will forever be a fan! CareerMom got her B.A. at U. of Texas and did her graduate studies at Georgia Tech. And though we don’t actually use these cups much, they are as much a part of our lives as anything else. I just can’t seem to part with them.

ROLL TIDE!

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Much like my career, this mug symbolizes the hayday of my single life. I was young, I took contract jobs where I often got to do very fun and different things. One time, I worked for a railroad company planning a large telecommunications rollout. Part of my job was to help complete some maps. This was in the day before everything was on the Internet, so I was poring over what few maps were available on the Internet, plus some maps on CD to figure out where the railroad tracks went across the U.S. The logo on this mug has long since worn off, but the underlying color is still there, shiny and bright. I don’t even remember specifically where I got it; only that it meant something special at the time. Still does really…

 

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…the hell did this come from?

Looks like something CareerMom got in a crappy “Thank You” basket at at a baby shower.
It’s outta here!

 

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CareerMom brought this mug, along with a set of platters and such when we got married. I think I’ve seen a similar set at Target on and off over the years. But we pull these mugs out around the Christmas holidays. They are a beautiful green with a snowy scene on them that reminds me of the “Christmas that could be.” We will probably never have a white Christmas here in Atlanta, but like seeing the first leaves drop and feeling that first bite of cool Canadian air in October, these mugs always lift my spirits a bit.

 

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When MLE was born, I wanted to make something the people could keep. So, I took this, one of the first pictures I took of him, and had a mug made up and sent it to all of our family members. For very obvious reasons, I can never throw this one out.
I thought about this cup this morning as I was eating breakfast and MLE came down and asked to sit in my lap. I really love that little guy!

 

IMG_2327CareerMom brought this and another mug like it back from San Francisco recently.Not that I’m a fan of San Fran mind you, but the mugs are very interesting. The  scenery is raised on the mug making it a very tactile drinking experience. They also hold a LOT of coffee, which is a boon in the mornings when you’re already making umpteen trips up and down the stairs retrieving various things for the kids while trying to get ready. They seem kind of fragile though, so I suspect I’ll break them before I actually tire of them. Since these are relatively new, I’m not sure yet what the memory of these will be in 5 years. Perhaps thinking back of all the time I was able to spend with my boys by myself as she traveled for work. (*whisper* It’s kinda really fun when she’s gone!)

 

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Ah, our old standy coffee mugs. These are our everyday, eat and drink whatever you want outta them cups. Fruit, teas, coffee…they take them all. They aren’t flashy, but there’s lots of them and the do the job.

It’s kinda like our marriage really. Maybe they’re not the most exciting all the time, but they’re strong, and there whenever you need ’em.

People collect things specifically for the memories they make, but coffee cups are one of those things that you just sort of pick up along the way, without a specific purpose for doing so. That makes them special. Like the picture on the wall that, in time, you tend to ignore, pulling one of these gems out of the back of the cabinet and reliving the sentiment behind it is special. Unexpected.

Being Sick is…fun?

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God  bless CareerMom! Yesterday, my sinus infection came back with a vengence (as was evident by the multi-colored excretions that flowed with each annoyingly noisy blow).

 As such, I felt like death warmed over. That, coupled with work-laptop issues, had me in a “not to be trifled with” mood. CareerMom brought the boys home from their visit to the doctor where both got four shots (ouchies!) and were neither in much of a mood to have fun either, and promptly put MLE down for a short nap.

But after his nap, CareerMom took them both out for dinner at Chic-Fil-A and then to the “tiny park” while I languished on the couch. In my defense, I did attempt to fix the DVD player, and while I could get it to work with the cover off, when I put the cover back on, it stopped working again. I could probably fix it, but since I have to sit in the car with the unit plugged into the cigarette lighter, and the lighting there is NOT the best, I’m leaning towards chunking it and getting a new one.

But my inability to fix it meant that this morning, when MLI and MLE got in the car, and MLE was fussy thanks to the shots and a new lower tooth coming in, there was no DVD to watch.

I sense a big “I owe you one” coming on this evening, and while I still don’t feel like smiling much or sitting on the floor playing with the Leggo’s, I’m gonna suck it up and take one for the team. Course, I have to take about 3 or 4 for the team next week when CareerMom travels to New York.

But days like yesterday are the days that make a marriage (and parenting) work. That’s why there are two of you. When one is down and out, the other steps up with nary a complaint or comment. Sure, you may not feel like it yourself, but you do it, and not just for the kids either. So honey, you’re the best!

 (not that you know where I post my blog to)

A momentary, “Oh Crap!”

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 Which day is my anniversary on? 

 

This morning as I sat at my desk, I momentarily panicked because I couldn’t remember today’s date and I knew that my anniversary was either today or tomorrow. I quickly double-clicked on my desktop’s calendar icon and thankfully, it’s tomorrow and luckily I still have time to get a card this afternoon and perhaps a bottle of bubbly and still look like a hero tomorrow. Before you ladies crucify me though, I had already booked a night away next weekend, which includes in-room champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, breakfast and a 50-minute massage. So, it’s not like I totally forgot about our anniversary. I guess in my mind I’d already “taken care of it” so I had just let it fall to the back on my “most important things to focus on this week” list.

 

But then my mind played a trick on me and I wondered if my anniversary was really tomorrow (the 6th) or today (the 5th) and perhaps I was remembering the date wrong. And what if  CareerMom, rather than telling me “Happy Anniversary” this morning, was waiting it out to see how long I’d go before remembering it. Kinda like giving me enough rope to hang myself with. Even as I type this, I’m 99% sure we got married on the 6th, but I’m still in 1% panic mode that maybe I’m wrong! This is why men should always get their wedding date engraved on the inside of their wedding band. I didn’t.

 

But man, I never thought I’d be “that guy.” I remember being single and thinking, “Wow! How could a guy ever forget his anniversary? What a stooge!” And now here I am, airing out my armpits after a ten second, sweaty panic attack over having done just that. 

 

At least I did plan something though, so I’m not coming down too hard on myself. But even still, with all the planning and reminder tools I have at my disposal, why haven’t I set myself a reminder? Before my wife’s birthday I should have a reminder pop up a week prior that says, “Yo dawg! Don’t forget that CareerMom’s birthday is three days before yours.” That works—cuz, you know I’m not going to forget my birthday. Same thing for our anniversary.

 

But I’ll tell you, before I go judging other men on their forgetfulness, I’ll first stop and remind myself that life is stressful and demanding. Sometimes it’s easy to forget things, but even if/when you do, it doesn’t mean you don’t care.