Double Your Dad’s

As a child of divorce and an optimist, I found myself always looking for a reason to be satisfied with my family arrangement. My situation is not exactly ideal. It is however, particularly easy now that I’m an adult with a family of my own; well the start of one anyway, by snagging a great husband and a humanistic pug.

I’ve got two dads. I’ve got my paternal “taught me how to ride a bike” dad and my “see, this is how you drill into concrete” step-dad. I’m lucky because they are both wonderful men who have devoted so much of their lives to me, and I to them. Even luckier, they get along. Step-dad has referenced real dad as his “husband-in-law”, which sounds a bit goofy, but we laugh.

 

The cool thing is that, since no one is identical, I find that I always have the right man to help guide me, no matter what the problem is. Both are handy, but in different trades. They are both wise, but from different backgrounds and perspectives. They both can make me laugh and sometimes roll my eyes, but they both have traits that I found to be absolutely required in the man I’d marry; amongst them, respectful, honest, smart, hardworking and loving. I now have three men in my life that mean the world to me daily. I soon look forward to four, as I watch my little brother mature into a man and learn from three elders that care for him as much as I do.

There’s no one in the world without flaws, but their goodness supersedes any negatives, usually. I know this is true because I got nearly weepy at each Father’s Day card I read at Hallmark. I felt so lucky to have people fit the cheesy sentiment, even if I felt entirely lame taking twenty minutes reading through each card option available. If the hardest part of divorce for me is to choose two cards for two dads, I think I won.

I’ll save the stories of skinned knees from my competitive father trying to beat a five year old on her bike for another day.  Who does that?

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Me and you

And you and me

No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be

The only one for me is you, and you for me

So happy together
-The Turtles

As I scrolled through the trusty photo files, I found literally hundreds of self-shot pictures of my husband and I together. Luckily for you, I’ve only included four.

In some you can see the frustration of trying to get a camera to work from arm’s length or that we forgot to remove the zoom before taking a self-portrait. Others I can tell my husband is getting really annoyed that I’m making him stop and take more of these. Luckily in most of the shots we look really happy. I love them all because if we had the same smile all the time, all we’d be looking at is the background.

Not very flattering, but our fingers were too frozen to take pictures and it was a bitter ferry ride to Ellis Island.

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Notes to My Future Self about Yard Work

Today was a day of accomplishment.  With gorgeous spring weather, brought the desire to get up early and make this spring, the spring that we have a well put together backyard.  Now that I’m showered and subtle frustration has calmed, I can solidly put together some of the thoughts and tips I developed as the day progressed.  That sounds all hunky dory, doesn’t it?  But really this is the stuff that I am warning myself for the future yard work adventures.  It sounds better to put it that way than blatantly complaining.

  • Warn your husband not to laugh at you when you trip or twist your ankle when you are tired, dirty and cranky, and carrying more than a normal armload of tree branches; unless you think they’d like expletives to be thrown their way.  Also, when said expletives are cast upon your spouse, don’t be surprised that you instantly develop a crude character assessment and reputation from the elderly and nosy neighbors.
  • The way to get color on your pasty skin is not to apply heavy duty sunblock (first of all) and then not wait long enough for it to dry.  When the wind kicks up and blows fine dirt your way, it only makes you look dirty.  It just makes you look homeless and feel gritty.  Also, start standing upwind of the dirty to avoid breathing it in and being appalled later when you blow your nose and have nearly black boogies.  You’ll remember this note when your allergies kick in and after excessive nose blowing, you see your reflections and your nose is the only area of skin on your body that shows your real skin color.
  • Don’t rush.  When ripping out weeds, be sure not to grab hold of a rose branch accidentally and sliding more than a couple thorns through your delicate hands, which rips your skin apart.  Yes, I should have been wearing my gloves, but I thought I was done and then noticed a weed-ridden area.  I’ve already paid for this mistake with stinging rubbing alcohol.  Still, do not make this mistake again.

  • Along the same lines, don’t be so offended when you accidentally grab your dog’s crap while again, picking weeds in the yard.  After all, didn’t you just spend an hour spreading manure in the garden beds?  Is it really that different?  Continue reading

Spring and Dirty Fingernails Are Here

Inspiration can be found in the simplest of things.

It is still March, but it feels as though spring has been here in the Northeast for a month, if not more.  My flowers have been in full bloom, just as the demeanor of the people I see riding bicycles and strolling with their dogs after work.

It’s hard to feel anything other than refreshed, when it comes to seeing the color sprouting from the ground.  We’ve started to get our garden boxes ready and it’s only a matter of time before the unusual and potent scent of a tomato vine permeates my callused summer gardening hands.

My husband works so hard on the garden.  I’m sure he feels I do also, but he is really dedicated.  Maybe it is the Iowa farmer mentality.  Either way, I find myself very lucky to share a life and home with someone who takes simplicity and hard work seriously, but also has the spirit to make everything we do fun.  We aerated one of the garden boxes yesterday and picked out any grubby insects we found along the way.  We are determined to have a healthy showing of produce this year.  There is also an amazing amount of untapped gardening humor we discovered, as we laughed and combed through the dirt.

So spring is amongst us and the days will grow longer.  It won’t be long before the heat and humidity confines us to the one room that has air condition.  But it is too soon to think of that (I hope), so for now we will open the windows and let some much needed fresh air in, as I clutch my Benadryl bottle.  I will also start stretching and training so I don’t have a daily stumble over the rabbit fence around our garden all summer.  It’s starting to get embarrassing.  Such a klutz.

Such Odd Things to Be Grateful For

I fell asleep with my computer last night.  It was not quite romantic.  I did wake up in the middle of the night, however, with a great idea for a topic.  Supposedly.  I noted it on my phone, but it was so vague; “Grateful for odd things”.  Although, I am grateful for odd things, I think most people are.  It’s the simple things in life that really make a difference.  Although I don’t know what examples I may have had while I slept, I was able to coherently think of some of my own today.

And so, I give you, odd but significant things I am grateful for.

  • My husband isn’t a video game addict.  Hell, he doesn’t drink or gamble in excess or zone out into any sports on TV (that’s more me).  He does watch cartoons, but not if we’re home together, because we have a lot in common and that is not one of them.  Its not cartoons that bothers me, because I’ll watch Bugs Bunny or SpongeBob myself, but these cheesy Anime ones.  He watches them in fast forward too, which leads me to believe that are just as enjoyable as I think they are.  Regardless, I am grateful that he is unlike the many men I know our age who ignore the world around them, as they lose all reality to the outside world with controller in hand.  So, thank you honey.
  • My Aunt recently brought to my attention that I should be happy for my chubby cheeks.  “Look at Sally Field.”, she says, “She’s got fat and cologen in her face because of her cheeks and she’ll never look hallowed out.”  Of course, she continued with things what sounded like back-handed compliments, but I realized she was right.  Not only will my cheeks be beneficial as I age, they give my friends great humor.  My cheeks were (ok, are) big enough that when I smile, they push up my eyes quite a bit.  Although I’m of Irish/German descent, they often claim I’m in fact Asian.  This doesn’t bother me because it is not offensive, but simply odd.  Regardless, I’m grateful to you, chubby cheeks.
  • I’ve always been on the thin or appropriate weight for my height.  I also have a stomach that is very picky.  I hate that.  But, it is the reason that I don’t eat unhealthy or unnatural things.  Thus, I keep my figure.  I think it’s a good idea to turn every annoying negative into a positive.  It also saves us money because we don’t buy take-out very often, so well done finicky stomach!
  • I’m just shy of 5’9, but I have small feet.  Sometimes I am as small as a 7 shoe, but mainly 7 ½.  I feel gangly as it is; have long legs, long arms and a long torso, so this makes me feel that I’m petite in some way.  And I’m grateful for that.  Although, I do believe it aids in my klutziness.  We are convinced that my feet are not big enough to keep me sturdy, which is why I topple.  This is not medically or scientifically based, but it seems good enough of a reason to me.

I am grateful for so many “real” things, and some of these are really just silly.  But I imagine one day, if these all didn’t collide (cue time travel music); I could look like a skeleton droopy face with big feet, obese and married to a World of Warcraft addict.  Ah, but now everything will be perfect.

This is probably my most bizarre post.  Bear with me, it’s been a long week.

I’m starting to see a trend that my Sunday posts are not so inspired. It makes me wonder if posting every day is working against me. I like to feel inspired to write, or have a goal, so instead of waiting for that to happen, I’ve forced myself into a spot of obligatory random writing. Some days, there just isn’t a lot to say.

I don’t know if any of you writers out there feel this way, but I find I must have my workspace in a very particular manner to feel right when I start writing. I really haven’t had an ideal workspace in…wow, ever? Maybe once or twice I had a random station set up that felt do-able or felt at home in a cozy café, but this is all about to change.

We have two guest bedrooms in our home and no guests. Not often enough to have two rooms set up, anyway, and one in particular was never used in almost four years. Today, the amazing husband, (insert Superman theme here) spent the day helping* me swap furniture to other rooms, the attic and the basement, in order to make one of the guest rooms exclusively my office. It’s not a shared space, which will find my desk serving as a table for fresh towels or a suitcase.  It will really be my room.

*His “helping” by the way is a loose translation of: He did almost all the work. I try not to just be a supervisor, but I’m also a weakling.

The room isn’t right just yet. I need blinds in there so I can work at night without feeling creeped out. I’m thinking I’m glad I never had a guest sleep in there, with the lack of blinds and sheer curtain issue. We’ll paint and move all those books onto some shelves, but my desk is in there and that is a start. And by “we”, I’m fully investing in getting this done, paint speckles in my hair and all.

I find that setting my environment to the right kind of writing mood helps, and maybe I will be more inspired in there, than with the laptop in bed while I rush to meet my personal deadline. The daily deadline, by the way, I keep missing because there is no real punishment resulting from a late post.  The worst that can happen is that I say “Damn it” and keep writing. After all, this is not a real job, though I wish it could be.  Maybe I should set real goals so I go to bed earlier and post timely.

Shannon: No cookies if you post after midnight…got it?

Oh, and also, stop thinking up good ideas, composing them in your head while you drive or do dishes and then not write them down.  You get proud of yourself and think you’ll remember but you never do.  You’re killing me.

And with that, I say, “Good night”.