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WIFE (permalink) 10.10.2017
more on vaginas OR i'm a sex-camel
ok. so more than one person has asked why and how a doctor would ever come to tell a patient that she has the vagina of an eighty year old (to a patient that is far from eighty). that story happened over here in case you missed it. as with all such stories, there is a plausible explanation.

marty had just had her first child--miss bella. a few months after bella was born marty and i had the following exchange in bed.

you know troy, i'm not really sure how long it will be before i'm in game-shape again.

uh. what do you mean?

you know in that husband and wife kinda way. things just don't feel right. something is off.

hey i was in that room. i saw what happened. if your parts ever worked again the way they are supposed to, i'd be amazed. so please take all the time you need.

i also recall from that conversation talking about the long stretch of time in my teen years i had convinced myself no one would ever have sex with me. so first off, i was just thankful someone did have sex with me. and secondly, because of those years of desperation i developed a camel-like ability to store up sexual experiences that allow me to survive super-long droughts of action. further, i put intercourse-post-childbirth in the same category as i put the piano. if someone simply described the act of playing a piano to me i would say it was not humanly possible. for a person to:
  1. do two different things with their hands
  2. read two different lines of music with their eyes
  3. WHILE manipulating a foot pedal with some form of control
if someone suggested trying to do that to me, i would recommend they give their time to something that is actually humanly possible. this is how i felt about post-childbirth-intercourse. because if the equivalant happened to me, that is, if i had to pass even something the size of, say a grape, i'd be done, like forever. given this, after seeing bella be born, i assumed i had had sex for the last time ever.

my two additional children represent the exciting sign that i was wrong and i got to have sex again (hows about an internet-wide woot-woot!!!). that a female's reproductive organs can return to their (mostly) original state after birthing a child stands as one of this world's great marvels to me. i mean that they are ever, ever functional again to any degree stands as one of our universes greatest triumphs (yes, sure the whole making a human thing is cool, but ...). and if someone described to me what takes place and said it would work again, i would argue they had obviously lost their mind and i don't debate people with such childish premises.

but they were meant to work again and marty was experiencing some temporary issues, something related to breastfeeding and estrogen and too much of one and not enough of another, that simply needed to be addressed. and marty, being the trooper and seal-grade badass, just thought it was another parenting related hill to be bested. but it was not, it was something her doctor needed to be made aware of and modern medicine once again came charging around the bend and put down her body's uprising.

and it worked again.

and it looked just fine again too.

and i'm still not showing anyone my penis.

FAMILY, KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 07.13.2017

WIFE (permalink) 04.04.2017
my mom always knew i was special
i was no kind of celebrity when i was in high school. fact is i did a pretty masterful job of blending into whatever backdrop surrounded me. but now, now i know what britney and gwen and taylor all feel when they enter a room.

unfortunately it is not because of me but because of my vivacious wife who is a story-telling machine in the classroom. she has her students near frothing to meet the man who married the likes of their crazy, say-anything biology teacher. i always knew there was some intrigue around me given the whispers and finger points i get when i go to a basketball game or school concert with marty or bella.

the other morning i had to get something out of marty's van. i could not find our backup set of keys so needed to interrupt her during school. when i stepped through the doorway of her large classroom the student heads swiveled toward me. marty, back to the door, was in full throat giving some instruction. before she could turn, one of the students rose from their seat, pointed at me, and said "IT'S TROY!".

to this marty swung my way and confirmed the initial report, "it is troy. what is troy doing here?".

as marty walked towards me kids leaned into one another, never taking their eyes off me and whispered excitedly. i explained my plight to marty. she got the keys and then wondered aloud the best way to get them back (as i tend to easily get lost in the large school). marty asked if anyone would volunteer to lead me to her car and then bring the keys back so i didn't have to find the room again. twenty seven hands shot in the air, "i'll go! i'll go! i'll go!".

now if i could just figure out how to can that zeal and pump it into the rooms of people who have to interact with me daily.

WIFE (permalink) 03.17.2017
hidden gems
this year when parent-teacher conferences swung around, marty announced that she would miss dinner the next night. i followed up by asking the kids what we should do since we wouldn't have the dead weight around. bella immediately piped up asking what i meant because i was going to be gone too. i asked where i was going and bella said i was going to be meeting with her teachers because as mother announced it was parent-teacher conferences. mildly confused and glancing at marty for support i told bella that having a parent at your child's school (marty teaches where bella attends) carries the awesome perk of me not having to go to those meetings because we've got a for-real boots-on-the-ground resource in the building. bella's body sagged to one side and after a beat or two she said, "i work hard in my classes. that is my job. your job, a few times a year, is to go hear about how hard i'm working in my classes. that is how it works."

so i'm at parent-teacher conferences, my first ever at the high school and i spied marty doing her thing. over the years i have always felt for her on these evenings because they are wicked long days and i always hear about the salty and pissy parents as like with the students themselves, they are the ones that stick on your brain's wall like neon post-it notes. but when i saw it live i got the sense they held the event for marty. it was like a talking-gala where you got to wear a pretty dress for a rotating cast of strangers and talk all night. marty's dreamscape. worst possible environment imaginable to me. so now i feel no kinda sadness for marty who looked like true royalty and whose dance card was blurringly deep.

for me, i shouldered my core objective—hearing my daughter's teachers lavish her with praise and laughingly comment on her perpetual need to knit. one guy leaned in to me and said in a hushed voice, "i honestly think bella has done more good in the world by fifteen than i have in my whole life. i mean seriously. one day i asked her what she was knitting and she said 'hats for premature babies' and i was like 'hats for premature babies' are you kidding me.".

inbetween those gush-fests, i took in the tumultuous event and studied the organization of it all. my biggest question was why are some teachers so busy and others standing patiently by their clipboards amidst a sea of people. those teachers-in-waiting looked pretty exactly like me at every high school social event i ever attended. did that imply they were a good teacher or a bad teacher? i obviously didn't know the players well enough to do a proper assessment but it didn't curb my fascination in it all. and if i can use the only inside-baseball info i have, marty's table was hoppin' so i imagine there is at least one path that makes the good teachers a little more booked than others. i can kinda hear kids saying to their follks, "and you totally have to talk to mrs. walters because she is crazy ... and wears wild stockings ... and will say ANYTHING!".

marty told me about one of her last meetings of the night. the lady was reasonably miffed as she had to wait over an hour for her turn to speak with marty. thus the conversation began on the cool side. but marty, ever the pro, went about her task. in time the sleight seemed forgotten and their business was done. marty shook her hand, apologized for the wait and went to call her next name.

the following morning marty found a message in her inbox from this lady with a subject line of "conferences last night". marty saw that the school principal had been cc'd. minutes into this new day that followed a fourteen hour workday and not enough sleep, marty drew a breath and clicked on the message.
Mrs. Walter,
I just wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank you for my time with you last evening. Admittedly, I was growing a bit frustrated waiting 1.5 hours for my turn to speak with you, but as we started to talk, all of that quickly melted away.

I've been attending parent-teacher conferences for my daughter Evelyn since she was in preschool, and quite honestly, they've all been pretty much the same. She's a pleasure to have in class, she is doing great work, she participates in class, she truly cares for her fellow classmates. All of those things are wonderful to hear mind you, but my conference with you was different.

It started pretty typically with her current grade and that neither one of us had concerns about her coursework. But then you blew me away. You talked about noticing a time during the school year that Evelyn was a bit down, and not quite herself. I never thought I would hear something like that in a conference. Not in high school. And definitely not from her Biology teacher. I can't begin to convey to you how much that meant to me. You know who my child is. Not just by name, or what hour you have her, or where she sits in your classroom. And you CARE. Not only did you notice that something was off with her, you talked with her about it. You made sure that she had someone that she could turn to.

I asked Evelyn about it later that evening, and she told me that you continued to check in with her for the next few weeks. And she told me how much she appreciated that. I can't thank you enough for being the teacher that you are. That all high school children NEED to have in their lives. I'm so glad that I waited for my time with you. To hear the funny, personal story that you had to tell about my child. I could have spent an hour talking with you, but I wanted to be respectful of the family still waiting to talk with you.

My daughter is very blessed to have you as her teacher. This school is fortunate to have you. Thank you Mrs. Walter for truly looking out for my child and giving her an amazing education in life.

With gratitude and profound respect.
there are so many hidden gems in the world. professions you love. life-long friendships that keep unfolding. hope-inspiring children. new tantalizing experiences. unexpected kindnesses paid by strangers. these precious gems are everywhere really. they can be given and gotten with unreasonable frequency. this life can be just endlessly wondrous.

WIFE (permalink) 01.13.2017
our family was at ted drewes, a famous dessert shack in our town. after putting in our order we stepped to the side to wait for our treats. a group of old guys took our place at the order window. the first of them said, "i'd like a hot fudge sundae with extra-extra hot fudge and the seniors discount."

after completing his sentence, he turned to the two old guys behind him and said, "i bet you didn't know about the seniors discount."

the consented they did not. he flashed a schoolboy's smile.

then he caught marty's eye and before he could say anything to her she said, "and i didn't know about the extra-extra hot fudge."

his schoolboy smile got a bit younger and a touch wider at her clever quip.

QUOTES, WIFE (permalink) 01.12.2017
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

WIFE, KIDS, TRAVEL (permalink) 07.14.2016
for the third year in a row, on her first week of summer, marty took my, well, our children to georgia to visit my dad ... and i didn't go. i stayed back because of work or lack of vacation or both. i don't get how remarkable this is until i say it out loud to someone. most guys scrunch their face and say, "wait a minute. let me get this straight. your wife takes your kids to see your dad and leaves you home alone for the week?!?". then i scrunch my face all up and pretty much say the same thing to myself in shared disbelief.

but that is marty. the girl is double special.

this year they were scheduled to get home on tuesday. on monday afternoon, around five i got a call from alex saying they were like three hours away and were just going to push through. an hour later i got another call, this time from bella, that said mom got crabby, the kids term for when marty gets tired, and they were going to stop for the night. i lamented at how sucky it was to have to stop just a few hours from home but certainly appreciated marty not jeopardizing my world by driving when she shouldn't.

i had just finished cleaning the house for their return and now that they weren't going to return tonight so i went upstairs and started doing some work in my office. a couple hours later i was sitting at my desk filing some papers when something caught my eye. i looked up. anthony was standing like two feet away from me. i sprang back in my chair and shrieked,

oh my god anthony! you scared the hell out of me! what, what, what are you doing here?

ANTHONY (exasperated)
dad, we're all sitting down on the couch waiting to watch a bob's burgers. are you coming down or not?

with that he turned and left the room. i fell back in my chair touching my chest to feel my racing heart. once i thought i was not going to go into cardiac arrest, i went downstairs and found my full family, just as anthony had described, all on the couch and looking at me expectantly. i said to them, "you're lucky i'm a pretty fit guy because if i wasn't you'd all be hoping right about now that the ambulance would get here in time."

marty tells me that the plan they hatched was just to have anthony call from the steps that they were waiting for me. i guess he was confused when they parked the van around the corner and super quietly unlocked the door and crept into the house. he mis-read that and thought that he should continue the sneaking until he was standing just ten inches off my shoulder in what i thought was a completly vacant house when he made his sharp proclamation. i'm serious when i tell you i could visibly see my heart pounding in my chest.

WIFE (permalink) 05.27.2016
i was headed out the door to play tennis. marty came down the stairs wrapped only in, wonkily so, one of the kids winter coats. she said she wanted to tell me something. the something was sweet and loving and made me feel 17 instead of 47. she had to get the coat because she wasn't dressed and saw i had the front door open and my bike was sitting outside so she knew i wouldn't want to close the door. as she ran back up the stairs she pulled the coat aside and flashed me her nakedness, her playful laugh ringing through the foyer before snapping it closed and rounding out of site. more 17 year old tingles.

WIFE (permalink) 01.20.2016
teachers' dreams
marty dreamt about an obnoxious student, fictional, in her class that came and spread out a bunch of electronics on his desk at the start of class. she repeatedly told him to put his toys away. after not complying she walked up to his desk and had the following exchange:

i've told you four times to put that stuff away.

i guess now you're going to have to tell me five times.

to this unexpected response marty held up her hand as if to point a finger at him, but magically clutched in her grip was a butter knife. using this opportune dream-development she brought the flat edge of the knife down sharply hitting the boy on the forehead. shocked and mildly hurt the boy said:

hey! you can't do that. i can get you fired. i'm going to get you fired.

MARTY a little stunned
well ... well ... not if i quit.

marty then promptly went to her desk, dashed out a quick resignation letter, grabbed her backpack and high-stepped out of the room.

the next day marty shared this dream with another teacher. he lit up and said he recently had one of those (it turns out these sorts of dreams may be more routine than one might expect). in his he got so frustrated with a student he strangled him, like to death. the curious thing he said was that after it happened he wasn't shocked or alarmed but turned away with a sense of satisfaction as if he'd just graded a huge stack of papers. it wasn't until his co-teachers in the room chastised him and said he shouldn't have done that before he felt bad about what had happened. it is important to note that he recalls not feeling bad about the limp student but he felt bad that he had disappointed his friends and co-workers.

WIFE, LIFE (permalink) 12.07.2015
makes me wonder what else i could shed to simplify things
remember my financial fast (ref)? as of today i am 41 days into my ban on personal and/or frivolous spending. curious how palpable such an adjustment in one's lifestyle is? marty looks in our credit card statement online after she pays the prior month's bill off to get a sense for what the next month is starting to look like. a week in she usually encounters anywhere from $500 to $1500 dollars depending on what home repairs and doctor visits are on the schedule. this time, it sat at just over $100. i don't think i've seen marty that giddy since we figured out how to go on a nine day vacation for under $500 bucks. granted, this christmas season is about to take a big brown one on that low balance, but at least it will be short one burden (me!) this year.

WIFE, LIFE (permalink) 10.22.2015
perception is overrated. delusion is the way to go.
marty and i went out on a date night. this might be the second one of these we've been on in the last five years. i took her to a new eatery i recently discovered and then we went to see kathleen madigan at one of our cities swankier venues (the peabody). after the show marty and i remained in our chairs as the other patrons streamed out. they seemed as intrigued by us keeping our seats as we were with their immediate need to vacate the premises (and willingness to fight the throngs of people). as we watched the parade before us, marty commented at the age of the crowd in they seemed a lot older than we expected. as we did our accounting marty leaned in adding, "or maybe we look like them and are old too". huh? what? when exactly did that happen?

and, it seems we are not alone in experiencing this odd phenemenon.

KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 08.03.2015
the scene looks like many american backyards on the weekend, with a dad doing lawn work. the predictable part of the picture is interrupted by a second story window being cast open and a partially eaten apple being chucked from it. the father watches the apple, land, roll, and then stop in his freshly manicured lawn. later when the father polls his children about the apple, the eight year old boy confesses to being the thrower. when challenged about his choices. he said mom told him to do it, or admittedly, said he could do it. to the question of why his mother would tell him to do it he said, so they could see what would happen, but only after guessing (or hypothesizing--science teacher and all) what would happen to the apple in the days ahead. and now they were testing their guesses (or hypotheses).

i wonder if any of them hypothesized that their father would come chirp at them about chucking fruit out of second story windows.

WIFE (permalink) 07.02.2015
sorry, it's my brothel on the line
marty was driving home from georgia after a week away with the kids. i was in a meeting in my office. in the middle of a sentence my phone, which was sitting the desk between the man i was meeting with and me, began to ring. in the seven years i've had my phone this might be the eleventh time it rang as no one really had my number and those that did knew using it was about as effective as screaming my name out their front door. surprised to see it come to life, i glanced down at the screen. it read: SEX GODDESS. i swung my eyes to the man on the other side of the desk to see if he noticed the caller. he had not. i said i had to take it and answered the phone and heard:
hi troy. it's marty. we got a flat. everyone is ok, but we're stalled out here and i wanted to let you know.
i later told the guy what happened and was relieved at the time that he didn't see it. he said if he did see it and i wasn't going to answer it, he surely would have.

KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 08.19.2014
peanut butter spoon
the other morning in our refrigerator there was a bowl of peanut butter with a dinner spoon sticking out of it. i've learned to not question or challenge such findings. namely because i've never liked where my investigations led me.

later that morning when more people were awake and marty looked in there. she pulled the bowl of peanut butter from the fridge, and asked, seemingly to the contents of the fridge, "what's this?". she then spun and held the bowl out towards anthony who was eating breakfast and said again "what's this?".

he sheepishly replied, "a peanut butter spoon."

now this is where things get interesting, interesting in this case meaning, this is where things go drastically different than i expect them to go, which is why/how i've learned not to run down seemingly simplistic matters, because i've learned there are no simplistic matters.

marty continued, "a peanut butter spoon? a peanut butter spoon? do i need to go over again what a respectable-sized spoon of peanut butter looks like?"

she rakes the spoon through the bowl, lifts it up in example, "this! this is what a proper peanut butter spoon looks like." then showing the boy the bowl adds, "this is like, five days worth of peanut butter spoons."

she then licked the spoon, then drove the spoon back into the sticky mound and tossed the bowl back in the fridge with a conflicted mixture of disgust at the heaping glop in the bowl and the tasty dollop in her mouth which her jowls effortfully worked through.

and if you're wondering what other sorts of culinary options our children are being exposed to, it is not at all uncommon to see anthony arrive to the dinner table with a plate of ketchup, like five hamburgers-worth of ketchup by my meager estimation.

WIFE (permalink) 08.12.2014
it was 6:27 in the morning. i was sitting at my desk writing (for you, for this). i heard marty's alarm go off twelve minutes earlier and then heard her shuffle to the bathroom. then at 6:31 i felt her hands on my shoulders. they slid down my chest as she leaned down to hug me from behind, my desk chair mildly in the way. i then turned and took my wife in, standing in nothing but a pair of cotton underwear and looking amazingly young and fit with her flat stomach (after 3 kids !!!) and tan skin. i stood up and stepped in to hug her.

you look amazing.

you're not going to want to get fresh here.

what? me? ok. why not?

i've got to go try to find the baby bunny we buried in the back yard last year.

uhh, like now?

yes. i need it for school.

is that why there is a sheet of paper on the kitchen that says BUNNY BONES?

yes. what did you think it was?

another one of your mother's recipes.

nope. for real bunny. hopefully fully decomposed somewhere in the back yard.

ladies, for the record, there are few things, and i do mean few, that can de-rail the male libido in the early morning, but i can now attest, images of your potential partner digging holes in search of a tiny rabbit carcass definitely lives somewhere on the list.

WIFE, TECHNOLOGY, TRAVEL, KIDS (permalink) 06.20.2014
marty post-cellphone: day five
in the middle of one of my hourly updates in the family's second day of travel, the following exchange took place between alex and i.

we're doing great here dad. we just got into the mountains and should be there in another three hours.

ok. great. tell mom to be extra careful on those small, twisty roads.

ok. is everything going good for you?

yep. tell mom her ant guy just got done.

mom. your aunt just died.

WHAT? NO! ALEX! that's not what i said!

what dad? i can't hear you.

mom's aunt didn't die. the ant-guy just finished his work.

oh. mom. your aunt didn't die someone else just did something.

the ant-killing guy was just ... oh never mind ... i'll tell her later.

sorry about that dad. your words got a little blurry there when you were talking.

WIFE, TECHNOLOGY, TRAVEL (permalink) 06.19.2014
marty post-cellphone: day four
on saturday marty left for a six day trip with the kids. some happenings at work prevented me from joining them (this obviously was the core reason for getting the phone as they couldn't take my work-issued one with them). as they piled into the packed car i gave each one an enormous feet-off-the-ground hug and told them to be amazing listeners and helpers to their mother. i told alex to be extra frosty as co-pilot because he and his mother hadn't logged the hours behind the wheel together that he and i had. at the end of my embrace with marty i gave her an extra squeeze and said:

be careful.

i will. i've done this before.

i know. it's just that you have my whole world barreling down the highway at 70 miles an hour in that van.

got it. enjoy your peace and quiet.

peace and quiet? with all the parties i have planned. ain't gonna be much peace and quiet around here.

well, i thank you for having your parade of women wait until we left before getting started.

of course. but i hope they don't wait too long. i feel a nap coming on.

they left. forty minutes later the phone rang. i answered it.


hey dad. this is alex.

hey aleo. you ok?

yeah, i just wanted to call you and let you know we got out of the city ok.

ok. i'm glad to hear that. thanks for the update.

it's ok. and i'm going to call you every hour and let you know how it's going.

hourly updates. ok. that would be awesome.

and while they weren't consistently on the hour they did come. part of me was thankful for these drips of insight that my family was ok and sound. another part of me was wondering when my parade of women were gonna start showing up.

WIFE, TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 06.18.2014
marty post-cellphone: day two
on the first morning with marty's new phone in the house, the low battery alert started chirping at 4:45 a.m. starting my day two hours and fifteen minutes earlier than i had planned.

i missed that perk in the marketing materials.

WIFE, TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 06.17.2014
game over
on june 5th at 12:55pm in an exchange that took a total of 35 seconds, marty walter made her very first phone call from her very first cell phone.

while marty was examining the cheapest flip-phone models the store had to offer, bella kept drifting towards the sexier, smart-phone options. seeing bella's longing glances, the young salesman sidled up next to her.

you want a smartphone?

oh my god. yes. they are so awesome.

what is it specifically you need it for?

BELLA (stammering)
uhhh. well. uhhh.

SALESMAN (turning to marty)
that's what they all say to that question.

WIFE (permalink) 06.04.2014
marty works with a guy who is trying to lose weight. he happily reported losing five pounds the week before. marty said she was trying to gain weight. reasonably astonished he asked whatever for. her reply -- because all the cute clothes on ebay were larges.

LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 05.14.2014
heed your wife
to follow up marty's bit of life knowledge (here), the advice i always give to struggling folks who approach me:
there is one core law of relationships: you and your partner need to want to be with one another.

it doesn't matter if you're dating, committed or married. the only thing that matters to the longevity of a relationship is if both parties want to be together. sharing this vision, you can tend to shoulder anything that comes your way. the moment someone wavers in this conviction, trouble is ahead.

so work to be someone people want to be around by being an interesting, engaging, attractive, growing person. when you are that the rest should kinda take care of itself. and if it isn't with the human you're with right now, if you are the above things, there is surely another human that would be game to spending minutes with you.
in the name of full disclosure, marty is the person who taught me this lesson. she taught it to me when i wasn't making our early dating years as easy as she believed they should oughta be. so in some regards i guess everyone who has ever benefitted from marty's advice has me to thank because if i didn't spend a part of our early relationship being a crotch-face, then she would have never come to this bit of inspiration.

so you're welcome.

LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 05.13.2014
heed your elders
the single piece of advice marty has dispensed more than any other:
if a relationship is not easy in the beginning, get out. get out now and get out fast. at the start it should all be smiles and tingles and butterflies. this cannot be said ten years or twenty years down the line. so if you're struggling at the start, you've got no hope.
people's response to marty's counsel has varied.

marty's accuracy in her counsel has not.

LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 03.14.2014
while beautiful as heck, the girl is awfully hard on a set of dishes
marty believes that if you make it fifteen or twenty years in marriage you should get to have a second wedding shower namely to replace the things you received the first time because after a decade of use, many of them are starting to wear out or are broken or are way out of style. while i chortled at her suggestion when she initially floated out there, holding one of the struggling items up in example as she spoke, i must confess the notion has been rolling around by brain long enough now that it has nice rounded edges and the sheen of a glassy marble, which is the look all our best thoughts take on in time—in my metaphorical world at least.

granted this time through i think marty would kindly request to swap any suggestive lingere purchaces for a more practical set of wool socks. and sad as it is to report, i would support the request. you would too if you ever had her ice-cold feet graze against your calf at 2am on a winter's night.

WIFE (permalink) 03.11.2014
43 years strong, savvy, sexy and smart
today is marty's birthday. several months back she dropped the hint, and by hint i mean she just came out and said, "all i want for my birthday is a working dishwasher". well i, wanting to add master gift-giver to the list of things i am known for, made an indelible note on my mind's whiteboard.

in getting an impressively mature/early start on the endeavor i recalled that getting a new washer involved new and expensive plumbing work to meet code. i then iterated through the notes made by the repairman about the machine as well as the litany of work i had done to date. with about six weeks till today i started studying the problem in hopes that i could figure out why the machine was not doing what it was built, solely, to do. i crossed the finish line on saturday, with three days to spare, by having our dishwasher clean its first set of dirty dishes in better than two years. marty was over the moon and i beamed with a genuine pride reserved for young men who solve seemingly unsolvable problems, given their meager abilities at least.

and now, in addition to providing marty with the one birthday present she wanted most, i have a professional fall-back plan if my I.T. gig doesn't pan out as a dishwasher repairman because i know way more about these animals than any one man who isn't a repairmen should.

WIFE, QUOTES (permalink) 02.28.2014
i'll let you guess who wears the pants in this arrangement
the email i received from marty after she read the family gallery posting (trapped) about her choosing to quit work and stay home with the kids.
It's amazing how you can write like a woman.
that was the message in it's entirety. no hello. no thanks. just, you write like a girl. i reckon the most appropriate response would have been:
and, it's amazing how much you write like a man.
but instead of sending that response, i went to the kitchen and did the dishes.

WIFE (permalink) 01.28.2014
her, long-awaited, side of the story
with permission, i share a portion of marty's reply to yesterday's post. you only get some of it because parts of the message made even me blush.

From: Marty Walter
Subject: retort to Jan 27 post
Date: January 27, 2014 8:27:32 PM CST
To: Troy L DeArmitt

Dear Troy,
In the last paragraph of  your wonderful post regarding the photo of us in your Mizzou dorm room, you stated that, "Marty did not share in this [intensity of my early attraction]."

I wish to emphatically state that you are wrong in this assessment of my attraction to you.
I had never experienced a first date like the one that we shared on January 10, 1990, at a restaurant in CWE.
(And you can appreciate the full extent of this statement as you are aware that I had many first dates.)
I remember that the entire world melted away during the time between appetizers and dessert.
I forgot about the other couple across the table from us, the waiters, the other guests.
I could only see and hear you. You were the only thing that existed for me during those moments.
I remember laughing as you handed me a $1 dollar bill so that we could officially split the bill dutch.
I remember folding and tucking that $1 bill into the corner of my wallet so that I was sure never to spend it.


Now I had a problem. I was 18 and had met the man that I could see myself marrying.
I wanted to finish college, I wanted to live on my own, I wanted to be independent, I wanted to be selfish, but I also wanted you.
I thank you for giving me the time to finish checking my boxes over the next 8 years.
When we married on January 10, 1998, I was able to stand beside you as a confident woman on equal footing without any regrets.

I thank you for your patience during those 8 years. It was never a delay tactic so that I could have time to decide if I wanted to spend my life as your partner. I knew that a month into our relationship. I just needed time to become the woman that I wanted to be and who I was supposed to be.

Thank you for giving me the gift of time.

this worked out well since when we met i was driving a 1976 volvo station wagon and living in the basement of a friend's family home, time was just about the only asset i had to give to anyone.

and, in the name of comprehensiveness, the culminating moment.

WIFE (permalink) 01.22.2014

From: Troy Dearmitt
Sent: Friday, January 17, 2014 9:09 AM
To: Marty Walter
Subject: tonight

apologies for my hesitation at your offer to ride to chesterfield this evening. i was dripping wet having ran from the shower to answer the phone and was simultaneously trying to decipher a long, cryptic, truly, note just placed in my wet hand from anthony, so you know, just another moment from our life with kids. in any other state i would have jumped to spend time with my stunningly beautiful, effortlessly funny, and endlessly charming wife. i would love to take a mini-road-trip with you. please plan on it if you haven't un-invited me yet.

love you.



From: Marty Walter
Subject: RE: tonight
Date: January 17, 2014 11:11:54 AM CST
To: Troy Dearmitt

I might be able to relate to your experience.
I've already lined up a gaggle of Russian male gymnasts to escort me tonight, but if they fall through you might do.

LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 01.13.2014
two dozen
last friday morning i woke extra early, like in the five o'clock hour. i went through my morning routines which ended with a bike ride (e.g. spinning on a trainer in the basement that is). as i logged my exercise results from the handlebar computer, i paused when i scrawled the date out in my notepad. 1/10/14. january tenth marks the date of my first date with marty as well as our wedding day. some quick math told me we had just crested our 24th year together.

knowing marty should be awake by now, i kept an eye out for her as i passed through the kitchen and then upstairs. i didn't see her in the bathroom, the nest (our bedroom), or the ping-pong room. then as i walked down the hall, i noticed movement in the boys room. i looked through their door and saw a bluish light coming from their closet. in peering through the two swinging doors i found my wife inside the space. she stood in front of her wall of clothes (yes, our clothes closet is in the boys room -- remember, we sleep in something called the nest which barely accommodates our bed let alone a closet). clad in a pair of kooky, patterned tights she got for christmas, a bra and a damp head of hair, she scanned her clothing options using a lego-man flashlight whose feet cast a dim blue light upon her choices (the blue light surely wreaking havoc with the true color of each garment). as she sensed my approach she turned her head grinning at being caught in such a curious moment. i kissed her shoulder and wished her happy anniversary. she smiled bigger and said, "yes. you too." i told her i never imagined twenty-four years after our first date to find us standing in a closet, lit only by a toy flashlight, her in funny tights and wet from a shower and me in biking bibs and wet from exercise trying to be quiet as to not wake any of our three children, two of which were sleeping just on the other side of the door. her smile widened perceptibly as she agreed to the sentiment. and with nary more than that, we acknowledged another shared year.

and, the saying "you just can't make this stuff up" continues to show itself to me as one of life's greatest truisms.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 06.24.2013
help wanted
you remember how marty jacked up her toe some weeks back. well, now she jacked up her hand, gashing two fingers open while unloading a table from the van. when she called me at work to say she was headed to the emergency room, she described the cuts as "gaping".

as the doctor put the last of the five stitches in, marty joked that now her husband couldn't look at her nailless toe or stitched-up fingers.

in learning of this, i joked i should be allowed to bring in an interim wife i can actually stomach looking at, let alone doing anything else with, until marty is not so disfigured. i mean there's gotta be such a stipulation somewhere in all that marital fine print, no?

anyway, resumes, cv's and simple pleas for attention will be considered in the weeks ahead.

and if it helps, i've lost twenty pounds since august.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 05.10.2013
i didn't know "in sickness" meant mangled toes
marty's toe continues to be a foul and wretched mess. that is i think it does as i'm still unable to look at it. i do want to still love her when this is all over in thirty six months after she's shed the busted toenail, has grown a new one and her toe returns to a proper shade of human color.

if you're wondering if i knew when my well of empathy ran dry, i did. it occurred the day after when we were eating dinner on the porch and she propped the throbbing nub up on the railing, sans sock, while she ate. i kept shifting in my chair looking for a position where the thrashed toe wasn't in my sight-line, but human peripheral vision rocks and you can kinda see everywhere that's not behind you and i'm not a big enough ass to, like, turn away completely. and like they say about car wrecks and our flawed human nature, my eye kept being drawn to her deformed digit. i tried not to say anything but without checking with my mature side, a runner got by the checkpoint and blurted out, "so, does it hurt to wear a sock?"

and that, for the record, is the moment my well of empathy ran dry.

and for any worrying about marty's delicate disposition, she's plenty numb to her husband's squeamish insensitivity which can be seen in her reply, "no, i don't need a sock. i'm good. but thanks."

p.s. x-ray's showed the toe thankfully wasn't broken.

p.s.s. the athletic director at marty's school drained the toe on the second day with some medieval sounding contraption that burned a hole in the nail so the blood (and stuff) could be released, taking the pressure off the nail. he told her if she'd come sooner, he might have been able to save the nail. her description of the procedure for-sure tested my thirty-plus year puke-free streak.

WIFE (permalink) 05.07.2013
and it avoids a possible punch in the jaw
some have asked about the reference to the line "marty had the best answer to this" from last week's gallery posting about our dinner-time questions. i intentionally did not include it there to give folks some time to think about what they might do.

to repeat the posed question:
let's say you were walking home. you were still a full mile or twenty minutes from home and someone stopped you. they told you that if you could remember this international (long!!!) phone number and call it the second you got home, they would give you $50,000. you don't have a pen. you don't have any digital thing to make note of it. what would you do to remember the number?
if you wish to think on this a bit further, stop reading. if you want to hear marty's solution, read on.

the kids answers involved repeating the series of numbers and running home as fast as they could. i confessed that i'd surely bumble the string so instead would take a rock and scratch the number into the hood or fender of a car, run home, get a pad and paper, run back (hoping the car hadn't driven off or the police hadn't been called) write the number down, and leave a note on the windshield for the car owner to call me. marty, after scolding me for giving the boys bad ideas about scratching things into the paint jobs of cars produced the most elegant answer saying she would place rocks, twigs, grass or anything she could collect and count into her pockets. the first number would be high on her body, like in a shirt pocket and the numbers would travel down her body. so if the first number was five she'd put five pebbles in her shirt pocket. if the second number was seven, she'd put seven pebbles or twigs in her front pocket, working her way down and around her body to her shoes or even her socks if she still needed counting receptacles. upon arriving home, she'd empty her pockets, inventorying the contents, make the call, and collect the jack. i thought it an ingenious answer, even deeming it superior to my "buy a new hood or fender" option.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 04.30.2013
she's going to look funny at the pool this summer
our refrigerator is on the fritz (running too cold) and a milk bottle exploded in the night last week. sunday night, after i had gone to bed, marty emptied the fridge to finish cleaning out the spilled remnants. when done, and putting everything back she dropped a glass shelf on her left big toe which was, at the moment, as naked and vulnerable as a soft nubbin of human flesh could possibly be.

her writhings and moanings woke me sometime in the four o'clock hour. as i learned of what happened and got up to help, she first asked for a sock knowing enough to not let me see the carnage else i'd pass out, fall into our dresser and gash my temple open and then we'd have double the problems. while she wrestled with the sock, i readied a fresh ice pack for her. after getting her foot elevated and settled, i went to my office and returned with two of the pain pills i'd recently been given for my separated shoulder and placed them in her hand. when she asked what they were, i replied, "they're for pain. they work really well but you should know you probably won't be able to get an erection while you're on them."

would you believe, she seemed far less wary of that side-effect that i was?

WIFE (permalink) 03.12.2013
your attention please
each year before exiting from marty's birthday brunch i say a few words to marty and the guests. the first year, if memory serves, i shared how important marty was to me and i knew how important all of the ladies in the room were to her so it made perfect sense to devote a day to all of these people who are special and meaningful to one another.

this year held more of a "we've been here before - you know the drill" vibe that went something like:
thank you for coming again. after seeing the way marty lit up last year i didn't see how the day would be any less meaningful this year. and while i do know each and every one of you know the rigors and trials of motherhood i don't know that you know the rejuvenating power you provide to marty. no matter what might be happening in our home be it kids chirping and bickering or dealing with feces smeared on a wall, the second the phone rings and is answered and it is one of you, marty sends out a bright hello that would make you think she had just been running through a mountain meadow moments earlier. your friendship to her is like water to a desiccated plant. reviving and restorative.
later that night after the kids were down and the day was minutes from done, marty thanked me (again) for the day and said.

i liked your speech today.

speech? it was like three sentences long.

well, it was a good three sentences.

that may be the first time a speech that included the words 'smeared feces' ever received such a praise.

WIFE (permalink) 03.11.2013
it's not about how you start the game but how you finish
i botched marty's 40th birthday. i forget why but i'm sure any excuse i could recall or fabricate would be poor and baseless. a year later i attempted to redeem myself. for this, i arranged a surprise brunch that included her mother, her three sisters (one from new york and one from chicago), and her closest friends. i took care of all the food and once the guests arrived i packed the kids in the van (and the three kids of one of the friends) and ushered them out to my dad's place in the woods for the day. for all the kudos and praise i received from the girlfriends, the hateful sentiments i received from their spouses balanced any over-inflation that may have happened for my good deeds.

yesterday, i repeated the birthday brunch. i was less careful about protecting the surprise and less lavish with the eats and this year i plotted a better day for the kids and i (oz movie, skating at rollercade, and then dinner out). but even though marty had a notion what was going down and i didn't catch a tear of emotion like last year, i do think she and the ladies had a famous afternoon.

and, a sign of the good karma i earned, there were still some cinnabons left when the kids and i returned home. that's some good and right living there.

happy birthday walt.

WIFE (permalink) 02.21.2013
life's footprint
that stove is going to look bare one day without your kettle on it.

where's my kettle going?

when you die.

that's a lovely morning thought to get my day off to a booming start.

i do what i can.

shortly after marty and i began dating, in one of those early relationship questions, i asked marty if i died how long she thought it would be before she would date someone else. she thought for a few moments before saying, in a fully seriously tone, "i'm sure it would be at least a week."

a week! a week! now i'd be the first to admit the three years i wished she would say might have been a touch ambitious but a week. in seeing my startled response she quickly adjusted, saying, "not a week -- longer than a week" and then as if bracing for a firecracker to pop added probingly, "like a month -- three months". marty is pragmatic even in matters of the heart, even in matters of new love. but without this cut to the bone approach, marty wouldn't be marty.

she did pay for her cruel offense by shouldering six months of jokes about trying to pick up guys at my funeral and if it would be gauche to invite cute fellas who didn't know me to the funeral just so she could get a jump on the replacement relationship.

several years later when our path together looked a bit more certain, in a quiet moment marty said out of the blue, "ok. so maybe i'd need more than a week before taking up with some new guy." nicer words were never said to my young, longing heart.

WIFE (permalink) 02.07.2013
don't stop on my account.
marty walked into the bathroom as i was blow-drying my hair. the second the door swung open, i turned the dryer off and held it by my side while she grabbed her need and left. when she closed the door i turned it back on and resumed my work.

when she next saw me out of the bathroom she confessed to thinking i was doing something bizarre to myself with the hair dryer. while tempted to run her down a dim and twisty rabbit hole, i admitted that i turned it off only because she opened the door and the dryer is loud and the boys were still sleeping.

i could have sworn she looked more disappointed than relieved. i mean, you don't think she was privately hoping for something like this, do ya?

WIFE (permalink) 09.19.2012
it's good to see marty leading a full-flavored life again
because of the way the daily school schedule cycles, once every seven days marty can eat lunch with two of her past colleagues (and friends) who still work at the school. they've known each other for about fifteen years and have remained in touch outside of work while marty was away. they are both guys and they are both bald. one of the guys recently brought a new, younger teacher to their lunch ritual. caught off-guard marty and the other fella paused at seeing the outsider. the new blood sensing the awkward silence said, "oh, what, i'm not cool enough to eat with two bald guys and a crazy woman?"

without missing a beat marty replied to the circle of four, "wait. what? there's a crazy woman? which one is she?"

WIFE (permalink) 08.22.2012
yeah, i guess it's possible first impressions are over-rated
one day the week before school started, ninth graders could visit the school and walk their schedule to get the lay of the land. in this they'd meet each of their teachers for ten minutes. during one session, a student interrupted marty midway through her spiel asking to go to the restroom. she eyed the student suspiciously and then, thinking he was gaming her, said she thought he was old enough to hold it for five minutes. the student put his head on his desk. two minutes later he lifted his head and marty saw he was four gulps of air from puking all over her brand new lab table. she immediately motioned to the door, saying the restroom was down the hall on the left. the boy fled.

later in the day another science teacher asked if anyone else saw the student running down the hall dry-heaving. marty shook her head no (which wasn't a lie as technically she didn't see his mad dash down the hallway). after telling me this story i told marty i've recently been worried that now that the kids were older and less mayhem-producing i'd be light on stories to write about. given how lively her re-entry to work-life has been i'm now thinking i might need to start a second site to shoulder the additional material.

WIFE (permalink) 08.14.2012
schoolin' laura ingalls style
last year marty subbed for three weeks. after the tour i asked her if there were any noticeable changes in the classroom over the last decade. she said, yes, one, there were no smartphones ten years ago.

now that she's there more often her time off is showing in other ways too. when the teachers were getting their rooms ready marty walked into the science teachers office and asked:

does anyone have an easel-pad.

what's an easel-pad?

it's a big sheet of paper you can write stuff on.

i don't have an easel-pad but i think i got some slates you can borrow.

WIFE (permalink) 08.07.2012
slight change on the home front.
after a nine year break from professional life, yesterday marty re-entered the workforce.

as the time came to leave she moved towards the stairs. i followed her down the hallway wanting to say goodbye as she left the house. before starting down the steps she ducked into her bedroom, crouched down and pulled a black eastpak out from under her dresser, a spot it's possibly sat since she last taught. she held the pack up before her and gave it a few punches knocking the dust off. after a few bats her eyes narrowed and she set it down next to the dresser. it would have to wait until tomorrow.

then, just moments before stepping out the door the phone rang. it was bella. she was down the street looking in on some dogs she was sitting. bella reported that one of the dog's pooped on the floor, as it had the day before. yesterday marty helped, largely, clean it up, taking a bucket and scrub brush down. on this day marty explained that she was running out the door for work and calmly counseled bella on a plan saying things like "you saw what i did yesterday right?" and "start with water and then step on the towels". marty then hung up the phone, gave me a kiss and darted out the door.

ten minutes later bella came through the front door, fighting back tears. i asked about her trouble and she explained that the dog pooped on the floor again and she forgot to take out their recycling as they had asked. i gave her a hug and said everything would be ok and we'd get through this one pace at a time. after a few moments, bella calmed down, stood back from me, wiped the tears from her face, straightened herself up, and went to the basement. she returned with a bucket and scrub-brush and wordlessly walked out the front door. through a french door, i watched her walk down the street and around the corner towards the job she now had to do on her own, without her mother.

marty stopped working so she could fully focus on raising her kids. five minutes into her return to work, she's still raising up her children, arguably in ways that she couldn't have raised them by staying in the home.

best of luck marta. you're going to do great. and so are we.

WIFE (permalink) 06.15.2012
how we roll, like out of control.
the latest and greatest marty quote.
i've got burning muffins.
i won't ruin the fun of letting your imagination run with that one. enjoy your weekend. i'll betcha mine will be more memorable than yours ... more on that next week.

QUOTES, WIFE (permalink) 06.06.2012
if you're not laughing routinely, you're not listening hard enough
"i had to ride my bike home with a stapler in my underwear."

marty's response to the question of how her day went.

there's a saying that kids say the funniest/darnedest things. there should be another saying that says kids make parents say the funniest/darnedest things.

WIFE (permalink) 05.17.2012
marty love-fest part 3 (baya)

what strikes me about the kids' gifts to marty this year is that they came without any sort of prompting. i never said "remember to do something for your mother" or "remember tomorrow is mother's day". this was all done on their own accord. fact is, i didn't even know they had done anything until i saw it unfold as marty did. and even with anthony i knew he had done something but he kept it secret until the gave it to her in bed that morning. most cool.

WIFE (permalink) 05.16.2012
marty love-fest part 2 (aleo)
birthday parties at our house have a ritual called the birthday spoiler. when kids aren't looking the birthday spoiler takes and hides their party gear (pinata, games, cake) but leaves clues as to where the items got to. the kids have to solve the clues to find their stuff for the party to continue. this year alex used this tactic on marty.

dear marty,
hi. i know you haven't heard of me. i am the mother's day stealer. i hid alex's mother's day gifts. you might find alex's mother's day gifts. but since i am nice, i will give you a clue. it is in a room where you go poop.

i tricked you. but i will make sure you don't find it. here is another clue. it is somewhere where you send email.

you found it. next year i will hide it even harder.

WIFE (permalink) 05.15.2012
marty love-fest part 1 (anfer)
the teachers at anthony's pre-school had the kids make these books. they also had them make (not pictured) a small fabric pillow to be hung on a door knob that reads "do not disturb". while cute, i fear the frilly token may not be honored as one might hope.

LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 05.10.2012
how could you doubt me, after all these years.
to the question of do i have the note mentioned in yesterday's post? of course i have the note. it even includes a greasy spot from the food.

regarding my penmenship, while it's never great, it's really quite un-great at six in the morning when i'm trying to be quick and sneaky.

and in case you want to read the backside too.

FAMILY, WIFE (permalink) 02.08.2012
granted, financially we are limping to the finish line.
i walk to work. it takes me about ten minutes from closing one door to opening the other. one of the best perks of this situation—and there are many—has been my ability to walk home for lunch. it recently occurred to me that this is the last school semester i can walk home and enjoy one of my children being there. and, after this academic semester concludes, i will never experience that routine luxury again. not to mention when marty goes back to work i won't even have the ability to share in my wife's company over my egg sandwich or butter tossed pasta.

when i shared this with marty over yesterday's workday lunch she, in classic marta form, expressed surprise that i wouldn't be happy giddy to have a quiet house again like back in our pre-kid days. i thought on that for a long moment realizing i too was a bit surprised at not seeing the long fought for upside of this milestone. i conclude it to be just another notch on the stick that marks how kids change you. it turns out there are so many notches chipped into my stick, every one added seems like it might break the once rugged object.

while my inclination is to sigh and sag over this realization, some watchdog in my head gives my brain a slap and barks at me to see my fortune in experiencing my young-young children or wife during the workday over the last eight years. after this gruff pep-talk i do sit up a bit straighter and the gloom fades, mostly.

later, that epiphany caused one of my three daily thankfuls (more on that soon) to be, "I'm thankful marty chose to stay home with our kids as the lifestyle she has afforded us, by not working, is second to none, truly."

and if there are downsides to living so close to home—and there are—the biggest one would be not having enough time in my commute to switch from the monastery-like quiet of my office to the frontline-like cacophony that is my home.

WIFE (permalink) 01.27.2012
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
thursday morning

WIFE (permalink) 01.20.2012
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

WIFE, PERSONAL (permalink) 01.18.2012
convention recommends ivory or gold. i suggest cooking pancakes for strangers.
how i spent our fourteenth wedding anniversary:
  • went to work.
  • came home for lunch picking up cheap chinese on the way. ate with marty while alex (home sick) and anthony (done with school) watched the original scooby doo series on a computer in the next room.
  • back to work.
  • after work, walked straight to the kids school for a night event.
  • participated in pancakes with pops. this was an event organized by one of the dads to get a group of dads to make a breakfast dinner for the entire school and their families. in this i readied sausages to be cooked, cut fruit and handed out pancakes to tittering, smiling kids and their folks.
  • came home and read to anfer putting him to sleep (while marty put alex and bella down)
  • at 9pm walked up to get dinner (i didn't get a chance to eat) from qDoba (please note, my usual diet isn't this rife with take-out).
  • met up with marty around 9:30 where we shared the day's events over a steak nacho.
  • after eating and chatting, we each checked/responded to email for a bit and then met in bed for some reading and sleep.

the next morning i woke and moved straight to the shower. hearing the water running, anthony joined me. in our talks i asked him if he had fun at the pancakes by pops night. he said he did. i asked him how i looked in my chefs hat. he said, "you looked fancy, like in the picture where you married with mommy." this could be a smart and valuable bit of insight at my next required black tie event.

in reflecting on anthony's comment through the rest of my shower, i gotta say, i do feel fancy in the life marty and i have constructed thus far. and on ruminating on it a bit more found i couldn't come up with a more poignant way of expressing it than the little naked blonde kid who was huddled beneath me trying to get more of the hot water did.

WIFE (permalink) 12.07.2011
i'm pretty spent, would you settle for some ramen noodles?
these were the first words i heard saturday morning:
i was about to have some graham crackers but then you woke up and it occurred to me that maybe i could instead have some macs and cheese.
if you're wondering what that is about, it is code talk between marty and i. if you're wondering what the code is, i'll give you a second hint. the code was born when marty approached me one night and asked if i had time in my schedule to fulfill my husbandly duties.
so would you maybe have some time for your wife this evening?

it depends.

what does it depend on?

it depends if you're after steak and potatoes or kraft macaroni and cheese.
and with that, a new lingua franca was born.

and, i'll let your imagination guess where graham crackers might fall on that scale.

WIFE (permalink) 10.06.2011
our water heater and financial strategy is less complex
we had friends over for brunch. we had finished eating and the adults were sitting around the table talking. the ceiling resonated with the reverberations and excited shouts of the children playing the made up game of the day. dead in the middle of two conversations the male guest suddenly let loose a loud "oooohhhhhh!" and leaned forward in his chair. he excitedly exclaimed, "so you're both that way. i always thought it was all troy. or all marty. or, i don't remember which, but i thought it was all one of you."

i can't recall which or how many of our rituals he assumed was divined entirely by one of us. nor can i recall who he ultimately gave credit to. but something in the conversation at hand, made him realize that both marty and i contributed to the regiments and rituals of our home, many of which outsiders find near maniacal (e.g. monthly menu).

if you think it's obvious or easy, here's a test. look at the below picture and guess if it would be troy or marty who would devise this contraption to efficiently and effectively extract every last drop from our syrup container. i would predict some folks who just sorta know us might have problems figuring out who would take this on. but then again, those who know us really well, should now the answer straight away.

KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 09.15.2011
even an eighty cent trinket should know not to mess around like that
i was awoken by anthony rushing into my room waving his fist above his head. he moved right next to me, either not realizing or not caring that i was asleep just four seconds earlier. undeterred by my addled response, he instructed me to ask a question. the easy manner in which he did this would have told someone watching that we were ten minutes into a conversation and not that one of the participants was just pulled from a deep sleep. compliantly, yet groggily, i asked why he was waking me up and not someone else. to this anthony vigorously shook his hand back and forth a few times as if making a cocktail, and then stared at his palm. after a moment a deep baritone voice said, "the magic meatball doesn't think so." at this declaration, anthony shrieked with delight saying, "ahhhh! he doesn't think so dad! you lose." dropping my forearm over my closed eyes i retorted in a partially involved voice, "you do realize anthony he didn't really answer the question i just asked, right?" like with the sleep, anthony either didn't realize or care that his sage failed him. nor did he seem interested in talking to his real-life father over this mindless plastic bauble which, by my count, paid as much attention to the actual conversation at hand as my overly self-interested college roommate did back in the day.

as this experience, and volley of questions, continued i found myself ranking this waking to my list of worst wake ups ever. bella's cannonball into the small of my back has proven to be a real gamer that no one has ever come close to matching. while finding this moment's spot in the list, marty entered the room and after a pert, already-showered hello said to anthony:

MARTY (with a mischievous glance my way)
ask the magic meatball if dad is going to get busy today?

ANTHONY (excitedly to the toy in his hand)
magic meatball, is dad going to get busy today!?!?

MAGIC MEATBALL (with bravado and confidence)
the magic meatball says YEEESSSS.

ANTHONY (even more excitedly)
aahhh! you're going to get busy today dad!

anthony's rejoicing at my imminent fortune had both marty and i laughing heartily. and i may have been hasty in my judging of the meatball. he seems ok to me. but, before we stamp any thank you notes, i should add that his prediction may not have been as prescient as he led on because at the time of this writing, i'm rather busy-less. and i assure you no one is bluer on that count than me. truly. in fact, i'm miffed enough to consider a rebranding effort for the magic meatball to something a touch more accurate. fortunately for me, he already mostly has the appearance of the moniker i'd been toying with.

UPDATE: so after i posted the above and before midnight, the magic meatball's promise of good fortune came to be. my apologies mr. meatball.

WIFE (permalink) 07.27.2011
i appreciate your candor
i used to get those daily far side calendars that would sit on your desk. best as i can recall, my mother gave me one every christmas they were ever issued. me being me, i never threw any of the pages away. i'd just pull them, read them and then stack them neatly in some corner of some drawer of my desk. when marty and i got married and moved into our home she came upon a box full of the residual sheets. she asked me what they were. i told her. she asked me why i had them. i told her that too. she asked me if she could throw them out. appalled i took the box from her hands and said no. she asked why we should keep them. thinking for a moment and trying to meet marty's practical side, i said we could use them for scratch paper. marty gave it a fractional thought, shrugged her shoulders, said fine, and told me to put the box over there. that was nine years ago and we're still using them today.

whenever i use one, before marking up the backside, i flip it over, read the comic recycling the good it had, sense the pulse of nostalgia from the moment, and then resume my business. the other day i saw marty snare a sheet off the stack and start scratching a note out without reading it. i stopped her:

hey, you're supposed to read the comic on the backside before you use it.


the paper you're using. it's an old far side comic. before you use them you're supposed to read the comic ... because it's still funny ... and it gets enjoyed again.

MARTY (pausing long enough to look at me, then at the sheet, then back to me)
yeah, that's not going to happen.

there are multiple flavors of candor, marty employs the extra-lean, time-sensitive kind.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 07.06.2011
the boxers clung to my sweaty body like an undersized turtleneck.
marty and i were breaking the tent down after a weekend of camping. she was on one end of our large eight-man behemoth and i on the other. we were making halving folds until it was compact enough for one of us to handle. i crouched down to flatten out my side of nylon. as i lowered myself there was a loud ripping noise. i immediately reached behind me but it wasn't my manpris that tore (thankfully!!!). it was the boxers i was wearing under my manpris. this was the surrounding conversation.

did you just rip your pants?

uhhh, no, just my underwear.

hah! what an old man.

it's not an old man thing, it's an old boxers-thing.

believe what you want.

i think i just may do that, especially since 87% of my happiness comes from believing what i want. it's a magical skill and one i have savant like powers for. and how dare she call me old. i spent the previous two days riding the water chutes of the johnson shut-ins, and keeping my two youngest children alive in the process, and i even made a record-setting cliff-jump, breaking my previous cliff-jumping record. ok, so it doesn't take a lot to break a record that didn't previously exist, but it was still broken. that's how this old man strolls ... i mean rolls ... ok, no, i did mean strolls.

but regardless of any delusions or illusions of confidence i may have fostered during my weekend in the woods, they were quickly dashed on the morning i was to return to work when i went to clean my glasses and it physically hurt my thumb, hand and arm to depress the pumper that sprays the lens goo out. my (delusional) theory was that the pumper mechanism got corroded while not being used while we were away and i had to break through days and hours of calcifying and chemical-based buildup. no small or lightweight matter. i'm sure it was that. totally sure. and i'm totally sure it wasn't an old man thing. no way it could be that.

WIFE (permalink) 06.28.2011
that's my girl.
when a woman judgmentally asked what marty was growing in her under-developed garden, marty replied, "children".

WIFE (permalink) 03.15.2011
it's the kind of present a young person would groan at. not sure how much that changes for a forty year old.
for marty's 40th birthday, the kids and i gave her a framed picture collage titled 40 things we love about you. in a couple of the panes we put lists citing ten things each of us appreciated about marty. the left-over panes were peppered with pictures of the kids and i.

the lists were crafted during my wednesday lunches with the kids (i eat lunch with one of my kids each wednesday in a rotating fashion). for these lunches i pick them up from school and we walk to a nearby restaurant of their choosing. it was during these lunches that i coaxed and cajoled these points from their minds onto a napkin. it is possible the process of collecting the points from them could be as curious as the results themselves.

a key that may help you. nummies are nursing breast and biscuits are butts.

10 things Anthony loves about you
  1. nummies!
  2. when you give me shoulder rides.
  3. you smell good when you put that stuff in your armpits.
  4. when you comb my hair.
  5. when you give me backscratches!
  6. you eatin' with me.
  7. going to playgrounds with you.
  8. asking you if i can jump on beds.
  9. helping you make food.
  10. you playing checker games with me.

10 things Alexander loves about you
  1. you cuddle us.
  2. you give us computer time.
  3. you bring us to places to eat.
  4. you make us dinner.
  5. you read to us.
  6. you make me lunch everyday.
  7. you take us camping.
  8. you go hiking with us.
  9. you wipe our biscuits.
  10. you help make science experiments.

10 things Bella loves about you
  1. you are patient.
  2. you help me get my schoolwork done.
  3. you take care of our family.
  4. you are always honest.
  5. you can pretty much read minds.
  6. you always try your best.
  7. you cuddle and talk with me every night at bedtime.
  8. you always pay attention to our opinions.
  9. you try to make our dreams come true.
  10. you are my one and only mom.

10 things Troy loves about you
  1. that you said yes.
  2. the curl of your upper lip.
  3. your natural charisma.
  4. that you do not shy away from any challenge or trial.
  5. that your are the most conscientious mother humanly possible.
  6. that you could take me in a fight.
  7. your laugh.
  8. that you are still as naturally beautiful as the moment i fell in love with you.
  9. that you routinely pause the whirl of your life to tell me you love and appreciate me.
  10. that i am the one that gets to plan another forty years with you.

oh, and just so she didn't feel totally ripped off, she also got a pink tech 3 pen, my all-time favorite pen thus far, as every person over forty should own a proper writing instrument. here's where you can get one for yourself. and here's one of the more curious pen reviews you'll possibly ever read.

WIFE (permalink) 03.11.2011
bella on sunday. marty today.
as of today, i am married to a 40 year old woman.

i remember when i was young and i'd hear old guys say they thought their wives were as beautiful as when they first met them. i'd look at their wives and think they must have been some haggard looking eighteen year olds. but now i'm that old guy and can honestly say that marty looks every bit as radiant and winsome as when she threw that door open in 88 and i got my first ever glimpse of the girl i'd go on to spend my life with.

and, i've now known her for more than half her life (which means i've know her more than my life as well).

crazy how that clock on the wall ticks away so. i hope we're all taking care of the business we hope to be taking care of.

click to enlarge

WIFE (permalink) 03.03.2011
i wonder what she could get if she asked for another kid?
a dog is in our future. the first time i seriously raised the topic marty stopped what she was doing, turned towards me giving me her full arms-folded, hip-on-counter attention. surprised by her intentness, i moved forward a little uncertainly with things like:

i think the kids are getting older and more mature


they surely don't seem to go in and out of wanting a dog.


it's not about us, it's something we do for the kids.

the first thing marty said was ...

i won't do anything to help.

in reply, i asked her to elaborate on what exactly she meant by "anything". she said ...

when you go on your annual weeklong ski trip and the children forget to feed the dog and it is laid out, dehydrated in front of its water bowl and just needs me to pour a glass, a tiny glass, of water into it ... i won't. and the first thing you'll have to do after walking in the door after your annual weeklong ski trip is carry a dead dog into the backyard to bury it.

to this bit of insight, i said ...

oh. i see.

given that marty didn't appear to be "on the fence" about the matter, the getting a dog initiative kinda stalled, indefinitely. a few days ago marty told me about a girlfriend of hers who asked her husband about the family getting a dog. in response, her husband said:

i'd rather you had an affair than brought a dog home.

in the end, it turns out marty is near cuddly on the matter.

WIFE, KIDS (permalink) 02.25.2011
pirates of the caribbean is poppycock
friday is movie night in our house. first the family watches a kid-friendly show ** . after our family movie and putting the kids down, i watch a troy movie. if marty doesn't fall asleep with the kids she'll usually stop by to see what i'm watching, contemplate it for a moment, and then either join me or move on. last week she joined me. the pick was called The Last Picture Show. i'm not sure who referred it to me. it just showed up the netflix sleeve (i'm a tragically horrible netflix queue manager ****). the movie was odd and not too long in you got to see a young cybil sheppard topless. quite certain that would be the movie's crowning achievement for me, i went to sleep with my head in marty's lap. marty stuck it out. when it was done she was intrigued by the male lead and looked him up on imdb. his portfolio led her to watch an episode of 21 jump street and melrose place. this translated to her being awake well into the 2am hour.

the next day, around 4pm marty cautioned the kids that she was tired and not in a good mood. bella asked what was wrong. marty said she stayed up too late the night before. bella asked why she stayed up. marty confessed that she was watching shows. bella ruminated on this for a moment and marty actually saw the realization settle into the girl that there is no one to tell moms and dads when enough is enough and it's time to go to bed (like it or not!). bella then turned to her brothers and said, "alex! anthony! do you hear that? when you grow up it's important that you make good choices because no one will be there to tell you what to do. nothing is for free!"

i would pay a whole lot of money to know where that "nothing is for free" closing stems from. it's strong. i've already used it four times in just the last week. when you get the inflection just right, it gives everyone pause. in fact, it's almost as effective as swearing to people you believe johnny depp's best work happened in 21 jump street.

** right now we're doing a special movie night project where we're going through the alphabet. this means the week's letter defines both the movie and our meal. last week, E, was E.T. (which anthony keeps calling E.T.A. for some reason) and we ate enchiladas.

**** i read or hear about a movie and then add it to my netflix queue. the movie can show up more than a year later and i have no idea what drew me to it. sometimes you get a pleasant surprise in this lackadaisical approach to life, but most times you just get stuck with kooky movies you're not in the mood for. this proclivity is also why i don't play fantasy football. i once had a week where two of my rostered players were on a bye week. i lost in that case too.

p.s. apologies for all the errors and typos in yesterdays gallery posting. i took ill that evening and was working through the haze of a robitussen induced coma. i don't really have a good excuse for the rest of the days.

WIFE (permalink) 09.02.2010
believe it or not i do stand up to pee. most times.
ten minutes before i was to leave for work it began to rain, torrentially. when i was ready to leave, i stood in the open doorway of my home not wanting to begin the nine minute walk to the office. from the kitchen where she was doing dishes, marty called to me that she and anthony could drive me to work. i waved her off saying i didn't want them to bother. three minutes later with me still in the doorway, marty appeared with anthony in her arms saying, "c'mon anfer, we're going to drive dad to work." she flashed me a smile as she and anthony ran out the front door to the van.

we didn't say much on the way to the office. after getting out of the car and just before swinging the door shut, i thanked her for going to the trouble of driving me. she leaned towards me from the drivers seat, "watching the rain in the doorway the way you were, you looked like a girl with a new haircut and i didn't have the heart to send you out in the rain to mess it up."

this is definitely not the manly image i wish to project to my wife and lover.

and i'm not sure that i got the punctuation right on that previous statement, i reckon grammar dave will appear soon enough to let me know, but the "wife and lover" descriptor above is meant to refer to one person and not two ... and certainly not more than two.

although, back-peddling explanations like that probably aren't going to doing much for my manly street-cred either.

WIFE (permalink) 07.12.2010
modern day archie and edith
once a year marty and i pick a show to watch together. we start at the beginning or wherever we left off and watch one episode a night until we are all the way through or caught up as much as is available. we watch at my desk, each in an office chair pushed up side by side in front of the laptop.

many of the nights i'll pop some corn. one night i noticed we each had a way of selecting our next piece of popcorn from the bowl. i watched her pick a piece or two and then sedately asked her how she selected her pieces. flatly, she said it was based on size. she then asked me how i picked mine (i guess i wasn't the only one that noticed our technique). i told her based on butter-coverage. then without further commentary, we returned to watching our show. this is marriage. knowing how and why your partner selects the pieces of popcorn they do from a bowl full of corn.

the show we are watching right now is lost. in a recent episode there was a scene where a woman had to leave her child, never to see him again. as the moment concluded i commented that i could never do that, walk away from my child knowing it was possible i'd never see them again. without looking away from the screen and between bites of popcorn marty replied that she could walk away at three in the afternoon. still without looking at me, she added it would be harder at night when they were sleeping and still and cute.

i was only momentarily shocked by this answer because i've heard people comment to marty how cute her kids were and they wish they could take one home. marty would tell them to come by tomorrow afternoon after two and before six because odds were fair that they could take one, two, and possibly all three home. this is another facet of marriage. knowing what time of day your spouse is most likely to give your children away in a fit of exhausted rage.

WIFE (permalink) 04.14.2010
not your typical saint, but saintly all the same.
last weekend marty took bella's girl-scout troop camping. what this means is that bella (who stopped going to meetings four months ago) stayed home with me and anthony while marty and alex (the most enthusiastic member of bella's troop) took eight third grade girls and one mom camping. of the nine people who went with marty and alex, not a single one of them had ever camped before. here's one of the the more delectable highlights from the report as told to me by marty:
they got two rounds of polite, courteous marty. then at ten o'clock they got the get your butts to sleep (!!!) marty. i told those girls i was born in march and went camping four months later and three times a year every year after that which means i've slept in the woods more than 120 times in my life and never once did i die in the night and none of you are going to die tonight. so you will go to sleep! and you will wake up in the morning! and you will be better people for it! but for now, GET ... YOUR ... BUTTS ... TO ... SLEEP!!!
of the eight, only three girls cried and only one wet the bed in the night. but they all did finally go to sleep and as promised woke in the morning and there wasn't a one of them that wasn't proud as heck, walking taller, and bragging it up to anyone who'd listen. when they came to marty's tent at 6:30 in the morning chittering excitedly, she sent them to the tent of a group of ninth-graders who were up making noise well past midnight.

when i first saw alex i asked him how things went for him. he said good. i asked him what sorts of stuff he got to do. he described several crafts and games they played. i asked him what the worst part of the weekend was. he said some girls (those same loud ninth graders) were making fun of him for being the only boy at the event. i asked how they were making fun of him. he said they were saying he had very long eyelashes. smiling, i told him i didn't think they were teasing him but that they may have been doting on him. i asked him what his favorite part of the weekend was. he said when he made friends with one of the teasing girls and now she, a girl named lexi, and he were friends.

after marty partook in a shower and nap, we chatted on the porch. after most of the recounting and laughter (my laughter) was done, i asked her if she had to choose between taking nine never-been-camping third graders out again or repeat the ten day hike at philmont (the boy scout's mecca) she did some ten years ago, which would she do? without hesitation, she said philmont. but then she smiled and said that having now been through this once, she thinks she could handle, far more easily, a bunch of camping newbies were she confronted with that again (and she wonders how she keeps getting drawn into these situations).

kudos to you walter for persevering (once again) against such odds. several of the girls were heard to already report looking forward to next year's adventure as if last weekend's affair was nothing but puppies and poppies. it's moments like this when the source of bella's spirit and vinegar and mettle are so obviously rooted (although i'll take credit for alex's eyelashes). i honor your work marta and your contribution(s) to the future adults of our world.

WIFE (permalink) 04.05.2010
the gift that keeps on giving, like it or not.
for christmas i gave walt some babysitting coupons. each certificate was redeemable for four hours of babysitting. she had one for every week of the spring semester (because that's when i had ready access to a mess of college students).

in february marty came to my desk and handed me two of the coupons. on each she had written a date and time. she had also scratched out the GOOD FOR dates. the dates for both of the coupons she gave me were expired. casually, i looked from the certificates to her, offered them back saying they were no good, and she would have to get ones good for the weeks in question. marty studied me momentarily before snapping the two scraps from my hand. she leaned into me, close, and said these coupons were a present to her and she had every intention of using them, all of them, expired or not. after feeling the breath of the last word pass over my face (and the vitriol it was coated with), she straightened herself, putting a normal distance between us again.

being the male of the relationship, not to mention the man of the home, not to mention the spiritual head of our family, i softly said ok and pulled the coupons from her clenched fist.

click to enlarge

WIFE, KIDS (permalink) 01.12.2010
Schadenfreude : largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another
i can tell when marty has had a trying parental day because i find her at her desk at night after the kids are down watching the super nanny on hulu while paying bills and working at her desk. you just can't deny that there's something soothing about seeing people taking in more water than you.

and the one conclusion marty and i agree on is that having a beautiful house seems to be related to having evil and sinister kids because all the families on that series live in the most beautiful homes, show home caliber really. if that holds true, logic would dictate having a messy house equates to familial bliss in which case we'd be swimming in the good times because most days it looks like we're in the midst of being evicted.

WIFE (permalink) 01.11.2010
she do add up

WIFE (permalink) 11.18.2009
at this time of day she doesn't have time for nonsense or jest
this last monday morning i was not stirring from sleep. marty sent the boys up to wake me. they jumped on the bed, climbed on me with their bony knees, kissed my head at funny angles while giggling, poked me in my usual tickle spots, and pushed on my head like it just might roll off the bed. they got nowhere. discouraged and bored, they gave up to go play downstairs. twenty minutes later marty had a bout of true concern. she thought i was dead up there. she later confessed that had she found i had expired in the night she would have had to take the kids to school before dealing with me. i studied her countenance after these words and could tell she was being truthful. my face told her i saw this. defensively she said, "come on, please, i mean give me a couple of hours to wrap my arms around this. i just lost my husband and became a single mother all on a monday morning."

WIFE (permalink) 07.22.2009
one day down, one to go.
it was tuesday morning, a little after seven. marty and i were just stirring from sleep. the house was still, the boys obviously still asleep. this was the first morning that bella was away. she was due to call in the next twenty minutes to say how her first twenty fours had gone.

as marty and i drifted from slumber and waited for bella's call, marty began recalling a time she spent a week with this same aunt. marty was twelve or thirteen. this aunt, aunt cyntha, had two daughters, rachel and melissa. rachel was a few years older than marty and melissa was several years older. both of the parents worked, one as a fireman and the other as a hair stylist. when the girls woke up in the morning, there would be a chores list on the counter. come the end of the day, if the items on that list weren't done and done well, there'd be trouble in the evening.

many years later aunt cynthia explained to marty that she was a believer in physical labor, both for chores and punishment. she felt it worked towards a tangible work ethic. her favorite punishment was to make a misbehaving child scrub a toilet with a toothbrush. one time cynthia's husband came up from the basement saying he could barely get the freezer door closed and asked if they had plans to defrost it. cynthia said there was a plan but that rachel, their youngest and more incorrigible child, was having a streak of good behavior and that the freezer would be defrosted after her next mis-step. cynthia admitted such a system required patience. fortunately she had it.

marty also remembered her cousin rachel had become interested in boys and marty not so much just yet. given her cousin's pre-occupation, their days involved biking around the community to pools and tennis courts, namely to meet girlfriends and an inevitable clot of boys. marty deflected most of the attention sent her way spending most of the time wishing the boys would stop talking to the girls so the girls could resume their games of tennis.

another, and more vivid, detail marty recalls was that she had her second ever period during this week at her aunt's. it took a day or two to work up the courage to ask her aunt for supplies. consequently she burned through her stock of underwear much faster than expected ultimately leaving her with only one pair of gangly and tattered briefs. during those days, over her hand-me-down underwear obtained from her sisters, she wore hand-me-down soccer shorts obtained from her brothers. these were the thin nylon colorful shorts that wore loose. during one of the tennis court pow-wows one of the boys looked at marty sitting on the ground and said to her derisively, "nice underwear" in reference to her ragamuffin briefs that were visible through the short's gaping leg holes. to this day the boys' sneer and tenor has stuck with marty.

the suck part of that story for me is that had i been one of the young men standing on those courts with marty, her cousin and her cousin's friends, it's unlikely anyone would have beaten me to that observation and subsequent remark about marty's ratty underwear. fortunately, i was safely hidden away three states to the west and by the time marty and i finally met, making fun of girls' underwear was long behind me, by several months at least.

oh, and bella's first day went swimmingly. so much so, it's questionable how we're going to ever pry her from in-house cable, forty horses and a deep-county farm.

WIFE (permalink) 11.07.2008
a sign of how buried with work i am
for the first time in the history of marty and troy, marty ran out of her monthly allowance before me. and not by just a little bit. the girl is bone dry and i have over half my money left. in fact, i have so much left that after learning of her plight on errand day and after fanning my face with a handful of bills i plucked a twenty from the stack pushed it into the palm of her hand, clapped her on the butt and told her to go get herself something nice today, just because.

fortunately for me her jaw was still resting solidly on the ground at seeing my late in the month financial state because any other time such ribald placement of my hand to her ass would have resulted with her knuckles on my jawbone. it is funny what money can do to a woman.

WIFE (permalink) 09.30.2008
language of love
if marty asks me to do something, there is always a silent "right now" tacked onto the end of her request. conversely, whenever i ask her if there is anything i can do to help, there is always a silent 'within reason' placed at the end. marital life together was more tumultuous before we learned this bit about one another. and, to be fair, marital life can easily get re-tumultuous when when one of us chooses to forget, ignore or blatantly disregard the policy.

WIFE (permalink) 03.04.2008
that there's a black widow spider
sunday i took the kids to the country to visit my parents for the day. marty stayed back to run errands and have some time to herself. i returned in the evening spent. while shuffling the kids towards bed, marty leaned into my ear and whispered that she had a surprise for me.

the kids were finally down and i was checking some stuff on my computer. out of my peripheral vision i saw marty dash by. i turned to see her in the next room wearing something smooth and lacey. she was spun around reaching for something behind her. i squinted to make out what she was doing. it turns out she was trying to cut the tags off my surprise, a new lingerie-catsuit looking deal. seeing that i saw her, she sultrily strode my way.

you weren't supposed to see me yet.

i wasn't supposed to see you in this or i wasn't supposed to see you cutting the tags off?


oh sorry.

it's ok. you like?

i do like. but i don't think i have anything comparable i can wear.

that's ok. you're not supposed to.

as it turns out i did have an accoutrement to bring to the tryst. the day before, alex and i got dinosaur tattoos and mine hadn't yet entirely washed off yet. unfortunately, alex got to pick first and took the last tyrannosaurus leaving me with the less exotic brontosaurus. in showing it to marty i explained that what it lacked for in ferociousness it made up for in grandeur, being as long as six school buses, weighing more than ten elephants, and as tall as a two story building. or at least that's what alex told me in consoling me about getting the suckier of the two tats. by my estimation, marty was still impressed. impressed enough at least.

WIFE (permalink) 09.13.2007
just the way you are
marty took the kids on a play date a while back. when she came home she was morose. i asked what was wrong. she said she felt like she just walked off the set of 90210 and that all of her clothes were ugly, and out of style, and didn't fit her right and all these other moms not only managed to keep up with the latest trends but their clothes were also ironed and free of kool-aid and/or vomit stains. i studied marty momentarily, gauging if she was working towards a punch-line, because this is pretty unlike the girl i'm married to. there was no punch-line.

her observations about the moms at our kids' preschool are right though. they are stylish, not quite high-fashion but certainly trendily-appointed. think camouflage capris. they also somehow seem to always be freshly showered too. these are not the sorts of things the dearmitt-walter home can claim with any sort of daily regularity.

seeing my partner injured so, i jumped in as it seems men are wont to do. i said to her, 'marty, you're a parent. you know this. you accept this. they don't. they dress like teenage girls in a sophomoric attempt to transport themselves back to when they were the popular kid in school and lived at the mall because for them it is a way to escape the reality of their faltering adulthood."

my words did not hit the mark. later that day, marty called one of her three sisters. the sister said ... "marty, while you're looking at them wishing you looked nicer, they are probably looking at you wishing they had the self-esteem to not try so hard." yeah, i guess that's sorta ok advice. ok enough to mend marty's mood more than my own words at least. what do you say we call it a girl thing and leave it at that.

admittedly, after hearing the sisters take on things, i thought more about it. while we'll gladly take the self-esteem card, i don't know that it would work for everyone. for instance some of these grown, near-forty women wear thongs and frilly bras (i know this because so many of these items conspicuously peek out of their other teenager wear). the hottest piece of lingerie in our home is a 1987, threadbare, psychedelic furs concert tee marty sometimes wears to bed. unfortunately when she puts this wisp of a garment on she's not always attempting to ignite our relationship. i know this because when she looks at me looking at her in it, she sometimes sighs and says:

don't even think it. i'm tired and i'm going to bed.

but you got THE shirt on.

the only reason i got THE shirt on is because you forgot to wash whites again.

it could be fate talking to us.

well, you or fate need to do a load of laundry before i'm taking any messages.

conversely, if she did ever come to bed in a bedazzled or satiny thong, we'd spend twenty minutes studying it, talking about how comfortable it was (or wasn't) and examining the physics of how it worked. marty would probably convince me to try it on and then we'd laugh hysterically at the outcome and i'd eventually do zany dances on the bed. after tiring of the sport i'd ask her to put the furs shirt on and she would and we'd return to our life in our home, which is quite a ways away from the 90210 zip code. and for us, gladly so.

KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 08.24.2007
a father's last stand is breached. it will never be the same again.
walking towards my office i hear a hushed voice say desperately, "he's coming! he's coming!!! Hurry!!!!" as i round the corner i see alex standing on top of the futon back with his hand deep into the front pocket of my computer bag and the neighbor boy, the one urging him to be quick, standing below him. both boys look to me, eyes wide and cheeks packed. earlier in the week alex saw me put a jumbo pack of juicy fruit in my bag. by visual estimation, i'd wager each child already had between four and six sticks of partially masticated gum crammed in their stretched mouths. this next stick would have surely been the difference between the 'fully struggling' and 'completely drooling' stages on the gum-chewing-effort scale. i shooed them away telling them it was rude to dig through other people's stuff and to stay out of my office. they ran off tittering like embarrassed school girls.

as i type this note to myself i can hear them on the other side of the wall already conspiring for their next run at my stash of gum. on the good side, i guess i should be thankful they weren't stealing peeks at marty's porn collection.






WIFE, FOOD (permalink) 03.27.2007
red-handed and red-cheeked
i'm a popcorn snob. i use redenbacher, maybe newmans, but always someone who is passionate and gifted at the craft. i make it over a flame, such as a gas stove-top or open fire. i always use the same pot. i always use real butter. and i always make a tasty bowl of corn. and i do it a lot. marty knows all this. i shared it early in our dating relationship right after my positions on religion and children. given the reveal, by marrying me marty accepted this character trait. this is why our marriage works. she deals with my three flaws and i accept her sixty-four.

the other day while passing through the kitchen i caught marty, fresh back from the grocery, pouring a bag (a clear-plastic bag like we were simple heathens living in the forest) from some no-name maker of popcorn through a funnel and into an empty redenbacher container. i stopped and eyed the woman. she looked like alex when i found him unwinding a full roll of toilet paper into the commode. words weren't necessary but she said some just the same.

i bet you wouldn't have even noticed.

don't test me marta. not you. not you of all people.

i don't want to call it a divorcable offense but it just may be the closest we've ever come to seeing one.

WIFE (permalink) 01.16.2007
forget pulled punches, she's got a roll of dimes in her balled-up fist.
see, i told you if we moved your desk over there, you'd be able to see the tv while you work.

you didn't tell me anything.

though, the one downside is now you don't get to see me riding on the bike trainer at night.

yeah, missing you biking in your swim suit with a cut-off t-shirt and flip-flops leaves a real void in my day.

marty's newborn-fatigue is nearing the five month mark. in this advanced state, she ain't exactly the best sweet-talker in town. then again, she's never really been known for sugar-coating a message, even with a full night of sleep.

KIDS, WIFE, QUOTES (permalink) 11.28.2006
put your brother down and go to your room
no biting, no kicking, no pinching, no hitting. alex, no hair-pulling. bella, no bear-hugging.
this gets said, by me, at least once a day in our home and an easy twice on weekends. being an only child has in no way prepared me for witnessing how two siblings can interact. i mean they adore one another. really. i've seen it. but man can those waters of affection turn acerbic if the most minor of things goes sideways.

it starts with a thud in some distant room of the house. next you'll hear a raised or strained voice and then scuffling. i move quickly, far more quickly than marty, to the disturbance point. i'll find bella and alex locked up on one another. peeling them apart is about as easy as separating folded over packing tape, especially when cradling a three-month old in one arm.

afterwards i turn to marty, expressing my shock. but instead of words of consolation or empathy i get the equivalent of a college scouting report on how quick and strong alex seems to be and even with a hint of pride she may use words like 'gamer' or 'scrappy' to describe his art of self-defense. then she, the sixth of seven children, will go about her day, leaving me alone in my quiet disbelief.

SCIENCE, WIFE (permalink) 11.08.2006
the nature aisle is calling
i once read that mcdonalds restaurants were designed to make a person want to leave after twenty minutes. something about the molded chairs, brilliant colors, plastic art and the like. i never gave this theory much credit until i saw a target store's effect on my wife. within seven minutes of entering a target marty will need to defecate. and i'm not talking about a subtle sensation that needs answered in the next half hour or so. i'm talking about an urge so swift she grabs waify high school employees by the arm and commands them to direct her to the nearest restroom. i think their new store designs, which place the bathrooms up front by the checkouts, are in direct response to marty and others like her.

i on occasion get the feeling that having a website may have run its course, then i get to post some cherry life detail (about someone who is not me), like how target's color scheme makes my wife's sphincter go limp and i wonder what i'd do without such a viable and diverse platform.

WIFE, STORYTIME (permalink) 01.10.2005
man, are you getting old marty!
in college when i dated girls, i only went dutch. this was not so much out of principle as out of necessity. as my rusted out 76 volvo attested, i was not a man of leisure or privilege. barely equipped to take myself to burger king once a week, i was in no way prepared or willing to take on another's culinary appetites.

so in these early days of romance, as relationships flourished i would suggest a date. if accepted, i would immediately ask if they minded going dutch. only one did mind but as it turned out, she was a direct descendent of satan so i learned my system had hidden benefits. for added uniquity, at some point on the first date, i would announce that they, the girl, had an astoundingly generous and guilt-free endowment of $15 which they could use in any way they desired; 3 trips to fast food, fifteen shows at the dollar movie house, i was even amenable to putting these funds towards a larger item, the balance of course to be covered by them.

with marty, our first dating encounter was so brief that she didn't exhaust her stipend. the year following our slight flirtation marty spent dating half the ivy league and i passed those days sitting/living in a friend's basement. during a lull in my male-heavy social life, i called marty to notify her that my records indicated she still had six dollars credit with me and that it was about to expire and would she like to exercise her rights to those funds or let them default? laughingly she agreed to use this line of credit and we went out for a second time.

that subsequent date happened 15 years ago today.

we married 8 years later on this same day.

and on this day, today, i consider those fifteen dollars to be the most significant and well-invested to ever pass through my wallet.

happy anniversary walt.

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