That wonderful man of mine

June 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm (Stuff that's on my mind) (, )

Anyone who has an account on Facebook is aware of the number of personal quizzes, or memes, that are making the rounds.  I don’t usually bother with them, but one of my favourite bloggers, Heather Armstrong of, brought one over to her blog and it was hilarious.  It asks several questions about your life with your significant other, and I thought I’d duplicate it here to give you a peek at the person I’ve chosen to spend my life with.  Many of you probably don’t know a lot about Malcolm. That is about to change…

What are your middle names?
My middle name is May, after my paternal grandmother.  Malcolm’s middle name is George, after his father.

How long have you been together?
We dated for 2 1/2 years, then took a 7-year break, then got back together and lived together for 4 years.  We’ve been married now for almost 17 years.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We knew each other for the full 3 years we attended high school together, but we didn’t actually go on our first date until about 2 weeks before graduation.  That sign on my forehead advertising my availability?  I guess I should have used bigger letters.

Who asked whom out?
He asked me.  There was no trepidation.  He finally saw the sign and knew I was a sure thing.

Where was your first date?
He picked me up at 10:00 after my shift at the grocery store where I worked after school.  We drove to Fredericton, about an hour and a half away in those days, and found this little restaurant called “The Cabin”.  I have no idea what we ate, but I remember we talked for hours.  When he drove me home, we sat in my parent’s driveway and talked even more.  And we still find so much to talk about all these years later.  Oddly enough, he doesn’t find that nearly as endearing as I do.

How old are each of you?
I’m 48, he’s 49.  There are only 6 months between us, but it amuses me to no end to constantly point out that he is indeed older.  In fact, when he turned 40, I wrote a poem and had it published in our local newspaper, complete with his photo:

He’s up before dawn to deliver the milk
In summer and winter without any help.
The animals love him, they all know him by now,
The dogs, the cats, and even the cows.
But today’s his day off, and so he’s at home
With the TV and remote, sitting close by the phone.
This special man will be quite embarrassed
But on this day, I couldn’t care less.
The love of my life turns 40 today
And on this occasion I have one thing to say:
You can cry and whine and beg and plead,
But Malcolm my darling, you’re still older than me!

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Malcolm is the second of six kids, I’m the oldest of three.  Although several of them live fairly close by, his brother is the only one we see on a regular basis.  He is our mechanic, and between Malcolm’s milk truck, the half ton, and my cars, we more than do our part to keep him in business.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Malcolm likes to be places on time.  I do as well, but I am a procrastinator.  I will put off everything until the last possible minute.  I am also a lousy estimator of time.  So if I think I need a half hour to get ready for something, I really should have allowed 45 minutes.  But I’m working on that.  I’m always working on that.

Are you from the same home town?
No.  Malcolm was born in a small community outside Saint John called Musquash, but moved to the city when he was still very young.  I grew up in the rural outskirts of Saint John and didn’t move into the city until I moved out on my own at 18.

Who is smarter?
We have actually discussed this on occasion and agree that we are very balanced when it comes to intelligence.  We each have our strengths, which make up for the other’s weaknesses.  Malcolm’s strengths involve dealing with people, working with numbers, and building and repair, in both construction and auto mechanics.  I am very strong in logic, spatial thinking, and communications.  Malcolm is the king of the quick wit.  But I have learned at the feet of the master, and can now often out-wit him, much to his surprise and chagrin. 

Who is the most sensitive?
With a long-term relationship comes the intimate knowledge of how to hurt your partner.  With maturity comes the ability to speak without inflicting pain.  One of the most powerful things about love is the willingness to lay yourself open to the possibility of being hurt.  And one of the most rewarding things about love is the knowledge your partner is sensitive to your needs and will never intentionally hurt you.  Malcolm and I both possess this knowledge and practice it daily.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Every Saturday morning we have breakfast at the local Legion.  Every Sunday morning in the summer, we have breakfast at the restaurant in the campground where we stay.  Special occasions are typically celebrated at the Reversing Falls Restaurant, where we like to reserve a window seat in the Chandelier Room.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Cancun, Mexico.

Who has the craziest exes?
Malcolm has an ex-wife who we are both friendly with and see quite often, especially when the grandkids are visiting.  But she’s not crazy, so there’s no problem there.  I, however, have a psycho ex-boyfriend from a relationship that ended 23 years ago.  Over the two years we were together, he threatened me with physical harm, threatened to kill me, and left me with emotional scars that have taken years to heal.  So I guess I win this one.  Or maybe I lose.

Who has the worst temper?
Malcolm and I are both very even tempered.  Although occasionally he’ll accuse me of PMS-ing.  Yeah, that’s helpful, like adding lighter fluid to a fire helps put it out.  But I generally get over whatever’s bothering me fairly quickly.

Who does the cooking?
I do the majority of the cooking, although Malcolm is more than capable of putting together a decent, tasty meal if he has to.  Also, he is the definite king of the barbecue.  No one, and I mean NO ONE can turn a piece of tender, fall-apart-in-your-mouth steak into a hunk of toughened, charred meat faster than I.

Who is the neat-freak?
Malcolm likes things neat and tidy.  I do too, but I am essentially lazy when it comes to housework.  Which doesn’t mean I don’t get things done … it just means I typically hear some grumblings before I eventually get it in gear.

Who is more stubborn?
Malcolm.  I can be stubborn too, but I typically give in after thinking about the issue for a couple days.  I used to fear I was simply acquiescing to his will, but now I know in many things he is right, and it just takes a bit of time for me to come around to his way of thinking.  I hope he never reads this.

Who hogs the bed?
Malcolm.  I have woken numerous mornings, right on the edge, grasping the nine inches he indulges me with.  And that’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds.

Who wakes up earlier?
Malcolm.  He gets up for work at 1:00 in the morning.  I, on the other hand, being retired, enjoy the luxury of waking sans alarm clock, usually around 9:00 a.m.

Who is more jealous?
Malcolm doesn’t have a jealous bone in his body.  In fact, he feels a sense of pride when he sees other men checking me out.  Me?  I used to be over-the-top jealous.  Now I’m learning that when I’m feeling threatened, I can immediately discuss it with him.  Within seconds, he can bring me down from a state of irrational fear to a rational calm, where I can forget about it and go on with my life.  And the best part?  As my self-confidence soars, these attacks of jealousy occur less and less often.

How long did it take to get serious?
Five weeks the first time.  But after the seven-year break?  Only about three weeks.  Then he moved in with me.  I wasn’t taking any chances of losing him again.  Still took him another four years to decide he wanted to marry me, though.

Who eats more?
Malcolm, but only because of his job; he’s so much more active than I and therefore has a much higher fuel requirement.  I, however, am the queen of chocolate.

Who does the laundry?
I do the majority of the laundry, although Malcolm will occasionally do his own clothes.  Never mine, though.  He claims he doesn’t know how.  He has this belief that my clothes need special care or something (they don’t).  A couple years ago, I hit on an idea to make everything so much easier.  Since a large portion of my time was spent sorting the clothes before I even walked into the laundry room, I figured if we had three hampers, we could sort the clothes as we took them off.  And to make it even easier, I made signs to go above each hamper, listing what each one was for.  Somehow however, it all went horribly wrong, and I ended up causing more confusion and frustration than what was there before.  Although the concept of separating the whites/lights and colours was clear enough, when I broke it down one step further and indicated light grey sweatpants and sweatshirts should go in one hamper with the whites, while the navy, black, and burgundy ones should go into another with the colours and darks, well, that was almost enough to make someone’s head explode.  Because he figured they were all sweatpants and sweatshirts, regardless of colour, and should therefore go into the same hamper.  Eventually I admitted defeat and now we use the one-hamper system again.  And I sort all the laundry on laundry day.  And it takes longer to do it.  But at least I don’t have to listen to the moaning and whining about The Signs.  THE SIGNS!!!

Who’s better with the computer?
Well technically, my 16 years as a programmer, followed by three years putting content up on the company’s website, would indicate that I am better.  However, with no computer training, Malcolm has no fear of exploring new things, and therefore it could be argued that he is better.  But when it comes to electronics in general?  He is definitely better than I.  He used to comment that he couldn’t understand how I could write 15,000 lines of code to run complex billing systems, and yet I’d come home and couldn’t figure out how to work the VCR.

Who drives when you are together?
Malcolm.  He drives for a living, so I feel very safe when he’s behind the wheel.  Even though I like to tease him on occasion that the older he gets, the more he drives like an old man.

So there’s a bit more insight on my wonderful husband and our life together.  Feel free to answer any or all of the same questions about your significant other in the comments, or leave a link to your website if you prefer answering there.


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Desperately Seeking Thelma

May 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , , )

How is it that after being handed my retirement package 3 1/2 months ago, or 15 weeks ago to be exact, I still feel so lost?  By now, I figured I’d have landed on my feet and fully be taking advantage of this new-found time to do all those things that I’ve been putting off for too long.  You know, important stuff, like cleaning out the linen closet or attacking the years and years of accumulated junk treasures that have taken over our basement.  Instead, I spend most days exactly like I am right now … sitting on the sofa in my pajamas, wrapped up in a blanket, with my computer on my lap.

How the hell did this happen?  I have zero motivation, zero direction, zero interest.  I used to have a job that mattered, that I was proud of, and that I was very good at.  I used to have a reason to get up in the morning, and a program for the day.  And now?  Now all of that is gone.  And I know it’s only the external portion that was taken away, but it seems to have taken a huge part of ME with it.  Malcolm sees what’s happening and tries to help, God knows he tries, but he can’t fix me.  So let’s add a serving of guilt to the mixture.  And it’s killing me because I know he deserves better – a better wife, a better partner – instead of this organism that’s stuck in neutral, slowly fusing with the leather sofa.

I don’t want to be like this, honestly, I don’t!  I used to have focus, plans, goals … a freakin’ life for Pete’s sake!  Now, with very few exceptions, it doesn’t matter if I even get dressed in the morning.  But as much as I want to move forward, I’m held back by one teeny tiny detail … I.don’  I don’t know how to move beyond this apathy and indifference.  I don’t know how to put myself in ‘First Gear’, let alone ‘Drive’ again.  And perhaps most troublesome of all, I don’t know how to be happy again.

But as much as my ability to motivate myself has been shattered, I still know one thing … awareness of a problem is the first step to overcoming it.  So now I just have to figure out how to move forward.  Maybe I’ll start by putting a Want Ad in the newspaper.  It could read something like this:

WANTED:  A life, with direction and meaning.  Must come with motivation.  Willing to work hard to get it, but need guidance on setting goals, and how to get started.  Will trade lethargy, disinterest, and a couple pairs of well-worn pajamas.

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In the Sandwich Generation, I am an open-faced tuna melt

April 26, 2009 at 10:55 pm (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , , , )

The “Sandwich Generation” refers to the generation that is raising kids as well as taking care of their parents.  That doesn’t accurately describe me; I don’t have any kids of my own, although I have a step-daughter from Malcolm’s first marriage.  Now however, as the eldest of my parent’s three daughters, the responsibility of keeping an eye on my mother and keeping track of my her affairs has fallen largely to me.  Which is fine for the most part.  Those who know me  know I am organized enough to handle both my mother’s affairs as well as my own.  Those who know me really well know I am a total control FREAK, and am therefore, of the three of us, probably the best-suited for this job.  At least, that’s what I tell myself when I need help getting through the insane moments.

And OH. MY. GOSH!  Are there insane moments!  The stubbornness, the self-diagnosing, the stubbornness, the second-guessing… and have I mentioned the stubbornness?  And as exasperating as it can get, I KNOW what’s behind it all.  My mother doesn’t want to be “old”, because her definition of old is needing someone to take care of her, and losing her independence.  And as Mom enters her 70’s, her independence is more important to her than anything else in this world.

And you know, I totally get it.  So I do everything I can to make sure she keeps her independence for as long as possible.  Which basically means that she and I, along with my two sisters, work as a team to keep her healthy.  And the best way to keep her healthy is by making sure she takes her prescriptions on schedule and eats three meals/day.  No excuses accepted and no stubbornness allowed.

I know the day will come when she is unable to live unassisted.  And when that happens, I don’t know if I’ll be able to take care of her daily needs or if we’ll have to consider other options.  But one thing I DO know is I will be just as committed to her quality of life and happiness as she was to mine when I was growing up.  Because as my mother and my friend, she deserves no less.

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