Love is in the air, romance abounds, restaurants are booked and vintage love songs fill the air on my favorite radio station; no doubt about it, Valentines Day has arrived!
As I sit, at yet another stop light, singing at the top of my lungs to the sappy '70 and '80 love songs blaring through the speakers, I can't help but laugh at the undeniable looks of judgement and smirks of condemnation from fellow highway motorists. I'm not quite sure if their obvious disgust for my behavior stems from the fact that I'm not "acting my age" or rather, they are simply allergic to "morning" people.
You see, I am very aware of the stark differences between "morning" people and well, people who are NOT "morning" people! Case in point!
THERE'S A SPOUSE IN MY HOUSE!
After 30+ years of marriage, one would think that many of our differences would have merged to form a somewhat meet in the middle, marital evolution, if you will.....NOT even close!
Hubby is definitely NOT a morning person. He would much prefer to stay up late and sleep half of the day; whereas, I am quite content calling it an early night and up before dawn.
I have to ask, what's up with "non-morning" people anyway? Seriously, why do you have to have a good 45 minutes alone with your coffee before someone can say "good morning" to you?
30+ years ago, I had no idea that saying "I do" and pledging to "love until death do us part" meant that I was embarking on a lifelong learning curve! Before the end of the reception, the dynamics of my little world and routine changed. I would soon realize that learning to live with a "non-morning" personality was simply one of many idiosyncrasies that would surface !
Like all young couples, we faced and endured many challenges, from children and jobs to finances and schedules. Over the years, I have discovered that there is something to be said for the solace found in a relationship that is comfortable, but remains fun! Relationships weather life's storms, trials come and go and disagreements or, dare I say, arguments happen. LOVE is constant, while LIKE, on the other hand, is subjective and depends on the day. Oh, c'mon, you know it's true.
Ah, but I digress. The subject is Valentines Day. A day set aside each year dedicated to celebrating love. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but somewhere along the way, commercialism crept into our expectations and inflicted a steroid induced guilt trip if one failed to shower their love with flowers, candy and/or gifts of shiny baubles. It seems that one must proclaim to the world their undying love and affection for all to see. As a side note, it is important to remember that true love rarely depicts the romance glamorized in greeting cards.
Yes, I'm a romantic, but I am also realistic. Here are just a few things I've learned over the years:
When there's a Spouse in your House, everyday is an adventure of sorts, so move forward, jump over (or crawl under) life's hurdles and quit agonizing over reality. The aging journey takes it's toll. Accept the fact that knees creak, bifocals are necessary and uttering groans probably means you're just trying to get up off the couch.
This year, preserve the budget and celebrate Valentine's Day the right way...with pizza delivery, a box of chocolates, cuddle on the couch and enjoy a classic movie....or two, if you can stay awake!
What? You have never heard the story of the Bread Family Christmas? Oh my, then it’s time to grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back and listen close while I share with you one of the most delicious stories never told.
Our little story began a very long time ago. Although very little is known about the origin of the Bread family, their ancestry can be traced all the way back to the days of Moses and the leavened lineage of the Manna’s.
Christmas Eve, 1970, the wind was howling, snow was falling and it was a very, very cold. Hustle and bustle was the theme as Corn & ginger bread were busily preparing for the annual Bread Family Christmas celebration. Their holiday guests would soon arrive, and as always, there was too much to do and not enough time to get it done.
The Bread’s were blessed with six little muffins, each one embracing unique, individual personalities:
For the little muffins, excitement was in the air. they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of well… you know who?
However, the year had been tough for Corn Bread and he didn't share the same enthusiasm. Corn Bread was stressed and worried because the troubled economy was taking a toll and making raisin six little muffins difficult. Day after day, Cornbread would roll to the factory because HIS FAMILY kneaded the dough. Suffice it to say that times were tough for the bread family. They were cutting back and tightening their belts (or at least trying too).
Nevertheless, this time of year was for celebrating and Breads have been and always will be resilient. Corn Bread knew that this too, shall pass.
Now through it all, Ginger Bread never seemed overly concerned. She went about her sweet way, smiling through the worst of times.
Inside the little canister they called a house, Ginger Bread always made everyone feel a little bit better. She could always transform a bad day into a good one.
Ginger made sure that the little muffins got a quick nap earlier that day, so they would be wide awake for the evening festivities. After a couple of hours, Ginger sang, “rise and shine”. Waking up was a little difficult for the little muffins as they seemed to be stuck in the warmth of their surroundings, but WITH a little bit of careful nudging, they were ready to greet everyone.
Time was passing fast and soon their company would be arriving, including the "In-Loaves". The “in loaves” added to Corn Bread's stress. Their rye sense of humor was never received well, and most of the time they ended up behaving like heels.
As customary, Breads from all over the country would soon be arriving from yeast to west and everywhere in-between.
Aunt Éclair traveled all the way from France and Cousin Pita from Greece; ironically they were the first to arrive. Uncle Crumpet wasn't far behind. Uncle Crumpet always made Ginger Bread a little nervous because sometimes he would arrive a little half baked.
All worries disappeared once everyone arrived and Corn and Ginger’s house was filled with love as they all gathered around the oven anticipating the event of the year.
Anticipation was rising as the clock ticked ever so slowly. You might even say that the little muffins were almost crumbling with excitement!
When suddenly.......a loud POP was heard outside the little house. The Bread's grew silent; they knew it was time!
The moment they had been waiting for....... There he was, easily identifiable by his characteristic hat, shirt and no pants ensem.
Yes, it was the famous Dough Boy himself, delivering goodies, fresh from the oven. His Giggles were endless, while he finished his work, yet he spoke not a word, then grinned with a smirk.
Soon out the door, on to the next oven, to bring happiness to other bread muffins.
but they heard him exclaim as he soared out of sight
....Happy Baking to all and to all a good night!
Can you believe it, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! Family and friends will soon gather to share stories, reminisce about "the good 'ol days" and, of course, feast.
Before the dishes are done and leftovers put away, thoughts of Black Friday intrude on the days festivities. It's time to scour through the ads, double check door buster times and make out the list. With the popularity of online shopping, the dynamics have changed. No doubt about it, online shopping has made Black Friday shopping easier, cost effective and certainly much healthier with less pushing, shoving and out right fighting.
Before the days of online shopping, my Black Friday shopping skills were birthed and honed during the late 80's and early 90' when my children were young and their wants were not.
"Mom, it's the ONLY thing I want for Christmas!"
This seasonal mantra typically began shortly after Halloween and continued through Christmas Eve. The "more than anything", die-hard requests always seemed to be attached to the most elusive, hard to find toy of choice on the market. To this day, I can still recall the echo of desperation in the tiny voices of my children.
I dreaded and despised the non-stop, commercial driven antics of the toy industry. Hot item lists and anticipated shortages plagued my very existence. How could I let my kids down? There could be no exceptions or mishaps, Santa HAD to deliver! Mindful of my limited budget and armed with determination, Black Friday became my ultimate challenge. Let's just say that my perceived mom badge was at stake and I had to emerge victorious.
Admittedly, my first Black Friday escapade was a colossal failure. As a newbie, I learned very quickly that Black Friday shopping was not an exercise for the amateur or an adventure for the fainthearted. Black Friday shopping success depended upon strategy, expertise and a fierce desire to beat the competition. I knew I had to train and be in shopping shape for the next year and thus my Black Friday tradition began.
As soon as Thanksgiving festivities would end, my Mad Woman on a Mission personality would surface. As a Black Friday shopping guru, my strategy began by gathering sale ads, mapping out Early Bird Specials/Door Busters, making a detailed list of which sales were at what stores, set out my clothes and went to bed early.
The specials were very limited and I had to be first or second in line if I were to have a chance at getting the "must have", "hard to get" item. This meant that I would be in line somewhere between 12 and 1 a.m.
Thinking back, I have to laugh remembering how easy it was to distinguish between Black Friday professionals and first timers. First timers just didn't seem to understand the consequences of drinking too much coffee or the hassle of returning lawn chairs to the car. Suffice it to say, depending on the crowd, getting out of line wasn't always respected.
First time, Black Friday shoppers would show up unprepared and would experience a Black Friday boot camp of sorts. It is impossible to accurately describe the brutality that could sometimes accompany Black Friday shopping. Once the doors opened, rules disappeared and shoppers that, just moments earlier, appeared to be jolly and friendly, mysteriously transformed into raging mobs brandishing fisticuffs, pushing and showing displays of ruthless hostility.
Over the years, I became very skilled at Black Friday shopping and my BFF and I incorporated team shopping into our ritual. Team shopping made it even easier to secure more of our "must get items".
Those days are in the past. The era of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Tickle Me Elmo, Power Puff Girls, Nintendo, PlayStation, Fur Real Cat, and Furbie are gone, but the memories remain. Black Friday shopping became a quest I conquered and now, for me, it's over!
Like I stated earlier, times have changed. I still love Black Friday shopping, but now-a-days, I enjoy it more from the comfort of my computer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not saying that I will never again (never say never) suit up to tackle the crowds and experience the rush of adrenaline while zigging and zagging my way through the frenzy of sale chaos. It is impossible for me to know whether or not nostalgia will once again release my Mad Woman on a Mission personality; however, one thing is certain....should that day arrive, I highly suggest that you move on or move over!
Labor Day, for the expectant mom, is the truest definition of hard labor
Family planning is particularly popular among many young couples intent on making their mark on the world, starting careers and having their proverbial baby ducks in a row BEFORE starting a family; however, whether “trying” or proclaiming “whoops”, recognize it's the same boat, so sit back and hang on tight because the next nine months will be a bit bumpy. You heard me, lift your head from your porcelain paradise!
Initially, the giddy excitement of knowing that you are the vessel that carries another life is overwhelming. The desire to learn everything about this nine-month journey is exceptionally strong, and soon-to-be moms endeavor to read every book and article written about this expedition. Detailed explanations are sought about mood swings, delivery and everything in-between.
Excitement abounds for first time, soon to be moms; not-so-much for moms who are expecting their second, or third bundle of joy.
As a new mom, I was totally unprepared for the responsibility I was about to accept. In retrospect, I am certain I would have benefited from a guideline to follow; thus the reason for the following list.
Daily if possible! For the next four to seven years, it will be necessary to tote a bag full of items everywhere you go. This bag will contain a variety of items (bottles, pacifiers, diapers, baby oil, baby lotion, wet wipes, toys, coloring books, rattles, baby nose aspirator and so on) based on the child’s age. Also keep in mind that it will be a long time before you will be able to enjoy a dinner out without saying the following statements:
Never set an alarm clock. This will be the last time you get to sleep all night for……well, I’m not sure, I’m still waiting.
Not necessary, might as well let it go. It’s time to begin getting used to your new motif anyway.
Seriously….get over it. Living in your new baby world, you will soon discover that romance is not even listed in the top ten as “I Love You is quickly replaced by “Hey, You Awake?
WHILE WAITING FOR LABOR DAY
LABOR DAY ARRIVES
It will seem like an eternity awaiting the arrival of your bundle of joy. Soon you'll attend birthing classes that will make labor sound bearable. (It's a lie!) The phrase, “you will feel discomfort” had to have been written by a man. Discomfort, DISCOMFORT; try anguish, torment, agony or torture, but DISCOMFORT my #?#@#!
Natural childbirth is popular until experienced. Think about it, were you using natural birth control (if so, how'd that work out for you?) My advice, for what it's worth, is to begin asking for drugs before you really even need them to ensure that you avoid being told, “I’m sorry, it’s too late.”
Last but not least, recognize that your spouse has absolutely no clue what to do, what is happening or what to say. He will make totally insensitive comments, so brace yourself.
Hubby: Do you want to watch TV to take your mind off things?
Me: Do you want to retain the shape of a TV?
Hubby: Just breathe.
Me: Great advice Einstein, the one thing I didn’t have to think about.
Me: I am focusing, on the PAIN!
Hubby: It’s almost over.
Me: Yea, right, that’s what you said 6 hours ago!
Hubby: I love you.
Me: Yea, yea, like that’ll ever work again.
Hubby: I see the head.
Me: Well, Hot Diggity Dog
Me: You’ll think push when I push you out of this fourth floor window
Hubby: The doctor is on his way
Me: Here or does he have another golf game?
Hubby: Do you want some crushed ice?
Me: Yea, stick a block under my fist and I’ll crush it!
When everything is said and done, you will have experienced the ultimate human achievement and will take home with you a beautiful, dependent little life that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state. Ironically, if you are a successful parent, this beautiful, dependent little life will grow into a teenager that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state.
Happy Labor Day!