Thursday, March 19, 2015

Label Me

I have the best husband.

Now, hold on, I'm not getting gushy. I mean, not really. I'll spare you. You're welcome.

Our first Christmas together we were on a pretty slim budget- newly married, he's in school, I'm working two part-time jobs...there just wasn't a lot to spend. I asked for a blanket- a beautifully soft gray woven blanket (with fringe) that I had found at Target. Every time we passed the home furnishing aisle I would reach out and pet it and sigh.

Why must things I want at Target be $35? I feel like this is $20 too many than I want to spend on things.

I spent the rest of Christmas day wrapped up in this blanket- with my generous husband, of course- basking in its comfiness. And when people asked politely what I got for Christmas I don't think they were ready for my response. "Mr. E got me a BLANKET! No, really. I wanted it."
My friends were getting snazzy electronics and designer watches or tickets to that thing they loved and I was happy as a clam wrapped in my blanket. Now I'm not saying these gifts weren't wanted just as much my fuzzy present, and I'll spare you the less is more analogy.

But the real gift was a husband who listens. I probably gave him any number of suggestions or hints for the holidays but his watchful eyes picked up how many times I went out of my way to steer my cart to aisle F17.

This year one of my favorite gifts has been a label maker. Yep. Label. Maker. In my spice cupboard my paprika finally says PAPRIKA, my MESQUITE SEASONING will never be mistaken for BURGER SEASONING again and the ROSEMARY is sitting pretty. Not that that one's hard to mistake...

When Mr. E hopped in the shower I printed a label just for him. A little love note taped to the side of his lamp, right at eye level when he sits down to read with me before bed. All he has to do is turn his head.
AND MY GOODNESS IT TOOK THAT MAN A WEEK TO SEE IT- even with my not-so-subtle hints every night, like, "I have the BEST Husband" (GRINGRINGRIN)

I guess his eyes are just selectively watchful.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Time.

I have a habit of doing things too hard. I brush my teeth to the point where my toothbrush frays in submission. I've given myself blisters from mopping and sweeping and most recently from creating crumbs from the crust of old bread. I heft boxes at work all day, slamming them (usually by accident) onto metal carts and groaning counter tops. I trudge through errands in my steel-toed boots after work and I drive with my foot heavy on the gas pedal.

I've come to accept these things about myself and very rarely do I give it a second thought until I'm suddenly confronted by my own surprising softness. Softness at the point of the day when I knew I needed to be the hardest I'd been for the last 24 hours.

We've visited the hospital a lot in the last few weeks- mostly for knee-related issues that are routine and very non-scary. But then came the start of last weekend when I opened the door and was met with a husband-turned-stomach-migraine and we hit the floor running. ER, he needs fluids, he needs anti-nausea medicine, yes, we've been here before, yes we know it sounds awful, isn't there a room? oh, a hallway's fine, he doesn't like bags please give us back our bowl, here, let me interpret his sign language for you, more blankets please?

12 long hours in the hallway by the elevator.

4 IV bags of fluids.

An endless cycle.
And I'm hard throughout all of it- I know how this works, I know how this sounds, I know what to ask for and what to demand and when to tell the Dr how he's feeling and what he needs next and so on and so on. But when we hadn't seen a nurse for two hours despite being right next to the nurses' station and the Dr had left us with a vague admission promise and still I know how this works, that these things don't happen immediately because there is a procedure to follow but communication, ladies, to this tired wife who has kept vigil over her husband in case he should need another tissue or a hand to squeeze. Communication to a woman whose plan this weekend was to rest up because this week was long and hard and there's still a dog at home who's only been out twice today but we're weighing evils and he is so much more important but that doesn't make the guilt any easier. And when a nurse begrudgingly drags herself over here to the corner where we've sat patiently and quietly all I can do is cry because I don't want to leave but I haven't slept in 23 hours and I know I need to go home but she's confused as to why I'm such a wreck when he's pretending to sleep peacefully and I just wish she could have seen me four hours ago when I could have looked her in the eye and shamed her for ignoring us.

Soft when I should have been hard.

Blisters from crumbling breadcrumbs but tears when there should have been words.

Monday, March 9, 2015


It's been a run-ragged type of week. Habit can quickly turn into monotony if I'm not careful and there's just too much on my plate to make that distinction. Then there's life that throws you a curveball, or many curveballs at once and all I can do is sit and blink in a dazed is-this-really-happening kind of way.
So forgive me, sweet Thai waitress, for tearing up as you try so hard to present me with my receipt, perfectly folded in a mason jar with  a toothy grin and a many bows of thanks. Your customer service was a welcome relief after the day I just had.

Forgive me, mighty nurses's assistant, for doubting the influence you wield with the tiny petty people in your way. Worker's Comp representatives who avoid picking up their phones and pharmacists too busy to notice that customers are human and often in serious need of pain meds. Or antibiotics. Or anti-inflammatories. Or all of the above, thanks.

Forgive me, inadvertent couch potato of a husband, for walking back and forth in front of your TV screen more often than I strictly needed. When the going gets tough I clean or I boil myself in the bath for fire cannot kill a dragon.

Forgive me, giant family group text, for not responding quickly or comedically. I prefer to bask in the 168 unread text messages in the morning and know that I am loved- not because of numbers but because of inclusion.

Forgive me, the least sneaky of all my coworkers, for secretly grinning from ear to ear when the FDA entered the room and singled you out instead of me. You answered their questions perfectly and provided me with a great example of how to deal with audit pressure.

Forgive me, friends and family who are expecting cross-state or cross-country visits. Mr. E made the decision to bow out of this round of the Burbank PD application (though he made it to the top 10 out of 800+ starting applicants!) because they needed physical fitness much too quickly for a bum knee. So we're not sure when we can visit- because we could actually be the cause of the shortage of clean water in the world with all the ice we're making.

And to the pharmacists I've dealt with in the last three weeks? I hope your chip bags are always filled with crumbs. I hope your pens run out whenever you need them most. I hope street parking is always full so you have to pay for the garage. I hope someone spoils the ending to all your favorite shows, that you miss all the good previews in movies and that your cup is always filled with too much ice and not enough drink.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Far From It

He's supposed to wean himself off of crutches, but limping around the apartment is different than the long strides of the Saturday-shopping-minded so when we split ways in the middle of Target you can bet I was a tad worried. He hobbles, this handsome husband of mine. I spied him limping out of the personal hygiene aisle- a bag of mixed citrus and a pair of toothbrushes in one hand, a crutch in the other. His eyes were a little tired and his mohawk is too fuzzy.

We're what The Cowboy would call "takin' 'er easy". Mr. E's on a strict regimen of icing, anti-clotting aspirin and a narcotic that alternates between making him high and making him emotional. So you could say that Valentine's weekend was pretty fun.
He rules from the chaise- as un-tyrannical as the sick can be, though perhaps that's more a testament to my expert "sick-station building" than it is to his demeanor. Ottomans have been converted to a bedside table to hold pills, liquids, electronics and snacks. Crutches are within reach, the ice machine is fed regularly and the Playstation controllers are in constant charging rotation. We've even extended the TV from the wall (thank god for Costco wall-mounts).

I think I was more worried about the surgery than he was but it was over faster than I thought, he has more range of motion than either of us expected and despite the nearby pharmacy's attempt to blackmail us with his meds we're taking fewer pills than expected and feeling only slight discomfort but no pain. Can you play Mama Bear for your husband? Because I did this week.

So when he finally begged to get out of the house we decided to skate through Target for essentials. We're on a "no-spend" month after fantastic success last month, so our normal "buy-the-store approach" is curbed both by financial and physical necessity.

There he was, at the opposite corner of the store, shuffling his way towards where he knew I'd be. There may have been a few old ladies gently nudged out of the way with my cart, but I'll tell you what: I passed up those discounted chocolate covered Peeps like I didn't even see them.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rampin' Up

Now I don't feel quite so weird complaining about the rug burn on my back (ahem) as I've been moonlighting as Mr. E's deadweight dummy for a month now.
In under two minutes, Mr. E is expected to sprint 200 yards, drag a 160 lb dummy, scale a 6 ft wall, run through a simulated tight corridor without losing his balance or touching the wall, run over un-evenly spaced railroad ties, cross a 4 inch wide balance beam and hop two 2-ft obstacles.
I have never been more proud of that smug face.
We have less than a week to go until the actual test, but things are looking pretty good. A little too good, actually. All of a sudden we're juggling knee surgery and the possibility of police academy! 

When did we get so old? All of a sudden it's surgeries and enrolling for 401(k)s around here. Please tell me it's cooler than it sounds or at least pass over the kool-aid ya'll are sippin'. Oh, is it prune juice flavored?​ We hear that has health benefits or something...​

Monday, February 2, 2015


"Oh, that's so cute, you guys match."
We exchanged looks and smiled.
Not this again.
We look awesome.
There's just something about dressing up that lends a sense of gravity to a situation. Even if that situation is watching old men in tiny rooms perform sleight of hand on tipsy audience members. We scored a visit to the Magic Castle last weekend and it brought back all sorts of memories. Mostly multi-colored spongy memories- Mr. E's favorite trick.
Of course, I'm partial to spongy memories too- just before Mr. E proposed with a flash and a bang on the beach he ramped up the excitement with some sponge bunnies.
We laughed and danced and ate and drank our way through the crowded corners of the Castle- photography strictly prohibited, unfortunately.
We learned some things:
-Whiskey sours are amazing.
-Irma, the playing piano, truly knows all songs.
-Uber is the most amazing service in LA.
-People still comment on the fact that when I put on a dress Mr. E's tie is guaranteed to coordinate.
Like that was new or something?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crossing Things Off

There's a list of 101 things to do with your significant other that takes up space on my fridge, a constant reminder to enjoy each other's company, to be irreverant and spontaneous and childlike when the mood strikes. We've crossed out a couple lines, things like... 
 -Perfect your guacamole making skills
 -Teach her how to build a fire (or him as the case may be)
 -Build a fort
 -Get lost on purpose
 -Have a spa day at home 
We've added some notes, crossed out others (get tattoos of each other's names?! go sky-diving?!) and I love to really look at it every few months to see how our relationship has changed.

I realized that we're tackling another line, number 25...."Go on a health kick together" 
This has been on my radar for a while and I've implemented it in smaller ways- reducing the amount of bread we buy, adding veggies to most of our meals, reducing the Nestle drumsticks...but we've rarely had the motivation to try anything drastic. Like...working out, for instance.

Well, Dan dug deep and found his motivation and now there's a goal in mind- a 2 minute physical assesment and 6 months of physical training in the Orange County Police Academy! And if there's anything more motivating to work out than the fact that your husband is trying to become a police officer, I'd like to know. Because I could use it.

So now we're really focused on what we're eating, and how often we're walking. Hiking three times a week. Walking at least 2 miles if we're not hiking. He's running on his own and the pull up bar is seeing a lot of use.

My job is sort of inherently mobile and I had the bright idea that I could use some of the 20-30lb boxes as weights if I was getting really desperate. So while everyone was on break and grabbed a box and lifted it over my head, only to hit my forehead as it came tumbling out of my hands. Unevenly distributed weight can do that when lifted abruptly.

I am not a smart woman. Though maybe I'll be a little more toned....