Peacocking

Craig has always been such a no-muss, no-fuss, low maintenance guy. He never wears cologne. He sometimes goes days without shaving. He’s lucky if he even remembers to look in the mirror when he gets dressed in the morning. And he only uses one product in the shower, which he worships: a 3-in-1 product (shampoo, conditioner, body wash all in one). His method? Pouring the product directly on his head, working up a lather, and then letting it run down the rest of his body so that the suds will catch whatever dirt in its path and wash it away.

I will admit, this uncomplicated simplicity is mostly why I fell in love with him. Though probably because I see him the way an artist sees a blank canvas upon which to paint a masterpiece.

But every artist struggles with her subject sometimes. For example, his haircuts have been a source of contention. His idea of a good haircut was to get it all completely shaved off so that within two weeks time, he can have a good looking haircut.

I thought that was completely absurd. Why wait two weeks for your hair to grow out into a good haircut? Why not get it cut and have it look good immediately? And who’s to say it would even grow out well? But again–uncomplicated simplicity. That was his thing.

It wasn’t until this week when we had some particularly cold weather that Craig came home from a long day, pulled off his winter hat and displayed the worst case of hat hair I’ve ever seen.

“What’s going on up there?” I asked, smiling and looking at his head when he walked into my office.

“What?”

“You’ve got some major hat hair,” I said. “You look like a mad scientist. Or Krusty the Klown.”

He walked into the bathroom and turned on the light. “Oh fucking hell.”

That pretty much decided it. I had plans this weekend to see my esthetician for my monthly facial treatment. She also happened to be located inside a hair salon. So while I would be getting my treatment, I scheduled an appointment for him to get his haircut.

While some women thought the salon or spa was their sacred space where they could get away from their husbands, I didn’t mind having him there.  In fact, it was actually kinda cute that we would be spending the afternoon at the salon together. “Do you need any waxing done?” I asked him. We were sitting in the car in the parking lot right before the appointment. “Maybe get your back waxed? Get your chest waxed? Make you nice and smooth.”

“No, thank you.”

“There’s a nail salon next door,” I said. “You could get a manicure and a pedicure without polish.”

“Ok, c’mon. Let’s just get this over with,” he said.

Within a few minutes of Oahn getting started on him, Jennifer my esthetician arrived and called me in for my treatment (more on that later). I was a little nervous for him just because I had no idea what this woman would do to this hair. The last thing I wanted was for him to have a bad experience here.

But when I was finished, I met him out in the waiting area where he was sitting there reading something on his phone and sporting a very handsome new look. I smiled at him, “Wow you look great.”

The other ladies in the salon were totally gawking over him. “Your husband is so sweet!” Swan, the owner, said to me. “You trained him well.”

I laughed and Craig blushed, “Ok, c’mon, let’s get out of here. I’m already embarrassed,” he said. I thanked my esthetician and said goodbye to the other ladies.

“Oanh did such a great job,” I said as we got into the car.

“Are you sure? I can’t even tell,” he said. He was probably too nervous to really notice when she had finished. It wasn’t until we stopped at Taco Bell and he looked at himself in the mirror of the men’s restroom that he was able to take in what he really looked like.

“Ok, I have to say…” he inserted a dramatic pause, “This is the best goddamn haircut of my life.”

“See! I told you!”

All throughout lunch, I kept gazing at him from across the table. He looked so different. Like a new man almost. “I can’t stop looking at you,” I said. “You look so handsome.”

“Wow you’re totally into me aren’t you?” he said, really impressed with himself.

“Yeah I kinda wish we got our food to go. I want to hurry up and take you home,” I said suggestively. And then followed by my Joey Tribbiani impression, “How you dooin’?” We both laughed.

His new haircut gave him newfound confidence that he hadn’t known before. All weekend he strutted around the house like a stallion, chest puffed out like the only rooster in the hen house. I noticed he took Izzie out on a neighborhood walk despite the twenty-degree weather. And then Sunday afternoon, he said, “Shady’s? For dinner?”

Craig’s not usually one to suggest going out to eat.

“Wait a second! I know what you’re doing,” I said. “You’re peacocking!”

“Peacocking? What’s that?”

“You know, when male peacocks are trying to attract a mate, they strut around displaying their feathers,” I said. “You’re strutting around displaying you’re new hair cut! You’re peacocking!”

He patted his coiffed hair. “Maybe.”

I laughed. I didn’t mind. If all my husband needed was a good haircut to make him feel as confident as I believed he should be, then it’s worth it.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

I’ve been a member of the Book of the Month Club for 2 months now and so far I can’t rave enough about the selection I’ve seen. This month was particularly hard to choose from, as I think I would’ve ordered all of them if I didn’t have a limited amount of time to devote to reading. For January I ordered 2 books. Today I’ll be talking about my first read, As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner.

It’s a historical fiction novel that begins in 1918 at the beginning of World War I in Philadelphia. The Brights have moved from their sleepy country town to the big city to take on their great uncle’s funeral home business. Oh yeah, did I also mention that the Brights have just lost their infant boy to a terrible heart condition 6 months prior? Yeah, this is a family that’s been through a lot and now they’re packing up and leaving a life a quiet life they’ve known for the bustling, cramped city of Philadelphia.

Pretty soon what they thought would be a quiet life as funeral home owners turns into chaos in the wake of the Spanish flu epidemic at the height of World War I. Pretty soon, the Brights are faced with even more tragedy than they could’ve ever imagined.

I really enjoy historical fiction, but I’m always hesitant about reading more modern historical fiction just because I don’t know whether or not I’m going to enjoy the story or the writing. I absolutely loved As Bright as Heaven. I think what appealed to me most were the female characters–they were all very intelligent, very independent and strong-willed. The Brights were a family that you couldn’t help but fall in love with.

As of right now, the book is only available through the Book of the Month Club, but will be released everywhere else in February. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon here.

Read As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner If You Enjoy…

  • Engaging storytelling and purposeful writing. Meissner is talented and brings her characters to life.
  • Historical fiction.
  • Smart, independent female lead characters.

Tags

Tear-jerker, Historical Fiction, Female Heroines, Love & Romance

Here’s to Sharing

Today Facebook congratulated me on my 10 year anniversary on the social network.

Since being immersed in social media (both working in it at my previous agency and participating in it in real life), I’ve shared a lot of my life online. Even before social media was even a thing, I kept an online blog that I wrote in as if it were a diary of sorts. Being online is like second nature for me.

However, in recent years, I’ve noticed people have become too comfortable sharing everything from the most intimate details of their life to the most mundane. Why do we share our lives online? And why are some people prone to sharing while others aren’t?

A while ago, my friend and I were chatting about some of the things people shared on Facebook and how lame they were. She gave me an example about one friend who gushed about her husband taking out the garbage and cleaning up the kitchen all on his own. “What a great hubby! I’m the luckiest girl in the world! Love you babe!” and then the two proceeded to suck face via the Facebook comments. It was nauseating.

I thought it was funny that she was giving her husband a virtual trophy for doing what he should be doing anyway, which is sharing the responsibility over basic household chores.

Maybe there are things that just don’t need to be shared. These things are the moments that no one else is really supposed to witness. Not because it’s forbidden, but just because that’s what intimacy is.

For example, last night Craig had just come home from a long day at work. It was a Friday night and we were both looking forward to just relaxing the rest of the evening. After changing into his pajamas, he stood at the kitchen counter snacking on crackers and hummus. I had just washed my hands so they were freezing cold from the tap water, so I snuck up behind him and slid my cold hands up his shirt and around his torso, causing him to jump and dance while letting out a scream while his mouth was still filled with food. “Aaahhh! Aaahh! Aaaaahhh!” he shouted in a falsetto voice. It was the funniest sound I’d ever heard come out a human, so I kept tickling him with my cold hands and he kept dancing like a marionnette with crackers in his mouth.

When he finally wiggled out of my grasp, we were both doubled over in laughter at the pure silliness of it. I thought, “Man, if people saw us, they would probably be laughing at how dumb we are.”

It was then I realized that perhaps maybe we shared the lame and mundane things on Facebook because, although it may be meaningless to others, it makes us happy. We want to believe that we can make other people happy by sharing our joy, no matter what form it may be. Because once you know what it’s like to be in a relationship where you can stay true to yourself and be comfortable doing silly things with each other, you hope others can find that as well.

Thanks for Everything, 2017!

2017 was a milestone year in my life. So many things happened that I needed to actually go back and look through my planner and my bullet journal to remember everything I missed.

I Married the Kindest, Most Loving Man on Earth

The first part of the year was all about wedding planning, but because it was such a small affair with such a small budget, it didn’t occupy too much of my time. It’s funny how when we first started thinking about what we wanted our wedding to be like, it started out big. As time went on, however, it got smaller and smaller until we were pretty much ready to just head to the courthouse with our immediate family, some friends, and wing it.

What made us change it so drastically? Well, time constraints, money, as well as the fact that we were just getting so far away from the important part of what this was all about: us. The more I thought about it, I chose having a marriage over a big wedding.

In the end, Craig and I were so pleased. We wouldn’t change a thing.

I Planted My First Rose Bush and Became a Member of the American Rose Society

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would eventually become a happily married home dweller and avid rose gardener, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. And yet here I am living in a quiet little cul de sac with a couple tiny rose plants. I’m hoping to add a couple more to my garden this year.

I Found a Financial Advisor and Created a Plan for Our Future

Deciding to go with a financial planner was a big step for both me and Craig. Craig’s previous marriage had been plagued with poor financial decisions, through no fault of his own. And I was paying off a couple credit cards.

Then we met our financial planner Evan through several recommendations from a couple friends and former colleagues. I liked that he was about the same age as me and his advice was very practical. Our goals last year were to combine our assets and make sure that we were prepared for major life changes. We also wanted to get on track for saving for retirement.

I Took a Leap of Faith and Changed Jobs

In July of this year, I accepted an offer from another agency for another position. This new position would allow me to grow and develop in an area that I knew I was good in: WordPress support. It was strange and terrifying. I would be leaving an agency I’d worked for and called home for 7 years. But I knew I was ready. And it turned out to be one of the best decisions for me and my husband.

I Tried Being a Vegan for a Few Weeks

When I first met Craig, he was a vegetarian. A year ago, he decided to become a strict vegan, therefore cutting out eggs and dairy and eating only a plant based diet. In October, I decided to join him and do a 22 Day Revolution challenge, eating nothing but a plant based, whole food diet for 22 days. I learned a lot about food and cooking. In fact, I learned that plant-based meals can be quite delicious. And they don’t all have to be salads either.

2017, You Treated Me Well

In the end, 2017, you gave me one of the best years of my life. Here are a few bullet points that deserve to be mentioned:

  • I threw an axe for the first time (and kinda sucked at it).
  • I ate my first edible and subsequently experienced my first high.
  • I did my first escape room.
  • I spent a couple hours in an urgent care after slicing my hand on a food processor blade.
  • I officially hyphenated my last name.

Despite my tendency to be sarcastic in this blog post, I really can’t this time because for the first time I’ve been humbled. I just hope 2018 will be even better.

The Importance of Assembly Manuals and Shoe Polish

Recently I had to polish my patent, ruby red Tieks. It’s something I have to do every few months or so to keep the leather nice and shiny. As I sat down at the kitchen table with my polishing cloth and shoe polish, I was suddenly sucked back in time to when I was a little girl.

I remember my dad used to polish his leather dress shoes the same way, sitting at the kitchen table with his shoe polish kit. These days, people in the medical field wear comfortable scrubs and sneakers. Back then in the early days at his job at the hospital lab, he used to wear slacks and a lab coat. Polishing his shoes was a weekly ritual.

He would apply the shoe polish gingerly to different spots around the shoe. Then using an old fashioned horsehair shoe polishing brush, he would buff the polish out, paying special attention to the toes.

I never payed attention closely, but I was usually nearby either sitting at the kitchen table eating my breakfast or on the couch a few feet away watching cartoons. It was a mundane task that my dad periodically engaged in, like cleaning his rifles, so it never really interested me. Little did I know, my young mind was recording every detail: his long strokes, brushing the shoe brush across the leather, the sharp scent of shoe polish.

My dad and I at the Founder’s Parade. This was probably 1986 or 1987.

When I got older, I would have many more opportunities to make memories like this with my dad. Last weekend I spent several hours assembling a new dresser that we ordered online. It took several hours and a lot of patience, but there was something about the smell of the composite wood and veneer that reminded me of the times I spent assembling furniture with him. The distinctive texture of the leather furniture we’d assembled felt special to me; so much that I felt that I had to find more info about it. I thought of the garage in my parents house, the tool shed filled with all his power tools. I thought of how skilled he was building and assembling things.

“Don’t tighten your screws individually when you attach a piece,” he said. He taught me to turn the screws just enough to make sure the piece is on straight. Then you hold it in place while tightening all the screws last, moving from one screw to the other until it’s attached.

He also taught me to read the assembly directions. Why? Because he never read them himself. So I often found myself correcting his mistakes because I was the one reading the manual. He was funny like that.

Today December 12 marks 5 years since my dad passed away. I think one of the things that’s hard for us to come to terms with when we lose someone dear is that we lose the opportunity to make more memories with them. Our time with them stops and we hope that we garnered enough wisdom from them before they left. But I guess in my case, I can just dream of a life where he’s still alive, advising me on my various home projects and being the helpful dad I know he would have always been.