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.


“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.

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.

Breaking Barriers by Breaking Wind

“Oh, by the way, you farted last night.”

If you ever want to know what married people talk about first thing in the morning after waking up. It’s this. “What?” I asked. “Really I did?”

“Yeah,” Craig said nonchalantly. “I was so shocked. Not only did you fart once, but you farted twice. In your sleep.”

I started laughing. See the thing is, for Craig, passing gas is like breathing. It’s the part of the Vegan/Vegetarian creed. You know, “Thou shalt not eat meat. Thou shalt not eat dairy or eggs. Thou shalt fart every hour of the day or at least when no one is looking.” So he is shocked that in the two years we’ve been together that he’s never heard me lay one. In fact, he was beginning to think I was an alien or some kind of android. “It’s unnatural!” he would say.

It’s not that I never farted, it’s just that I farted discreetly. And I never have to fart as often as Craig does. So to learn that Craig finally heard me pass gas was a relief (no pun intended).

“So I farted, huh?” I said. “What did it sound like? How did it happen?”

“Well, it was shortly after you got into bed. You immediately fell asleep,” he said. “Then I heard this ‘pff..fft!’ Wait, no it was more like ‘pffffft!’ Yeah that’s exactly how it sounded. And I thought, wait what was that? Surely that wasn’t me. Then, it came again, ‘pffft!’ You tooted a second time! It was glorious!”

I was literally rolling around in laughter at his story. “I was so excited I finally heard you fart,” he said, “that I couldn’t even go back to sleep. I couldn’t wait to tell you about it!”

So that’s it. That’s my story about the night Craig finally heard me fart. In a way, it’s made our relationship stronger.

“We’ve reached a milestone, honey,” he said. “Then the day will come when we’ll be farting… together.”

Ok, that’s way too far. But he’s good at making me laugh and that’s what matters.

Oh Hey, BTW We Got Married

The whirlwind that was last weekend has finally died down. Craig and I have re-inserted ourselves back into normal daily life after spending 72 hours in marital bliss. I can finally sit down and write at my desk without having glue, tulle, or floral tape stuck to my butt.

The details of that day flow into each other like washes of watercolor in my memory. The strong leather scent of my new, blue Tieks as I unpackaged them from the box. The thin layer of nervous sweat that covered Craig’s hands as he held mine during our wedding vows. The sounds of the gentle breeze rustling through the trees as we stood there in his parents backyard in front of a small crowd of our family and friends.

I always thought I would get married on a cold winter day, but a mild spring day in March seemed more perfect for us. I wore a dress that I paid for myself. It was an empire-waisted, ivory white, floor-length chiffon dress. It had intricate beading along the bust and down the back with a court-length train. It was simple from a distance, but perfect.

My “something blue” were my blue Tieks. I’ve been wanting to get a second pair so what better time than my wedding day. My “something borrowed” was the bouquet charm that my sister used for her wedding. It had a picture of our dad with a rhinestone cross and a tag that said, “Always with me.” My something old was a necklace that belonged to my grandmother, which my mom brought to me that day. All of these things were special. They represented the things that made me who I am.

When it came to my wedding, I would compromise anywhere else but the flowers. I had to have fresh flowers.

I found my florist a month earlier, a lively and pleasant woman by the name of Azar who owns Nirvana Flowers in Addison, and gave her a vision for what I wanted. I knew my dress would be simple and therefore the perfect canvas for a bold bouquet of flowers. Just like any creative, she took my vision and made it come true. My flowers were orange calla lilies, green cymbidium orchids, and blush white ranunculus. They were beautiful and bold, which is exactly what I wanted.

In the last few weeks leading up to the wedding, my friends kept asking me if Izzie would be part of our special day. Initially I hadn’t planned on it, but the closer it got, the more I realized we couldn’t not have her there.

Two weeks before the wedding, I found the perfect ceremonial attire for her. It was a white patent leather collar with a matching leash. The collar was adorned with silk flowers and crystal “bling.” The leash matched in the same way, but also had bling lettering that read, “I do too.” It was exactly what our ceremony need. If Craig wanted to marry me, he would have to marry Izzie too whether he liked it or not.

And she was such a little socialite too. We were so proud of her. Even though she did bark at people as they entered the house, it was more of a, “Hello! Welcome! Look at me down here!” kind of greeting. Still she would occasionally trot in and out of the room where I was getting ready so that she could see who she hadn’t met yet.

About 30 minutes before we were to walk down the aisle, I had my friend Christina who was also our photographer, deliver a present to Craig. It was a book I had put together and had printed, titled, “Here’s Why I’m Marrying You Today, Craig Adams.” I wanted to surprise him with something special, something that would just be for him. So I created a cute little book with caricatures made in our likeness illustrating the numerous ways why I love him so much and I wanted to marry him. And I’m so glad Christina was there to capture the moment he opened it because to be able to see the look on his face is priceless because he was over the moon about it. I think that was probably what made all the stress and the waiting worth it.

We were so happy. The event was intimate with all the important details I wanted. Our families were there and although we didn’t invite everyone we knew, we did the right thing by planning a wedding that wasn’t a financial burden on anyone else. At the same time I wanted it to reflect Craig and I, our tastes, our values and our personalities. In the end it turned out to be everything we wanted it to be.

There’s A Lot to Learn From a Bowl of Ice Cream

“What time does the gym open today?” Craig asked me.

I was sitting at my desk in my office researching ink. “Ummm… I think it’s closed today,” I responded jokingly.

“Oh really?” He wasn’t amused. “It’s closed today? I highly doubt that, Miss Ice Cream. I’m still mad at you about that.” He walked away and started getting his workout clothes ready.

I rolled my eyes.When I posted that picture of that decadent bowl of ice cream yesterday after work, I knew I was gonna get it. Craig tends to get overdramatic anytime I indulge even a little bit, whether it’s a cookie or a bowl of ice cream. “Ok, come here,” I said. “We’re going to cuddle.”

It’s funny, anytime, we need to work things out, I know the best way to do this is to cuddle with him. We’re not looking at each other, but we’re physically close, which allows us to be vulnerable and honest. “Honestly, it’s just jealousy,” he said. “I’m jealous that I can’t let myself have indulgences even though I encounter them every day.”

“Ok,” I said. “So let’s talk about that. Why do you feel like you can’t do that?”

The thing is he’s obsessive about being healthy, about wanting to prolong life while avoiding death as much as possible. So when I was diagnosed with diabetes, it terrified him. He didn’t even want to even consider the possibility of me outliving him. “I don’t want us to die in our 50s, I want to live well into our 80s.”

While it was an ideal wish, it’s not something that can easily be accomplished just by eating right and exercising. Sure, it helps, but countless times there are stories of people who live perfectly healthy lives who die early on in life because of some freak accident or some unavoidable medical condition. The part that worried me the most about what he said was that his expectations were beyond our reach as mortals.

“See I think of it differently,” I said. “While I agree with you that we should try to live as long as we can, I don’t think we have that much control. Instead, I see it like this: no matter when we die, whether it’s 20 years from now or tomorrow, we should always be able to look back at our life and say, ‘Yes, I’m happy with what I’ve done so far.'”

We should live the life we want to live with no regrets.

He paused for a moment before agreeing with me. He told me someone had interviewed people with terminal illnesses and asked them to give advice to the living. Their words were sad, but the most common theme among their advice was to stop working so hard. That reminded me of something that my dad said to my mom while he was in the hospital those final days.

My dad had just retired that year after 40 years as a lab tech at a major hospital system in Dallas. It was a significant milestone, one that was celebrated by many friends and coworkers at a large reception held for him. But unfortunately, almost immediately after he retired, he became very sick. “I wish I had retired years ago,” he told my mom.

Months after he died, I was cleaning out his home office and I came across printouts of cruises and European vacations he had been researching. Apparently he planned on taking my mom on a big vacation once he retired. And because of that, to this day, I can’t imagine him saying those words to her without crying.

I sat there for a few moments in silence just thinking. Tears began to roll down my cheeks and Craig asked what was wrong. “Something reminded you of your dad?”

I nodded. I told him about what my dad had said to my mom and Craig held me tighter.

I told Craig, ever since then, I decided to live my life without fear. I grew to become a more assertive person. I tried new things. I came out of my shell and I dated different types of men I would’ve never given the time of day. I learned to be more adventurous and resourceful. I was no longer the predictable Kristine who chose the safe route, the route that everyone expected of her. I was the Kristine who took the route she felt like taking because it was her choice and no one else’s.

But I’ve learned that when it comes to indulgences, there has to be a trade off. if I’m going to indulge, it’s going to have to be worth it. Yesterday I’d had a particularly stressful day at work, after which I left early so I had a couple hours to kill before Craig would be home. I decided to try out this ice cream place where they serve Thai-style rolled ice cream. “I could’ve just as easily gone to Kroger and picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for half the price but same amount of calories,” I said. “But it wasn’t just about the ice cream. It was about the experience. I loved being able to watch them make the ice cream right in front of me. That part was so cool.”

And see, that’s the thing about it for me. I don’t just want to do the same boring thing I can do any other night of the week. I want a memorable experience, like that bowl of rolled ice cream. Because when you add all those memorable experiences together, you have a life that you can look back on at any age and say to yourself, “Yeah, I think I did pretty good.”