The Roadkill and Gender Differences

My husband and I were driving down the road, and there was a roadkill opossum off to the side. This conversation happened:

Me: Wow, a dead opossum. It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

Andy: Yes, definitely.

Me: It’s like, one day you’re just walking along, going about your business, and then suddenly – SPLAT! – it’s all over. It shows how fragile life really is, you know? We need to live each day to the fullest, make the most of every moment, because you never know when it could all be over. This really puts things into perspective. We need to stress less and live better. Have fun. Enjoy the day while we still have time left on earth.

Andy: *looks at me like I’m an alien*

Me: Uh…was that not what you were thinking?

Andy: No. When you said, “it makes you think,” it made me think, “Huh, there must be a lot of opossums that live around here.”

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of how my husband and I are different. I was going to write some further commentary, but I don’t even think it’s necessary. The conversation speaks for itself.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Andy’s Sick, but We’re Buying Dinosaurs

My husband Andy is sick. He came home from work today and said he was feeling tired, so I told him to take a nap. He said he didn’t need one. He looked pale and exhausted, so finally he said he would “go lie down in bed for a little while.” (Ahem…that’s a nap)

I walked him upstairs and asked if he wanted any tea or a cold washcloth for his head or anything. He said no. I said I would leave him to his nap, but he said he wasn’t going to sleep (yeah, okay). He asked if I would stay and talk to him.

I talked to him for a couple minutes, but I could tell he was falling asleep. I started to leave, but he asked me to keep talking. Maybe he likes the sound of my voice? I have no idea. He clearly wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying.

Then I started having fun. I said, “I’m thinking we should order the triceratops before we order the pterodactyl, because shipping on the triceratops is going to be ridiculously expensive, but the pterodactyl could probably fly here and save us a lot of money. What do you think?”

He said yes, that he totally agreed.

Then I said, “And I’ve been giving some thought to the T-Rex…I don’t think we should buy that one after all. I mean, the sheer size of it means that it is going to be way more expensive than the others, and we only have a two-bedroom house. Where would we put it? So I think we should skip that one. Is that okay with you?”

At first he didn’t answer, so I tried again. “Andy? Is that okay?”

“Yes,” he said, “I already said yes. Great idea.”

I smiled and tried not to laugh. I knew he didn’t want me to leave, so I sat on the bed for a few more minutes to make sure he was fully asleep. I looked at him a couple of times, but I think watching someone while they’re sleeping is just about the creepiest thing possible.  I mostly picked at our comforter and got disgusted by how many dog hairs I found.

Finally, when I was sure he was sleeping, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and crept out of the bedroom. Now, and hour later, he’s still sleeping.

He was right – he definitely didn’t need a nap. *eyeroll*  Now where can I buy some dinosaurs?

When Your Celebrities…Aren’t

I’ve covered in other posts like this one that my husband loves grouse hunting, and most people have no idea what that is.

Today he was listening to a podcast about grouse (because that is apparently a real podcast topic, people).  He got super excited and said, “Hazel!  You would not believe who this guy got as a guest speaker on his podcast show!  It’s a huge celebrity!”

I could not for the life of me think of a “huge celebrity” who has ever expressed a modicum of interest in upland bird hunting.  Well, I’m pretty sure the British royal family bird hunts in Scotland or something, but I sincerely doubted the QUEEN was a guest speaker on this dude’s podcast.  So I said, “Who, Andy?  Who’s the huge celebrity?”

His eyes got wide with excitement as he said, “The senior adviser to Dogtra!”

I said, “Wow!  That’s amazing!” because clearly that was the only appropriate response to that revelation.  In my head, however, I said, “Note to self: Google ‘Dogtra.’  Or did he say ‘Dogstra’?  Crap, I already forgot.  Figure this out.”

So then I Googled “dogtra” when he wasn’t looking, and I found pictures like this.  I’m still not sure what the company does.  Is that a shock collar?  Is it a GPS collar?  Is it something else totally different?  MY HUSBAND HAS THE WEIRDEST HOBBY.

dogtra-2300ncp-advance-ad

While looking at these pictures, I found myself thinking, “What does this senior adviser even do?  Does he advise on collar design?  Marketing?  Field testing these things on actual dogs?  What is this company, and why is this man a huge celebrity in the grouse hunting world?”

Then eventually I gave up because I think this is one of those things that my husband loves, but try as I might I don’t think I’m ever going to fully get it.  I don’t have to get it to be pumped that my husband heard a great podcast from the senior adviser to Dogrta!  I can probably get you the link if you want it.  This is clearly a big deal.

The Most Romantic Thing Anyone Has Ever Done for Me

It’s weird to think that the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me went largely unnoticed until this past weekend.  I realized it while standing in a hotel suite, wearing a long cotton-candy pink chiffon dress, and putting on some lip gloss.

I was getting ready for a wedding I was in, and I’d gotten to know a few of the bridesmaids pretty well over this whole wedding-planning week (because we were dealing with things such as trying to support the bride when she found out her mother-in-law was going to wear a long white crop-top dress to the wedding. Oy.)

While putting on our makeup, one bridesmaid saw a pill bottle on the counter and said, “What’s this?”  I’d set it there while digging through my make-up bag for mascara earlier, and I’d forgotten to put it back.  I guess she didn’t know whose it was (there were a lot of us going in and out of that bathroom), or she was just being super nosy.  Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and call it the former.  I hadn’t even noticed the bottle because pill bottles are such a non-noticeable part of my life.  It would be like someone coming up to you, looking at your hand, and saying, “Look! A fingernail!”  You’d be all, “Oh yeah, fingernails.  I forgot about those because they’re always with me.”  That’s me and pill bottles.

“Oh, that’s mine,” I said, grabbing the pill bottle and putting it back in my bag.  She looked at me questioningly, because I guess not everyone sees pill bottles as such a common commodity.  I was afraid she was going to burn her hair off with the curling iron while she stood there waiting for me to answer her questioning look.  I’m bad at lying and also pretty bad at saying, “None of your business,” so I said, “It’s no big deal…I have this tiiiny brain tumor that seems pretty bent on ruining my life, but I’m on it.  It won’t kill me.  I just take a crap ton of pills.”  I threw the pill bottle back in my bag and started putting on blush.  At that moment, my face was a bit red without it.

“Wait, whaaaat?”  The bridesmaid (thankfully) uncurled her curl and stood there with one piece of hair curled and pupils about as wide as her open mouth.  I hate this reaction, which is the one I get every time someone finds out about my health problems.  At least she didn’t say one of my least favorite lines, which is “but you look so healthy!”  Like I should apologize for not looking sick enough to have a tumor or bipolar disorder or any of the other issues I have.  SORRY FOR TRYING TO HAVE A NORMAL LIFE.  MY BAD.

I shrugged it off, because usually when I pretend like something is no big deal then people tend to roll with it.  She picked up another piece of hair to curl.  I dug around for my lip gloss.  Finally she said, “Wait…I know Elle said you had health problems in college…was this it?”

“Yep.”  I was still trying to avoid this conversation.  She didn’t catch it or didn’t care.

“Wait, so…you’ve been with your husband since you were seventeen….he’s been with you for this entire time?”

“Yep, since day 1.  I got the call the day after I moved into college.”

“Wow, that’s so romantic.”  She shook her head and unrolled the hair she was curling.  I stopped halfway through applying lip gloss, my lips in a perfect “O” of surprise even though I hadn’t been surprised until that moment.  I stopped and stood up, lips halfway glossed, and looked at myself in the mirror.  I had never heard my story called “romantic” before.  There’s nothing romantic about MRIs.  There’s nothing romantic about blood test after blood test after blood test.  There’s nothing romantic about countless doctors with countless treatment plans, most of which don’t work.  There’s nothing romantic about panic attacks or delusions where I think people are trying to kill me.  There’s nothing romantic about the extraordinary amount of drugs I’ve had to be on.  Nothing, I tell you.  Nothing.

Except…

Maybe there is something romantic about a guy who is willing to stand next to me through all of that.  It’s romantic that he is willing to take me to appointments so I won’t be alone. It’s romantic that he will bring me water and hold me when I’ve been so terrified that I cried until I threw up.  It’s romantic that he has never once complained about how difficult it is to be with me, even though I know it has a specific and difficult set of challenges.  There is something wildly romantic about that, and I’d never put that word to it until that moment.

It’s far more romantic than the fresh roses currently sitting on my dining room table.  It’s better than the cute notes he leaves in my bags when I travel.  I’d take that over any line from any movie or any surprise date he has ever planned.  It’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me, and I didn’t even know it.

While watching the bride and groom take their vows, I thought back to mine.  I thought about how when Andy said, “in sickness and in health,” he meant it.  I thought of how he’s made good on that promise again and again and again, far and above what should be asked of any man.  Then I cried.

Too bad about all of that makeup I put on.

When My “Sparkly Brain” Pukes

Sometimes my brain pukes out on me.  I’m not sure why this happens or even exactly what goes on when it does.  It’s this weird thing where I’m not in a distinct episode of depression or mania, I’m not having a panic attack, but I also can’t think straight at all.  My brain gets “swirly and sparkly,” which is apparently what I told Andy last night.  When I tell him I’m “not doing so great,” he knows exactly what that means.  I frequently go sit in the closet when this happens (don’t ask me why…), and I’ll sometimes write rambling weird things on bits of notebook paper.  It’s strange to look at it the next day, because even my handwriting changes when I write in this state.  It’s very, very weird.

Last night I apparently had no notebook paper, but I did have my phone.  I logged on to WordPress and typed the following “blog post.”  I was going to delete it today because it was so strange, but then I thought, “Well, this is kind of an interesting look at what’s going on when my brain is AWOL.”  I ran it by Andy today and asked, “Is this really how I talk when I’m not doing great?”  He read it and said, “Yeah, that’s exactly what you sound like, except all of that should be in caps because a lot of times you’re yelling.”

“I do not yell,” I said, indignant, as if I had a clear memory of last night (I never have a clear memory of these episodes, which is terrifying in and of itself).

“It’s not like you’re angry,” he said.  “You’re just…really loud.  Sometimes yelling.  I don’t know.  It’s just how it goes.”

Sounds pretty awful.  Glad I don’t remember a lot of it.  My mental illness guru readers – any clues on what’s going on here??  I would love some insight.   Anyway, here’s last night’s literary genius:

Sometimes I can’t think right.  I say the same things over and over again.  I keep saying them.  I say them over and over again I do not know why I keep saying them.  It’s like I have to say it one more time.  One more time.  One more time.  I don’t know why.  It makes me feel a little bit better to keep saying them.  It’s weird.  I think I’m a bit mad.  I mean, I know I am, but sometimes I also feel that way.  That’s very strange.  Then I think and speak in ridiculous run-on sentences when – HELLO – I am an English teacher and avoid run-on sentences almost as much as I avoid sushi, which is an awful lot because I really really hate sushi.  I am telling you I really hate it. You have no idea.  I hate it a lot.  A lot.  So I avoid it

And then I sit in the dark typing blog posts on my phone, but I have to go back every two words because my brain types much faster than my fingers even though obviously my brain isn’t typing so what I end up with is a jumbled mess of auto corrects that I have to fix because maybe I can’t stop thinking in run-ons, but I’ll be damned if I’m also going to let this thing be riddled with typos.

Wanna see what happens if I type without rereading?  Here:  this iswhay happens when I’m typing without feedstock and unfeeling like ohm going at a normal typing speed but obseear to you that my normal texts arntw so humpback and what the duck jab an overeat anyway because THAT MAKES DNO SWNSE.

So.  There’s that.  A bit disconcerting.  Trying to be intelligible forces me to slow down at least.  Maybe I should stop typing this in the dark and go take a shower.  Who can be stressed in the shower?  I mean, it at least puts a damper on things.  Okay.  I’m gonna do that.   Hazel out. (Like Ryan Seacrest – does anyone else remember that?? Man, American Idol was my life.  I wish Clay Aiken’s devastating second place finish was still my biggest problem).

Brilliant, no? *eyeroll*  Anyway, wherever my brain decided to escape to last night, it’s back now.  That’s good.  I wish I could find a way to lock it down and keep it from leaving me in a lurch again.

Crazy Shit I’ve Done in Therapy (Episode 2)

I realize I have some therapy regulars who view these posts (I love you!  Please keep reading/commenting and making me feel like less of a weirdo!).  As the months go by, I’m becoming a therapy regular myself.  I’m not sure how I feel about that…perhaps I should process these emotions with my therapist.

JUST KIDDING.  I HATE PROCESSING EMOTIONS.  What does that even mean?  You process computer programs or chemicals in beakers or film negatives, not emotions.  Emotions are never fully “processed.”  As in, “Oh yes, I had that sexual assault that happened, but I put it through the processor and now it’s totally fine and doesn’t matter.”

Or maybe that is how it’s supposed to work, and I haven’t been in therapy long enough to get the printout that says, “Congratulations.  Your emotions have been processed.”  Who knows.

All that to say, now that I’ve been in therapy for a few months, the account in this episode doesn’t seem quite as bizarre to me as it did when it first occurred.  At the time, though, I was completely weirded out.  It’s worth repeating, especially because it has to do with my husband and today is Valentine’s Day (shout out to Andy – you’re awesome).

My therapist said we were going to “try something new.”  Again, I’ve come to recognize this as code for, “Buckle up – things are about to get weird.”  She handed me a sketchpad.  My face was as blank as the paper in front of me.  What was I supposed to do with the sketchpad?  She explained that she wanted me to draw my relationship with my husband.  I wanted to stop her right there and say, “Wait a minute, this isn’t like those true crime shows where the spouse is always the culprit.  My husband isn’t the issue here.  My husband is a STAR.  He’s the one who talked me into coming to therapy.  He’s the one who convinces me to take my medication when I don’t think I need it.  He’s the one who’s married to a crazy person and pretends like he’s somehow the lucky one in this relationship.  You can process the crap out of me, but leave my husband alone!!”

Of course I didn’t say that.  I just looked at my paper and said, “Well…what am I supposed I supposed to draw with?” as if I was going to catch her unprepared for that type of question and get out of this weird activity.  My therapist pulled out a box of crayons.  A BOX OF CRAYONS.

I have a college degree, people, and I was about to pay someone $75/hr to let me color with crayons.  I wasn’t even sophisticated enough for colored pencils.  Forget about nice drawing pencils.  It was going to be CRAYONS.  This was a humbling moment in my life.

I halfheartedly drew some stick figures showing different moments in my relationship with Andy.  I filled a page in about five minutes.  Not bad, I thought.  I explained my drawings to my therapist.

You know how therapists always say, “There’s no wrong answer”?  Well, they lie.  Apparently there are wrong answers.  She told me I drew the relationship wrong.

How could I have drawn the relationship wrong?!  It’s my relationship!  She said that I drew events in the relationship.  She wanted me to draw the “essence” of the relationship.  What color was it?  What shape was it?

What COLOR was my relationship?  Seriously?  And relationships don’t have shapes.  That’s not real life.

So then, of course, I flipped to a new page and started really overanalyzing everything.  I don’t like getting things wrong twice, but I didn’t know how to properly draw the essence of a relationship.  I stared at the blank page for longer than was apparently acceptable, because my therapist said, “Just draw whatever comes to mind.  There are no wrong answers.”

THAT’S WHAT YOU SAID BEFORE, REMEMBER?  OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE WRONG ANSWERS HERE.  Silly therapist.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I wasn’t going to draw another wrong answer.  I was going to draw a kick-ass, fantastic “essence.”  Whatever that was.

Then I realized I was getting seriously stressed out about my coloring page for therapy, and I simultaneously felt ridiculous and also a little bit like, “Dang.  Looks like I do belong on this couch.”

Finally I realized I had to reach for a crayon.  I was going to pick red, but that’s kind of an angry color.  I didn’t want her to think we have anger issues or something.  I reached for cerulean blue, my favorite, but then I realized she might interpret that as I’m very sad and it’s clearly because of my husband.  Black and gray were out for obvious reasons.  Yellow would have looked like I was trying too hard, like, “Look!  Everything is sunny and wonderful with us!  No reason to suspect anything!” because everyone knows that’s a dead giveaway that she should suspect something.  I finally settled on green.  Nothing’s wrong with green, right?  I figured that if she made me explain, I could say that we both went to Michigan State, and we’re very dedicated to our beloved Spartan green.  Or I could try to get deeper and say that there is a lot of growth in our relationship, and it’s very healthy and green like a healthy plant.

Do you see how much I over-analyzed this ridiculous drawing?

Once I had the green crayon and had mostly gotten over the fact that I was paying to color, I had to settle on the shape of the essence of our relationship.  Oy.  I couldn’t pick a heart for the same reason that I couldn’t choose yellow.  A triangle seemed too sharp.  I could have drawn some nebulous blob, but who knows how she’d interpret that?  That’s like looking at clouds – she could see whatever shape she wanted.  She could be like, “Hmmm…that looks like a gun, do you feel safe at home?” when really I thought it just looked kind of like a dolphin holding a teddy bear.  These are the things I thought about.  I could have drawn a circle, but that seemed really boring.  Also, does it bother anyone else that it’s literally impossible to draw a perfect circle?  It always ends up looking poochy in one section.  I finally settled on a square.  She couldn’t overanalyze that, right?  (Even though I was doing enough analyzing for both of us, clearly).  I drew a green square on the page and colored it in.  A solid, secure patch of green.  It looked pretty good.  Then I was afraid she might say it was too boring, so I drew another square around the first one, basically doodling like I would do back in organic chemistry while waiting for chemicals to process (oh, the irony there).

“Hmmm…” my therapist said.

“Did I do it right?” I asked.  “Does this look like an essence?  I, personally, think this looks like a very good essence.”

“Yes,” she said as I sighed in relief, “That is what I was looking for.  It’s very interesting.  Very telling.”

VERY TELLING?!?!  OF WHAT?!?!?

I wanted to say, “No wait, I take it back!  We’re a blue circle!  A pink star!  A purple oval with orange spots and green stripes!  WHAT DO YOU WANT, LADY?!?!”  But of course I couldn’t do that.  My essence damage had been done.  Why oh why did I have to choose a green square?  I wanted to sigh in exasperation throw myself into the couch’s throw pillows, but that seemed a bit dramatic.

“Have you ever considered having Andy come with you to therapy?” she asked.

“Uh, no,” I responded. (Because, despite my OBVIOUSLY MORONIC GREEN SQUARES, he is a good husband!  I swear!!)

To make a long story short, she thought it would be a good idea to have Andy come in.  “Not because I think you have a bad marriage,” she assured me (which was a lie, obviously.  She clearly saw the green square as some secret code for “about to get divorced.”)  She thought it would be good for him to hear what we discussed and find better ways to help me cope.  Whatever you say, Meg.

In the end, Andy agreed to come in.  I apologized to him about the green square incident, since clearly I sent some terrible message about us.  Truth be told, though, I think it was actually really helpful for him to be in for a couple sessions (look, the therapist knew what she was doing…which she usually does).  After we went back to one-on-one therapy, she did make the comment, “You know…you have a really amazing, really supportive husband.  I hope you know that.”

Yes, I do know that.  I’m sorry I couldn’t correctly draw that essence on my first go-round.