Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't stay on the ground floor

I am staying in a motel room with three other adults and a one-year old.

I need my head examined.

Now I will grant you, this is not a simple motel room; it is a two bedroom suite at the Marriot Residence Inn.

Still, staying in a motel with a one-year old is stressful. We spent most of yesterday afternoon, evening and night trying to convince the people in the room above us that they could be a whole lot quieter in order for Liam to sleep/nap and to enable the rest of us to think.

What has happened to common courtesy? Or has it just become uncommon courtesy?

We talked to the desk clerk a number of times about the small children bouncing off the furniture upstairs. Finally we went up to the room and knocked on the door ourselves. The woman acted as though she had no idea what we were talking about and proceeded to tell us what absolute angels her children are. When we asked her if they could please try to be quieter, as we had a baby trying to sleep, she told us "No, we are tired of trying to be quiet and we are not going to try anymore." Even my attempt at Mom to Mom communication didn't work!

BTW, this was at 10:30 at night and none of her children were over six. Shouldn't they have been in bed in the first place?

The jumping children noises went on until about 11:30 p.m. when I lost my cool, marched down to the front desk and told the manager that if she didn't get them quiet, move them to another room or kick them out, my next call would be to the police.

Do the police do anything in situations like this? I don't know, but it seemed to finally do the trick. Granted I still only got about 4 hours of sleep, but at least it finally did get quiet.


Next chapter: I stop at the front desk the next morning and inquire if the people in 204 are checking out or could they be given a different room if they are staying. I was told they were checking out and that check out was at noon so they should be gone soon. At 1:30 this afternoon, with much crashing and thumping they finally left. Wow! I really wanted to step outside and wave to them as they drove away. We are staying until Sunday, bye-bye now.

With any luck, tonight we can all get a good night's sleep.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marriage 101

Yesterday was my 19th wedding anniversary.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of Chris and I’s first date.

It is official. I have now lived longer with Chris than anyone, including my parents.


In this day of rising divorce rates and single parent households, I must admit, I do consider this something of an accomplishment. Now I don’t mean to imply I know everything there is to know about marriage and staying married and making it work. I learn new things every day about marriage, life and other hazards. That said, over the years I have learned a few fundamental truths which I will share now.

Marriage is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work. I cannot stress this enough. Even if you are married to the "right" person, and no matter how much you love the other person and he/she loves you. If someone tells you, "When you are married to your soul-mate, it will/should be easy," you can just about bet that person has never been married more than seven years and/or is lying through his/her teeth. It is not ever easy (at least not for more than about 10 minutes at a time). That being said, if you are married to the right person, it is worth all (and I do mean ALL) the work. It has gotten only infinitesimally easier, but Chris and I's life together gets hugely better and better and sweeter and sweeter through the years.

Marriage is never 50/50. Maybe over the course of the past 19 years it has been one or two days, but if it has, I don't remember when. Days, weeks, months and years can go by when you feel you have been giving 90 percent and your partner's 10 percent doesn't look like even that. You are angry and hurt and frustrated. Then days and weeks and months and even years go by and your five percent is all you can muster and suddenly you are just very grateful that your partner has found the energy for 95 percent plus. I don't expect that even at the end of our time together here on earth Chris and I will be able to look back and say, "Look, over all it was 50/50." That being the case, there's not much point in keeping score. You just have to give and give and give and then when you think you haven't anything left, you give some more. You see one another through the tough stuff, cause you know there's a reward down the road and it is gonna be great!

No marriage is perfect. We all hide the ugly stuff from the people around us, our friends and family, because we don't want them to know we have our problems and that it just might be possible our relationship isn't perfection itself. Chris and I have our "ugly stuff," just like everyone else. But we love and we work and we take turns putting forth the effort required to make our marriage go. We do this because we know the reward is worth it or because we are both just too stubborn to walk away, some days I'm not sure which.

Well, there you have it, for whatever it is worth: Marriage 101.

Happy Anniversary to me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So this is gold

I just got off the phone with one of my dearest friends. She is getting married and called to ask me to stand up with her. I told her I would love to, but in actual fact, I am extremely honored. I have always wanted to be a maid of honor, although, I guess I qualify now as a matron of honor. Not quite the same thing, but an honor nonetheless.

We have known one another since her family moved to my hometown in 1974. She was the new little red-haired girl in my fifth-grade class at Mt Hall Elementary. We became friends back then and have been ever since. We have seen each other through weddings, marriages, moves, divorces, childbirth and child-rearing. We have remained staunch friends through thick and thin. She has always been a person I knew I could count on no matter what, and I sincerely hope she feels the same way about me.

Ours is one of those friendships that defy time and distance. Not many friendships continue through 34 years of living. A lot changes in lives over that length of time and only rarely in the past 26 years have we even lived in the same town. But our friendship goes on.

I hardly remember a time in my life when I didn’t know Mary Helen. She has just always been there. Even when we lived 1000+ miles apart, we would write and call often. Now with the advent of cellular phones and email, distance is somewhat negated and our contact is much more frequent.

Gold by Joseph Perry

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver; these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Of time and change are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For mid old friends, tried and true
We once more our youth renew.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver; these are gold.

So I say congratulations and thank-you to my dear friend, Mary Helen. I am honored that you asked and thrilled to be a part of your special day!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our little boy turned one

this past Thursday.

We had a small party here at the house. Nine of Chris and I's friends came; all of them adults, no small children. He is only one, for goodness sake. His best friends right now are a stuffed horse named Bandit and Geoffrey, an equally squishy giraffe. Is that bad?

I wonder sometimes as a new parent, when do I start calling other children he has met his friends? When do I start inviting them to birthday parties? Do I wait for him to say, "Mom, I want to invite this person or that one."? Or will that not happen until he's like five? Do I choose friends for him until then? He's not in daycare, so we don't know too many other little ones. There are a couple of boys about his age at church, but is that association enough to make them his friends?

At any rate, we had a very nice party. He received many nice gifts; toys, books and clothes. The overall theme seemed to be toys that make noise. Which is interesting for two reasons. The first is: those are the kinds of toys Chris and I have always purchased for nieces and nephews, because we knew they had the potential to drive our siblings crazy (oh we are so there). The second is: Liam doesn't really care for toys that make noise. If you put all his toys out for him to choose, he goes for the soft, squishy silent type every time. I'm sure that will change, but so far, I like it.

Liam loves his books. Chris and I are ecstatic over this. Naturally he doesn't read yet, and only barely has an interest in us reading to him, but he loves the books. The feel of them, the weight of them, turning pages and just holding them. Chris and I are both book lovers and avid readers and it is one of our most cherished hopes that Liam will grow to love them and be a reader, too. We are on our way!

Celebrate with us. Our little boy turned one.