Category Archives: Slice of Life

Marriage and old Appliances

429-030Marriage. It’s a funny thing. I swore it off after the first time around but I eventually found another guy I figured I could tolerate. He liked me too, back then. Over the past 22 or so years our union has grown into a kind of mutual appreciation of the convenience and efficiency of coupling. That sounds a bit like a PVC elbow connection and I visualize the maze of grey and white pipes hanging under the ceiling joists in my basement. Not a very attractive image but fairly efficient. That’s our marriage. Functional. Efficient.

It’s not that we don’t love each other because I’m sure we do but I have news for the young bride and groom skipping down the aisle: love is a verb. I mean yeah, the early years are all raunchy sex and loud music but eventually the sidewalk needs shoveled, the shitter needs replaced and the chicken needs fried. Somebody invariably has to clean up somebody else’s vomit. That’s where love comes in because nobody does that stuff for fun.

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We’re certainly not romantic in any way, although, in spite of my insistence that he not go to any effort or spend any money I get the obligatory (six?) roses every February 14th.  He’s a good guy really and all told, I’m a not a great wife. Still, the relationship works out okay. We have a pretty decent marriage.

Today, however, was one of those times where the old buyer’s remorse (re)surfaces and makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking 22 years ago.

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Me, Me, Me. A Verbal Selfie

Writers, from all accounts that I’ve found, are often stumped about what to write on their blogs. There’s no shortage of blogging going on in the universe, that’s for sure, but writers generally have a specific kind of writing they want to do.

Some bloggers offer helpful hints and inspiration. Tons of bloggers, certainly some of my favorites, share recipes and cooking tips. Some tell funny stories. Some are funnier than others. Some can barely spell but they have something important to say and they manage to get it out there on that massive information highway. Wordes, wrds, words. It’s all good, as my kids used to say.

Lots and lots of bloggers reveal personal information about their lives, their romantic breakups, their pets. They write touching stories about their children or parents or fighting their way back from illness or some other kind of challenge. These aren’t all writers, necessarily, but they’re bloggers. They want to share something with the world. A piece of themselves.

Then there are bloggers who write about blogging. It’s a business for some folks. I haven’t figured out how they make money at it, at least not on WordPress but a few of them are hugely successful at it.

My favorite bloggers are those who are able to bring together elements from each category and draw me in with compelling ideas and fascinating perspectives about their lives—or about all life.

I recently started this networking blog, separate from my writing blog and I commented to a fellow blogger that I wasn’t sure what to write about on it. His answer resonated with me:

Write your world for us. No one sees it like you do 🙂

And, he’s right. I’m sure I’d be locked up for a long time if anybody knew what really goes on in my head. My kids have told me for years what a weirdo I am. I’m okay with that. I like my life. While I spend most of my time alone, I’m not a hermit or a recluse and I don’t have phobias and I’m not anti-people. Necessarily.

I love people. In fact, I don’t know anybody else who loves people like I do. I love deeply and usually forever, I’m just not needy about it. I even love people who don’t love me back. Sure, there are plenty of folks in my life that I don’t love and I even have strong feelings of dislike with regard to a few people. I’d still put them out if they were on fire.

Whaaaattt???

I am what I am ..

That’s not to say I am some kind of Pollyanna because I’m certainly not. One of my

husband’s cousins once called a me sailor and at first it so enraged me that I thought for a minute that I wouldn’t put him out if he were on fire. I calmed down and accepted that that’s just how he sees me and I supposed that there must be a reason he sees me that like that. Either way. It’s all good.

So, taking the advice of my blogger friend I’ve decided to share a kind of day in the life of story about myself. Me, me, me. It’s like a verbal selfie. It is, more accurately, only a few minutes in the life of story. My actual days go on and on sometimes. It might be best described as an expose of my boomer vanity. A split-second snapshot of my own private insanity. I should probably be embarrassed but I’m not. Maybe it will resonate with other readers and writers who mostly love people and definitely love life. If it’s not well-received, I’m okay with that too. This is my life. I like it a lot.

It might help to read my short introduction, Another Introduction to understand that I’m old but I’m not a grey-haired old granny. I don’t want to be young again but I miss certain parts of my youth. Looking younger would be nice. I only worry about it in short snippets though, because again, I’m vain, but I’m happy.

For a peek inside 30 minutes of my day, take a look.

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Carhartt Overalls – So Manly They Make Little Girls out of Grown Men

tieFive years ago I visited Mickey’s Surplus in Kansas City and found a sale on Carhartt overalls. I didn’t yet know the full impact of the Carhartt brand but I knew it was a pretty big deal because of a giant family riff some years earlier over a particular Carhartt jacket I’d found in a closet and given to the wrong male family member who procrastinated about returning the jacket when the actual owner turned up and recommended the jacket be given back. It took a while for that little deal to die down.

I found some new Carhartt overalls on sale for $17.00 at Mickey’s and I thought…hmmm…Christmas is coming up. So, I dug through the giant pile of canvas pants until I found two pair in the right sizes, one for my husband and one for my son-in-law.

My husband was almost tickled pink over the outfit and would have been completely pink had the overalls been the preferred tan color, but, the only one in his size was black. “They’ll be so hot,” he complained. Still, he could barely hide his nearly spiritual reaction to the pants and he put them on immediately. He still mentions how hot they are every time he wears them, even five years later. He’s a chronic complainer so I let it go. I’ve seen him actually caress the folded overalls and smile when he puts them back in his dresser. It’s a strange thing.

Right after I bought the overalls, my son-in-law left the Country for Official Immigration Business with the Department of Homeland Security in Juarez—kind of a big deal there. He missed Christmas at my house so I put the overalls where I put everything else that I don’t know what to do with—in the basement, that is, and forgot about them the very second I switched off the light and closed the door.  That’s how I do things. Stash and forget. I once had something like six bottles of catsup in the pantry because I kept forgetting that I’d already bought some.

I never thought again about the overalls until the other day when I was down there looking for something and saw them on a shelf. The size of the pants is what threw me. Nobody I know wears a 36×28. The only man short enough is Manny, my son-in-law, but a 36 would be way too big for him. I tossed them on my sewing table to remind myself to ask my husband about them because not only did I forget that I’d stashed them in the basement five years ago, I’d forgotten where they came from or who they belonged to and that I’d actually purchased them my own self.

Before I made it back upstairs, my husband came down for something and spotted the Carhartts on my table. He literally stormed across the room, grabbed the overalls and demanded to know who they belonged to. While we were racking our brains, and I’m not kidding about this, he was running his hand over the fabric like it was some kind of domesticated lion, rare and precious. He kept glancing at the pants with what looked to me like lust.

Between us, we pieced the story back together about where the overalls came from and I flashed back to that fateful day when, for reasons still unknown, I wandered into an army surplus store and stumbled onto a giant pile of deeply discounted Carhartts.

Once I’d remembered the whole thing, I was anxious for my son-in-law to come for a visit so that I could give him the five-year-late Christmas gift. When he arrived is when I witnessed a most profound confirmation that there is something akin to Catnip for men sewn into these heavy, scratchy, manly pants.

Manny is Mexican. Let’s face it, and I don’t care how PC anybody is, Mexican men are manly. Unless they admit to being gay, and per Manny, they never do that unless they become Americans. I can see all kinds of people being offended here but that’s just the way it is in my house. Nobody’s judging anybody, I’m just saying, Manny is Mexican.

He is a man of few words and physically reserved. We don’t hug Manny. He’s not affectionate, except with his children. He is sweet and kind and generous with my grandchildren and this is the reason I love him like a real son. After a few beers he’ll let me steal a hug and he’ll even smile about it, but he won’t hug me back. Except he did that one time—when he got back from his trip to Juarez. He hugged me back, right there in the driveway in front of everybody. Ordinarily though, he’s peppersonlineunflappable. He doesn’t react and there are no histrionics with Manny. He’s as cool as a banana pepper.

He’d actually been at the house twice before I remembered to give him the pants. When my husband saw them still draped across the chair he was stunned, “Why didn’t you give Manny the Carhartts????”  I forgot. Is there a pattern here? Anyway, Manny showed up again the next day and my husband, grinning like a proud parent, handed the pants over while I explained how I’d bought them right before that big important meeting he’d attended in Juarez, and then I’d forgotten all about them.

There was a subtle softening in Manny’s face. He reached for the pants like they were his long-lost bicycle from back home, or his first soccer ball or his first girlfriend (similar affection, I assume). The pants remained folded for a minute as he held them horizontal, one hand on top, and yes, he caressed them, as his father-in-law had done. He put the pants on and adjusted the suspenders, snapped the millions of snaps on the legs, flattened the pockets and stroked the fabric.

“Look,” he said quietly. “They fit just right.”

I asked Manny if he thought the Carhartts would come in handy at work. “Oh,” he whispered, “Yessssss.”

Then, and I shit you not, he giggled.

It’s universal, I suspect. I can imagine professional suit and tie types wearing a pair of tan colored Carhartt overalls with the same kind of oozy satisfaction my working class men feel when they think of theirs. Carhartt overalls are like a wearable man-cave. Manly. Weird.

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More Than 50 Years After the Movement–I’m Finally Burning my Bra

pinkbraIt’s been more than 100 years since the first bra patent was issued in the U.S.  Think about that.  100 years.

New advances in fabric and hooks and fasteners and wires and padding and straps and God knows, sex appeal have been unleashed on a grateful nation of amply and otherwise breasted women. Continue reading

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