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Believe me, it’s not you, it’s yew!

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Seems I’ve been pondering effective communication quite a bit these days, more recently about at what frequency I should target my interaction with my children, and now today about my communication with my other half.

The other day I said to my husband, “Look, we need a new yew.”

And what he heard was, “Look, we need a new ‘you’.”

He stopped in his tracks, dropped the wheelbarrow, and responded, “What did I do this time?!”

Apparently I didn’t make it any better by adding, “Nothing. It’s not a big deal; I’ll just go out and get a new one”.

The look on his face was not entirely one of concern for our landscaping, so I then pointed to the dying perennial in our front garden.  “Look at it!  It’s all brown and disgusting!  I don’t want that to be the first thing people see when they walk up our front walk”.

I can only imagine what he would have thought had I made fun of the absence of green thumbs in his genes.

As I set to pulling out the old ‘yew’ from its roots, I got to thinking about how fewer the misunderstandings there are between my husband when I just text him; no verbal communication whatsoever.  Certainly the mix-up over whose ‘yew’ and who’s ‘you’ would never have happened if I’d just texted, “I’ve gone to the garden centre to pick up a new healthy green yew. Brb!”text talkOur textual relationship is pretty strong for a couple now married 22 years. Actually, it’s great in fact, especially when you consider that we only just got the ‘text talk’ maybe four or five years ago. And from whom did we get the ‘text talk’? Why, our kids, of course. IKR?! We rly nEded 2 b schooled 2 B kewl! We’re just amateurs but we text all the time now.

When we argue, there’s no eye rolling, no door slamming, no hanging up the phone, just a lack of signal (or at least that what we both plead). The texting naysayers will say we’ve lost that loving feeling but honestly it’s the most civilized form of communication we’ve ever experienced, except for the occasional premature autocorrect. If he gets bored with our routine, I don’t really care because I know our online personas are so reliable and faithful. There are just so many fewer misunderstandings. It’s not like one of us is from Mars and one of us is from Venus on this type of communication, we are both equally and joyfully inexperienced and experimenting.

Anyway, all is well now after I fully explained myself and my need for a new yew. I’m not sure if he was relieved or not.  Maybe he was looking for a new yew too.

Breaking up is hard to do…

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“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Today I share with you a tale of a doomed relationship .

Looking back I guess I should have known.  All the signs of a deteriorating relationship had been there for months, maybe even years.  Maybe I saw them, maybe I didn’t.  I do know that I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, most of all myself.  As with many close relationships, I was blissfully unaware while “love” slowly slipped away.

At first, he just rescheduled a few of our dates.  Then, it progressed to his cancelling them outright without explanation.  Finding time to rendezvous was proving more difficult and onerous.  And when we were together, it was like he was really somewhere else.  Like so many other signs, I put this off also to his crazy schedule, and remained happy – grateful even – for the attention he did bestow upon me.  Still … there were some days he would barely look me in the eye, too busy with satisfying his own needs.  I slowly began to realize that all he saw was another woman.  I was just another woman.  Another woman for whom “doing the little things” was too much of a burden.

And so now I am faced with the grim and painful reality:  it’s time for me to find a new hair stylist.

I feel so naive. I’m not even sure how to go about this … what words to say to make it easier on us both. How did I not know that more than half of all relationships with hair stylists sadly end in split ends. This is all still fresh to me and a little hard for me to fully articulate my feelings, but this I know to be true:  I’ll be better off for it!  This is something I’ve put off for far too long.  Plain and simple, he no longer fulfils my needs either.  Instead of making me look like Meg Ryan, I look like Camilla Parker-Bowles.  It’s pathetic really; how much my own self-worth and acceptance relied on his judgment of me all these years.  Even more pathetic is the small fortune I’ve handed over to him, the mountains I’ve moved just to get in to see him, and the babysitters I have paid.  If my husband ever finds out… Well, then again, my husband is still barely speaking to me after I rescheduled our 21st anniversary dinner just so that I could take my stylist’s last minute cancellation (costing as much as our anniversary dinner).

A break-up with your stylist shouldn’t be messy, but it can be tousled.  I mean, it’s one thing to break up with my stylist, but I do now have to worry about the colour-lateral damage. I will no longer be able to show my face in that same salon again, so have to break up with my pedicurist and esthetician as well. These are the unfortunate side effects of a break – up:  it will sadly affect so many innocent nail polish colours.

And so? What now? How does one go about finding a new stylist? Is there a eHaircuty.com? LavaLocks.com? A stylist and his or her client are a match made in heaven, until dark roots do they part. I’m not sure if I can deal with an exasperated new stylist bending over me, prying for personal details like, “Oh my God, who did this to your hair?!”

No.  Maybe I should just stick it out.  Stay together with him for the sake of the highlights.  I’m so conflicted.  Someone please help me before I resort to blind appointments, clandestine one-afternooners, or an airport salon tryst [gasp!]!

I think need an intervention …

I hear there’s a new masseur at my salon …

Midlife and Mistresses

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Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy!

Normally when I read Scott Feschuk’s articles in Maclean’s magazine, I laugh so hard I pee my pants.  This is not as bad as it sounds because I usually only get to read Maclean’s in the bathroom, so don’t worry. 

A recent Feschuk column, however still humourous, was a bit more philosophical as he contemplated his own midlife crisis.  What really caught my attention, without the accompanying incontinence, was a comment in reply to his column.  A Dr. Drummond, author of the The Midlife Crisis Handbook  (how perfect is this for that hard-to-buy-for-in-midlife-crisis someone on your list?), pointed out that, “Midlife Crisis is a term first used by Elliott Jacques in a research paper in 1965 where he discussed the angst of middle aged men in big business. They were asking the question, Is this all there is? and really struggling with whether or not their feelings called for a big change in their lives.  A functional Midlife Crisis is a massive shortcut to living your dreams when it is done well and done on purpose.”

If posing the query, “Is this all there is?” designates a midlife crisis, then everyone in my family is having one on a fairly regular basis – particularly around dinner time.

Secondly, a “…massive shortcut to living your dreams?  There’s only one shortcut I know to living my dreams, and it’s called Lotto649.

So in contrast to Dr. Drummond’s definition, clearly the midlife crisis that all your neighbours want to talk about is a dysfunctional Midlife Crisis:  running off with the secretary, buying a motorcycle or a leasing two-seater sportscar – none of which are particularly sensible for a married man in his midlife! 

I took a different approach and recently preempted my husband’s midlife crisis by giving him permission to take on a mistress.  Yep, a marital hall pass.  My one and only condition was that she have her own car and is willing to drive our kids to hockey.  Not surprisingly, he has no takers so far, and my dear husband is suggesting that’s because the 30-somethings in his life aren’t big on hockey.  I say the 30-somethings in his life aren’t big on him.

Funny how the crises of most women involve altering the effects of time, whereas for men it involves fooling the effects of time.  As for me, I figure I’ve had at least a dozen midlife crises along my journey, which Dr. Drummond thankfully points out is perfectly normal.  It’s doubtful I would mourn the choices I’ve made in life and entirely unthinkable for me to take dysfunctional action to undo any of them.  I have no shortage of complaints about what new dysfunction plagues my body and mind these days but the midlife decisions that plague most women hold no controversy for me:  if it involves needles or knives, I just need to get over myself.  Which means of course that most of my midlife crises go entirely unnoticed…that is … until that crisis is interrupted by yet another of Life’s existential mysteries:  did we run out of peanut butter again?

How will you handle your midlife crisis?

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