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Texting the “Boys” Weekend

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I don’t mind when my husband goes away on a boys’ weekend – really – I don’t. I have noticed, however, some fairly significant differences between a boys’ weekend and a girls’ weekend.

golf

For starters, men don’t know how to count.  A boys’ weekend is never forty-eight hours – it’s more like ninety-six hours.  Women have a different word for that – it’s a freakin’ vacation, is what that is. A girls’ weekend on the other hand, starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. It’s. A. Weekend. We’re gone for maybe forty-eight hours, but usually more like thirty-six hours.  That’s ok though, because by my counting, I can plan two girls’ weekends for every one boys’ weekend.

Planning a boys’ weekend is pretty easy too:  pick a date, pack your golf bags and head out the door.  Planning a girls’ weekend involves, um, more.

I’ve noticed most moms, myself included, are exhausted just getting out the door for a girls’ weekend given the Herculean effort involved in organizing a weekend away.  Yet, despite the effortlessness that seems to accompany planning a boys’ weekend, I have noticed that they don’t seem to come home very well rested at all.

During a girls’ weekend, I may text my husband that I arrived safely, ask if he found the casserole in the freezer, and remind him about our son’s baseball game. I would never text my husband asking him, “Can you check on our line of credit?” or better yet, “I talked to the police officer and it’s cool”. There’s not much to text from a girls weekend.  “I ate and I slept” isn’t all that exciting. I could ratchet it up a bit and say, “I laughed so hard that wine came out my nose” but am not sure if anyone at home would be interested in that one either. Or better yet, “spent four hours at the spaspa today – better than sex.” Yeah, I pressed cancel on that one too.

Returning from a boys’ weekend and walking into the house involves the onerous task of dumping the dirty laundry into the hamper and storing the golf clubs in the basement.  Returning from a girls’ weekend and walking into the house, well, it just brings tears to my eyes.

So despite their differences, what happens at a girls’ weekend, stays at a girls’ weekend and for sure, what happens at a boys’ weekend, stays at a boys’ weekend.  Maybe the texts should too.

Soul Sisters Weekend 2014 seems just a little too long away…

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.

What’s your frequency, Kids?

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audible frequencyLately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to make myself heard around our house. I’ve also been giving lots of thought to making myself understood around the house, but combining these two expectations seems to be a lofty goal – especially as the school hiatus and listening skills seem unequivocally correlated – so am starting out most humbly. I do know that sound (stuff we hear) is created by a vibration (stuff that happens) and how loud this vibration is depends on its frequency (how often the stuff vibrates) . It’s pretty amazing the fancy physics I can remember from high school solely due to the fact that I had a huge crush on my high school physics teacher. Anyway, frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz are audible to most humans. That why, once in a while, you see or hear emergency information on the road or radio.  Information like ‘For traffic information, tune into 980Hz” or “ … for marine emergencies, 2182Hz”.

mosquito deviceYou may have heard about these devices, “mosquito” devices they’ve been called, that emit a high frequency sound that only young people, teenagers and young adults included, can hear (like, above 20,000Hz).  The sound really annoys them so they try to avoid the area, which presumably reduces bad or even criminal behaviour. Their use, however, is being challenged by human rights activities for both their ethics and their legality as a means to deter loitering in public spaces.  Forget human rights, am I the only one who thinks this is pure genius?  Even aside the potential for some impressive Cialis commercials, think about how useful this device would be to get them to move out after high school or university. Did these activists ever wonder if parents had perhaps installed them in their homes and that’s why they’re out loitering at public parks in the first place??

Let’s consider the anthropological applications of the mosquito device on a much larger scale.  Would it not be helpful for parents to be outfitted with a voice transformer that morphs your otherwise normal voice into one that teenagers just can’t ignore? But don’t stop there! If scientists have now figured out what is the frequency at which most teenagers hear, we’re only one scientific breakthrough away from creating a communications decoder that allows parents to de-scramble and interpret teenagers’ verbal communications.  The grunts and growls mean something for sure, but what?  I don’t know about you, but I sure need some sort of communication interpreter.

I’m sure I’m not the only one getting a little frustrated with having to leave easily-ignored Post-It notes on the refrigerator or toilet seats, not to mention constant text reminders about something they have to remember (or remember to remind me). I am never sure if they saw that note or that text so I endlessly pester them. Then after I repeat myself for the 12th time, I am rewarded with a grunt, which only baffles me even more, because I can’t be sure that this grunt means, ‘I hear you and I’ll take care of that’, or ‘I’m not listening, and have no intention of doing what you just asked me to do’.

There needs to be more research on ‘mosquito’ devices and it needs to happen now. I urge you to speak to your local member of parliament to ensure the proper financial resources are allocated to the appropriate academic research foundations. And while we’re at it, we should come up with a new name for the device too. I mean mosquitos come along and stick to you and suck the life right out of you. Teenagers on the other hand – well – never mind. Maybe ‘mosquito’ is a good name after all.

Now, if only there was a device that emitted noise on a frequency that only husbands can hear.  I’m pretty sure TSN and ESPN are all over this …

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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