Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

February 16, 2009

He Went To Jared’s…….And Picked Up A Footlong Sub Of Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 3:41 pm

 

Watch Out For The New Cupid Jared Fogle And His Flaming Arrows Of Footlong Subs

Watch Out For The New Cupid Jared Fogle And His Flaming Arrows Of Footlong Subs

Maybe it is just me, but I do not understand Valentine’s Day. The holiday, and everything that comes with it, just plain confuses me. No, I am not one of those crazy conspiracy kooks who believe top executives from Hallmark, Russell Stover’s and FTD Flowers held a top secret meeting to concoct this lover’s holiday in order to boost earnings. Granted, when a dozen roses that normally cost $8.99 suddenly jump to $20 the week of Valentines, it leads me to think those folks who also believe the moon landing occurred on a movie set and the government has warehouses full of flying saucers are on to something. After all, the truth is out there.

Some ladies will be making birdie sounds under their breath trying to explain away my lack of interest in Valentine’s Day: cheap, cheap, cheap. I will admit this line of thinking has a little bit of traction to it. Considering the times we live in and the fact we are surviving on one income with two rugrats to feed, being wise with our money is done out of necessity. I don’t think this makes me a penny pincher though. It’s not like I steal ketchup packets from McDonalds, pile free samples of cheese into Jenn’s purse at the grocery store or have a closet full of travel size shampoo containers I swiped from hotel visits. I like to treat Jenn, the girls and occasionally myself to something special now and then.

The more I have tried to wrap my mind around Valentine’s Day I have learned that this holiday is one of the few instances where value is found in the extremes. Almost every other situation in life it seems the middle ground is where you want to land. In my limited understanding of politics, the answer for change in our country does not lie in the flaming liberal who says the way for life to be all sunshine and roses is for everyone to go wild and free while singing a non religious version of Kumbaya My Lord. On the same hand, I would be a little nervous if the direction of country was placed in the hands of the staunch conservative who leans so far in one direction politically that their gas guzzling truck with gun rack only has the capability of turning right as the owner has disabled the left turn signal out of principle. The moderate viewpoint seems like where progress can be made.

The middle ground is something you also learn to appreciate if you live five minutes from the beach. In the summertime when the family is relaxing in the sand collecting seashells, the last thing I want to do is deal with Paige panicking over seeing a ghost when in actuality she just spotted an extremely pasty white guy taking his shirt off trying desperately to get some rays. The other extreme is just as unpleasant: the individual whose skin now resembles beef jerky thanks to lathering themselves up in Crisco before spending all day out in the sun.  

Many of us live this median lifestyle out of fear, for a sense of protection or not wanting to rock the boat. For the most part, this mindset has served us well and provided us with some comfort. Yet, Valentine’s Day comes and the middle of the road response of a nice meal out at Applebee’s with flowers, chocolate and a card seems a bit of downer if you are trying to express your undying love to your spouse. Even springing for a gigantic stuffed dog who barks “I Ruff You” every time you squeeze its’ paw appears to diminish the value of the relationship.

Men have been programmed to do “something” for Valentine’s Day. So we go into autopilot mode and get the predictable (roses and candy) or cheesy (picture of the two of you on a coffee mug). We all experience this pressure to do something, which make our actions seem forced or driven by obligation. The middle of the road in this instance is not a “feel good.” This is why Valentine’s Day was meant for the extremes. Either make it a 24-hour marathon of expressing love to your wife or let it be like any other day where you put her needs first.

If you are super romantic then by all means go all out. Leave your wife a love note on her pillow so she has something to read while you prepare breakfast for her in bed. After the meal, walk in the park where you first met talking about why you love each other so much. On the way home, surprise her with an afternoon of pampering while you clean the house from top to bottom and finally complete your “honey do” list. Have the black dress in the right size and matching earrings from Jared’s waiting for her so she’ll feel beautiful for a night out on the town: dinner by candle light at a fancy restaurant and two tickets to the play she’s been begging you to see. Then as the evening ends it will be what the Flight of the Concords say is “Business Time.”

The other end of the spectrum of ignoring the holiday completely has received a bad wrap. We have the married schlep that fails to show appreciation to his wife not only on Valentine’s Day, but also for the rest of the 364 days that make up the calendar to thank. If I just described you, then please man up and love your bride or at the very least resort to the middle ground for this one day by getting a card and a heart shaped box full of chocolates. I am begging you.

When I say it is okay to go to the extreme and treat this day in February like any other, it comes with the expectation that you are expressing your love throughout the year in different ways. Both extremes involve being proactive in your relationship as well as the care and support you provide your wife. The little things mean a great deal to a woman or so I have been told. This option still leaves open the possibility of going to Jared’s. However, instead of buying a diamond ring, you will be purchasing $5 foot long subs from Subway on your way home from work. Knowing your wife has had a long day with the kids and the last thing she wants to do is cook, you pick up dinner for the family to ease her mind.

So, after years of Valentine’s Day going through the motions of the middle ground, I decided to make the 14th like any other day in February. Actually, I decided to go retro this year – circa 1983. Jenn, the girls and I have settled down for a special movie night: Fraggle Rock. This was one of my favorite shows growing up and I wanted to share that experience with my girls. The special treat was going to Fresh Market to make sure each woman in my life had her favorite sweets for the show. Swedish Fish for Madison, Gummy Worms for Paige and chocolate covered pretzels and coffee for Jenn. Everyone all cuddled up on the couch together. I can think of no other place I’d rather be. 

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February 14, 2009

Unlocking The 29 Dimensions Of Compatibility Could Open Pandora’s Box

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:45 am

 

Dr. Neil I Could Kiss You...

Dr. Neil I Could Kiss You...

 

 

Thank you Dr. Neil Clark Warren, I can sleep well tonight. If the doctor’s name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the founder of the Internet’s #1 trusted relationship service, eHarmony.com. According to the company’s website, 236 marriages take place among eHarmony members daily.

So, you might be wondering how Dr. Neil alleviated my sleep issues since he isn’t one of those types of street doctors who sell Ambien and Lunesta out of their car trunk. I just happened to stumble upon one of their commercials while flipping channels. Seeing those cuddly couples making googly eyes at one another set my brain in motion which is impressive considering it was 11 at night. I wonder what the results would be if Jenn and I took their compatibility test. Would the relationship giant known as eHarmony think we were a match or completely wrong for one another?

When I made my way over to the site, I experienced a bit of hesitation. Would Jenn settle for short, thinning hair and socially awkward if she suddenly knew her ideal match was tall, dark and handsome? What if I on top of finding out Jenn and I aren’t compatible, my results came back with zero matches or only women with 10 or more cats? This really could be opening Pandora’s box. So, like in most cases, I chicken out.

Before hitting the X button, I notice that eHarmony is also in the marriage counseling business. They officially bill it as  a personalized, interactive, online marriage wellness program designed to help marriages flourish by building a deepened sense of understanding, appreciation and connectedness.” Come to find out they offered a Free Communication Report so I gave that a whirl.

Here are a few things I learned about myself from the questionnaire. I am a shy, introverted guy who in the midst of his idealistic world is completely disorganized and struggles with personal discontentment and patience. With that description, I sound like the ideal catch for most ladies. Well, at least ladies that are into shut-ins who spend all their time in a cluttered house pacing back and forth wondering when the Domino’s guy is going to get there while still being upset over settling for pizza rather than Chinese food. 

They also inform me that conveying my thoughts and feelings do not come naturally and can be a challenge for me at times. This comes as no surprise considering the last time I checked I was a male and we all struggle with expressing our feelings in ways other than by bottling them up or grunting.

After 30 minutes of answering every question under the sun, the communications report comes back with the results. I am happy to let you know our marriage received the eHarmony stamp of approval. Based on the results of the marriage questionnaire, they can tell that I am content and happy in my relationship. Looks like Dr. Neil won’t be referring us to Dr. Phil after all. 

February 13, 2009

What Happens When A 500 Pound Gorilla, An Elephant, Blind Man And An Emperor In New Clothes Interrupt Me Watching The Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:31 am

 

How Did I Not Notice After All This Time?

How Did I Not Notice After All This Time?

As much as I love being able to grow facial hair and how my new work attire involves flip-flops, I would go back to cubicle world in a second if it meant I was selling paper products at Dunder Mifflin. Unfortunately, Jenn is more of a McDreamy girl then crazy for Dwight Schrute. She apparently thinks PowerPoint is awesome and hates beets.   On Thursday nights, this puts us in quite a predicament as the power of the remote hangs in the balance. The way we work this out is through a thumb-wrestling match where the loser gets relegated to the bedroom while the other relaxes in the living room to watch their show on the big screen.

Tonight I won the battle so I begin to settle in to enjoy a new episode of The Office. While trying to come up with a catchy Facebook status, I get this strange feeling that I am not alone anymore. I can hear the gentle chainsaw snoring of Maddie and the rustling of Paige in her bed so I know it is not the girls. The likelihood of Jenn being awake is slim, but even if she is, Grey’s is a 2 Hour Event Spectacular so she isn’t budging. This exhausts all my options so I begin to freak out a bit.

My Macbook almost gets chucked in self defense when I realize not one, but four individuals are in the living room: a 500 pound gorilla, an elephant, blind man and an Emperor in his new clothes. Judging by their disapproving gaze, they do not appear to be a happy bunch. All at once they begin to lay in on me. It must have been 4 ½ years of pent up frustration because each one informs me this is how long they’ve been hanging out waiting for me to acknowledge their presence.

The 500-pound gorilla starts swinging his arms and blurts out, “Call me curious, but how did you not notice us after all of this time? Do you want to know what drives me absolutely bananas? After a long day where you barely saw each other, Jenn and you are glued to the television screen in different rooms.”

The Elephant in the room raises his trunk and says, “Listen Dumbo! When was the last time you two spent a night just talking about something other than the girls? Your lack of conversation is just plain nuts!”

The blind man shakes his cane in my direction and shouts, “If I can see you’ve put the kids above your relationship with Jenn, you know you are trouble. It’s crystal clear to me that you have some work to do.”

The Emperor in his new clothes says, “Let’s strip away the façade and be transparent. You miss Jenn.”

Knowing what they are saying is true I get defensive and blurt out, “First off Emperor if anyone is not in touch with reality it is you. You do realize you do not have any clothes on, right? And for goodness sake put a towel down or something if you are going to sit on my couch.”

After showing them the door, I sit back down to deal with what they just said. I miss more than Jenn. I miss us. While we were dating we could spend hours upon hours talking. This continued through our engagement and first few years of marriage.  However, something changed when we added mommy and daddy to our titles of husband and wife.

Now, from the moment the kids coming running into our room at the crack of dawn until the time they try to squeeze one more bedtime story out of us, the kids are our main focus. If we are fortunate enough to find a few fleeting seconds of our own, it is spent cleaning the mass chaos Maddie and Paige created. There always seems to be laundry, diapers, spills and dirty dishes demanding our attention.

The girls normally wave the white flag in surrender around 8pm, which means we only have an hour or two until Jenn is out for good. If we are not doing chores, we can be found in a zombie like trance in front of the television or trying to get to .500 on Facebook Wrestler (okay, this is more my problem then Jenn’s). There are other times when complete exhaustion wins out and we head straight to bed. Regardless, neither of these options lends themselves too much conversation.

On the random occurrences when we take out a loan to go out on a date, our conversation normally centers on potty training, discipline issues or temper tantrums either from the girls or something work related. The times we actually “talk” are few and far between. Our older friends try to provide comfort by reassuring us that this is only a phase. In their own way, they are saying this to shall past. I know most married couples in our stage of life are dealing with the same issues of communication and intimacy.

Jenn and I are in it for the long haul and love each other a great deal. We know neither one of us is going anywhere. Yet, this line of thinking is dangerous because you can easily get lazy. Other issues, some positive like raising children, gain priority while the marriage relationship gets largely ignored. You justify it by saying she’ll always be around and after all, there is always tomorrow. But, tomorrow comes and you find yourself running from a dance recital to a work meeting and finish it off with a 4 year old’s birthday party.

Part of me is terrified that once the kids get up and running on their own, I won’t know the person sitting next to me on the couch. The US somehow getting lost when we focused on the THEM. So, tonight I bid you farewell. I am going to go reconnect with my best friend. We are going to talk about nothing, but each other. Right after I toss the couch cushion the Emperor was sitting on in the wash.

February 10, 2009

How Insomnia Means True Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:54 pm

 

Insomnia = Love

Insomnia = Love

I had my fair share of luck when it came to roommates in college. Friends of mine were not so fortunate, especially my buddy Jared. Freshmen year he roomed with a kid affectionately known as Ninja Bill. Bill did not actually possess a black belt except for the dress belt he purchased at JcPenny’s for the one actual date he went on while at college.

The nickname came from a night where both Jared and Bill were locked out of their 4th floor dorm room. While we waited outside the door for the Resident Assistant to let us in Bill suddenly disappeared. When the RA opened the door, we were shocked to see Bill relaxing in his bunk bed. We determined the only possible way he could have made it into the room was using secret ninja skills to scale the building and open the window.

Unfortunately, this was the only spectacular thing Bill did his entire freshmen year. Unless of course you count the fact that he was “that” kid who always wore shorts no matter what temperature it was or how many of inches of snow were on the ground. What made Bill a horrible roommate was his tendency to go straight to bed after getting all stinky and sweaty while playing basketball. Showers were few and far between for the Ninja. No matter how many bottles of Febreze Jared went through the stench covered every inch of the room. To put the funk in perspective, half way through the year we moved dorm buildings and within a few hours the stench had consumed their new room. Jared had to figure out a way to deal with the Ninja and all his issues.

What do colleges do with those roommate questionnaires anyway? I am convinced the Student Affairs department plays something akin to 52-card pickup by throwing all the questionnaires in the air and letting the ‘cards fall where they may.’ If a file happens to land on another then those two poor unsuspecting students were meant to be together. You cannot honestly tell me that some administrator feels the home schooled girl who leads a such a sheltered life she makes members of the Amish appear hip would be a perfect fit for the Goth chick who frightens Marilyn Manson. Where is the logic in thinking that the farm boy from Middle America and the kid straight out of the hard inner city streets would get along like peas and carrots? It’s as if the Student Affairs department serves as a part time job for the producers of the Real World. They are simply creating drama for drama sake.

When it comes to college roommates, conflict is almost inevitable. Unless in the future you are able to head off to university and room with your clone, there will be differences that you have to work through so you are not dividing the room in half with duct tape.

In a lot of ways, marriage can be similar to adjusting to having a college roommate. If opposites do attract then it means a wealth of issues you are going to have to confront.  How do you deal with differences in personal preferences, rituals, habits and taste? A wife can fall into the toilet only a few times before she goes ballistic about her hubby not putting the toilet seat down. Don’t even get her started on why it is so difficult for the hubby to “aim.” What about the husband who is always on time being married to the wife who moves through life on her own schedule? For most issues, over time you adjust or compromise with your significant other so peace will rule the household.

At night is when I am most confronted with the fact that God has a great sense of humor. This is where the differences between Jenn and I come to a head. Faithful readers know all to well about my attachment to Lumpy, my body pillow. I am the quintessential night owl where Jenn can be out like a light before the sun sets. She needs absolute silence while I cannot sleep without sports talk radio playing in the background.  I like to crack the window when it is snowing while Jenn wraps herself up in a cocoon of blankets in the middle of summer. Putting her needs first means a drastic lack of shuteyes coming my way. Loving Jenn this month very well means I am going to be a walking zombie with bloodshot eyes. Insomnia for the next 30 days means true love. 

February 8, 2009

The Cringe Factor Of Getting Mad Props Has God Taking The Night Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:27 pm

 

God Loves Getting Mad Props

God Loves Getting Mad Props

God is everywhere at every time, and in every situation, but I wonder if He takes the Grammys off. After all, can you blame the person who has the entire world in the palm of His hands for wanting a little R&R? After putting extra time in trying to solve the world’s economic crisis, tonight of all nights seems best for the Big Guy Upstairs to relax in the recliner and finally finish up that Sudoku puzzle.

This time off has nothing to do with having to endure the torture that is the Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift duet, even though that would be reason enough for me. He has endured worse pain than Jason Mraz having to grit his teeth as he introduced the teen pop mega group Jonas Brothers so that isn’t it either. Only the bearer of all wisdom would understand why Coldplay is considered the best “rock” band in all the land when they play on the same easy listening radio station you hear in a dentist office.

No event has God second-guessing His decision to give human beings free will more than Grammy night. Whenever God sees Kid Rock, T-Pain or Lil’ Wayne heading towards the stage, He gets a little antsy as He wonders if He will be given “mad props” for them taking home an award tonight.

The cringe factor these shout outs to God induce is too much for Him to bear. I wonder how much God enjoys having His name attached to the lifestyle of the gangster rapper or strung out guitarist. At least to me, it doesn’t seem Cristal and Christ would go together. I can picture God crossing His fingers hoping the artist only gets to thank their parents, agent and recording company before the shows producers cut them off to make sure they have enough time just in case Kanye West throws another hissy fit.

Yet, I wonder if God winces just as hard every time He hears me talk about God being the center of my marriage. Many Christians, throw out the term ‘godly marriage’ when their relationship resembles more Jerry Springer than Jesus Christ. I might be way off, but isn’t this giving God the same type of lip service many of our pop culture icons do when they thank their Lord and Savior?

This month’s focus is all about falling in love with my wife all over again. Being a Christian and adding the whole reflecting God’s image talk into the equation raises the bar to a whole other level. The standard for love no longer becomes improving my listening skills, cleaning up after myself or being interested in the things Jenn loves to do, even though those are good habits to instill in myself. Displaying virtues likes patience, forgiveness, gentleness and self-control always need my attention, but these are more byproducts then targets.

Instead God wants me to live out the words of Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” When was the last time I sacrificed for my wife? How difficult do I find it to lay down my plans for her? Do I put her needs above my own? Am I willing to die for Jenn?  In the immortal words of Little John, a rapper who always gave God mad props, those questions leaving me shouting “WHAT!?! Can I just fold some laundry?”

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