Everyone says you don’t really get to know someone until after you live with them. You can take that two ways. One, the person you’re dating will reveal her true self after living with her for a while. Two, she’s going to find out about my true self too! That’s kind of scary! Only I know my true self and I’m my worst critic, so how can I let her see that guy? You are always on your best behavior during the dating stage. The gentleman opens the door for the lady, you call if you’re going to be late, you’re always in a good mood, and the most important rule is, NO belching or farting!
Alana and I spent a few dates in that “polite” stage, then we spent some time telling each other our deepest, darkest secrets. I think she was telling me what she thought would scare me away. This just caused me to tell her things I thought would scare her away. I found out rather quickly that she accepted me flaws and all, and I accepted her without judging her. We had this mutual, unspoken, agreement that we were getting and giving a new start to each other. It was like getting a do-over! The funny thing is, this acceptance of each other created a bond very quickly. We entered the “impolite” stage soon thereafter. That’s when I found out that you keep a woman who won’t fart in front of you, yet who laughs at my farts! Her laughter is what has saved her from the dreaded Dutch Oven.
As soon as I moved in, she did everything she could to make me feel at home. She helped set up the Man Cave in the finished basement. Then I found out that she sends me to The Cave so she can watch TV alone! This really is a good thing. I’d rather watch the shows I like and not be forced to watch The Bachelor in order to compromise with her! Every so often, I’ll go upstairs just to say hi. She is genuinely happy to see me every time. Forced togetherness causes resentments. Being able to be home with her while doing what I like to do without her makes me want to be with her more! This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings – “how can I miss you if you won’t go away?” Our “alone” time makes our together time all the better.
There are many things I’ve learned about her since moving in. Whenever I do something that makes her laugh, she makes me do it again. She’s like a little kid saying “do it again, do it again!” So I do it again and she laughs harder than she did the first time. There are things I have repeated for months now just because it makes her laugh! Because she is so competitive about everything, I’ve also learned to let her win most of the time! She has found out that I sometimes need to vent about something that frustrated me. She listens and understands my venting has nothing to do with her – I just need someone to care that I’m frustrated. She makes these faces and says “you’re scaring me, Baby.” I know she’s joking and that helps defuse the situation. She realizes that once the venting is done, I’m happy again.
Life with me can’t be a bed of roses, but it’s been pretty spectacular so far! We have so much respect for each other that when disagreements or misunderstandings occur, we work them out very quickly. She figured out the trick to staying happy with me is to not take me too seriously. I figured out the trick to staying happy with her is to just let Alana be Alana. We fell in love with each other after we allowed each other to just be ourselves. Neither of us wants to change anything about the other. I guess that means no matter what else we learn about each other over the rest of our lives, that’s going to be okay too!
Many times in my life, I’ve been presented with challenges that would kill a normal person. By kill, I mean make them freak out and obsess about what is happening to them. I have been guilty of this, but it’s usually the petty, small stuff that sets me off (traffic lights turning red just as I’m approaching makes me curse the light’s very existence, for example). The big stuff has no visible effect on me.
If you were to watch me react when I got the phone call telling me Dad died, you would have thought it was a call telling me you made meatloaf for dinner. Even though his death was expected, it was still an unwelcome phone call in the middle of my work day. I took the news, internalized it, and went back to work. I didn’t know what else to do at that moment. I told my supervisor at the end of the day about the phone call and he was shocked that I didn’t just pack up and leave for the next few days.
I have had other moments in life that challenged me. I’ve had to endure IRS agents, a head-on collision while driving a Mazda Miata, the death of both parents, divorce (especially challenging was telling my kids), losing a job, and on and on.
I need time to process “lemon giving” moments in life. I am a problem solver, so I need time to analyze, evaluate, and solve the problem. I used to live with a woman who freaked out constantly because I wasn’t solving my problems on her timetable. When I’m faced with something I just can’t solve, I put it aside and keep living my life as normally as possible. As I go about my day distracting myself from the problem at hand, you may wonder why I’m not freaking out constantly. I freak out internally and find something to do that helps take my mind off of the problem. By doing this, I always come up with a way to solve the problem. The solution is never apparent during the freak out stage. It always comes to me during a calm moment.
While I do go about my problem solving in a very internal and personal way, I rely on family and friends to help me – if only to distract me. When I’m with someone and we’re enduring the same stress (bad service at a restaurant, waiting in line endlessly, watching the Reds lose again), I love it when the other person freaks out for me! I get to laugh and make fun of the stress when the other person complains! Let’s face it – if they didn’t freak out, I’d have to do it for them!
I’ve never understood hunting. Way back in the days of the hunters & gatherers, I guess my ancestors were gatherers. No one in my family went hunting or wanted to go hunting. The extent of our fishing was throwing a cheap fishing rod into the creek and catching fish too small to eat. The funniest thing about fishing was when we were making too much noise, someone would inevitably tell us we were scaring away the fish! But Elmer knew you had to be vewy vewy quite to hunt.
Here’s what I imagine happens. You get up extremely early, dress in your camo “uniform,” grab your rifle and head out to your favorite deer stand. Maybe you have a thermos of coffee to help you stay awake and warm while you wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, if you’re lucky, a deer crosses your path within the range where you can actually hit your target. You take your shot, nail the deer, do whatever the hell you do to make it ready to drag to your truck, and you head home. That, my friends, is not hunting – that’s waiting!
My way would be easier, though, because I would have a bus delivering kids every day. All I would have to do is sleep until 2:00, make some coffee, put on my slippers, grab my rifle and walk out to my front porch. Some poor unsuspecting kid would cross my path, step onto my lawn, and blammo! I wouldn’t hunt the young ones, just the high school kids with an emphasis on the emo kids. My “trophy” would be their head on a post of my white picket fence. If some dumbass was too stupid to notice my trophy fence, they deserve to die! I’m just doing my part to thin out the herd.
I guess during the summer months, when the bus stops delivering my prey, I’d have to hunt something else. It’s like that for hunters. It’s not always deer season. Sometimes it’s rabbit season – no, duck season! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u14T5wzicqw If you’re out there hunting rabbits, ducks, squirrels, or other animals too small to make a decent trophy, you’re just wasting your time. I assure you, it is much harder to fight traffic on Route 4 heading north to Jungle Jim’s, where you can find meat from nearly every kind of animal you could hunt, than it is to go out and hunt it and clean it. I’m even willing to take out a few shoppers who get in your way. I’m just that nice a guy!
All my life I’ve felt like I operate outside of the “normal” of the rest of the world. In a family of 13 siblings, I was a loner. That upbringing is probably the genesis of my ability and desire to sit back and observe what goes on around me, all while seeing the absurdity and humor no matter how bleak.
After a three year stint in the Army and four years in college, I went to work at a major public accounting firm. None of that would lead you to believe I would be operating outside the norm. You don’t do or say anything in the Army unless you want to clean latrines for a living. My college life consisted of being married and driving from Fairfield to Oxford and back again, followed by studying most of the rest of the day. I was a “serious” student! When you think “accountant,” you don’t think “funny accountant.” That’s an oxymoron if I ever saw one! However, I met quite a few “not-normal” accountants over the next few years. I still tried to fit in as best I could.
I didn’t always speak up. When I was young, I was hesitant to say what I was thinking because I didn’t want people to see how weird I was. Today, I have no such qualms! I have absolutely no filter and I will say what I think as soon as I think it. One nickname I had while working as a loan officer was “The Silent Assassin.” When I asked why, the nickname giver said, “you don’t say much, but when you do you come out of nowhere and say some things that hit the bullseye!.”
Nothing I say is meant to hurt, unless I mean to hurt you (which is rare). Sarcasm mixed with a dry sense of humor are tools I’ve honed to a sharp edge. Writing this blog may help you begin to understand how I see the world. It won’t always be abnormal, but I’ll try.