The Marriage Bed: G-Rated Version

When I married the Big Guy 4 1/2 years ago, he moved into the house that we three girls had owned for several years. I was willing to share everything with him, but I have to admit the bed was the biggest sacrifice. My bed was my sanctuary, my island of peace in the world. And unbroken sleep…I do think that is the nectar of the angels. Somehow sharing my bed was harder than combining bank accounts.

We bought a new king-sized bed so that each of us would have plenty of personal space. And since we had pledged chastity during our entire dating relationship, we were both unsure what it would be like to actually share a bed.

The first week home from the honeymoon, Joe had a late band rehearsal and I went to bed, putting in my ear plugs so that I wouldn’t be disturbed when he came in. Suddenly I woke up and there was a man in the room. I started yelling, karate-chopping the intruder, and as he retreated I shouted, “Who’s that? Who’s there?” I believe I had been assaulting him for quite a while before I took out an earplug and heard Joe yelling back, “It’s just me! Your HUSBAND!”

This did not cause permanent damage.

Joe makes an interesting array of noises while sleeping, mostly humming, sometimes laughing, and once in a while groaning like a zombie. And if you’ve never woken up in the middle of a dark night with a zombie groaning next to your ear, let me tell you that it takes a while to get back to sleep after hearing something like that. He also has the most amazing turn-over technique I’ve ever seen. Remember how Flipper used to leap in the air, do about three somersaults, and then crash back into the water? I’ve watched Joe, and I swear in the name of chocolate that he does that dolphin leap-and-flip trick before landing on his other side.

The dark side of life in the marriage bed has come when I just want A FEW MORE MINUTES of sleep and Joe’s gotten restless. Flip, flip, flip. Wiggle. Flinging covers off. Yanking covers away from me. Until I want to leap on him and throttle him. But you don’t mock-strangle a fifty-year-old man, not unless you want to appear on “Snapped” as the woman who frightened her gently-sleeping husband into a heart attack so that she could take the insurance money and fly off to Barcelona. In case there are any cops reading this, I don’t even like Barcelona.

On my side of the marriage bed, however, life is not always fun for him either. I do a lot of twitching in my sleep, and when my arms are wrapped around Joe, he’s often woken by my fingers poking him in the side. Involuntarily, of course. I would never poke him in his sleep to get revenge for all the flipping and wiggling.

My vivid dreams provide fun for both of us, like the time I dreamed a spider fell off the ceiling and onto my face. I leaped out of bed, turned on the light, ripped back the covers, and started looking for the spider. The whole time Joe was yelling “What? What is it?” Suddenly I realized I was having a dream, so I said, “Never mind.” I turned off the light and crawled back into bed.

And then there are the daughters. I have always slept closest to the door so that (theoretically) they could wake me if they needed me, without disturbing Joe. But the Little One creeps into the room as if her footsteps alone will wake me. Usually she has been poking me and whispering my name for a while before I wake up and see the hall light outlining a dark shape with dark hair surrounding the pale face of the little evil girl from The Ring. At which point I scream, which makes Jenn leap back and scream, and then Joe wakes up and screams at hearing both of us screaming, and the cats stampede out of the room to huddle in a dark corner for safety. Then we’re all clutching our hearts and Jenn’s apologizing for scaring her, and we’re apologizing for scaring her back because she scared us, and reassuring her that if she needs us she shouldn’t feel frightened to come and wake us, and whatever she came in for is suddenly much less important.

So far, though, the marriage bed has not resulted in a trip to the emergency room.

Attack of the Killer Sports Bra

This week I bought my first sports bra, because it was the one thing I needed to get my butt to the gym improve my weight training regimen. I was not aware that sports bras work by crushing your entire body together until nothing can move. But I found that out when I went home and tried on the cursed thing.

This was a one-piece model with no clasps or adjustment features, so I had the option of stepping into the Armor of Death and wriggling it up my body, or pulling it over my head and trying not to smother as I squashed my body into this torture device of cotton and spandex.

It was too small.

So in disgust I tried to take it off, but it wanted to become one with my body. FOREVER. I hitched it up until it caught on my shoulder blades, and then I was really stuck. My arms were over my head and pinioned in the straps, while the rest of the contraption was crushing the breath out of me. I tried wiggling around but the band was completely caught on my back and I couldn’t see through the fabric.

Then I started to panic. Nobody else was going to be home for a couple hours! And I had enought oxygen for one minute, maybe two, before I lost consciousness. I flailed back and forth, trying to pull the clothing down and then over my bones. Nothing worked.

Finally I gave in to utter terror and began wildly yanking at the fabric until it finally slid over  my head. Leaving red marks across my back.

When I told my daughter about my near-death experiment, she said, “It could have been worse. You could have been trying it on in the store.”

Yeah, one with a really big security camera in the mirror. Score one for dignity.

Emo Girl Goes to Prom

No, it’s not a joke. My Emo non-conformist daughter is actually going to don a formal dress, get a mani/pedi in colors other than black (maybe), and join in her first official High School event. Although she is going with two female friends who didn’t graduate early.

I don’t know this girl.

I don’t know how this:


is going to become this:


However, I may never know. True to Jenn’s rebellious nature, she went dress shopping last weekend while I was away, and two days later I HAVEN’T YET seen the dress.

“Are you girls getting dressed here?” I asked. Of COURSE they would. This is one of the prime Momoments of life. No, it’s not about my daughter’s prom. It’s about ME ME ME.

“No, we’re getting ready at Stephanie’s house.”

“How am I going to see you all dressed up?”

“We’ll take pictures. I think.”

I can only hope I’ll get an invitation to her wedding someday.

Add to my resume: “diplomat”

When Joe and I planned to go on a Marriage Encounter retreat, all was wonderful in daughterville. Since then, First Born and Little One have ignited a battle that has Joe and I alternately listening to each daughter’s complaints. One claims that the other leaps on her and claws her face off when she makes “just one little innocent comment”, like, “How do you think you’re gonna move out on your own when you don’t have any savings and you just got laid off?”

Then we get to hear the other one complain about how the first one thinks she is SO PERFECT and is trying to be her mother.  How EVERYONE thinks she’s the problem child and NOBODY respects her. And no, she is NOT EXAGGERATING.

Problem is, we’re not cancelling our retreat, and Jenn is NOT staying home by herself. And she doesn’t want to spend time with her dad. Jenn said she wasn’t sure if she was still invited to stay at Jessie’s apartment. Could I talk to Jessie? Well, only if she made me a solemn promise not to get hysterical on her sister over the weekend. Just walk away, I advised.

After a half hour discussion, I got Jessie to admit that “maybe” she was a little hard on Jenn and since Jenn didn’t want any advice, she would promise to not mention those mistakes - at least for one weekend. Then I got to call Jenn back and tell her that the terms were accepted and a temporary truce had been brokered, as long as both sides kept their commitments. Since Jessie’s boyfriend will also be there, I’m hoping he’ll be Switzerland over the weekend.

Whew, now I’m tired!

Helping people in my own backyard

I’ve always been pretty passionate about helping people like the homeless, hungry, sick, and down-and-out. Usually I’m working with organizations with methods and support in place. And usually I’m working with people in neighborhoods outside my middle-class suburb. But this spring our church has been studying the book Forty Days of Love, by Rick Warren, and as the study completes, each study group is encouraged to plan a service project.

I came up with a small idea that is snowballing into a beautiful, but very large project to a needy lady in our hometown. I am praying I am equal to the idea I’ve set in motion! Here is the proposal we’ve sent out to our church.

The project I was talking about is for a friend of a friend of our church. Cheryl is the mother of Amber, the friend of Pastor Jane and Pastor Jeff. Two years ago Cheryl lost her husband very unexpectedly. He had a heart attack. They were struggling to get by financially with both of them working, now she is left with too many bills and only one income. To compound the problems she was suddenly a single mom of five children, and doesn’t have any family except her brother Michael, who helps her as much as he is able.

Her home in (neighborhood) has fallen into very bad disrepair and needs a LOT of cleaning and a LOT of repair work done to make it more liveable. She doesn’t have the money or the time to do the work needed to make it even tolerable. There is a lot of work to do and if a few small groups could pitch in over a couple of weekends I think we could make a real impact. Our Sunday morning 40 Days of Love group is interested in helping I think.I mean wonderful is.I will be getting a better idea of what needs to be done from Michael. When he asked her about it she broke down in tears and couldn’t believe people would be willing to help her that way! If we could get this out to some small groups that would be great.”

We’ve already had a lot of volunteers who said they’d be interested in helping, or interested in donating materials for this project. I’m amazed and excited! I know it’s only one house for one family in one neighborhood; we’re not curing the cause of poverty. But to this woman, the church’s help is an astonishing blessing.

Since the economy has gone downhill, there are more and more middle-class families who have just fallen under the subsistence level - and sometimes we may not even know it. Why not check the neighborhoods around you to see if there are people that may need your help?

And then, please pray for my administration and leading skills as I try to pull this together!


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