Thursday, July 30, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Fix-It Edition

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female

This week, I e-mailed Captain Dumbass and told him that my brain was fried and I was leaving it up to him to choose this week's topic. Luckily, Supreme Leader stepped up to the plate and made a superb selection.

When good electronics go bad.

In other words, when the gadgets, gizmos and electronic toys in the house break, how do we deal with it? Me? This is how I deal with it:


And then he comes running, plays around with it for a few minutes, fiddles with things and gets frustrated. Meanwhile I get the instruction manual and start suggesting that he take a look at the troubleshooting section as he waves me off, swearing and wielding a screwdriver.

You don't mess with a guy with a screwdriver.

So after a lot more swearing, throwing of various household items and possibly some blood, usually he agrees to try the stuff that I have read about in the manual, which of course, usually works.

You're welcome.

What would men do without us?

In the off chance that the item is broken for good and there is no resuscitating it, then comes the big decision of replacing it. This is where the major challenge comes in. I belong to the camp of "let's go to the store, check out what there is and buy what seems reasonable and suits our needs." He is more of the "painstakingly research every brand and model from every retailer that's out there and after weeks of deliberating and nickle and diming, choose an item that I probably would have chosen in the first place." But you know, we saved $4.99 by waiting until it went on sale, so it was all worth it. Riiiiiiiiight...

I guess I should be grateful that my husband isn't one of those men who gets all glassy eyed and mentally retarded upon entering a Best Buy, and I never have to worry about him surprising me by coming home with an XBox 360 impulse buy or by collecting mp3 players and various other gadgets to the detriment of our savings account. And really, he is rather handy with a screwdriver, so who am I to complain?

But I really think he should just read the manual and save us all the hassle. Just sayin.'

Chad a.k.a "Glassy-eyed Captain Dumbass": the male

Oh, Best Buy... how I love thee. What? So, when electronics go bad? Can't imagine why Supreme Leader would choose that topic when I asked her what we should write about this week. Or how she came up with it so quickly. I am the poster child of patience. Really. Except when things don't work.

I belong to the camp of "shit should just work." Period. I lose it when things start acting up. Like cross-eyed, spitting demon fire lose it. First step when something starts acting wonky? Swear at it profusely. Demean in in every possible way. I don't care if it's an inanimate object, I'm goin to town on it's ass, and it knows it. As long as the kids aren't around. Second step? As fun as smacking it would be, if it's electronics it all depends on it's dollar value and general importance. As much as I would have liked to whack my computer at the beginning of the month when it started working in super slo-mo, we can't afford a new one. And really, it's old. Computer wise, really old so I kinda feel sorry for it. Because of that I chose to aim my fury at my internet provider, 'cause come on, they're always guilty. Oh, and Steve Jobs for charging so damn much for his computers. Yes, Mac's are totally worth it, but come on Apple, your market share would be a lot larger if you could drop your prices a tad.

Where was I? Right. Violence. Camera? I can pretend to throw it when it's not working right, but then I wouldn't have a camera. DVR? If I didn't have to get under the tv to unplug that damn thing I'd be skipping it down the front street like a flat rock on water. Cell phone? Effing contract. Luckily things don't usually get this far. Supreme Leader usually steps in well before this, probably because she doesn't want to listen to me bitch, and fixes whatever's wrong. Whether by reading the manual or taking the time to look something up on the internet or making a phone call. And since we're rolling into our 13th year of marriage she doesn't even bother to talk to me about it, just tells me to get out of the way. Ah, love.

I came home with an Xbox once.

And finally, if you came here from my Bait & Switch post over on my blog:

*try to ignore the girlie shopping bag*

Thursday, July 23, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: For The Love Of Balls...

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female

No, not that kind of balls.

Balls as in footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, etc. - today we are talking about, you guessed it--SPORTS.

The Captain and I were both kind of surprised that nobody had suggested this topic, nor had either one of us thought of it before now. But since it is often a subject of debate and argument among men and women everywhere, I thought it was something we should "tackle." (Heh, get it? Tackle?)

So I would like to start off by saying I am very passionate about sports.

Hahahaha, that was funny. I almost typed that with a straight face too. No, I am not all that passionate about sports, but I am passionate about this particular person who happens to play sports:
Stupid super models, they take all the good ones...

Funnily enough, even though I am not in love with sports, and 10 years ago I could not have named you ONE pro sports player other than maybe Michael Jordan or Drew Bledsoe, now I pretty much know every player of the Red Sox, The Patriots and The Celtics AND their positions. I can watch any sporting event and know EXACTLY what is going on at every moment, and even throw in witty commentary and well-timed remarks about the players if it happens to be baseball, basketball or football. Yes, people, I have become one of those women, that special sect of wives, girlfriends, and/or significant others that have become known as SPORTS WIDOWS.

When I began dating my husband, it became obvious that I was going to have to make a decision. I could choose to ignore sports and be completely uninvolved in them, thus creating a giant chasm between my (now) husband and I and pretty much consign myself to spending countless evenings on my own while he watched sports OR, I could learn the games, watch them with him, and make it something that we could do together. Being the understanding and flexible woman that I am, I chose Option B. So now I spend many nights watching baseball, basketball and/or football (sometimes more than one in one night, depending on the time of year) and sometimes I even enjoy it.

Notice I say sometimes. Because honestly, there are many times when I am so SICK of watching sports that I end up watching television in the other room or negotiate with my husband so that we can watch something else. I have also taken to reading while he watches the game, which is quite a nice compromise because then we are still spending time together (something we don't get much of lately) and can chat here and there, but we are both doing what we love. It works.

Now if only Tom Brady would be healthy this season, it would be a complete win/win.

Chad a.k.a Captain Dumbass: the male

Sports? I can't believe we haven't done this one yet. Especially after all the 'what do you want to write about? I don't know, what do you want to write about?' emails Petra and I shoot back and forth. Men, women, sports... that's proven recipe for angst.

Luckily for my wife, while I love sports, I don't need to watch it all the time. In fact, while I'll watch the playoffs when my team is still in it, I can happily go the whole season without watching a regular season game. The only sport I used to watch religiously was golf, and that was only when I was playing. Pre-kids. These days, the only must see sports for me are the Olympics. I freakin love the Olympics. I don't even care what I'm watching. Unless it's speed walking. Sorry if you're a fan, I just can't get into that one.

In fact, my wife is really lucky, because I don't follow football, baseball or basketball. Football? Meh. It's boring. Sure, every once in awhile you'll get some running, but most of the time they're barely moving 5-10 yards either way. *Yawn* And what the hell is with their schedule? They play like five games and their season is over. Baseball? I'd like to try watching a real game one day, but on tv? Snore. Basketball is exciting. If it's a close game and you're watching the last 5 minutes of the last quarter. Otherwise all the fouls just make me shake my head. Man it up! This is my problem with all big three sports, they play like little girls, or in the case of football, they hardly play. Now hockey... well that's different. You don't see NHL players taking 6 weeks off because they broke a pinky nail. These guys play with broken bones. They'll take stitches on the bench so they don't miss a shift. Granted, MLB plays more games, but they don't move for most of the game, so it doesn't count.

Um? Ok, not sure what direction I was starting out on with that last paragraph, but I didn't end up where ever I was planning to go. I've been writing and filling in job applications at the same time and I may have gotten off track. Except... heh heh, if I don't find a job soon it will be September and the kids will be back in school and I won't have anything to do around the house except watch sports. Ta-dah! If you're lazy enough you can tie anything together. Or a man. We can make excuses for anything.

Now, did I stir up any angry comments?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Honey, I'm Goin' Out!

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female

This week, the Captain and I were sure to get all our ducks in a row so there were no more shenanigans like last week, and last night at 11 p.m. had finally chosen a topic. A little late, but better late than never, right? Well, we'll see.

Today we are talking about getting out with the girls/guys. You know, that thing that I used to do before I got married and had kids and all my friends got married and had kids, making it almost impossible to all get a baby sitter for the same night or get our husbands to all agree to stay home with the children.

Or for my husband, it's what he gets to do once every week or two, when he just calls and says "Hey, I'm hanging out with (insert name(s) here). See you later."

Yeah, there seems to be a slight double standard in this particular situation, at least in my household. My husband sees his buddies all the time, whether it is just going for a beer or catching a game at the bar or going fishing. Me, I depend on a play date with some friends and their kids about once or twice a month (and we try not to break out the cocktails on those occasions so they are pretty mild mannered) and maybe once every two to three months, the stars line up just right so that me and two-five of my girlfriends can all break out of the house for an evening. But be aware, that evening is usually spent talking about our children and husbands, is frequently interrupted with phone calls from our children and husbands because they can't find the hot dogs or the little one won't go to bed without saying goodnight to Mommy. Or, in the case of the last time I went out, my daughter called to say she wanted to come out on a date with mommy and her friends and wanted nothing to do with staying home with daddy. I'll tell you, it's not easy sitting in a restaurant on the phone with your daughter who is crying for you to come home. I came *this* close to grabbing my purse and heading home to my poor little baby. But then I realized that she was going to be fine, and I needed a night out.

But you know what time I get home on my "girls nights out?" Yeah, usually around 10 or 11 p.m. Because all us moms are so EXHAUSTED from working and taking care of the kids all day that we have two and a half glasses of pinot grigio and are falling asleep in our drinks. What time does hubby come home from his "guys nights out?" 1 or 2 AM, sometimes 3 and then there was that one time he fell asleep on his buddy's couch and didn't come home at all!!!!!!!!!! (Let's just say that I was very pregnant, very hormonal and VERY pissed that night).

So girls/guys nights out don't seem to be in the same realm for women and men. Or maybe my situation is unique and there are lots of other moms out there who go out all the time with their sistas. But something tells me that I may not be the only one who doesn't get out much.

Am I right ladies?

P.S. I would like to add here that my husband has never stayed out again all night since that one fateful night four years ago, and he is always urging me to go out with my friends, it's just that it's not as easy for moms as it is for dads. But thank you honey, for always trying to get me out of the house!

Chad a.k.a. Captain Dumbass: The Male

Boys night out? Hmm... I've got a hazy recollection of something like that once. Hanging out with males of my own age, not kindergartners and pre-schoolers. Drinking adult drinks and not juice boxes. Talking like men about cars/women/sports/video games/electronics/wives/girlfriends/action films/stuff and not what Scooby snacks really taste like or if Batman... er, bad example.

Sadly, it's been a long time since I've been out with the boys. Or my wife has been out with the girls. Our circle of friends has withered and died. Is this just us or does this happen to other people as well? My closest friends are now bloggers, and while that is definitely not a bad thing in any way, none of those people can drive me home if I've had too much or let me sleep on their couch. Well, maybe sleep on their couch, but that would involve long trips beforehand.

Nowadays our "night out" is usually an afternoon out when one of us takes the boys and gives the other some mental rehabilitation time. It's not perfect, but it works for us. Then again, now that I think about it after having wandered off and read five other blogs while trying to think of something else to write and then noticing what time it is and wondering what my wife has been doing all evening I just realized that blogging has become my "night out." Every night. So, regardless of whether you pee standing up or not, you're now one of my boys. *High five*

Thursday, July 9, 2009

He Blogs/She Blogs: Stolen Cars, Alien Hordes & Quality Time

Chad a.k.a Captain Dumbass, the male

Achoo! Whew, gettin' a little dusty in here, sorry about that. What? Yes, rumours about my death have been greatly exaggerated. Give me an iPod, free wi-fi and a roll of duct tape and I'll kick Richard Dean Anderson's ASS! No, I still don't have a computer, but I didn't want to be accused of copping out again, so here I am. Besides, this weeks topic is close to my heart. Or carpal tunnel enlarged wrists and thumbs. Video games! Time well wasted.

The brilliance of Japanese video game marketing is, in my opinion, only slightly behind early Christian's decision to promote their new religion to woman and slaves first in the Roman Empire and George Lucas producing the last three episodes of Star Wars before the first three. I was 11 years old in 1981 when Nintendo first hit North America and 13 when an Atari console made its way into my home. Hooked. From begging my parents for new games to trying to convince my new bride that an Xbox would help us save money by keeping me at home and finally, to giving in to my own childrens demands for the latest Lego game for the Wii, it's been a long ride. The first hit wasn't free, but I took it anyway, and I'm still using. Brilliance.

Now, not only can I play video games whenever I want and afford to buy them myself, but I can use the kids as an excuse. "But it will make them happy." "It will help with their motor skills." And they beg me to play with them! Sure it's not all fun and games, I learned the hard way that Grand Theft Auto is not the best game to play with your sponge-like young children. Or that no matter how many times you tell them that when Daddy plays Halo it's our little secret they'll still rat you out. Then there's the down times when controllers are taken away for bad behavior (kids) and everyone suffers. You learn your lessons and move on.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go give my youngest some lessons in problem solving, religious studies and early 20th century history. Or Lego Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Heh heh heh.

Petra aka The Wise Young Mommy: The Female

Yes, I know, I am late.

I was up really late last night trying to defeat flood on Halo 3...

Just kidding. I don't even know what that means. I just had another rough night last night with my 3-year-old who has decided to boycott sleeping, so I totally forgot to hunker down and write this post. So yes, again, I suck. Sorry. So video games, yeah...

I had an Atari and I loved Pong. I also got hooked on Mario Bros on the original Nintendo. And now we have a Wii and I use it for the Wii Fit games. But that is about as far as my love for video games goes. I think it's pretty much a big waste of time if it's done in excess, especially for those grown men who spend all their free time in front of the computer screen or XBox, whilst ignoring their families. A hobby is a hobby, and to each their own, but when your fellow players in World of Warcraft see you more than your wife and kids, I think there is a problem.

Unfortunately, my 9-year-old would surgically attach his Nintendo DS to his right hand and the controller for his Playstation to his left hand if it was allowed, and I have to admit that I let him play them too much, but it's just too hard to fight his nature. He is not a sports kind of kid, he is not an outdoorsy type of kid. He loves video games. And although I try my damndest to keep him from doing it all day every day, I am also not going to make him miserable by taking them away and making him do things he doesn't like to do. No, I will not allow him to hole himself up in his room with his video games, but if he disappears for a couple hours, that's OK. And then I will urge him to go outside or we will go find something fun to do for the rest of the day. I think that's a fair compromise, don't you think?

I am lucky because my husband has never been a big gamer, so it has not been an issue between us. He will play the Wii or Playstation with my son here and there and I love that, because they are doing something fun together. I'm not unreasonable.

But, I swear, if my husband ever turns down sex because he is close to levelling up in World of Warcraft, all bets are off.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Technical Difficulties...

This week's He Blogs, She Blogs is being canceled due to technical difficulties. Apparently, Captain Dumbass' computer is on the fritz and rather than have him labor over a post on his ipod, we decided to take a week off and come back fresh next week with something enlightening and hilarious (you know, we like to change things up from time to time).

So come back next week, when we will tackle the age-old video game debate, and whether ruling at World of Warcraft should be considered a resume-worthy special skill or a pathetic obsession.

So hold tight and practice your bitch-slapping skills in Grand Theft Auto while you wait.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Thank God for The GPS

Hey everyone! Sorry about last week, I know some of you (ahem, STEENKY BEE) were a little lost without He Blogs, She Blogs, but I was just coming back from my trip to San Diego and was even more discombobulated than usual (I know, you didn't think it was possible, did you?). But now we are back on schedule so none of you will be forced to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey or something equally horrible to pass the time.

Today, The Captain and I are going to discuss DRIVING. Yes, this is a good one, because I am sure all of us have been witness to some pretty interesting car ride arguments with our parents growing up, and of course we all said "Oh, I am NEVER going to be like THAT when I grow up and get married." But you did, didn't you? Oh, you didn't? OK, well, then I did, and I ain't ashamed to tell you about it. I'm just honest like that--all for you people. Man, I am not going to have ANY secrets left at this rate.

I remember growing up that my parents often had "heated discussions" (a.k.a. shout matches) while I sat in the backseat on our way to some family event. Back then there was no GPS and you had to rely on good ole directions scribbled down by hand on a scrap of paper. It was inevitable that you were going to get lost approximately 68% of the time, and then my dad's driving would become 10 times worse, my mother's voice would become 20 times louder and I would find myself holding my ears from the screams of "turn here, turn HERE!!"

Thankfully my dad wasn't one of those guys that wouldn't stop for directions, but we usually drove around for at least 45 minutes before he resorted to that. So by the time we got to our destination, usually at least an hour late, my parents were irritated and not speaking to each other and I had to pee reeeeaaaal bad.

So when I got married, I always told myself I would not be a passenger seat driver, that I would keep my cool while traveling with my husband (who is always the one to drive when we go out together) and that we wouldn't succumb to the whole cliche concept.

But what I didn't count on was that my husband likes to drive like he is trying to win The Amazing Race and that he has road rage with a capital "R." I would sit in the passenger seat, gripping the arm rest for dear life, sighing and huffing and puffing every time he stopped short and scowling every time he swore at someone in front of him or beeped his horn. Yes, I had turned into "that" wife. And I didn't like it one bit.

So I tried talking to him rationally. "Yelling and swearing is not going to make the people go any faster or drive any better," I would tell him calmly. "Just take a deep breath." He would try, but as soon as some person going 20 miles an hour in a 45 mph zone would get in front of us, I could see the smoke coming out of his ears. But he's getting better. And as soon as the kids came along, I played the safety card when it came to his "need for speed." This seems to have tamed his driving quite a bit, and I try to be more patient when it comes to his impatience with other drivers.

All I have to say is thank God for the GPS; however, don't put the two of us in a car together in downtown Boston, where EVERY TIME we have tried to get around there, the GPS has either taken us the wrong way or stopped working, because then the gloves are off and we are usually screaming at each other by the time we get to our destination. There is just something about getting lost that makes the person that is not driving feel like they know EXACTLY what to do and where to go and that it would never have happened if they had been driving. Needless to say, the driver doesn't appreciate it and having someone scream "turn here!" at the top of their lungs right as you are passing an exit is a tad frustrating. OK, it makes you want to punch them in the face.

But I am proud to say my husband and I have never punched each other in the face while driving, and we try very hard to make our trips nice and peaceful. But sometimes, just sometimes, those old habits (you know, the ones that die hard?) come back and the car becomes a war zone.

So I just remind myself that I love my husband.

And how much worse it would be without GPS...

Chad a.k.a. Captain Dumbass: The Male

Before we go anywhere, I should warn you that I asked my wife to proof this after she got home from work. Her first comment was, "this is pretty slapdash." It ended with, "this isn't about anything, it's just a meandering anecdote." Um... she may have a point.

Driving, it was my choice for a topic today. About five minutes after emailing Petra with it this morning she responded back that she was done. As usual, even though it was my idea, here I sit staring glassy eyed at the screen waiting for something shiny to distract me. Earlier tonight, when I first sat down to write this I did the same thing but then decided to distract you from my inability to slap together a cohesive post with a picture. I hadn't tried Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, and I'd heard that, image and video wise, it's pretty good.* So I bring up the page and search 'crazy driver.' This is what I get for the first photo.

Huh? This is supposedly a cat, but I'm thinking it looks a lot more like the alien from Lelo & Stitch. So then I wander off to do the dishes before my wife gets home and gives me the pimp hand and while I'm 'soaking in it (thanks Madge!),' I remember a time way back before we got married when we were driving across the country.

We'd spent the night in Winnipeg and set out the next morning for... Minneapolis? We went to the Mall of America, so wherever that is. Ok, we were driving across two countries, whatever. Anyway, it's morning rush hour in a strange city and we get totally lost. This is 1994 so there is no GPS or Google maps on the iPhone or Blackberry, just inexplicably contradictory road signs. Plus, we have mountains and an ocean where we live. If I don't know where I am here I just look for a landmark. Giant expanse of water? That would be West. Winnipeg? It's flat. Flat like it was levelled by glaciers 10,000 years ago. Ah, the animosity and finger pointing. Fifteen years later and the phrase, "at least I didn't get us lost in Winnipeg" still gets a rise out of whomever it's used on.**

But now it's 2009 and we all have access to crazy Star Trek gadgets that connect to satellites in geosynchronous orbits above us and can tell us kind of exactly where we are. Last week my oldest had a field trip and family members were invited. Our 'local' zoo is way to hell and gone from where we live so the night before I check Google maps to figure out where we're going. I saw that it was actually on the same route we take to go up and visit my family so I just make note of the cross street and go to bed happy. You know those roads that have an intersection at a little bend in the road and they turn into different roads? Didn't see that on Google. Remember me saying something about landmarks earlier on? Ya, that doesn't work out so well when you're surrounded by trees. We're in the middle of grassy fields and cottonwoods and all I can think of is M. Knight Shyamalan's last movie The Happening and that the trees are going to kill us.

With visions of our little six year old's tearful face when he got off the bus expecting to see his parents and didn't, I'm given the green light to drive. I pull the e-brake and throw the Caravan into a tire smoking 180 degree turn. We race through those country roads like we're in a rally car, getting air time over railroad crossings and sliding through corners like a Tokyo street racer. We found that damned zoo, and my little boys eyes stayed dry.

Was this post about driving or getting lost?

*Bing is actually pretty good for searching images. Much prettier than Google.
**I'm not pointing fingers, but I wasn't the one with the map in their hand, I was driving.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Don't Make Me Turn This Car Around!

Chad a.k.a Captain Dumbass: The Male


Ok, are you listening to me now? Are you? I don't ca- *inner ABS kicks in* It doesn't matter what your brother said... This week on HBSB, parenting styles and discipline. Oh ya. You just rolled your eyes. I know, it's a headache for all of us. We all come into it with different ideas of how to handle it, and it's never the same as our partners.

In my house, we fall into the stereotypical roles of good cop/bad cop. I've got the vocal range, the heavy step and the glare of doom. I'm the Dirty Harry of Bad Cops. Old and grizzled. Full of righteous thunder and damnation.

My wife? Good cop. Pushes me out of the interrogation room after I've swept the incriminating photos and stale coffee cups off the desk and kicked my chair over. "Look, I don't know how long I can control my partner, if you just come clean maybe we can make a deal..." Her patience amazes me, and also settles me down once I've blown my top. She gets down to their level and figures out what's going on which usually gives me time to catch a breath and realize I'm being an idiot. But you know what? If the good cop/bad cop routine didn't work it wouldn't still be around, would it?

And the secret to a good GCBC routine is changing it up every once in awhile so it doesn't go stale and your ___ year old is reciting your lines back to you before you get to them. Every once in awhile I'm the good cop. I'm the one trying to reason with everybody and using my inside voice. When my wife goes off, the kids they know they are in it deep. The woman is like a Dementor, she even scares the shit out of me. Any incident that involves Dad intervening is a lesson learned or at least not soon forgotten. And you cannot imagine how long I just spent trying to find a decent image of a Dementor. Why aren't there more images of them? Then I was fishing around trying to think of a 'good' cop for an image but got stuck on Danny Glover and sure my wife isn't a large African-American man but you try finding a tv/film cop duo starring a female South East Asian, and again, where the hell are all the images of Sgt. Roger Murtaugh?

So now it's only a few minutes until our publishing time and I'm spiralling out of control so you should probably just skip on ahead to Petra's piece since she can actually write and string two thoughts together and I don't even know how to close this off. Seriously. Go. I'm putting a bullet in this one.

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female

So, this week for He Blogs, She Blogs, we are discussing parenting styles, discipline and giving into your kids.

You know the deal--good guy/bad guy, the softie versus the dictator, the one that turns into a puddle of mush when the little one gives the puppy dog eyes, as opposed to the one that has nerves of steel when it comes to the kids. There is no shortage of marital discord when it comes to raising children; I don't know many couples who completely agree with how to parent their children. Once again, Mars and Venus strikes again--men and women just look at things so differently.

For instance, my husband thinks that louder is better. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of losing my cool and having a little tantrum when my kids are acting like the devil's spawn. But he goes from 0 to 60 in .2 seconds and it never serves to do anything but create more chaos in whatever situation he is trying to diffuse. It also took me a long time to get him out of the mind set that "touchy feely" parenting isn't all that bad, and it is actually good to sit down with children and talk to them when they are upset or acting out.

But perhaps, maybe, just maybe I am sometimes a little too emotional. Like when I let the kids drive me to tears, thus losing all control of the situation. And maybe sometimes I let things go that I shouldn't, wanting to pick my battles, you know? But seriously, a mom gets tired of saying the SAME DAMN THINGS all day long to her children, so sometimes it comes time to turn the other cheek. (No, not the "kiss my ass" cheek, the other one.)

Now, when my daughter came into this world, there came a whole new issue. All of a sudden, when hubby looked into her big, blue eyes and her halo of golden blonde hair, he couldn't say no. A Daddy's Girl had been born and he became the one of us to ALWAYS give in to what she wanted, especially since she was such a sweet infant and toddler up to the age of 3. Mommy became the big bad villain, so you can imagine the fanfare when Daddy came home from work in those days. Now that she is going through the torrid, TERRIBLE, no good, very bad 3's, it's a little easier for him to say no to her, I think.

But me, my nerves are so shot by the end of the day that when she asks 5,245 times for a cookie in the same high pitched, whiny voice while following me around with seemingly no plans of stopping, I have been known in a moment of weakness to give in and give her the damn cookie. Cause, really, my sanity is worth it to me. But you see, when I have my housekeeper, personal assistant and part-time mother's helper, this will never happen and I will be a rock. Riiiggghhtt...

All in all, I think we have gotten fairly good at working together and being on the same page, but I remember the days when my stepson acting up and the two of us wanting to handle it totally different ways turned into a huge blowout between the two of us, in the end neither one of us even remember what he had done to spark it in the first place. The good thing about these moments now is that the two of us have been sufficiently beaten into submission by our children so our number one priority is always to nip the bad behavior in the bud and we know we have to gang up on them to accomplish that. There's two of us, and two of them, so we are almost on a level playing field.

If we have another kid, we are in serious trouble.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Fighting, Apologies and Make-Up Sex

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female


Ha! I actually got my post written before the Captain this week so I am laying claim to the coveted position of first this week (you could say I am on top, but that would just leave me open for all kinds of sexual innuendo, now wouldn't it?)

This week we are discussing the all too familiar fighting, apologizing and making up issue in relationships. In our case, both Captain Dumbass and I are married so I think we both have plenty of experience with it. My husband is finally starting to learn how to argue with a woman, after eight years of being together and almost five years of marriage, so I can, in all honesty, say that I know the "proper" way to fight.

Men: the woman is always right. Nod, smile and say "Yes, dear."

Haha! Yeah right! Well, although I would like it to be known that I am almost always right, that isn't the proper way to lay the smack down with your significant other.

When my husband and I first got together, I had never really been an a mature, adult relationship and his only experience in a relationship was with his ex who regularly called the police on him when they fought and things were usually broken in the process. Me being completely terrified of confrontation and more sensitive than anyone he had ever met, we had some, well we'll just say "difficulties" in the beginning when it came time to disagree. It often ended with him storming off and screeching down the street in his car and me crying my eyes out in bed, thinking I was never going to forgive him. Yes, when you put two young, immature young adults, totally unsure of themselves together, you get a big, giant mess. Somehow, I would always end up being the one to apologize, mostly to end the argument and then we would have amazing make-up sex, usually involving a blow job, and call it a day. But the issues never became resolved. Thus, the same fights happened over and over again.

Amazingly, we stayed together through these years and years of cyclical fighting, crying and having hot makeup sex, and we both grew up. I knew that I didn't want to be in a non-communicative relationship and he realized clamming up and then screaming like a Jerry Springer guest when it all finally came out was not beneficial to our relationship. Eventually, we learned how to argue effectively, sometimes even accomplishing something.

But, that's not to say that we always sit calmly down, each pose our points of view and then come up with a rational answer every time we disagree. Far from it. We still make each other really angry sometimes, and sometimes, there is even some name calling (mostly on my part) and banging things around (on his part). But it is the exception, rather than the rule now. For the little things, we sometimes agree to disagree, sometimes hash it out in a heated debate like grown-ups and I even get the head nod and "Yes, dear" from him on occasion when it's something not worth fighting about (and, of course, I am right) or even an apology when he knows he was wrong. That, right there in itself, is amazing. We're making progress. By the 50 year mark, we probably won't be fighting at all.

But one thing hasn't changed.

We still have some HOT make-up sex after the big ones--that's why I keep picking fights with him ;)

Chad a.k.a. Captain Dumbass: the male

Damn! Petra beat me to it this time around. I don't even have the excuse of having actual columns to write like her. My relationship with Petra is much like a marriage. She gives me tasks and I apologize a lot for not getting them done on time. Maybe it's the heat, but I've been lacking in the inspiration department lately. Two days after she told me it was my week to choose a topic I found myself on Twitter begging for help.

Help? It's my turn to pick an idea for He Blogs/She Blogs and I got nothin. Help a brother out. Any ideas out there? I'll wash your car.

So it looks like I have to book a flight to Texas this weekend. The Stiletto Mom answered first with "apologies...and make ups? who does it best? or who can't ever be wrong?" Thanks to everybody else who tweeted back, your suggestions are all on the list now. I wonder how many cars Stiletto has? I didn't really think this one through.

So. Apologies. Yaaaa... *holds 'a'sound and looks around refusing to make eye contact* Teaching the kids the 'pull my finger' joke, coming home from Costco with an Xbox when I shouldn't have even been at Costco, letting the boys watch me play... questionable video games, I'd have to say I make the best apologies, but only because I get the most practice. I do my best to live up to the stereotypical husband.

I was about to write something about my wife and I not being the 'never wrong' types, but then I heard her derisive laughter echoing around my head. Ok, so I occasionally have strong opinions about certain things, but if tempers have become involved (which in our house usually means mutual silent treatment... ok, silent treatment from her and I steam) I eventually see the error of my ways. Or rationally understand the reasons why she's wrong and I'm right.

All joking aside, I'm a man, and like most men, I box things up. Box 'em up and bury them. Move on. This causes a lot of issues between the sexes when woman want to talk about (insert issue here). Woman, you don't like to box things up. You pile it up in the centre of the room. Do we want to talk about it? Hell no. It's been boxed up. It's in the garage. What's for dinner? This is probably why we get so crabby when you won't let it go. Sure the box may be overflowing or rotted along the edges and seeping out onto the floor, but dammit, it's put away! We already marked that box as 'I was right,' game over.

I think I've gotten better at this over time, or at least I'm trying. For the big stuff anyway. The little stuff? I know better.

Guilty as charged.

PS. Out of curiosity I checked out airfare from Vancouver to Dallas. Economy seats from today and returning tomorrow ranged from $875 to over $2400, and that doesn't include the extortionate Canadian taxes that get added on to every flight. WTH?

PPS. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Dumbass a.k.a. Supreme Leader

Thursday, May 28, 2009

He Blogs/She Blogs: "Can We Make A Quick Trip To The Mall?"

Captain Dumbass: The Male
My partner in crime shot me an email Tuesday with our topic for the week. Actually, it wasn't so much an email as a bunch of gobble-de-gook with the word "shopping" in caps. She's been a little busy of late. I don't know how she manages all of it. I'm happy if I remember to put on pants in the morning.

So, shopping, always a contentious issue between the sexes. Love it or hate it, it's something we all have to do at some point and more often than not, we have to do it with our significant other. Men are always made fun of for our lack of patience when it comes to following their wives or girlfriends around the mall or wherever. Personally, I love shopping. For myself. Add other people to the mix though and things start going sideways fast. Thankfully, with the invention of smart phones, iPods, PSP's, etc. things have gotten a little better. Not like the old days where you'd consider yourself lucky if the change room had a chair for you. They just need to get wi-fi in the store and it would be perfect.

Personally, I'm pretty lucky. My wife isn't a clothes hound and never has been. When we do have to go out it's usually pretty quick and painless. Unless we're shopping for something like wool. My wife likes to knit and she's pretty good at it. Pretty good at starting projects, anyway (hey, Petra, there's an idea for a post!). When it comes time to head off to Micheal's or wherever though... that's when I usually start hoping for an earthquake or the beginning of the zombie plague. The minute we hit the store I'm overwhelmed by fake flowers, glitter and the cloying stench of potpourri. "Which colour do you like?" Which choice will get us out of here faster? Colour has lost all meaning. It's a rainbow kaleidoscope of despair. Its pretty much the same if we're looking at cooking... stuff. Yes, that Stainless 17” Open Oval Roaster is to die for, but it's like a whole mortgage payment. I understand what the end result of this shopping will be, but unless the food is actually in front of me? Meh.

I'm kidding. Honestly, honey. Besides, regardless of what we're shopping for these days, it's always painful unless it involves a trip to Toys R Us, and even then that doesn't guarantee happiness. I love my children, but they have a special way of sucking our will to live every time we need to go buy something. Unless we're at Best Buy standing in front of the big screen TVs. I love my boys.
Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female
Just the word sends shivers down my spine. Shopping and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to shop for clothes, shoes, stuff for my kids, and gifts for other people. I HATE food shopping. I love finding just the right outfit or a bra that finally makes my boobs not look like oversized traffic cones. I HATE not having money to buy the things I need. I love shopping by myself. I HATE shopping with my kids or my husband.
It's not that I don't love going on outings with my kids and my husband; they are just not the best shopping companions. With the kids, it's for obvious reasons. All they are interested in is the toy aisle, they tire and bore easily and my quest for jeans that make my butt look half its size turns into a competition in which my kids try to see who can outwhine and outshout each other and I end up spending the time gritting my teeth, giving them the evil eye and trying to restrain myself from yelling at them in public. And as if I don't hate grocery shopping enough, somehow my two children always end up hyper and off the wall as soon as we enter the supermarket and I have to constantly apologize to the shoppers around us for the noise, mayhem and almost carriage collisions. Not my idea of fun.
As for shopping with my husband. it's not so bad. Except that he actually takes longer than I do to pick things out and is much more methodical about his shopping. For me, I go in, I grab a crap load of stuff that I like, go try it on, decide what I like and buy what works for me. For him, it's a much longer, more drawn out process of comparing and contrasting, and being completely thorough in perusing what is available. Yes, you could say this is a much better process of going about making responsible purchases, but I'm on a tight schedule people! I don't have the time or the patience to watch him look at two shirts that look almost exactly alike for 20 minutes to decide which one is better suited for him. Nor do I have a good enough eye to tell whether they are going to fit him, because he refuses to try things on. He would rather buy it, bring it home and try it on there, then take it back if it doesn't fit. This again eats into my very busy schedule of working, yelling at my children, um, I mean taking care of my children and keeping the house in tip top shape. Well, maybe tip top shape is a bit of exaggeration. It's more like I prevent it from falling in on itself. But it takes time to do all these things. So shopping, for me, has to be quick and efficient.
And don't get me started on the glassy eyed, slack jawed look he gets when we go into Home Depot. I may as well clear the whole day ahead of time for those trips.
So basically, I love shopping, under the right conditions. Me, by myself, with no financial constraints and nobody slowing me down. As you may have gathered already, this doesn't happen very often, or well, ever. So I guess my love/hate relationship with shopping isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe someday I will have exorbitant amounts of money, a nanny and a personal assistant to help me make my shopping trips more efficient.
Somehow, I doubt it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs: Cue The Swedish Chef*

Captain Dumbass: The Male

Welcome back, and thanks for stopping by. Today is our second installment of He Blogs/She Blogs in our new home. Petra's been super busy and a half this week so she let me choose the topic this time around. Geez, what to talk about? So many possibilities. As I was sitting in front of the computer desperately scratching my head something kept distracting me. Something I was supposed to be doing. Somewhere. About something... do you smell something burning? Shit!

This week's topic: the kitchen.

I love the kitchen. I love everything about it. Well, when I say I love everything about it I mean that in an idealistic kinda way, not the reality of my own kitchen which is a freakin' nightmare of 70's linoleum and coke induced floor plans, but that's not what this post is about. Like many homes, our kitchen is the centre of the house and a good deal of our time is spent there. And with good reason. As my ever expanding waistline will attest, the food that comes out of there is fantastic because our house is blessed with an amazing cook/baker/pastry chef. That person is not me.

Kudos to the men who know their way around a kitchen, I wish I could join your ranks. Not as much as my wife does, but I do. She tries her best to beat some culinary sense into me, but it's much like trying to bathe a cat. Messy and not really worth the effort. It's not that I don't want to learn either, it's more of a defensive stance my brain takes on whenever she starts talking about... well, whatever it is she's talking about. It's like when the bandits thunder into town on horseback and the locals close their shutters and disappear from the streets. She begins talking about cooking temperatures and doing this while this is doing something else and it's like she's speaking backwards Aramaic in a wha wha wha Charlie Brownish accent. I want to understand but my brain is steadfastly refusing.

Back when I was working I used to have to coordinate hundreds of investigations with a very limited number of investigators and keep clients baffled with bullshit and charm while they waited day after day for results. Previous to that I was in charge of coordinating daily deposits of tens of millions of dollars to the Bank of Canada on deadlines that were written in stone. I was good at it. Coordinating two different things on the stove to be ready at the same time? Blind panic. Cooking meat, chicken or fish? I don't even want to touch it.

Now I don't want you to get the idea that I'm totally useless in the kitchen, I defy anyone to match my mastery of grilled cheese:

Go ahead, click on that bad boy for full effect. Also, I'm very good at washing dishes. Early on in my working career I was a professional. I'm quite willing to keep the kitchen spotless, nay, the entire house spotless (including laundry, vacuuming and floor washing) if it means not having to cook.

I'll keep trying (my wife is raising an eyebrow as she reads this), but sadly, like the majority of men, I fall back on the lizard brain and evolutionary memories of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. I'm more than happy to go out and spear a woolly mammoth or sabre toothed tiger, just don't ask me to cook it.

Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy: The Female

Yeah, so it seems all of a sudden I am a real writer of sorts and have these assignments and meetings with editors and such writerly, columnisty things, so I told The Captain to come up with a topic this week, and of course he chooses the kitchen. Because we have all seen the beautiful, mouthwatering pictures of the food creations that he makes and posts on his blog (brag much?) and there is a glaring lack of food pictures and recipes on my blog for a very good reason.

I kinda hate the kitchen. Pretty much everything about it (except for the pretty ones with all the stainless steel and granite countertops that come fully equipped with a cook and housekeeper. That kind of kitchen I could live with, quite happily indeed.) But as for my kitchen, the one with the hand me down stove and fridge, a lack of countertops, and NO DISHWASHER, which also happens to be tucked into the corner of a little basement in my in-laws' house, let's just say I harbor some feelings of resentment.

And I don't like to cook.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I hate to cook, but I will avoid it at all costs and buy as many frozen, easy to prepare meals as possible to avoid defrosting, seasoning, tenderizing, marinating, or anything else that involves putting effort into creating a dish. Every now and then I try to get creative and follow a recipe and it usually turns out OK, but nothing to write home about.

My poor husband, you may be thinking. But no, he gets a good meal at least a few times a week that consists of meat, vegetable and starch, and it's always edible. But now, back when we first moved in together, that was a different story. I was a vegetarian that lived off steamed vegetables, rice and pasta and would not, could not, would NEVER handle meat. So yeah, that was an issue.

So I guess you can say I have come a long way.

And then there is all the washing of dishes, cleaning up and putting away of things that always accompanies being in the kitchen, which I despise. And of course these are my responsibilities, and since I am not the best housewife in the world, our kitchen is not the most spotless kitchen you have ever seen. Another fact that my husband likes to point out, to which I say "get me a housekeeper or do it yourself," to which he scoffs, rolls his eyes and shuts up. I will get my housekeeper someday: I think I am wearing him down.

So you might think that since I am lacking in the culinary prowess department that my husband might pick up the slack there, but alas, no, he limits his trips to the kitchen to get snacks and drinks. Oh yeah, and to criticize me about how I put away the pots and pans and the fact that I don't have a sponge for the ONE time he decided to clean something up. A sponge? Hello? Doesn't he know how much bacteria grows in those things and then you rub them all over your counter? That's why I buy antibacterial wipes. But he thinks that is a waste of money. Well, tell me if you think it is a waste of money when you are hanging over the toilet with a raging bout of Salmonella. I think not.

So basically, until we move into our new house (hopefully the end of this summer) with our brand new, state of the art kitchen with a dishwasher and actual counterspace to cook meals, my standpoint on the kitchen will remain the same--a necessary evil.

But maybe, just maybe, when I get a decent kitchen, I will decide to start watching some Food Network and turn into a culinary goddess.

But I wouldn't hold your breath honey. Better start looking for a housekeeper.

PS. from the Dumbass: Rereading my post I swear I've read my last line somewhere else. If I've unwittingly plagiarized you, take it as a compliment. If I plagiarized myself then suck it up, ya hack. It wasn't that funny the first time.

*Duh, the Muppet Show

Thursday, May 14, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs 2.0: The Bathroom

Captain Dumbass (The Male)

He Blogs/She Blogs, been awhile, hasn't it? It's like we're coming back from summer vacation or something. How do you like the new digs? I'm thinking we should hang a picture or two. So for our inaugural post on our new site we're taking on the contentious issue of the bathroom.

So who spends the most time in the bathroom? As this is HBSB I'm sure you're expecting me to rant on about how long my wife takes and blah blah blah? Well that's not going to happen. I could pull the man card here and tell you Supreme Leader takes forever in the can and then fart and scratch myself, but she reads my posts and our couch is not comfortable. I take the longest in the bathroom. There, I said it. It's me. In my defense though, she's really really small so there is a lot more of me to clean. Plus, all my best ideas come to me when I'm in the shower, so I need extra time for artistic development. It's a good thing I don't have a white board with waterproof markers in there or I'd never get out.

Like that counter top? I think that when my house was built in 1977 they gave Mrs. Roper a bag of blow and asked her to come up with the colours. So that's my arsenal, the whole thing. Not sure how it eats up so much time, but it does. I will also admit to taking longer on the throne. But that contributes to mental health. I grab a book, lock the door and hole up in my Fortress of Solitude for a few moments of peace. The rabid monkeys can beat on the door all they like, but they can't get me. HA HA HAAAA!

I have a question for all the ladies? What gives with the beauty products? Specifically, the gross tonnage you acquire over the decades but can't seem to part with? That mascara from your senior prom? Time to go! The last ounce of conditioner that's been haunting the back of the shower since Clinton was in office? I think you can part with it now. The nasty shaving gel cans that are all crusty and rusting around the bottoms? Ick. I'm lucky in that Supreme Leader is not so bad at this. Not so bad.

I let my wife read this before I sent it off. She laughed, but at the end there was a look that promised retribution. Stinging retribution. The kind that drags on and makes you wish you were dead. Alright, maybe not, but there was a promise of something in her smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

Ah, He Blogs, She Blogs, how I have missed you so! It's nice to be back, isn't it? Today we are taking on the topic of the bathroom, since we all know that there is plenty to wax on about when it comes to men, women and the bathroom. Men stink it up, women stay in there too long. Women love candles and potpourri and sometimes there are towels that are just too pretty to use, while men will not think twice before lathering up their nether-regions with the most beautiful hand carved lavender soap (how rude!). But none of those issues are what sticks out in my mind when I think about my introduction to sharing a bathroom with a member of the opposite sex.

If there was one thing that I was unprepared for when I hastily moved in with my now-husband, then boyfriend of six months, it was the bathroom issue. Little did I know that this little, tiny room, so small compared to all the rest of the rooms in the house, could cause so much tension, grief and misunderstanding in our relationship. As a naive young lass of 21 years old, I faced a harsh lesson in male/female relations and quickly got a crash course in the bathroom practices of the male homosapien.

First of all, the magazines next to the toilet were NOT to be removed and put back in the magazine rack. As a woman, I have always spent a maximum of three minutes or so on the throne, unless I was having some kind of gastrointestinal distress or I was sitting on the toilet while watching a girlfriend do her hair. So the idea of needing reading material on hand next to the toilet baffled me. But I soon came to find out why my man needed stimulation during elimination, when he would actually schedule his trips to the bathroom because he needed THAT much time.

Nor did I realize that after spending that 20 minutes in the bathroom he may actually come out and say to me "Hey, you have to come look at this!" Yeah, I'm serious.

Now, as time went on, we began to fall into a routine with the bathroom and it became more comfortable. I got used to the little tiny hairs in the sink from shaving and not bothering to rinse out the sink after, and he got used to the shelves and shelves of hair products, creams and lotions that cluttered up the bathroom. I stocked up on air freshener and eventually didn't gag anymore when I entered after he had spent some quality "reading" time in there and he figured out which of the towels were not to be used because of the gorgeous embroidered flowers. Then the unthinkable happened.

One day, I found myself leaving the bathroom door open when I went to the bathroom. It just didn't seem necessary to close it and there was always the possibility that I would have something really important that I might need to shout to him in the other room while I was in there. Then came the day when he actually came into the bathroom while I was actually on the toilet to brush his teeth. There you have it folks. You have officially reached the point of no return when you are emptying your bladder and bowels in front of your significant other. Why stop there? Why not have conversations while he is in the shower while you do your hair? Or bring him new reading material when he is dropping kids off at the pool and doesn't have anything good to read?

Yup, that's true love.

So after eight years, he still complains about the abundance of products in the bathroom from time to time, and occasionally I throw up in my mouth a little bit when he drops a particularly pungent deuce, and I don't think that will ever change. And sometimes I even almost accidentally leave the door open at other people's houses when I go to the bathroom because I never do it at home. I have accepted that my days of having any kind of privacy or modesty are gone and sometimes I even appreciate the extra five minutes I get to talk to my husband when he is in the shower since I don't see him all that often.

If you had asked me 10 years ago if any of this would be so, I would have replied with a resounding "Hells no!" But life changes, folks, and you just have to "go with the flow."

No pun intended.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

He Blogs, She Blogs is BACK Mo-Fos!

Here we are, in our new home. What do you think, you like the digs? Of course, Mel from Mommydoodles helped me out, although I designed the header with my limited Scrapblog skillz. This is where the magic is going to happen from now on. Starting next week, Captain Dumbass and I will post our first edition of He Blogs, She Blogs: The Housewarming Edition. But we haven't quite decided on what the first topic should be, so if anyone has any bright ideas, please let us know. What we are looking for is something provocative, eye-opening and/or funny to kick off the new transformation of HBSB.

So come back next Thursday when we will have the first edition all warmed up and ready for you. A nice little shot of bloggy heroine for all of you who have been suffering from HBSB withdrawal.

Are you ready for it?