What Dating a Good Man Teaches you

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 but ended up going on my fist date 3 months before my birthday. This was because the guy was moving out of state and my parents reluctantly allowed me to go. I am 42 now and have never been married. That’s a lot of dating. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of relationships. And I have learned a lot over the years.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He doesn’t play games. He actually puts forth the effort and tells me, on a daily basis, that I am beautiful and amazing and totally worth it. I am thriving under the light of his wonderful attention and affection.  I wonder how I forgot that this is what dating is supposed to be, that this is how I am supposed to be treated? My current relationship is teaching me things that I didn’t realize I had forgotten. Like how I should be treated.

Somewhere along the way, dating became more of a game than a pleasure.  It seems that it’s about getting all that you can, when you can, while putting forth as little effort as you can.  When we women have men with this attitude from which to choose, we get discouraged by the lack of options and try to choose the lessor of many evils.

Ladies, Steve Harvey has it right – when a man really wants you, there will be no question. I think back to all those guys that used to drive me crazy making me wonder if they were really interested. Or that I was doing something wrong. Maybe that was the reason why they weren’t calling like they said they would, or didn’t seem interested, or would make an ambiguous date, then never follow through.

Stop wondering. Because if you have to wonder if he is interested, then the answer is No.  It doesn’t matter if you call or text him.  If he wanted to be with you, he would have already set up the date.

Easier said than done, right?  Because we are taught that if we have these high expectations, then we are demanding, and bitchy, and manipulative. No, we just know our worth.

I have had men who would text me (first of all, call the woman) and ask me to go out lunch that day…when I would accept and ask where…they wouldn’t respond. Until a few weeks later when it’s the same thing all over again. No, he didn’t get too busy, his phone didn’t break, he wasn’t sucked into a vortex where no communication was possible.  He just wasn’t really interested. So why text at all?  Who knows.  Maybe he wanted to keep that door open, or wanted an ego boost. He definitely didn’t want to go to lunch.

The guy I dated before my current boyfriend actually made me feel guilty if I even thought about asking him to help me with anything – He was healing from a woman who used him 3 years ago, so he couldn’t do anything for me.  I made the mistake of saying he could use my boat anytime he wanted if he would let me use his truck to pull my boat to the marina. I was promptly accused of making my boat and all maintenance his responsibility. If a man in interested in you, there will no excuses or strange accusations. If a man is interested, he will want to spend time with you, and he will care enough to help out when you need it.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He sees projects that I cannot do myself, and he fixes them. I don’t even have to ask.  He just rented a Rug Doctor and cleaned the carpets in my house because my family is coming to visit.  And because he said I “should live in pretty.” Wow, what a difference.

I have dated men who refused to introduce me to any friends and family, while telling me how much they liked and cared for me.  My current boyfriend has introduced me to all of his friends and family. Because he wants me in his life, because he wants me to see from who and where comes. And he is interested in meeting my friends and family too. He wants to know my people. And a man who is truly  interested in you, will want to know your world and your people too.

There was a man who made a date on Easter with me….and was a no show.  Contacted me a few weeks later like everything was fine.  Then there are the guys who just wanted me to “come over and hang out”, but were never willing to drive to see me, or take me out.  Stay away from them, they are lazy and place no value on you or your time.

I think back on all the times I questioned if I was doing something wrong?  Women are taught that if you keep getting disappointed in dating, you are the one common factor.  So take a look in the mirror and find your fault. Well, it wasn’t me, it was them. Mostly. The only thing I wasn’t doing, in my worn and weary and discourage mindset, was remembering my worth. Because I didn’t want to seem demanding, or high maintenance, or bitchy, or unreasonable.

The man I am with now, expects me to know my worth, because he sees it every time he looks at me. And he makes sure I know how lucky he feels. And I am lucky too. Because finally, here is a man who sees what I didn’t see in myself for a long time. Dating a good man has reminded me that first and foremost, I am worth it.

Every day I am so very grateful that this wonderful man found his way into my life.

Because I am demanding, and high maintenance and bitchy and unreasonable…But only to those men who are not interested enough to do anything but put forth the least amount of effort possible.

And that is what dating a good man can teach you.

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Where the Magic Happens

Home is where it happens. All the magic of life and family.  And this year I am counting on that magic to add to the wonderfulness of the holiday season.  This year I am hosting the family for Thanksgiving.  We all have our firsts in life, and this is one of mine.

To some this may not seem like a big deal, but to my large and very eclectic family its pretty big.  This is the first year that my parents are healthy and not suffering from cancer.  And this year everyone is in close proximity.  This is also probably the last year my nephews will be local. My oldest nephew is graduating college next month and who knows where he will end up.  The other two are going to school and working as well, but they all have off for the holidays this year.

It is the first time that the family will be gathering at my house.  In the past, we have all made it to our parents house.  But they are getting older and it is a lot of work for them to do all the cooking, cleaning and general preparation for such a family event.  I am hoping that it is a success, that everyone has a good time, even though it will be quite the adventure.  To understand the overtures of this undertaking, let me explain:

My parents are quite set in their ways.  They are great, wonderful, honest, hard working, loyal people.  But they can be extremely difficult to please.  And they both cannot be happy and comfortable at the same time.  You will go crazy trying to make that happen, trust this, I know. I have actually told them to choose each day of the visit who gets to be happy and comfortable, that way there is not constant complaining.  It works.

In the past visits, there have been complaints that the house is too cold (Dad likes the temp at 84-86), too hot (Mom likes it between 74-76) and neither of them like ANY air circulation, so no fans or such. The food is too spicy or too bland. And I live out in Egypt, s where I live is too far, from everything (I actually have the same complaint).

My mother smokes, but she hates smoking outside, mainly because it’s cold in the winter and she doesn’t like to be cold.  Once, in the House of Mold, she smoked on the screened-in-porch. When she got cold she insisted I bring her the warmest coat I owned…which happened to be a mink coat.  So there she is, sitting out in a screened-in-porch, in her pink fuzzy warm house slippers….smoking….in a mink coat. I would have taken a picture if I had not feared death. So I have set up a wonderful sitting area in the garage…along with 2 large, large room heaters, that each one would heat the small garage for most. There will be tables, chairs and a soft couch from which to choose.

My father, on his last visit, complained that he felt some small amount of air moving across his face. This air was coming from a closed air vent in his bedroom that was very suspect.  The threatened to sleep in the garage.  Instead I fixed a separate place for him upstairs in my office.  This time the bed in his room will be moved far away from that evil vent, thus avoiding the problem altogether.

Add to the mix my wonderful sister and her 2 sons.  Nothing much will happen with any of them, as they will be face-deep in their phones.  I will have to make a rule that there are no electronic devices at the table. My sister and Dad do speak the same language, sometimes I swear they have the same brain even. My youngest nephew smokes as well, so he will be in the garage with his grandmother, while we will try to keep the oldest from getting into a political discussion with my mother.  Liberal college kid views do not go over well with her  conservative mindset, and he is too young to be able to keep up with her quick wit (not kidding). I would prefer to save the fireworks for July 4th.

And everyone loves coffee. And wine. And food in general. And we can all gather next to the warm fireplace, when we are not out in the garage, hanging out with the smokers.  Or decorating the Christmas. Or asleep in our food comas.

And this weekend will be the flurry of getting the last bit ready…the deep cleaning (but not too deep, because my mother will need something to clean while she visits).  There will be dusting of things and cleaning of baseboards. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping.  The cupboards are full of snacks and such, the throw blankets and sheets have all been swashed and are fresh and soft. There is music that has been picked out for the occasion.  It may be hard but it will be worth it.  Much laughter, love, great moments, memories and pictures.  And I will hug them just a little bit tighter, just a little bit longer.  This year, a year of so many wonderful things in our lives, and so many miracles.  And so much heartbreak and terror in the world.  Nothing like watching the news to make you hold your loves ones just a little closer.

And in those hugs, those moment and those memories, that is where the magic happens.

The Happy Coupledom

I’ve entered into a land which i have never been. The happy coupledom. Dint get me wrong have dated, even fallen madly in love, but this…this is new, this feeling is new.

We were binge watching The Blacklist on Netflix, the best TV on TV. When we realized we were hungr6. He created some egg dish in the microwave while I created a fusion of Chinese and Mexican by combining broccoli beef, Mexican cheese and sour cream in a burrito.

And as we ate our almost-middle-of-the-night, lets-raid-the-kitchen-hurried-dinner, I sat on the kitchen counter and he stood next to me. Both of us smacking and chewing, talking and laughing with our mouths full, not in the least bit self-conscience.

We ate and enjoyed every last bit….and when we were done, I rinsed the dishes as he stepped outside to smoke. And I did the happy dance, right there in the middle of my messy kitchen. And my heart was full. Welcome to happy coupledom.

Good Night Sweet Boy

He was a great cat, and pet.  The vet said there was not a lot of time, and I knew what it meant when he became more listless and tired.  Ragged breathing and not much appetite, if any.

And so it was, in the early morning hours, that he came to pass not long after I sat down next to him for the final time.  And I am glad that I was there with him, the first of my pets to pass. It truly seemed that he waited until  his human was with him. Glad I stroked his fur during his transition. He had a good life after being rescued, and he was well loved. And he loved his human in return.  Goodnight sweet BoJack.

Sitcom Moments: The Dark Crazy Family Comedy

One thing almost everyone has to deal with in their lifetime is aging parents and health issues that come along with them.  It’s no secret that my parents have faced their share of health issues  – my mother diagnosed 15 years ago with stage 4+ Ovarian cancer, my father with liver cancer.  Bother of them are in remission.   Obviously I come from very strong stock.

One of the many reasons my parents have beat the odds (the first reason being a lot of faith and prayer), is the fact they are simply stubborn as he-ell. Notice the hyphen in there…that’s two syllables, because one syllable isn’t enough to describe that level of stubborn. And I think it increases with age.

Another thing that everyone must deal with is the fact that their family is crazy. Yes, including yours.  At some point in our lives, we must come to the realization that our families are insane.  And there is no shame in it, because we are all in the same boat, paddling up Crazy Creek with a broken paddle. My family is crazy. Just take a deep breath, repeat that statement and let it wash over you. I’ll wait.

My mother can relax now that my father’s cancer is in remission in theory. If only she would.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her with all my heart, but she is 5’3”, 80lbs of pure, unadulterated stubborn. And she will argue with you that she is not stubborn all day long…and into the night. And the next morning. And next week. And next year….

So now that she is getting older and has some health issues, life is interesting.  I do my best to keep in mind that she is very old school southern, very proud, very private and can take care of herself, THANKYOUVERYMUCH (all caps on purpose). It’s like a dark and twisted comedy, because there are many moments that you cannot believe are actually happening.

She is only 80lbs because she doesn’t eat…and seems to like it.  Conversations usually go something like this:

{I can see this conversation happening on Modern Family or Raising Grace, or similar show, where the characters are so over the top that it’s funny. Welcome to my world.}

Me: So what did you eat today, Mom?

Mom: I ate an egg with cheese and toast, like I do every morning, had an energy shake for lunch and  then your dad and I ate pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner. I eat like that every day.

Me: That’s a great day of food Mom. How much do you weigh?

Mom: 82 lbs.

ME: Mom, you’ve lost 4 pounds in 1 week…so you are either not telling the truth about how much you are eating, or you are very sick and we need to get you to the doctor right away…

CLICK

The reason for the hang up? Because you are not allowed to say that your mother might not be telling the truth. Oh yes, I received a firm scolding on respecting the woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months, endured a painful birth, and sat with my in the hospital as I was so sick as a baby. Yes, Ma’am.  But I still say if you were eating the way you say you are you would be gaining weight…CLICK.

She has a very bad back – spinal stenosis. Excruciating pain.  There is a doctor who will do laser surgery on her back, but she won’t go.  Too busy, she says. Same thing with getting her cataracts fixed.  So here she is, hobbling, wobbling along, feisty and stubborn as he-ell, not really able to see, but can still see well enough to point a finger at you to say mind your own damn business! I’m your mother, you don’t have the right to tell me what to do.

We went to talk with a cancer counselor at the hospital about how Dad’s cancer has affected the family.  I explained that it has been very stressful, since we nearly lost him 10 times in the past 4 years. Once the doctors even telling Mom that they were sending him home to die and he would be more comfortable at home. I cannot even imagine what that was like.  After I described, in detail, all of the family issues, the counselor looks at my mother and asks what her how does she feel?

Mom: “I’m fine, not stressed at all. This has not been hard on me, I’m fine. I don’t need therapy. But she does (meaning me).  If she wants, I will go to therapy with her to discuss anything that she wants, if that will help her.  Because she needs LOTS of therapy.”

I nearly fainted.

Me to Mom:  You mean taking care of Dad when the doctors said he was dying and nursing him back to health was not stressful, at all?

Mom: No.

Me to Dr:  Yes, I need therapy. Lot’s of therapy. Can we set something up, immediately?

Welcome to my crazy family. Grab a cup of coffee, or even better, a glass of wine.

Sitcom Moment #857: Life is a Bathrobe

You should always make sure there are no escape routes for house cat to escape, or you might end up chasing said cat all over yard  – in your flimsy bathrobe,  on a windy morning.

Went out to feed the little stray that has been staying around the house when my cat jumped and ran outside.  This is not good, as I had to leave in about 20 minutes so I had to get him.  But I was in my little bathrobe (was feeding stray in garage where neighbors could not see).

Had to jump out, on the lawn, on a windy morning. In my little bathrobe, calling this cat trying to get him to come to me.  Running around chasing this cat, who thinks it a fun game to run from his human, while holding my bathrobe closed in the wind….

I felt like a was trapped in an I Love Lucy episode. Because my life is a sitcom.

Yes, I can hear you laughing.

Sitcom Moment #2,594: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

It was a regular morning, just like any other.  I crawled out of bed, put on some pants and drank a delicious cup of coffee. Little did I know it would soon be a sitcom kind of moment day.

I got ready to take my car down to the dealership for it’s regular maintenance and my sister was picking me up from the dealership. The plan was to grab a quick bite at the donut shop across the street and head back home to hang out and catch up.

It was on my way to the dealership that I realized what had happened…in my half asleep haze and hurry to get to the coffee pot, I slipped on my yoga pants…with no underwear.  Not a big deal one might say. Except that, not being a morning person, and my brain not being fully functional early on a Saturday morning, it did not occur to me until it was too late to turn around and go back home to fix this commando faux pas.

Oh well, I am just going to the dealership and the donut shop drive through…no real big deal, right.  Except my sister wanted to stay and eat at the donut shop. OK, we’ll go home from there.  Nope.  Then, while waiting to hear back about my car, she suggested we go thrifting.  Yay!  I love thrifting.  And it’s not like you have to get dressed p to go to thrift stores, so it should be ok.

And then she saw some cute pants for me to try on.  OK, here is where I had to draw the line.  One simply cannot try on thrift shop pants sans the proper dress, so to speak. So I had to confess.

Me: I can’t try them on today…because (in almost a whisper) iamnotwaeringpanties…

Sis: {small pause} Bahahahahahahahahaha!  My sisters laugh could be heard throughout the store…How can you forget to put on underwear??

Me: Well, I was half asleep and just needed enough clothing on to get to the coffee pot without flashing the neighbors…and then I was still kind of asleep when I left. And I just forgot.  Then realized on the  way to drop off the car…oh shit!  But we were going back home right after the donuts, so didn’t hink it wold be a big deal…

Again she laughed…and was thoroughly entertained the rest of the morning and afternoon, as she picked out more activities to be done before heading home. Indeed, I negotiated trading in my car at the dealership after my next oil change. Then there was the bead shop, where it was everything in the world of beading and making your own jewelry.  Then it was several antique shops, and buying some small pieces of jewelry for new outfits.  And last but not least, there was the wine tasting…and tasting and tasting.

I mean, if I had known all of that was going to happen I would have worn pant(ie)s!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of letting the lady breath and be free just as much as anyone.  But a bit of planning is unusually involved.  There is nothing quite like an accidental day of commando.

Yes my life is a sitcom…or an SNL skit.  I can hear you laughing.