There must be 50 ways to celebrate your lover

Ah, my wife.

I present to you a woman who never gives herself enough credit. She never thinks she’s smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, good enough.

Well, today, now, here, on the 50th anniversary of her birth, I’m here to celebrate the woman that never celebrates herself. The one that always…always…puts others before herself.

So, let’s look at these one by one, shall we?

She never thinks she’s smart enough. Yet, I can’t tell you how often she’s taken charge of a situation and, going on nothing but gut instinct, made the decisions I was too stupid or too locked up with emotion to make. And each time, I didn’t just question the decision, I openly opposed it. It was wrong. Every time, I knew it was wrong.

Yeah, the only damn thing that was wrong was my opinion. Karen was right. Karen is always right.

It’s tough for me to write that, but in my heart, I know it’s true. It’s hard to admit that I’m not as smart as I think I am, and that my wife often outsmarts me. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big life decision, or something as simple as watching an episode of Criminal Minds and she always guesses the plot before I do. She does it every damn time. And I’m the writer, dammit!

She never thinks she’s funny enough. Okay, well, to be fair, I’m a sarcastic joker and I’m always on. I’m sure that gets tiring. But then, add into the mix our daughter, who inherited the sarcasm gene from both parents. And there’s Hunter, our son. He’s hilarious. In fact, our daughter actually created a Twitter feed for him, Willy’s Wise Words. And then there’s our friends Ryan and Lisa. Ryan’s gotta be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and his wife is hilarious too (especially when she cracks a joke, laughs at it, and says, “I’m funny!”). So, in a group like this, it’s hard to consider yourself funny.

And yet, Karen is often hilarious. She won’t let me post the video, but there’s a lovely few minutes of footage of Karen when she had dental surgery, and being stoned afterward on the drugs that’s simply gutbusting. There’s also this one, where Ryan plays on Karen’s fear of defying superstitions (specifically, opening an umbrella indoors).

How about that scream, huh? Jamie Lee Curtis had nothing on her.

But even this past week in Vegas, Karen had us in stitches by simply doing the John Belushi SNL sketch about cheeseburgers. You know the one.

“Chee’burgarchee’burgarchee’burgarcheepcheepcokenocokePEPSI!”

Yet, when Karen does it, she does this weird thing where her face freezes up and her lips don’t move. It’s unexplainable, and a riot to watch.

So is watching her try to curl her tongue. Or when someone’s getting to her and her chin sharpens. I can’t explain it any better than that. Her chin gets…pointier.

And then there’s what happened this last night. We went out to dinner and, as I sat across from her, I reminded her this was her last meal as someone in their forties. Then I said, “Jeez, tomorrow, I’m gonna be married to an old lady.” And her immediate response was perfect.

“You won’t be if you keep that shit up.”

She never thinks she’s pretty enough. I remember, long ago, I worked in a camera store, on the camera sales side. On the opposite side of the store was photofinishing. I stood with one of my coworkers and we watched this hot woman come in and drop some film off. The coworker nudged me, and said something like, “Damn, she’s got a great ass.” Then she turned around and he said something about her being hot. I ignored him, because she walked straight across the store to me, leaned over the counter and kissed me. My coworker’s jaw damn near bounced off the counter. Yeah, that hot girl was my girlfriend. And now, just a hair under 25 years later, she’s my wife.

20151228_113759

The amazing thing is, over those intervening years, she’s only gotten more beautiful. Maturity suits her.

Vegas

She never thinks she’s good enough. This, above all the others, shocks me. Over the years, I could not have asked for a more wonderful wife. She always supported me in whatever I tried to do, believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She always put my needs and others that actually didn’t deserve her attention ahead of her own. She would bend over backward to help anyone in need, even those that had been horrible to her. If it weren’t for my wife, I would never be the guy I am today.

And she’s the ultimate mother. Seriously, if it had been up to me to raise the kids, they would only have memories of sitting in front of a television with some sugary cereal to eat, and maybe a lot of Beatles and Pink Floyd playing in the background. Karen planned all their events, their lessons, their sports, trips, vacations…everything. I’m useless when it comes to this stuff. Seriously, I’m lucky to get myself dressed in the morning.

And overall, beyond all that, she’s been my partner through life. We’ve navigated many rough waters together, sometimes paddling in sync with each other, sometimes trying to paddle in two different directions, but always in the same boat. And our destination is clear. We’ll be there for each other, no matter what. But for me, Karen’s the one I turn to, the one I talk to, the one that is my rock.

My point here is, though she’ll never admit to it, she is smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, good enough. She’s more than I deserve, and all that I desire.

I can’t imagine my life without this woman and, today, as she celebrates five decades of life, I’m glad that she chose to spend more than half of it with me. I hope she’ll be with me when we’re staring down 100 years.

I love you, babe. Happy birthday.

 

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Hostage night in Canada

Whaddya do on a rainy night in Toronto?

MacLean & MacLean – What Do You Do On a Rainy Night in Toronto?

It started off so well. A good friend and writing colleague of mine, Patricia Flewwelling, asked me if I was interested in going to an event put on by the Crime Writers of Canada, CWCbetter known as the CWC, announcing the short lists for their Arthur Ellis awards. A handful of authors, including three I had books from, would be reading, cool people like Jill Edmondson, another author, would be there. Possibly even Paul Alves from Bookguys.ca I really wanted to meet him, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it.

bookguysSide note: if you’re interested in books or movies, check out bookguys.ca. It’s cool.

Anyway, the event sounded like an interesting Thursday night out. So I said yes.

Pat, who’s from Montreal, was staying in a Howard Johnson’s (better known as “HoJo’s”) in the extreme east end of Scarborough. So, I drove there and parked my truck. We would take Pat’s car, which is smaller than my ridiculously big fat Dodge Ram Hemi, and much more amenable to parking in downtown Toronto.

Pat shifted the detritus from the front seat to the back and I climbed in. The next half-hour was rather hilarious as I watched Pat, who is used to driving in Montreal, proceed to sputter and rage at the drivers on the 401 and Don Valley Parkway. It was then that we realized this was, in our thirteen years of knowing each other, that I was in the passenger seat.

We made it into Toronto, running late. The CWC event started at 7:00, and we were parking right around then. Pat found an underground spot, we drove in, got the ticket, and parked, then rushed out to the event.

arthur ellisOf the event, I won’t say a lot, except that I really enjoyed Howard Shrier‘s and Robert Rotenberg‘s readings, as well as a couple of others. I got my books autographed, met Jill and it was decided that a few of us would head over to a bar for a couple of drinks. I didn’t mind horribly, though I’d hoped to be home by 10:00. Howard Shrier mentioned he’d likely only have one as he had an early meeting with a publicist for his new book in the morning. Good, I thought, we won’t be late then.

Around 10:30, I started making noises about leaving. More drinks were ordered. Around 11:00, I made some more noises. Around 11:30, it looked like it was going to happen, then I realized we hadn’t paid yet, so we had to wait for checks. That led to another round of drinks and toasts.

Finally, we got out at 12:30.

Pat and I hit the streets, wet with light rain. We made our way back to the parking lot. I figured, well, it’s 12:30 now, so it’ll be at least an hour before I’m home. I’d better grab a coffee for the road. So we hit the Tim Horton’s across the street, then laden with coffee, tried to get to the car.

The garage door was down. No matter, there was a stairway leading to an entrance. I walked down it, jiggled the doorknob. Locked.

Locked?

Heading back up, I looked at the sign. Yes, it said it was open 6 am to 7 pm and, forgetting for the moment how ridiculous it is to close a public parking lot at 7 pm in downtown Toronto, I looked for the note that said something about “no entrance after hours.” There was none.

I called the number on the sign and it went something like this:

“Hi, I’m parked at the 1075 Bay Street parking lot and I need to get to my car.”
“Come back at 6 am.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No sir.”
“Look, I need that car. I’m from Courtice and I’ve got someone here from Montreal that needs to get back to her hotel room and her dog.”
“There’s nothing I can do.”

1075 Bay Street Parking...better known as the Ninth Circle of Hell

1075 Bay Street Parking…better known as the Ninth Circle of Hell

So I swore loudly and disconnected. As I did this, it immediately started to rain much harder.

With nothing else to do, Pat flagged a cab and we headed back to her hotel room in Scarborough.

We’d just gotten into the cab and were discussing options (both of us needed to work in the morning, we were trying to figure out ways to get Pat’s car) when the Wife called. “Are you planning on coming home tonight?”

I explained my situation and told her I was on my way back to the truck. As I told her this, I had a flash of a memory. A memory of me looking at my keys and weighing options.

“Oh shit,” I said.

Both the Wife and Pat said, “What?”

“I just realized,” I said. “I left my keys in Pat’s car.” I let that sink in. Pat’s car. Currently receding behind us at 110 kmph. “I can’t drive home.”

I have a real problem with keys. To find out more, read this.

My first thought was to get the Wife to drive out and meet me in Scarborough, but she reminded me that our daughter had taken the car and was sleeping over at a friend’s place. They were celebrating the end of their first year of college. “She’s likely had a couple of drinks by now,” the Wife said. So that was out. I could tell by her voice she was not happy.

It was decided at that point that I would sleep on the floor in Pat’s hotel room. Pat warned me that, because she’d been drinking, she’d likely snore. “I snore too,” I said. “No biggie.”

I apologized to the Wife, Pat apologized to the Wife, and I hung up. $70 and 30 minutes later, we got back to the HoJo’s.

Pat’s mother had been dogsitting, and offered me a ride back, but with my daughter out, there was no way I would be able to get back to Scarborough, or to work in the morning.

Now, Pat’s mom is nice, but by now it was around 1:00 am, and I’d made the decision to get up at 5:30 to go get Pat’s car right when the garage opened at 6:00. So I just wanted to lay down and sleep. Pat and her mother chatted about the dog, about pizza, etc.

I’ll be honest here. When I’m tired, I can get rude. I’m sure I was rude, but neither Pat nor her mother mentioned it. They’re both far too nice to say anything.

Me? I grabbed a couple of pillows, dropped them on the floor, took off my button-down shirt so I’d look a little presentable in the morning and stretched out in my jeans and t-shirt. Pat’s mother left shortly thereafter.

Ever tried to sleep on the floor of a hotel? The carpet’s thin. It smells. We hadn’t thought to request an extra blanket, so there I was, fully clothed, contacts still in my eyes, trying to sleep. Let me break the next few hours down for you.

1:15 – 2:00 am:
Pat and her dog Dixie settled into bed, and both started slow, regular breathing. I tried to ignore the discomfort of the floor and focus on getting to sleep. Instead, I felt the slow thrumming of that last coffee jangling my nerves and popping my eyes open. Cars and trucks drove by. Dixie breathed. Pat breathed. Then I heard the shift of Pat’s breathing and thought, wow, if that’s what she calls snoring, that’s nothing. Ten minutes later, it got louder. Then louder still. It crescendoed to a room-rattling snarl, before reaching a peak, a snort, and a sound like glib-glab, then stopped. Then the whole cycle started again, taking about fifteen minutes from first heavy breaths to final glib-glab.

2:00 – 2:30 am:
The snoring was now done for the night. Next came the argument in the front lobby. I could tell the one guy was the poor bastard manning the desk of a Scarborough HoJo’s in the middle of the night, but I couldn’t tell who the other guy was. And the yelling didn’t serve to educate me any further

“I’m gonna call the cops.”
“You aren’t gonna call the cops.”
“Yes I am. I’m gonna call the cops.”
“You won’t call the cops.”
“I’m gonna call them. I’m gonna call the cops.”
“Go ahead! You call the cops.”
“I’m calling the cops.”

Seriously. If I wrote conversations like that in my fiction, I’d immediately delete it.

Not able to sleep, I pushed a pillow up against the wall and sat, arms on knees, head on arms. Did nothing.

2:30 – 3:00 am:
Two dogs. Two separate occasions. The first, some little pipsqueak of a thing, out in the hallway, yipping, then it was quickly cut off. The second was a bigger dog, and it barked five or six times.

Gave up and stretched back out again. This floor wasn’t getting any more comfortable. Smelled like dogs and dirty feet. I tried not to think about how many feet had walked the spot where I lay.

3:00 – 4:00 am:
Gave up, turned on my side, got as comfortable as I could. Fell asleep for fifteen minutes or so. Woke up, turned to other side, got maybe another half hour’s sleep.

4:00 – 5:00 am:
Got cold. Dreamed of my warm leather jacket, sitting not a hundred yards from where I lay, locked in my truck. Pulled my button down shirt off the chair and draped it over me. Watched the time go by in ten minute increments. Amused myself by counting to six hundred to see if I could accurately predict ten minutes. Nope. Had the Canadian comedians MacLean & MacLean’s song running through my head. Whaddya do on a rainy night in Toronto? Though their answers were funny, mine were just sad. Lose a car. Lose my keys. Lay awake on a floor. Curse the world that allows parking garages to close too early.

I can’t express the precise toll sleeping on a hard, cold, malodorous floor will take on you. How badly it stresses you to want to sleep, to need to sleep, to beg to sleep, but sleep doesn’t come. Instead, the night is spent staring up at a small green light on the smoke detector, the only point of interest in an otherwise dark room. The thoughts, every time the time is checked, of, That’s XX less minutes of sleep. I have to get up in XX hours. And too soon, that last thought changes to I have to get up in XX minutes. And finally, pushing up off the floor, tired, depressed, frustrated, and feeling two decades older than four hours before.

Though I’d originally planned to get up at 5:30, boredom and my bladder got me vertical at 5:00.

Called a cab company. The cab that should have been there in five minutes took more like fifteen. The cabbie called me to ask me where the hotel was. He later admitted he was a little concerned about picking someone up in Scarborough (he normally worked the western end of Toronto).

He finally found me, and by 5:30, I was on my way back to Pat’s car.

$75.00 later, he dropped me in front of the despicable 1075 Bay Street location right at 6:00 and I walked in, ready to drop a can of whupass on whoever happened to be working that morning.

There was no one. The entire place was automated.

Tell me again why a parking garage with no humans, only automated systems, needs to be closed at fucking 7:00 pm?

Found the car, pulled up to the exit, plugged in the ticket. Wasn’t surprised to see the daily maximum of $12.00 had, of course, been doubled. Why shouldn’t they hold your car hostage overnight, then bill you $24.00 for the privilege?

At this point, as I pulled out my credit card, I could only laugh. I stopped at the exact same Tim’s and ordered a big, fat coffee. Because, you know, there’s always time for Tim Horton’s.

I drove back to the hotel in Scarborough, got there about 6:30. Parked Pat’s car, snagged my keys, took her keys back to her, then got back in my truck and, bone weary, headed home.

Got home about 7:00. Got my son up for school, walked the dog, had a shower, ironed a new shirt and headed back out to spend a full day standing in the Oshawa Centre to observe how one of my company’s stores run.

The next time I get invited to an event in Toronto, I’m still going to say yes, but I’ll be goddamned if I’ll park at 1075 Bay Street.

And it will turn out to be something better to do on a rainy night in Toronto.

I’m only sleeping

Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.

The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping

I’ve been feeling quite fatigued the past few months, to the point where I have an almost irresistable urge to have a nap, every single afternoon. I don’t know if I somehow fell into the European way of living after the cruise, or if I’m just getting accustomed to being an old fart.

Either way, it’s been prevalent enough that I mentioned it to my doctor, who promptly suggested a sleep study. I’ve participated in a sleep study before, but it was at least a decade ago, so I’d forgotten most of it…well, aside from the go in and sleep part.

Last night, I did the sleep study again.

The first hurdle to cross was, I had to pass at least three Tim Horton’s along the way to the sleep clinic and it seemed each one called my name just a little bit louder. I wouldn’t be lying when I told you I had the “You’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s” jingle bouncing around in my head all the way there.

I parked and headed in. There was a creepy old guy there ahead of me. How creepy? You know in those movies that take place in Transylvania or some place like that, and the hero always encounters an old woman who’s creepy and has a bad eye? The old woman from the movie Drag Me To Hell fits the bill nicely.

Not necessarily someone you wanna sleep with

Not necessarily someone you wanna sleep with

Yeah, well, that was this creepy old guy, right down to the bad eye. I’m not even kidding.

When I came in, there was a TV on up in the corner, but he just sat, staring off in a different direction. Sort of toward me, but not quite. I said hi to him. He said nothing back.

Then a couple more guys showed up, not creepy, but also a solid decade or two older. So, even though I was the youngest guy there, scenarios went through my head. Creepy old guy takes over other old guys’ minds then come after the younger dude to…

I don’t even want to think about it.

The only advantage I figured I had was, he was heavier and they put him on the first floor and I was up on the second. I would have heard him tromping up the stairs.

Anyway, we hung out in the waiting room watching possibly one of the stupidest excuses for reality television show. House Hunters International. Seriously, who the hell wants to watch people go through three or four houses and pick one? Just don’t get it.

I was so happy when the staff dude came along to collect us. Then as we walked up the stairs, I saw the Tim Horton’s cup of coffee in his hand. “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?” I said. He just laughed.

Because I was the first one going to bed, I was the first to get wired up.

Now, for those of you who have never done a sleep study, there’s no way to adequately describe exactly how much they wire you up for one of these things. So, instead, I took some pics:

The full frontal

The full frontal

The overhead shot

The under-the-chin shot (or the up-the-nostrils shot)

The right side

The right side

The wrong side

The wrong side

I'm electric!

I’m electric!

To get those wires to stick to my scalp, they have to use substantial amounts of goopty-goo that’s actually conductive gel. He took one look at my stubbled face and slathered it all over my chin too. The he stuck the leads in, then glued it all down with generous helpings of tape.

I also got the tubes in the nose so they’d know if I stopped breathing. Got a couple of leads near my eyes so they could measure R.E.M. (rapid eye movement, not the band from Athens, Georgia) and more to see if I ground my teeth and more to watch for swallowing.

Are you Sarah Connor? Do you have my teddy bear?

Are you Sarah Connor? Do you have my teddy bear?

After about a half hour of getting wired up worse than the Terminator, I got to head off and read for a while. When I was ready for bed, I just needed to let him know and that would start Round Two of the wiring procedure.

After reading for about a half hour, he was just about wiring up Guy Number Two. I let him know I was ready to be tucked in, and he said, “Okay, I’ll be there in a minute. Do you want to use the washroom one more time?” Then, he added a strong, “Please.” Not, “please?” but “please.”

He didn’t want me having to get up in the middle of the night, needing a late-night tinkle when I was wired up like a Christmas tree.

Finally, I was ready. He pulled back the covers, I laid down, then he jacked in the various leads to a couple of boxes beside the bed. then he taped a small piece to the end of my left index finger that glowed red. It would let him know how oxygenated I was. I thought it made me look like E.T.

etHe said he just needed to test a couple more things, and I would hear him over the speaker. He left the room, and I heard him heading downstairs. Then, after checking to see if I could hear him on the speaker, he had me lay with my eyes open, then with them closed, then looking up, then down, then up then down. Switch to looking left to right, back to left, back to right. Then breathe deeply, in and out. Then hold my breath for ten seconds. Then breathe normally. Then, not breathe, but move my stomach in and out (which took me a second or two to actually get working). Finally, I was to move my feet, first pointing my toes downward, then up, down then up.

Apparently all was well. Then it was time to sleep. Even with all these leads, I was still surprisingly mobile, and could sleep on either side. I sometimes sleep on my stomach as well, but that just wasn’t comfortable for me.

I have to say, on an average night at home, I can drop off pretty quickly. The Wife gets pissed at times, because it typically goes something like:

Me: “‘Night, honey.”

The Wife: “Night, babe.”

Me: “Love you.”

The Wife: “Love you too.”

Me: Snores.

But not last night. I started on my back and it wasn’t bad, but I usually fall asleep on my side. So I moved to my left side. That stupid tube going from nose to ear to throat was making itself known by digging into my cheek a bit. Then, of course, along come the thoughts. What if I can’t fall asleep? What if I’m up all night?

Then the dude in the room next to me started snoring. Not loud, but enough to hear it. I felt the frustration the Wife likely feels when I drop off in seconds. Bastard. I was still wide awake. Tired, but wide awake.

So, back to my back. Though it feels like I didn’t fall asleep there, I very likely did. Then I woke up again. Over to the right side. Tubes digging. Not comfortable. More discouraging thoughts. I should have read more, made myself really tired.

Back to the back.

And so on, through much of the night.

I knew wake up was around six in the morning, but being in a room with no windows, I had no idea what time it was. I had decided before going to bed that I would not use the desk clock feature on my phone, because I didn’t really want to know what time it was if I couldn’t sleep, and I’m glad I did.

But it’s interesting, because, of course, the dude watching the monitors knows exactly when I’m awake. So, when I woke up and rolled over, I heard him on the small speaker. “Good morning! Right on time. It’s 5:58. Just relax and I’ll be in soon.”

Yup, that’s me. It doesn’t matter what time I need to get up, I usually wake up a minute or two prior to the alarm going off. Good to see it still worked here as well.

He came in, unjacked me and we headed back into the room where he dewired me and handed me a small towel and facecloth to scrub some of that goopty-goo off. I went into the bathroom and, looking in the mirror, realized exactly how inadequate one little facecloth was going to be for the task.

I scrubbed it off my chin and anywhere else it was visible, then ran my hands under the water and finger-brushed my hair back. It was only 7:00 am and it was a ten-minute drive home. I had planned on grabbing a coffee on the way, but nope, it was straight home and right into the shower.

On the way out, I got an appointment card for about a month from now, when I’ll get my results. I already know what they’ll be. “You sleep fine, and if you want to get rid of that snore, lose forty pounds.”

Mark my words. In the meantime, I wait.

And now, here I sit, tired as hell. Though I can honestly say that I got wired on a Saturday night, and had to sleep it off.

Time for a nap.

My wife is twenty-nine again

Will you stand here in this fire with me?
Are you ready for another life?
So I bit that bullet and I took that vow
And everything is different now

Everything Is Different Now – Don Henley

Forty-seven years ago, my wife, who is twenty-nine-year-old today, was born. And yes, I wrote a blog about her last year, when she was just twenty-nine, but now that she’s turning twenty-nine again, I thought I should at least acknowledge it. After all, it’s not everyday you turn twenty-nine.

Seriously, though, if anyone should be recognized for who she is and all she does, it’s my wife.Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 616She can be the most difficult, challenging person to deal with at times. I mean, God help you if you’re the poor call centre representative and she’s had to call in a bunch of times to get something fixed. She’s not the type to yell and swear. Nope, she’ll grind you down with logic and unrelenting perseverance.374885_10150377220304759_1257958799_n

She’s the one that, when we get out of the car to head into a store, will say, even though I’ve made the car honk two or three times, “Did you lock it?” I’ll tell her I did, and she’ll say, “I didn’t hear it.” Then she’ll look at me. Obviously I have to hit the remote one more time, just to prove it.

She’s the one that will buy something. A new top, a new chair, a new car, and she’ll say, “Do you like it?” When we respond that, yes, we do like it, she’ll counter with, “Are you sure?” We’ll assure her. An hour later, she’ll say, “I don’t know, I really think it’s great. Do you like it?” Yes, we answer, yes, we do. The next day, she’ll look at it and say, “I like it, but I’m not sure you do.” Gah!

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 680Like the most fascinating characters, she’s a study of opposites. Highly competent, always excelling at virtually anything she tries, but never thinking she does anything well enough. She’s a perfectionist, but only when it comes to herself, so there’s time when she’s far too hard on herself, never doing enough to meet her own exacting standards.

She can also be off-putting to some people. She’s shy, which is so often mistaken for aloofness. She is, however, loyal to a fault once she’s accepted you and learned to trust you.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 875She’s wise. I’ve learned, over the years, that I’m not as smart as her. She’s made many decisions that I can remember thinking at the time, no, no, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do, or even, what the hell is she thinking? Yet, in each case, her decision has always been proven to be the exact right one. So, I’ve also learned, over the years, to stand back and let her take the lead. I know when I do, I’m in good hands.

She’s the organizer of the family and I see my daughter getting that same trait. Karen can organize and plan things, from a quick day trip to a week at Disney World to a Mediterranean cruise, without breaking a sweat. If it wasn’t for her, we’d likely never go anywhere interesting or see anything cool. She’s the one that gets us up and keeps us moving.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 326

She’s also the master of Freejobbing. Freejobbing is the term we use when Karen busts out a word or term or phrase that just makes no sense whatsoever. I think the most recent example of this was the other night when she told me that the forecast for the weekend was calling for wet rain. Of course, I asked her if there was any other kind of rain, and she then tried to cover her freejob by telling me the raindrops would be much larger, thereby making them much wetter, hence, wet rain. “True story!” she finished.

400101_568060313208217_837501409_nAnd that’s just to say that she makes me laugh constantly. In fact, I’m blessed with an entire family that can make me belly laugh all the time.

In so many ways, Karen and I are opposites. She reads True Crime, loves Twilight and Maeve Binchy. I’m into horror, thrillers and the latest scientific developments. She listens to Glee, the Carpenters, and soft rock from the 70s and 80s. I’ll listen to damn near anything other than those. Okay, well, those and rap and country. She’s a night person, I’m a morning person. She loves to shop. I hate shopping. And yet, there’s so much that we do share, so many areas of our life that are completely entwined.

DSCN2664I’ve been with Karen now for half my life. I’ve lived with her longer than I’ve lived with anyone else in my life. She frustrates me, she infuriates me, but she can also make me laugh, make me cry, make me smile…she can challenge me to be a better person more than anyone else I’ve ever known. With logic and perseverance, with persistence, with her own high standards, with her loyalty and trust, with her wise and knowing instincts, with her organization, with her absolute butchering of the English language and with her ability to laugh, and to make me laugh and with finally, with her opposite viewpoint, she is the perfect partner, and she is the heart and soul of this family of mine.

374682_10150378628659759_948854108_nAnd she’s my wife. God knows why she continues to put up with my shit, but I’m grateful she’s chosen to do so for so many years.

Happy birthday, babe. I love you.

155284_10151174197389759_1276868349_n