Shabbat Shalom

One thing BR insisted on if we were going to end up together and maybe one day start a family, was that I convert to Judaism.  I thought about this for a while and tried to imagine what it would be like to give up Christmas, but finally I agreed.  And I took the whole thing quite seriously.  It is, after all, a life changing commitment.

If any of you are considering converting, let me tell you a little bit about what is involved.  Do you remember what Charlotte had to go through on Sex and the City?  That was actually not that far-off from reality.

In a nutshell, it’s about a year long commitment where you have to immerse yourself in Judaism.  You have to go to Jew school, learn Hebrew, attend shul and participate in Jewish holidays.  There is a lot of reading and homework, as well as a couple of exams.  For those of you who are interested, I’ve written in detail about what’s involved at the end of this blog.

Bottom line: it’s intense.

Now, I actually really liked going to Jew school, but I found the Rabbi who taught the class a little… odd.  I could never really put my finger on it.  She was fine speaking in front of us a group, but one-on-one she was kind of awkward.  Like she would never really look you in the eyes.  I just assumed she didn’t like me.  Probably because BR kept sneaking off during the Hebrew lessons to hide in his car.  Or because throughout the rest of the class he would be checking his phone incessantly.  Which would cause me to “whisper-yell” at him.

Me: BR!  Put that away, what’s wrong with you?

BR: Shhhh.  Stop talking and pay attention.

Me:am paying attention!  You’re the one who’s not paying attention!

BR: Blondie, I’m already Jewish.  You’re the one who needs to be paying attention, not me.  So stop being such a selfish Christian and focus on the lesson.

Me: Are you playing a game on your phone?

BR: Shhhh!  You’re disrupting the class.

Anyway, towards the end of the course the Rabbi invited all of us to her home for Shabbat dinner.  She divided the class into three groups.  We were in the first group, along with four other couples.

I was very nervous about this for a couple of reasons.  First, I was sure she didn’t like me.  Second, it was a small group and you were supposed to fully participate.

I really didn’t know what to expect, since all I knew about Shabbat dinner was solely due to what I had experienced with BR’s family.  Which was basically a lot of eating and shouting.  Although we did occasionally say the prayers over the candles, wine and challah.

Then I remembered the first time BR and I tried to do Shabbat dinner together as a couple.

BR: What’s wrong Blondie?

Me: I tried to make matzoh balls but half of them exploded and the other half are hard as rocks!

BR: That’s ok, I’m sure the chicken soup is fine.  Oh… hmm… that’s an interesting colour… You know what?  Let’s just forget about the soup.  Go find some candles and we’ll light them.

Me: All I can find are birthday candles.

BR:  Oh.  Alright, that’s fine.

Me: But where are we going to stick them?  We don’t have any birthday cake!

BR: Don’t panic Blondie, I’ll figure something out… now pass me that knife… ok.  Voila!

Me: You stuck them in a cucumber?

BR: Blondie, it’s fine.  Now light them and say the prayers.  Actually, wait.  I think you’re supposed to cover your face with a handkerchief or something.  Umm… here.  Put this napkin on your head.

Me: Are you sure this is right?

BR: Blondie, I’m a Jew.  Of course it’s right.

It wasn’t.

Anyway, we arrived at the Rabbi’s house, made some awkward small talk, and eventually sat down at the dinner table.  The Rabbi said we were just waiting for her two sons to come and join us.  In the mean time she announced that not only were we the first group in the class to come to her home for Shabbat dinner, but that we were the first group of students ever because this was her first time teaching the course!

Within a few minutes her sons came to the table.  They appeared to be around 18 and 20, a little “hipster-ish” and kind of dishevelled like they had just rolled out of bed.  And the minute they sat down they looked at each other in a way that said, “we’re gonna fuck shit up.”

And they did.

Before we could start eating, the Rabbi had us stand while she passed out some prayer books, as she had selected a number of prayers for us to sing.  Which nobody knew.  So she asked her sons if they would be so kind as to help lead us in the songs.  Now I’m not sure if what they were about to do was planned or purely spontaneous, but either way it was pretty off-side.

So they began to sing (nicely at first) in Hebrew and we all nervously tried to follow along.  It started off pretty quiet and timid until I glanced up and noticed her sons eyeing each other from across the table.  The older one raised his eyebrow and started singing a little louder.  Then the younger one cocked his head and raised his eyebrow and also began to sing a little louder.  Then the older one started singing even louder, and then also a couple of octaves lower like he was performing in a Hebrew opera (if there is such as thing).  The younger one also started singing like he was in a Hebrew opera and was now trying to add a little “harmony” to his brother, as well as some wildly exaggerated hand gestures.  Then the older one started adding crazier hand gestures.  And because I have a tendency to laugh (often uncontrollably) in inappropriate situations, all I could do was put my head down and stare at my prayer book.  I couldn’t even look at BR.

Although I have to admit, they actually had pretty good voices.  But it didn’t take the Rabbi long to notice that this was getting out of control so she quickly wrapped up the singing.  Then we all said the prayers over the candles, wine and bread and sat down.

At first no one was really talking (probably because we were all a little stunned from the singing), so we were just sitting there looking awkwardly at one another.  Finally the Rabbi broke the silence by asking us to go around the table and talk a little bit about our experiences with Judaism so far.  So a few of us shyly took turns speaking and everyone was listening and nodding and being very supportive – until her oldest son decided he was going to “interject” and go on a 20-minute rant about how stupid he thought Judaism was and how we were all a bunch of suckers for getting “scammed” into this.

Then he threw his own Rabbi mother right under the bus:

Rebel son: And my MOM – she’s not even really Jewish!  She was born a Protestant!  She only converted for my dad, and now they’re divorced and he’s shacked up with some Catholic chick!

What the…?  There was an immediate awkward silence and everyone was staring at the Rabbi who was now looking pretty sheepish because she had just been “outed” at the dinner table in front of her students.  Her younger son was laughing.

Now, I can completely understand why someone who was committed to Judaism would choose not to openly disclose that they had converted.  Because even though you’ve converted, some Jews will still never fully accept you as Jewish.

However, when it is your JOB to guide and participate in the conversion of others, it may be extremely beneficial to those who are making this life-long commitment – not to mention struggling with all of the inevitable changes that go along with it – that you openly share with them that you once went through it yourself and everything turned out fine!  You’re a freakin’ Rabbi now!  You can’t get anymore Jewish than that!

But I digress.  Anyway, to break the awkward silence, the Rabbi decided to change the subject entirely and talk about what great musicians her sons were.  Apparently the one who gave the inappropriate rant was very good at playing bass.  At which point he announced that he was going to go upstairs and get his bass so he could play us a few numbers.  He then ran back down to the table with it and proceeded to play emo-rock through the rest of the dinner.  Awesome.

And then dinner was over, and she saw us all out.  And it was like nothing had happened.  Which kind of makes sense because that’s typically how WASPS handle things.  You know, force a smile and pretend there’s no elephant in the room.  A real Jew would have never let that happen.

BR:  I cannot believe that just happened.  I’m shocked.

Me: That was by far the best dinner party I have ever been to!

Is there a moral to this story?  No, not really.  I just hope BR appreciates what I went through to convert for him.  Because at the end of the day it really is, as my own Rabbi puts it, “a selfless act of love” in which there will be many diversions, obstacles, and unsupportive people along the way… maybe even your teaching Rabbi’s own children.

 

Converting to Judaism

If you are considering conversion, the first thing you have to do is find a Rabbi who is willing to sponsor you.  Without this sponsorship you will not be admitted into the Intro to Judaism course that is compulsory.  You will become a member of your sponsoring Rabbi’s synagogue, and he or she will act as a personal mentor to you throughout the entire process, should you have any questions or concerns.

And that thing about being turned away three times before you’re even allowed to begin conversion?  That’s true.  In my case however, our Rabbi was a family friend so he spared me that awkward initiation.  I did however have to go and meet with him for a good hour to discuss my reasons for wanting to convert.

Now keep in mind that I converted to Reform Judaism, which is the most “liberal” form of Judaism (then Conservative, then Orthodox).  But the whole process still took about 11 months to complete.

Once you have your sponsoring Rabbi, you can begin the Intro to Judaism course.  Which means one night a week for three hours in a classroom with a bunch of other blond shiksas and their Jewish significant others.  For the first half of the class we learned Hebrew and for the second half we got a lesson on Judaism.  Eventually you learn about all the holidays, history, culture, traditions, and important Jewish figures. This goes on for 10 months, with a break during the summer.

Now, taking the course itself is not enough.  You have to pass the course.  Which means reading a number of books and answering homework questions, writing a mid-term essay, and passing two final exams: One in reading, writing and translating Hebrew, and one on everything else you learned in the class.  You’re also expected to attend shul regularly and participate in any assigned field trips.

Oh – and you have to be prepared to give up any previous religious beliefs and holidays.  So basically Christmas will be forever dead to you.  And the baby Jesus.  Good luck explaining that to your parents.  Mine only cried a little.

But wait, there’s more!  Once you’ve passed the course you then have to go in front of a Beit Din, which is a panel of Rabbis who ask you a number of personal questions regarding your conversion in order to gage your “sincerity” and level of commitment to Judaism.  Then they send you out of the room and discuss amongst themselves for a few (agonizingly stressful) minutes before they bring you back in and tell you whether or not you will be accepted into the faith.

Then you’re taken over to the mikvah (a sacred pool) where you have to get completely naked in front of a stranger (in my case a female Cantor) who, along with the Rabbi (who was behind the door), will help guide you through the prayers and the ritual, and watch as you fully immerse yourself in the bath 3 times.  When you come out after your third dunk, you are now reborn a Jew.

Mazel Tov!

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Driving

I do not drive.  Not because I can’t – I do have my licence – but because I choose not to.  For a few reasons:

1) I have literally no sense of direction and I get lost (followed by panic, then crying) very easily.  Even with a GPS.

2) City driving is much harder and much more stressful than driving in the suburbs.

3) I cannot parallel park.

4) I get honked at a lot.  A lot.

5) Too many buttons confuse me, and BR’s cars might as well be spaceships.

So when you put all of those things together, even the thought of driving makes me literally sick to my stomach.  I’ve also noticed that BR’s cars get a lot of attention on the road.  However, I’ve noticed they get significantly more attention when there is a female driving them badly.  Which makes me more nervous than usual, which in turn makes my driving worse.

Now, I have to point out that it is extremely nice that BR wants me to drive his cars.  Especially when most men (at least in my experience) don’t want women anywhere near their cars.  Especially women who drive like I do.  Especially when each of his cars cost more than my condo.  But he was very encouraging.  And by “encouraging” I mean would drag me kicking and screaming into the driver’s seat and make me drive.

Just after we moved in together I began taking conversion classes (I converted to Judaism) every Tuesday night for three hours, across the city.  BR was encouraged to come, so we would go together.  Except for one week when he was away on business, so I had to go by myself.

Me: Uh-oh.  How am I going to get to class tonight?

BR: Easy, you’ll just take the car.

Me: You want me to drive myself?  In the city?  In the dark?  Can I please just take a cab?

BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous.  YOU ARE A BIG GIRL.  You need to get comfortable driving.  You’re taking the car.

Me: Ok fine.  But if I die in a fiery car crash you’re going to be really sorry because it will be all your fault!

So I took the car.  And miraculously I made it to class.  I was a little white-nuckled, I hyperventilated the entire way, and it took me almost an hour to get there instead of the usual 25 minutes.  But I made it.

Getting home, however, was a different story.  I don’t know what made me think I should take a slightly different route home, but I did.  When I finally found the street that I was supposed to turn left on, I put my blinker on, and slowly began to turn.  But instead of turning onto the street, I suddenly realized I was stuck on the streetcar tracks and was driving into an underground tunnel.  There was a big sign above me that said “DANGER! NO CARS” but it was too late because I was already in the tunnel and I had no choice but to keep driving.

When I got to the bottom there was an underground bus station (who knew?) with a number of buses and several people waiting to board them.  Let me remind you that I was in a loud, fancy sports car.  So I did the “subtlest” thing I could think of which was to pull up beside a bus and ever-so-gently “honk” at the bus driver.  The bus driver did not look over, but everyone else did.  So I honked again.  Still nothing from the bus driver, but a lot more perplexed stares from everyone else.

I could feel the tears coming so I got out of the car and went over to the bus driver.

Me: Um, excuse me, hello…

Bus driver with an attitude: Can I help you?

Me: Um, yeah… I kind of drove the car down here by mistake… not really sure how to get out.

Bus driver with an attitude: The same way you came in.

Me: Oh, you mean through the tunnel?  I have to go back through the tunnel?  Umm, okay… am I going to get hit by a streetcar?

Bus driver with an attitude: Yah… you might!

So that was awkward.  And now everyone on the bus was watching.  So I got back into the car and realized that somehow I had to get this thing turned around.  Since there was not a lot of room to do this (and the car is kind of big and I don’t have great depth perception), I had to do about a 27-point turn to get the car facing in the opposite direction.  And every time I put it in reverse (approximately 27 times) it would beep loudly.

Finally I was able to drive out.  I wasn’t sure which tunnel to exit and I really didn’t want to risk a head-on collision with a streetcar.  But then a bus started to leave and instinctively I followed it.

Wrong again!  That bus somehow lead me back onto the streetcar tracks, only now they were elevated a few feet above traffic.  So now I was driving alongside and above all the other cars, in a fancy sports car with smoke billowing out the back, because I hadn’t realized that I had also left the parking break on.

I tried to just look straight ahead and not look down at the other drivers (kind of like when a dog looks away so you can’t “see” it) but eventually someone started honking and pointing and shouting “you’re driving on the streetcar tracks!”, and was like, “I know!” while shrugging my shoulders as if to say how in the world did this happen?

But seriously, how in the world did this happen?

Finally I made it home.  Was I upset?  Yes.  Was I crying?  Yes.  But mostly I was mad because I knew something like this would happen which is WHY WANTED TO TAKE A TAXI!

So I got in the door and texted BR some long, ranting, angry text in ALL CAPS even though it takes a very long time to text in ALL CAPS on an i-phone.  Unless I’m doing it wrong, which I probably am.  But BR wasn’t phased.  He thought I was over exaggerating.  He didn’t even seem upset that I almost crashed up the car.  Until a couple of months later when I actually did crash up the car by backing it into a tree, and causing a few thousand dollars worth of damage.

Now I’m not going to say I did that on purpose, and I’m not going to say that I didn’t.  But I am going to say that he’s never again insisted that I keep driving.

Check and mate BR.  Check and mate.

Petting Zoo

We have a farm around the corner from our cottage where BR keeps his polo ponies.  BR loves animals.  I could honestly do without the horses because I don’t find them all that “friendly”, but he loves them, so that’s what matters.

Then one day BR went to a fair and saw the cutest, friendliest alpaca ever.

BR: I’m totally getting one of those.

Me: You should totally get one of those.

So without doing any research on alpacas whatsoever, we found the closest alpaca farm and set out to buy one.  Now, I really have to give BR points for spontaneity here because it generally takes him an abnormally long time to make a decision on anything.  At least on anything practical.  Like 6 months to pick a faucet, if you get my drift.

But oh no, today he was a man on a mission and we were coming home one way or another with a big, fluffy, adorable alpaca who would live happily ever after at our farm.

I won’t go into detail about everything that happened at the alpaca farm, but I will say I started to get a bit hesitant when I noticed how skittish the alpacas were in general, and how it took three people to wrangle one, put it in a headlock, and eventually get a harness on it while the alpaca was kicking and throwing spit-balls at them.  Apparently he was one of the “friendly” ones.

And then the alpaca lady asked us which other ones we wanted.  We looked at her a little quizzically and explained that we just wanted one.  She shook her head and explained that alpacas were herd animals, and you couldn’t keep just one.  So we looked at each other and agreed to take another one, but she shook her head again and said we had to take three.  Three?  Yes three.  So we picked out two other “friendly” ones, watched them get wrestled into their harnesses, and then she insisted we couldn’t leave without also taking two barn kittens.  “Gift with purchase” she said.

So BR wrote her a check and we were just about to leave when she asked what would be protecting the alpacas.  We asked her from what exactly, and she explained that alpacas were really just large sheep (at least in the eyes of predators) and that if we didn’t have something to protect them they would get eaten by wolves or coyotes.

BR: So what do they need for protection?

Alpaca lady: Well you’ll have to get a donkey.

A donkey?  She didn’t sell donkeys, but she could give us the name of someone who did.

So we went to the donkey farm, and the next thing we knew we were now coming home with three alpacas, two barn kittens and one donkey.  Awesome.

Me: BR, what are we going to do with all these animals?  We’re not farmers!

BR: Blondie, don’t worry.  The animals will take care of each other.  And besides, I’ve always wanted my own petting zoo.

Me: Like, as a side business?

BR: No Blondie, my own petting zoo.  For myself.

Me: Ummm… ok.  Don’t you think this is getting a little “Neverland Ranch-ish?”  Like, is it normal for a grown man to want his own petting zoo?

BR: Blondie are you kidding me?  What grown man wouldn’t want his own petting zoo.  Do you have any idea how awesome petting zoos are?  Obviously you’re not a farmer.

Me: Obviously neither one of us is a farmer!  Which is why I’m starting to question this rather large commitment we just made to all the livestock we just purchased!

Eventually the animals did settle in.  The donkey is super cute, although he bites a little.  The alpacas are not even remotely friendly, and one of them in particular is a real asshole.  But the cats are adorable.

Then about a year later we were on a trip to Switzerland and we saw some highland cows.

BR: I’m totally getting one of those.

Me: You should totally get one of those.

I should have learned my lesson the first time, because he totally did get one of those.  Only instead of a cow we ended up with a bull.  A bull who BR decided not to get fixed in case one day he decided to “breed” him.  Again I reminded him that we are not farmers and maybe he wanted to rethink the whole “breeding” thing, and again he told me to stop being such a dream crusher.

The bull is now enormous and everyone (including all the other animals) is terrified of it.  His horns are massive.  He charges.  If you don’t fill up his water bucket he gets mad, knocks it over, and head-buts it to the opposite end of the field.  Personally I’m afraid of getting gored to death, but BR insists that I’m overreacting.

Then last weekend I was making lunch at the cottage and BR ran into the kitchen.  I assumed he was hungry.

Me: Lunch is almost ready, are you hungry?

BR: Blondie, I can’t eat now, the lambs have escaped.

Me: Um, what lambs?

BR: Our lambs!

Me: What do you mean our lambs?  When did we get lambs?

BR: This morning!  But they’ve already escaped so we have to go catch them!

Me: When were you going to tell me you got… actually never mind.  You better go, the lambs are on the lam!

BR: BLONDIE THAT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY AND YOU KNOW IT!

And so he left.  It took two hours, five men, an ATV, a motorcycle, a rowboat (?) and a lasso, but eventually they were caught.  They were chased by the bull, the donkey, the alpacas, the horses, five men, and various machinery. So I’m pretty sure those lambs hate our guts.  They were plucked out of their nice little lamb field and literally dropped in the middle of the Hunger Games.

Welcome home lambs.  Welcome home.

Opposites Attract

BR and I are kind of an odd match.  In fact on paper it would appear as though we are very ill-suited:

He is an evil genius who loves technology – I am a very nice person of average intelligence and can barely work my phone.  He likes extreme sports – I like safety.  He loves sailing – I get sea sick and have an irrational fear of drowning.  He loves playing polo – horses scare me and I think polo is a stupid sport for rich people.  He likes travelling – I am a homebody and I find travel stressful, especially since I have no sense of direction and can barely make my way through the airport without crying a little.  He likes techno music and hates old country – techno music makes me want to rip my eyes out and I love old country.  He is Jewish – I had to convert and promise that Christmas is forever dead to me.  He is a robot – I am an actual person with feelings.

BR: I’m going to assume something’s the matter with you because there’s water coming out of your eyes.

Me: That’s because I’m crying.

Anyway, these differences became apparent very early on in our relationship.  One spring day I asked if we could drive downtown so I could buy some flip-flops, and then go for fish and chips.  He was hesitant.

BR: I’m not driving down to that hipster street full of smelly beatniks.

Me: Oh come on, it’ll be fun.  We’ll take the dogs with us.

I finally persuaded him.  Of course when we got down there it was mobbed and we couldn’t find a parking spot.  So BR decided take matters into his own hands and park his fancy sports car in front of a fire hydrant.

Me: I’m pretty sure you can’t park here.  We’re blocking a fire hydrant.

BR: Blondie relax.  This spot is reserved for rich people. (evil laugh)

Random hippie on a bike: You can’t park by the fire hydrant asshole!

That comment was followed by a number of sneers and disapproving looks but I’m not sure how many, because my eyes quickly averted the crowd.  Our day had just begun and within minutes we had our first public shaming.  So I hurried into a shop, bought the flip-flops, and ducked back into the car so we could head down the street towards the restaurant.

When we got there the restaurant was packed.  So I told BR to walk the dogs in the park across the street while I waited for our food.  He came back about 20 minutes later looking a little agitated and I was still waiting.  So I told him to go put the dogs in the car, come back and help me carry the food out.  They were left in the car with the windows open for literally THREE minutes.  But it didn’t matter.  By the time we got back to the car there was an angry mob surrounding it.  One particularly aggressive woman blocked BR from opening his door and shouted how she was a dog owner and she would never leave her dogs in her car and we’re lucky she didn’t call the police and what kind of sick people were we.  The angry mob agreed with her.  Somehow we managed to elbow our way through the crowd and as soon as I got into the car I slunk down in the seat and covered my face with my hand.

BR: Blondie!  Why are you hiding from these beatniks?  IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

Me: I don’t like confrontation!  And that was our second public shaming today!

BR: Do you think I care what these hippies think?  Do you know what I’m allowed to do in this car?  I’m allowed to run hippies over!  I knew there was a reason I never come down here!  THIS NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD!  And you made me take my poodles into that filthy park full of junkies and there were a bunch of beatniks playing bicycle polo!  AND I COULD TELL THEY WERE MOCKING POLO!

So that was our first and last trip to that particular part of town.  And I assure you that since then, I’ve had to adapt to BR’s lifestyle way more than he’s had to adapt to mine.

But don’t get me wrong, there are some similarities between us.  We do share a very similar sense of humour.  We laugh a lot.  And believe me, in this relationship a sense of humour is key.  So is patience.  So is alcohol.  Plus I’ve always been attracted to people who are a little off-the-wall and eccentric anyway, so I generally find his antics entertaining.  In a bizarre, I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life sort of way.

And although I joke that he is a robot with no feelings, he is – deep down – extremely kind-hearted and generous.  He has given me a very lovely life that is at the very least never, ever boring.

And at the end of the day I think I balance him.  There has to be one relatively normal person in any relationship, and I am that person.  I’d also like to think I offer a voice of reason, although it can be a little difficult at times to reason with BR.  And by “a little difficult at times” I mean literally impossible.

And I actually never used to believe that opposites attract.  I always assumed that like attracts like.  But could you imagine two BR’s living together?  Of course not.  The world would explode.

“I think I’ve made a terrible mistake…”

When I moved in with BR four years ago, I was 31 and he was 39.  Overnight I went from 600 square feet of normal to 6000 square feet of totally bonkers.  Let me sum it up for you:

– spooky, almost menacing-looking mansion way down at the bottom of a ravine.

– creaky, unreliable funicular to take you up to street level.

– scary grotto (if I ever go missing, please look there).

– unfinished moat, accentuated by pylons and caution tape.

– ferocious poodles

– lots of cameras, lots of codes, lots of buttons, lots of Star Wars paraphernalia.

Me: BR, what was the point of building that grotto underneath the pool?  I’ve never seen you use it.  And I will definitely never use it because it’s basically just a dark, scary underground cave.  With water in it.

BR: Blondie, I started that project before you moved in and my plan was to fill it full of Playboy models.  But then you came along, so now that dream is basically ruined.

Me: Oh.  Sorry.

So the house was big, and it was a little scary.  But more importantly, I literally couldn’t work anything in the house.  BR is one of those techie geniuses who likes to keep anything with buttons just beyond the realm of normal human understanding.  And I am naturally terrible when it comes to working anything with buttons.  So things that I used to take for granted like “lights” and “television” and “doors” had now become these weird obstacles that were getting in the way of daily functioning.  For the first couple of days I was actually locked inside the house.  And do you know what it feels like to be locked inside your house for two days?  It feels like you have early-onset dementia.

Me: How do I turn on the music in here?

BR: See that panel on the wall?  You have to touch the stars in a very specific order to get access into the system. DO NOT TELL ANYONE THE SECRET STAR CODE.  Then you have to click on the room you want to play music in.  Then blah blah blah press this button, blah blah blah press another four buttons, blah blah buttons, buttons, buttons.  AGAIN, DO NOT TELL ANYONE THE SECRET STAR CODE.

Me: Umm, it’s ok, I think I’ll just not listen to any music right now.  Or probably ever.

The house is full of codes and I literally can’t remember any of them.  Except for the wine cellar.  That one I’ve memorized.  You will often find me down there curled up in the fetal position, clutching a bottle…

I remember the first time BR left me alone in the house to go away on business.  I decided I was going to watch TV.  So I grabbed all four remotes and my page and a half of notes on how to turn the television on, and tried to follow everything I had written down step-by-step.  I obviously did something wrong because the screen went blank and a message flashed across it that said:

IF EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES CALL ENGINEER (phone number)

So I began to dial the number and then I was like, wait a minute, this is his number!  And I just tried calling him about something unrelated and he didn’t answer!  And now I’m alone in a big spooky house with no comforting background noise and I would consider reading a book but I can’t work the lights in the bedroom!  And do you know what it feels like to not be able to work the lights in your bedroom?  It feels like you have early-onset dementia!

Me: BR, when are you going to show me how to work the lighting system?  I just barely know the basics.

BR: Blondie, you only have level-one security clearance.  Therefor you are only entitled to know basic lights.

Me: Um, ok.  How many security levels are there?

BR: Six.  And I am the only one who has level-six security clearance.  You will probably never have level-six.

Me: Well I don’t really care about level-six, I just want enough light in the bathroom so that I don’t come out looking like a clown after I’ve put my makeup on.

BR: Hmmm, let me think about that.  That would mean bumping you up to level-two.  I’m not sure if you’re ready for level-two.

Me: BR!  I just want to know how to work the lights in the bathroom so I can put my makeup on like a normal person!

BR: Blondie, I can’t just bump you up a security level because you’re not skilled enough to put your makeup on in the dark.  This will take some careful consideration.  I’ll get back to you in a few days.

Me: What is wrong with you.  Seriously.

But it’s amazing what you can get used to when you live with something long enough.  And the moat is one example of this.  Like now I barely notice the rotten slabs of plywood covering it so that you can (sort of) safely get across to the gate.  And after a while the caution tape started to look rather whimsical.  And the pylons reminded me of those quirky garden gnomes.

Until one night when we decided to host a dinner party and it finally dawned on me that our entranceway kind of looked like the entranceway to Hell.  So I asked BR if we could clean it up a little.  He said he would take care of it.  And if by “take care of it” he meant adding two fake potted plants on either side of the moat, then yes, he took care of it.

Unfortunately it takes BR an absurdly long time to get things either constructed or repaired.  This is because he is – how can I put it – “frugal” and also paranoid that everyone (especially workmen) is trying to rip him off.  So after months of me complaining, he eventually hires the cheapest person he can find on Craigslist who has no references and is likely a serial killer, and not only does he try to kill you but also completely botches the job, and then the whole process starts all over again.

We have been through a countless number of gardeners, landscapers, plumbers, electricians (many of them likely serial killers from Craigslist), household staff, personal assistants, assistants for the assistants, etc, etc.  It’s exhausting.

So now it’s four years later and not much has changed.  I can still barely work anything.  The house is still scary.  We’re still living with several “unfinished” projects.  And I still feel like I have early-onset dementia because even getting a cup of coffee is difficult.  But on the positive side, I have now have level-three security clearance.

Thanks BR.

Allow me to introduce myself…

Hello everyone,

my name is – well I won’t tell you what my real name is – but you can call me Blondie.  At least that’s what my significant other calls me.  And for the sake of anonymity I’ll be referring to him as BR.  Which is short for Bunny Rabbit (I know, I know).

Ironically BR is nothing like a bunny rabbit – more like a crazed, eccentric, somewhat geeky, hilariously funny evil genius who loves martinis, poodles, beef jerky, Star Wars, his i-pad… oh – and making money.  Lots of it.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  This is not a blog about how to meet a millionaire, or how to marry one.  This is about how to live with a millionaire.

Nothing can really prepare you for this.  In fact in my case, I had not actually planned on this.  I certainly wasn’t “groomed” for this with my modest middle-class upbringing and hippie parents.  Do not be fooled by the fantasy ladies (or gentlemen).  Men are generally nuts but rich men are totally insane.  And if you think about it, it makes sense.  There’s usually a reason that they have become so successful in business.  And it’s not because they’re easy-going, patient, flexible, sentimental, romantic types who like to share their “feelings” and watch Glee with you.  They are bossy.  They are used to getting what they want when they want it.  They like to be in control of everything.  They are highly competitive and ruthless.  They are often paranoid.  They have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  They want to clone themselves.

BR: I’ve decided I’d like have my own clone army.

Me: I really don’t think you should be allowed to clone anything.  Especially yourself.

BR: I’m doing it.

Me: Well knowing your clones they’ll probably try to overtake you.  You’ll have a clone mutiny on your hands.  Then what are you going to do?

BR: Blondie!  Don’t you think I’ve already thought of that?  What are you, some kind of clone novice?

Me: (eyeball roll followed by long sigh)

And just when you think it can’t get any weirder, it does.  But with the right attitude, and the right amount of alcohol and prescription medication, life with these men – or in my case, this man – can be very, very funny.