Horror-mones

BR and I have been trying to have a baby for about three years now.  It’s not exactly going well.

Which is why it’s been over a month since my last post.  You know how drinking and dialling is a bad idea?  Well pumping yourself full of fertility drugs and blogging is also a very bad idea.  So I figured I would wait until I was feeling a little more “rational.”

Allow me to let you in on a little secret about fertility treatment that nobody really talks about: IT SUCKS.  I was not prepared for how much it would suck.  And all those glossy magazine photos of blissfully happy forty and fifty-something celebrities holding their newborn babies is totally misleading.  I’d like to see pictures of those women while they’re eyeballs-deep in hormones and trying to perform every-day tasks… like putting on pants.

Now I’m not going to go into all of the dirty details about fertility treatment because it’s something you have to go through to fully understand.  But trust me.  It TOTALLY SUCKS.

So as a result, this “baby” has been torturing me for three years and is already acting like a real jerk.  Thanks baby.

And on top of that I have to live with and take care of my adorable adult baby – or “man toddler” – who also tortures me on a regular basis.

ME: BR, I really don’t feel good tonight.  These hormones are making me feel like crap.  Can I have some nursing?

BR: Blondie, I’m not a nurse.  I’m a doctor.  Therefore I can’t really take of you, I can only diagnose you.  And I diagnose you with looking like a crazy person.

ME: You are not a doctor.  And I know I look crazy because I feel crazy.  Which is why I need some nursing.

BR:  Blondie, come on.  It’s not like you have a broken leg.  You just have googly eyes.

ME: Pardon?

BR: Is your leg broken?

ME: Are you actually comparing five cycles of fertility treatment to a broken leg?  What is wrong with you?

BR: You’re right.  A broken leg is much worse.  I should know, I’ve had a broken leg.

ME: BR!  Come on, I’m begging you – just rub my back or try to console me or something!  I really don’t feel well!

BR: Blondie, I already told you – I’m not a nurse.  I’m a doctor.  Therefore there’s nothing I can do for you.

ME: YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR.

When we first found out we had to do IVF we were instructed to make an appointment with the fertility counsellor.  Together.  BR had never been to a therapist before so he was a little “hesitant.”

THERAPIST: Now I understand you’ve already been through three unsuccessful IUI treatments.  So I just want to ask you both some questions before you begin IVF.  Now please understand that the purpose of this is not to assess whether or not you’ll make good parents.  It’s to assess whether or not your relationship can handle the stress of such an aggressive treatment.

Apparently a number of relationships do not survive fertility treatment, especially if it’s ongoing.  Which is why the therapist looks for any potential “red flags” and then teaches you some valuable communication skills to help you both cope with the stress.

THERAPIST: Now BR, of all the times you’ve tried to console Blondie during her previous treatments, what percentage of the time do you think you’ve been successful in consoling her?

BR: (blinking and staring)

THERAPIST: Ok, let me rephrase the question.  Of all the times that Blondie has been upset and you’ve tried to make her feel better, how often do you think you were successful?

BR: I think that depends on your definition of “console.”

THERAPIST: Let’s try this again.  Think of all the times Blondie has been upset during treatment.  What percentage of the time do you actually say or do something that makes her feel better?

BR:  Well… do you mean physically upset or mentally upset?  I can usually only tell if she’s upset when she’s crying…

ME: Oh my God, pick a number.

BR: What?

ME: A number!  She wants a number!  What percentage of the time do you try to make me feel better and succeed?  PICK A NUMBER.

BR: Fine.  Twenty percent.

THERAPIST: Oh dear.  Ok, and Blondie?  What percentage of the time do you think he’s successful in consoling you?

ME: Actually I was also going to say about twenty percent.

BR: Woo hoo!

And then he high-fived me.  Right in the middle of our therapy session.

THERAPIST:  Ok, that’s not really something to be “high-fiving” about.  It’s actually a pretty low number… and a potential red flag…

BR: But we got the same number.

THERAPIST: Yes, I’m aware that you got the same number but…

BR:  See?  Woo hoo!

He high-fived me again.

THERAPIST: That’s not really the point.

BR: What is the point exactly?

So that was helpful.  I’ve tried to explain to BR just how crappy the hormones make me feel and how painful the procedures are – not to mention how exhausting the stress of it all is – but he really doesn’t get it.  It’s not his fault.  He’s a man.  And a robot.  But he’s trying to be supportive so I have to give him a little credit… right?

ME:  BR, I really don’t feel well, I don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m stressed, I’m exhausted, I’m crampy, and these hormones are making me feel nuts.  I’m so miserable!

BR:  Blondie, I don’t understand.  All I know is that your hair is all messy and your makeup is smudged and your eyeballs are really googly.  In fact I’m not even sure I want to be around you right now.  You look kind of scary.

ME:  You don’t want to be around me right now?  I don’t want to be around me right now!  But unlike you, I can’t get away from myself!  I really don’t feel good and you’re not helping!

BR: Blondie, I’m trying but I’m not a mind reader.  I can’t just look at your face and your body language and listen to what you’re telling me and “magically” figure out what’s wrong with you.  I need a hint.  Text me an emoticon.

ME: Pardon?

BR: An emoticon Blondie.  That would be helpful.

ME: There is no emoticon for how I’m feeling!

BR: Try.  I can’t help you if you can’t help me.

So I sent him one:  >%-( 

BR:  Oh… yikes.  That looks pretty bad… I think I’m going to follow my initial instincts and leave the house for a while.

ME: You’re leaving me?

BR: Blondie, it’s ok.  Just do what you normally do and hide under the covers and cry hysterically.  Then by the time I get home you’ll feel better!  Here’s a bunch of kleenex.  Now I’m just going to cover your head with this blanket…

And then I heard the door shut.

Now another unfortunate thing you have to endure while in the throes of IVF is the constant appointments.  You have to go to the clinic every morning for blood work and a yucky ultrasound so they can check your hormone levels and see how your follicles are growing.  This can go on for days and it gets pretty annoying after a while for both us.  But all BR has to do is drive me.  He gets the easy job.

ME: Wakey wakey BR, I need you to drive me to the clinic for blood and ultrasound.

BR: Blondie I’m not feeling well this morning.  You’ll have to take a taxi.

ME:  A taxi?  Please don’t make me do that.  Those guys drive like jerks and I’m all crampy and I don’t want my ovaries jostling around.

BR: Ugh, Blondie!  I really don’t want to drive you to the clinic today, I don’t feel good.  You and your ovaries will be fine.

ME:  Are you planning on playing hockey today?

BR: Maybe.  What does that have to do with anything?

ME: If you’re well enough to play hockey, you’re well enough to drive me to my appointment.  Get in the car.

BR: No.

ME: All you have to do is drive me!  You don’t have to pump yourself full of hormones and go to the clinic for a daily probing!  Come on, we’re in this together.

BR: No, we’re in this separately.

ME: We are NOT in this separately.  This is potentially OUR baby.

BR: No.  It’s my baby.

ME: What is wrong with you.  Please get up and drive me to my appointment.

BR: Shhhh… I’m just going to shut my eyes and go back to sleep…

ME: (blinking and staring)

BR: Can you just rub my back a little?

ME: GET IN THE FUCKING CAR!

BR: Fine.  But you’ll have to dress me.  Go get my clothes.

ME:  Oh my God.  Ok, here are your clothes.  Now put them on and let’s go.

BR:  No, you put them on me.  Pretend I’m the baby.  It’s good practice for you.

ME: Are you kidding… ok.  Ugh, I can’t even get your sock on, your leg is so heavy!  At least lift your leg a little!

BR:  Blondie, I’m the baby.  You have to dress me.  I’m totally helpless.

ME: For the love of God, you weigh a thousand pounds!  Put your pants on!  We’re going to be late!

BR: Blondie, I’m getting cold.  Hurry.  I’m going to start crying.  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!  WAAAAH!

ME: PLEASE PUT YOUR PANTS ON AND GET IN THE FUCKING CAR!!!

Then a couple of days later BR surprised me with something nice.

BR: Blondie, I got you a present today.

ME: You did?  What is it?

BR: It’s a booklet that shows all sorts of different “moods”.  See?  And each mood has a description to go with the cute little emoticon picture.  So now you can just flip to the appropriate mood and then I’ll look at it and try to understand how you’re feeling!

ME: Aw, thanks BR!  That was very thoughtful.

BR: I know.  Maybe too thoughtful…

But then he heated up some chicken soup for me and rubbed my tummy for a while.  He was a good nurse.

Unfortunately this cycle did not work out for us.  I needed to get out of the house and away from my usual surroundings so BR took me to Chicago.  We didn’t see or do as much as we would have liked, but we were both a little depressed and I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. So we mostly just wandered around aimlessly and ate a lot of deep dish pizza.

ME: Ok BR, are you ready to go shopping?

BR: Yes.  But first I’d like to stop for pizza.

ME: But you just had breakfast.

BR: Blondie, I’m hungry.  And I want delicious deep dish pizza.

ME: Oh no, I know exactly what’s going to happen.  You’re going to scarf down an entire pizza and then you’re going to make us go back to the hotel so you can nap for three hours.  I don’t want to spend all day in the hotel.  I need to get out.

BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous.  I’m only going to have one or two pieces.

That was a blatant lie.

ME: Umm, BR?  Are you ok?  You just ate an entire medium deep dish pizza.  And your eyes are all glazed over.  And I think you may be slurring…

BR: I’m in a pizza coma, Blondie.  I need to go back to the hotel and lie down.

ME: But you promised me date day!  And shopping!  Together!  I knew this was going to happen.

BR: Blondie, you don’t need me to go shopping.  You can go shopping by yourself.

ME: I don’t want to go by myself, I want to go with you.  As a couple.  Having a date day.

BR: Blondie, just go to Saks and come back to the hotel when you’re done.

ME: If you let me loose in Saks by myself after a month of hormonal hell and depression, I’m going to bankrupt you.  Is that what you want?

BR: Fine.  I choose bankruptcy… and pizza.

But aside from the pizza fiasco – multiple pizza fiascos – BR actually took very good care of me on this trip.  He could tell I was wiped out and on the verge of a breakdown.  He let me drink all the bottled water from the mini bar that I wanted.  He let me order as much room service as I wanted.  He bought me some very pretty shoes.  He rubbed my back and snuggled me in bed while we watched multiple episodes of Pawn Stars.  And he consoled me every time a baby would appear on a commercial and I would start to tear up and cry.  He was the best crazy-pretend-nurse-who-thinks-he’s-a-doctor that a girl could ask for.

So we’re home now and planning our next trip – to Israel!  Apparently they have some of the world’s leading fertility technology.  So we’re still hopeful that we’ll find some answers that will eventually give us a baby.

And right now hope is better than nothing.

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Hoarding

BR is a bit of a closet hoarder.  And no, I don’t mean he hoards things in his closet (well some things, actually), I mean he hoards things in secret.  Strange things.  And he does NOT like it when I throw things out.

I, on the other hand, do not like clutter so I have become a secret “thrower-outer.”  I have to wait until he’s not looking, quickly get rid of a bunch of crap, and then hide the evidence.  But at least with BR if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  He doesn’t usually realize stuff is missing unless he catches me red-handed.  However, this has backfired on occasion.

BR: Blondie, I was up in the garage today and do you know what I found all wrapped up in a box, hidden in the corner?

Me: Um, no.  What?

BR: My vase collection!

Me: Uh-oh.  You weren’t supposed to find that.

BR: Well I did.  And you know what I’m going to do?  I’m going to systematically put them all back, one by one, throughout the entire house.

Me: Please don’t do that.  I hate them.

BR: And then I’m going to buy a whole bunch of fake flowers and put them back in all my vases because you obviously threw those out too!

Me: Do NOT put any more fake flowers in this house!  I’m begging you.  They’re disgusting!

BR: I’m doing it.  And then I’m going out and buying more vases and even more fake flowers to teach you a lesson!

I remember when I first moved in with BR.  We were in the walk-in closet together.  He was making room for my stuff and I was unpacking.  He took a rather large box down from one of the shelves… hesitantly.

Me: What’s in there?

BR: Nothing.

Me: Then why do you have such a weird look on your face?  Is it ex-girlfriend stuff?

BR: No.  It’s nothing.  Just don’t open it.

Me: I’m opening it.

BR: Blondie!  I told you not to open it!

Me: What the…?  There’s like 50 pairs of hotel slippers in here!  And they’re still in the plastic.  Why do you have all these?

BR: Blondie!  Do not touch my hotel slipper collection!  Do you know how long I’ve been collecting those for?

Me: I think the more important question here is why.  Why do you have a hotel slipper collection.  Hidden in a box.  In the closet.

BR: BECAUSE… hotels always rip you off and I like to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

Me: So you take the slippers and then you stash them in a box and hoard them in your closet?  You can’t just take the toiletries like a normal person?  At least those get used…

BR: Blondie!  A man is allowed to have his own secret slipper collection hidden in his own closet!

Me: Ok, that sounds a bit gay… I’m pretty sure even my gayest friends would agree with me on that one.

Soon after that we were cleaning out the pantry together.  I wanted to make some space for some actual food.  One entire section from floor to ceiling was taken up by pillar candles.  Red, cranberry-scented pillar candles.  Like a hundred of them.  Many of them half-used and melted down.

Me: Wow, that’s a lot of candles.  Why do you have so many?

BR: There was a sale.  A store was going out of business.

Me: So you decided to buy a lifetime’s worth of… I see.  Well can we at least throw out the ones that are all melted?

BR: No.  I’m taking those to the cottage.

Me: Why?

BR: Because Blondie.  I’m not just wasting a bunch of half-used candles. I want to melt them all down and make one giant candle.

Me: I’m sorry, what?  I’m not exactly sure how…

BR: Blondie.  It’s very easy.  You just get a pot, stick it on the fire, throw all the candles in, and melt them into one giant candle.  It will be like a “craft project.”  We’ll do it together.  As a couple.

Me: Are you sure we just can’t throw them out?

BR: Blondie!  I’m not just going to throw out a bunch of perfectly good half-used candles when I can turn them into one giant candle!  That’s like throwing money away!  Is that what you want to do?  Do you want to throw away money?  Now I’m putting these in a bag, and we’re taking them to the cottage, and we’re going to do a giant-candle-craft-project.  Ok?

Me: (blinking and staring)

BR: I’m very excited about this.  I’m obviously some sort of candle genius.

And those are just a few examples.  We probably have about seven-hundred travel mugs because every time we go to Costco BR buys at least ten.  He also buys at least one computer monitor, batteries, flashlights, swimming goggles and flippers, random gadgets, random tools, and cutting boards.  Every.  Single.  Time.

He also has an entire closet full of old, outdated computer and electronics paraphernalia.  Another closet full of empty picture frames.  And an abnormally large number of defibrillators.  Seriously, we have like ten defibrillators.  They’re all over the house.  And in the cars.

This summer he came very close to letting me have a garage sale.  Until he realized that I would actually be getting rid of stuff.

BR: Blondie, I like the idea of people coming here and giving me money.  I just don’t like the idea of having to give them any of my things.  Therefore I am making the executive decision to cancel this garage sale.

Me: That’s fine BR.  I don’t really think you “grasp” the concept of a garage sale anyway, because so far you’ve only put two things in the “sell” pile.  And one of them is a muffin wrapper.

WTF: Part Two

This post is very similar to the first “WTF” post, except here I’ll be telling you about some of the crazy stuff BR has said in the past, as opposed to the present.  And yes, all of this stuff actually happened.  And yes, one of us regularly sees a therapist.  Spoiler alert: it’s me!

 

Elevator Family

BR loves his i-Pad.  I know, everyone says they love their i-Pad – but he loves his i-Pad.  It’s disgusting.

Me: BR, for the zillionth time, can we please get a TV in our bedroom at the cottage?  I like to fall asleep to Law and Order.

BR: Blondie, for the zillionth time, NO.  We’re not here to watch TV, we’re here to enjoy the nature.  Read a book.

Me: Well that’s not really fair, considering you play on your i-Pad all the time.  I don’t have an i-Pad.

BR: Blondie, you don’t know how to work an i-Pad.

Me: That’s probably true but that’s not the point.  If I can’t have a television, you shouldn’t be allowed to have an i-Pad, especially since you lie in bed and make out with yours all the time!

BR: Blondie, stop being so irrational.  And I’m hungry, can you get me some dinner?

Me: Maybe your i-Pad can get you some dinner.

BR: If my i-Pad could get me dinner you would be out on the streets.

Me: Well that was unnecessarily harsh and slightly hurtful. What are you doing on that thing now anyway?  Are you playing that stupid elevator game again?

BR: Blondie, I’ve already told you – I have a whole family of elevator people who rely on me to feed them, get them jobs, and send them up and down the elevators.  Do you have any idea how much responsibility that is?  Obviously you don’t.  And I can’t just abandon them all willy-nilly because you want to “talk” about televisions or something.

Me: (blinking and staring)

BR: Now stop being so selfish, and please go and get me some dinner.

Me: Well maybe your elevator family can get you some dinner!

BR: Blondie!  If my elevator family could get me dinner we’d be divorced!

Me: WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU.

BR: I’m hungry!  And now you’ve made my elevator family upset.

Me: Ok, fine.  If you need me, I’ll just be over here in “reality” getting you dinner.  And for dessert you and your elevator family will be getting a punch in the face.

 

NACOM

Me: Ugh.  I had the worst day today.  This happened and then that happened… and then this happened…

BR: NACOM

Me: Pardon?

BR: I said NACOM, Blondie.  NACOM.

Me: Ok, I don’t really understand you.  Are you speaking Klingon?

BR: No Blondie, NACOM – Not A Concern Of Mine.

Me: Wow, did you just make up an acronym for not caring?  I don’t know whether to be proud of you or mad at you.

BR: Blondie… NACOM.

 

Money Counter

Me: BR?  What are you doing sitting in the walk-in closet?  And why is there money everywhere?

BR: I got a new money counter today at Costco but it’s not really working.  See?  It just shoots the money out everywhere.

Me: How long have you been in here for?

BR: Blondie, stop interrogating me.

Me: So you’ve just been in here for god knows how long, spraying money all over yourself?

BR: Blondie!  A man can do what he wants with his own money counter in his own walk-in closet!

Me: Ok… do you want to take it back to Costco and exchange it for one that actually works?

BR: Not really.

Me: Uh-huh.  Ok, well if you need me I’ll just be in the other room spraying champagne all over myself and the dogs.

BR: Fine.  Don’t use the good champagne.

A Charity Ball and a Shaming

As I’ve mentioned before, I find “fancy” events far more stressful – and often far more boring – than I do enjoyable.  I’m not sure if it’s the thick cloud of pretension that hovers over the room, or the fact that it’s “inappropriate” to do shots at the bar, but I find it very hard to relax at these things.

One thing in particular that bothers me is the seating arrangement.  At most of these parties husbands and wives are not allowed to sit together.  I have no idea why.  It’s some “fancy” dinner rule.  Which gives me an immediate anxiety attack because BR is like my security blanket at these things.  I want to sit beside him.  So instead you end up sitting next to someone else’s boring husband and attempting to make small talk with him for a couple of hours.

And you know what?  Men don’t usually want to talk about the things that you’re interested in.  They want to talk about themselves and business and money and the stock market and cars and gadgets.  And since I’m cute, blond, stunned, and a probably a bit drunk with absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation, I usually come across as a total airhead-slash-trophy wife.  Or worse.

Random husband: So what do you do?

Me: Oh, you know, I take care of him.

Random husband: And what does he do?

Me: Actually, to tell you the truth I don’t really know.  Some kind of “business”… or something… haha.

Random husband: Are you a hooker?

But luckily since BR refuses to wear a dinner jacket or real pants, we’re usually able to avoid such high society soirees.  However, as I’ve also mentioned before, sometimes we just can’t get out of them.  There’s one in particular that we get suckered into regularly that I find particularly painful.  It’s a charity ball for the arts.  Actually, it’s probably technically called a fundraiser, but whatever.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against supporting the arts – I’d just much rather make a donation than have to attend the actual party.

I know nothing about art.  Nothing.  And for whatever reason, I find the wealthy art crowd to be particularly snobby and difficult to mingle with.  Plus I don’t always like the art that’s being showcased and after a couple of cocktails, the odd, slightly inappropriate comment sometimes slips out.

Me: Oh my god.  What an ugly piece of shit.

Random patron of the arts: I’m sorry, what did you say?

Me: Oh… I didn’t realize you were standing right behind me.  Umm, I said what a lovely piece… of art.  It’s very… interesting.  You know, with the line… that goes this way… and then that way…

Random patron of the arts: Uh huh…

Me: Yeah… um, will you excuse me?  I just have to run over to the bar and chug something.

Anyway, one night at this particular event, BR and I actually got to sit beside each other during dinner.  Thank god.  I was seated in between him, and a lady from Mexico who seemed quite friendly and chatty initially.

Now – as a side note – BR has a very bad habit of taking food off my plate.  All the time.  This has caused me to drastically change my eating habits.  So instead of casually enjoying a meal, I now have to scarf my food down as quickly as possible, as though my life depends on it.  Or I will literally starve to death.

BR: Blondie, I’d like you to start portioning out our meals in proportion to our weight.

Me: Pardon?

BR: I weigh approximately 40% more than you, so I should be getting 40% more chicken fingers than you.

Me: (blinking and staring)

BR: Here is a calculator.  I’ll be checking the math to make sure you don’t “cheat.”

Me: What is wrong with you.  Seriously.

BR: Oooooh, looks like you have something delicious left on your plate… yoink!  Now it’s in my mouth.

Anyway, back to the story.  So we were sitting at the table making small talk with this woman, when BR very blatantly reached over me and grabbed a half-eaten piece of buttered bread off the side plate, and shoved the whole thing in his mouth.  I tried to be subtle and whisper at him.

Me: BR!  That’s not my bread!

But it was too late.  The Mexican lady was staring at us, appalled.  BR had grabbed her half-eaten piece of bread and shoved it in his mouth.  I looked at her and shrugged my shoulders and tried to make light of his faux pas.

Me: Oh, haha… he’s really hungry!

BR: Oh, I’m sorry!  I thought I was eating Blondie’s bread!

This excuse backfired for at least two reasons: First, because you’re not supposed to scarf anyone’s bread, and second, because proper etiquette dictates that you’re supposed to know who’s side plate is who’s.

But I wasn’t mortified.  I actually thought it was kind of awesome.  Even though she wouldn’t speak to us for the rest of the night.  Unfortunately I ran into her in the bathroom later, and when I offered her a half-hearted wave and a smile she rolled her eyes at me and just kept walking.

So if we have to go to this event again, I’ll make sure I feed BR before we go so he won’t be so ravenous.  And maybe I’ll read up on a little “art history” beforehand.  Or I’ll just fling myself down the stairs to get out of it.  Either way…

Just a poor girl in a rich man’s house

Have you ever been walking down the street and you see a shiny black Lincoln Town car drive by with two standard poodles in the back and you think, what kind of eccentric person has his dogs chauffeured around in a limo and then you realize, hey wait a second, those are my dogs?

Well that was about the time I realized that my life was no longer “normal” and I was probably on the verge of becoming “difficult to relate to.”  At least by most of the people I knew.

Me: Hey!  I’m here to help you paint your porch!

BR’s sister: OMG.  Is that what you’re wearing?  Very funny.

Me: Why?

BR’s sister: Because you’re decked out from head-to-toe in lululemon.  Not to mention the fact that you got dropped off by your limo driver.  To paint a porch.

Me: Oh yeah, I guess that is kind of funny… but it’s old lululemon.  Does that make a difference?

BR’s sister: Not really.

Despite what you see in the Real Housewives or Millionaire Matchmaker, settling into a “fancy” lifestyle when you were not brought up in one can be a little overwhelming, to say the least.  You’ll find yourself trying to fit into two worlds that don’t really connect, and often you’re just kind of in limbo.  Patti Stanger might be able to help you find a millionaire, but she doesn’t prepare you for what to expect when you actually move out of your condo and into the mansion.

On one hand you have your old group of friends and your family who talk about normal things like going to the movies, getting their cars fixed, and how much they dislike their jobs.  On the other hand you have a completely new group of friends who talk about going to Paris, getting a new private jet, and how much they dislike their nannies.  Your old group of friends is mildly appalled that you even associate with anyone who will only fly private, and your new group of friends is mildly appalled that you never fly private.

And then sometimes you find yourself in the middle of situations that you literally never thought you would be part of:

Lance: So I drove up to the four-way stop sign at the same time as three other Rolls Royce’s.  And the two guys who had drivers were sneering at me and the other guy like we were a couple of peasants because we were driving our own Rolls Royce’s!

Appropriate response: Haha, that’s so funny!  Can you pass the vodka?

Fancy acquaintance:  The pool party should be starting soon, we’re just waiting for the Olympic Synchronized Swimmers to arrive… and then we’ll sing the National Anthem, followed by the six-gun salute.

Appropriate response: Of course we will!  Can you pass the vodka?

Fancy stranger: What beautiful dogs!  Are you the dog walker?

Appropriate response: Oh fuck off.  Can you pass the vodka?

My point is, balancing these two completely different worlds is not easy.  I would like to think I’m still the same old middle class girl I always was (just with a better wardrobe) but this is not exactly true.  “Fancy society” demands an entirely different set of rules, norms, dress codes and protocols that I didn’t even know existed.  There is a learning curve, it’s literally sink or swim, and the water is filled with Prada-wearing sharks.

So for those of you who have found yourselves in similar unknown territory, here are some “fancy society” survival tips:

1) Have a sense of humour about things, and don’t take yourself (or anyone else) too seriously.  You will meet a lot of people who think they are very important.  They’re probably not.  And they usually have a lot of issues.

2) Don’t be a social climber.  BR and I have literally zero social ambition.  Zero.  This takes a lot of the pressure off,  because we really couldn’t care less about who we’re sitting next to at a dinner party, as long as they’re not a total asshole.  Actually we usually don’t even care if we’re at the dinner party.

3) If someone seems like a douchebag, they probably are one.  Likewise, if someone seems like a nice, relatively normal person, they probably are one.  Learn the difference and stay away from the douchebags.

4) If the party is really stuffy and unbearable, it’s absolutely acceptable to drink your face off.  Just try to keep your comments and your eyeball-rolling and your pointing to a minimum.  I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.  Note: the synchronized swimmers.  Actually I enjoyed that party… although I did find the swimming and the six-gun salute slightly bizarre.

However, after attending a few dreadfully painful events, I’ve really learned to appreciate BR’s quirks and eccentricities, his refusal to join any clubs, his Darth Vader-like tendencies, and his desire for privacy.  One thing I can say about him is that he truly lets me be my dorky self and we are very silly and dorky when we’re together.  It’s refreshing and I love him for that.

And my favourite exclusive parties are the ones we have at home with wine and chips and Law and Order reruns… and it’s just us and the dogs.

WTF: Stuff BR Says

There is literally not a day that goes by where BR doesn’t say something that completely stops me in my tracks and makes me think, WTF.

So I’ve decided to start recording some of the crazy stuff BR says on a daily basis, as it happens.  Starting with today.  And just so you know, every time he says something nuts, I will be updating this post.  And then I will be drinking.

 

January 17, 2013

BR: I’m still deciding what to do with the jeans I ordered that are too big.  Should I return them?

Me: Of course you should.  What else would you do?

BR: Maybe I’ll wash them in really hot water and throw them in the dryer and shrink them.

Me: That won’t work.  They’ll only shrink in the length, not around the waist.

BR: Blondie, you obviously don’t know anything about laundry.  Of course they’ll shrink in the waist.

Me: Oh really?  Why don’t you google it.  I bet you’re wrong.

BR: I just googled it… in my mind.  And they’ll shrink in the waist.

Me: Pardon?

BR: That’s right Blondie.  I mind-googled it.  I moogled it.  And I’m totally right… as usual.

 

September 15, 2012

BR: Blondie, I have fixed the lights.

Me: Wow, really?  That’s amazing!  The lighting system hasn’t been working for 3 months!

BR: I know.  I’m a genius.

Me: You are totally a genius.

BR: That’s right Blondie.  And I’m not just a genius, I’m a super-mega genius.  In fact, I’m probably the smartest person on the planet.

Me: Umm…

BR: Put that in your freakin blog.

 

September 8, 2012

BR: I’m hungry.  What’s for breakfast.  WHAT IS FOR BREAKFAST!

Me: I’ll get you some breakfast.

BR: I want pizza.

Me: Well we don’t have any pizza, so I’ll get you something else.

BR: Blondie!  Just go downstairs and don’t come up until you have some delicious pizza!  I’m so hungry!  Hungry for pizza!

Me: WE DON’T HAVE ANY PIZZA.  I’ll go downstairs and get you something… stop shining that flashlight in my eyes!  What’s wrong with you?  Lunatic!  I will go downstairs and bring you up some breakfast.  Ok?

BR: Ok.  I’ll have pizza.

Cheapness

BR is a little funny when it comes to his wealth.  On the one hand he can be extraordinarily generous – he gives to multiple charities – and on the other hand he can be extremely cheap – although I guess the polite term would be “frugal.”  And I don’t even think it’s because he wants to be cheap.  It’s because he can’t help it.  It’s purely psychological.  He can’t bring himself to pay for something if he even suspects he might be getting ripped off.  Like bottled water in hotel rooms, for example.  Unless they are free, I’m not allowed to drink them (which I totally do anyway, but he gets really mad).

Now, it really isn’t any of my business how BR chooses to spend (or not to spend) his money, but over the years I have learned that his cheapness tends to have a direct effect on the “quality” of our lives.  And no, I’m not talking about Prada bags and Gucci shoes.  I’m talking about all the other stuff that actually impacts your day and prevents you (or him) from functioning like a normal person.

Me: BR?  Have you picked a flight or a hotel yet?  You’ve been in bed looking at Kayak for eleven hours.  And you’re still in your underwear.  And you’re all sweaty… and googly-eyed.

BR: I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger.

Me: But we’re supposed to leave for our ski vacation tomorrow.  With your entire family.  Everyone keeps calling me, they want to know what’s going on.

BR: Just tell them to pack and wait for my call and be willing to leave for the airport at a moment’s notice.

Me: Umm… ok.  I don’t really think that’s going to work for your sister and the kids, they kind of need to have an actual plan…

BR: Blondie!  Just tell her to pack for the kids and be willing to throw them in the car at a moments notice!  Kids like that sort of thing.  It’s adventurous for them.

Me: No, actually they… ok.  Have you at least narrowed it down?  To a city?

BR: Not exactly.

Me: Why don’t we just go to Aspen like we talked about?  Can you pull the trigger on Aspen?

BR: Blondie!  The flights to Aspen and the hotel have gone up in the last 48 hours.  I can’t book something now, knowing that it was cheaper 48 hours ago!

Me: Then why didn’t you book it 48 hours ago?!

BR: BECAUSE… I thought it was too expensive.  So I thought I would wait and see if the prices went down.

Me: Well that was an unfortunate gamble, because now the prices have gone up.  And it’s 11:00 pm, and there are eight of us who are supposed to be going on a family ski vacation tomorrow!  Pull the trigger!  

BR: I can’t!

Me: Just pick SOMETHING!  For the love of God, YOUR MOTHER KEEPS CALLING!

BR: I’m just waiting for the right flight and the right hotel to magically appear on my computer, and then we’ll all go on a nice family ski vacation together.  Ok?

Me: You look crazy and you’re making me nervous.  And I really don’t think the Aspen prices are that unreasonable.  Why don’t you just book it?

BR: Blondie!  What are you, some kind of GAJILLIONAIRE?  Do you think I’m going to let you throw my money away all willy nilly?  The airlines and hotels are already giving me an ANAL RAPING!  Is that what you want?  Do you want to give me A BIGGER ANAL RAPING?!

Me: I’m calling your family and telling them that you’re insane, and this trip is cancelled.

I remember the first time BR and I went to Florida for the winter.  BR had a very difficult time picking a house for us to rent.  Not because there wasn’t an abundance of them, but because he thought they were all a little too “pricy.”  As it turns out, a lot of people rent houses in Florida for the winter, so the longer you wait, the less available properties there are, which in turn makes prices go up.  That’s basic economics BR – you of all people should know that.

So is it practical to arrive in Florida with a horse trailer, six horses, three months worth of clothes and two standard poodles with no place to stay?  No.  It is not.  But that’s what ended up happening because somebody couldn’t pull the trigger on a rental property.

Luckily the horses and the trailer were staying at the barn, and a lady who cooks for us was gracious enough to take the dogs while we looked for a place.  But that still meant finding a real estate agent and looking at numerous properties, while in the mean time staying at a hotel.

Only it wasn’t a hotel, it was a motel because BR wanted to spend as little as possible until we found something permanent.  And it wasn’t a “nice” motel (if there is such a thing), it was a ghetto motel off the highway, beside a gas station.  So obviously the first thing I did when we got into the room was check under the bed for dead hookers.

Me: Ok, well there are no dead hookers in here, so that’s… positive.

BR: Blondie, stop acting so spoiled.  It’s only for a night or two.

It was not for a “night or two”, it was for a week and a half.

Did it smell weird?  Yes.  Was the comforter made out of some strange synthetic material that will likely cause cancer later on?  Yes.  Was the television from the eighties?  Yes.  Was I afraid the pizza delivery guy was going to murder us?  Oh yes.  Was that the worst of it?  No.

Sometimes when BR travels he gets these horrible IBS attacks that cause excruciating abdominal pain.  They can last for around 48 hours.  I’m not sure if it was the stress, or the flying, or the crappy food… but regardless, as soon as we settled into our “room”, he got one.

BR: Blondie!  Blondie!  I’m in a lot of pain Blondie!  I need some nursing!

Me: Umm, ok.  What can I do for you?

BR: Uuugghh, I don’t know!  I need some chicken soup.

Me: Ok, well that’s going to be a little tricky to get here.  Would you like a gingerale out of the vending machine or something?

BR: A popsicle, Blondie.  I need a popsicle.

Me: Ok.  Let me put the television on for you first, maybe it’ll help distract you.  Oh look, this channel’s coming in sort of clear…  Ok, I’m leaving the safety of the room now and going outside to the vending machine.  Please come and find me if I’m not back in 5 minutes.

BR: I’ll try.

So I made it back to the room alive with the popsicles and gingerale.  But BR was getting worse.  He asked me to run him a bath.  So I went into the tiny, stark white bathroom, turned on the extremely bright florescent lights, and began to fill the very small tub. Now I’ve never actually been in an insane asylum, but I imagine that this is what the bathrooms would look like.

Me: Ok BR, your bath’s ready.  Come on, let’s get you in it.

BR: Oh my god.  I must be really sick, Blondie.  I’m green.

Me: No no, it’s just the lighting in here.  We’re both green.

BR: Blondie, turn the lights down!  They’re making me nauseous.

Me: Well I can turn them off.  Would you like me to turn them off?

So BR chose to keep the sickening lights on and managed to (sort of) squeeze himself into the tub.  There was a lot of moaning.  There would have been more thrashing, but honestly, he didn’t have the room.  The tub was uncomfortable.  The lights were bothering him.  He was in pain.  He couldn’t get any soup.  The covers on the bed were itchy.  The television was broken.  And there was probably a dead hooker hidden in the room somewhere.

BR: Blondie!  Uuuuggghhh!  I’ve really let my cheapness get the better of me this time Blondie!  Uuuuggghhhh! I’ve made a terrible mistake!

A what?  Oh no, this was not a “mistake”, BR.  This was an EPIC FAIL.

Eventually BR got better, and we were able to start house hunting.  Now I won’t go into detail about just how many houses we looked at, or how many frustrated real estate agents we went through in a week, but in the end, in true BR form, he found us a cute, very reasonably-priced house on Craigslist.  It just happened to be in the ghetto.

It took three years of renting in Florida before BR finally bit the bullet and bought a place.  And it’s in a great location and I’m not worried that I’m going to get murdered every time I walk the dogs.  The house itself needs a lot of work and of course BR wants to tear it down and rebuild it from scratch… in the shape of his face or something.  Or at least that’s what I’ve overheard while he’s been hiring and firing various architects.  I’ve also overheard him say “menacing”, “shark pit”, “wall of fire”, and “fortress of despair”… so it should eventually be a nice little beach house.  Cozy, I would imagine.

Anyway, in all the time that BR and I have been together (since BR does not like to be told what to do, and is typically not one to listen to reason) I’ve had to learn some passive-agressive, very subtle, “mind control” techniques in order to try and manage his cheapness and other crazy tendencies.  Basically I have to make him think that everything is his idea.  Is this exhausting?  Yes.  I spend approximately eighty percent of my day doing this.  Is it optional?  No.  Because otherwise I will murder him out of frustration.

BR: Where did you get that top?  It looks expensive.  Too expensive.

Me: You got it for me, remember?

BR: No I didn’t.

Me: Yes you did, you even picked it out.  Remember that time at Saks?  And that funny gay guy was helping us and you picked out this top all by yourself and it was on sale and he said you had fantastic taste in women’s clothes and he called you a fashionista and a super-genius and we all laughed and you high-fived him?  Remember?

BR: Oh yeah… I sort of do remember that…

Me: See?  You’re super smart and super fashionable.  It’s like you’re some kind of super human.

BR: That’s right.  I am totally all of those things.  You’re lucky.

Yes BR.  Very lucky.

Lunch with The Donald

As I’ve mentioned before, BR and I spend the winters in Florida.  Coincidentally, this is where BR’s business partner lives.  I’ll be referring to him as “Lance.”  This is very convenient for them because they get to hang out and talk about business all the time while we’re there.  And not only are Lance and BR business partners, but they are also BFF’s.

Lance has a very beautiful, very lovely wife named “Charlotte” who has also become a good friend of mine. In fact, she’s the only person I know who can truly relate to what it’s like to live with one of these “Masters of the Universe.”

Lance and Charlotte are members of an exclusive Palm Beach club which is owned by Donald Trump.  BR and I do not belong to any such clubs, but this is more by choice.  We’re both a little socially awkward and we value our time at home.  BR’s gone most days playing polo and I like hanging out with the dogs at the beach.  Also, BR outright refuses to go anyplace where a dinner jacket is mandatory, or where he’s not allowed to wear jeans.

So we’re not on the party circuit, or the charity ball circuit, or a social circuit of any kind really (although occasionally we do go to polo parties).  In fact, I usually tend to find these events far more stressful than enjoyable, and I don’t do well with social pressure of any kind (which is where the vodka and anti-anxiety medication comes in handy).  Although I must say, whenever I do go to these events, the people-watching is awesome.

But of course with this kind of lifestyle, sometimes these social obligations are unavoidable.  So I have to put on my fancy big-girl shoes, and suck it up.  Unfortunately BR rarely gives me any appropriate notice, never gives me enough time to get ready, I can’t even pick a fancy big-girl shoe let alone dress myself, and because I’m so stressed and rushed I always end up sticking the mascara wand in my eye.  Which at that point I have no choice but to zip up my party dress, chug a martini, and literally hope for the best.

BR: Is that what you’re wearing?

Me: Yes, why?  You don’t like it?

BR: The dress is a little long.

Me: It’s not long, it’s appropriate for someone my age.  I’m not twenty.

BR: You’re not?  I’m breaking up with you.  Why don’t you change into something shorter?

Me: Because I don’t want to look like a prostitute!  And now you’ve made me all self-conscious and I’ve already changed five times and you know that I get really stressed out about these things and I can barely dress myself and why can’t you just say I look nice like a normal person?!  AND WHERE IS THE ATIVAN!

One day Lance was talking about his club and asked me if I wanted to come by and meet Donald Trump.  I was like, oh sure, I’d love to meet The Donald.  Because what are you supposed to say, no thanks I’d rather not meet him because I get really nervous and awkward in social situations with famous people?

So I didn’t think much of it until a few days later when we were invited to spend the afternoon at the club’s pool.  I would spend time with Charlotte while BR and Lance talked about business.  And again BR gave me no notice, so all I could do was throw my hair in a pony tail and quickly shove some stuff in a beach bag.

Now, the club pool is not just a normal pool.  It’s fancy.  There are skinny blond women in teeny tiny bikinis, very large diamonds, and high-heeled sandals traipsing around, uniformed waiters offering you all sorts of beverages, old rich men sunbathing… all in a spectacularly lovely setting by the ocean.

Let me be blunt: I was not properly outfitted for this occasion.  I looked like a poor, dishevelled tourist.  I didn’t have time to fix my makeup, I had already managed to spill iced tea on my non-designer bathing suit cover-up, and the excessive wind was starting to make my hair look like a bit of a nest.  Plus I stupidly slathered suntan lotion all over the bottom of my feet (which made my feet really slippery), so each time I tried to take a step in my high-wedged flip-flops, I looked severely inebriated.

So I spent much of the early afternoon hiding on a lawn chair under a large umbrella, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.  Until it was lunchtime and I had to walk up to the outdoor grill/buffet to get some food.

I managed to walk up to the grill without too much embarrassment, although once I was there I did get a nice bright yellow blob of mustard on the front of my cover-up.  Awesome.  Finally I had my food and I was just about to take it back to my lawn chair when Lance called me over.

Lance: Blondie!  Come on over to the table, we’re eating over here.  With Donald.

With Donald?!  As in, we’re having lunch with Donald Trump??  Nobody told me he was here!  And I can barely walk like a normal person, I’ve spilled a bunch of crap all over myself, my hair is a wasps nest, I’m not wearing any makeup, and I am totally sober!

I could feel my heart start to race and the panic set in, so I took a deep breath and walked towards the table with a very forced (and probably really demented) smile on my face.  I was just about to sit down in the seat farthest away from The Donald, when BR loudly suggested that I come and sit right beside him.  He even held out the chair for me.  And what are you supposed to do, say no thank you, I’d rather sit way over here because I’m having a socially-induced anxiety attack, and I probably look like someone who’s been allowed out on a day-pass?

So I walked over.  The Donald was very gracious and polite.  He held out his hand for me to shake and then gestured for me to sit down.

The Donald: Hello, it’s very nice to see you.

I guess he has to say “see” you instead of “meet” you in case he’s already met you but can’t remember.  I managed to squeak out a hello.

The Donald: No wonder you’re so skinny, you don’t eat very much.

I actually do eat a lot, just not when I’m nervous.  But regardless, The Donald was not only extremely friendly, he was also trying to make small talk.  With me.  I really wanted to be able to say something witty and polite in return, but all that came out of my mouth was a weirdnervous, agonizingly long, high-pitched laugh.  Shit!

I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t even look in his direction, let alone talk to him for the rest of the lunch.  Which lasted an entire hour.  Lance was mortified.  He kept trying to draw me into the conversation, while every few minutes giving me the wide-eyed “what the fuck’s wrong with you” stare from across the table, but it was useless.  I was completely speechless.

Then finally The Donald just got up and left.  No goodbye, no nothing, just got up and walked away.  But can I really blame him?

Lance: Blondie, what the fuck is wrong with you!  I’ve never seen anything like that in my life!

Me: I don’t know what happened, I panicked!  You can’t just throw me at The Donald like that, I need at least 48 hours notice!  And makeup!  And a proper outfit!  AND ALCOHOL!

BR: Couldn’t you have said something?  Like you like his show or… something??

Me: But I don’t watch his show and I don’t want to get myself trapped in an awkward lie.  That would be worse.

BR: So you instead you ignored him for an hour.  That’s an awesome way to make an impression.

Lance: I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN MY LIFE!

So that was that.  I’ve been back to the club a few times since then as a guest, although I have not had the pleasure of meeting The Donald again.  Hopefully next time I’ll be prepared – and witty and fabulous and, let’s face it,  properly medicated.

And hopefully he won’t remember me.

Broken Leg

BR and I go to Florida every year for the winter.  Which is great because not only do we both get to escape the cold, but BR also gets to play polo, which he loves.  And hockey.  (Who knew?)

I love Florida in the winter for two reasons: First, it’s the time of year when BR and I get to spend the most quality time together.  Second, the people-watching is awesome.

So the year before last we rented a cute house on Palm Beach island and quickly settled into the poodle-walking, pastel-wearing, sun-tanned life of a snowbird.

Until one night, about a month into our trip, BR went to hockey and broke his leg.  In two places.

After spending a couple of nights in the hospital, he was sent home with a bottle of Vicodin and a full cast up to his thigh.  Which meant he would be bedridden for two whole months.  Let me repeat: bedridden for two whole months.

BR is a man who gets cranky and restless and “difficult to manage” if he misses competitive sports for one day.  Now he would be bedridden – and entirely dependent on ME – for two whole months.

I’ve never broken anything so I really underestimated the severity of his injury.  He’s also pretty tough so I really thought he’d be up and walking around on crutches within a couple of weeks.  Oh no.  He lay in bed for two whole months and literally milked every single second of it.

Now, I am a very caring person.  I am a very patient person.  And BR is high maintenance on a good day.  But I had no idea just how difficult  – and exhausting  – and stressful – and bonkers the next two months would actually be.  Good bye easy, breezy Florida.  Hello Shutter Island.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself, how much damage can a bed-ridden evil genius with half a dozen light sabers and a bed-side urine bottle actually do to someone’s psychiatric well-being?  The answer: a lot.  A lot.

BR: Blondie, do you want some lemonade?

Me: BR, if you refer to your urine one more time as “lemonade” I’m going to barf.

BR: Drink it.

Me: I am totally barfing now.  Are you happy?

BR: Just drink a little bit of it.

Me: What is wrong with you?

BR: I’m hungry!  Get me a cupcake.

Me: We don’t have any cupcakes.  Do you want something else?

BR: Blondie, just go to the store and get me a cupcake!  I’m so hungry and that’s all I want.

Me: It’s 7:55!  Publix closes in 5 minutes.

BR: Blondie!  I have a broken leg!  Put your running shoes on and run to the store!  If you hurry you’ll make it.

Me: Fine, I’ll go.  Please stop pointing that light saber at me.

BR: And Blondie, one more thing.  I’d like a nicely decorated one.

Me: Pardon?

BR: The cupcake.  I’d like it to be decorated nicely.

Me: I’m going to murder you.

BR: Blondie hurry up!  You’re wasting time.

So I ran to Publix with literally 30 seconds to spare.  I ran over to the bakery counter.  Strangely, they were not all that happy to see me right before closing.  Finally a less than impressed African-American lady with a gold tooth sauntered over to the counter.

Cupcake lady: Can I help you?

Me: Oh hi… I’m sorry, I know you’re about to close… but I have a guy at home with a broken leg who’s feeling really sorry for himself and he would really like a cupcake.

Cupcake ladyAwww, that’s so sad!  How old is he?

Me: Ummm… 41.

Cupcake lady took a step back and put her hands on her hips before less-than-enthusiastically grabbing me a cupcake.

Cupcake lady: Mmmmm hmmmm.  Oh really.

Me: Ummm… yes.

Cupcake lady: Well ain’t that just like a man.  Meanwhile, if that was you all up at home with a broken leg?  He’d be like, “sorry baby, there ain’t nothin’ I can do for you no more, I’m goin’ out tonight.”

Me: Haha, that’s… probably totally accurate.  Thank you for the cupcake.

Cupcake lady: Mmmmm hmmmm.

So I ran home, ran straight to the kitchen, opened the freezer, and grabbed the vodka bottle.

BR:  Blondie?  BLONDIE?!  Where is my cupcake?

Me: It’s coming, just a second!

BR: What are you doing down there?  I HAVE A BROKEN LEG!

Me: Just a second!  I’m just getting something.

BR: Are you drinking again?  

Me: No!

BR: Then why do I hear bottles clinking?

Me: Shut up, you’re hallucinating!

And this went on for several… weeks.  Cupcakes, light sabers, incessant moaning, urine bottles, sponge baths, multiple snacks, spoon-feeding, foot massages, “mantrums”, more snacks, more cupcakes, sleep depravity, eventual alcoholism…  And all the while having to hear, “Blondie… Blondie!  BLONDIE!  BLONDIE!!!”

Finally one day I could take no more.  I needed a time out.  I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  He had broken me.

BR:  Blondie!  Where are you, I need my foot rubbed.

Me:  BR, I need a break.  This is what’s going to happen: I’m going to take an ativan, go into the spare room, read my book, and take a nap.  Now unless you are on fire, I don’t want you calling me for at least two hours.  Or I’m going to murder you.   Do you understand?  I just need two hours.

So that’s what I did.  I got all cozy in the spare room, opened my book and began to read.  But about 20  minutes later I realized I had to pee.  Crap.  I was going to have to sneak past the master room in order to do this and the floors were really creaky.  BR would hear me.  But I really had to pee.  So I quietly opened the door and crept out of the room.

BR: Blondie?

Just ignore him.  Keep walking.  Now go to the bathroom, quietly flush, and creep back.

BR: Blondie?  BLONDIE?  BLONDIE!

Me: For the love of God, WHAT?  What is it?  I told you not to bother me unless you were on fire and you’re clearly not on fire!

BR: I heard a noise.  I thought it was a cat.

Me: A cat?  You mean the cat that we don’t have walked by our room, went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and walked back?

BR: It sounded like a cat.  But since you’re up can you make me a snack platter?

BR was bored.  And probably mildly depressed.  He couldn’t get out of bed and enjoy the Florida sun.  He couldn’t play polo or hockey.  And aside from torturing me and swinging his light sabers around, there wasn’t much he could do to entertain himself.  So he decided to online shop.

Me: BR, what’s with all these boxes that keep getting delivered?

BR:  Those are for me.  Bring them up here.

So I brought them upstairs.

BR: Awesome, I’ve been waiting for these.

Me: What are those?

BR: Star Wars costumes.

Me: Umm… for us?

BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous.  They’re for the dogs.

Me: Of course they are.  How many Vicodin have you been taking?

And every day a new box would show up with something weird inside.  More light sabers.  More techie gadgets.  Several computer monitors.  A spy pen.  A variety of security cameras.  Underwear.  Binoculars.  Two fax machines.  Approximately seven different cell phones.  The list goes on.

I knew he was really starting to lose it when he started putting his Cookie Monster doll in front of the computer during video conference calls with his business partner.  Every once in a while he’d give Cookie Monster a shake and I’d hear “MEE WANT COOOOKIE” coming from the bedroom.  Or I’d hear BR say, “Cookie Monster doesn’t agree with you” or “now you’ve made Cookie Monster upset.”

Me: I was reading an article the other day.  Apparently there’s some big-wig club owner who will only show the back of his head during video conference calls.  Isn’t that weird?

BR: Very interesting… from now on I will only be showing the back of Cookie Monster’s head during video conference calls.

Then one day a large delivery truck showed up in front of the house.  The delivery guy asked me where I’d like him to wheel the very large box that was inside.  It obviously wasn’t going to fit through the front door.  I asked the delivery guy to please wait a second, and told him that I would be right back.  I quickly ran into the house.

Me: BR?  There’s a delivery guy here with a huge box.  Where do you want it?  I’m kind of afraid to ask what it is.

BR: Oh.  That’s just my four-person bicycle.  It’s for the cottage.

Me: Of course it is.

BR: Just tell him to leave it on the driveway.  You’ll probably have to cover it with a tarp or something.  I don’t want anyone stealing it.

Me:  Yeah I don’t really think you have to worry about… actually, how are we going to get this thing home?  It’s huge.

BR: Blondie, don’t worry.  We’ll put it in the truck or the horse trailer and drive it home.

Me: Who is going to put it in the truck?  It’s enormous and you have a broken leg!  Why didn’t you just ship it to the cottage?

BR: Blondie, stop interrogating me.

Me: Did you not want to pay the extra shipping?!  How much did you save.

BR: A lot.

Me: How much.

BR: Two-hundred dollars.

Me:  We have to lug this thing all the way home so you could save two-hundred dollars?!  What is wrong with you?

BR: Blondie, the bike only cost four-hundred dollars!  I’m not going to pay two-hundred dollars on shipping for a four-person bicycle that only cost four-hundred dollars!  Where is the math logic in that?!

Me: WHERE IS THE LOGIC IN A FOUR-PERSON BICYCLE?!

It was a long winter.  BR was finally able to walk around on crutches a little by the time we got home.  But he still wanted to keep his pee bottle beside the bed because it was “convenient.”

And we did manage to get the four-person bicycle to the cottage.  Much to my surprise, it didn’t seat four people in a row like I had imagined – it had two benches (one in the front and one in the back), a steering wheel and two large wheels on either side.  The entire thing was covered by a bright red-and-white striped canopy with tassels.  It was kind of like “Fred Flinstone car meets Candy Land.”  It takes up an entire space in the garage.  We still take it out occasionally and I’m finally starting to get used to the laughing and pointing, which is positive.

And it took a year but BR’s leg finally healed.  I figured if our relationship can survive that, it can survive anything.  And although I would like him to be a bit more cautious, I really can’t stop him from playing a bunch of competitive sports that are probably far too dangerous for a man of his age.  So that’s fine.

But if he breaks his leg again I will murder him.

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!