Marital Advice

About eleven and a half years ago, on the morning of my one and only wedding so far, my dad pulled me aside.  He said, “I want to tell you something Ree.”  I sat down with a cup of coffee, hoping, at 35, this would not be a somewhat overdue discussion of how babies were made.

“Whatever happens, don’t have any kids.  No one wants to date a divorced woman with kids.”

This from the man who was bringing a married woman as his date to the ceremony and reception that day.  A man who previously married two divorced women with kids, although one was my mother and that was his second marriage to her.  The first marriage to her was when she was an unmarried woman with a baby.  His baby.

But this was not atypical advice from him so I tucked his nugget of wisdom away and proceeded as best I could with my lawfully wedded life.

The day was wonderful, except for a few, minor flaws, like when I bit into my cornish game hen and realized it was stuffed with something so putrid it might be actionable.  Rather than vomit on my gown, I swallowed the rising bile in my throat and felt grateful some guests chose the salmon.  Then, in front of dear Father Jim Koenigsfeld, an old friend asked where “so-and-so” was sitting.  I told her, “I put all of the most blatent adulterers at the same table.”  Father Jim choked a little on his salmon and smiled.  I asserted defensively that grouping the adulterers was good planning.

One  of the more spectacular moments occurred during the traditional hurling of the bouquet.  My dad’s married 60-something date, who looked like she’d stuffed herself into a prom dress a few sizes too small, elbowed my willowy cousins and other unmarried friends out of the way to tackle the flying flowers like Burt Reynolds in the last scene from The Longest Yard.  My nine-year old niece barely made it out the melee unscathed.  It was another precious moment captured for the ages in a savage looking photograph.  And none of us ever saw her again, not even my dad.

It’s been weeks since my last blog post because I’ve been sick, too busy at my pesky day job and clearly overwhelmed by the first wave of editorial feedback on my book.  My cold came over me and I could not just let myself rest like a normal person.  I kept plugging away at my career because that’s what I do.  Plus a looming trial sucked the life out of me.  Now the trial is just a day and a half away.  Litigators should never get sick.  Because the cold morphed into a sinus infection, it was suggested I try a Neti Pot, which I did once long ago.  Since that experience, self-administered water boarding, is frowned by the International Court of Justice at the Hague, I happily gave it up.  The Neti Pot now rests on a shelf, posing quietly like any other conversational piece of pottery, it’s dark past as an instrument of torture hidden from the outside world.

The comments from my editor were excellent, encouraging and will make the book much better.  Still, in these last few phlegmy weeks I can’t seem to get back into the book.  Most likely I can blame my resistance on my aversion to the Neti Pot and really, anything associated with Dick Cheney.

But once my trial is over on Friday, I plan the following:

1.  Barefoot running outside, not just on the treadmill;

2.  Putting together a really good slideshow for my husband’s 60th birthday party;

3.  Following through on all of the suggestions my editor gave me regarding my book;

4.  Posting more frequently on my blog so I don’t lose my 4 subscribers;

5.  Being nicer to my husband since, when he picked up my prescription for antibiotics last night, he also picked up a dozen red roses for no reason at all;

6.  Being grateful to my parents, both of them, for their nutty advice and their flawed love;

7.  Getting to sleep earlier since I can’t change my wake up time, at least during the week; and

8.  Never getting sick again.



Filed under Backstory

3 responses to “Marital Advice

  1. What an exquisitly beautiful and handsome couple, far superior to our picture. I was in a pFC army uniform and skinny as a rail in our picture. For a late start, you two are amazing.

  2. Jo

    Yay! I’ve missed you!

  3. Funky Alphonso

    I don’t seem to be able to change my wake-up time, either. Let’s attribute it to our McHale forebears! On those days when I am at low ebb and would prefer to sleep in I have great reason to curse them soundly. On those days when I am up and about and achieving great things while most people are still sleeping, I have another reason to curse them. Either way, I get to curse, which I enjoy.

    Here is a short story, also with some cursing in it. I wish I had written it, god damn it.

    Coyote was making frybread dough when young Magpie stopped in to offer his own recipe.

    “An extra handful of four and another dash of salt,” he said, “would achieve very fine results.”

    Coyote chased him away, shouting, I’m not making very fine results, you asshole, I’m making frybread!”

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