Post Traumatic Panty Syndrome

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a bona fide fiancé, must be in want of a shower. Or ten.

Not sure how your weekend went, but unless you had panties hanging from your curtain-rods, mine is the clear winner.

One of my nieces threw a lingerie shower for another one of my nieces and as my daughters’ generation moves inevitably onward with the business of growing up, I am lucky to still be considered cool enough to play hostess to some touchstone moments.

An awful lot of time goes by when you blink.

This shower being only one in a series of events which must be marked with squeals, sighs, and rolling of eyes, was an opportunity to set a precedent for myself.

Whoopsie. Was that out loud?

It was a real crisis.

“Exactly, specifically, how naughty can I be for this?” I texted my daughter.

I wandered the store, drifting through piles of pink and lace and puffs and perfume.

Considering I carry thirty-ish years of boudoir under my belt, it was a bit anti-climactic.

“She likes baby-doll styles,” came the reply.

My daughter knows with whom she is texting and in her wisdom, tried to mitigate the estrogen war within her mother.

I couldn’t decide which generation I was allowed to represent. I was torn between Queen Victoria’s bloomers and Madonna’s cone bra.

Between minding my own business or sharing it at the party.

The reality is that, while everyone agrees that a bridal shower is about rallying around the bride’s bedroom, no one is willing to enter it with her.

Not while your mom is watching.

Or – dear Lord – when your kid is watching.

I was pouting in the general direction of the garterbelts and suddenly had a flash-back to 1988…

I’m a 19 year old bride, and my tribe throws me a shower.

There is no internet, there is no registry, and purchasing anything naughtier than a thong requires ID and shadowy, shifty stores with neon lights in the windows.

Considering sex ed was something you picked up reading bathroom stalls or from magazines found under your friend’s parent’s mattress (because everyone knows that your own parents do NOT have marital relations…they adopted you, and that is why your mother doesn’t understand you), it’s no surprise that my bridal shower was traumatizing.

Not because I missed the thorough education that my wild single girlfriends went on to acquire, but because my grandmother was hosting, and my mother and aunts and all their generation were mingling with them in the room.

Keep in mind, everything was pastels in the 80s. Peach, padded lingerie hangers, a crystal makeup brush, a little yellow lace teddy and a satiny rose kimono. It all made me blush.

Dusty blue, dusty rose, dusty sage…I’m surprised I didn’t receive an ostrich-feather duster. My grandmother was a neat freak (big shock) but had she gifted me with one, she would have given me the only risqué thing at the party.

Everyone, regardless of age, nodded vaguely in the direction of the rumpus-room, but no one stood up and reached for the doorknob.

And so, this weekend, we gathered around and squealed over tiny packages of little jammies, potpourri and wine, flowers and folderols, and maintained our delicacy.

I am still calling a win on account of the panty-lined curtain-rods and three teapots that were dispensing happiness.

In honor of my blushing bride memories, I gave her a generation-proof gift card.

‘Cause girls just wanna have fun…just not while their aunt is watching.

Disclaimer: the shower was last month, the wedding is next weekend, and I apologize for going postless so often. I will be more faithful this month!

My Affair, Summed Up

There’s something you should know, and it’s time I just came out and said it.

Last year, for a month, I had an affair with another man.

It wasn’t something I went looking for and I never meant it to go as far as it did.

He was kind, he was engaging, he was interested in all the things I was interested in.

Above all, he was an excellent listener. He understood me. He knew about my secret dreams and with one simple offer to help me reach them, it began.

How these things happen, no one knows, even with months of hindsight. We met through a mutual friend who, I’m sure, had no idea the events she was setting in motion. She’s a sweetheart. She knows I’m married with five grown children. In the course of a casual conversation, I may have let slip that I secretly longed for more. Much more.

She only wanted me to be happy.

I told the Hubby, as holidays loomed in the shadows last fall, that I had some writing to do. I needed to focus. My day job had just gone full time, the hours were flying by, and frankly, there was no part of my life that did not scream at me how out of control everything was.

Time with Hubby was at a record low. We spent the hours not at work running to the boys’ basketball games, running loads of laundry, running past the burger drive-through, and crashing into bed. When was I supposed to write?

I gathered up my laptop, took a new binder and some pens, and retreated to a quiet place. Hubby was supportive. But he never realized how unfulfilled I felt inside. Even I didn’t know how ready I was to just keep flying into something entirely out of my comfort zone and into a place that was exciting and scary and full of the promise of better things.

The first time I met Jason*, I was more curious than cautious. He wore business casual, wire-rimmed glasses, and a wedding ring. He felt familiar, yet he was a stranger. The attraction was immediate.

“I am a master at what I do,” he said, “You’ve come to the right place.”

He looked into my eyes. “Shall we?” he asked.

The dance began.

He was gentle. He began at the beginning. He showed me things I had never seen before and forced me to think about things that had always scared me. He promised that I would eventually understand, and I trusted him.

Stealing moments alone with Jason was easy. Once in a while, I skipped a basketball game, but I was not missed in the crowd. The laundry piled up, but no one was ever home to notice. Thanksgiving was imminent, and I begged my sister-in-law to host it so I could be with Jason. She never questioned me.

“Teach me,” I would whisper at Jason, late at night.

And he would show me, over and over again, saying, “You must only do this my way. There is no other way.”

I left our trysts desperate for more. He insisted on pushing boundaries and opening my mind to new ideas and I felt alive with the knowledge that I understood things in a way I never had before.

Once I mastered the dance steps, he was always waiting with new ones. I was exhausted. I was intrigued. “I can’t do this!” I would cry, “What was I thinking?”

I would storm from the room, vowing never to see him again.

But the game had not yet played out. And we both knew it.

He was waiting for me, smug and smiling, when I came back the next day.

It was only (and ever) a matter of time before the student became the master.

By the end of November, I was ready to end it. Jason never would have left me. Although I was keenly aware that I wasn’t his only nocturnal guest, he was loyal to those who sought him out. We had spent 32 hours, 42 minutes, and 18 wonderful seconds together.

But I needed to go back to my family.

I told him goodbye as the first Christmas carols appeared on the radio.

“I will be here if you ever need me,” he said.

“Not happening,” I replied, as he faded into my screen saver, “I took a binder full of notes while you weren’t looking.”

I will always treasure our time together, Jason Manibog, and I am a better woman because we met.

For just a little while, you made me feel like a hero.

Thank you.

*In the month of November, I took an online adult education class and passed my Microsoft Office Specialist exam in Excel 2016 on December 1st. Moms out there, you can do this. It will be every bit as nutty, but I highly recommend it. If I can learn this stuff, anyone can. Tell Jason I said “Hi”.

Princess and the Pea

“For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.”

So says Deuteronomy 3:11.

A lot of things were destroyed in these Deuteronomy wars, but apparently the giant iron bed was spared as a tourist attraction.

This is Moses the Meek kicking butt here, and I’m super excited because it reminds me that the giants in my life are not going to be a problem…but maybe their beds are.


There comes a time when you are ready to buy a bona fide bed. Usually it’s after all possibility of kids climbing into it with you has passed. When there are no diapers in the house. When the sheets are so thin you can’t tell the design on them anymore and you are tired of keeping the bed frame that holds up the mattress from putting holes into the wall that it was shoved up against.

Anyhow…

I was forty-some-odd years old and ready to graduate to a “big girl” bed, one with a pretty headboard and decorative pillow shams. Hubby watched nervously as I poured through websites and catalogs.

He wasn’t going to sleep in a big girl bed.

Sure enough, I fell in love with a beautiful canopied contraption from Pier One.

It went way beyond four-poster glory. It was sleek and sophisticated. It was handsome and versatile. It could be dressed up with flowing organza and twinkle lights or slicked down in houndstooth and down-filled leather bolsters.

Not that I had a preference.

It was freaking expensive.

Hubby broke into a cold sweat when he saw me click the beauty into the website cart.

He begged for one week to come up with an alternative.

“As long as it doesn’t come from Costco,” I replied, setting the cart aside.

Immediately, he found “a practically new identical bed” on Craigslist.

Willing to save money on the bed meant I could splurge on linens. Right?

Suspicion came too late.

Instead of my graceful elfin fairytale, we were staring into the maw of a gutted tank.

Hubby thought it was, in sheer cubits, the manliest thing he’d ever seen. This was a bed to rest your war boots on.

Or corral elephants in.

Quite possibly it was the final barracks of Og.

The Ammonites must have kept it in storage until Spanish Crusaders carried it across Europe and into the new world, along with horses and cannons and smallpox.

I imagine it easily held the entire ship’s crew.

We dragged the iron bed home in pieces and reassembled it in the bedroom where it took four mighty men (okay, three strong guys and one weakish woman) to coerce it into position.

The mattress lies on crossbars of steel.

Our tile floor is softer.

You have to be one tough giant to sleep on this bed.

“That’s it, I’ve had it,” I said one morning to the Hubbs, “This bed is ridiculous. I’m tired of waking up with half of my body gone numb. It takes an hour before my shoulder stops hunching up into my ear.”

“But sweetie,” he replied, twisting his neck back into position, “you need a firm mattress for a bad back. I can feel all my vertebrae moving into position as I go to sleep.”

And once he’s asleep, the vertebrae keep moving in a desperate attempt to find a place of rest.

The man’s going to be a hunchback.

Cursing the Crusaders, I went shopping.

I began with an extra-thick mattress cover and a down-filled duvet.

I found a foam gel memory mattress topper.

I grabbed a microfiber king-size pillow top.

That mattress was covered like a layer cake and rose another cubit.

I frosted it with fresh clean sheets, four fat pillows, a colorful quilt, a soft fleecy throw, and wrapped it all up with creamy silk drapes tied at the corners.

All I need is an elevator, and we’re set.

And maybe side rails are a good idea for when you graduate to a “big girl” bed.

Maybe…

The Love Triangle

I am definitely a female of the species. I have married a male of the species.

In proof: we have reproduced the species.

This is where the similarities end. Except we both like rock climbing. That, too.

When I think about things, I think in circles and occasional waves.

When I open my mouth and let them out, I hear lovely word pictures.

“Darling, would you please put your dirty glass in the dishwasher?”

When Hubby thinks about things, he thinks in straight lines with lots of little star-shaped clusters along the path.

When he opens his mouth and lets them out, he hears lovely word pictures.

“Are you saying I don’t do my share around here? Because I do, and dishes in the sink are not a problem.”

He has no concept of circles and waves. He thinks I think in straight lines covered in stars and therefore, I am speaking in tongues again.

I will say “molehill” and he will hear “mountain”.

I will say “problem” and he will think “not”.

It is actually easier for us to speak in body language with occasional signing.

“Darling?” I say, and when he glances my way, I lift the glass from the sink, calmly place it into the dishwasher, shut the door, and look at him and smile.

He replies by raising an eyebrow inquisitively and going about his business.

What is there to say, really?

On the other hand, I do occasionally have a triangular thought.

I ponder something that has three sides and appears a little alien at first, and I stare at it and turn it around and try different views and throw a few preconceived ideas at it until it starts to form a shape that I recognize.

I really feel the need to share this concept with my Hubbs.

I face Hubby, open my mouth, and attempt to say the thing: “Triangle.”

Blank stare.

I try again: “I think it might be a triangle.”

“What you’re talking about sounds more serpentine. Possibly it’s an irregular quadrilateral.”

He’s really attempting to understand.

I go on, “I’m not sure if it’s actually pink with purple spots, but basically, we’re talking about a triangle here. Maybe scalene.”

“No,” says Hubby after some consideration, “this sounds much more complicated. I’m not even convinced that triangles exist. Not in the way you think they do. What you’re talking about is an icosahedron.”

“But,” I falter, “I told you it only has three sides. And they connect into a single shape. Forming three angles inside of it. It’s pretty much a classic definition…”

Hubby frowns. “Are you telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about? Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s shapes.”

Later that night, I call a girlfriend. I’m almost in tears.

“Honey, calm down,” she says, “Tell me exactly what you said. This is a safe place. I’m listening.”

“Um, triangle?”

“Oh!” she says, “Triangle. Of course. Sometimes it’s pinkish, like, with tiny purple dots on it.”

I’m speechless.

“Are you there? Kid, I know triangle and you know triangle. It’s okay if he doesn’t know triangle. I think his mind is just wired for octagons. Perfectly normal.”

I take a few comforted breaths and she continues.

“Actually, my Hubby is all about colors. Have you ever tried to explain what the number nine smells like to a guy who can’t even begin to understand what you’re talking about, unless you can say what color it is first?”

*sigh*