I’ve been doing a lot of solitary activities to manage my quarantine anxiety and I guess it’s become an issue because I just received this email from Eric:
I’ve been doing a lot of solitary activities to manage my quarantine anxiety and I guess it’s become an issue because I just received this email from Eric:
(Continuation of Accurate, But Still )
“It’s Dada! It’s DADA!!!!!!! I see Dada!”
— Nora, every time she sees Charlie Brown.
“It’s Mama! It’s MAMA!!!!!!! I see Mama!”
— Nora, every time she sees Eeyore.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog and to anyone I’ve ever met anywhere at any time for any reason– I’m a sweaty person. Like this but sweatier.
Our current apartment runs extremely hot. We’ve posted many a video of Nora on social media and she is always stripped down to the diaper– friends think this is because we have a “free the baby from the burden of clothes!” hippie attitude, but what they don’t realize is that I, too, am naked behind the camera because it is 5 fucking thousand degrees in our home and WE’RE ALL JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE. (I’m sorry if that mental image of naked me ruins your enjoyment of Nora’s videos (Brothers. Dad.), but you’re welcome if it enhances it (No one? Oh ok.)).
So due to this hot apartment/me being a sweaty mammoth combo, I need to sleep with the air conditioner on throughout the night. In fact, the AC isn’t even enough– I need the fan too. Eric, whose body functions like that of a person meant to live on this earth and not in a 70-degree isolated space bubble, does not enjoy this nighttime freeze-out ritual. He insists that if we just keep the window open, it will have a similar effect, with the added bonus of saving both money and energy.
I have tried this crazy window-scheme he’s concocted, and I simply disagree with his assessment. It’s not the same. He then tries to argue that I have not given it a real chance, as if me doing it that whole one time for 10 seconds isn’t sufficient enough to draw an accurate conclusion of NOPE THIS IS TERRIBLE HELLFIRE AND I HATE IT.
So, like any good, solid married couple with opposing viewpoints, we have agreed to compromise and have the AC on full blast, the fan on high, and the window sealed shut.
Eric, over time, has learned to accept that this is the situation, and has ceased to verbally comment on it anymore, as he knows, much like when he tries to teach me about the stock market or how to make toast, it is a waste of breath. I am who I am (
the worst. the best ? inexplicably and unadvisedly someone’s mother. Set in my ways.)
But what he DOES do is passive aggressively send me the monthly email from Con Edison explaining how much energy we
waste use compared to other homes. It is, without fail, always over 150% more than similar apartments in the area. He sends these emails with no explanation– he just forwards them along and hopes I’ll open one and, you know, feel something.
I do not.
He does make sure to follow up when he gets home from work, though. The conversation goes something like this:
Eric: “Did you get my Con Ed email?”
Me: “Yes I did.”
I don’t know why he bothers.
But guys– today’s email really got me. See below.
Maybe it’s that the percentage is over 200 for the first time ever. Maybe it’s the fact that Eric took the time to deliberately change the subject line to 233%, so I can’t earmuff that shit. Maybe it’s that he added the “I give up on you and life” cry-laugh emoji. Maybe it’s that image of a polar bear floating away on a block of ice (not sure if that directly relates, but goddamn that’s upsetting). Or maybe it’s that gif I once saw of a dog so sad he can’t even muster one ounce of excitement for what has to be the largest, most wiggly bubble ever (completely unrelated. Now I’m just spiraling.) But the point is, for the first time, I felt something.
So tonight I turn over a new leaf. If I can’t be motivated by Eric’s discomfort (oh, you don’t like the temperature? Remember when I grew a human from scratch, stored it amongst my organs, and then carried a farm’s supply of lactose in my boobs for a year? I’M SORRY YOU’RE COLD.), I should at least be motivated to serve the greater good.
So you win, Eric. No more winter AC.
But make no mistake– I’m doing this for the dog.
So the other day I was telling my single-and-fed-up-with-dating friend the story below, and she responded, “You should write about this, because based on your blog, I never would have guessed that you and Eric experienced anything but the smoothest sailing from first date to marriage.”
I was horrified by the fact that I was inadvertently giving public credence to the bullshit notion that good, solid relationships are and should be easy, so I think it only fair to my
plethora of readers two readers mom that I set the record straight.
Eric and I have had our fair share of little roadblocks along the way, but my favorite roadblock, if we’re ranking roadblocks (and who doesn’t?), is when
we I first said “I love you.”
It went a little something like this:
Me: “I love you.”
Me: “I said I LOVE YOU. Say something!”
Me: “Ummm….DO YOU LOVE ME TOO?”
(Side note: this was not the first time I had told a guy I loved him and didn’t hear it back, but it WAS the first time I told a guy I loved him and MEANT IT and didn’t hear it back– so needless to say, this hurt more.)
So after Eric pulled the real-life equivalent of a Homer Simpson bush-melt, I realized I was not getting an “I love you” back– which, quite frankly, surprised me because according to Eric this is the celeb version of us as a couple:
Which is Eric’s hilarious, self-deprecating way of saying “I married up” (people DO tell me I look like that actress, btw, but only when I brush my hair. So never.)
And while I don’t disagree that he married up (I’m great), he needs to give himself more credit with his celeb doppelgänger, which is only Danny Devito in height, but clearly Daniel Berger in all other features (minus being good at golf):
But I digress.
The point of this is to say that I was kind of like, “Wait– YOU don’t love ME?!” First of all, I was
desperate openminded enough to look past the fact that your dating app photo was taken 200 feet away, head to the side, wearing sunglasses and a hat, forcing me to be like trying to figure out whether or not you were a mutant (you weren’t ).
And THEN I even looked past the fact that you lied about your height by an ENTIRE inch, which is such a trite internet-dating-jew-move. Lucky for you, on our first date, I was
too drunk to notice once again openminded.
All this, and YOU don’t love ME?!
But yeah. He couldn’t say the words.
So I did what any rational, mature, 33-year-old woman would do and kicked him the fuck out of my apartment. I told him that if he didn’t love me, I didn’t want to look at his ass face, which I think we can all agree is a good way of persuading someone on the do-I-love-you fence to hop on over with enthusiastic ardor.
Ok, no, jk, I wasn’t that harsh about it (out loud), but I did think he needed to take some space to sort out his feelings, since he claimed he was “confused” and “scared” (I think those were his words. I don’t know guys I’ve spent the past year wiping drool and cleaning poop. Nora’s, not mine. Nora’s and mine? Point is, my brain has atrophied.).
In Eric’s defense, he had only recently gotten out of a years-long relationship, and it had left him with some emotional baggage– the kind of baggage you think is totally compact and manageable but then you reach your gate and the attendant scoffs because there’s no way in hell that tattered, 400-pound Samsonite is fitting in the overhead compartment.
So I asked him to go home and take some time to think through his feelings and “unconfuse” himself, an idea he decided he hated the second he left my apartment.
He texted me from my lobby saying something along the lines of “This sucks. I don’t want to go home. I want to be with you,” and I replied with something along the lines of “Tough shit, dickwad.”
Or maybe I just said, “I know, I’m sorry, but I think you need some space to think about what you want from this relationship.” Like I said, details are hazy these days (grand…pa….SHARK do do do do do do….).
Bottom line is that clearly I was hurt and embarrassed, although embarrassment was really secondary to the hurt, because I think when you truly love someone, you’re able to put your ego aside. Plus, like any woman who has spent more than 5 years online dating in NYC, I had lost every last modicum of shame.
So Eric went home and called one of his guy friends for advice. Now this could have gone very poorly. Don’t get me wrong, Eric’s guy friends are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, but I would only take advice from a select zero of them. Thankfully, Eric chose the arguably most normal of the bunch, who immediately told him, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Stop being such a pussy.”
The next morning, I went for an 18-mile run at 4:00am on a workday, because I was training for a marathon and also because I am insane.
I blasted Adele’s “Hello” on repeat, screaming the lyrics as loudly as possible in order to prevent myself from crying over the fact that this dude clearly didn’t love me. What I quickly learned is that you don’t play Adele when you’re trying to NOT cry. You’d think after 18 years battling clinical depression I would have curated the optimal soundtrack for emotional soothing, but no, I still play Dave Matthew’s “Grey Street” when I’m feeling hopeless as fuck, which (spoiler alert!) doesn’t help.
I arrived back at my apartment around 6:45am, snot-nosed, bleary-eyed, nauseous, and sweating profusely. I smelled like a prepubescent boy’s gym sock. So it was the perfect time to encounter Eric, the man I was hoping would fall in love with me, standing right there at my front door. He was holding a bouquet of
bodega flowers fresh, long-stemmed roses and waiting to deliver a 10 minute speech about his feelings for me.
I tried to pay attention to all the reasons he loved me (something about how I’m a good listener?) but could only really focus on the fact that I was sweating from all holes and going to be late for work.
Regardless, I was elated. I finished half-listening and gave him a kiss that surely tasted like regurgitated PowerGel, hopped in the shower, and arrived at work 5 minutes late, still sweating.
But giddy as fuck.
My co-teacher took one look at me and asked what was happening with my face, and I had to explain that this is what it looks like when I’m experiencing a happiness that isn’t induced by four coffees or a bottle of Wellbutrin. She was thrilled for me, and we spent the morning re-hashing the details of the story while our 4th graders
ran amok? fell asleep? stole supplies? full blown Lord of the Flies murdered each other? There’s really no way to know worked independently.
So I just realized this story is less of an “All relationships have roadblocks and that’s ok and normal so just work through them and have faith” story and more of a “Nice job bullying your boyfriend into professing his love for you!” story but either way ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL GUYS.
Because two years later we made this:
So hang in there, single ladies.
Eric: “I had a dream last night that you were cheating on me. You were texting some guy whose name started with a ‘C’, and I kept trying to ask you about it but you wouldn’t answer me, but I could see you texting him about where you were going to meet up. Like it was obvious you had been having a full-blown affair with this guy for a while.”
Me: “Ok, well, that’s completely ridiculous.”
Eric: “I know.”
Me: “His name doesn’t start with a ‘C.'”
“Hey isn’t this great?”
“We have all day together!”
“What should we do?”
“What’s our plan?”
“Did you eat yet?”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Should we go run some errands?”
“What are you snacking on? Should I have a snack?”
“Banana Republic’s having a sale.”
“What are you reading? Send it to me.”
“Maybe I’ll go to the gym.”
“I see you’re eating another Kind bar.”
“I had the weirdest dream last night.”
“Isn’t this nice?”
Me: “It’s so annoying and dumb when parents use squealing, high-pitched baby talk with their kids. Babies are humans. Just talk to them in a human voice about normal things, for christ’s sake.”
(Discovers that baby-talk makes Nora smile)
Me: “Babies need to explore and fall and get hurt sometimes. It’s how they learn.”
(Sees Nora crawling toward something dangerous)
Me: “Talking about babies is boring as hell. I’m not going to be the person who has a kid and only cares about baby things. And I definitely don’t care what other moms do with their kids.”
(Overhears parent talking about a new trend in baby-feeding she’s been trying, and how her baby can now eat without her help.)
Me: “Let’s be honest, babies only need ONE toy. None of this baby-takes-over-the-home-with-her-endless-crap nonsense. My apartment is my zen place.”
(Sees Nora stays occupied when she has a variety of choices)
(my actual apartment right now )
Me: “Under NO circumstances will I listen to other parents talk about their child’s poop.”
(Overhears parent claim she diagnosed her child’s illness by inspecting the color, consistency, and odor change in his poop)
Me: “Above all else, parenting is not a competition. None of this petty bickering bullshit. We are a team.”
(Eric thinks Nora’s crying in her crib because she has a dirty diaper. I say she’s testing us. Eric goes to change her diaper, and there’s nothing. Nora laughs at him.)
(One hour passes)
(One day passes)
(8 months later)
Me: “Hey remember that time I was right?”
Last year, while on our annual family vacation in the Outer Banks (moment of silence to mourn the fact that we will be missing this year’s trip, which of course makes us sad but it’s obviously for a very good reason– so my vagina can be torn in half), Eric stumbled upon these two ducks in a novelty store.
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (every third post), but Eric loves animals. Obsessed. The obsession is mostly focused on dogs, but he really does not discriminate. Just yesterday I was forced to watch a minutes-long video of a kangaroo on a golf course, sniffing a ball and then slinking away, which elicited a slightly amused chuckle from me, and a maniacal cackle-giggle from Eric, who couldn’t help but repeatedly yell, “I mean, just look at him hop! Look at him! Hoppin’ away like a little hoppin’ machine!”
So he came across these ducks last year and, as you can imagine, absolutely could not in any way control his excitement because a) THEY’RE DUCKS! and b) they happen to have our names. Without even thinking to look at the price tag he grabbed them and declared, “This probably goes without saying, but we need these.”
Now, sometimes I am wiling to be indulgent of this animal addiction, such as last week when I purchased this giraffe toilet paper holder for our bathroom and named it Jaben, after our South African safari guide, for no other reason than I knew it would make Eric smile and think of me with gratitude every time he sits on the pot, which is important in a marriage.
Other times, such as when he purchased this Corgi welcome mat without my knowledge, , I threaten to burn the product should it be anywhere in my direct line of sight (rug has since been moved from front door entrance to his side of the bed, halfway tucked under the bed frame. I can technically still see it when I use the bathroom or clean the bedroom (once a year) but placing his feet on that rug first thing every morning makes him so happy that I don’t quite have the heart to burn it, so it stays. For now.)
As for the ducks, I took one look and said, “We really don’t need more clutter in the apartment.” He stared back at me, expression blank, and then, after 30 seconds of careful contemplation, formed his astute counter-argument: “BUT THEY SAY OUR NAMES!”
I was not convinced, and reminded him of the concerted effort we had been putting into de-cluttering our tight living space, already occupied by a ceramic hedgehog, a camel carrying a dowry, three llamas (two from Abu Dhabi and one Peruvian, and may god have mercy on your soul if you can’t tell the difference), four elephant figurines, a life-sized corgi pillow, and the aforementioned corgi mat.
“Ok, ok, you’re right,” he conceded. So I gave him a warm smile and soft kiss on the cheek to show appreciation for his sacrifice, directly after which he walked up to the cashier and purchased both ducks.
So fine. Now we have these ducks.
But ever since bringing them home, something has bothered me about them (like, aside from the fact that we have the world’s most unnecessary wooden birds taking up our tight, NYC living space), and I haven’t been able to place my finger on it. Then yesterday, almost a year after purchase, I finally figured it out:
THEY’RE WEARING THE WRONG NAMES.
Yes, those were the name tags they were wearing in the store, aka the names the artist thought were accurate and appropriate for each duck. But if you look closely, you’ll see this was a classic mix up.
The one wearing the Emily tag is a short, stumpy, spry little yapper. Literally has NO LEGS. Its lips are open, chatting away, likely about something related to a dog walking by or an hours-long, in-depth retell of “the weirdest dream I had last night.” Eyes are open wide with wonder, like it can’t wait to discover what the day will bring– a kangaroo on a golf course? A corgi playing in a puddle? A squirrel having a good scratch? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!
This duck is clearly Eric.
Meanwhile, who is this excitable little Eric duck yapping away to, and clearly being tuned out by? (And to be clear, it’s not a purposeful, spiteful tune-out– this lanky duck is clearly involuntarily stuck in a thought-loop, berating itself for something embarrassing it did 12 years ago and wondering if the gaggle of geese who witnessed the transgression are still talking about it).
That’s right, this long, chicken-leg-limbed yet too-large-footed figure is clearly Emily duck, staring into the abyss, silent, minding its own business and probably confused about something. If you look closely, its dark, beady little shell-shocked eye screams inner panic attack and the stiff, craned neck says “Hi, I am uncomfortable.” This duck is also the color of pee, which more literally represents what I spend half my time needing to do.
So I switched the name tags and now all is right with the world.
Best purchased we* ever made.
*we = really 100% Eric, against my will, but now that I’m amused by them, I will take half credit for their discovery and purchase because MARRIAGE.