Friday, December 31, 2010

Number One

I got a Facebook message today that made me laugh out loud - a true story that is hysterical and cringe-worthy in many respects. Sitcom material, even. It would be funny in many contexts (well, at least from an outsider's perspective), but its even funnier with the back story.

The Backstory

I had been working on a specific client when "Mel" showed up to the team for his first day of work. "Mel" was a brand new staff, and though quiet, was a polite, hardworking, and handsome fellow, reminiscent of Mel Gibson (pre-crazy, handsome Mel Gibson).

I went home that night to regale Dr Chako of my work day, and happened to mention my new staff looked a little like Mel Gibson. At that time (years ago, again, pre-crazy), Mel Gibson was on my "list" (if you have to ask, you'll never understand). Dr Chako bristled a bit and grumbled about not being happy that I was working with someone who was going to make me think of the list every day. I laughed, and said reassuringly "Don't worry honey - he's a kid. I have no interest in 20-something year old kids."

The next day over lunch, our team was talking. Turns out "Mel" had a whole life before he became a public accountant, and had been a skier and professional ski instructor for the Candian women's Olympic ski team. I relayed this interesting tidbit to Dr Chako and said "Yeah, turns out that even though he's multiple levels BELOW me, he's actually my age!" Dr Chako was not amused. "You just told me the reason you could never be interested in him was because he was too young; now you're telling me he's your AGE?!"

It became a running joke, fueled by a discussion late one night at work about age-appropriate dating. I told the team I was at a point where should I ever start dating, that dating anyone below age 28 just felt creepy. One of our team members was an exchange auditor from the Netherlands who was 31 and a good sport, so I said "like Sander - he's totally in my sweet spot as far as ages go - I could totally choose Sander." The team laughed, but Mel piped up. "What about me? I'm totally in your sweet spot." I turned and looked at him and said "Oh, well you're my number one choice. That was a given." It became his new adopted nickname - Number 1. And up until the day he left public accounting (to go back to working for the Winter Olympic committee in Canada), I continued to tease him about being my Number 1.

Fast Forward

He's now living in Canada and got married last year. I keep in touch now and then through email or Facebook, but other than that, our contact is infrequent. Today, however, I got this message - he'd apparently taken his wife back to Hawaii for their anniversary . . .

So, I thought it would be a good idea to have the hotel (same one that we got married at) recreate the top tier of our wedding cake for our first anniversary.

So, I gave them a picture of the cake, told them what I wanted.....

I invite Kim's parents for the dinner as well....

They bring out the cake and it says "Happy Anniversary Mel and Mrs Chako"

Kind of ruined the moment...

I told him he could blame the hotel, but maybe the universe still remembers he was my Number 1. I'm guessing his wife Kim probably didn't find it as funny as I did.
Respectfully submitted,
The Wife

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Conversations With Boys - Part II

Every day brings a new something, and usually an annoying something.

We went to the gym as a family tonight. Worked out for two hours, between the gym and the pool - spent a lot of time playing with the boys in the pool. By the time we'd finished over an hour of swimming, the boys were spent and starving.

My oldest son suggested McDonald's fries, and given how much energy they'd just expended, I was willing to give in. My little guy wanted a chocolate shake, but when we got to the drive through, my oldest son convinced him to get a mini-McFlurry with peanut butter cups in it. My little guy hesitated, having set his heart on a shake, but finally agreed.

I reassured him. "It's just like a really thick milkshake, with Reese's peanut butter cups in it."

"It's like your mother," spouted off my oldest son. He's really into this "your mother" phase, where he likes to throw that out as a response to everything his brother says.

I looked over my shoulder at my oldest son. "You're saying your mother, meaning me, is like a really thick vanilla shake with Reese's peanut butter cups in it?"

He smiled. "I'd be so totally into you." He paused for effect. "If you were a thick vanilla shake with Reese's peanut butter cups in you."

I don't even have a response for this one.

Except, maybe, "Your mother."

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Holiday Spirit

You know the old saying "It's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it"?

Never more true than today. And before you guys get all off the ranch on me, keep it clean - I'm sleeping alone tonight.

I love gifts. Not big things like diamonds (and Ferraris). I like small thoughtful things. One of the girls who works for me got me a scarf this year - she knows I wear them frequently, and she wanted to say thanks for her raise this year. When we moved, my friend Katy offered me a "photo session" with my family - she's been working on doing photography for more than a hobby and we got some amazing candid and posed family shots I'll treasure forever. Years ago my husband would stop by the roadside flower vendors in Germany and bring me this huge mixed bouquet that just brightened my day.

I'm a simple girl, and am pleased with simple things. Which is why I felt all warm and fuzzy after my workout - not because I was sweating like a pig, but because when I got back to my locker, and checked my phone, I had an unexpected email telling me I had a special e-book gift from an unexpected source.

You know who you are - a thousand thanks for thinking of me and sharing a special read you think I might enjoy!

I will do my best to spread the holiday spirit.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

WPBT Part 6: Fond Memories and Moments

Posting WPBT trip reports in chronological order for me just wasn't going to happen. Maybe because I'm getting old and forgetful. Maybe because the trip never feels linear to me. It feels more like one big event for me, marked by small and large pockets of interesting people, events, and experiences. Like some monster scattergraph with a time dimension and an intensity dimension, where all the experiences are varying size bubbles plotted out in no specific pattern.

So I figure after the old, the new, the poker and the hot (oh, and the x's and o's), it was time for a recap of some of my favorite bubbles (small and large):
  • Barely making the plane on time, and not freaking out. Dr Chako and I got out of the house later than we planned, ran into a little traffic, then the lady in the security line sent me back to check my bag (with only 2 minutes to spare). Funny thing is the plane we took down was so small, everyone had to gate check anyway . . . but we made it, and the rest is history.
  • Betty standing in MacCarran at the luggage carousel saying to Dr Chako "Can you pull my jeans down over my calves?" Skinny jeans have a way of working up on women gifted with shapely calves (myself, primarily). Dr Chako took the task too seriously and probably raised some eyebrows when he proclaimed "I'll pull down your pants any time!"
  • Betty and I flanking Dr Chako on our way into the MGM, and then to the IP. He could not have been surrounded by finer accessories in finer heels. I think he got some of those "what has that dude got" looks from passersby. He's got a fine wife with fine friends, is what he's got.
  • OK, not gonna lie. Flopping quads and getting paid for them was awesome. Especially with my husband's money in the pot.
  • Standing between F-Train and Falstaff (who was on his 6th PITCHER of beer) while F-Train asked him questions, Falstaff answered other totally unrelated questions, and I served as a translator. Example? F-Train: "Have you seen Pauly lately?" Falstaff: "I think that's a hooker and this is my sixth pitcher of beer." Me (to F-Train): "He was just talking to Pauly who's at the slots by the Geisha Bar." If we ever make a blogger sitcom, we need to use this set up.
  • Breakfast with Drizz, Kat, and Dr Chako at the MGM Buffet. Not the best buffet, but absolutely the best company.
  • Best comment by Otis, on walking past our NL table in the MGM Friday afternoon, and seeing myself, Pablo, Shelly, and CA April all seated in a row: "Four prettiest ladies in the casino, right there." In his defense, Pablo does have the best hair.
  • Moon rocks from Gracie - so sweet, and way to help us continue to try to further our geek-genes in our offspring!
  • Dinner conversation with Betty on Friday night. If I told you, I'd have to kill you . . . but suffice it to say it involved lots of our favorite topics (which may or may not have included shoes and mens).
  • My MGM table Friday night. May have to be its own post - it was just entertaining on many fronts.
  • Successfully pulling off one bluff per day (my limit) each day I played. Whew - might have to jack that up to two per day next time!
  • Watching CA April reach the point of alcohol consumption where she becomes this EXTREMELY huggy girl . . . her inner extrovert comes out!
  • Seeing that Waffle's focus on his health is paying off - I can see the difference! Keep it up!
  • Seeing everyone gathered for the tourney - amazing how many of us an event like this can manage to gather in one place . We even managed to get nearly the entire group together for a picture (a feat of organization that may never be accomplished again).
  • Mixed games with just myself, Katkin, Dr Chako and Grange. More fun when the guy with the bad dye job decided to join our table and got a little rattled by the action.
  • Grange's comment on a passerby in the IP - "Gay, Euro, or D-Bag?"
  • Drizz's wife, snowed in up in Minnesota, who was drinking and sending him pornography during the WPBT tourney. He shared one of her treats, and I got a laugh out of BrainMC when I was trying to figure out the pose and told Drizz it looked like the Heisman of pornography.
  • Dinner with CK, Grange, and Dr Chako - thanks for the comp and the fabulous conversation. Not to mention the fact that my dinner companions were pretty easy on the eyes. Yummmm!
  • Saturday night poker at the IP with bloggers and DC - some random local who was a clear case of adult ADHD and some combination of caffeine, nicotine, "supplements" and various other potential pharmaceutical enhancements. He couldn't stop talking and I think poor Mary had to take the brunt of it; I learned how to engage him and make him friendly - got to know his poker play pretty well - wish I would have had more opportunity to take advantage of it.
  • Demonstrating my version of a "live straddle" for Grange in the IP poker room which involved a fully-clothed cowgirl position on his lap while I got my cowgirl groove on to "Achy-Breaky Heart". Not gonna lie and pretend it wasn't a little hot, particularly with this hunk of Nebraska-born beef. Ah, alas, I'm married, and he's in a different league (lawyers, that is). If he ever changes his mind . . .
  • Drizz meeting his full end of the bet and wearing Packer attire to LaGasse's stadium on Sunday, complete with Packer ankle socks!
  • Snuggling with CK watching the Pats game.
  • Talking with the other CK - Special K about our jobs and career choices, and such. Makes me wish I lived closer to him and his Dr.
  • Pretending to be Rosen's "theoretical mistress" while helping him find jewelry for his wife. After getting the saleswoman (a middle-aged, proper Asian woman) to buy the mistress joke, we got her to cough up one of her own stories about her husband tape recording her conversations with a male friend in the car because he was suspicious and jealous! "Tennis partners" - likely story, lady! Is that what they called it in those days? "Hey honey, Bob and I are going to play some tennis!"
  • Having Grange be there to see the Doc and I off!
  • Having a great time with all of my friends, but most importantly, my best friend - Dr Chako.

I'm sure I'm missing other small notable moments . . . can't wait to do it all again. Only thing missing this time was some Steel Panther and "skillets" . . . but you can't always have everything, can you?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, December 20, 2010

WPBT Part 5: Yes, I Did Play Poker

I know, I know, you're thinking "when did that happen"? You're thinking "How can she possibly have had time between all the kissing and hugging and talking and kissing and shoes and hugging and fashion and kissing and mooning all over Grange and laying on the bed with Kat and hugging and kissing . . . "

But I got in poker. Quite a bit, in fact.

I started much earlier than normal . . . after getting a few hugs and kisses in at the IP, and showing off my smokin' hot red shoes, I sat down with a table full of bloggers to play a little $1/$2 NL. It was typical blogger play, which means there was always a button straddle, or some other live straddle, and it meant my husband and CK were betting in prime numbers bigger than five (don't ask me). I played my typical game, which meant "call if your hand is strong, raise if it's stronger, bet when you hit it, fold when you don't."

I was in the blind when my first big hand hit. Of course, there was some straddle somewhere, so I was obliged to come in for the full $4, and then I think my husband made it some prime number (might have been 7). I had A7 suited, and decided to call. I was left in the hand with CaityCaity and my husband.

The flop came 7-7-7. I tried to turn down the volume on the choir of poker angels that were singing "Quaaaaaads!" in my head. My whole goal was to try to get my husband to stay in. Being the blind made the first move easy - I checked. My good fortune to watch CaityCaity bet it first - $15 - and my husband smooth call. CaityCaity, regardless of her cards, did the right thing - I showed weak, and if she didn't bet at it, DrChako certainly would have, regardless of his cards. I did my best brow furrow, and called as well. The turn brought a J. I checked again, and again, CaityCaity led the betting for $35, with my husband smooth calling again. I've now decided that both of them likely have something; although I totally gave my husband credit for holding overcards, still hoping to pounce. But I needed to make some money here. I raised, which put me all in - I only had about $33 behind. CaityCaity called, and my husband, wisely suspecting his small pocket pair had put him behind one of us (and likely his uber-conservative wife who was raising), laid down. I turned over my 7 and raked the pot - which managed to put me up to around $200, which was double my original buy in. Woot!

I wasted a few more chips over the next couple hours on a few straddles or hands that didn't pay off, and finally decided to step away with a $20 profit.

On Friday I hit it again in the early afternoon at the MGM, this time with the intent of joining CA April, Pablo, and Shelly in an easy $.50/$1 NL game. Great way to spend a little time with friends without blowing the evening's bankroll. But there wasn't a seat open.

"If you'd like to sit down in the $1/$2 NL game, we can call you when a spot opens at your friends' table." I took my Ben Franklin to the nearest open table and sat down to wait my chips. I agreed to let the button pass and play in behind it, ordering a drink while I waited. No cards hit the table and I was already down $1 for the tip! I tossed the next couple deals in the muck, and then was dealt pocket aces. Raise! Got two callers, and we see a completely random flop. Early position bets, about a 2/3 pot, and I raise. Button folds, and EP guy pauses, stares me down, and grudgingly folds his hand. I won't be here long, so I flip up my aces and rake my chips. Two hands later, they call me and I walk over to the $.50/$1 NL table with a 50% profit on my buy in.

Which, as it turns out, was all I could bring to the $.50/$1 game - $50. I cashed out the rest of my chips, and tried to get myself situated while chatting with the blogger crew. Turns out the rest of the table was friendly enough, too, and we had a lovely afternoon together. Well, other than Pablo and I were totally banned from chopping at that table partly because that's their rules, but probably because we took too much rake time debating about whether or not to chop when we finally decided against it (I had pocket 8s - I needed his other $.50!). The best hand of the table had to be when my 98 hold cards saw a flop of 7-6-5 rainbow. My good fortune that one of the other players wanted to play, and Pablo had flopped a set of sixes. I bet, other player called, Pablo raises. I min-raise him, and the other guy folds. Pablo re-raises, and I make a final raise to put him all in. I sweated the board pairing a bit, but my straight held, and I scooped a monster pot. I only had a few minutes to play before I had to leave to take a conference call, so I managed to walk away for the whole day up $150!

That evening I hit it again at the MGM, after a fabulous dinner with Betty, and after being a little up at the $1/$2 NL table, I went back to the $.50/$1 table, to protect the downside (while my husband was out playing with the boys). This table is a story in itself, highlighted by CK and I bringing all action to a halt a couple times, and my table mates were some top notch characters. I held on quite a while, but ended up losing a $40 buy-in to the guy who drew to his Q9 straight on the river, against my flopped two pairs (J-10). I bought in for another $40, just to pass time, and held on another couple hours, but lost a race of JJ against a guy drawing to the straight flush who just managed to complete the regular straight on the river. I'd call 'em river rats (which they may in fact be) . . . I guess after showing down only good hands they were hoping to catch me off-guard and managed to get there. Like I said, protecting my downside, and still left the poker room up for the day.

The blogger tourney was my next run at it, and I played long and hard, finishing 29th. Far ahead of my hubby and teammate who finished 84th, and not too far behind my other teammate who finished 22nd. Nothing huge and memorable - generally it was "get good cards, play and win with them," "get good cards, don't hit, fold them" or "fold the crap." No magic, and a table that was playing pretty tight and conservative . . . after a table change, I was all but out when my JJ went up against CK's KK. The rest is history.

I played mixed games with DrChako, Katkin and Grange at the MGM while the final table was being decided and managed to part with another $20. Cards were crap and fortunately the flops were even crappier . . . Grange couldn't get another bet out of me after he turned quads. After a dinner break, we headed to the IP to join the gang and play a little more. This one is another story unto itself, so I'll save the details for later. Suffice it to say, even with all the crazy goings on, by the time I finished Saturday night (Sunday morning?) I was only down a net $10 for the whole trip, which was probably in large part due to tips for the weekends table drinks.

Missed my favorite NL partner, but all in all, was happy enough with my play, and best of all, had lots of time to play with friends, laugh and talk and do all the people watching and player watching a girl could get in Vegas.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WPBT Part 4: X's and O's

For better or worse, I am an affectionate person. I have a small personal space, and don't mind inviting people into it.

It takes very little to establish that level of intimacy with me - be engaging, be open, be friendly, be honest, be willing to share a little of your space with me. I'm pretty easy to figure out, and except in the rare cases when I've consciously decided to be my alter ego Jayne Chako, what you see is what you get.

One of my best memories of the first WPBT that I participated in (while Dr Chako was in the sandbox) was how little it took to establish that level of intimacy with people - like Instant Tragedy and Bam Bam - before I even got to Las Vegas. Hugs and kisses just seemed natural. Still, each one was treasured.

Everyone has a different level of comfort with personal space, much less hugging and kissing. Some of it has to be rooted in our upbringing. Some in our culture. Some might be buried in our DNA. I'll chalk mine up to at least two. I can't take credit for culture (I'm some combination of German/British/Scandinavian heritage that might not be top of mind in the world of outwardly affectionate peoples), though based on my preferences, I'm certain I'd make a great Latin American or Italian woman. But I grew up in a huge extended family, with little space and little money, but lots of affection. I kissed and hugged my parents goodnight every night. Still kiss and hug them every time I see them. I kiss and hug all my relatives - I even have those mouth-kissing older aunts. We're just full of affection.

I also think it's just who I am. I love kissing and hugging babies and little kids, and smother my two boys with affection, both of whom are very affectionate themselves. Loved my husband and his family who are big huggers and kissers. Tend to touch people when I talk to them. And I always have a hug (and/or a kiss) for any friend who needs one.

This WPBT didn't disappoint in that respect - I love that I have a whole gaggle of friends who take full advantage of the ability to engage in a little (semi-appropriate) PDA. Makes the weekend complete.

Some notable PDA at the WPBT this year included:
  • My fair share of smooches with one of my gal pals, CK. She's one of the most bendable, huggable, kissable people ever - partly 'cause she's beautiful, and partly because she's just a cool chick. If I ever decide to permanently* bat for the other side, I'm gonna pray to the "other side" gods that she be among a few to convert as well. She greeted me with smooches and hugs, we managed to bring the MGM poker room to a halt a couple times on Friday night (although we had to turn down requests from my NL table for on-demand performances), and she still had smooches, hugs, and a lot of snuggle left to share at Lagasse's on Sunday. HIGHLY smoochable. Did I mention highly?
  • Kisses and hugs with Kat. This woman embodies grown-up sex appeal and exudes love. I always feel refreshed and renewed when I have a chance to hug her, and don't mind that she's always willing to lay a smooch on me (when she's not smooching my hubby).
  • Otis. Something about knowing those words on his blog come out of that brain is an amazing amount of sexy. When I get a hug and a kiss, I feel like he's gifting me with some of that magic. Plus he looked pretty hot in that vintage cream tuxedo jacket. The best was when I was walking through the IP with Drizz and my hubby - Otis was walking towards us from the other direction. I was holding hands with the Dr., and as Otis passed, he leaned in and kissed me full on the mouth before cruising by . . . the look on the dazed and confused passers-by was priceless. It's Vegas people!
  • Special K. I have to kiss him chastely (mostly), 'cause I know and respect his wife, and she can probably kick my ass, or at least run me down. But he's always good for an extra hug or two, as well.
  • Falstaff is like a giant, funny, sarcastic, sexy teddy bear, and I can't wait until I get my hugs and kisses from him. If he's not kissing my husband or sticking his tongue in someone's ear. He also told me I had the softest lips. He totally can retest that theory ANYTIME.
  • Katkin. One of the nicest guys ever, and like a good Jew, he's always got hugs and kisses for a sister. His beard kinda tickles, too, in a good way.
  • Dr Jeff. Of course, it took forever before I laid eyes on this guy, as the husband and others were monopolizing his time and he didn't make it to the MGM poker room until late. However, he had delicious hugs and kisses for me, and held me tight while we watched Dr Chako get a massage at the poker table. He stopped only long enough to show me the latest picture of his little one, like a good dad.
  • OhCaptain laid a little of his midwestern love on me, but nothing his wife wouldn't approve of (if she's reading).
  • I lost my kiss virginity to Grange . . . full of hugs, and treated me to the sweetest kiss right before I left Vegas. I know I already talked about it, but totally worth talking about twice.
  • Drizz always has a hug for me, even when he's wearing Packer attire (complete with Packer socks).
  • Maigrey, the Poker Princess, laid some love on me too - complete with her braces-free smile. I guess that's what you get when you share a little crack** together.
  • F-Train showed up at the IP Thursday night and was there to give me the requisite hugs and kisses, after he ogled my shoes.
  • I got hugs from everyone's favorite bloggers . . . Pauly and Iggy, Al, Gracie and Pablo, Bad Blood, Mary, Dawn Summers, Joe Speaker, Waffles . . . I'm sure I left some out.

Throw in a sufficient amount of marital "affection" (that's what we're going to call the package deal, and spare you further detail) and I'm gonna call it good. My X's and O'x meter redlined for the weekend, and I came home a happy girl.

If you know me, you'll know that I always have more for you. If you don't feel like you got enough, I'll get you on the next round. And if you ever feel like you need someone to wrap your arms around, or lay lips on, look me up.


The Wife

* Discuss amongst yourself if my use of the word "permanently" (I chose to not self-edit) was a Freudian slip or not.

** Not that kind. Ew. Not that kind either. It's an alcoholic coffee drink, people.

*** Thinking of charging admission in the MGM next time.

In Which I Feel Small

He was confident. Used terms I didn't know about a subject I know little about besides "when it works, it's good." Talked permits and earthquake mounts and gas lines and other things that interest me little.

Except when I enter the garage to find the hot water heater spraying all over the place.

You never feel as small as when something big is going bad and you have no idea what to do. My knowledge of plumbing with respect to water consists of "turn on the faucet, turn off the faucet". I'm a little handier with the toilet functions, but other aspects of water intake/outlet is a general mystery to me.

The estimates don't make me feel any better. I am getting three estimates, all of which are for something I'm not even paying for (thank you, Mr. Landlord) and I still feel like they're all in cahoots and playing the shell game with me. Why do you make $200 per hour?

The guy is here now so I'm going to go watch myself get violated.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WPBT Part 3: In Which Mrs Chako Contemplates New Connections

So the great thing about the WPBT is that no two are ever exactly alike, you can never imagine in advance how they turn out, and they are filled with good surprises every year. My favorite part of the new surprises is the people . . . either meeting new people I've never met, or connecting with old acquaintances in a different way. So this post is a tribute to all of the "new" connections from this year's trip for me.

Let's start with my favorite. Every year, it seems like there is one little sparkling moment where I realize I've fallen into deep like with a special new blogger friend. This year it was Grange. The Dr. and I were hanging around with Katkin (one of my favorite new peoples from WPBT's ago) and Grange . . . I'd never met the guy, but he was well-known in the internet circles. He was pleasant and appropriately sarcastic, and a bit of a hunk, too. He's a midwest lawyer, but grew up a Nebraska farm boy, so he's got that tall, broad-shouldered frame that you can picture stacking hay in a mow, or throwing you down in the hay . . . (farm-boy fantasy break) . . . you get the picture. When CK's sweetheart bailed on her, we had an extra spot, and I suggested we invite Grange. My instincts were spot on - he is a great conversationalist, sarcastic and funny, and we had some really good serious conversations. Many good moments of the weekend involved him, either directly or peripherally. I'll save the "live straddle" moment for a favorite moments post, but a close second was the sweet goodbye kiss I got right before we hopped in a cab for the airport. I think my lips are still tingling a little.

Other favorite "new" people:
  • Had a chance to chat with Lightning. After teasing the Dr. and I about Ferrari's and au pairs, we spent some time talking fiscal responsibility. He and I share a lot of the same philosophies about money - I swear if we were married, we'd be like two squirrels hoarding nuts.
  • Met BrainMC. Played poker with him a few times, chatted a few times more. He teased me about playing tight . . . when they asked for my players card at the MGM, he laughed and said "Don't you mean your folder's card?" He's an easy going sort, and I kept having the urge to run my hand up the back of his nicely clipped head . . . love the way short hair feels. Seems like the kind of guy who would be great to hang out with.
  • Met Dave Rosen (Sox Lover?). He was at my starting table in the tournament, and while I'm gonna call bullshit on him for the donkey 2-7 all in play (not against me) that won when his 2 of diamonds completed the 4-card flush on the board, but I had a great time with him Sunday at LaGasse's. He was so excited that a couple bets he'd placed had hit; I had a fantastic time helping him shop for jewelry for his wife. We were looking for something that said "Thanks for letting me go have fun in Vegas", but nothing that reached the "Please don't divorce me for what I did in Vegas" level. With my bargain shopping, I got him a beautiful set of earrings and a pendant that looked like it said "Thanks for letting me go have fun in Vegas" but only cost "Thanks for letting me go to the derivatives convention in Cleveland" dollars.
  • Met 23Skiddoo on Thursday night (a night he may not wish to remember, much like the several buyins he left at the table). He was sweet to me, and we agreed that most bloggers marry up - can't wait to meet his wife. :) Although the tables were not so good to him, he was still full of hugs.
  • Two "new" ladies faces to me (one new to the group, one an experienced WPBT'er) this time were Josie and Shelly. Josie is a sweet and bubbly sort and was a joy. Shelly was really down to earth and was fun to have at my $.50/$1 NL table, and our conversation on fashion and knuckle hair (two unrelated conversations, I should say) helped fill out the tapestry of the weekend.
  • Met others briefly . . . Poker Grump and Numbono and . . . well, I'd need to go through the blog rolls of everyone to make sure I caught them all.

For those of you who have never done a WPBT, or do them infrequently, the next time you get the time and the money, make it a priority. Not only will you get to have some quality time (and irresponsibility) with some of your favorite old friends, but you meet a couple new ones every time!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Friday, December 17, 2010

WPBT Part 2: In Which Mrs Chako Contemplates Looking Hot

Still not the kissing blog. Though peripherally will relate to the kissing blog.

Vegas is one of those great places. You can choose to dress up and go all out. You can choose to wear the clothes you wore last night. You can choose to wear the same clothes all weekend long. You can mismatch your clothing and go completely unnoticed in the land of "everything goes, as long as you're ok being laughed at occasionally, but it's ok 'cause you'll never see them again."

Let's discuss some of our notably "looking hot" moments.
  • I give myself first dibs because, after all, it is MY blog and I can write about whatever I damn well please. But my first dibs to go me for my Thursday night IP footwear. I bought this rockin' awesome pair of red patent leather Guess stilettos with a ton of straps, a cork platform, and 5+ inches of stiletto. Now because of the relatively frighteningly hotness of the shoe (I mean, come on, they were like "F-me hot"), I did pair them with a more low key pair of dark skinny jeans, t-shirt and jacket, so as to balance the hot factor. Matching red pedicure and the look was complete. I felt bitchin' hot. Yep - bitchin' hot.
  • I wanted to give myself second dibs, but I'm gonna give that to the lovely CK. Friday night was dress up night, and I was totally in the running, but then she showed up dressed up too. She had this awesomely elegant, yet sexy black dress. Sleeveless, fitted (without being too tight), longer skirt with this awesome slit up the front side. Laid gracefully across her lean body, leaving her looking positively classy, yet edible at the same time. Completely added to her kissability (which I took full advantage of), and has given me dress envy - must have dress. Complete the look with hair and makeup and she was a show stopper. Even without the kissing stuff.
  • Ok, now I give myself another set of props. Friday night, I let out my inner Jayne and dressed up to join my partner in many crimes, Betty Underground. She lives right down the road from me, but we've established a long-standing (twice) tradition of eating shi-shi food together in Vegas and sharing girl talk. She said "I'm dressing up" so I was obligated to pull out the stops. Indigo slinky halter dress, smoke-colored chunky glass earrings and necklace, black snake skin Jimmy Choos, and a red faux pashmina, just for a spot of color. Given the reaction of my NL table in the MGM later, I was certain it was in the running for a "looking hot" nomination.
  • Speaking of my partner in many crimes, Betty was looking fine and fabulous as well. She rocked out some crazy stilettos on Thursday night at the IP too, nudged out only by the sheer red hotness of mine (talk to your friend Scott, who was a fair and impartial judge). But Friday night, it was a tasteful black short dress that showed just a hint of her ink, black leggings, and fabulous black heels. Classy, sexy, and definitely hot.
  • Kat showed up Thursday night at the IP looking biker chick hot. New Joan Jett cut, black dress showing off some curves and her ink, and some kick ass boots that gave the whole look an edgy sort of sexy. My husband will let you leave those boots on his side of the bed anytime.
  • Gotta give a nod to Very Josie. Having met this bubbly bit of lusciousness for the first time, she didn't disappoint. First of all, she's cuter than her picture on her blog - the kind of cheeks you want to take a bite out of. She was decked out in the MGM poker room in this bedazzled black shirt with this cute little asymmetrical neck that demonstrated her curves. Her personality is even more bedazzling.
  • Astin gets the hot man nod . . . he showed up from dinner with Carol decked out in this natty suit and looking fine. Well played, sir.
  • Drizz and Otis get nods for jacket hot. Drizz sported a classic blazer, making him look like the most respectable of our crew in the IP (which technically might not be that difficult). Otis sported a classic cream colored blazer with chocolate brown trim that fit his lean frame like a glove. Yum!

Lest you feel slighted, remember this is only about "looking" hot . . . if I were making a post about BEING hot . . . well, it could be a significantly longer post . . .

Posts yet to come . . . new people I met and loved, old people I kissed and hugged, football . . . oh, and poker.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Hot red shoes . . . note the blogger signatures on the guitar in the background

WPBT Part 1: In Which Mrs Chako Contemplates Her Virtual Neighborhood

I know you were hoping this was the kissing post. Wait for it, people.

I know you may also favor the chronology part of WPBT trip reports. I can't do chronology this year, as it's all swirling in my head and what is time anyway, in Vegas?

So I'm going to do it by segments of feeling and activity. Today's post contemplates the odd little virtual neighborhood we've created.

Falstaff and I had a great conversation at LaGasse's Sunday morning. It could have been because he's such a lovable guy. Or because he came to the event with some sort of bizarre Nacho Libre mask (maybe it was S&M). Or because he told me I have the softest lips ever (I do - you should try kissing them sometime). Or because he was totally hopped up on cold medicine. Or some combination thereof.

We were discussing how in the 50's, couples in the neighborhood got together all the time to socialize and play bridge and card games and such, drinking and smoking and whatever the Mad Men of that day did. He speculated that, in some ways, we were replicating that kind of environment, just having to do it in Vegas. Friends who show up each year (and randomly at smaller gatherings throughout the year) just for the sole purpose of socializing and playing a few cards together.

It got me thinking of our little (large) posse as kind of a virtual neighborhood. And leaving Las Vegas made me a little sad, because it is always like temporarily moving away from the neighborhood. You have to say your goodbyes, without the certainty that the next bridge or poker night is only a week away.

These are people that could easily be my real neighbors (like CA April, and Bayne and Betty). I could totally see leaving the kids for a night and gathering with the Falstaffs, and the Special K's, and the Otises, and the Drizzes, and the OhCaptains, and the Bloods, and the Katitudes, and the . . . you catch my drift . . . swigging back some drinks, trading stories and kisses, and throwing cards around the table. Hell, I could even see dragging the kids along to the Otises or the Drizzes or the OhCaptains. We could go to Falstaff's book nights, or watch Dr. K kick Special K's ass in the next run, or participate in OhCaptain's Bourbonator nights. And when I think about getting on the plane, knowing that it may likely be a year before I see them again . . . well, it makes me a little sad.

Every year I find I have new conversations with someone, even long time blogger friends, and it makes me happy to live in this virtual neighborhood.
  • Special K and I had a long chat about our jobs, and motivation, the definition of success, and living with your life choices.
  • Falstaff and I could have pondered the neighbor question a little longer except my kids decided to interrupt at that moment to discuss their progress in the latest video game.
  • Betty lives less than 15 miles from me, but we still took a moment out of the hustle of Vegas to have a lovely dinner at Nob Hill while we discussed topics of mutual girl interest (mostly 'mens').
  • Iggy and I had a conversation about whether it would be better to have a year or two off between high school and college where kids could learn real life skills like building houses and teaching and budgeting and stuff.
  • Kat and I laid on my bed in the MGM (imagine away, people) discussing life choices and education and other weighty subjects while we digested our buffet breakfast.
  • OhCaptain and I talked of loose plans to have a trip through America's heartland this summer to catch some Minnesota bloggers on the way to visit my parents

These are good people. Proud to have them in my virtual neighborhood; welcome in my real neighborhood any time.

When is our next block party? I'm already starting to get the itch . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

The Big Hurt

I'm sure that is some sports hero's name, but for the life of me I can't recall and I'm too damn lazy to go google it. How bad is it when you don't have the energy to click over to a new web page and do a word search?

Today, there is a new owner of the name.

I had a massage scheduled with Heather today. Oh she of the magic hands Heather. Perky cute girl with an amazing touch and ability to ferret out my knots like a French pig ferrets out truffles. I was looking forward to my massage with Heather. Then the call came. Heather has an emergency - can I reschedule?

I couldn't reschedule, so they gave me other therapist options, men and women. "Who can do 'firm' pressure best?" I asked.

"Oh, that would be David," she purred. No, she really purred. Never having had David, I agreed. I mean, she was purring, for heavens sake! How could I say "no"?

Enter "Big Hurt"

"I'm David," came the voice, shaking me out of the reverie of looking through the jewelry catalog. I looked up to see this hulk of a young thing. Easily 6'2" . . . young man, maybe black, maybe Polynesian. Certainly seen his fair share of dinners . . . and a gym.

I followed him to the room - he was at least handsome, so I could drift off to the massage zone with a pleasant picture in my mind. That is until his massive hands pressed down on my back. with his 200+ lb. frame behind them. I felt the air rush out of my lungs as my rib cage collapsed on itself (who knew ribs were so bendy?), the crack of vertebrae the only sound in the room. Then after a quick sweep down my back (where his hands covered the entire width of my body with ease), he came back up to attack the last three weeks worth of travel and stress knots that had turned my neck and shoulders into a pain minefield. I took deep breaths. Tried to let go into his pressure. Tried to make myself jello. All while he tried pry the knots out from under my skin with his bare hands.

He managed to trigger a piriformis spasm in my rear, and then had to spend time smoothing that thing down. Did leg stretches that made me wonder if my legs were meant to bend like that other than in the back of someone's car in college. Found sore spots in my head and on my hand and other places that don't get massaged so often. It was this glorious, sick dance between pain and relaxation, and by the time he was done and was tugging my hair back one last time, stretching my neck to the ceiling, I almost felt compelled to simultaneously yell "Yes!" and "Uncle!" The Big Hurt had had his way with me.

When he finished his torture - wait, ministrations - strike that, torture - he whispered calmly to me.

"Ok, Mrs Chako, we're all done for today."

As I prepare to slip into bed tonight, my muscles are reminding me that we might be all done for a while, Big Hurt.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Missing Man

Ever watch the Blue Angels do an air show? One of my favorite ones is when they do a missing man formation . . . they fly up in perfect pattern, perfect unison, except there is an obvious gap in the line up. I have military men in my family and specifically military pilots. Each time they do it, it sends chills up my spine.

I have so many good things to report about our last Vegas trip. It's like this weird homecoming where you meet new friends, old acquaintances that become new friends, make better friends of your old friends, and have an amazing time doing everything, nothing, and all things in between (which generally involves some significant amounts of kissing and hugging and lots of Carmex).

But before I report, I want to give a shout out to the "missing man" - those bloggers who for one reason or another couldn't be with us this year. While there were probably too many to name, the few that top my list and who were most missed include:

Instant Tragedy. He was the one who encouraged me to come in the first place back while Dr Chako was still playing in the sandbox. He offered to be my chaperon and welcomed me to the tourney. Called to check on me the night I had the migraine. Organized a signed guitar for my husband that still sits on a guitar rack next to our bed. He's now married and I've yet to meet his lovely better half, but we're still hoping for the day. Dr Chako is storing up a great big man-hug for the guy he's never met but who was one of his fiercest supporters during the war.

Bam Bam and Pebbles. They were missed on a couple fronts. First, they are just an overall great couple. Pebs is a fierce poker competitor, but lover at heart. Bam is the most generous loving man I know (short of the Doc). Bam Bam's first words to me included "beautiful (in reference to myself, just in case you were wondering)" and I haven't forgotten the phrase yet. But just in case, he uses it now and then to refresh me. He's like a brother to my husband, and a dear heart to me. He also looks super-hot in a retro Packer's jersey. Me-ow!

Peaker. *sigh* I start this with a sigh because I kind of have a little crush on him. Not like that forever unrequited farm-boy crush I've developed on that big hunk of a midwest lawyer Grange, or that murky, inappropriate, yet satisfying Otis/Dr. Jeff fantasy vision I drag out on long nights when the Doc is in our other house (I'm sure I've mentioned that to you honey, right?). It's that innocent 13-year old girl crush, when she's like "so he sat that the $1/$2 NL table with me for 8 hours - and he even said 'nice hand'! OMG - do you think he likes me?" He's adorable, he's got a good heart, and he's a lean, mean, running machine. He can bring a tear to my eye, whether its with a personal interest story in Greeley, or because I'm laughing so hard about his kids and poop that I'm crying. *sigh* Did I mention he wasn't there? (Insert frowny-face).

Other poker degenerate friends were missed - from our northwestern poker pals, to the lovely Kirks (Spaceman and Rachel), Bracelet and his lovely sidekick, Riggstad, Schaubs, and so many more that have filled in a variety of WPBT events and are part of the bizarre tapestry of friendship, poker, blogging, and general debauchery that we cloak ourselves in when we need to feel warm and cozy. It's like Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat . . . but with a mixed up fashion sense, lack of actual color coordination, worse singing, and smells a little like alcohol and cigarettes. But damn, it sure fits well . . .

I had so much fun. But you, my friends, were missed.

Up soon . . . hot stilettos, hot girls, mediocre poker, and the definition of a "live straddle" in Mrs Chako's book. Sure to "raise the stakes", if you catch my drift.*

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* For those of you who didn't, it was a phallic** reference.
** For those of you who don't know what phallic means because your brain is too fried from the WPBT weekend, free vocabulary lessons at my house. Next Tuesday. When Doc is in Stockton.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Santa . . .

Much like attending an interesting play with live actors in a theater, I am going to suspend my disbelief for a while and call upon your good nature and apparently magical abilities to fulfill wishes at this time of the year. I realize you may have hesitation around fulfilling my wishes for some very obvious reasons, but hear me out:
  1. Yes, we are currently celebrating Hanukkah and there may be some social stigma against double-dipping when it comes to major religious holidays. However, I would hope that you will be lenient, given the secular nature of your character, and consider the benefits of spreading holiday goodwill toward all, even those of us lighting candles as we speak
  2. I realize you have that whole "naughty-nice" thing, and I am hoping you will take a broad view and consider the "spectrum" of things "naughty". Clearly, in the "spectrum" of things naughty, my faults and foibles rank well below things like, say, bank robbery, mass-murder, corporate embezzlement, or world terrorism. And the only thing I've coveted lately is someone's shoes.
  3. I know I was the kid who went around telling other kids that Santa didn't exist, it was really their parents buying gifts. But you know how kids are - who didn't try to challenge the status quo in their youth?

With that in mind, Santa, here is a brief list of my holiday wishes this year:

  • A sufficient amount of hugs and smooches in the very near future from some of the people I love the most and see the least: Otis, Drizz, Kat, CK, Falstaff, F-Train, BadBlood, Oh Captain, Dr. Jeff, . . . did I mention Otis? Please remember this has to last me for a long time . . . maybe even another whole year. Make them good. Hard. Long.
  • A hug from Iggy, and multiple touches of his hair. Make sure he wears it down at least once.
  • Time to see all of my other IIF (can they still be IIF if I know them by face and name and have seen them at least once?) like Waffles and TX April and Pauly and Change and Al and Gracie and Pablo and Luckbox and . . . OMG . . . list is too long . . . you know who I'm talking about.
  • Extra time with my Bay Area friends . . . Betty and CA April and Bayne.
  • For my Friday conference call to fly by . . . who has 4 pm conference calls on Friday anyway?
  • For my husband to lose himself in the fun, the games, the friends, and the love without completing losing the contents of his wallet.
  • Kissably fresh breath and the opportunity to have it be noticed.
  • For a perfect balance between having enough to drink so as not to be the only responsible one in the bunch, but not so much so as to become the female Spotis.
  • Enough pictures to remember the people and the fun; few enough pictures of some parts of the fun such that I do not ruin any latent career hopes of becoming a highly-visible elected official or CEO of my company
  • Enough stories and laughs and good times to last me until the next time I can see this crazy wonderful bunch of folks again.

I will put out milk and cookies every night for the next 6 nights . . . just make me a happy woman come Thursday!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hail to the Chief

If you're good at interpreting dreams, read on. I could use your advice.

If you're not, but you'd like to know what goes on in my head during REM stage, feel free to stick around.

* * * * *

I don't know where the husband was. I was still me. Still my age. Still had two boys. But I either wasn't married, or he wasn't relevant to the dream.

I sat on the bed next to the red-headed 20-something year old. He kind of had that lean, athletic, but not filled in kind of body that 20-somethings are prone to have with sky-high metabolisms. That flop of red hair fell over his forehead while he read the letter; I absentmindedly stroked the freckles on his bare shoulders, kissing the nape of his neck.

"I guess I was just elected president," he said, letting the letter drop. I could see the official seal. For some reason, I was neither surprised nor did I find it odd that they'd waived the usual age requirement for the leader of the free world. So what if the next president of the United States looked like a cross between Ron Weasley and Eric Stoltz, was dating a 40+ year old woman with two kids, and was technically young enough to be my son?

He stood up, walking to the window, running his hand through his hair. His face was a mask of concentration, but I couldn't help but notice how the fine hairs on his stomach caught the sunlight. "Well this is going to make your resume interesting," I laughed. "Fast food worker; Spanish tutor; laboratory assistant; . . . President of the United Sates." I got up and walked around to kiss him, but he reached down to pick up the letter, avoiding my kiss.

I felt myself panicking: Was it the kids? My age?

* * * * *

Before I could heap anymore insecurities on the list, I found myself awake in the dim light of morning, my bed occupied by one age-appropriate Dr Chako, who was currently still employed as a doctor.

So what is it? A deep down desire to date a red-headed 2o-something? Or date the POTUS? Or a deep-seated fear of another upcoming birthday?


Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Want to Be a Vet

If one of my kids said that to me today, I would assume it meant that their love of animals, particularly dogs, had inspired a career choice in the veterinary sciences.

With Veteran's Day right around the corner, why wouldn't I think they meant a "vet" in the military sense? Because no one "wants" to be a vet. Some people want to be soldiers. Some people want a military career. Heck, some people just want a job and the military is a good place to get one - 3 squares a day, a roof over your head, a uniform , and all the on-the-job training you can handle.

To be a vet, in the truest sense of the word, you need to have been in active military service and have involvement in and direct exposure to acts of military conflict. No one wakes up and says "hey, I feel like being in a military conflict today". Well, no sane person does. But thousands of people still sign up for a career that could thrust them into conflict at any time, and ask for the ultimate sacrifice - their life.

It's a little crazy. I mean, if my employer said "Hey, we want you to come analyze the financial results of our mega-sized global IT company, and, oh by the way, if we feel like it, we could send you off to Brazil to fight IBM." I think I'd be opting for underemployed CPA or hausfrau.

Regardless of the insanity, I'm glad someone does it. I don't want to get all political about what conflicts we should be in or not - sure it was easier when the Japanese were bombing the crap out of Hawaii and were a mere hours from our continental coastline or the Germans were off gassing Jews by the millions. But we choose to have a military in this country, and we have brave people who line up to put their lives on the line at a moment's notice when our elected officials determine we need to be involved in a conflict.

So as we approach this Veteran's Day, without commentary on the politics behind which conflicts we get involved in, here's to:
  • My dad, for building bridges in Korea in 1950
  • My uncle, for his time in Vietnam
  • My husband, for his medical talents in Iraq
  • My sister in law, stationed in Afghanistan as we speak
  • My countless friends who have served or are serving
  • Many more friends who could easily be tapped any day to do the same

Hat's off to your sacrifice, and may you find your way back safely to your friends and family when your service is done.

May we remember the few who did not make it back.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worth a Response?

I post on Facebook occasionally. More if something exciting is happening; less if I'm busy and it's life as usual. It's a place where I make small notes about life or how I'm feeling at the moment. Not somewhere for me to push an agenda. Or make large political statements. Or philosophize beyond whether you can ever have too many cute shoes.

So I found myself in an odd situation - one that spawned an actual debate in our house about how (or whether) I should respond. I posted a flippant comment on Facebook about surviving a day without my au pair's help - she has gone on vacation and we've had to rearrange our work schedules to be able to work and still get the kids to and from school, etc. It was one of life's little musings, filled with truth - I will be happy when she returns to help, as it's tricky to balance two careers around two school age boys.

My cousin's hubby chose to comment - he rarely comments on anything or anyone. Without speculating about why he wrote or what his intent was, I'll give it to you verbatim:

"Mrs Chako, love you and the Dr., but be very grateful on what you have. Instead of being 1 day without an au pair, there are many people losing thier houses and jobs...please be sensitive to that."

Again, given that I use Facebook solely as a casual way to keep in touch with an extended network, rather than broader political and social commentary, I was surprised at this. I was more surprised because he knows my background, and I am surprised that he would think, for a moment, that I am not grateful for what I have.

For those of you who haven't heard my story, I'm your classic rags to riches (well, rags to solidly-suburban-middle-class-two-income-not-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-but-still-can't-retire-to-Hawaii-yet) story. Born below the poverty line, worked on the farm, ate government cheese (yes, actual cheese distributed by the government), got free lunch in school, wore hand-me-down clothes, and babysat for $1 per hour to save money for school events. I put myself through college on a combination of scholarships and working, including a dual shift as the night clerk at a local motel, followed by morning at the McDonald's drive-in. Crappy uniform and all - would you like fries with that?

I earned my degrees - both of them. I took the CPA exam and passed it the first time (because I couldn't afford to pay a second sitting fee). I got a good job because I was a good student and CPA qualified and did a damn fine interview. Sue me. I found a great guy to marry who happened to have a good career opportunity, helped support him through finishing medical school and dragged my ass all over the country supporting his military career while trying to keep my own. I tended the home fires while he went to Iraq. And as if to keep me humble, just a short year and a half ago, my employer of 14 years handed me a 3 month notice and wished me luck finding a job in the worst economy in decades. Don't cry; I found a better job, and other than completely having to uproot my whole family, I would have to say we've landed ok.

While I think I have earned every thing I have, there is NEVER a day where I am not grateful for everything. Don't let my petty Facebook posting ever give you a different impression. But if we've turned Facebook into something other than a place where we can occasionally lament that our home team lost (or kicked your home team's butt), that our favorite nail color is no longer in the store, that the font on the new Facebook sucks, or that our au pair has a day off, just let me know and I'll sign up along with the rest of the world and only post deep, meaningful missives or thoughtful social and political commentary.

It spawned a debate in our house. Dr. Chako, totally offended, suggested I delete the comment, so as to avoid other friends and family members commenting and starting a Facebook fight (yes, sis, that means you). I suggested we ignore it - why give credence to someone who has missed the general intent of the post in the first place?

My only consolation that was less than 30 minutes after the comment was posted, the one person who the good Dr. was most worried about starting a Facebook fight, sent me a message, explaining her attempt to avoid getting in a Facebook fight. I give you the relevant bits, excerpted as I see fit:

"The eat-all-your-brussels-sprouts-because-there-are-children-starving-in-Africa bit is logic-less and tired. Just as anyone would, you have grown to love, enjoy and respect what you earned. . . . Ya know what? Fuck that person. . . . I have spoken. . . . I love you."

Yeah. What she said.

For those of you hoping to find deep social and political commentary here, move along. I love social debate as much the next intellectual nerd, but I'm a lover, not a fighter - I've seen what happens when I post my personal thoughts about my au pair having the day off. Heaven knows what kind of social unrest I could spawn if I actually took a stand on something meaningful.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

PS The spelling mistake in his post was left there. Intentionally. Call me petty. Maybe right after you call me insensitive.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dear Mr. Intercontinental Bank Plc . . .

Dear Mr. Colin H. Martin, staff, Intercontinental Bank Plc:

As a former auditor, I was extremely skeptical and when I read your email, as I was certain this was another one of those bank scams. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I realized this wasn't some phony deal with same fake Nigerian diplomat trying to move his fake money out of Nigeria without political intervention. I mean, really . . . why would the Nigerian government pick me?

Clearly your responsibility for handling Mr. Ken Lay and Mr. Jeffrey Skilling's money through unnamed company accounts is a respectable and legitimate endeavor that your bank has entrusted to you, unlike that Nigerian money laundering stuff. It is unfortunate that their present circumstances (death and incarceration), combined with their lack of a named beneficiary on these accounts means their legitimate heirs won't benefit. However, as you must certainly feel, knowing their role in the Enron debacle, perhaps it seems just and fitting that for men who orchestrated one of the worst financial shams in the world, their personal fortunes could now be able to be so easily co-opted by the man who helped them shelter their ill-gotten gains in the first place.

Certainly you are entitled to use this money for your own personal benefit; after all, think of the burdens you must have had to bear during the highly-publicized downfall of Enron, knowing that you helped these men of questionable ethics drowning in their own sea of financial amorality, shelter the very money they effectively stole from thousands of employees, retirees, and pension-holders. No amount of money can compensate you for having to compromise your own ethics and personal beliefs to help them gain from the financial ruin of others.

As such, I am more than happy to help you claim your portion of the $25 million now sitting in your bank with no official claim. I do realize how it may look like a conflict of interest if you were to go directly to the bank and claim this money yourself, so feel free to use me as the appropriate beneficiary. Although I have no personal or business relationship to Mr. Lay or Mr. Skilling, and have never had any investment in Enron, I am certain you chose me for my personal financial acumen and demonstrated fiscal responsibility. Certainly the bank officials will understand that rationale. I am also confident that your assurances that this will be handled in accordance with International Monetary Guidelines will not raise any undue attention around the transfer. Given the significant amount of documentation you've already done to enable that transfer, I believe your request of a commission of 60% of the funds is certainly fair and reasonable.

Attached please find the information on my personal accounts and data you require to effect the transfer. Look forward to seeing the money in my accounts soon. I am hopeful you can complete this transaction prior to Hanukkah; between this and the distribution I am still expecting from my investments with a Mr. Bernie Madoff, I may be able to buy my husband the new Ferrari he wants, and maybe pick up the tab for my friends in Vegas in December.

Fiscally yours,

The Wife

PS - I also included my social security number - I figured you might need it to complete the transfer to my bank accounts.

PPS - Just in case anyone asks, my first pet was named "Queenie"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Smell of an Indian Summer

Having spent a week in Texas under the sweltering humidity that only a Houston morning can present - the 8:00 a.m. full sweat in the 200 feet it takes to walk from the hotel lobby to the car - you'd think that the thought of a 90+ degree day would have me dreading a step outside of the air-conditioned sanctuary of Cubeville.

But it wasn't just any 90+ degree day. It was an Indian summer day in the climate-utopia we know as the Bay Area. Here, where humidity is as rare as the California Condor, and is a bare whisper of moisture on the few days where it creeps above the 0% mark, a 90 degree day is a treat, even when it comes at the far end of our real summer.

The perfect, moisture-less heat bakes the smells of the summer into the air itself. The air is light, and you can breath a lung full of the warmth, taking in the hints of pine and native flowers and juniper and eucalyptus topped with citrus like you're smelling the bouquet of a fine wine before you drink it. I found myself grateful that my car was at the far end of the corporate lot - more opportunities to sniff the air, waiting to catch another scent. Freshly sawed wood, heating in the sun, from a construction project abandoned when the clock hit dinner time. Bark mulch around freshly bedded plants. The last blossoms on the hedge surrounding the lot. Warm notes of some Baja cuisine drifting over from a nearby neighborhood. The warm air slips around you like a silky robe, encouraging you to shed some clothing and let it touch your skin.

I hopped in the car and did something completely out of my routine. I turned off the air conditioner in 90 degree heat, and rolled down the window. For the next two miles, until I pulled in my driveway, I paused at every stoplight to smell the Indian summer, smiling the whole way home.

When I walked in the door, I hugged my boys and couldn't resist taking a sniff of their hair, warmed by the last of the afternoon sun.

The smell of an Indian summer.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bad Mom

I was cleaning up after a quick lunch with the kids. My littlest guy came over with the empty "Catchphrase" box, with his hand stuck up inside.

"Look mom, look what I found," he exclaimed, with the excitement of a 7-year old who thought he was being really clever, "it's the hand game!"

I looked over my shoulder and said, with the requisite fake-mom-interest "Oooh, I wonder how you play the hand game?"

Then the Bad Mom in my head said "He's a boy, and his father's son. He'll learn how to play the hand game soon enough."

Bad mom, bad mom.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Friday, August 27, 2010

Some of My People

I come from good people. This summer, I got to go back and see them. For all their quirks and foibles, it reminds me how lucky I am to have good people. I captured a few of them in digital:

My mom . . .

Like most mothers, this woman probably deserves a medal. I wouldn't be here if not for her unfortunate, yet fortuitous (IMHO), mistake. Yes, sometimes she's insane. Sometimes she forgets she's told me the same story twenty three times. But she gave up life alternatives to raise me and my siblings on a farm in Wisconsin, with no real material comforts other than the most basic forms of shelter (a generous description for the ramshackle farmhouse they live in). She raised us all, and is now helping raise her youngest grandchildren. She'll happily wear the daisy crown the kids make for her, and coo over the sparkly rocks they shower her with as gifts. She is beauty.

My dad . . .

He's really my step dad, but what's in a description? He's the only father-figure I've known since I was a year and a half old. He has nothing more than an 8th grade education. But at age 79, he's still getting up twice a day to milk cows, harvest crops, and fix machinery. If "salt of the earth" had a face, it has to be him. He's meat and potatoes. He's bread and butter. He's . . . well, he's dad.

My sister . . .

She deserves a nap. She's a single mother of two teenagers, works hard, gets little vacation, and never asks for anything. Sleep well, sister!

My brother . . .

He's uneducated, unmotivated, and unapologetic. But he'll throw the kids on the tractor or the wagon and drive them around the farm to their heart's content. Take the boys shining deer. Help them set up a baseball diamond in the pasture. And heck, he's my brother.

My nephew Mathew . . .

He's the spitting image of his father at that age. Which means he probably has no chance of keeping his hair past age 18. But that big smile and those wicked blue eyes just glow when his big cousins visit and include him in the fun.

My niece, Lindsay . . .

It was so tough to get her to smile and get her to warm up . . . she doesn't see us that often. I finally got her chocolate eyes to sparkle as she posed for me. I tried to butter her up by calling her Peanut . . . now she tells everyone she's my Peanut. When you ask her how she is, she says "I'm a peanut." I told her she was a big girl. She responded "No, I'm a peanut."
My husband . . .

He can be a pain in the ass. He can't cook. His hobbies are too expensive. And I can't trust him with a shopping list of more than 3 items unless it engraved on his hand. But he's patient, and tolerant, and is always a "glass-half-full" kind of guy. And he's been keeping my bed warm and putting up with my stuff for more than 15 years. That's gotta count for something. Oh, and he gave me these . . .

My boys . . .
Son #1 is now a teenager. With all the teenager problems. Like how to keep your hair perfectly styled (but looking like it just falls that way). Like how to handle a girlfriend, as well as several girl friends. Like how to be witty and charming on Facebook. But he's a sweet kid who still hugs his mom. He's got his daddy's eyes. And while I know he'll break lots of hearts in his future, I know I'll always be the first girl who loved him.

Son #2 is my sweetheart. He's got a heart of gold, and easily falls in love with anyone who loves him back. He worries about doing what's right. Some girl is going to walk all over his sweetness someday. But until then, he's my boy, and when I look at that sweet face, I have a hard time saying "no" to anything. I could just eat him up.

* * * * *
They are beautiful people . . . not in the traditional sense of catwalks and photo shoots and modeling contracts. But they are beautiful people, real people . . . they are my people.
Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Conversations With Boys

Boys of a certain age (read, almost any age), have certain favorite subjects. Body parts and bodily functions. Son #2 is 7; his filter is not well-developed. Son #1 has a more developed filter, but has found what he thinks is a way around the system: Science. See, apparently, in his 12-year old mind, if you are discussing body parts or bodily functions in the context of something scientific then it's ok. He's recently been attending a marine biology class during the summer, which gives him additional scientific fodder.

Now put the two of them together. At the dinner table. In a public place.

Son #1: Did you know that the (insert some random name) clam has an extremely long anus?
Mrs. Chako: Son, is this an appropriate conversation for the dinner table?
Son #2: An extremely long penis?!?!?!?
Son #1: I said 'anus' not 'penis' . . .
Mrs. Chako: #1! I said not at dinner!
Son #1: But he thought I said 'penis' not 'anus'.
Son #2: Yeah, I thought he said penis (laughs at the simple mix up).
Mrs. Chako: Boys!
Son #2: But he said 'anus'.
Son #1: Do you even know what an anus is, #2?
Mrs Chako: Guys!
Son #1: Its where your poop comes out.
Son #2: (Chuckles and shakes his head) Oh. (Looks at me) I though he said penis.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Ok, I'm not going to buy this book written by this guy, because SOMEONE in my house has already ordered it.

But you should probably buy it. Who knows, you might be in it.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Overheard in the Office

"If I wasn't me, I'd be intimidated by you."

A Letter to the Sock Monster

Dear Sock Monster:

I write this letter, appealing to your compassionate side. I am sure an all-powerful being like yourself must have a compassionate side, given that you have no need to prove your superiority against mortal beings such as ourselves.

I believe I have made all requisite sacrifices. My favorite pink polka-dotted sock from 1986. That argyle in the early 90's that matched my sweater perfectly. Several of my favorite textured trouser socks in the late 90's. My ski sock in 2004. Oh, and let's not forget the last 12 years of little tiny socks I have contributed along the way.

Which brings me to my appeal. I appreciate your need for sacrifice. Much like the sacrificial lamb offered up to God in days past, the unblemished partner of a pair of fresh socks is our obligation to your omnipresent greatness. Oh, sometimes you let us get a wear or two out of them before we sacrifice, but we sacrifice, nonetheless.

However, you have approached a level of ridiculousness that is reaching plague proportions. Case in point: My seven year old has only two white pair of socks out of the last six-pack we purchased . . . and all of the little black socks have disappeared into your smelly otherworld.

Fortunately, we are square into the lovely California summer months, and flip flops tend to be his choice in footwear. However, in a few months, the chill will come creeping back, and I, as a mother, will be obligated to force him to wear socks again.

I will be purchasing replacement socks in the near future. I have given up hope on you ever returning the mate to one of my favorite pair of Adidas ankle socks and, as such, plan to sacrifice the remaining sock, pristine as it may be. In return, I ask that you spare Son #2's new socks, at least until he has the chance to wear some permanent stains and/or holes in the bottoms.

Respectfully and humbly yours,

The Wife

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reward in the New Economy

"Last time I checked, 'Thank You' was still free."

I used it in one of my weekly "messages to the people" at work.

We're besieged by cost cutting/cost containment efforts on a weekly, almost daily basis - the "discretionary 401k match", off-shoring, travel restrictions, and our forced move to "self-help" in the IT and HR space. While it's instilled a financial discipline that on some levels is healthy and good for the long term success of our organization, anecdotally, it tries the soul of even the most patient and optimistic people.

Was reminded of it again today, when HR asked me to share some success stories. To be honest, the most positive feedback I've gotten on anything we've done broadly in our organization was around my weekly messages. Surprisingly, while people like paychecks and bonuses and 401k's you can still incent them to work with the occasional verbal appreciation and encouragement.

Made me think about how many other things we could do, at work, or in life, that make other people happy, productive, and more likely to give you 110%, but that cost us nothing, except for a little time, energy, and attention to detail.

Like taking time to acknowledge someone's hard work. Smiling at the person in the checkout line across from you. Letting someone cut in front of you, in a line, or in traffic. Holding a door for someone. Telling an anonymous stranger in the dressing room that the dress they've chosen looks great on them.

Oh, and saying "thank you." Because the last time I checked, that was still free.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, June 28, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm . . .

I want to be creative. I want to blog about life. But then the intertubes suck me in with something like this . . .

Awkward Family Pet Photos

WARNING: Do not view this link if you are easily sucked into the disbelief around humanity in general. It's not quite as absurdly and disturbingly captivating in that "5 car accident with potential decapitation" way, but it clearly rivals "People of Walmart".

Not like I don't have photos that I look at, 20 years later, and think "what was I thinking." And I even have one picture when I'd done my hair really wavy and I took at picture with my springer spaniel and we looked remarkably similar. However, I was 17, and it was a candid shot . . . these people actually took time to pose and paid a professional to photograph them and their pets.

For those of you who choose to review, here is my unfettered commentary:
  • Photo 1 of 12 - This guy might be attractive. But I can't tell with that horrendous hair and the scary black cat. And who is he looking at? His mom/witch?
  • Photo 2 of 12 - So many things individually wrong with this. A baby AND a monkey? The beret? The porn-stache? But together? This man has to be in a database somewhere . . .
  • Photo 3 of 12 - Am I more nervous about how excited this guy looks? Or how excited his dogs look to be in the picture with him?
  • Photo 4 of 12 - Our love is only complete with Mr. Pig. In his favorite yellow t-shirt.
  • Photo 5 of 12 - "No Mom, I don't want one of those stupid senior pictures with a guitar, or standing by the fence - those look so posed. I want something more natural - just me and Mr. Feathers. Oh, and can I borrow your lip tint? I don't want to look washed out."
  • Photo 6 of 12 - "We're so lucky to have this last picture - right before Mr. Slithers had a seizure and constricted little Johnny by accident."
  • Photo 7 of 12 - "Great idea, Mom - I think this is gonna look great on I especially like the contrast with the suit and the nature background. And the background trees really bring out the yellow in Patches feathers."
  • Photo 8 of 12 - "Rub him under his chin, kids - kitties love when you rub under their chins. Just stay away from the teeth."
  • Photo 9 of 12 - As if a "pocket kitty" is just slightly more cool than a pocket protector.
  • Photo 10 of 12 - Missy swore one day when she moved away from home, she'd have all her professional photos done with a black pit bull.
  • Photo 11 of 12 - And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And he will be called Fido, the son of God. I mean, Dog.
  • Photo 12 of 12 - Not sure if its scarier that she dyed her poodle blue, or the tips of her own hair black. Or consciously chose the background color.

Hah! Made you look.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

PS After writing my own commentary, I noted the pictures had captions. I'm publishing anyway.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Canadians are HOT!

I'm sure some of you (I'd tag all you other Canadian lovelies but it's late where I am and the bed is calling) are like "duh" . . . or maybe "duh, eh?" . . .

Tonight (ok, well, it's the proverbial tonight, because it's actually the night before my 15th wedding anniversary when I'm writing this, but I thought it sounded tacky to post this the night before my anniversary, so I'm using post options to delay posting, which looks like it was written tonight . . . I mean today . . . but it's actually past tense . . . never mind) . . .

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Tonight I was trying to finish some things for work tomorrow and I was flipping channels. After watching the end of National Treasure on cable, I flipped to the Hallmark Channel to watch "Mail Order Bride". It featured Daphne Zuninga (remember her) and some other guy I'd never heard of, and was about to flip the channel until Mr. No-Name came on.

Cameron Bancroft.

Canadian hotness, dressed up in Little House on the Prairie gear, homesteading it out West. Reminiscent of other cowboy hotness, but even better. Almost made up for the lame, completely predictable nature of the Hallmark storyline. I watched until the end. Kept hoping that Hallmark would throw off the family veneer and show me how they really kept warm down on the prairie . . .

I knew you all were huggable. And smoochable. Who knew you could be hot enough to stop my remote finger?

Respectfully submitted (after my anniversary),

The Wife

Sunday, May 30, 2010

15 Years . . . Celebrated

I briefly mentioned that we should get away. But we're classic procrastinators, and work and life are busy, so I didn't think anything more about it.

He did.

Of course, he had a little help from a friend who might be good at classy, romantic getaways.

Nonetheless, it was a weekend to be remembered. 24 hours of a getaway not far from home, but far from real life. The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay - if you're in the mood too shell out some bucks, this is the place to do it - they understand the type of customer service that it takes to make you say "Oh, THAT's what we're paying for." From the moment we rolled up in the Ferrari, to the moment we roared out, it felt like one of those movie scenes . . . "Nice to have you Dr. and Mrs. Chako"

They had made note of it being our anniversary, so every place we went - the spa, the restaurant, the club level lounge . . . everything was "Happy anniversary, Dr. and Mrs. Chako" . . . they had a little anniversary present for me at the spa, and at the restaurant, and at turndown . . . the smallest details that made me feel pampered. If you are going to spend the money - get the club level rooms. You have access to an all-day eating and drinking binge . . . heck, you wouldn't technically need to actually go BUY food if you just made time to visit the continental breakfast, midday "snack" (read, light lunch), evening drinks and appetizers . . . we missed the night time chocolates.

Best part was it was only semi-scheduled, and completely relaxing . . . even the Dr. forgetting that our dinner reservation was at 7:00 and not 7:30 didn't set us back. I got massaged, and spent time in the spa, got all dressed up for dinner, got back to find the bed covered in rose petals, managed to knock all the rose petals off the bed . . . and even got up with enough time for continental breakfast, a workout, a lazy shower, and a light lunch before heading home. Oh, and I guess the best, best part was doing it with my partner of all these years!

Nice planning, baby.

Here's the photo review.

Gotta go in the Ferrari - though the traffic was brutal and crawling along at turtle speed with the midday sun beating down on you in a black Ferrari can be BRUTAL.

The view from our room.

The view of our hotel from the path down to the beach.


A view of the beach from the patio.

Me, dressed for a night of romance.

15 years!


My honey reviews the first course of wine.

As if the pre-dessert and dessert were not enough, we got a box of chocolates as a little present for our anniversary.

These adorned our linens when we returned from dinner . . .

The morning dawned as beautiful as the rest of the weekend - this was the view from our room!

And this was the view in the side view mirror on our way home!

Respectfully submitted,
The Wife