Thursday, October 29, 2009


I've got a list of things that need to get done. Not the least of which is a presentation for a meeting tomorrow. But hard as I try, I can't make myself focus on things like ownership, long-term implementation, steering committees, and global governance. I keep thinking about my sis.

This week I sent her an email. "You guys gonna come down next month?" Seemed like a simple question, particularly since I was planning to buy their tickets.

She replied within a few hours. "Don't think so." Seems due to a policy oversight on her part at her job, she ended up costing the store extra money when the place was robbed and the night deposit was still in the safe, rather than the bank. While the robbery was not her fault, the store suspended her without pay for not making the deposit according to policy.

One week of pay for her is not that much in relative terms, but with it she supports two kids by herself. Their slug father is not a reliable source of support, and has a wife and two other kids to support. But to be honest, most of you might drop this in weekend in Vegas at the poker table and/or bar, and take nothing away other than a few bad beat stories and a wicked hangover. We spend more on dining out in a week than she makes.

But for her, that week's pay is everything. And on top if it, she'd just raided her savings account to pay for new winter tires, leaving her with not much in savings.

She kind of shrugged it off and said she just wanted to focus on saving up her money again. She mentioned I should call her cell phone from now on because they were about to cut off the home phone. I got a little freaked out and called the Dr. Like the good man he is, he said "no family member of mine gets their phone cut off" and ordered me to pay it. I called her back and told her I'd help with the phone. But when I asked if she had the money to pay it, and I could pay her back, she kind of choked up. She didn't even have enough for that.

I called the phone company. Autopayed the back due amount, plus her current bill. Called her back and told her I was sending some money for a "cushion". She tried to protest, then tried to make promises about payback. I told her to not worry, and that if she felt obligated, she could put it toward a college fund for my niece and nephew.

We're a proud family. We don't take handouts or expect handouts. Since she's been on her own, I have always made significantly more than her, and yet she's never asked for or expected my help with anything. That's not true - once she asked for help with car repairs until her IRS refund came. But the IRS came through before I got to the post office - so she called back and told me not to send the money. She will graciously accept our offers to pay for dinner and such, but never before offering her fair share.

She started crying. And it all came out. How stressful it was to try to prioritize, knowing you had no back up plan. How it came down to eating being more important than the phone and internet. How much work it was to try to think of a second job she could take to supplement her already meager income.

I realized how fortunate I was. We were. When my biggest stress is not being sure I've saved enough to be able to vacation all over the world when I retire. Never having to worry about whether I'll have enough money for new tires AND the phone bill.

I got off the phone, promising to have her some "extra" by the end of the week - really just intending to make her whole for the week she lost. When I called the Dr. to let him know, his only instruction was "double it."

I am grateful. Grateful to be part of a family that values independence and self-sufficiency enough to not ask for help. Grateful to have the means to help my family when things test our self-sufficiency. And grateful to have a husband with a heart of gold for whom "double it" is a better answer than just the status quo.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Like Heaven

They call it the "Heavenly Bed". It's a Westin trademark. I've always chalked it up to marketing ju-ju. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and brings in an extra $30 per night for convincing customers that this hotel is better than the others. Well, its beds are better.

Except they really are.

Maybe I just needed this bed more than I've ever needed a bed before. Work carries on at a frantic pace. The night before I came up to the meeting, I had to prepare for 2 separate presentations (90 minutes of Mrs Chako airtime) the next day. I had a 3 day management meeting ahead of me, and work wasn't planning to slow down. Kids have altered football games and scheduling craziness. I might have to kill Dr. Chako.

The stress was getting to me, for sure. Couple that with a scheduled hormonal imbalance, and if I looked better in blue-gray monotone colors, had a cushy government-like job with all federal holidays, and could drive a van from the wrong side of the car, I'd be close to postal.

But then I crawled in bed last night. Five feather pillows welcomed me, cradling my head and forming a little barrier around my body. The bed rose up to meet the weight of my body, holding me gently. The duvet lay heavy upon me, as if to say "Stay put, Mrs. Chako . . . sleep."

My eyes closed in no time at all, and if I woke in the night, the bed called me back, and I would be in dreamland instantaneously. I could hardly bear to leave this morning.

Tonight, she was calling to me again. I'm trying to write, but she's lulling me to sleep, sandwiching me between layers of loveliness, warming me, comforting me. Heavenly bed . . . just like heaven.

Shhhhh . . . you'll wake the baby.

Respectfully (and sleepily) submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?

Ever had a rough night out, and the lights come on as they call "last call" and you think . . .

"How am I gonna get my ass home?"

Now you know.
Respectfully submitted,
The Wife

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Smile and the World Smiles with You

So today, I was walking through the department on my way back from a meeting. I was all VP-like. Suit, heels, the model of professionalism.

Except for just a brief moment, I had a very unprofessional thought. What it is, is not important. Needless to say, it made me smirk. Which morphed into a smile that lingered. Then someone came around the corner and saw me smiling.

Their face lit up. They smiled. Said "Hi!" with that cheerful voice.

This just made me smile more. I mean, I was happy that I could spread a little sunshine. But thank goodness they couldn't read my mind. I said "Hi" and strode quickly by them, suppressing my smirk.

Only to run into another person. Who, noticing my smile, smiled brightly back at me. I nodded my head, suppressing a giggle.

I started to hum under my breath, to keep from giggling. But the next person I ran into saw me smiling and heard me humming, and grinned from ear to ear as they passed me.

I'm nearly ready to burst. Here I am running around having thoughts that are likely a violation of our standards of business conduct, and everyone thinks I'm just a friendly Little Mary Sunshine.

I made it back to my desk without completely decomposing. Tried to think of thinks like budgets and taxes and corporate restructuring. But somewhere in the office were a host of people had smiles to last the whole day. All because I let my mind wander.

Never trust an executive with a smile on her face.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Horrifies Me

No. I'm not talking about wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Or drinking soy milk at the June Dairy Days parade in Wisconsin.

I'm flipping channels tonight while working and I landed on "Toddlers & Tiaras". It's a truly awful look at child beauty pageants. I'm horrified to see that these little girls use more makeup and beauty products in a pageant than I've used my entire adult life. I'm horrified that they try to dress them up like adult women and make them walk with a sway in their non-existent hips. I'm horrified that they've turned little girls who should be worried about tea parties and barbies and princesses into the next generation of neurotics, psychotics, and anorexics.

I saw a little girl cry because she got "Queen" instead of "Grand Supreme".

I saw a little girl cry because she wanted her hair "crimped" and they didn't have time.

I saw a little girl tell the camera man she was sure that she would win because she had blonde hair and blue eyes. I saw her mother say she didn't care if the other girls were going to be natural - her daughter was going to go "glitz."

I saw the reasons I'm glad I have sons . . . and while I've decided to keep them from dating until they are 40.

Thank heaven for little girls . . . and heaven help little girls whose mothers dress them and parade then around like anything but little girls.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

The Picture of (Almost) Health

Health screening today.

BMI? 21. Drop a mere 5 pounds and I'm 20. Low in the normal range.

Cholesterol? Below 200. LDLs? 71 - well in the "optimal range".

BP? Don't ask. According to my husband, my head could explode.

Could have been white coat hypertension. Could have been the 5 conference calls immediately before the screening. Could have been anything.

But right now, I'm holding a "high risk" referral paper and I'm supposed to go see a doctor. Not that doctor. One who can monitor my blood pressure. I feel a prescription is inevitable.

Any suggestions for lowering blood pressure naturally?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

The Challenge, Part II

In compliance with the spirit of new government initiatives to bring full disclosure to blogging, I hereby acknowledge that I may be receiving compensation in one form or another for the following endorsement. As an informed consumer of information, you should be aware that for any or all of the players and/or teams I appear to endorse, such endorsement may be influenced by my receipt of said compensation; any or all reliance upon such endorsement is at your own risk.

* * * * *

Anyone could get a touchdown under their belt. Heck, Aaron Rodgers kept up the first quarter without problem, and his stats looked almost the same. It wasn't about the touchdown. It was the arm. The distance. The precision. With a helmet covering the salt and pepper stubble, the only evidence of his age, his eyes said it all. Focus. Determination. Drive. Vitality. The 30+ yard passes were inevitable for a man who's fountain of youth is marked off in 10 yard increments. His arm was an extension of his will . . . all he needed to do was think the ball into the arms of a receiver for a first down.

You could forget the whole "I'm retired - no I'm not" saga. You could forget how many colors he's worn in the last two revolutions of the earth around the sun. Heck, when the camera panned close, you couldn't even see that the number "4" was emblazoned on a background of garish purple. He was comfortable on the line. In the pocket. And naked on the field, when the pocket dissolved and he needed to get rid of the ball. Drive after drive he pushed them into the end zone, nearly obliterating all hopes that Green Bay was going to walk out of the dome with a win.

Packer fans had hope the last quarter. Aaron Rodgers turned up the heat, looking Favre-like in his execution. I found my fists clenched, urging him on. "Come on, Aaron, you can do it." In the last 4 minutes, he covered the field once for a touchdown, and his defense set him up to try again. But he couldn't make that last minute work. It was like watching your kid play . . . you wanted to run over and hug him and say "Good job, sweetie . . . you're looking more and more like your big brother Brett every day. You keep trying!"

Brett took over possession with less than a minute left, and took a knee twice, letting the clock run down. It was heartbreaking for Packer fans, but for those with a secret passion for #4, victory was sweet.

But Mrs Chako, you say, it was a team effort. Favre, Favre, Favre. Tell me something else.

Sure, Purple Jesus had a moment or two, when Green Bay wasn't paralyzing him. Jared Allen had more than 50% of the sacks on Rodgers. And the Vikings offensive line gave Brett deeper pockets than Bill Gates. Seriously people, he could have knitted himself a football in the time he had to make a decision. But let's face it. This man knows how to lead a team. How to lead a game. As if he needed one more, Favre set another record Monday night - the first quarterback to have a win against every team in the NFL - post-expansion, no less. Start carving his name in the Hall of Fame plaques boys; this one is a no-brainer.

I watched him walk off the field, where a reporter caught him. The emotion was obvious on his face, and there were moments I thought he might give in. The reporter goaded him. Was this a revenge win? How good did it feel? Did you need to prove yourself?

For a second, I forgot about the color of the jersey. "My statement has been what I've done over my career." He said it sincerely, and it was at that moment that his age and his maturity was obvious. He looked like he might get a little teary-eyed. Maybe like some of the people watching the speech. Not mentioning any names.

I'll never know if he went home that night thinking "I showed them all." But he didn't need to say it.

Scores speak louder than words.

Good on you, mate.
* * * * *

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. And I gotta go through my stuff and see if I can find a lip gloss that compliments that shiny "in-your-face" kind of purple. I only have two months to swallow my pride.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Challenge, Part I

To test my new willingness and ability to endorse products and services when appropriately compensated, Ken P has challenged me to "gush about Brett and those damn Vikings". On the line are a pair of purple pumps.

Why, you ask, might a born and bred Packer fan stoop to such blasphemy? Could The Wife even consider something so vile and out of character, not to mention morally repugnant?

Let's consider her motivations:
  1. She is competitive by nature. Poker, Trivial Pursuit, business . . . challenge her, and she feels obligated to compete.
  2. She is all about proving herself. If you want The Wife to do something, tell her you don't think she has the guts to do it.
  3. She's a writer. Writing is about making you believe. Creating an emotion and drawing you in. Suspension of disbelief. This sounds like a challenge to her writing skills.
  4. Ken promised me free purple pumps. Given that I am apparently obligated to wear a purple jersey courtesy of my favorite Viking fan (its a small pool, trust me) in the near future, a pair of purple pumps might come in handy. And they are free.

After much soul-searching (well, 15 minutes of soul-searching . . . its been a busy day), I have decided to accept the challenge. Gushing to ensue.

But first, let me go look at myself one last time in the mirror before I totally sell out.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Can Be Purchased . . .

So I'm reading a little blurb about how the government wants to crack down on bloggers who give product or service endorsements and don't disclose that they've received free product or services.

I get it. Part of our great free market system is that advertisers are allowed to "influence" us. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. But technically, not "lie" to us.

I can see where a blog, which is presumed to be raw and real, would be assumed to be someone's honest opinion, not essentially a "paid" advertisement. So the government is proposing to crack down on bloggers who don't disclose their affiliations to products and services they have been paid to endorse, or for products received for free.

I support the government in this initiative. In fact, in order to show how much I support the government, I encourage ALL companies interested in having bloggers say nice things about their products and services to feel free to pay ME, and send ME free products. I will comply with all government requirements to disclose my affiliations with you, and STILL gush about the wonderfulness of your goods and services.

Specifically, I am extremely skilled at giving my honest, unadulterated opinion on:
  • Free jewelry
  • Free shoes (particularly Jimmy Choos, other cute high heels, sexy boots, and strappy sandals)
  • Free massages
  • Free masseurs
  • Free Ferraris (I will share with my friends who will exclaim their delight over your product)
  • Free nights at posh hotels
  • Free glamorous vacation getaways
  • Did I mention free shoes?

Just doing my part to help keep our economy afloat, even as the government puts additional oppressive rules on the blogger community.

Feel free to ship to my home or office. Except the masseur. Please deliver all masseurs directly to my office. I don't want any confusion on the home delivery thing.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Your Fictional Interlude

So I finished the 4th book in the George R.R. Martin "Song of Ice and Fire" series . . . for the 3rd time. Damn him, for not having the 5th book published.

In its stead, I've turned to trying to finish some of my own musing and short fictions . . . trying this one on for size.

* * * * *

Buzz. Buzz.

Don’t let go.

It was one of his favorite lines lately. She’d turned off the ringer on her phone just to help ignore the messages as they came in. But they came in a steady stream. Daily. Hourly sometimes. What had it been? A week? Two weeks? A month? She knew what would follow. It was almost a routine. Buzz. Buzz. The vibration soft against the table next to the bed. Buzz. Buzz. Fill in the blank.

You gave up on me.
Maybe, I still love you.
Or even, I will never give up.

She wasn’t even sure what to feel now. Pity? Sympathy? Annoyance?

You are my breath.

Funny. There was a time where he left her breathless. Noticeably so. Before he kissed her, he’d say “Breathe.” And she’d force herself to inhale, feeling her insides melt. And now, reading those words, she felt like she was suffocating. Still breathless in an ironic way, she mused. But not what he wanted.

We were perfect together.

In their time, and in their space, she remembered feeling that they were absolutely perfect together. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized that time - that space - was in a bubble. No job pressures. No economic pressures. No family matters. No twins.

It's not that he didn’t know about them. In fact, he relished stories about them. Couldn’t wait to meet the girls. Talked of teaching them how to play ball. Fish. Go hiking. Kayaking. Introducing them to his mother. Never once flinched when she talked of the responsibility.

What about us?

What about us? She worked hard to remember. The four day retreat for school principals had been held at an ocean-side resort in Oregon an eternity ago, it seemed. The best a Northwest summer had to offer. Mornings filled with curriculum ideas, involving parents, and administrative tips; afternoons riding horse, hiking, walking along the cold, rocky shore with driftwood piled randomly where the high tide had left it on the beach; nights sharing dinners and a drink at the bar, or heading into one of the nearby establishments 10 miles away.

He was a surprise. He was the activities director; at night, he helped out around the bar. He had been gracious enough to help her and a couple of her friends plan out a few special activities, including booking an extended night in Portland before they all headed back to their realities.

I’ll never forget.

The first night they had clicked; sat chatting in the bar away from the crowd, long after her friends had drunk themselves into oblivion and thrown themselves shamelessly at the dark haired guy behind the bar. She sat listening quietly to his story. He’d tried to do it all by the book. Engineering degree. Married his college sweetheart. Started a business. Bought a house in the Midwest. Bought a dog.

Business folded. Lost interest in his engineering degree. Wife lost interest in him. Sold his house. Gave her the dog. Chose a lifestyle over material comforts and moved west where he could earn a basic living and have time to do the things he loved.

I’m lost without you.

His hands were calloused and his skin crinkled by the sun. He had permanent marks from his sunglasses and a hat ring in his sun-bleached hair. Wore permanent layers of hiking gear at all times. But his eyes always smiled and he carried himself like a man with no cares; you’d never know he lived paycheck to paycheck. He was interesting and polite and gracious, and most of all, didn’t make any moves. At night, before she returned to her suite, he simply kissed the back of her hand. The next night, he kissed her softly on the lips. The third night, she pulled him inside and made love to him until the sun came up. She went to her morning session with her lips raw and her body aching.

Life. Love. Dress. Ring. Us.

He was reaching. Desperation giving him a flair for the dramatic. Trying to draw her back into that moment when she got swept up, months ago, in a moment of passion. When he’d begged her to be his permanently. She had reminded him that she wasn’t ready for that commitment again. There was the distance. There were the twins. There was his ex. Her ex. But he wouldn’t take no. What could it hurt, she'd thought then, as she whispered “yes.”

How could you walk away?

She never really meant “yes” - she meant “maybe” or “we’ll see”. And he never heard “no” after that. So while he dreamed of chapels and white dresses and “I do”, she stopped dreaming. She was complex. And after this past year, she realized he was simple. He was good. But he was simple. She didn’t want simple. Truth is, she loved him, but she didn’t need him. To be in love with someone, she needed to need him.

Don’t look back and regret this.

He was perfect in his moment. In his Walden. But she didn’t live in Walden. She lived here. In this moment. She tried to ground him in reality. Her reality. No fairy tales. No castles. No ever after. School fundraisers and teacher inservices. Brownies and ballet classes. Sleepovers and coordinating visitation. Budgets and car payments and insurance.

There will never be anyone else.

She sighed, and closed her eyes. She started to type. That’s your choice to make. But then backspaced, looking at the blank display on her phone, the cursor blinking. Nothing. She had nothing more she could say. The phone buzzed again. She laid it on the nightstand. Turned out the light.

Buzz. Buzz. She thought about turning it off, but the twins were with their dad. If they needed her . . .

Buzz. Buzz. She pulled the pillow over her face, counting backwards from 200 like she did on nights when she couldn’t sleep.

Buzz. Buzz.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tourney Time

So now that I'm a Bay Area resident, our pokering pal Bayne hooked me up with the local poker tourney down here. He was even a sweetheart enough to wait outside for me and usher me in, though I guess I could have found it on my own, given the hoardes of cars.

It was pretty well-structured with incentives to get their early and buy the add ons, so you kind of have to plan to pay for them. DrChako agreed to stake me for half in exchange for half, if any, of my winnings. But I made myself promise that I had to play the chips I had - no rebuys during the unlimited rebuy period.

I played conservative and well, but with no major takedowns. I raised with pocket kings and the big blind called me, and the flop went 10-10-x. Big blind bet, I raised, he went all in. I was sick, thinking he had A-10 buried or something, but called anyway. Needed to make a move. He had pocket Qs and I doubled up.

I had pocket 10s and raised, and got called. The board showed an A-K-X on the flop . . . but I bet into it anyway, trying to choke down some bile. The caller hemmed and hawed and finally laid down, to my relief. Didn't want to see paint there.

My only real "move" which I'm proud of was having KJ suited (diamonds) and calling a min raise. Flop came out Q-10-x, two diamonds. I check, raiser bets, I call. Turn comes and its nothing. I bet, he min raises, I call. River is nothing. I bet a small bet (two bigs). He looks at me, and then mucks. My busted straight, busted flush draw and a couple paltry chips takes it. Whew. This table must be starting to believe I only play with something.

Unfortunately, I went card dead about the same time the blinds went up and an ante was announced for the next round, as we were getting down to just the last couple tables. I was in the small blind with K8 and had an M of about 4.5, if I did my math right. I decided to try to steal the big blind . . . from Bayne. Except he woke up with A-x, and decided he needed to go big or go home too . . . and had just a little more than me. Ace high took down a board of nothing, and I was done. Can't complain about the play.

The dynamic at the table was interesting though. It was a friendly table for the most part, all chatty and stuff, and I do my best to foster that kind of environment. There were a few moments though where you start to realize people take themselves a little too seriously.

Like when someone dropped the F-bomb. Tony, a nice older gentleman to my left, says "hey, there's a lady present here." Which lead to a huge debate about equality and women's rights and such and how if I wanted equal rights, then I'd just have to hear a few F-bombs. I tried to defend Tony and said "maybe it needs to not be based on my sex but rather on whether ANYONE at the table might be offended." They were still grumbling about it, and that's when I told them there are only a few situations where I expect that word to be used, and only as a verb, and that didn't seem to be on the agenda for the evening. That got a few chuckles and got the table to quiet down.

There was another table dynamic that was chipping away at the fun aspect, and maybe I'm just not hard core enough to appreciate it. One of the players, Ron, was a bit of a party pooper. He had an interest in keeping the play going, but his way of going about it was chafing me like a bad pair of panties in tight jeans in August in Georgia. He was mad because one guy, who I thought said "another 800" which would have made the bet 1200, wasn't clear in his denominations on the raise, and then took too long to explain it. At the end of the discussion, he was sitting with 3 bets in front of him, which was a consistent raise amount from the table - at some point you gotta roll with it when its clear there wasn't any misguided intent. He would get frustrated with how people dealt, if someone forgot to deal to the naked chip stack in the 1 seat, etc. He got pissy with me once because I did not see his check motion when I was dealing. He didn't speak or tap the felt loud enough for me to hear - nothing seemed to please him.

What pleased him even less was another player. James had apparently hurt his back, but decided to take some muscle relaxers and come play anyway. He was knocking back a few Heinekens and being social, so a few times he had to be reminded to play. When it was his turn to deal, he was slow, because he had limited range of motion. This inflamed Ron to no end. He sat to my right, silently stewing the whole time. Making snide comments to the guy to his right.

So here is my observation. If this were the world series of poker and we bought in for $10,000 and were playing with a bunch of pros, I could totally understand how pace of play is absolutely critical and expected and you shouldn't be sitting at the table if you can't live up to that expectation. You have professional dealers there to help you along in that regard.

But this is a home game. With real money at stake. But nonetheless, a home game, where you put a few $20s down to play, have some food and drink, meet some people, and polish your tournament skills. Out of courtesy, you should observe normal rules and try your best to keep your head in the game and keep the pace of play going. But am I wrong to think this can be accomplished with a friendly "hey James, your turn" now and then, without the glowering and the snide commentary which puts the little rain cloud over the whole table? We're not pros, people. If we were, maybe we shouldn't be sitting in some guys living room on folding chairs eating his cheese dip and playing like our mortgage depended upon these chips.

Ron made it to the final table, and busted out with one of the low prizes. Not at all out of character, he grabbed his envelope and left without so much as a wave.

Maybe he had to rush home and change the stick up his ass.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Of Euros and Things

The meeting is interesting. Filled with the heads of our European businesses. Men and women from all over. Articulate, international people all dressed in dark suits and parading before our CEO who waits, like a lion who hasn't been fed enough meat but can smell it sitting right outside his cage.

I notice several things. First, they are all extremely formal. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was because the CEO was there. But this is business in Europe. European business men don't do Dockers. Or jeans.

They do dark suits. Well-tailored. Fitted . . . no full pleated trousers with bunched up shirts. French cuffs. Taped shirts. Flat-front pants. Italian leather shoes with pointed toes. Wired-framed glasses in modern square shapes.

The are comfortable with their English. For some, the vocabulary is complete, and only the accent is harsh. For others, the accent is slight, and smooth, and lulls you to sleep. Unless you are the CEO. Who's still waiting for the first misstep.

They are proud. They talk with confidence, even in adversity, and even when the message isn't positive. They have an arrogance, almost, that is softened by their formality, and their obvious superiority in terms of multilingualism. They think they are better than you, and want you to think they are better than you . . . they just aren't so declasse as to actually say that.

They are cautious. Risk-averse. Change is not their favorite word, and you can see they are visibly uncomfortable when someone discusses moving the dial more than a notch or two. Again, its not a lack of confidence. Just reluctance. Then running joke was that Americans will roll their eyes but say "when would you like it done?" The Europeans hear the same call to change, and say "Why?"

They are male-dominated, without being misogynists. Few of them are women, and those that are - well, clearly lower on the totem pole. They are traditional.

They are understated and stylish, and intellectual and full of conviction. They are industrious, but balanced, and content. Unflappable.

They are Euros.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Friday, October 2, 2009

Forgotten Pages of History

When I list relationships I've had, whether they were the lost true loves of youth, or just some in between things, somehow he fell through the cracks. Was never on that list. Kind of like one of those soap opera stand ins who fills in for a season until they negotiate with the old actor and bring him back. He was definitely on the payroll; just for one reason or another, gets left off the list.

He was your average skinny teenager. Not super-cute, but then neither was I. He was a senior, I was a sophomore. He was smarter than the average bear. Involved in a lot of the same things I was. We went on school trips together. He was the first officially sanctioned "date" my mother let me go on after I was old enough to date.

It was unremarkable, as dates go, by today's more worldly standards. I was a goody-two-shoes, so you couldn't be expecting much. We went to the movies. Think it was the movie with Gizmo. Gremlins. I think we had the internal debate about holding hands. Never kissed much, but then I didn't have that much experience. And that was back in the day where I didn't think you should kiss anyone you weren't willing to consider for your true love one day, lest they get the wrong idea. He was an older guy. You had to be careful about what the older guys wanted.

We kept up a "thing" for a while. He continued to push the romantic angle; I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at the time. He gave me a rose. I told him "I just wanted to be friends." I wrote a poem about the rose. A tongue-in-cheek romantic ballad where I threw the rose in the trash.

There are times, in the past, where I've looked back and thought that I was shallow and insensitive. That he was probably more romantic than most boys his age, and for whatever reason, I didn't appreciate that. I harbor a secret embarrassment for throwing out the flower. And for writing a poem which was dedicated to subtle ridicule of his romantic overtures. He was just a guy, trying to get a date in high school, using whatever tools he could find.

He found me on Facebook. We've exchanged messages about our lives, our marriages, our kids, and our memories of high school and our hometown. He's kind of in the same place I am - had to get out and see the world, lest he be sucked down into the vacuum that is our hometown. His first marriage was not successful, but he's found another love and with their combined six children are a regular Brady bunch. He's got a decent job in operations management. His two boys are handsome young men. His new girlfriend is pretty enough.

We chatted tonight on Facebook. I reminded him how inexperienced I was; he agreed. He reminded me I stood him up for rollerskating, though I think that my mother might have nixed the idea. I reminded him that he gave me a stuffed tiger for my birthday. He reminded me of the rose; I apologized, appropriately shamed. But he holds no grudges.

But then we went on to remember the good things - bus trips from far away cities, and sitting around hotel pools talking until all hours of the night, because that's all you could do. School dances and rollerskating and cruising the traffic turnaround at the end of Main Street. Notes shoved in lockers and feeble attempts at adolescent romance. "Let's just be friends" . . . followed by jealousy when he dated another girl. Who later became close friends with me when he broke up with her . . .

I wouldn't change anything in my life. He was never going to be "the one." But I was reminded that maybe I could have been a little nicer somewhere along the line.

He lives close to my relatives . . . when I return for a visit, I might owe him lunch. Until then, it was an interesting trip through forgotten pages of history.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What's a Girl (Cheesehead) To Do?

I'm starting to have angst. I hate when life messes with tradition. See, I kind of have a thing going with this guy. And I think we're comfortable with our thing. You know, that right mix of excitement and anticipation, along with a base line of knowing what to expect. Knowing where you stand with each other.

Except I don't know what to expect anymore. See, they changed the game. Literally. I'm expected to cheer for my team. He's expected to cheer for his. Except for one little thing. Favre.

I try to describe what its like. I imagine it would be like divorcing DrChako, coming to terms with it, moving on in life, and then going to a blogger event two years later and finding out he'd married CK. You want to be a big girl and accept it, but you don't actually want to see it. Right in your face.

DrChako has come to terms. I'll notice he's flipped on a Viking game. "Oh, honey, you should see this pass he just made." I choose not to watch. "Nice," I say, noncommittally. To me, the Vikings are a statistic I now read about in the online sports pages the next morning. I try not to watch the sausage being made.

But it's tradition for Drizz and I to have little side bets on these Viking-Packer match ups. And it was easy before. Loser parades around in some paraphernalia of the other team in a public place for designated time period. For a while there, it was easy, because it was always him losing.

So I started small. A Packer hat. Then a Packer T-shirt. I was ready to have him graduate to a cheesehead, but then the unbelievable happened. I lost.

So it was me. He chose to really mix it up . . . flattering, yet unseemly Vikings t-shirt paired with fuzzy Viking pajama bottoms. I don't know which was more appalling. The Viking apparel in general, or the embarrassment of wearing fuzzy Viking pajama bottoms in a Vegas casino.

So what's the answer now? Now that I'm going to be forced to watch the Packer-Viking MNF game in less than 48 hours?

First is the actual watching of the game itself. Obviously I cheer for my offense. The Packers are a team, not just one man. They never were. But when we're on defense, do I hope for a sack? Or balk at the thought of somebody nailing the guy I watched lead my team to victory after victory before succumbing to the purple? And when the Vikes are on offense, how do I stop myself from admiring his arm? I'm gonna feel dirty, no matter what happens, I think.

And how do Drizz and I settle our bets now? Are the stakes higher, now that my QB is leading his team? Is it enough to say its gotta be a #4 jersey in the wrong color? Could I even find a #4 jersey in green when we beat them? Do we have to cross-dress?

I'm going to leave it up to the blogsphere to help me with suggestions. And head into Monday night with plans to cheer on my boys, regardless of who's on the Minnesota offense.

But don't be surprised if I'm easily confused.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife