Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eight Cow Wife

I just realized I didn't blog about my anniversary--what we did. First, well, last, but this is so cool, I learned how to text message and spent the ride home playing with Bill's phone. Then I spent the next week text messaging the only child of mine who would answer me. It's quite fun and now I am like a teenager totally ignoring people around me as I click with my thumbs.

When Bill and I got engaged, I didn't get a diamond. I wanted one--I never had one in my first marriage--but we were poor and had the kids and other considerations. I kept hoping he'd value me enough to go into debt to get one, but he listened to me when I said never mind. So I didn't get one and I held it against him.

About five years after we got married, he gave me a pair of tiny diamond earrings. When I saw that box, I was thrilled, thinking it was finally a diamond. I tried not to show my disappointment. When I turned forty, he gave me a beautiful diamond necklace. I love it, but my resentment festered because I am that way.

While I held it against him for not getting me one, though, I never thought I really deserved it. I never thought I was a normal girl or even one anyone should marry, let alone gift with a beautiful ring. My inferiority complex kept me in a prison as I went back and forth, resenting him and feeling sorry for myself, then berating myself as unworthy, then feeling even sorrier for myself because I hated myself.

Am I a nutjob or what? Well, this year he did it. He bought me a beautiful anniversary ring, small and simple with shiny diamonds, exactly what I would want.

He cried when he gave it to me, I was in shock, but you guys, you wouldn't believe how it has changed our relationship. It just feels more official. I feel more valuable.

I always chastised myself for being materialistic in wanting that ring. And I got after Sarah because she felt Nicolas could have done better than the pawn shop diamond he got her (the stone kept falling out and now it's lost) and, when she couldn't wear her ring because of the aforementioned falling out of the diamone, I'm the one who put the bug in Nick's ear to buy her a band. A $30 band from Wal-Mart.

I don't think Sarah will feel good about herself until Nick puts a real ring on her finger. I don't want to make anybody feel bad here, but for heaven's sake, Bill and I wasted 25 years feeling bad about something that he could have fixed in the first place with a $500 ring. It seems a cheap trade off.

Women have tender feelings. These things mean a heck of a lot more than a material possession.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Welfare Mom

My mother was a welfare mom. We still went hungry but she always had booze and cigarettes. I sort of grew up embarrassed and a bad feeling towards welfare moms.

But I'm having second thoughts. I'm thinking "mom" is the important word here.

My daughter-in-law, who I've griped about to the heavens has moved to our area with my four grandchildren. She gets some child support from my stepson, but I'm not sure how much or how consistent he is, as we are mostly estranged.

She's working at Albertson's in their pharmacy from 11 am to 9 pm, making something like $11 an hour. She's had a tough time getting babysitters for that late at night. I have the three oldest kids on Wednesdays after school and her foster family helps out quite a bit, but it's still a dodgy proposition.

The state will pay for her babysitter, approximately $2000 a month. But they will not pay her $2000 a month to stay home with her kids.

That just doesn't make sense to me. It seems like it would benefit society for her to be home, assuming she's not drunk out of her gourd like my mother or stoned, etc. She's got her faults, but those kids would be better off with their mother.

In this case and others like it, forcing them to work defeats the purpose and tends to break up the family even more.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My marriage Part 2

Well, I didn't realize I was sounding so negative in my prior post. I guess I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, Bill would disagree that he didn't love me. In fact, he often does :). I will say, "no, you didn't." And he will say, "I did, too. It was just a hard adjustment."

Tell me about it. I went from a free and easy life with one child to three children and a husband. I'd only needed to work part time and I was more of a bachelor than Bill was. We ate macaroni and cheese. He canned his own tomatoes, did his ironing and kept a spotless house. He dated one other woman besides me. I had a little black book.

When I was happy, I was very happy. We both agree that when it's good between us, it's excellent. But when we aren't getting along (think Felix and Oscar), it's pretty bad. But despite the terrible times, we've always had a spark. Sex is not to be underestimated.

I will now go on with the story of my marriage. Looking back, I don't know how I survived four kids. I always had a couple of callings, worked in the PTA, bottled all the vegetables we ate, ground the flour that made the bread we ate, cooked, cleaned, and washed. I trucked kids to baseball, dance lessons, piano lessons, scout activities. I did birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, and on and on.

I remember when the kids would get sick and we couldn't seem to shake the flu, I would strip the beds and wash blankets, spreads, mattress covers, everything. Looking back, I worked my tail off. Oh, and I managed the finances, paying all the bills and doing the shopping.

Heck it's no wonder I was a nutjob.

Now when I have my four grandkids overnight, I have to rest for a week.

My heart just goes out to you young mothers. Honestly.

Bill, despite his devotion to the gospel, was less than supportive about family home evenings (which we had faithfully until James died and I lost all faith in these programs--and myself) and scripture reading and prayers. He is a task oriented person. He's definitely the one you want around if something needs doing.

However, as men go, he was probably better than a lot of men. He would rock the kids at night, cook, and he's always good for washing dishes.

The middle years of our marriage, looking back, were simply consumed with surviving parenthood and hoping our kids would survive as well. Being a blended family, we had unique challenges in his ex-wife and her influence against what we were trying to instill in the kids. Bill and James never got along. It was more my fault than either of them. Long story for another day.

Now, Sarah got married a year and a half ago. After the year of me going kind of crazy with menopause and adjusting to being alone in the house with my husband, we are coming to another place in our life.

He's getting to be my best friend. Don't tell him I said that in case I ever hate him and change my mind.

But really, life is so different without kids in the house. We have more money. It's quiet. We are forced to get to know each other and appreciate each other, perhaps for the first time in our lives.

Young people who marry have at least nine months together to get to know each other, to bond, and solidify their commitment. We didn't have that, so we're sort of backwards. It's sort of peaceful and pleasant now.

I can see his sterling qualities. And he's nicer to me. Thank God kids leave home.

As for my wish that I'd been one of God's smarter children and chosen to stay in heaven, I'm still convinced that's the way to go. Marriage is only one hardship of mortality. I really don't believe anybody told me mortality was mostly hard. I think I got sold on the body, becoming like Heavenly Father, "it'll only be a minute out of eternity" that sort of sales tactics. Somebody up there is a very good salesman. I should have read the fine print.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My marriage Part 1 of 2

As I posted before, Bill and I have been married 25 years. This is a total miracle. Also Bill isn't a quitter. I am. If it were up to me, we'd have been divorced the first year.

Bill didn't love me when we got married. I wasn't his type at all, I was the total opposite of his former wife and it took him some time to stop trying to re-make me in her image. I felt I was totally out-classed by both of them and I allowed this for awhile before my inner nutjob came out and I began to regularly rip his face off.

We met on a blind date-set up by my bishop, no less. I was dating someone else quite seriously and I didn't want to go out with Bill. My bishop said, "I'm not asking you to marry the guy. He's just divorced and I want to fix him up with a date." I grudgingly agreed to go out with him.

You guys, he was so hot, tall, dark, and handsome with a deep voice and a commanding air. He spent our first date talking about his ex-wife (who'd cheated on him and left him with their children). I figured he was too "pretty" and on the rebound and trouble and when he asked me out again, I said no. Also, I was almost engaged to somebody else.

But I broke up with the other guy (long story) and I needed a date for this ward thing. So I called Bill, totally blase about it and asked him to go. We went out a couple of times and the other guy was killed in a terrible accident. That was a rough time in my life. But Bill and I bonded.

He seemed to really like me, but I think it was all physical as I look back on it. He proposed about six weeks after we began dating in earnest. I must confess that I wasn't really in love with him, either. He was handsome and rich (I thought, what a joke :) and active in the church. He seemed perfect.

We did have an idyllic six weeks of engagement and a wonderful honeymoon. Everything ended when we had to come home and take care of three kids and deal with the laundry and bills. And he realized he wasn't married to his ex-wife anymore and I realized I wasn't married to Jesus reincarnated.

I was prettier than she was but not as organized. Not as good a cook or housewife. I drove him crazy with my emotional demands. He thought now that he had a babysitter all he had to do was go to work and bowhunting. And bowling and play poker with his friends.

This is sort of funny, but he gets mixed up about "our song." He still thinks it was "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" which was his and Julie's song. Every once in awhile he will say "you are the sunshine of my life." I reminded him once that was Julie's song, but he's old and senile now, so I just look at him and sort of smile and think "I married a moron who only looks like Gregory Peck."

It was rough for the first, oh, 24 1/2 years. LOL. I threw him out regularly the first two years, had a total breakdown from exhaustion and stress. Through it all, I cooked and bottled and stretched the few dollars we had to clothe the kids and provide them with lessons and bikes.

But I can honestly say that, while I've been legally married for 25 years, I've only been happily married, oh--maybe six months. That would be the first month, this last month, and a day here and there in between. I won't know if we had a good marriage till we're both dead and can look back and see if it worked after all.

And I still often think if I had to do it over again, I'd be a ministering angel to all you guys and skip all the grief of mortality.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Don't ever grab a lady's purse in Cedar City

I was walking into the grocery store last year (don't read this if I already posted on it and forgot) when a lady suddenly screamed and shouted, "he took my purse!" I looked up to see twenty or thirty people chase this guy down and one tackled him, bringing him down hard.

Then they piled on top of him so he couldn't get away. I walked over and yelled, "you're going to hurt him, you guys!" I was seriously worried.

The cops got there right away, rescued him, and the lady got her purse back. They took him to jail. He was a runaway from Pennsylvania. The paper wrote about it.

I think it's quite funny how that kid almost got killed purse snatching in Utah. Bet he never does that again.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Rowan, my six year old granddaughter, is a pistol. She never stops talking and is very aware of her person-hood. She's funny, too, we get each other's jokes and we laugh a lot. I spanked her the other day because, contrary to my instructions, she banged on the door where her sister was sleeping and woke her up. Well, I swatted her once. Boy, did she get mad. She was taking her toys and going home.

A couple of weeks ago, she was over here, sitting in her little rocking chair watching some childrens show on TV. I was cooking in the kitchen and I could hear a lady on the show saying, "nobody's perfect, and that's okay!"

Rowan got up and came in the kitchen, looking very disgusted. She said, "Grandma, I don't like that show. That lady said we're not perfect and I know I'm perfect."

I said, "Sweetheart, nobody's perfect."

She declared, "well, I am!"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Twenty-five years

When I was a little girl, I used to eavesdrop on adult conversations, my grandparents quiet murmuring as my grandma got my grandpa off to work, the good smell of coffee in the air, my mom and her friends gossiping and laughing. I longed to be able to have conversations where I could say, "remember 20 years ago when. . .?" Now I can. Twenty years can go by in a blink of an eye. In fact, the older I get, the more time flies. It's cliche, maybe, but it's true.

It seems like yesterday that Bill and I met and fell in love. What fools we were. He thought I was a cute, sweet girl, who would worship him forever. He didn't know that I would say up all night holding my eyelids open to read a book. He didn't know that I am the laziest person on the planet and I avoid the outdoors like the plague. He didn't know that I would fight him to the death over a recipe or nag him to take wood to the neighbor. And nag him to do it again.

I didn't know he was a big jerk. LOL, not really. I thought he was the perfect man. I fell for that pretty face. I didn't know he would get up at 4 in the morning, starting in April and practice for the bow hunt, ignoring the rest of us for months at a time. Then gardening season would come and he would continue ignoring us. I didn't know he had a temper like a bad thunderstorm or that he was the cheapest man on earth.

But, then, he didn't know I would open his eyes to the rest of the world through reading. He didn't know that he would be blessed by the relationships that would come into his life as he served others. He didn't know, couldn't know, that my emphasis on family would bring his oldest children back into his life and bless him with the joy of a close relationship with his grandchildren. He didn't know that when the chips were down for him, I would be there.

And I didn't know that he never gives up. He wouldn't let our marriage fall by the wayside. He has an inner strength I never dreamed of as he's been there, strong (and silent, yep) for our kids as they've struggled. I didn't know he would be so strong when Jared got cancer, holding his grown son in his arms as they both cried and vowed to fight it. I didn't know he was a total weenie for animals and little kids.

Twenty-five years. How did that happen? March 6, 2006, we will be off celebrating somewhere, it's a surprise for me and no one will tell me. Here's to another twenty-five.