24 Years Ago Today

Our Engagement Photo from 1990, Looks straight out of John Hughes Casting, doesn't it?
Our Engagement Photo from 1990, Looks straight out of John Hughes Casting, doesn’t it?

I used to be a computer technician in Chicago back in the 80’s. One day I got a trouble ticket for a computer in customer service. Seems some guy had seen me on the floor and spilled coke in his keyboard so that he could meet me. ( I don’t blame him really, I mean I was a babe. ūüėČ ) I took it downstairs and replaced it with another keyboard with a faulty space bar, because well, I thought he was¬†kinda cute. I tortured that man for two months before agreeing to go out with him. Every week he’d ask me out, every week I’d say no. He finally tells me that he plays bass guitar in a band (yep, he played the guitar card.) and I agreed to ONE date. We went out for pizza and then a comedy club on December 3, 1988. I’ve been his ever since. 24 years later, a move across country, two wonderful boys (now grown men) and I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Love you babe!

 

Country Girls, Chatter Boxes, Lobotomies and Life

hy·per·bo·le

‚Äā¬†‚Äā[hahy-pur-buh-lee]

1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
2.¬†an¬†extravagant¬†statement¬†or¬†figure¬†of¬†speech¬†not¬†intended to¬†be¬†taken¬†literally,¬†as¬†‚Äúto¬†wait¬†an¬†eternity.‚ÄĚ

Have you ever tried to tell a joke to someone and have them stare at you like you have a third eye? Me too. I’m amazed at how many people do not recognize hyperbole from reality, especially when it comes to humor. In light of that recent discovery, ¬†I want to clarify a few points for my literalistically thinking friends and followers. (I’m pretty sure I made that word up, but you know what I mean.)

While my girlfriends and I love to talk about Johnny Depp, we’re not about to leave our husbands for him. He’s a brilliant actor for sure, but that’s all. And if you still do not understand the nuances of hyperbole, go read some Anne Lamott. She is a strong influence on my writing style today.

I did not really go buy a little black dress, red lipstick and fish-net stockings when I read “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” That is what we call a joke. All references to my “catch and release program” in Fishers of Men simply refer to how insecure, clingy and¬†naive¬†I was in my younger years.

Even though I think they are charming as heck, cowboys do not really give me the hiccups.¬†Yes I did blush and giggle the very first time I met one, however, I like the simplicity and manners that comes with these guys. They make it safe and easy to be a woman. And let’s face it, something about being called “darlin” touches my heart. I never had that growing up and I’ve learned to enjoy it today. It’s when they stop calling me darlin’ that I worry.

A walking lobotomy is simply a phrase I use to describe how easily I can throw my IQ out the window when it comes to certain men. When I was younger (much much younger), if our eyes met across a crowded room and my heart started doing 280, chances are they either had a flask in their pocket or a criminal record. Or in the case of that blue-eyed wonder I met in front of the Sears Tower back in 1987, both.

I did not really hire a stunt double for my annual exam – again that was a JOKE.

I am not a stay home wife anymore. I am a self-employed comic, speaker, actress, artist and freelance writer. Having my personal office in my home is not that same as “staying home.” I am not a bored housewife taking artsy fartsy classes to pass the time. I’m an artist striving to improve my craft. I left my career in telecommunications to raise my family and care for a child with epilepsy. I’m very proud of both of my children and have no regrets. In order for me to return to telecom, I’d have to go back to college and start over. I figured if I was going to start over at my age, why not do something I’m good at and enjoy.

Contrary to popular belief, I am still married – to the same man I met back in 1988 (not the Sears Tower dude). We love each other a great deal and are comfortable enough with each other and our relationship to acknowledge that certain Hollywood stars are dreamy. He’s into Meg Ryan, Goldie Hawn, Emma Stone, and a few others. His tastes run more towards natural beauty than flash. I like that. The fact that I sometimes write jokes about cowboys, Hollywood bad boys, and my previous dating disasters does not in any way shape or form bother him. If it did, I would write about something else entirely. My husband reads my blog every week. I do not write anything that would shock or amaze him. We’ve been together since December 3, 1988. There isn’t a man alive who knows me better than he does.

He knows if I’m laughing and cutting up with a man, it’s no big deal. He knows that taking me to see a Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr flick is no big deal either.

I know not to go see Magic Mike or read 50 Shades of Grey. That would not sit well.

He knows if I’m rendered silent in the presence of a man (and yes that does still happen to me at times, I’m 47 ¬†and very human and if you say that has never happened to you, well I think you are lying.) or avoid someone like the plague – just trust that and move on.

And for all my girlfriends who texted me Monday night telling me to change the channel to the CMA’s – I know that the first Monday night football game of the season is on and there is no way I’m going to be able to convince that man to change the channel for five minutes just so I can watch Luke Bryan dance.

Have mercy.

Talk Dirty To Me: 22 Years and Dating…

Me: My oldest just left for college and it’s killing me. I don’t know what I’m going to do when my youngest leaves.

Her: Oh honey, you’ll do just fine. I’ll never forget the day my youngest moved out.

Me: What did you do?

Her: I came home from work, parked my car in the garage, took off my clothes, opened a beer and sat on the couch buck naked, because I could.

Me: What did your husband do?

Her: Grabbed himself a beer and helped me break in the couch.

BLUSH. 

I sat there and stared at this women who is ten years my senior, in utter shock and frankly envious admiration.

I hear about marriages going south after the kids leave more than I do about getting to know each other again.

“According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the overall divorce rate declined by 1.4 percent between 1981 and 1991, the Arps said in their book,¬†The Second Half of Marriage: Facing the Eight Challenges of the Empty-Nest Years. However, during those same years, the divorce rate grew 16% for couples married 30 years or more.” – citation Marriage Missions International

I’ll be honest you guys, I don’t want to be a statistic. I don’t have all of the answers. I may very well wake up single one day and if I do it won’t be without a fight. I believe some things are worth fighting for, marriage especially.

Our youngest has chosen to live at home and attend Jr College rather than move away so unless I want to pay for therapy on top of college tuition, breaking in the couch might not be an option just yet. I do, however, think it’s possible to learn how to date again.

I know all marriage seminars and books tell you to date while you still have kids. Seriously? Who has the time? Or the energy. My husband traveled almost constantly through out our marriage. He could have pursued music and chose to keep his corporate job instead. That was a huge sacrifice. He did so in order to provide a living and a home for us. I’m¬†immensely¬†grateful for that. While I regret greatly that we didn’t date like they tell you to in those marriage advice things, it is possible to re-learn how to connect. ¬†While we were raising kids, because he traveled, I made sure I took time out for myself when I could and I focused on exclusively female friendships.

I say exclusively and I mean it. No men. My reason for that was simple. Being home alone with children all day for days at a time can be lonely. So lonely in fact that the smelly homeless guy who smiles at me can start to look attractive. Every parenting book I ever read warned about that and they were right.

Can I be totally honest with you? I cannot begin to tell you the number of creepy guys who went out of their way to make sure I knew they were there for me if I needed them. Not nice guys, I’m talking the sidled up alongside me, give me a sideways hug so they could cop a feel rejects. Jeff used to like watching me untangle from these guys and run straight to him. Sorry if I seem blunt, but that happens to both men and women.

I will openly admit, refusing to allow men into my life while I was raising our kids might not have been the best tactic. I may have missed out on more than just learning how to set appropriate boundaries with them. (Something I do struggle with at 46.) and I may have missed out on some great growth opportunities so¬†please don’t send me letters about how y’all had male and female friends and it never¬†interfered¬†with your marriage – if you did that’s great. I personally chose not to that’s all. For better or for worse, I can’t change that. The male friends I do have are friends we have together and they are great friends.

There you have it, two confessions, I don’t know how to be friends with men and I didn’t do a great job dating my husband while we were raising kids. We were busy and we were tired. We also knew that the day was coming when we’d wake up and think, “Who are you and what are you doing in my bed?” and so we started planning.

My plan was to sell our house in the suburbs, move to mid-town and go to concerts and such in River Parks like we did when we were dating in Chicago and I wanted to travel the world.

His plan was to buy a bigger boat and fish more.

We neither live in midtown nor own a big boat.

We needed to learn how to compromise.

Sometimes we do things he likes, like fishing or golf, and sometimes we do things I like such as concerts, or plays. One of the things I love best about our marriage is we make each other laugh and we put each other first.

Most of the time it works out. In June we saw Barry Manilow and he didn’t die and in July we saw James Taylor which was¬†amazingly¬†awesome. I’ve even started watching him play again on Saturday nights, something I gave up when the boys were in high school because I was just too busy. And he comes to watch me when I perform comedy. We support each others dreams.

Which brings me to a crucial point, developing myself as a woman so that I have something more substantial to lean upon than just his arm if you know what I mean is very important during this season of my life otherwise I run the risk of running away to find myself. Well that and boring him to tears. ¬†So I took up banjo, started riding a bike, and started comedy and acting. I’m becoming informed about politics, and music and world affairs. I became a Democrat which didn’t thrill him, but it does interest him.¬†It’s a lot easier to date a man – or a woman for that matter – when you know who you are and can bring something to the table, otherwise the burden in on one person and nobody likes that.

Jeff and I will be celebrating 22 years of marriage this Saturday. Parts of it have been wonderful and parts of it have been hard. I come from a divorced family, full of fear and baggage as do a lot of people. We’ve had to work through our stuff together. I love hearing the compliments of how people perceive us, and yet I’m afraid we do at times give the wrong impression. Yes, we are happily married. Is it always happy? No. Sometimes it’s work. I need you to understand that – behind every happy marriage is a ton of work.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore this man however staying married is the hardest thing either of us have ever done in our lives. I don’t want to mislead anybody. In today’s age when people bail at the first sign of trouble we didn’t. We have a very real marriage. There are days where we drive each other to absolute distraction and there are days when we click on all six¬†cylinders¬†and we stick it out and we fight for each other. We think it’s worth it. While we do not have the money for a big celebration this month due to college bills, we’ll find something. And it will be fun.

So married readers: Do you date your spouse? Would you like to share your dating secrets with us?

Who needs RDJ when you’re already married to the sexiest man alive.

I am dating the sexiest man alive and I love it!

Move over Robert Downey Junior.¬†Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man, might look cool on the big screen but they pale in real life, they are after all, fictitious characters. While I joke a lot about my crush on Robert Downey Junior, I also know my hubs has the same kinda crush on Meg Ryan. I’ve known this since we met. No worries. We’re cool with that and comfortable enough with each other (and ourselves) to own it out loud if we think someone is hot.

But seriously — I actually think my husband is hotter than Robert Downey Jr.

For starters he’s a lead guitar player in a band – with a respectable day job. So he’s an artist who eats.

He’s a brilliant business man.

He’s a poet/songwriter.

He can cook.

He’s a great dad.

He gives back to the community without needing his name in the paper. — LOVE that.

He can tear up the water on a tube.

He’s an avid fisherman and a good one.

An excellent soccer coach back when he coached.

He likes U2 almost as much as I do. Almost.

He’s got a wicked sense of humor and is a great source of inspiration for a lot of my stories and jokes.

And when I tried to go blonde to surprise him last winter, he tried really hard not to laugh when the results weren’t quite what I expected. (Think atomic carrot with flames. yes it was that bad.)

We are polar opposites as well. He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. He likes classic rock, I like country. I love to travel, he’d rather just fish. ¬†He’s a White Sox Fan and I love the Cubs. He likes action flicks, I like romantic comedies. And yet it works.

This is the man I get to date again after 21 years of raising kids. I’m kinda diggin that if you really want to know.

If you are married, I highly suggest dating your mate.

It’s a lot of fun.

 

 

 

Fisher’s Of Men – or – How I Met My Husband.

I am 22 when my boyfriend decides to dump with the classic line of “It’s not me, it’s you.”

I am crushed.

Inconsolable even.

Drunk on Hagen Daz ice cream and dreams of what could have been (AKA self-pity in over drive), I am a horrible mess. In a moment of what I can only call pure desperation, I reach for my Bible and start talking to God.

He Dumped me! Can you believe he dumped me? I’ll never get married. My life is ruined. What am I going to do God?

Flip, Flip, Point.

I looked down to see where my finger had landed.

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 for you purists)

Fishers of Men? Really God?I’m in! Yeah!

I put down my bible drive to the mall and buy myself the BEST fishing wardrobe minimum wage can buy. You know, little black dress, red lipstick and fish net stockings. Shortly after that I pack up my little bag of sorrows, leave Redford and moved to Chicago where I spend the next few years participating in the catch-and-release program.

Not to be confused with the prison release program, which is something entirely different.

Okay, if I’m counting the guy I met in front of the Sears Tower that one Spring, not really.

But there you are.

One day I meet this really cute guy at work who gets me to go out with him by hawking the fact he plays guitar in a rock band. We’d only gone out a couple of times when he calls to tell me he wants to take me to church on our next date.

I thought he was speaking figuratively and dressed accordingly.

Do you know he took me to church?

For real?

Wow, am I popular. I even meet the woman’s auxiliary. They call themselves “The Church Basement Ladies.” I am not making that up. I ask them what they do and they tell me they mostly sew quilts and cook supper for Jesus.

Now I was not raised in the church but even I know it’s been at least 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth so either these ladies were pulling my leg, or they’ve held up remarkably well.

Best,

Deana