Monday, January 23, 2012

Girlfriends/Boyfriends or maybe not (posted by The Prodigal Harry)

These days most interaction with Sally's and my respective grown children centers around holidays, or the bi-monthly or quarterly invitation to dinner. And I've noticed that increasingly daughters and sons have been visiting accompanied by a boyfriend or girlfriend (there are no spouses ... yet). It seems a natural progression. When Sally and I first set up house 3-1/2 years ago, 4 of our 5 kids were 21 and younger; now 4 of our 5 kids are 21 and older. So begins the mating ritual, and the proclivity (or more laser-like focus) towards a monogamous relationship, or at the very least a boyfriend or girlfriend you're not ashamed to bring home to Mom (or step-mom, or Dad's wife, whatever you prefer). Of course there's more to it than this biological drive to find a suitable partner. The nest becomes something other than empty. Sally and I have watched our sons and daughters moving through college, through the college-age years, and post-college years which is often a time of exponential maturing and new experience. During the first year of the "Great Dispersion" in 2008, all of our legal-aged children had chosen to live on their own or away at college, and with one or two exceptions, any time we received a visit from one of them, they were always alone. My youngest son and daughter, and Sally's youngest daughter would routinely spend the night. Granted, our rental home at the time was considerably smaller, but the reason no one had shown up with a boyfriend or girlfriend during those first couple of years wasn't only about space.

Although our opinions have been largely (but not always) favorable toward the putative boyfriends or girlfriends, the opinions are somewhat irrelevant, they are just opinions, not cause for alarm or (God forbid) intervention and denial of monetary support, of which there is little anyway. I don't believe I'm scrutinizing my sons' and daughter's choices (at least not consciously) as material for my expanding gene pool---I mainly want them to be happy. I understand the happy part, but who knows about the rest....

I'm sure that these recent musings were precipitated by a holiday visit to my brother and his family, a family augmented within the past year-and-two-months by two lovely granddaughters; one just 4-1/2 months, and the other 13 months+ (an incredible age difference when that young). The proximity of wonderful babies and toddlers was magical, hypnotic, and delivered a spirit to Christmas and Hanukkah I had all but forgotten, perhaps more so because at one point there were 4 generations in the room: My nieces, their young daughters, my brother and sister-in-law and my sister-in-law's parents, who are both in their 80's. Wow. While Sally and I will never see the great-grandparents with their grandchildren, it would be nice to be grandparents, but all in due time.....

Sally's youngest daughter had dinner with us this past Friday, and although she has a boyfriend, she chose to visit us sans boyfriend. Probably just as well. We had a lovely dinner with Sally's youngest..... All in due time.....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas is Coming

(By Sally)

It's quieter now that Christmas is approaching, but things have been busy chez nous for the last several months.  Both Harry and I have started blogs of our own, and although I can't say we've been burning up the internets with posts between us - he's doing better, both materially and numerically - these pursuits have taken some of the energy out of our joint venture.  I miss it though and  think there are still things I want (us) to write here.

You'd think we'd be busier, like the rest of the world at Christmastide, but this is not the case.  In the summer we lived through a heat wave, some major surgery and a bathroom renovation, so for us things  actually quieted down after Thanksgiving.

Oh, Christmas. There are lots of things I love about Christmas but mostly I love them at other times of the year when they evoke the childhood sense of magic and possibility; like when I see characters in a movie choosing a tree, or hear a bit of a christmas carol (whatever happened to carols, anyway?) somewhere.  The very first christmas-decorated house I see (sometime around the end of October, recently) before the deflated vinyl elves and reindeer on the  lawns get old, charms me.  Fairy lights! Green swagging on the fence, how pretty.

The fact kids no longer wake me up at the  crack of dawn to rip open their booty means I have fewer obligations.  I don't have to bake Christmas cookies or string lights around the door if I don't want to. (Harry wants to) I don't have to mail Christmas cards (not that I ever did, but I used to feel vaguely apologetic about it)  There aren't any office  parties to buy secret santa gifts for or any high pressure shopping in big box stores for over-packaged plastic junk. (I've always vowed annually to boycott the malls but it's only the last couple of years I actually managed to get through the season without at least one fraught foray.)  All this leaves me without a lot to contribute to those conversations that begin "So have you started your shopping yet?"  When people talk about how much they have to do yet I have to fumble around for my end of the conversation.

What is there to do?  Well, we have to shop for gifts for our children, but since some of them really  just want gift cards (ie money) and the rest can be gifted with thoughtful ethnic-y gifts from small stores I actually like shopping at,  or online, this is more fun than onerous.   We bought a tree and had a half-hearted argument about how crooked it is but left it not-quite decorated.   We're planning to have a Christmas day brunch to exchange gifts with our children, and have scheduled two events to celebrate with friends and family.  (Harry's family, that is.  The planet most of my family members live on doesn't do Christmas.)  That's it.  The rest of the time our contribution the the madness has been to complain about how much traffic there is where ever we go.

The tree argument notwithstanding, Harry and I continue to be happy, happy together.  In a way the "argument" was a way of celebrating that: More of a nod to history than anything else.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Return of the Small Dog

Posted by Sally

My younger child, in addition to turning TWENTY, has returned to college for her second year, and her Moose -

- has returned to charm us all (except for the cats) and to challenge Harry's dog for Yapping Champion of 2011.

I've missed him, although I can't say I've missed waking up at daybreak to stagger outside to "walk" him. He does more barking than anything else out there and not infrequently has to be reminded of the actual purpose of the exercise. My favorite mornings are those we encounter my neighbor walking his matched Harlequin Danes. . .very well-behaved Harlequin Danes, and did I mention that Moose weighs 6.5 pounds? Which would make a modest snack for a Great Dane and there are TWO of them? The neighbor is too polite to snicker, the Danes regard Moose indulgently with pricked ears and gentle expressions, while incredulous bystanders get a real kick out of a furiously angry Pomeranian challenging not one but two enormous dogs to a duel.

But he does have charm -

And now, a blog of his own: Moose Puppy Tales.

Friday, August 5, 2011


The bathroom renovation is over!

The one thing Harry and I agreed to do (to the house) before we even bought it was to enlarge and modernize (i.e., add a claw foot tub!) the single (cramped and shabby) bathroom. Life intervened: the basement flooded and several appliances bit the dust; so it was a year and a half, not to mention several thousands of dollars, after moving in that we embarked on our pet project.

And now it's done. We have an airy, pleasant space, sans badly-laid antique tiles, hateful shower-plus-inadequate-for-bathing-tub and useless closet. . .Harry says he has to remind himself not to sit sideways on the toilet now that there is actually enough room for his knees! The sink doesn't rock anymore, so Rufus the cat who MUST DRINK FROM THE TAP can jump up without teetering. . .

While it was going on, I once or twice considered posting about the horror that is renovation but decided that a, this sort of thing is all over the internet and b, ours wasn't really all that bad. We did go for a week or so without a shower - Harry says the garden hose in the heat was really quite pleasant - but we never once had recourse to a Port-o-san. The work did take about twice as long as predicted, but I watch Holmes on Homes and I know for a fact this is par for the course and counted us lucky. Plus of course c, having the household in an uproar was just too good an excuse for not blogging (or doing much of anything else for that matter) to pass up.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ummm. . .

So Harry and I have been busy. We have (just in the last several months) lost a dog, (temporarily. Moose will return when the College Year begins again in Daughter #2's college) lost a bird, permanently (but no flowers please - contributions to Free All Parrots (ng) preferentially) had a joint replaced, renovated our one bathroom, (of course it goes without saying that NO drama at all was involved in THAT) & had miscellaneous major disruptions (see above) of our living space, not to mention major pressures on our need-to-wash requirements, especially Harry's; limited interest in sex due to some of the foregoing plus some of the not mentioned and who-knows-what-else? from all parties, and just in general, a real complicated time of it.

Anyway it is the dead of the summer. This can't go on.

Stay tuned.



Friday, January 28, 2011

Waking in the Night

Both Harry and I seem to be experiencing writing -- blocks? Hindrances?

At least I am.

Still, I want to post this:

Whenever I wake up in the night,

And see Harry sleeping next to me

I think:

"How lucky am I?"


then I kiss his shoulder (or cheek, or whatever is accessible)

and I go back to sleep.

I am so grateful, and blessed, and happy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Marriage

Sally and I were married last Sunday, January 2. We hadn't so much as picked the date as much as the date picked itself. We had to use our PA marriage license within 60 days and encountered challenges in finding a marriage celebrant/officiant or even a magistrate/justice-of-the-peace to marry us. The license was set to expire on January 9. Sally and I had been hoping to marry possibly before Christmas, once two of our children were home from college on winter break, however the only wedding officiant who'd agreed to marry us for a reasonable fee, and whom we both really liked, was not available to marry us until after the new year. Sunday 1/2 then was the first and best day to have our wedding---1/1/11 would have been cool, but maybe plagued by a few hangovers, and Sally and I also wanted our five adult children present.

Now that we are married, what do we do with the rest of our lives?

Well, for one we both agreed long before our wedding ceremony that we were married to one another, in that there was already a deep commitment, even though the commitment hadn't been legally sanctioned. Sally and I pray to be together for the rest of our lives and then some.

The wedding ceremony was a perfect coda to a very fine and joyous holiday season. I want to share a reading from the ceremony.

Happy New Year!

Wedding Prayer
May God bless you with Hope enough to keep sunshine in your love, and Fear enough to keep you holding hands in the dark; Unity enough to keep your roots entwined, and Separation enough to keep you reaching for each other;
Harmony enough to keep romance in your song; and
Discord enough to keep you tuning your love so it becomes sweet music to all who may hear it. Amen