Friday, September 30, 2005

A letter to my husband

Today we celebrate our 5-year anniversary. What a milestone we’ve achieved in our whirlwind marriage … not to mention our relationship as a whole. We’ve gone through so much, and have come out stronger than ever. I love you more today, than I ever could have imagined.

I think back to that first time I saw you, when you stopped me in my tracks, like I’d run into a brick wall. I knew in that moment you were meant to be my husband. Obviously, there were obstacles in our path at the time to prevent us from being together, but I knew ultimately that we would end up together.

We’ve definitely had our share of difficulties since our relationship started. Enduring a year-long cross-country courtship. Merging two households of valued treasures (my ugly “Pollack-style” painting, my dad’s bulky side table, your mass collection of basketball T-shirts and shoes, your hordes and hordes of trinkets that you couldn’t seem to give away because someone, you can’t remember who, gave them to you) together in a way that made our small little apartment seem like home. Both being laid off at the same time, during a bad time in our economy, and having to look at each other every day for a year, all day, every day, day in, day out! Worrying about whether we’d lose our home if neither of us found work. Dealing with the death of grandparents, the divorce of my parents, illnesses in the family, and tragic losses. All of these things have only brought us closer.

Of course, we’ve also had our share of wonderful moments that I wouldn’t change for the world. Looking at your face as I walked down the aisle at our wedding, and seeing you mouth “Yes,” as the tears filled your eyes. Seeing your strength as you stood by me during the emergency c-section with our daughter, and the way you became an amazing father to her. Watching your dream come true as you took the opportunity after your lay-off to go back to school to become a teacher. Once again, welcoming your reassurance during my second c-section with our son, and being proud of your tenderness when I heard the nurses talking about how much “he” was crying. I thought they were talking about our son. They weren’t. They were talking about you.

And it’s the little things that mean so much as well. The way you take care of our children, feeding, bathing, and playing with them. The way you pick flowers from our beautiful garden to bring in and surprise me. They way you act goofy and silly to make me laugh. Your dedication to your job that shows how much you care about the future of the kids you teach, and your desire to provide for your family. Your keen interest in a variety of things, and your ability to retain even the most obscure piece of information. You really are the smartest person I know (even if you can’t fix a bike chain!)

All of these things are what make you a truly unique and wonderful man. A man I’m honored and proud to call my husband. A man who I look forward to many more years (both difficult and happy, I’m sure) of making memories and growing closer together.

Happy 5th Anniversary!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Santa Anas

I’ve lived in Southern California for six years now, and I still can’t get used to the Santa Ana winds. In any other place I lived, if I stood at the window and saw the trees blowing vigorously in the wind, I’d assume that it would be at least cool when I walked outside.

Not so with the Santa Anas. Today, I looked outside and saw the pine trees swaying back and forth (yes, we have pine trees down here, they’re just nestled in with the palm trees. How weird is that?). It looked like it was going to be a cold day. But I walked outside and realized that it was the Santa Ana winds kicking up. This wind, while strong, is really warm. And I kind of like it.

Before I moved here, the only experience I had with the Santa Anas was a reference to them on Beverly Hills 90210. Yes, I used to watch that show. I was one of the die-hard loyals who watched from the very first episode (when Brenda was still kind of chunky) to the very end (when David had transformed himself from a complete dork to a hunky catch … well, not really a catch to me, but I think he was on the cover of Teen Beat … and Brenda was nowhere to be found).

Anyway, there was an episode with Donna and Kelly talking on the porch of their beach house (because most people in college who don’t have jobs can afford these), and talking about Kelly’s latest troubles with Dylan, or was it Brandon, or that lawyer guy? I can’t remember. They were talking about the Santa Anas, and how they make people do strange things.

So, every time I walk out and the Santa Ana winds are blowing, I expect to see some werewolf running through the alleyways, or people acting like zombies in the street. To be honest, I’ve never seen either, and the only out-of-the ordinary event that occurs is that we have horrible fires instead.

But putting that aside, I like the feeling of the warm air as it blows against my face. Yes, my hair gets dry, but at least it’s not frizzy like it typically is during our times of June gloom when the mist hangs in the air for hours. And I like the way afterward, the air is so clear that I can actually see the mountains on the horizon, something that doesn’t always happen considering the bad air quality here.
And while I have the memory of an elephant, I know that I’ll walk out of the building today for lunch, and still be surprised by the warm-blowing wind. That’s what the Santa Anas do to you. They make you do strange things.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Not what I need, first thing in the morning

I’m not the kind of girl who is afraid of a lot of things. Yes, clowns scare me, and porcelain dolls scare me, and bugs like wasps, June bugs, cockroaches (if you’ve ever seen them in Florida, you’d know why), and big spiders scare me. I’m also afraid of heights … hmmm … let me start over.

I AM the kind of girl who is afraid of a lot of things. And spiders are no exception. I don’t mind the daddy long legs kind, although they do give me a bit of a start if I turn on the light in the bathroom and see one in the bathtub. But I can’t handle the other spiders.

My husband works out in the yard a lot and is always showing me the huge garden spiders that have spun their webs on the back hedge, in the trees, or sometimes from one side of the yard to the other. I can’t understand how he can work out there, knowing their beady eyes are watching every move he makes. I mean, their bodies are as big as my thumb, which is pretty big because I do have man hands.

I also can’t stand the sight of tarantulas (although I’ve never seen one in person), and am afraid of seeing or touching a black widow spider anytime I have to move the garbage cans outside.

So this morning, I had quite a shock. I grabbed my towel after my shower this morning and proceeded to dry off. I put the towel on my head and dried my hair, then wrapped it around my shoulders to warm myself. That’s when I saw movement from the peripheral vision of my left eye. I looked down and saw a spider the size of one of those garden spiders crawling on my towel, heading for my exposed arm.

I dropped the towel and jumped out of the shower stall. And then just stood there, dripping on the rug as I pondered what to do. I realized that I still needed to dry off, so I grabbed the corner of the towel, peering underneath it to make sure that the spider wasn’t lurking there, and forcefully shook it out. The little ¼-inch spider (including the legs … the body was probably the size of a small BB) fell to the floor and tried to scramble up the side of the wet shower wall.

I continued drying off, watching the spider carefully to make sure he didn’t make it out and come after me again. While the spider wasn’t quite as big as I had initially thought, I still didn’t trust it. I left it in there and went to get dressed. And then forgot about it. Until my husband got out of the shower. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten to warn him. “Did you kill that spider that was in the shower?” I asked. “I think he’s pretty much dead. I splashed water on him,” he said. And that’s why I love my husband. He didn’t let out some girlish scream at the sight of the spider (although in my defense, neither did I), and just nonchalantly got rid of it.

I have to admit that now I’ve got the heeby-jeebies at the thought of that spider being on my towel as I dried my hair. And how close were my hands to it when I grabbed the towel off the rack? I’ve got to stop typing now, or I think I’m going to be sick!