Running for Pizza

Because we are middle-aged (and it’s so much fun), Bill has found that he needs to count his daily fiber consumption.  He was going to do it by hand, but I already had a program – Lose It! – on my iTouch, which is for counting calories, but also happens to do nutritional information like fiber.  Much easier than keeping a paper trail.

So I set it up for him, putting in his gender and age and current weight.  I asked him his goal weight, and he gave me a number about 10 pounds less than his current weight.  I told the program that he would like to lose 1 pound per week, a very modest goal.  The program set his daily caloric intake at around 1000 calories a day.  Bill argued that this was way too low for an adult male.  I pointed out that he was the one who told me a goal weight less than his current weight, and if he didn’t want to count calories to just ignore that part.

Of course, it’s hard to ignore the bar graph that shows your excess calories in bright red every day for the week.  And it’s hard to look at what the program is telling you is the calorie count for a slice of pizza, especially when you ate 3 for dinner.  This is why counting calories is such a great method of weight control/loss.  When those numbers add up, you feel guilty, and you make different choices.

I’d like to point out that the app has been unused for months – not because I think my weight is fabulous, but because I hated being reminded of how many calories I had eaten.  Best to ignore it…ignorance is bliss…I like bliss.

The other night, Bill was entering his meals for the day as we lay in bed.  He showed me how poorly he was keeping to the 1000 calories, especially that day with pizza, and I pointed out that the program gives you more calories when you exercise…had he done anything that day?  No.  His job is sedentary, and he had not made the time to do anything else.

“We could have sex tonight…” he suggested.  Foreplay for the middle-aged.

“Does it give calories burned in ten minute increments?”

Laughter is also good exercise.

He checked the program and found sexual activity.  “Sorry.  It only does 30 minutes increments.”

“How many calories?”


“That’s it?”  

“Wait.  You can change it to ‘vigorous sexual activity’.  That’s nineteen.”

“I think I’d rather go to sleep.  Hardly seems worth it.” I teased, but it was after 10 pm.

“Vacuuming is 95 calories for a half hour,”  he mentioned, flipping through the list.

“Vacuuming burns more calories than sex?  Hmm.”  Housework was suddenly very appealing, but not as appealing as sleep.

“Sleep is not listed,” my husband pointed out.  Oh, well.  The mattress was too comfortable and the hour too late to care.  “Can you get me up in the morning when you go running?”

Yes.  That I would do.  Just so his bar graph would look nicer.

He’s the best

I’m falling in love all over again.

My husband has just spent the last hour playing chess and checkers with my brother, Glenn, who has Downs Syndrome.

And even though he’d really like to get in the shower, he promised Peter he would play “restaurant.”  He’s the waiter, with a French accent.

Isn’t he awesome?

To everything, there is a season

A few weeks ago, I’d had it with my cordless phones.  They were fairly old (in terms of modern technology), and were no longer holding a charge.  I had replaced the chargers and the batteries to no avail.  I went to Amazon and found the best rated, cheapest phones they had and got rid of the old set.

I’m happy enough with the new ones, and some features are better than the old ones.  One thing I really miss, though, is that the new ringtones are rather boring, and I can’t assign them to different numbers.  With my old set, if I heard “Old McDonald” I knew it was my friend, Christie. 

I thought I’d be ok with the change until my caller ID identified my husband as the caller. 

No more “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” 

Makes me sad.


Weeks ago, I was lying on the porch swing with my head in my husband’s lap.  He was watching the fish jump out of the lake in the back while I lightly dozed and just enjoyed relaxing with him.

“Would it traumatize you if, many many years from now, I died lying here like this?” I asked him.

He looked down at me.

“It’s just so pleasant, so peaceful.  I’d just like to lie here like this and fall asleep and not wake up.”

“You’re not allowed to die,” was his response.

On Saturday, Billy came into the house to report that the swing had broken.  I investigated and discovered that rust, and not rambuctious children, was the culprit.  When I told Bill the terrible news, he said that he had seen lots of rust the last time he put it together (when we moved here over a year ago), and knew it wouldn’t make it to the next house.

“But I was going to die in that swing,” I moaned.

“You are not allowed to die – ever,” he insisted.

Each of us, separately, decided that perhaps the swing did not need replacing.  Then all day yesterday, we each kept thinking, “Oh, I think I’ll go sit in the – oh, maaaan, I guess not!”

We agreed, we need to replace it with something.  Maybe not a swing, maybe just a couch.  We have plenty of seats, but we want to sit next to each other.  I want to lie down with my head in his lap.

Even if he won’t let me die, ever.

Sharing the same vision, or not

After camping this weekend, Bill and the boys set up the tent in the backyard to dry out.  In the evening, Bill was putting it away, and I went to help him with the rain fly, which is not rectangular.  He started to object to my pattern of folding.

“I usually fold the sides in to make it a rectangle,” he explained.

“It is a rectangle,” I insisted, gesturing to my not-very-rectangly shape. “You just have to think outside the box.”

“I was thinking outside the box,” he said.  “But my box is different than your box.”

Somehow, we make this marriage work.

Love hurts

Amazing how happy a man can be when his favorite team wins.


When doing our Saturday cleaning, I finally threw away a branch of old shriveled mistletoe my husband had plucked from a tree in our yard.  He had mounted it above the kitchen sink.

When I saw it there, I asked, “Do you really need that as an excuse?”


Two years ago, I bought my husband a shotgun.

Back in November, he bought me ear protection.  We never did go out shooting, though.  I think he got sick.

Finally, yesterday morning, we went to a shooting range and fired that gun for the first time.  He shot skeet, and used up most of the one box of ammo we brought.  Fritz had baseball tryouts in the early afternoon, so we had only a bit of time left.  My husband offered to buy more ammo, but I thought the two shots left would be enough for this time.  I just wanted to know how to load and fire the gun.

If you’ve never shot before, the people showing you how to load the gun, chamber a round, keep your finger on the side until you’re ready to fire, place the butt in the pocket between your arm and torso, keep both eyes open and your cheek against the stock, and line the target up with the sight, might fail to mention that you have to put most of your weight on your front foot.

Just so you know, if you don’t do that, you might fall over backwards.

I managed to catch myself, but, boy, what a kick.

And, that pocket between the arm and the torso where you placed the butt of the gun?  The same force that wants to throw you backward is also exerted on your shoulder there.  I only shot two rounds, but I can feel them today.  Not sure I want to shoot an entire box.  Ouch.


Is it Monday again already?  I’m trying to figure out what time I should make my happy Packers fans get out of bed.  It’s events like these that make me want to live on the West Coast.

Crazy love

Last night, my husband happened to climb into bed at the exact same time as I did.  We usually go to bed around the same time, but one of us is still brushing teeth or checking on the kids or something, so we don’t physically get into the bed together.

As I often do, I reached down and pulled the comforter closer to the head of the bed. 

“Oh, thank you,” my husband gushed, “I always feel like I have to curl up at the bottom of the bed to keep warm.”


My husband generally makes the bed.  I almost always change the sheets, and sometimes I make the bed if my husband isn’t home or if there was still a warm body in it when he left for work.  But most mornings, making the bed is a little act of service that my husband does for me, and I love him for it.

Now, if you have ever done something nice for somebody and had them criticize you for it, perhaps you did your lazy, filthy sweet boyfriend’s laundry for no reason other than because he had been wearing the same outfit for 2 weeks you were trying to be nice and he then told you that you folded all the clothes wrong and even the method by which you paired the socks was incorrect, you might recognize that a gift of service is a gift and should not be received in any way other than with supreme gratitude.

And Heaven forbid you should marry this young punk man, I guarantee that he will make you change the way you fold your towels.

{This, of course, happened to a friend of a friend and not me (oh, no), and I am merely relating what I learned from her experience.}

So, even though, every night, the comforter would slip a bit down toward the foot of the bed, and every morning, my husband would neatly make the bed with the comforter a bit lower, I did not point this out to him.  I thanked him graciously, and every few nights, I would haul the comforter closer to the top with, I assure you, no malice or irritation at all.  I am truly grateful for my husband’s act of service.

But then he caught me pulling the comforter up, and I pointed out to him that when I change the sheets, the comforter is at the top of the bed.  I gently reminded him that he makes the bed, usually, and pointed out that the comforter slips lower every night.

He did not know that, and promised me he would do a better job making the bed.  He was so contrite, that I wonder for how long he had been irritated at how I placed the comforter toward the foot of the bed, but had been suppressing his irritation out of love.  Old married couples do that, you know.  Each offers up annoyance at how things are done, thinking that the other person likes it that way…but meanwhile the spouse thinks you like it that way and is equally annoyed. 

My husband will laugh when he reads this post and I tell him that we have been living an Abilene paradox.

This morning, Mary was curled up in our bed when he left for work.  I pulled the covers up with one hand while holding her with my other arm, so the bed is not well made.  Later I will fix it.  And I’m looking forward to an agreeably well made bed from here on out.

Good times

Oh my.  What a day.

Confessions are at 11 am at the Cathedral on Saturdays, so we hauled our sooty little souls down there this morning.  I noticed the line was moving quickly, which meant our usual favorite priest wasn’t there.  The kids went first, then me.  Bill was hanging in the back with the little ones and went after the three people behind me.

A sign inside explained the short confession time:  Deaf Priest.  Do not whisper.

This would have been a good day to have mortal sins.

So, no lengthy explanations, no probing questions, no nothing.  State your sins, say you’re sorry, get forgiveness, get out.

After confession, I like to compare penances.  I got one Our Father.  Billy said he got three Hail Marys.  Goodness!  Fritz admitted he couldn’t understand what the elderly Irish priest had said, so he did the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Angel of God and St.Michael prayers.  Covered his bases.  Katie said she, too, had not understood so she did three Hail Marys.  Then Billy admitted he didn’t understand the priest either.  (Was that a lie he told right after confession?)

I asked the kids if they saw the sign that said the priest was deaf. 


They asked about the man being Irish.  Jenny, being somewhat out of the loop since she hadn’t gone to confession, asked, “Are all Irish people deaf?”

“No,” I answered, “He happens to be Irish and he happens to be deaf.  Not all Irish people are deaf.”

“Oh,” she said, “He’s deaf and he’s Irish.  All Irish people are deaf.”

“No!” my husband said.  “You’re part Irish.  Are you deaf?”

Cheekily, my 7 year old asked, “What did you say?”


Then we went to the store to buy some pants, socks, and shoes because my children keep growing despite my expressly stated order that they should mature, but not grow.  Growing can be done when they have jobs to pay for clothes.

By this time, they were starving, and we decided to feed them even though, for sure, my son would grow a half inch during the meal.  While we waited for our food, I suggested we play a game to keep everybody’s mind off the fact that we were waiting for food.  I suggested that everybody pick a new name and we would all call each other by these different names for the rest of the weekend.

“My name is Empress Maria Theresa.  You may call me Empress or Your Highness and you certainly may curtsy or bow when speaking to me.  Please speak in German or Czech.”

Bill selected Hector.  Fritz wanted to be called Bob.  Billy, Hades.  Katie, Nancy Drew.  Jenny picked some fairy name, then said she didn’t want to play.  Fine.  Foo on you.  Peter first picked Carson Palmer.  Mary is Mary.

At one point, Peter was acting like a 5 year old and Bill suggested that he act like Carson Palmer, meaning, like an adult.  Images flashed in my mind of the notorious behavior of professional athletes, so I began to protest, “Well, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea…”  Then I pointed to Billy, “He’s HADES.”

“Good point,” said Bill.

Peter changed his name to Joe Hardy.


It was a steak place, this restaurant, but the children’s menu did not have steak on it.  The adult menu had 12 oz steaks or larger (or a 6 oz filet mignon for more than the 12 oz sirloin).  There was no steak salad or steak burger or anything small and less expensive, so I told Billy he could not have steak.  Feeling bad for our carnivorous young son, my husband ordered a steak and gave him some to supplement his chicken finger lunch.

Billy, I mean Hades, when given his portion, responded, “Thank you for your offering.”

If you don’t quite get that, you obviously haven’t read the Percy Jackson books.


More errands.  Mary falls asleep.  The kids are given an option to stay in the car instead of going into Home Depot for air filters and light bulbs.  Katie and Jenny want to come, but the rest will stay.

“Fritz, sit up front and look 12,” I say.  He’s been affecting a “mature” look since he was 11 1/2 so I could run quick errands while leaving a sleeping tot in the car.

“I am twelve!”

“Oh.  Yeah.  Good.  Sit up front.” 


At Bass Pro shops, nobody wanted to stay in the car.  That’s OK.  I came prepared with a book.  I happily stayed with Mary.

Bill wants to take me out to shoot shotguns.  I know, I know.  What a lucky lucky gal I am to have a husband with such romantic ideas for dates. 

He said he needed ear protection.  He said he knows I’m sensitive to things touching me, and thought perhaps the stick-in-your-ear ear plugs might annoy me.  “It’s OK.  I’ll just go deaf,” I said.

After the errand, he showed me the stick-in-your-ear $0.99 ear plugs he bought – for him.  And he showed me the full-cover-over-your-ears, much-more-than-$0.99 ear protection he bought – for me.

This is love.


On the way home, I read him a few snippets from Rachel Balducci’s book.  The theme of these excerpts was Chuck Norris.  Chuck Norris is not well known in my home…yet.  I noticed how eerily quiet the car became when I was reading.  My cell phone rang, and I spoke for a minute to a girlfriend.  The din from the back of the van was the usual volume – loud.  But when I hung up and went back to the book: silence.


We went home and somebody said something else very funny.  I can’t remember it.  But I do know that Fritz said, “Mom, you have to put this on your blog!”  It doesn’t matter what it was, really.  His comment wasn’t at all narcissistic, self centered – somebody else was the clever one.  And he has very little clue that complete strangers read this blog.  He knows my blog is our family history.

We ran errands and took care of business.  We ate lunch and spent the day together.  We had fun.

It was just an ordinary mundane Saturday, but we want to remember it.

Anniversary Numbers

15 years of marriage
14 thousand pounds of household goods
13 ER visits
12 Cub Scout and Boy Scout advancements
11 years of chasing toddlers
10 seats behind us in the van
9 months since the deployment
8 different addresses
7 Oktoberfests
6 children
5 surgeries
4 PCS moves
3 coffee makers
2 hearts
1 life