Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vice Squad

We all have our vices, those little quirks that have irritated us about ourselves for most of our lives. I bite my nails, tried to stop about a thousand times, couldn’t, moved on. I also twirl my hair, a lot.

I twirl when I’m talking,

I twirl when I’m walking,

I twirl when I’m thinking,

But not when I’m drinking.

I twirl when I drive,

When I’m watching TV,

I twirl most of the time,

It just makes me, me.

Ahhh… a generation raised on Dr. Seuss.

So we have these annoying habits and those closest to us are so used to them that the problems almost disappear. But add a new person into the group and the cute quirky habits immediately become fodder for the masses.

“Gee you really twirl that hair a lot.”

“Yeah, I have since childhood. My parents use to tell me I was so fidgety that it was the only thing that calmed me down.” I don’t tell them that I sucked my thumb until I was like eleven. (Hey maybe the twirling replaced the thumb sucking. A shrink would have a field day with that.)

“Come on try not doing it for like a half hour.”

Really, a challenge to stop the hair twirling? What am I twelve?

So, we’re sitting there playing some stupid domino game someone brought and the fingers of my left hand are taping on the table trying to concentrate on not twirling. I tap the tiles, I tap the glass of club soda and finally I put my hands together in front of me as if in prayer. I glance down at my hands and notice a little piece of nail calling out. I start to put the finger up towards my mouth when the newest member of the group and what I can only assume is some kind of control freak, lifts an eyebrow in my direction. Wait, I can’t twirl or bite?

I’ve rapidly come to the conclusion that this person may not fit in with the group.

“I don’t understand. Does my twirling somehow cause you harm? Do you have some underlying habits of your own that you’ve recently broken and are somewhat afraid I will cross you over into the bad place?”

“It’s just that you’re twirling, the motion, well it makes me lose my concentration.”

“So if I twirl you will play badly?” I smile, I like to win.

“Yes, I can’t concentrate.” The woman stated rather emphatically.

That’s right, I started twirling. Because after all, I am over fifty, I can do what I want.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I just got home from spending two weeks with my Mother in Ohio and I was, let’s just say, extremely surprised at the similar traits that have come to light as I get older. There are some major differences. If she sees a small branch from a tree laying in the front yard it will make her crazy if she can’t run out and pick it up immediately. God forbid if it’s raining and she has to wait until the storm abates to retrieve said limb. Imagine an hours’ worth of, “I wish I could get out there and get that branch,” as the storm rages. Me, I call it yard art and move on. Also I love autumn leaves in the yard. The red, yellow and orange foliage delicately wafting to the ground giving us a carpet of brilliance second only to Joseph’s coat. I use to wait until the last minute to sweep them away. But not Mom, she starts mowing them up with the first dropping and doesn’t stop until the last leaf is bagged and sent off to the city municipality where they will mulch it up to use in the parks.

There are other differences as well. I’m a night person. I love the night life I love to boogie…okay maybe not boogie, but I do love the quiet that comes after the sun has set and the young ones are all tucked into bed. When we were first married I would go to bed with my husband, wait until I heard the gentle breathing of sleep coming from his side of the bed and get up. I considered myself the late night marauder. I often would clean the house as there were no little ones under foot to shoo away from my necessary chores. Sometimes I would just get a book and read. It was my special quiet time. But my mother is inflicted with that disease I don’t understand, that of being a morning person. I have never understood this disorder. Getting up before the sun rises is just too far out of my range of understanding. When I visit I’m up late writing or reading while she sleeps. In the morning she’s usually had her coffee and run her daily errands before I pop my head out for coffee around eight.

But on this visit I noticed that when someone would ask us a question we would answer at the same time and more than once we answered the same way. Things that annoyed me seemed to annoy her. The similar mannerisms, the speech pattern, it was evident throughout the whole visit. I remembered someone saying, “You look just like your Mother but you act just like your Father.” Dad was the funny one, the one who always had a good time. But Mom is up for anything. “Want to drive to Amish country?” She’s in the car. “Want to do a tour of gardens in the village?” “When and where?” We’ve become friends looking for the next adventure. And really isn’t that what life is all about?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, Honey. I Love it!

This week is my husband and I’s 31st wedding anniversary. Through all the years of good times and bad times, we overcame the adversities and worked through. All in all, it’s been a wonderful journey. There are just some things that you learn after being married this long. My wonderful husband when asked, simply states that he is just along for the Wendy ride. I think he means that I am the Lucy to his Ethel, his Hardy to my Laurel. I shudder to think of the times I’ve looked lovingly over in his direction with an uttered, “You know what might be a good idea?” Most of the time things worked out. There were a few disasters along the way, but those too made us stronger.

My husband is an amazing man, who I love dearly. He's generous and kind. He’s just not so great on the gift giving front. He’s great on those big occasions; a diamond tennis bracelet on the fifteenth and diamond earrings on the twentieth. One year, when he couldn't figure out what I wanted, he gave me pictures of items’ he thought I might want. A treadmill, a 35mm camera and I honestly can’t remember the third. To this day, whenever I have a birthday or anniversary or any other gift giving occasion the kids still ask, “What picture did you get this time?”

With that knowledge in the back of mind, I was shopping and I saw a necklace I’ve wanted that was on sale. I’m not into expensive jewelry so the fact that it was on sale for thirty-two dollars added to my excitement. I’ve wanted a silver watch necklace on a long chain to wear with my sweaters. So I had three choices:

A. Call the daughters and tell them where it is and have them run the idea past their Dad. (It’s worked before.)

B. Hint, Hint, Hint and hope that this time it takes. (This has never worked before, but you’re dealing with an eternal optimist.)

C. Do what works after 30 some years of marriage: buy it yourself.

I bought it. It was the last one and I knew A and B were just futile attempts to get exactly what I want.

Flash forward two days. Kirk and I are driving home from Costco and he’s telling me that the only day he could golf with his buddy next week on our vacation was Wednesday, our anniversary. My husband loves his golf. In fact, in order of importance I think it goes Golf, Dog, kids, Wife. He’s feeling a little guilty so it’s the perfect time to tell him about the gift. “Sounds like fun. By the way, do you want to know what you got me for my anniversary present?”

And my husband, that wonderful man who’s been by my side since we were sixteen, doesn’t miss a beat when he says, “Did I do well this year?”

I smile. “You did great!”

The smile I love crosses his face and he says, “Well, then. You’re welcome.”