So Many Tears… On My Couch’s Pillows

I was challenged to make a Tupac reference in all further posts. This challenge will be met.

Lacey and I just finished an era. The table and chairs that we had when we were newly married have been replaced. It was the last piece of furniture to survive seven different moves. It was a sad moment for me. Six years, seven moves, and no originals left. We often view things in relation to days, weeks, and years. I have gauged time through the furniture that took up space in our house and passed the torch from the old to the new. Furniture that represented tiny moments in time. Accessories that could have been poorly constructed, absorbed punishment, or caused injuries. Objects that helped to create memories.

In the spring of 2006, Lacey and I inhabited an 1100 square foot apartment that was actually 900, and felt like 700. We had very few items to fill such a spacious area. Lacey had her bed from college and I had an old school television set that weighed a ton. The rest, we purchased on a sweet starter loan from USAA that was designed to ensure newly commissioned lieutenants would be broke for the better part of their twenties. Below are the highlights.

The Bed
A poorly constructed, faux cherry, cork board atrocity disguised as a poster bed. This overpriced pile of excrement lasted one duty station and was broken during the setup phase of the second move.

Memorable quote: CRASH!!!!!! Dave Durbin on the phone: What was that? Me: The sound of the movers buying me a new bed.

Coffee Table
An ill-conceived design of metal and wood with glass top. While on carpet, it served its purpose. On hardwood or tile, a rolling death trap. It became a fixture in the garage shortly after Carson began walking. Looking back, it is a miracle from God that this thing didn’t cause any trips to the emergency room.

Memorable quote: Lacey: Maybe we should bring in the coffee table. Me: Haven’t our kids spent enough time in the hospital?

The Television Stand
Remember that ridiculously ginormous, previously mentioned television set? It needed a resting place and that place was a lightly colored, cork board, affront to humanity that was poorly assembled by yours truly. The television of gigantic proportions caused it to pay homage to the leaning tower of Pisa.

Memorable quote: Lacey: I don’t like it there. Me: Too bad. I’m too scared to move it.

The Sectional
There are certain mistakes that you don’t realize are mistakes until you have kids. This sectional was that mistake. A light tan at purchase, became a collection of stains mixed with bleach spots. The final straw was a purple sharpie that fell into the hands of a mobile Carson. We gave it to a newly married couple to ensure they repeated our mistake.

Memorable quote: Lacey: This couch was clean once, wasn’t it?

Dining Set
The last to go. A wooden base supported a round glass top. White microfiber (White? Really? Why would anyone buy this?) chairs. Despite Lacey’s many attempts to clean, scrub, stain lift, magic eraser, oxiclean, and scotch guard, her efforts were in vain. Three children, who ate in a manner that would make a velociraptor cringe, proved to be too much. They succumbed to their fate on the 26th of October 2012. Six years after their purchase.

Memorable quote: Unable to let go of all her futile work. Lacey: I think we should put that table and chairs in our next house’s basement. Me: GIVE IT UP!

There are more items that have graced our many homes. Furniture that assisted first steps, absorbed drool during teething, and wished engineers would create a leak proof Capri Sun. Though they will most likely not have memories that are solely their own, they have and will provide the details that enhance those memories. Nuance added. Tangents from the real story. Carson, Grant, and Callie will think I’m lame when I fondly remember the ottoman Callie used for balance. Or the chair Grant decorated with pudding. Or the fire truck bed that Lacey had to put together because it defeated me. Youth is always unappreciative like that.

Good thing I’m okay with being lame.

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Tupac Knew

Changes? That’s just the way it is. At least that’s what I tell myself. In Arizona, there really aren’t the tell tale signs of fall that I see in other’s Facebook pics. There are no leaves changing. No packing that hoodie for later that night. I built a fire a week ago and enjoyed it by sweating my posterior into non-existence. For the part of Arizona I reside in, there’s desert, and darker shade of desert. Despite all this, it really is a cool place to live. I just wish I had more seasonal change.

Changes in the Casa de Crutchfield are much more visible. But not in the way you would think. Sure, the task of raising three children that are four and under, produces an immense amount of change, but it is more than I thought it would be. The way I see things, and my reactions to things have been altered and I don’t remember when it happened.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first event, but it happened tonight, so it’s fresh in my mind. My oldest son approached me with a request for ice cream. Dinner was 20 or so minutes away and without thinking I said,”After you eat dinner.” I know this is what a responsible parent would say. If you took a poll of 100 parents, this would be the most generic response. It would be the number one answer on Family Feud. No one else would have an answer, except for the too creative aunt that you realize far too late is a liability. She costs you the fast money and future holidays are awkward.

When did I become responsible? I’m not too far removed from picking out all the marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms. Not long ago, I sat in our car watching Cars, just to see how it would end. I own three collared shirts and one of them is an Ohio State polo my mom bought me less than a year ago.

The point? Why does anyone trust me to raise children? No. When did I go from Lucky Charms aficionado, to semi-responsible pre-dinner-dessert-denying father? Again, I can’t pinpoint the exact date, but lately it has been so in your face. I finish my sentence and I can’t believe what I just said. How can you not notice maturity when your breakfast consists oatmeal and coffee? That you have become the bedtime enforcer. That HGTV is on your TV and it’s okay. Persons in room to light ratio infuriates you. Puddles are not awesome.

While responsibility and grown-up-ness a grown up isn’t all bad. Maturity causes you to not care about what other people think. Not in a senior-citizen-nurse-groping-way, but in a go urinate up a rope kinda way. You notice more. Things mean more to you. An 18 year can’t appreciate how beautiful it is when your kids sleep. They wouldn’t understand how bad you want your daughter to say “dada”. A worksheet with recognizable name isn’t a piece of paper. It’s a treasure. They couldn’t fully get how a dad can don a cape and wear an “S” on his chest if he finds the Buzz and Woody cars underneath the bed.

Maturity definitely isn’t what I expected. There have been more surprises than I care to share. But I don’t
think I will reach full maturity anytime soon, but I’ll keep you up to date on when the transformation is complete. Ask me again in 40 years.

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But It Was On Sale

My wife has just joined the iPhone team. Despite many years of me telling her of previous phone’s inferiority, she maintained that the Samsung (RIP) and widows phone were better. She was wrong. I want to bask in the glow of that last sentence.

Basking complete.

Why did it take so long for Lacey to realize the error of her ways? The iPhone debuted in 2007 and there have been numerous models. Why the delay? It was a combination of factors. Wrong times for upgrades. Pushy salesmen. Seeing the iPhone’s competitors and making the mistake of believing it was just as good. But the main factor for the waiting is a badge my wife proudly displays: she’s cheap.

I’m tagging her in this post, so before you say,”Oh no he didn’t” and text Lacey to tattle, read the previous sentence again. She wears it like a badge of honor. She loves her cheapness. The bigger the deal, the better. And when you have me as a husband, cheap is a necessity. At least initially. When Lacey and I were first married, we had just completed college and were quite accustomed to being broke. As a newly commissioned officer in the armed services, my meager salary seemed like a fortune. It wasn’t and after a year or so of living the American dream (credit cards=woohoo), I decided to adopt some of Lacey’s traits.

Things have definitely evolved. The traits that I have adopted have become stronger and I have adopted even more. I can’t prove it, but I believe Lacey has secretly been brainwashing me in my sleep. No joke, a year ago, I called from the store to ask if I could spend 20 bucks. After she got off the phone with me, she immediately called her mother to let her know that the brainwashing was working. They celebrated by clipping coupons and scouring the Internet for deals.

Her cheapness isn’t all discounted candy canes and clearanced out lollipops though. It has its drawbacks. I get basically what I want from the grocery. Basically. I’ll admit, I have some particular tastes, but I get what’s on sale. Tonight she returned triumphantly from the grocery store with TWO pork roasts. Why? Buy one, get one free that’s why. K-Cups now come in Kroger brand. Sure, they weren’t coffee, but light French vanilla cappuccino is sort of like coffee, right? There’s a difference between regular oats and minute oats? Who cares. Regular oats were 6 cents cheaper baby!!!!!!

Things might be slightly off in our pantry and our freezer may contain sale meats from six months ago, but my checking account has never been healthier. The joy in Lacey’s face from the deals she got, allows me to choke down the regular oats, while sipping on non-coffee coffee. Despite her aggressive pursuit of discounted products, there’s no better picture than her holding Callie. And that’s pretty awesome.

Callie Doesn’t Stand a Chance

There certainties in life. Most people will say death, taxes, and whatever witty occurrence that they believe is a certainty. The first time I heard this, it was death, taxes, and never understanding women. To my 22 year old self, these were definite certainties. Women were a mystery. I was nice. I was a prick. There was no rhyme or reason. I was looking at what worked for other dudes, who were probably just as lost as I was, and applying it to my situation. But life has a way of educating those willing to learn and I should have written a thesis for future Crutchfield lads. I didn’t, so they’re pretty much screwed and on their own like I was.

In 2005, I was in need of a roommate. My apartment was a sweet setup and who wouldn’t want to live with me, right? Within seconds of discovering that I had a vacancy, a friend of mine was jumping at the chance to live with me. I had to promise that I would hold the spot, because being in my presence was sooo glorious. Not really, but it was quite an opportunity for the both of us. My friend was just starting college and I, ever the dedicated scholar, should have been closer to finishing my second stint in academia.

Did I mention she was female?

The following months were probably the most educational and life changing months my 24 years had experienced. At the time, I thought I was just hangin’ out and enjoying college. The truth was that I was being groomed. The grooming process included preparation for being a husband, a party planner, and the thing every male being on earth fears: being a father to a daughter. This grooming happened for several reasons. The most obvious was that Rhonda, and later Buffy, were several years my junior. I saw myself as a protector, big brother, and mentor. All very important traits. They probably just saw me as the dude who was over 21, but that was immaterial to me. While I was playing that role, I inadvertently learned quite a bit about the fairer sex and gained a more reasoned understanding of them. The results include, but are not limited to:

-Bathrooms can smell terrific.
-The amount of beauty products used by your average female could finance a small African country for several years.
-Thermostats are to be used to create weather, not control it.
-There is a lotion for every body part and they are not interchangeable.
-Eyebrows are very important to girls. Both their own and on dudes.
-What they think guys care about, we don’t.
-Every college age girl will hug someone, even if it has only been 10 seconds since they last saw that person.
-There are types of black flip flops.
-International accents cancel out douchebaggery, limited means, and gross physical deformity.
-Trash can only be taken to the curb by a man.
-Def Lepard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me transports otherwise normal females to the front row of pretend Def Lepard concerts.
-No matter how involved you are in the recruiting process for NCAA Football, grievances will be aired about random people.
-Insecurities must be beaten like a dead horse with no resolution.
-Their dads were suckers.

The last bullet is the reason for this entry. All three of us were “college rich”, which meant that we had enough money for a Little Caesar’s pizza, provided we could pick it up. Delivery? Are we the Rockefellers? However, like most college kids, budgeting wasn’t our strong suit. To me, poor budgeting meant a week of generic cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To the femaninas, it meant a call to their pops. This isn’t unique to my former roommates. My own wife used her daughterly wiles to extort cash from her unsuspecting paternal parent.

With my keen understanding of the female psyche, I refuse to be manipulated. Callie will be forced to live the same Spartan existence as her brothers. She will own one pair of dress shoes, one pair of running shoes, and one pair of flip flops that will double as shower shoes. She will wear Abercrombie clothes, only because they will be sold at Walmart in 17 years. On a monthly basis, I will purchase her allotment of beauty and feminine products. These will be an assortment of what is available at Dollar General or Dollar Tree. Her car will be a BMW, also sold at Walmart, and will receive a weekly stipend of $16.00 for one gallon of gas. She will work a minimum of 30 hours a week in addition to double majoring in mechanical and chemical engineering. She will be far too consumed with her studies to worry about what street hooker clothes are being sold at Carl’s Jr (they’ll be selling clothes in 17 years that the kids have to have). If she calls with a need for additional money, she will be directed to our front yard for landscaping duty. She will be paid a modest wage and be grateful for it. In her free time, she will volunteer at a charity of her choice, provided the work is labor intensive. For her selflessness, I will provide her meager wages.

These points are written in stone and will not be compromised. I’m stern and refuse to be taken advantage of. My ways may seem over the top and difficult. But because I love her, I will not be swayed.

Unless she shows me the picture below. Then I’ll buy her whatever she wants.

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