No One Else Would Have The Birthday Balls to Write This

Lacey is a master of evasion. If she doesn’t want to do something or doesn’t find it important, it’s best to move on. I have asked her to take a watch for repair for the last three weeks. Watch still broke. I’m positive that she had something to do with a misplaced leather jacket that she openly hated, but she will not confess and answers questions with questions that confuse me. We go to bed with two pillows each. She wakes up with three under her head and hugging the other. She states that it is accidental, but it happens quite frequently. Her abilities to evade questions, change the subject, and admit nothing make me believe that she’s secretly a CIA operative sent to spy on me.

Her powers of evasion seem to reach super hero levels around the 10th of November. I believe the axis of the earth in relation to the sun, creates a magnetic pull that sucks questions concerning the Marine Corps Birthday Ball from the air in front of your mouth and deposits them in the trash can. Lacey has managed to go 0 for 6. And that is amazing. Every year, she has weaseled out of it. One year she was very pregnant, but the other five have been a series of smoke and mirrors that would make David Copperfield jealous.

Not that I’m mad. I too, dislike the Marine Corps Ball. Notice I said the ball, not the birthday itself. Some motivated doucher will read that, show up at my door with a bottle of chloroform and I’ll wake up with “Semper Fi Mutha@$&/%#” tattooed on my face. I love the Marine Corps Birthday. A day that every Marine, worldwide will pause and reflect on those who came before us and appreciate their sacrifice. How can you not like that?

No, my problem is with the ball itself. A bunch of people that you see all day everyday, dressed uncomfortably, pretending to have a good time. And if it was just a gathering of the most uncoordinated dancers in the world (the Marine Corps is the whitest service by percentage), I could probably let it go. But it’s more.

Cost

This will touch in future bullets, so I will mention it first.
-Tickets average 50 bucks a piece. (100)
-Uniforms almost always have to be altered (30)
-Medals mounted (100)
-Hotel-More on that below (80)
-Gown (200)
-Hair (50)
-Nails (20)
-Gas, to and from (50)

Grand Total=630 bucks. Obviously, cuts can be made, but you get the point. Ball is ridiculously overpriced.

Location

Despite having several venues close by, the powers that be always choose a location that requires a significant amount of driving. I could go outside, grab a handful of rocks, throw them in any direction, and hit 10 casinos. The ball I’m not attending this year, is taking place four hours away at a, wait for it, casino. This presents two problems. First, the cost of gas for an eight hour round tripper. Second, the need for a hotel room. Again, dollars piling up.

Time of Year

I get it. We can’t change the date they decided to start getting the drunkest people they could find to start signing up, but seriously, right before Christmas? See the above costs? This is seriously bad timing. Leadership douches will tell you that you need to budget for the ball. My response: If I have to budget for a party, things have gotten out of hand. And there are most likely less presents under the tree because of it.

Today, I will join with members of my unit to celebrate our heritage. Lacey again has used her Jedi mind trick to avoid accompanying me. Her powers of evasion are far too great to succumb to an overpriced night out. She will most likely spend the evening filling out reports and sending them to Langley. A CIA operative’s work is never done and she almost has enough information on me to convict.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINE CORPS!!!!

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A Douchy Love Letter to My Wife

Men thrive on the known. We are very reasoned and simple. Something isn’t right? Change it. Hungry? Eat. Something needs fixed? Hit it really, really hard with a hammer until it’s fixed. Lacey once spent her 20,000 word allotment to tell me all of her problems, which I solved in a series of nods and grunts that wouldn’t have counted towards my 7,000 word allotment. Men thrive in situations that contain problems and solutions. We are programmed problem solvers that hate the unknown. This hatred if the unknown, is of course why God made us need women.

Thursday night, I sat down to watch “A Football Life” on the NFL Network. Most of these contain a behind the scenes look behind Hall of Fame players or championship seasons. A glorified look at glory. This episode’s subject matter was Chris Speilman, the All-American and Pro Bowl linebacker. Before you roll your eyes, I know he is a Buckeye, and to be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t have cared to watch this episode had he not been a Buckeye. And that would have been my loss.

The episode chronicled his life as football player, but more importantly, his marriage to his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. Stephanie, in addition to being a doting football wife, was a breast cancer survivor/thriver/victim. I won’t summarize/ruin the episode, but is an absolute must-watch. I found myself amazed by the growth, sacrifice, and love. A salty, watery discharge may have escaped my eyes.

After I gathered my composure and depleted our tissue supply (don’t judge), I realized what strength truly is. Despite my efforts in the gym to sculpt my guns to gigantic proportions, my wife is the strong one in our relationship.

Exhibit A
After two hours of pointless pushing, Lacey was wheeled into the operating room where she was unceremoniously ripped open to reveal a child with a rather bulbous head. Within a day she was walking around barking orders like General Patton. In addition to that large head, our first born also had a defective ticker. Despite many trips from Pensacola to Louisville, I never heard her complain. In fact, when my mother was feeling weepy about one of the many surgeries, Lacey, in a very indignant tone, said,”Buck up, champ. It’s going to be okay.” And everything was okay. I’m not sure if I didn’t worry because Lacey didn’t worry, or if I was too stupid to worry, but I never felt uneasy about the situation. I knew it would turn out fine.

Exhibit B
In 2011, I deployed to fight the war on terror by applying my keen coffee making skills and document binding acumen. Behind, I left a pregnant Lacey with a three and one year old. I also had recently moved her from one dumpy house, to a less expensive dumpy house (she did complain about the house). Her response to this situation: “It’s bad timing, but whatever.” Well-intentioned people tried to comfort her, but they would aways ask ridiculous questions. Like how she was going to do it without me there. She would reply, indignantly of course,”Well, it’s not like I have a choice. Either I do it, or I don’t. I have no choice in the matter.”

Despite the rigors of that deployment (coffee burns, paper cuts), I never worried about what was going on at home. Lacey had it.

Exhibit C
Lacey drinks more Mountain Dew than a normal human being should. Her heart wants to burst, but it’s too afraid of what Lacey will do to it if it does.

Those three examples are just a glimpse into the many reasons that make Lacey the strong one. Recently, we’ve made some life changing decisions and I really have no idea where life will lead 14 months from now. That scares the bejeebus out of me. I’m making plans and trying to mitigate the unknown. Known variables are easy to plan for. Unknown variables are disastrous. But I’m relieved to know that when I’m in my darkest hour I’ll have Lacey to slap me in the face and indignantly tell me,”Buck up, champ. It’s going to be okay.”

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.

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.