Archive for Mr. Cookie

Holiday Happiness

When you join forces with another person, there are so many logistics to figure out.  Who will we visit for this holiday?  How do you prefer laundry to be done (a good answer to this one is “however you would like, since you’re nice enough to do it”)? How should we decorate our living space?  This will, inevitably, lead to many fights or, at a minimum, disagreements.  Until you stumble on the things that you can wholeheartedly agree on.  Like that Crest paste is great toothpaste.  Or that the right side of the bed really can be mine.  Or that Christmas decorating needs to happen the day after Thanksgiving.

In Mr. Cookie’s house, this was always the way.  In our family, we waited an agonizing two weeks (at least) before Christmas came to our home.  The first year we lived together, I met Mr. Cookie’s suggestion to decorate the Friday after Thanksgiving with some trepidation.  Since then, there is no turning back.  It is such a nice tradition, and such a great way to prolong the togetherness that Thanksgiving brings.  So, yesterday, without fail, Mr. Cookie headed off to the hardware store to purchase lights and other decorations for the outside of our house.  He hung one string (and then rehung it because it was backwards) only to decide that he didn’t like how it didn’t match the icicle lights he’d gotten for the side porch.  Here he is working hard hanging the lights the first time (the ones we wound up later exchanging):

Off to exchange the icicle lights for ones that would hopefully match. When that failed to work, he went back to the store for a third and final time to exchange the lights in front for more icicles.  It was a little more expensive but so worth it!  I went with him on one of his three trips to the store and we picked out a snowman, a wreath, a kissing ball, and some other things to supplement the garland he had purchased earlier.

Here is the result (finished around 10:15 last night):

There is still a little work to be done (namely, we need candles for the windows), but I am really excited to be the first on our block to have our lights up and I just know that there is a kid somewhere who is looking at our  house and starting to pester stubborn parents about decorating early.  🙂  Next weekend:  REAL tree (finally- one of those things we couldn’t agree on at first) and decorating the inside.

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The Best of Times: House

Has it really been three months since my last post?  My, how time flies when… well, when life gets tough.  I guess I stopped posting because for a little while there, with Mr. Cookie still looking for work and dealing with the frustrations of that, life just piled up.

Then, he got a job and things started looking up but I was out of the habit of blogging.  Sorry, guys.  I started this blog with the tagline “the best of times.”  And really, brief periods of down aside, this last year has been pretty great for us.  Even with the short dance with unemployment, we were able to tighten our belts, live mostly on my salary, and eat into our savings very little.  Which means, now that Mr. Cookie has been back to work for awhile, we have some news!

You guys, after a rather nasty and frustrating house search, I think we have found the home we will call our own.  It’s in a suburb of Boston that has the best of both worlds.  Quiet neighborhoods with incredible schools.  Easy access to public transit.  Proximity to a lot of our friends.  Biking paths, playing fields, and water.  Our offer has been accepted and now we’re just waiting on the inspection.  Here she is, folks:

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Passion

I might have had a little extra wine with dinner tonight.  Just some disclosure.  Still, that does not reduce the veracity of what I am about to say.  I had a professor in college my freshman year who taught the course “Science, Religion, and Reality.”  I took it hoping to connect my religious indoctrination with the scientific world (something I’d always had trouble reconciling) and instead wound up an Agnostic.  Yeah, it was a hard year but I wound up much happier and well adjusted for all the mental exercise.  My professor, one Patrick Derr, was the embodiment of the philosophical stereotype.  A lot introspective, focused on questions instead of answers, and a significant amount of boozy.  He used to bring a mug of coffee with him to each class which, halfway through the semester we discovered he liked to supplement with vodka.  Namely, the homemade vodka he had received as a wedding present when his daughter married a Polish man.

Back to me.  I had several goblets of wine tonight (what, I was making Coq au Vin and who wouldn’t imbibe when there was an open bottle of wine in front of them?).  Then, I ate dinner.  Then, I went on a long after dinner walk with Mr. Cookie during which he was much colder than I.

This year, if I can get my act together and if Mr. C can get a job, is the year we will probably start trying for kids (oof.  Or more likely kid).  Today, I had a very happy day of problem solving involving power tools and hand saws at the work day for the show I am currently stage managing.  Power tools make me feel like I have a purpose in life.  I had forgotten that until this show.  At one point, one of the actors who was helping me asked how I had gotten so good with building shit and I was really happy to tell him about my background as a Tech Theatre/English double major.  Everyone knows about the English crap, because I teach it.  But, let’s face it.  This year has been shit.  I’m exhausted.  These kids (I feel like) require a lot more energy and focus than past years and in some way it feels like my first year all over again (okay, not true.  Nothing will be as frustrating as my first year).  So, it felt really good to have someone be impressed by my prowess.

Back to the walk (damn.  If my students wrote with such crap transitions I would mark them own.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Most of my kids don’t float in the heaven of the grape).  I was talking to the Mister and randomly starting spewing about how I hope that no matter what, I want our kids to find their  passion.  I want them to find the one thing that makes them happy and fulfilled as long as it doesn’t  hurt society.  I never want to be the person who holds my kids back.  I want them to feel the same joy and excitement I felt today while wielding that circ saw and in giving directions to the two actors building the flat for the thrust.  That shit felt fucking validating, you know?

Yeah.  I hope you know.  I hope that all of you know what I’m talking about.  I hope all of you have something that gives you that rush, that intense joy, that feeling of belonging.  Because that’s why I’m supporting my husband in the decision to quit his job.  That’s why I know that one day when  he’s 60 years old he won’t leave because he’s not happy and feels unfulfilled.  Oh, heck yes.  Heck yes.  Find your passion, bloggy followers.  And don’t ever let it go.

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Hoarding

I wonder if I’m the only one who watches that show Hoarders and immediately afterward has a burning desire to purge my house of everything (or, at least, clean it).  I mean, really, they should market that show as motivation to clean.

For the years we’ve been living together, my husband’s talent for low scale hoarding has been a source of humor and also irritation between us.  When we first moved in together, it was boxes.  Every box for every appliance was kept and stowed in the coats closet, the office closet, the bathroom closets (oh, to have so many closets again).  I finally convinced him, after moving once and not using the boxes (his reason for keeping them- the Styrofoam in them was PERFECTLY! SHAPED! FOR EACH! APPLIANCE!) to get rid of them.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  I think Mr. Cookie should get a job as a product tester.  Now not counting because I recently purged our tub of excess bottles, at most times you can find between 2 and 4 cans of shaving cream and at least two kinds of facial wash (NOT my special, rosacea wash) in our shower.  You guys, I rarely even have as many products in the shower as he does.   A few weeks ago, I fell on the sidewalk and had a nasty case of road rash.  I tried out a doctor suggested at home remedy- a cut up pair of pantyhose and a maxi pad slathered with bacitracin.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was getting the job done.  Well, about a day after hearing me complain about how the pads I use are really thin and were providing little cushioning around my knee, he returned from CVS with no fewer than 3 different products for holding bandages onto joints and a couple different kinds of non-stick pads and gauze.  None of them worked better than the panty hose and pad and they now take up valuable real estate in our dining room hutch.  We have so little closet space in our current apartment (and none in our bathroom save the world’s tiniest medicine cabinet) that we’ve actually relegated two large drawers in the built in hutch for first aid, medicine, and beauty products.  It was a sweet gesture and I appreciated it at the time, but I know when we come to move we’re going to have to sift through all that stuff.

Maybe it comes of being a military brat.  We were never able to accumulate much because we were moving every couple of years.  Still, it’s easy to start collecting things.  I was doing laundry today down in the basement, staring at a bunch of shipping boxes my husband has saved (he’s been selling off old books and often has to ship them, so this is justified mostly) when I started to look around.

Believe it or not, this post was not written entirely to poke fun at my husband.  I realized I might have a problem too.  I collect things because I like to be prepared (and I don’t like wasting things).  For example, I have a large collection of gift bags.  These are not generally bags I’ve purchased, but rather, bags I’ve been gifted that I hold on to “just in case.”  I have used a couple, but mostly they are Christmas bags and I don’t have many opportunities to use those.  I also have a bunch of different sized tins.  One year, I decided to do a ton of baking at the holidays to give to friends.  We were living right in downtown Boston and I found it impossible to find tins for the cookies.  Mom happily told me “try the grocery store or WalMart!” except, there’s no WalMart in downtown Boston (we had no car) and the grocery stores don’t seem to hold the same suburban housewife values as my Mom’s.  So, when I moved and got a car, I found the nearest Christmas Tree Shop (really close!) and bought a bunch of tins.  I used most of them, but every holiday season I buy a few extra just in case the great tin shortage of ’06 should choose to repeat itself.  Plus, people often think the tins are so valuable (they really are dirt cheap) that after they’ve eaten the goodies inside, they give them back to me!  And who am I to argue with that?

I think this desire for preparedness comes of a desire to share and help (or so I justify it in my own head).  When I was in high school, all my friends knew I was their go to person if we were out and they needed something.  Change for a parking meter?  Yup, right here in my purse!  Tore your clothing?  No worries, here’s a travel sewing kit!  Chapped lips?  Hey, use my Carmen.  Too dark to find our car in the unlit parking lot?  I’ve got a mini flashlight!  The best part was that I kept it all organized in my purse.  My friends knew they could rely on me and once it became clear that that was my role, I always made sure I was prepared, MacGuyver style.

Now it has continued.  Except, between my husband and I, we probably need a low scale intervention.  I fear we’re just going to keep getting bigger places and then saying “hey!  Extra space!  Let’s get more crap!”  In fact, that fear often seeps in.  I own so. much. cake. shit.  Seriously.  It’s not just my husband.  I’m a hoarding monster too.

And the worst part?  I claim I don’t like “stuff.”  I told him to let his mom know I don’t want Christmas presents but was then lured in when he made several suggestions of things I’ve been saying I want.

I’m a hypocrite.  My storage space is bursting at the seams.  My travel sewing kit won’t fix this problem.

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Learning to Relax

I am writing to you from Lake Brome in Quebec.  Currently, I am sitting on what was doubtless a very expensive couch from Pottery Barn or some such store while look out at the rippling waters of the lake.  Music from my Ipod is playing throughout the house on the built in sound system.  In the corner of my eye, I notice the sauna and hot tub (in ground) that Mr. Cookie and I spent so much time in yesterday.

When Mr. Cookie’s cousin offered us her “cabin” outside of Montreal for however long we wanted it, neither of us was expecting anything quite this fancy.  It’s pretty clear that unless his cousin miraculously has way more time off from work than we know about that this “cabin” has seen the touch of a designer.  It’s beautiful.  The kitchen is about the size of mine but so much better laid out (it doesn’t hurt that the living, dining, and kitchen are on an open layout).  

We’ve both had trouble relaxing lately.  For me, work has been uncharacteristically stressful.  For him, work has been uncharacteristically lacking (I guess that’s what happens when you quit your job).  So, once we got here I made the decision to call in sick for today (oh the horrors!) and make it a long weekend.  We’ve become professional relaxers.  Saturday, we spent a day wandering around Montreal.  If we saw something interesting, we went in.  If we got hungry, we stopped and ate.  We climbed Mont Royal (half in a car, half on foot) and looked out at the city.  We strolled slowly while joggers, cyclists, and parents with active kids and dogs zipped by.  We basked in the hues of the foliage.  At the end of the day we had clocked 7 miles, according to Mr. C’s pedometer.  Not that we had a goal.

Yesterday, we didn’t hardly leave the house.  I had a short workout in the basement, we used the sauna and hot tub, we went for a short drive around the neighborhood and went into a local grocery store (guess what, guys:  Canadian grocery stores have just as much crap food as US grocery stores).  In the evening, we went out for dinner where we tried escargot and duck from Lake Brome.  Verdict:  both were delicious.  I had the pork tenderloin and both Mr. Cookie and myself were stunned when I was asked if I wanted it “rose” (that should have an accent over the e) or well done.  Not in the US!

An evening was spent by the fire that my husband built and we read with big mugs of hot chocolate.  Then, when we tired of reading, we watched a movie and had some wine.  I feel so calm and happy.  Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hullabaloo of life and forget to enjoy the moment.  But we’re learning.  

Slowly and surely.

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Clubbing

So, I’ve been doing this thing called exercise.  Some of you may be familiar.  Now, overall I’m pretty pleased with the results.  In case you demand photographic evidence, here I am doing some push-up homework my trainer gave me a few weeks back.  This is on Mt. Greylock, where Mr. Cookie and I did some hiking on vacation.  See?  That’s dedication.

Yes, those are girly push-ups.  Hush, you.

Anyway, back to the story.

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Almost 29

Every year, from August 31st until September 9, Mr. Cookie gets the ability to lord his age over me.  “I’m older so I’m wiser.”  “I have more experience.”  Really, he’s only 10 days older than me.  But for those ten days when his age is actually a different number than mine, he lets me know about it.  It’s our little joke.  You know, the one that is going to make our kids giggle for a couple years and then groan for the rest of their lives.

Big changes in the Cookie household this month.  Not only are we both one year closer to being in our 30s, but Mr. Cookie has finally made the enormous step towards unemployment.  Tomorrow, in addition to being my birthday, is his last day.  This was a decision brought about by careful deliberation.  We talked about it for months.  We studied our finances to make sure it would work.  We started practicing tightening our belts.  But why leave such a well paying job?  Well, when something no longer satisfies you and in fact starts to erode your happiness, if you have the ability to responsibly change something then I believe you should.  Mr. Cookie has done an incredible job securing us financially and we don’t have any commitments to other human beings yet, so now is the time.  My job can pay a good portion of our bills a month and what’s left over will be taken care of by our well supplied emergency fund and savings.

I’ll let Mr. Cookie tell you about all his grand plans for unemployment; he’s got some great ones.  So, tomorrow think of us and for me, a birthday that once again close the age gap.  For Mr. Cookie, Freedom Day.

Updated: Mr. Cookie has reminded me of our commitment to those wonderful human beings, the loan officers and while he may have some last minute fears, I still know we’re in good shape. 🙂

Update #2: This may or may not be a sign of his superior intelligence (don’t enjoy it too long, Mister).

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