That Was Then

Posted: March 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Husbandry | No Comments »

I’d just like to state for the record that if I weren’t with Mark I’d be so much thinner. I mean, he’s off at a movie screening tonight with some work cronies and I’m sitting on the couch having consumed a small bowl of tapioca pudding–it’s not just for nursing homes any more!–along with Kate for her dessert. But for me, it was my whole dinner.

It’s pathetic but I can never manage to properly feed myself without Mark. When I was single and work-obsessed I’d get home late and microwave a bag of popcorn for a nutritious and satisfying dinner. Or if I were trying hard I’d steam broccoli or nuke a baked potato. An elaborate two-course meal would consist of broccoli on the baked potato and maybe even some melted cheese!

But I don’t want to brag about what good care I took of myself.

Once Mark and I set up our House of Sin I became indoctrinated in his Midwestern protein-veg-carb holy trinity of meal-makin’. And Mark’s the kind of person who, for all his 160 pounds, does not miss a single meal. Nachos snarfed down during a night out does not a dinner make.  Not that we were out raging at bars often. But there were (and are) the nights where food on the fly works just fine for me.

But Mark’ll get in at 11:30PM and lean into the fridge calling out, “What do you want for dinner?”

When I was thinking a simple toothpaste nightcap would suffice.

Of course, now I’m used to Mark’s square meal ways. And with the kids and all I’m less likely to be substituting mozzarella sticks and a mojito for din-din. But on the rare nights when he’s out and I’m solo, I revert back to my single gal ways.

And as if we’re in some nine-year relationship cycle there have been a couple other artifacts that have emerged recently like Ghosts of Life Past as sweet reminders of our fledgling love.

One is a hellish car door thing. Ages ago when we were dating, Mark lived in what I called his “dreary little neighborhood” across town from me. He was driving to my casa for dinner one night and got side-swiped. As a result the Subaru, aging jalopy that we still drive, suffered a door injury Mark claimed was “unfixable.” Something or other about the frame of the door being irreparably affected.

Aside from looking slightly imperfect—not a small issue for OCD moi—the door for seven-and-a-half of the past eight or so years was just fine. But in the past months it must’ve gotten slightly more out of whack, causing the dashboard panel to indicate the door’s open, and the dome light to come on. This is annoying when A) it’s nighttime and the internal light’s flicking on and off, and B) when your Life’s Greatest Possession child is in the car seat by the door and you’re fearful she’ll suddenly be sucked out of it onto the highway like some movie scene of a horrific mid-flight plane crash.

So I’ve been spending lots of time pulling over, curse-whispering, and slamming the car door at the side of roads.

And just when I thought this uber annoyance was my penance for coveting my neighbor’s Porsche Cayenne, the car’s alarm started going off at random times. When it was parked on the street in front of the house, virtually untouched. (Yes, I became that neighbor.) I say it went off at random times but really it was always at THE WORST times. Like when I was mid-way through changing a massive grotesque poop-filled diaper. Or gingerly setting a sleeping baby into a crib. Or that one charming time at 4AM when I had to run out onto the rainy sidewalk, barefoot and barely clad, to aim the clicker lock thingy at the car, re-slam the *&^%*#@!! door, then lock it again.


Fed up, I made an appointment at a body shop hoping they’d insist we buy a new BMW station wagon immediately and assure us that despite our desire to hold back on spending these days, Prez Obama would write us a personal note of thanks for doing our part to stim the economy. That really, we needed to do it for the common good. For our country.

Instead, the guy at the shop looked at the inside of the door, jimmied it with a screwdriver, and slammed it flush. Eight-plus years of annoyance remedied in seconds.

Our recent jaunt to frolic in the snow at Lake Tahoe also resulted in a spelunk down memory lane. The long-neglected snowboard I took to get waxed was marveled at by the kids at the ski shop in the way those gay brothers on Antiques Roadshow curiously inspect old yarn-spinning wheels. (Leaving me to wonder just how geriatric I must have appeared to them.)

And the lift ticket on my equally old school and not-remotely-cool-now jacket was from Whistler, dated, uh, January ‘01. Ah yes, that trip to Whistler we took. Back when we traveled under different last names and didn’t strategize about where to set up a Pack ‘n Play in the hotel room.

Of course, there was some other thing. Something else that I stumbled across recently that slung me back to the old days of Mark and me. But hell if I can remember now what it was.

Yeah, yeah. Take the ‘you’re starting having senior moments, Kristen’ pot shot. I can take it.

Anyway, maybe if we’d gotten married in the church they’d have covered this standard issue nine-year relationship cycle in those freaky Pre-Cana classes. (You know, the ones where a priest who’s barred from marrying teaches couples how to have great long-lasting marriages.) “Chapter 6: In the ninth year of your relationship be mindful of vestiges from the material world that emerge to remind you of the early days of your love thang.”

Whatever the case, thus far nothing from that past life has given me even the teen-insy-est regret about where Mark and I are today. It’s a world away from where we used to be. But a place where I can honestly say I’m thrilled to be, thankyouverymuch.

Except one thing I guess I wish had changed is my ability to feed myself.

Need to go forage for food now. Damn, I’m hungry.

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