To the victor and the birthday boy go the spoils!

To the victor and the birthday boy go the spoils!

Last night was Wes’s birthday and his parents graciously agreed to hang out with our kids so Wes and I could go cavort around on our own for a few hours. After grabbing dinner at our favorite Chinese dumpling house (where the wait is normally an hour plus at dinner time), we hit up a nearby bowling alley and then played a couple games of pool before seeing Guardians of the Galaxy.

First of all, Guardians of the Galaxy is wonderful. It’s not too derivative of the other Marvel movies (I get the feeling they writers/producers are trying hard to make sure each movie functions as a stand-alone, worthwhile film) and doesn’t skimp on anything: action, emotion, laughs, it has it all. If you like that sort of movie, definitely go check it out.

Anyway, about the sportsing. I am…not very athletic. Like, at all. My hand-eye coordination is great, but when it comes to things like muscle memory, tracking incoming projectiles, replicating a physical motion I’ve watched someone else do…so not my thing. Hasn’t ever been, as far as I can tell.

For the longest time, I thought I was just defective. It was a bit of a joke in my family, about how uncoordinated and un-athletic I am. I’m pretty darn smart and I have a terrific vocabulary, so I always figured you can’t have it all and resigned myself to being fine with being clumsy.

It turns out, I have a mild form of dyspraxia. It’s no big deal at all, it just means I have a hard time communicating with my extremities. My brain understands the concept behind riding a bike or catching a ball, it just takes a lot more work for me to get my body parts on board with those concepts. Six year old me is very relieved to know there’s a fancy scientific reason she isn’t able to ride a bike yet.

Even though I know I’m slightly dyspraxic, it doesn’t make it any less annoying to suck at sports. I like being good at things, dang it!

So that’s why you could’ve knocked me over with a feather last night when I bowled a frigging 116! For those of you who don’t know much about bowling, that’s actually pretty decent! I think I ended up with five strikes and a couple spares by the time all was said and done in that game. Not too bad!

I’m not going to lie, it felt good to be good at something different. It felt kind of nice to walk around with a little bluster, to hold my head high knowing Wes actually had to try to keep up with me unlike when we play pool and he basically has to shoot one-handed to keep from destroying my spirit entirely.

What has two thumbs and bowls a decent game?

This gal!!!

The Male of the Species

Wes and I were catching up on the newest season of Castle the other night and…

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the latest season of Castle, read no further.

…Beckett was all up in knots because she’s talked to Castle’s ex-wife who told her why they divorced. The ex said Castle was fun to be married to but by the end she felt like he knew everything about her but she knew relatively little about him.

Cue Beckett looking into middle distance with an unsettled, pensive look on her face. This is a slightly tangential observation about her, but I kind of get the feeling she’s not very good at being in a relationship.

Anyway, the credits came on and I turned to Wes and said, “That’s a pretty apt description of most of the men I’ve ever known.”

It’s possible I’ve known a disproportionate number of cavemen, but I doubt it. I just think men and women are wired differently and people can run into problems when they start expecting their significant others to behave against their nature.

Take Wes and I, for example. If you get me going, I can make small talk forever. I’ll talk about how I feel about stuff, which will remind me of some salient memory from my childhood, which will probably spur me  into waxing philosophical about the kind of childhood I want for my kids.

All that stuff will make Wes’s eyes glaze over in less than a minute. If I ask Wes to tell me a story from his childhood, he’ll say, “I don’t have any.” It’s not that he doesn’t have any childhood memories, he’s just not thinking of any at the moment. If I ask him how he feels about something, nine times out of ten he’ll say, “I’m fine with it.”

However, if I ask him about economics, or the future of web-based computing, or music, he’ll start talking and only stop to take a breath when absolutely necessary. If you ask me about any of these things, I’ll say, “I’m fine with it.”

So in a way, it’s possible Wes knows me better than I know him, but I don’t think so. I think we just know each other in the way we prefer to be known. Every once in awhile Wes will tell me a childhood story, and every once in awhile I’ll read an article and discuss economics with Wes, but for the most part we stick to our wheelhouses and we’re cool with it.

Not that our relationship is perfect, but I think it’s a pretty good example of taking each other where we’re at. I don’t get all huffy at him for not talking about his emotions (which I trust are fine when he says they’re fine) and he doesn’t get all affronted that I have no idea what’s going on in the world of software development.

All this to say, I think Beckett (who is a fictional character) needs to chill the heck out and accept that her boyfriend is a man and stop expecting him to be someone he’s not.

Also? Can I just rant about a Bones episode I saw recently? It’s from the new season and called The Tiger In The Tale and a tiger gets shot during the course of the episode, prompting Bones to turn away from the sight of it and cry into Booth’s shoulder.

Are we expected to believe that Bones can look dispassionately at a dead child but can’t bear the sight of a dead tiger?

Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

Sneak Attack Dining

Wes gifted me with a day off on Saturday, to spend however I wished. I opted to do my hair and makeup and then spend time at a coffee shop for an hour, writing and editing, and then meet a friend for lunch and a movie.

(We saw Contraband, for the record, and enjoyed it)

With my hair and makeup still looking so pretty, Wes decided when I got home that he wanted to take me out for dinner. We dropped Aidan off with his grandparents and scooted.

Wes had done a search for the best local restaurants and found an Italian one he wanted to try (you can check out their menu here). When we pulled up, we were a little skeptical.

It was in a strip mall, with a jungle of vegetation outside and neon lights on the windows. It looked…Umm…Like not the kind of place you expect to find really yummy Italian food.

Still, we would not be deterred. We walked in and found a tiny little restaurant crammed full of patrons. We were seated at one of the last empty tables and promptly attended by one of the best waiters I’ve ever had.

Everything we had there was absolutely scrumptious, surpassing our expectations and ensuring we went home with happy bellies stuffed full.

As we left, I looked back at the restaurant. Sandwiched between a Mexican supply store with a display of cowboy boots in the window and a self-service dog washing store, it was completely unassuming. You would never think it was voted one of the best restaurants in that city.

If I had just been walking by, I probably would not have given that restaurant a second thought, and that would have been a mistake.

It just goes to show you…Sometimes eating at shady, rinky-dink places gives you salmonella. But sometimes it gives you the best surprise dining experience of your life.

The Importance of Dating for Parents

This is a funny comic quasi-related to dating.

That last post was a bit of a downer!  Sorry about that.  I usually stick to my policy of “Step away from the computer if you’re having a rough day” but I didn’t listen to myself yesterday and that’s what happened.

I’m feeling much more sane today.  Wes and I went out for a date for the first time since early December and lo, it was magical.  He called me to say he was on his way home and I asked him to see if his mother was available to watch Aidan so we could go out on a date.  He called, she said she was, and we hightailed it to a local Chinese restaurant (we had a coupon) and feasted in peace!

It’s really incredible to me how important dates are now that we have a child.  Pre-parenthood, Wes and I were really broke and we were lucky if we could go out on 2-3 dates a year.  Now, though, they’ve become more or less a necessity.  It’s just really hard to connect and enjoy your spouse as a spouse when you’re both embroiled in parenting.

It feels like sometimes it was easier to be married before we had kids.  It was still work, what with the communicating and the honesty and the being nice, but we just had so much time to focus on each other.

With Aidan in the picture (which brightens up the whole picture, mind you) there’s just a whole lot more stuff that gets in the way.  A whole lot more fatigue, stress, and general life things.  Making time for one another is now a conscious thing we do, as opposed to being a mere byproduct of living together.

After I had Aidan, my midwife and I were discussing the huge change a baby brings to a marriage.  She phrased it eloquently, saying that before you have kids it’s like you and your spouse are face to face, working together.  When you have a baby, suddenly you and your spouse are back to back, each of you working on something, together but separate.

I think that’s why dates become so important for parents.  A little time to face each other and remember your spouse not as a help-mate or as a parent, but as a person.  An interesting person with funny things to say.  And an attractive one, to boot.