We

On Sunday night my brother and his lovely wife bravely agreed to watch Olive so Adam and I could celebrate having been together for thirteen years and married for five.

We took forever to get out of the house and then when we finally did make our grand exit- headed for a WILD evening of dinner and a movie- I simply couldn’t stop cackling.

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“We’re FREEEEE!” I kept chortling, “WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT! Put the windows down- put the windows down!”

Olive does not like it when the windows are down, you see. But tonight there WAS NO OLIVE! It was JUST US. Adults!

All by ourselves! Finishing sentences, and making eye contact and having no ones bums to wipe but our own! For FOUR hours!

Living the dream I tell you.

This sort of thing, the rolled down windows and adult conversation, the heady freedom of being responsible for wiping your bum and yours alone, these are every day occurrences for Adam but total novelties for me so I was hitting it out of the PARK enthusiasm wise.

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And ya damn right I dusted off some heels for the occasion.

(This is not an expression. These are old Nine West peep toe heels that were literally coated in dust because I haven’t worn them in ooooh six years? Ha! Small towns I tell you!)

The course of the evening was dictated by our new chapter in life. We are home owners now you see, which of course, means that precisely 92% of our income is devoted to home improvement stores and mortgage payments, leaving us 8% to cover the little things like utility bills, Etsy, Gus food, more Gus food, and blueberries, which Olive devours at an alarming rate.

Given the sorry state of our bank accounts then, we had decided that this would be a cheap date. And honestly, we were more than okay with this decision because after being together this long we’ve realized that whether it’s a 5-star restaurant or a gas station hot dog, it’s still the same person sitting across from you making boob jokes. When it’s good, it’s good wherever you are. When it’s bad not even The Ritz can save you.

I mean I still lovefancy dinners, but all I am saying is damned if I wasn’t over-the-moon delighted to be walking in the door of that burrito joint on Adam’s arm Sunday night.

So we ate some burritos, analyzed the couples around us, and made plans- big plans! Then we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy and that’s when the magic happened.

I have a few preliminary observations so let’s get this out of the way right now: It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I was in a big city movie theatre. Eight years? Ten?

Some things really shocked me!

First: You can choose your seats now? Seriously? No more peering through the dark trying to spot two together whenever a brightly lit scene flashes on screen? Nope. Say goodbye to that basic business I guess. This is 2014 y’all! We stood there choosing our seats on a touch screen like we were about to board a goddamned airplane. Unreal!

Second: THIRTY SIX DOLLARS. That is how much it cost us to see a movie. THIRTY SIX DOLLARS AND THATS NOT EVEN INCLUDING POPCORN (what do you mean? Of course I got popcorn, what’s the point of going to the movies if you’re not getting popcorn?)

Anyway, the movie portion of our increasingly not-so-cheap date ended up costing us upwards of $50 which, I mean okay but god, seriously?

And then, then the movie wouldn’t start. It kept going to a windows home screen and the theatre kept emitting obnoxious chuckles in unison whenever the next error screen popped up, and then they sent some poor sweet man to apologize, and he got heckled by the crowd, who had suddenly turned from harmless obnoxious chucklers into utter monsters by the injustice – the horror of a twenty-five minute wait for their fifty dollar movie.

Eventually things got started half an hour late and the movie was funny at all the right parts and I may have teared up a bit too- impressive given that the whole quest/adventure/space wars/CGI genre is really not my thing.

Typically I like movies where unconventionally beautiful people wander around heart-shattering locales saying obtuse yet significant things to swelling foreign music. Nothing happens, but you feel reborn by the time the credits roll.

Nonetheless, at one point I looked over at this dude sitting beside me, suffering through my dill- pickle drenched popcorn, laughing and looking ridiculous in his 3D glasses (which he later stole), and I just felt good.

Content. Settled.

Windows down, heels, burritos, popcorn, and a funny movie- my night was pretty much made! Unbeknownst to Adam however, the best of HIS night was yet to come.

After the movie we exited the theatre, as one does.

We walked out, smushed amidst the throng of fellow movie goers, now made pleasant- placated by the film.

LO! Who should appear at the end of the long, dark corridor but two ushers. There they stood, collecting 3D glasses, handing out pieces of paper and repeating in utterly chastened tones, “So sorry about what happened earlier. So sorry for the inconvenience. So sorry for what happened earlier… ”

The pieces of paper were free movie tickets. Both Adam and I dutifully collected ours, and I honestly don’t think it’s an exaggeration in the slightest when I say that this was by far the high point in not only his evening, but perhaps his entire week.

There is nothing Adam likes more than getting things for free (even things he does not need and has no conceivable use for. See: 3D glasses). One time he got a free roasted chicken from the grocery store and he still talks about it almost six months later. “Remember the time..?”

Our evening drew to a close. We came home, we caught up with our sitters extraordinaire, and then we crawled into bed and slept the deep sleep of married people stuffed with burritos and stale popcorn, still riding the heady thrill of those free tickets.

Happy anniversary, Adam. I think it was one of our best.

An Essential Gift Guide for Your Husband on Father’s Day

It’s that time of year again when we all gear up to celebrate those lumbering patriarchs in our lives, and writers everywhere create “essential” Father’s Day gift guides filled with leather gloves and weekend bags,  in which the only truly essential thing seems to be a half-hearted joke about ties.

I thought I’d get in on the fun and offer my own take on gifts to what to give your husband on father’s day, and I have a hunch that this will be the REAL essential gift guide because it doesn’t involve any purchases like cologne or barbecue tools ( or..wait for it…ties! ZING!) Not purchasing anything is terribly good for the environment, and also for your relationship, as you shall deduce from #6.

Carry on then.

Sweet Madeleine’s Essential Father’s Day Gift Guide for Your Husband

1. First of all, ditch the card. Do men give cards? I mean, to other men? This is the barometer, you see. Men don’t give other men cards, and that should tell us that they really don’t care about them. Cards are just another step between them and presents.

Any card I’ve ever given Adam was essentially just a $6 fart joke, opened and briefly grunted at before flying in the general direction of the recycling bin.

But in case you think that your man might miss something to open and grunt at, and on the behalf of my men like my brother – who abhors sweeping generalizations and truly does appreciate a good card – I’d bet that a sweet handwritten letter filled with sentiments of your own choosing, rather than Hallmark’s, would mean much more.

 

2. Eschew tangible gifts. Some holidays, like Christmas, pretty much require gifts. Other, lesser holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Valentines day etc. can be a fantastic way to teach children that love & money don’t go hand in hand. Especially pertinent because children tend to have an abundance of the former and basically none of the latter.

Teaching young children that expressions of love don’t have to have a price tag is one of the best gifts that you as a parent can give. Ask your children to draw a picture, write a note, or perform an act of service for their dad. Ask them to come up with an activity he enjoys that they don’t often participate in. Teach them to give out, instead of giving stuff.

 

3. A life on display. One of the finest gifts I can think of for at least two dads I know would be the exquisite privilege having the detritus of their lives visible upon the kitchen counter for the duration of Father’s Day. I will not pretend to understand why it is so important that the used-twice-a-year measuring tape, or collection of three beer caps, a pen top and a crumpled receipt be strewn about my food preparation area in plain sight of everyone, but it is. So I have been told. Repeatedly.

Usually this shit cluttering up my surfaces gets banished to its rightful resting place in the recycling bin/trash but as a special treat, once or twice a year I let Adam’s crap rest where he leaves it. (I am a giver. Never forget.)

I invite you to follow my generous example and this Father’s Day, allow the man in your life to proudly empty his pockets around the house. You might also invite the children to admire his leavings as they would in a museum or art gallery, and then photograph the occasion so he can look back on it throughout the year with the sort of reverence you reserve for gazing at pictures of your kids as newborns.

 

4. Let him reconnect. I suspect that many men who do not get to share in the day-to-day delights of  child-rearing truly miss having the the opportunity to quell a tantrum, sanitize a tiny behind thoroughly coated in poop, and prepare dinner while having barely coherent epithets and sticky cheerios lobbed at their person.

How could you not? Be gracious, and share these experiences.

Allow your man to truly reconnect with his children like he no doubt desperately wishes he could. Don’t take no for an answer- insist. This is HIS special day, after all.

 

5. Laugh at his jokes. Yes, all of them. Retire the withering stare, as well as what my husband affectionately (?) calls “The Face”, and just laugh.

Laugh at the corny ones, the cheesy ones, the long winded, circuitous, rambling ones that have to be stopped and re-started three different times before finally meandering to a gently disappointing punchline.

Take a moment to look at this magnificent man-beast before you and acknowledge that his greatest wish in life is to make you laugh in front of his children. Let him.

 

6. Celebrate his type of fatherhood. This (along with #2 I suppose) is the only remotely useful item on this list. I’m sorry/you’re welcome.

Many men have their own unique style of parenting. And yes, some might call it “irresponsible” or “nothing but eating Doritos and watching bad movies”, or “getting the kids worked up right before bedtime AGAIN jesus christ” but to them, this is their thing. This is how they demonstrate love for their kids and my god can’t you just let the dude have one day? ONE DAY.

This means no brunch. No photos. Pants optional.

Be honest, without the man in your life providing some much need levity and chaos, your life – and thus the lives of your offspring- is just…boring. Everything is where it should be. Your days chugs along in an orderly and well-timed pace like a train running neatly along its tracks.  But the dads jump the tracks. They career across wild open spaces, discover new lands, leave everyone breathless and jumpy with excitement. It’s a fine balance and we need both the order and the chaos for a full life (in the interest of not stereotyping gender roles I now acknowledge that in your house it may be reversed, but the same general idea applies).

On Father’s Day try your best to let go of your idea of how things should be, and honour this balance. See if you can find time to integrate the madness throughout the rest of the year, too.

The reason I think this is so important is that each time I feel myself getting annoyed with Adam for doing things like getting Olive all wound up right before bed time, I try to remember moments like this, which happened well after she should have been asleep.

I will remember this night infinitely better than the fifteen that preceded it when she went to bed at 7:30 on the dot without interference.

 Happy Father’s Day, husbands! We love you, and your madcap antics, too.

Watch out, Channing. You have competition.

 

We are watching a terrible movie with too many dick jokes.

Me: (trying to break my streak of agreeing to watch movies with him only to sit there verbally eviscerating them and sighing deeply.) I like that the girl is unconventionally attractive and seems to have some brains.

Adam: Yeah, she’s super cute. Is Zac Efron conventionally attractive?

Me: I guess. He’s a little…eh.. for my tastes. And he has carb face.

Adam: Carb face…?

Me: Like, puffy. Fat. Bloated, a bit. Too many carbs or too much beer or something.

Adam: Do I have carb face?

Me: (looks at him with a critical gaze) No. And you’re much prettier than Zac Efron.

Adam: (smiling)

Me: (smiling)

Adam: Thanks. But that’s ridiculous. Zac Efron is beautiful.

Conversations with my brother

Adam and Liam.

Adam and Liam, circa 2006 ish

Adam has been staying with my brother, Liam, and his wife, Kate, in Edmonton until we join him. Liam has had an intense (and recipriocal) bromance goin’ on with Adam since the first day they met.

This was a conversation I had with Liam the other day. I’m so glad we can bond over our mutual love/bewilderment of my husband.

Me: So, I have booked our moving truck, our flights, etc. but we still haven’t found a rental so we have no idea where we are going TO…Yikes. It will all work out….?

Liam: Yeah. We also have a basement, and you know Adam won’t have packed anything yet so you’ll be coming to our house regardless to pack up his stuff.

Me: Ha. whatever do you MEAN

Liam: He’s been nesting in there for three months now almost. Who knows what’s behind that door. He might be pregnant. Last night he put on my 3/4 length coat and then built a nest on the futon and crawled into it, coat and all. And stayed there.

Me:Whaaa? He does like nesting. He used to make nests in the U of L library all the time. I don’t know even what he was doing in there because he doesn’t know how to read.

Liam: Hahaha. Anyhow. It’s possible he’s woven the bed, his blanket, his dirty laundry and some of the furniture into one cohesive unit that will need to be purified with fire. Or carefully disassembled.

Me: You should really consider just drywalling over that room and pretending it never existed.