Archive for September, 2011

The Bickersons

Posted on September 26, 2011. Filed under: Couples, Relationships |

Dear Lora,

We were with two very good couple friends for a fun night out, and everyone had a few too many cocktails.  My husband got upset with me about something, and my friend became REALLY mad at him and seriously told him off.  Now he says that she owes him an apology and she doesn’t necessarily agree.  We spend time together as families, and I don’t think we can continue to do so unless someone surrenders and apologizes.

Not so friendly fire

Dear Friendly fire,

This scenario brings back memories of our days on the playground and the old “I can hit my brother, but you can’t” theory.  The adult version of that is:  it’s okay for me to yell at my spouse, but no one else dare try it!

I’m kind of surprised your friend didn’t know this unspoken relationship rule and I’m super sorry she had to learn about it this way.  On the flip side, I’m also shocked your husband laid into you in front of your friends, nonetheless, the damage has been done.

It’s important to note, they are both at fault — liquoring up with a few libations didn’t help either.  In fact, I’m willing to bet the booze is to blame for this big mouth battle.  Alcohol and fighting go together like biscuits and gravy — neither of the two are good for you.  However, just like the white flour and whole milk breakfast, you can hop on the treadmill of life and work it off…or in this case, out.

Whether the road to relationship repair is bumpy or smooth has a lot to do with their personalities.  In my opinion, there are two types of folks in this world, the menders and the non-benders.

Mender’s are like bamboo – flexible and sway in the wind.

Non-benders are like steel – strong, sturdy and hard to break.

I’m a mender – I’d immediately shoot an email apologizing and offering an olive branch, or in my case some sort of casserole made with cream of mushroom soup.  That’s because this is the type of thing that keeps me awake at night.  Ambien is great, but getting my husband Scooter to part with even a sliver of one of his pills is like trying to get the kids to stop asking for stuff at the grocery store.  Therefore, I must reach out and attempt to “mend” the problem or end up with an upset stomach, and we all know, moms don’t get sick days.

However, if they are like Scoot, they’re a “non-bender”, thus it could be months before they talk again.  He wouldn’t loose a minute of shut-eye over it either – no sleeping pills needed.  That’s just the way he’s wired.  Good for business; bedside manner, not so much.  It’s neither right or wrong, it’s just the way he and all other non-bender’s are.  N-B’s are usually more set in their ways too, which doesn’t help when you’re trying to craft a truce.

If one’s a mender, you’re in business!  Unfortunately, if they are both N-B’s, this will require you to enlist some backup help.

Call your friends husband and see if you guys can come up with a plan to get The Bickersons in the same room.  The first thing to point out to them is the obvious – a whiskey sour is named that for a reason, you drink one too many and things start to turn bitter.  The fact the confrontation happened under the influence of cocktails should nullify any of the nutty things that were said.  Remind them, they are only words.  Life is too short to waste life minutes over something this stupid.  You have a history together that’s stronger than any amount of Heinekens.

I’ll leave you with this:  dear friends and husbands are as hard to find as a  good hairdresser.  Both know your hair is really gray under all those highlights, but still do what they can to make you feel your best.  I say grab a bottle of bleach and start helping your buddy and your better half lighten up.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Cross-dressing Kid

Posted on September 19, 2011. Filed under: Parenting, Relationships |

Dear Lora,

My 10-year-old son announced today in front of his grandmother that he prefers to wear dresses.  Although we were aware that he likes to wear his sister’s clothes, we had not shared that with my 80 year old mother…a true Lady of the South!  She responded by telling him that he would go to hell, he wasn’t fazed and proceeded to put on a fashion show.  My husband is not too concerned with this as he used to be dressed up by his 6 sisters when he was a child and he ultimately decided he preferred pants.  Should I be worried?  How should I handle my mom’s reaction?

Cross-dressing dilemma-ma

Dear Cross-dressing dilemma-ma

First, let me start by saying, I’m pretty confident that old granny isn’t the one who gets to make the call on who goes to heaven or hell, so we can take that issue off the table right now.  I remember my mom, Norma Jean trying to get away with her own version of that — of course, she added the “…in a hand-basket” line to it.  Really?  If you’re going to hell, would they truly waste a perfectly good hand-basket on the fiery journey?  Not in this economy sister!

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m as God-fearing as the next person, so that line worked on me for years.  Okay, maybe it still does a little, especially when it’s delivered in N.J.’s Kansas accent and is preceded by my redneck name of Lori Anne, the combo of the two gets my attention faster than a shoe sale.  However, even that stern motherly delivery doesn’t change the outcome, because it’s not her call.

Now that we’ve established grandma doesn’t hold the key to the pearly gates, how do we deal with little Jack dressing like Jackie?  The simple answer, I’m not sure you do.  Here’s why:

Today, our 19-year-old, Betsy, can only be described as a girly girl, a ridiculously over-the-top girly girl.  Exhibit A, B and C: she picked her college based on sorority row and number of nearest nail salons.  She is WAY more worried about her hair conditioner than she is about her history class.  And if she doesn’t have a tube of Bonnie Bell Vanilla Swirl lip-gloss within arms reach she starts hyperventilating.

However, there was a time in 3rd grade when she wanted nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with chick stuff.   She actually insisted I buy her uni-sex pants, tops and tennis shoes, she was the ultimate Tomboy.  I went with it and didn’t fight it, not because I was mother of the year, but because I was a single working mother at that point who didn’t have time to dwell on it.  In a way it was a big blessing.  She was able to be who she was and I saved money on clothes that year.  Sure enough, she passed right out of that phase into the tween years – which came with a new set of issues and expensive outfits!  I’m sure you can name at least a couple of friends who did the same.  As a society, we don’t think about it for a second when girls dress like boys, in fact we say, “it’s just a phase”.  Girls get a hall pass on that one, but not the boys…all they get is a lot of heckling in the halls!

What I’ve never understood is why don’t we have a name for boys who go through a similar phase?  Why isn’t it acceptable for them to have a Jane-girl phase?  Of course, I made that up, but you know where I’m going.  What’s wrong with just letting kids be who they are?

To me, it’s important to note, there’s a difference between your husband being dressed up by his sisters and your son seeking to dress up.   I’m not saying the outcome is going to be different, but that might explain the anxiety grandma is experiencing.  However, as his mother, you get huge points for letting him express himself, even if it almost caused nana to have a coronary.

Look, this could be as simple as an experimental phase, could be that he identifies with Francine more than Fred – or it could be that he feels that inside he wants to be a girl.   Honestly, there’s nothing you can or should do to stop his evolution.  I truly believe with all my heart, people are born who they are, all we can do is love them the way they are.  Thank the Lord your child is healthy, in a loving environment and able to live in this day and age…that’s a bigger advantage than most.

Only time will tell if your son ultimately prefers skirts to pants or if your 80 year-old mother really has a hotline to Saint Peter and the book of names.  By the way, if it turns out she does, that’s a way bigger problem than this!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Conference Calling Kin

Posted on September 12, 2011. Filed under: Family, Relationships |

Dear Lora,

My mother drives me crazy with the phone.  Every time she visits, she forces me to speak to my grandmother on the phone.  She calls her and immediately says, “Here, someone wants to say hello to you” and thrusts the phone into my face.  I’ve tried to politely tell her not to do that to me, that if she wants to call her mother, it’s her phone call to conduct, not mine.  Help!

Party line problem

Dear Party line problem,

I hear you loud and clear sister!  There are few things more annoying to me than the “let’s dial for relatives” game, especially when you’re not the one initiating the call!

I truly think there is a telephone gene you’re either born with or not.

Personally, I don’t have the phone gene, in fact I have “dial-itis”, meaning, I’m awful at calling anyone!  I’ll even sit down a write a formal note before picking up the phone, if time permits that kind of archaic communication.  So you can only imagine my excitement now that email and texting have come into vogue.  They’re both easier, more efficient and can be done when I actually have time to craft a witty response.  It’s much better than trying to fold laundry with one hand while using the other to keep the handset from falling off my shoulder.

I suspect you battle the same phone-phobic problem that I do.  Thus, when your mom dials Granny Dee, your ears start burning and your head starts smoking!  I’m right there with you and here’s why:

When you call someone or answer the phone there are too many unknowns – for example, how long is the call going to last?  I usually don’t have time to shave my legs, let alone stay on the phone for more than two minutes at a time.  Will I be talked into volunteering, donating or saving children in other parts of the world, when I don’t have time to bathe my own kids?   Unfortunately, I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff, it doesn’t take much for me to be talked into a time-share in Siberia.  Which always makes we wonder, what group does that “no call” list apply to anyway?   Bottom line, when you’re a busy person, talking on the phone becomes a chore, thus a negative, not a positive.

My cell ring tone is even Rick Springfield’s “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, which says a lot about me, right?  Full disclosure, if I ever saw Dr. Noah Drake’s name or the General Hospital number appear on my caller ID, I’d answer and scream “Doctor we have an emergency”!    Actually, in my real world, most days I don’t have time to talk on the phone.  So it’s probably best I’m not “Jessie’s Girl”, as I’d imagine with all the touring ol’ Rick does, that would require a lot of long distance love chats, which clearly isn’t my forte.

Exhibit A:  When I met my husband Scooter and he asked for my phone number, I told him not to bother.  If he wanted to reach me, he should probably email me, which he did.  That way I was also able to put his name in one of those computer search engines and make sure he wasn’t a bank robber or serial killer.  Turns out, he’s pretty boring when you look him up on the internet – unfortunately, there wasn’t a search I could do to pin down his phone philosophy.

It was only after marrying Scoot than I realized he and his family are phone-fanatics!  Every time one of his relatives calls, it becomes a conference call.  Of course, it’s always a Saturday or Sunday morning, when I’m up to my eyeballs in egg batter, while trying not to burn the bacon or the biscuits.  However, the expectation is the same, that I’ll drop everything I’m juggling to pick up the portable and pontificate about the weather, the latest televised golf game and once again agree the grandkids look just like their side and not mine.  Thank gawd I love them, because it drives me nuts!  To the point where I get anxious when I hear the computerized phone voice announce “call from 8-4-7-…”.

I think that’s your mom’s (and my in-laws) way of keeping you and your extended family connected.  To her, she thinks she’s doing something great by showing you and grandma how much she loves you both.  Remember, the phone is their generation’s main way of communicating.  They usually don’t text, tweet, poke or request anyone – chances are, they don’t even know what those terms mean, I even suspect they may sound downright illegal.

Despite her good intentions, it’s still annoying.  So you’ll have to do what I did – one Saturday when the conference call from the crew came in I didn’t pick up the phone, despite Scooters best charade signaling.   I simply said, I’m up to my eyeballs right now, please tell them I say “hello” and walked out of the room.  He wasn’t happy and he actually acted like I was the one being insensitive!  My response: “call someone who cares!”, granted, not the best comeback and I certainly don’t recommend that one.  However, after some thought I dialed down my initial reaction and delivered this message:

Scoot, I love you, I love your parents, but I’m not a “phone-phenom”, never have been and never will be.  If you don’t stop forcing these family phone calls, I’m going to start requiring you to talk to my mom every weekend for the same length, minute to minute.  I then placed the baking timer on the counter next to the phone.  He’s never passed me the phone again.

The next time your mom makes her move toward the mobile, tell her you have your husbands mom on the other line waiting to chat with her –-  saying something about hosting Christmas at her house this year.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Silver Medal Mate

Posted on September 5, 2011. Filed under: Couples, Relationships |

Dear Lora,

My husband was engaged to another woman right before he met me, she was the one that ended the engagement.  I recently found out from an acquaintance, that my husband met with his ex-fiancée right before our wedding and asked her if there was “any” chance at all for them to get back together before he married me.  It appears he “settled” for me and I was his second choice.  Now, everyday I have to worry and wonder, what if she calls him and says she wants him back? 

Please help,

Second place spouse

Dear Second place spouse,

Well, if that doesn’t keep you awake at night! Good gravy sister, that’s a lot for me to digest, I can only imagine how you’ve been feeling since having this bomb dropped on you.  First, let me say, I get where you’re coming from, there’s nothing worse than thinking or feeling like your being played for a fool.

Before we start jumping to conclusions and ordering voodoo dolls to cast spells all involved in this hot mess, let’s go back to Psych 101 and take a look at some of the differences between men and woman.  Aside from the obvious physical differences, there are some things men aren’t very good at, topping the list is making a commitment.

When it comes to men, for me actions speak louder than words.  Your husband’s actions said to you and the world that he wanted to marry you, not the perceived “one that got away”.  I’m guessing no one had a gun to his head either, correct?  He’s a big boy and he showed up at the church of his own free will.  Don’t worry if his buddy Jack Daniels helped with that will, as I suspect most men need that kind of friend on their wedding day, I know mine did!

Look, I know firsthand the extreme difference between a guy “saying something” versus actually “doing something”.  I had a fiancé who told me over and over that he wanted to marry me, even gave me a big rock, let me plan a huge wedding as well as send out the lavish invitations. However, in the end, he all but left me at the altar – instead of wedding bells, I was left with wedding bills!

It was devastating, especially since I had to rush deliver “we regret to inform you – Dear Lora picked the wrong guy and gave him the wrong finger” cards in hopes no one would show up at the church.  In my case the other woman was his mother, whom he was already “married” too.  Nonetheless, he picked the woman he wanted.  Months later he came back around “saying” he wanted to marry me, by then I knew those words were easy for him to say, but impossible for him to act on.  Again, skip the lip service and give some me some action!

Dudes don’t dig making commitments of any kind – unless it involves playing in the old man’s softball league, then they can commit!  However, nailing them down to a date night is harder than helping your kids with their math homework.  So when a man shows up and commits to anything, it’s a pretty big deal in my book.

As for the rumored encounter: let’s pretend for a minute they did meet – It doesn’t automatically mean your husband was truly pining for the other gal; he may have wanted his ego stroked, and don’t they all?  Here’s the thing: to men, it’s a numbers game – they want every woman in the world to want them, whether they want them or not.  They also tend to start wanting something more the minute they don’t have it…whether they really want it or not.   I know, it’s a complete waste of brain space, but that’s what makes them unique…or a pain in the derriere, depending on how you look at it.

Whether it’s a material thing like selling an old car or a mental one like splitting up a girlfriend, they tend to have similar reactions to parting with both. Even if they were dying to get the newest model of either the Ford or the female, they have this moment of regret the very second it drives or walks away from them. So it doesn’t necessarily mean your husband truly wants the other woman.

On the flip side, who’s to say the “other woman” in your situation wasn’t lying just to look good?  Maybe she had a change of heart, but he didn’t want her back.  So now she’s out there trying to make herself feel better by telling everyone she could have had your husband, but she took a pass, thus leaving him no choice but the marry you.  Again, these would be only words.

And who in world is this “acquaintance” that told you about the secret meeting between your husband and flunky-doo-dah anyway?  Gawd, this is just like high school, but with money and wine that doesn’t come out of a box! It’s pretty clear this acquaintance doesn’t have your best interest at heart. I mean, what would possess someone to pass on potentially damaging information like this, especially someone who you’re not super close to? We need to pray for her on a lot of levels!

I think you need to ask your husband about it. Tell him you were given some information you can’t get your head around.  Explain what you heard and let him answer. Don’t attack him or accuse him of anything, just let him talk.  If it is true, I suggest contacting a marriage counselor to help you both work through this.

However, my gut tells me this is just a game of telephone gone bad and that your husband is yet another red-blooded American male. Keep in mind, guys love being wanted, they also love “thinking” they have options, whether in reality they do or not.

I’ll leave you with this example: my husband Scooter says the reason he doesn’t have a Facebook account is because he doesn’t want to deal with all his old girlfriends looking him up, hilarious, right?  I think it’s his way of keeping the dream alive, because if he did join the world of social networking, it most likely wouldn’t be the Scooter-pa-looza he’s hoping for.

I hate that you feel like the red ribbon winner – keep reminding yourself you took home the first place blue when you both said “I do”.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Links

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...