Tag Archives: The Myriad Ways That I Love Dave

Photo Friday: Vacation!

The schmaltz around this here blog surrounding Dave’s birthday and our anniversary has gotten pretty thick. But I can’t help myself, I’m writing about Dave again. Don’t worry, this is quick and not schmaltzy.

We went on vacation last week and I couldn’t believe the difference in our packing lists. Prize (the No Shit Award) for first correct guess as to which one is Dave’s…

No seriously, check out Dave’s packing list.

When I saw it, I couldn’t help but wonder aloud, “Are you still working on this?” Nope, he was done. I wish I could be as carefree as “yep, just need some ‘sox’ and my guitar and I’m all set.” Instead, I agonize over whether we are forgetting anything. Say, for example, Dave’s toothbrush, which somehow didn’t make his list.

Since these are lame photos and since our vacation was wonderful and worth documenting, here is our little family self-portrait at the beach. I wasn’t going to bother trying to get a shot of all three of us, but then was inspired on our last night by the enormous family (at least I assumed they were family because there is no excuse for the matching outfits otherwise) doing a self-portrait at sunset. Can’t tell you how many tries this took. We really suck at self-portraits. My camera doesn’t seem to want to focus on us. And trying to get Chuck to look at the camera when we are behind him is always fun. At some point, in my haste to get into position after setting the timer, I accidentally slammed my knee down on the sand way. too. hard. What a great photo that was.

Where’s your favorite vacation spot? First week back after vacation’s a bitch, no? Any ideas for easing back in more smoothly, because I seriously want to run to the hills and not come back?

The A.D. (After Dave) Years

Dave and I got married 12 years ago today. We kept it simple and got married as close to our dating anniversary as possible. So on Wednesday, we will have been together 19 years.

Nineteen years sounds like a long time to me. It’s exactly half my life. And it’s gone by at an alarming speed.

In addition to random chance, there were three possible ways I could have met Dave. I guess there was no escaping him.

I told him I loved him the first time we met. He lived with some friends of mine his senior year and I met him at a party. I felt giddy and decided to flirt by telling all the guys I loved them. I told everyone I loved them and I’d never said that to another man before. I inserted each person’s name so I wasn’t lying. I’ve always been big on the truth. Obnoxious, sure. Liar, no.

Thank god my friend Dave had a nickname everyone used, so when I met the Dave I was able to truthfully say, “I love you, Dave, and I’ve never said that to another man before.” That got his attention.

So we’ve just established that I loved him right away (see this post for the plethora of reasons I love him) and luckily he was smitten with me too. We only had about seven months to build something before we’d live in different cities for six years. Those six long-distance years were the only ones that felt like they passed slowly to me.

Somehow our relationship lasted even as the long-distance relationships of all my friends did not. I’m still not sure I know why.

We like each other. Maybe it’s just as simple as that.

I often find it hard to think of things to say to people, depending on my mood, even close friends and family. It’s funny, I can go out with friends and not say very much, but I always come home to Dave and chatter without taking a breath for 20 minutes. He is my home.

I can pinpoint the first moment I thought Dave was the one for me. We’d only been dating for about a month and he took me in his arms for a goodbye hug after a date. We could not extract ourselves and we stood with our arms wrapped around each other for a really long time. I felt such warmth and peace and comfort and love. I felt I could have stayed that way forever. I still do.

Now that I’ve learned how to create a video from pictures (see Chuck’s birthday video and Dave’s birthday video), I had to make an anniversary video too. Don’t worry, I’m running out of occasions/unused pictures.

Photo Friday: 38 Luftballons

I had been planning Dave’s 40th birthday celebration since January. I wanted him to have 40 gifts to open in honor of his 40th birthday.

I got the idea to decorate with balloons from Kim at Let Me Start By Saying. But even though I’m filled with plenty of hot air, I have trouble blowing up balloons. I also have a fear of balloons popping. So I went to the grocery store on the way home from work on Dave’s birthday and asked them for 40 helium balloons, all nonchalant-like.

Their response? “Are you sure?”

Thirty minutes later, I was finally leaving the store and I had trouble fitting through the doors. I had to walk about a half mile with the balloons and I learned some things about balloon transport:

1.) Tree branches pop helium balloons.

2.) There are more trees in my neighborhood than I remembered.

3.) If you decide to carry 40 helium balloons around, people will notice.

4.) When balloons pop, it will scare the crap out of EVERYONE nearby, not just you. Totally sounded like gunfire both times.

We had to pretend Dave turned 38, because two balloons popped on the way home. I had to walk in the street the last few blocks to keep them away from the trees.

Better shot of the balloons

Here’s Dave getting a kick out of me “wrapping” a picture of something he had already bought himself months ago. I agreed to “let him” splurge on some guitar-related things and there was no way that stuff wasn’t counting. I took pictures of each item and inserted each into a card for him to open.

Amused by my gifting things he already bought

Here’s the cute custom card I got him, depicting him with Chuck.

Custom card

What’s the most elaborate thing you’ve done to celebrate a loved one’s birthday?

My Favorite Person Turns 40

Forty years ago today, my late mother-in-law gave birth to my favorite of her five boys. Thank God they didn’t stop at four.

Nineteen years ago, I met and fell in love with Dave.

Five years ago, I attended a week-long seminar for work, led by one of the most respected experts in my field. I sat next to said expert at dinner one night. At one point, as casually as “what looks good to you on the menu,” the respected expert turned to me and asked,

“So what made you fall in love with your husband?”

If you don’t have a stock answer to this question, I suggest coming up with one just in case. I think Dave was as close to love at first sight as it gets, but I didn’t have a list of reasons why I fell in love with him. I just did. The question still hung in the air and my brain was stubbornly blank except for one thing, a thing that forced me to stifle a giggle.

I can’t even remember what I ended up saying, but I’m sure it was nonsense and disappointing. Part of me wishes I had just blurted out “because he’s good in bed,” even though that would have been 900 kinds of inappropriate in this context.

There was never any doubt I loved Dave. I chose Dave the first time I met him. I keep my feelings closely guarded for a little while to protect myself in case he didn’t feel the same. Luckily for me, he did feel the same and had no problem telling me so. I’m so grateful he chose me too.

I was attracted to Dave from the moment I saw him. The first time I remember seeing him, he was standing close by at a party in his suite so that others, including me, could sit and be comfortable. At 6’4″, I had to look a long way up to see him and the view was impressive. He made me feel all fluttery with excitement.

I could say he’s handsome or adorable or hot and all of those things are true. But I think the most accurate way to describe him is beautiful. His eyes are flecked with gold and looking into them calms me. He is this giant of a man who couldn’t be more gentle. I bought him a tee-shirt a few years ago that says “I’m a giver.” And it’s true. He thinks of others before himself.

When I met him, he often wore a hat that simply said “Happy.” I started calling him Happy and the name fit. Dave was an easy-going, generally happy guy. He was the perfect foil for me, since if I were wound up any tighter I might break a spring.

He makes wherever I am feel like home. Early in our relationship he told me he shows love for people through food. But he didn’t have to tell me that since it was a Saturday morning and he had come over to my room with croissants and hot chocolate. We snuggled in my bed and watched cartoons. Just typing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside even though it’s been almost 20 years since that day.

I like to tease Dave about how he doesn’t do grand gestures, but being Queen of the grand gesture (like borrowing this idea to get Dave 40 gifts for his 40th birthday) I realize how much easier it is to do the occasional grand gesture than what Dave does for me day in and day out. He is the King of everyday thoughtful gestures. He does all of the cooking and he is excellent at it. He carries heavy things, reaches things that are too high, and drops me off when it’s really cold or raining.

He believes in me and supports me in everything I do. He gets up ungodly early to go to my races and be there for me at the finish line. When I ran my first race a couple of years ago, it was chilly and drizzled the whole time. He drove me there, stayed the whole time, waited for me at the finish line, and had homemade hot chocolate in a thermos waiting for me when I was done.

Dave also knows everything, which comes in handy. He read his family’s encyclopedia set growing up because he felt like it. His Dad and four brothers get into debates at the dinner table when they get together and they are all very stubborn, except for Dave actually. But they often defer to Dave’s knowledge, which makes me proud. He’s sort of become my encyclopedia and it’s actually disconcerting when he says “I don’t know” in response to something I’ve asked him.

But he’s modest. He generally only talks if he feels he has something important to say. That he talked to me rather freely from the very beginning was an early sign that he liked me too. My mother-in-law once told me Dave didn’t say a word until he was four and when he spoke, his first words were a complete sentence. I always thought that was so adorable and so Dave.

Dave is the only person who has ever made me feel as comfortable to spend time with as I am by myself. And yes, he’s good in bed. Maybe I should have just said that.

Here is a video I made to honor the first 40 years of Dave. I’m in love with the picture of him at 1:05. If I’d known him then, I totally would have hit that. I had all of Dave’s family photos digitized and it was hard to cull them. So a longer video, for the truly Dave-obsessed (i.e., me) can be found here.

Happy Birthday, Dave! I love you.


We sat in silence in the back of the cab. The driver wanted to share one of his poems. Oh God, I didn’t think this ride could get any worse. The driver probably thought we were flying to a funeral. No, we were going on vacation.

Six months earlier I had broached the subject of a “big trip” to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We earn a good living, we don’t have kids tying us down, why don’t we ever go anywhere, do anything exciting? We settled on Belgium. Exotic enough to mark the occasion, but comfortable since I had lived there for a semester in college.

At first, excitement fueled marathon internet research. There was so much to do. After much mental hand-ringing, I booked an apartment and a flight and was too overwhelmed to do more.

A few weeks before our departure, I started to panic. I would never be ready in time. I asked Dave for ideas. I rejected his suggestions as not sufficiently informed by our books or my inflexible idea of what it meant to be ready.

I read the travel guides cover to cover. I spent hours searching the internet, printing custom maps, creating spreadsheets with sight-seeing and restaurant ideas (sorted by location). All while worrying about being ready.

I became fixated on the perfunctory section in the travel guide about security. Somehow “be aware of your surroundings” turned into an internet search that uncovered a murder over a MP3 player on the Brussels metro.

Dave used his iPod all the time. He was trusting and not very observant. I became convinced something bad could happen to him on this trip. Rationally I knew this was extremely unlikely, but my mind kept conjuring up terrifying scenarios, including death, anyway. No trip was worth any of these scenarios. 

I started to dread my looming…vacation.

When we arrived in Brussels, I was horrified to find my French had deteriorated so badly I couldn’t communicate. I hadn’t prepared enough, I wasn’t ready. The first morning, I couldn’t finish my breakfast. Worse, I could feel my body about to reject what I’d already eaten. Even though I was exhausted, my insomnia the first night didn’t surprise me. Rick Steves had warned me about that.

Surely I would sleep the second night. I got comfortable and tried to clear my mind. After hours of lying still without sleep, I tucked deeper into the fetal position and stuck my hands under my chin. My fingers rested lightly on my neck and I felt my heart pound at double my resting heart rate. Images and thoughts raced through my mind, unintelligible but disturbing. I did not sleep for one minute.

The nausea didn’t let up. In a country we had selected in large part for the food, I ate only to avoid passing out. Walking around the city, I felt weighed down by my brand new pants dragging on the ground.

Midway through the week, we sat at the small kitchen table in the dreary apartment. I choked down tiny bites of takeout. I worried about getting sick on our trip to Bruges the next day. I felt guilty Dave wasn’t getting to eat any real food, that I was ruining this trip for him.

I wanted to tell him I’d been counting down the days until it was over and how worried I was that I couldn’t even enjoy a vacation. All I could say was “I just want to go home.” The words caught in my throat and I sobbed.

I made a deal with whoever might be listening. If I got through this vacation, I would figure out why I made everything so difficult and fix it.


This post is in response to this week’s RemembeRED writing prompt.

“This week we’d like you to write about a moment in your life when you knew something had to change drastically. Really explore the moment.”

I decided the word limit should be 619 words. I managed to hit the mark exactly!

“How was your trip” was never such an unwelcome question. I do have some pleasant memories of the trip, like the way Dave held my hand. He was steady and comforting and wonderful.

Dave told me after the trip that all my rules (no iPod!) freaked him out so much he was afraid of the little old ladies who’d tried to strike up a conversation with us on the train to Bruges. I’m sure they planned to stab him for his iPod, then sell me into slavery.

This was really hard to share. I’m telling myself everyone has things they want (need) to change. And that being open about it can only help.

Chuck Dog Fluffy Pants

Seven years ago we adopted Chuck, my fluffy muffin. Since we don’t know when he was born, we celebrate his birthday on the anniversary of the day we brought him home.

I have always wanted a dog. But my Mom can’t stand to be around animals, which meant no dog for me. When Dave and I bought a townhouse after we got married, I thought I could finally get a dog. Wrong. Dave was against getting a dog. He worried our new house was too small and yard-less. Also there was that being responsible for another living creature thing.

My longing for a dog got so bad that I would sometimes cry if I saw a cute dog when we went out. I held firm. Dave simply needed to be convinced.

I had been looking at Petfinder for a couple of months already before Dave finally agreed to meet some dogs (“How convenient! I happen to already have a list of possible dogs!”) in 2004. All spring and summer, I searched, filled out applications, got friends to serve as references, and promised a kidney to various rescue groups and shelters. The requirements to adopt a dog here were unbelievably stringent. There were home visits.

I wanted cute and fluffy and for some reason cute and fluffy seemed to correlate with separation anxiety issues. We both work full-time. After months of rescue groups and shelters saying no way to our adopting the cute, the fluffy, the separation anxiety-ridden, and several meetings with dogs who could take or leave us, I finally found Chuck.

The pictures were poor quality, but in them the sun lit him from behind and he looked like a fluffy angel. Key phrases popped out from the description: “…barely tops 30 lbs (including the fluff)…beautiful brindle coat and thick mane…uniquely gorgeous….infectious smile…barely a year old…good humor…foster says “to know him is to love him”…excellent for a first-time dog owner…moderate energy…non-destructive…housebroken…no signs of any separation anxiety.”

I stayed up until 1AM filling out the application. When the woman who had rescued Chuck came over for the home visit, Chuck’s Foster Dad brought Chuck along too.

Chuck was charming. He seemed happy to meet us. He had clearly been learning to give paw, because he continually pawed at us while we pet him. It was super cute. He soaked in our attention like it was his job.

Dave is not a very demonstrative person. He was petting Chuck, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. I was relieved when the rescuer suggested we take Chuck on a quick walk to discuss things in private.

When Dave didn’t say anything, I asked, “What do you think?”

Quintessential Dave, he replied, “About what?”

“About Chuck,” I said with exasperation.

“Oh, I love Chuck!”

So it was settled. We were adopting Chuck.

When we first got him, we spent a lot of time staring at him, doting on him, and being blown away by how cute he was. I thought it was the newness of it, that we’d get over it. But we’re both still overwhelmed by how adorable he is at least once a day. When we’re out walking him, people often stop to comment. In fact, Chuck seems surprised when people pass him by without doting on him.

Even my Mom is a closeted Chuck fan. When we visited her last Christmas, I know she thought I couldn’t hear her, but I totally overheard her tell a friend on the phone that Chuck “is a beautiful dog.”

Over the years I have taken a boatload of Chuck pictures. Here are some of the best photos of our first seven years with Chuck. Happy birthday, Chuckle Puppy! We love you!

Things I Learned From My iPod Shuffle Challenge

In the two weeks since I finished my iPod shuffle challenge, during which I listened to a complete shuffle of all the songs on my iPod without skipping any, I’ve been restless about music. New shuffles bore me, my music seems stale. It feels like I’ve “just” heard all of it. So I’ve been listening to albums in their entirety, mostly because it feels different and because I can. I found that Abbey Road is almost exactly the length of one way of my commute. Listening to that album was one of the first things I felt like doing. Hearing side two Abbey Road songs during the shuffle felt wrong, as I explained in week 1.

So what did I learn from the iPod shuffle challenge?

* I have more patience than I thought. I did it. I listened to 2,724 songs without skipping a single second of any song.

* Since I have now given every song a chance to wow me, it’s completely OK to delete songs I don’t like very much. I erred on the side of inclusion when I originally ripped my CDs, but I don’t have to store my entire CD collection on my iPod. Good lord, no.

* The key lesson is my desperate need for some new music. Both new to me, since I feel like I’ve totally lived my current collection of songs at the moment, as well as new as in not old. Most of the songs I highlighted during the challenge were  released prior to the current decade. I’ve had trouble finding new bands I like for a long time now.

Suggestions are most welcome. Please, for the love of all that is holy, share any great new artists you love. I need a music freshening.

I was excited to get an invitation to try the free version of Spotify. It’s pretty cool, basically in exchange for putting up with the occasional ad, I can listen to almost any song I want whenever I want, without paying for it.  

But there’s a catch…your own imagination. I don’t know about you, but being able to search for anything I might want to hear but don’t already own makes my mind go totally blank. I keep using Spotify to listen to the same two songs, because they are the only ones that come to mind. The first is Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which is one of the very few new songs I’ve been exposed to and liked since starting the shuffle challenge. It’s fun to sing.

Then there’s Katie Costello’s “Stranger,” which I heard on “Switched at Birth,” and was pleased to find on Spotify. It’s one of those songs that you like, even though listening to it evokes feelings of melancholy that make you want to jump off a cliff. Wait, just me? Since I think about the issues I believe she’s covering in this song a lot anyway (how well can we ever really know another person?), I find it compelling. Go ahead and listen. It’s sort of a cathartic sad. Really.

* The last thing I learned during the shuffle challenge is that my iPod is missing stuff. Some songs I love never made it onto my iPod and I need to fix that. These songs include:

Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” This song, as well as “Magic Carpet Ride,” were part of the soundtrack to my post graduation trip to Niagara Falls with friends. I was not particularly wild, but I had the opportunity to be wild, so there you go.

Ace “How Long” There’s definitely a cheesy 70s lite rock vibe to this, but I love it anyway. I already expressed my love of Paul Carrack’s voice when Squeeze’s “Tempted” came up in the shuffle. I would listen to him sing the phone book (and I sort of feel like I have…Mike + the Mechanics).

Marshall Crenshaw “Someday, Someway” I don’t suppose anyone has ever before compared this to Buddy Holly? I love that I found a video of his performance on Letterman, so that’s what I embedded.

Elvis Costello “Veronica” For the longest time, this was the only Elvis Costello song I liked. More of his songs have since grown on me, but this one is still my favorite, especially now that I’ve known a Veronica (Dave’s Mom).

When I went to see Paul Simon in concert a couple of months ago, I was shocked to realize that although I have Simon & Garfunkel’s whole catalog, I didn’t have any of Paul Simon’s solo music. Not even my favorite song. Not sure how that happened. So I listened to “The Obvious Child” on You Tube 500 times before and after that show.

The Cranberries “Dreams” Maybe everyone can point to a song that perfectly explains what it feels like to fall in love, but my song is a particularly good one, no? This song was released the month I met Dave. Our favorite radio station played it incessantly while the lyrics were happening to me. Somehow this CD never made it onto my iPod.

Mazzy Star “Fade Into You” This song has been on my “to buy/download” list for 17 years. Oops. Need to get on that.

Wedding Present “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” I don’t think the Watusi album was very well received. It’s even out of print, even though earlier albums are not. I think it must have been a rare happy period for David Gedge, and perhaps that turned off his hard-core fans, who like him full of angst. But I thought the songs were goofy and charming. There is just something extra compelling about a bitter guy in love.

Of course, all of these songs are at least 17 years old.

I’m Still Yawning

I’m not in the best frame of mind to write a post, particularly about the sleep experiment. But I’ll start with the positives of week 1:

  • The first two nights, I turned off all screens by 11pm and was in bed before midnight.
  • My average bedtime (12:39am) was about 40 minutes earlier this week than last week.
  • I was generally more aware of the time at night.
  • I got out of bed before 8am (considerably so except for Friday) every day except today.


  • I didn’t really get more sleep this week. I got up earlier for work, to run, etc… than usual. So I averaged 6 hours per night this week, the same as last week.
  • By Friday morning, my body revolted and I got up an hour late for work. So I had to stay late on Friday, which I hate doing.
  • I took a big step back last night. It’s tempting to blame it all on Dave, so I will! He was three hours late in getting home and didn’t call (bad Dave!) and I was worried. And the later it gets/more tired I get, the harder it is to stop picturing him in a ditch somewhere. So I didn’t get to bed until past 3am, after he was safely home (and I’d killed him).
  • I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed until after 10 this morning and I was starving, so Dave and I went out for breakfast, in lieu of my official “Happy Fun Time.” Going out was pleasant, but I hate the (oh so familiar) feeling of having burned so many daylight hours sleeping. And I’m upset with myself for screwing up my frigging Happy Fun Time the very first week (the irony of being so irritated over something I call Happy Fun Time is not lost on me).
  • Worst of all, my eye pressure/cluster headache isn’t gone, and I was more aware of feeling tired this week than I’ve been in a while.

Disturbingly, I also almost passed out at work on Thursday. I was standing for awhile at a retirement party (during which it took all my strength to stop from grabbing my soon to be ex-colleague’s pant leg and begging her to take me with her) and in the middle of a conversation with my boss, I got that tingly, hot (and not in a good way), light-headed feeling I’ve learned from embarrassing past experience means “sit the fuck down right now.” So I had to interrupt my boss to say I didn’t feel well and needed to sit. Smooth. Later when I tried to make light of it by saying “I’m a delicate little flower,” my boss’ response was “you look pretty sturdy.” If she’d said that 15 pounds ago, I probably would have cried.

In summary, I’d rate my sleep performance this first week as in need of improvement. I definitely think I can do better next week. I’d like to average 7 hours of sleep this week. Wish me luck.

Playlist Weeks 27-28: I’m So Glad, I’m So Glad, I’m Glad, I’m Glad, I’m Glad

In January, I challenged myself to get through a whole shuffle of the music on my iPod without skipping any songs. And I did it. On Monday, July 18th I listened to the last song (#2,724) in the iPod shuffle challenge. I originally thought it would take me four to five months to complete. It took just over six months. Six months in which, for the most part, I didn’t hear the same song more than once and I didn’t hear much of anything that wasn’t already on my iPod. So what new music have I missed so far in 2011?

Here is the playlist summary for week 27 and the one day of week 28:

* Songs listened to: 109

* Completed:  100% (!!!)

* Number of double shots:  5 (The Police, Splashdown, Sting, The Beatles, Interpol)

* Number of triple shots:  1 (Genesis)

* The last song:  Genesis “Hearts on Fire” (this is really embarrassing and not a little anticlimactic)

Now for songs worth highlighting:

* I was disappointed when the Beatles’ “The End” came up in the shuffle several weeks ago. There went my brilliant idea for a title for the last week. So the title of the last shuffle challenge post comes from Cream’s “I’m So Glad,” which seems like a pretty strong second-best title. Although I really am glad, whereas Cream doesn’t seem to be.

* Splashdown “Paradox” / “Games You Play” The Splashdown double shot was cool, since it was essentially the same song twice. The older version (“Paradox”) was first, followed by the reworked version (“Games You Play,” for the album Blueshift, which sadly was never released). I prefer “Games You Play,” so that’s the video below. The link to “Paradox” is above if you want to hear the difference. The lyric I like best is:

“So if your past approaches you
Preaching comfort
Don’t be fooled into a war you’ll lose”

Sort of fitting given my memoir-writing proclivities…

* LL Cool J “The Boomin’ System” “C- to the O- to the O- to the L- to the I- to the N- to the F- to the R- to the O- to the N- to the T- to the I- to the N, that means I’m chillin’. This song also is generous with its use of the word “Funky,” which always amuses me since I can’t help but imagine it refers to my favorite stuffed animal. Around the 20 second mark, LL says:

For all the cars out there
And all the brothers
That like to front in their rides”

And the way he says it makes it sound like he’s talking to someone named Funky. And I must say that my Funky does enjoy frontin’ in his ride.

* Nicole McKenna “Take Me Over” I can’t really remember where I was introduced to this song, but it’s so lovely. It’s also fun to sing, even though it’s about drug addiction.

“She’s aware in her own little way
Fading in and out of the day
As she sits there in shame, and she wonders
Can you take, can you take, can you take me lower?
Can you take, can you take, can you take me over?”

“Fading in and out of the day” speaks to me. I don’t think you have to be addicted to drugs to have trouble being fully present during the day. I’ll just check Facebook one more time…

* Holy Fuck “Super Inuit” This was one of the songs on Dave’s unmarked 2010 Christmas mix. It came up on the shuffle towards the very end and while I knew I wanted to highlight it, all I knew is that it was “Track 1″ on the mix. Soundhound to the rescue…and now I know the name of the song and the band. The band calls themselves “Holy Fuck,” which I rather like but is certainly not a good idea. Listening to this song makes me frantic. When I looked up the video, I found this live version that really impressed me. They seemed to be doing it all live. Their Wikipedia page says they intended to make electronic music without looping, programming, etc…

* Frazier Chorus “Cloud 8″ Here’s a song Dave introduced me to early on in our relationship. It’s very cute and it’s also got some motivating lyrics even though the singer sounds like he’s trying to make you fall asleep.

“You were saying nothing, didn’t say a word. You said if you shut up for long enough, the more you heard. But you hear nothing, didn’t hear a word, and you soon get bored, because if you shut up for long enough you just get ignored.”

Melon, Other Fruitlessness (or Why A Childfree Person Thinks About Having Kids)

Coming Out

I haven’t explicitly written about not having kids. I’ve been hesitant for two reasons:

1.) I don’t want to alienate anybody. I think some parents get uncomfortable around me once they know I’m purposely childfree (it’s hard to avoid the conversation now that I’m of an age when “do you have kids?” is the first thing new people ask me) because they think I’m judging their choice. But no. Really. As someone whose preferred number of children is an uncommon zero, I’m very sensitive to reproductive rights. Want 20 kids? Go for it, Duggar, just don’t judge my number.

2.) I get a “she doth protest too much” vibe, even from Dave sometimes, if I bring up this topic. Talking about not wanting children must mean I’m delusional, that I really want kids, but am just afraid to admit it.

Why Analyze Something You’ve Decided Not To Do?

I analyze everything—it’s just my way.

So few people choose this route, I want to reach out for support. While the proportion of women my age who have never had children has increased since 1976 according to the Current Population Survey, it’s still small. About 20 percent of women my age have never had a child (only 13 percent of women my age who have ever been married). It can get pretty lonely up in here.

Perhaps most importantly, I analyze it because I still can. I read somewhere that childfree people think about whether or not to have kids more than parents and it makes sense because we generally have a longer period of time over which to consider it. Parents kind of have to stop considering this question once they have kids. I can still change my mind.

I don’t think I’ll ever change my mind. But the biggest difference between myself as a 25-year-old and now is I’m no longer naïve enough to think it’s impossible. There’s no reason not to touch base on it periodically.

An Analogy

My Mom can’t understand why I don’t like melon. I’ve watched her cut cantaloupe for herself hundreds of times. Every so often she would encourage me to try a bite. “Oh, this is a good one, so sweet. Come on…”

Once I got past the age at which it was my job to stubbornly refuse all her food advances, I would occasionally give it a try. But I hate melon. All kinds. Even watermelon. I realize this is un-American.

1.) The smell: skunky, like it’s already gone bad.

2.) The texture: some might call it juicy, but it’s really just watery. It’s like eating a saturated yet solid sponge.

3.) The taste: it tastes sort of like it smells—off. Dirty dishwatery? Skunky.

But I can understand melon’s appeal. It’s brightly colored and its high water content can be refreshing on a hot summer day. Melon provides an economical fruit salad filler.

So because of Mom’s peer pressure and the ubiquitous overabundance of it in fruit salads, and my own desire not to miss out (if I had never tried new things I’d still be stuck eating a diet of Spaghetti-os, hot dogs, and sweets), I continue to try melon occasionally.

Like yesterday, for example.


In short, still no.

And Now I Go There—Comparing Children with Melon

I don’t want kids. None. Ever. I realize this is un-American. I have all kinds of reasons.

1.) The physical pain: I’m certain the pain of childbirth would kill me. When I spoke to the first of my friends to give birth after it was over, she said “there’s no way you could do that.”

2.) The emotional pain: I shudder over the idea of having to watch, helpless, as your children exhibit some of the same characteristics you hate most in yourself.

3.) The loss of freedom: I like my life the way it is and the things I’d most like to change are incompatible with parenting. I want to get more sleep. I’m trying to wrestle more control over how I spend my time.

This might ring hollow to parents, just as parents’ reasons can often sound vague to me. I’ve heard parents say it was just a feeling they always had, they just knew they wanted to have children. It’s the same for me really, just in the reverse. I’ve never had that feeling.

But I can understand the appeal. Creating a new life, having more people with whom you can share love. Giving my Mom more grandchildren, building a relationship with my child like the one I have with my Mom (hopefully). Parenting is an excuse to relive your childhood without seeming childish. And parents have at least one thing in common with most people they meet.

Unlike melon, I can’t simply try it out, decide I still don’t like it, and get left with only a temporary bad taste in my mouth. But like melon, it seems worth investigating, just in case. Even though it’s unlikely I’ll change my mind. So I do what I can do, which is touch base with myself, imagine it, make sure it isn’t just fear making me say no.

I’ve heard the argument that you can’t treat whether to have children as a rational decision because there’s no way to know for sure how you’ll react to it. That even if you don’t like kids, you’ll love your own. While I agree there’s no way to know exactly what it will be like before doing it, the idea this decision shouldn’t be considered rationally is just crazy talk. I have no doubt I’d love my own children. I think I could be a good parent (well, if I managed to survive childbirth that is), I just don’t want to.

Of all the decisions I’ll ever make in my life, this has to be the foremost on my list of things I’d rather regret not doing than doing. Will I ever change my mind? I can’t even imagine it. But occasionally I try. Because I can.