A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: marital bliss (Page 2 of 4)

…and I would do it all over again.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do.

The first time I laid eyes on The Gatekeeper, my heart definitely skipped a beat.

I will never forget that moment as long as I live.

It was a rainy winter day in northern California and he was wearing an Indiana Jones hat when he poked his head into my conference room to relay a message to my instructor. I thought he looked like a cross between Tom Selleck, Don Johnson, and Andre Agassi…in a good way. Hey, it was 1994.

I’d see him around work from time to time. I’d purposefully hang out near his office, reading case files, hoping to run into him. Every time I saw him I’d get all nervous and sweaty. I’d blurt out random things: “Looks like rain!” One time I told him that the name tag on his office mailbox was misspelled (stalker alert!) It read Marinelli and I thought it was supposed to read Martinelli. “Hey, they forgot the T on your mailbox,” I told him in passing one day. “No they didn’t,” he countered. (OMG. Just shoot me!)

One Friday night a couple of months later, we were both invited to a Bon Voyage Party for one of our co-workers. We sat across the table from each other in a noisy bar and made small talk.

I guess I did a good job not scaring him too much because he called me the next morning to ask me on a date. We met for coffee in Berkeley the day after that and have been together ever since.

At one point during our first date, after drinking more coffee than should be humanly possible, I got up to find the ladies’ room and actually tripped over the Sunday brunch jazz band that had been setting up right behind me. I hadn’t even noticed them there; I was that mesmerized by him.


The Gatekeeper and Leslie, on a date…it was a semi-formal company party. Oakland, California, 1995. I’m pretty sure his jacket had shoulder pads. 


He proposed to me on Christmas Eve later that year.

I said yes.

Actually, I’ve been told that I squealed yes in a tone that only dogs could hear.

We married each other fifteen years ago today.

photo of leslie's wedding day


Happy 15th Anniversary to The Gatekeeper of my heart.

Leslie's 14th anniversary dinner one year ago today


with all my love,


Another Spectacular Dinner Conversation

As I’ve told you before, we tend to have pretty hilarious and/or bizarre dinner conversations at my house (depending on your perspective).

My sweet husband, “The Gatekeeper,” is all about order and peace at the table. He really hates it when the kids and I get silly or inappropriate. And the man has a point there, really, I get it. But sometimes, we truly just can’t help ourselves.

The other night we were talking about ethnicity. My husband is 100% Italian; I’m more of a mutt. The kids absolutely despise that I ruined their chances of being purebred Italians.

So Mini-Me, desperately trying to find a way to be more than 50% Italian, pleaded, “Mom? Do you have any Italian in you?”

Those were her exact words.

I mean, come on.

In baseball, that’s what they call a “meatball” (ahem, speaking of Italians)…a perfect pitch right down the middle of the plate.

Look, I just don’t have it in me to not square up and knock that sucker out of the ballpark, even in front of children.

“Not at the moment.” I countered with a straight face, followed by a We-Make-Sexytime double eyebrow raise in my husband’s general direction (which on me, actually looks more like Groucho Marx having a petit mal.)

“Nice,” The Gatekeeper replied with an undertone of this is why our kids are like this. (He may or may not have been referring to various troublesome behaviors including a child who will not be named allegedly dropping trou on the playground the other day and getting sent to the preschool principal’s office on charges of indecent exposure.)

pic of bucket head preparing for trouble and in mismatched socks

...in trouble with more than just the Fashion Police.

Don’t worry, my joke went right over the kids’ heads, as I knew it would. They are way more interested in poop and fart talk than they are with the whole P-in-the-V concept…so far. Which is why it came as a big surprise that a few minutes later Mini-Me revealed that she was learning various gynecological terms at school. 

“We’re learning SPEC words in spelling.”

“SPEC words? What does that mean?” I asked.

“You know, words with SPEC in them. It’s a Latin root. It means see or look.”

“You’re learning Latin roots in 3rd grade? How cool is that?! You are going to rock your SATs, girl. What are some of the words on your list?”

“Inspect. Respect. Spectacle. Speculum…” she replied.

Hold up. Did you just say speculum?”

“Uh-huh. Speculum.”

Speculum is one of your spelling words? In third grade? Are you sure?”

“Yes. Also, perspective, spectator…”

“No. Really. You must be mistaken. There is NO way in Sam Hill that speculum is one of your spelling words. Get me that list.”

Meanwhile, The Gatekeeper and the boys were silently chewing their food, watching our dialogue like a tennis match. Mini-Me got up from the table, rooted through her backpack, and produced this:

my daughter's spelling list of words including the Latin root SPEC

 Quickly, I scanned the page.

“There’s no speculum on this list, Miss Thang.”

She leaned over to see it again and prove to me that I’m wrong.

Suddenly realizing her mistake, “Oh, I meant to say speculate.”

“Big diff, honey.”

“Well what is a speculum then? And why isn’t it on my list since it starts with SPEC?”

This would have been the ideal moment for me to be circumspect before answering.

“Oh. Well. Okay. A speculum is a special scope that doctors use to look inside your vagina.”


“Don’t worry. Only grown-up women need to have those kind of exams.”

“Like a telescope? That goes into your vagina? And a doctor looks up in there? That is disgusting! Ew! I am never going to let anyone stick anything in my vagina!”

“AMEN sister. Let’s make t-shirts that say that,” I approved.

“Can we please change the conversation?” The Gatekeeper pleaded.

“Da-ji-na.” Bucket Head chimed in, better late than never.

The kids and I all started to giggle, nervously glancing at the head of the table.

“See? See what just happened?” The Gatekeeper admonished.

In retrospect, yes, yes I do. Maybe I need more Italian in me to win him over.


A Full Circle Sausage Moment

read me in the powder roomChildbirth stories: they aren’t for the faint of heart…or stomach. But like most challenges in life, the end product can make the humiliation sting just a little bit less. And by end product, I mean baby, and by humiliation, of course I mean poop. You can read about my first, far from idyllic birth experience, In the Powder Room today. Bring some wet-wipes.

shit happens - a really crappy childbirth story

And as an extra special bonus like a good meaty placenta, my friend Glen, aka “The Regular Guy,” and I have teamed up to present a “he said/she said” take on childbirth. Glen has written a delightfully funny piece titled “Childbirth is not for ladies.” Do yourself a favor and read his column today too. He absolutely slays me every week.

fondly and with a firmly ingrained aversion to sausage,


Have a gas this Valentine’s Day!

One of the many wonderful side benefits of blogging is the ability to look back and see how things change over time.

someecards.com - This Valentine's Day, expect the finest flowers still available on Valentine's Day


A blog can also be a very useful instructional guide for the husband.

someecards.com - Just a reminder that your Valentine's Day plans for me will be broadcast in real-time on at least three social media platforms


Last year on this day, romance was in the air over here. Or was that just the lingering odor of a poorly planned Valentine dinner? You’ll have to read my weekly column In The Powder Room today if you really want to know.

someecards.com - I want to grow old and disgusting with you


But this year, things are definitely looking up, and it smells better too. I’m not one to boast and brag, but let’s just say my husband and I are both making more of an effort to rekindle that spark.

And of course by spark, I mean understanding of the new cable channel guide.

someecards.com - I could watch TV with you forever


Baby steps. Actually, I’m expecting good things today from life in general, because it is a universal truth that you get what you give. And if I can stay awake long enough tonight, I’m going to give my husband a Valentine he’ll never forget.

someecards.com - Let's watch your shows this Valentine's Day


Friends, I hope you know today and everyday that you are loved and cherished, at least by me and The Big Guy/Gal driving the Winnebago in the sky. Because you are.

Now go read my In The Powder Room post, and then tell someone you love them, preferably in a way that is not an affront to any of their senses.




Ten Ways Plastering Walls is Like Sex

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, blogging is the best free therapy around. Many thanks to all the fabulous people who came forward yesterday with their traumatic childhood stories and made me feel like less of a freak.

The overarching moral of this story, folks, is that we should ALL be more careful with what we say to every child we have the privilege of knowing. 

Can you imagine if Picasso’s kindergarten teacher berated him for spilling the green paint?

How many future Picassos or Marie Curies or Dr. Martin Luther Kings has the world lost to adults with sharp tongues?  Just something to consider. Let’s all think a little longer and speak with more love the next time we are angry, especially at a child, m’kay?

Life is better when you choose to see the good in things, so today I am grateful that Mrs. Caruso’s grossly inappropriate response to my involuntary vandalism set me up for a lifetime of learning very useful DIY skills.

I forgive you, Mrs. Caruso. And I hope you were able to find a cure for that halitosis.

Moving on…

As promised, I have written a list of the ten ways plastering walls is like sex. It’s posted as my weekly column In the Powder Room today, just one click away.

It’s a little naughty. I hope you don’t mind.

I’m going to leave the comments here open today just in case you want to talk and can’t leave a comment over there.

with love and gratitude,


© Copyright 2012, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.

The Elf on the Marriage Counselor’s Shelf

My husband and I are not seeing eye to eye on this whole Elf on the Shelf business.

No big surprise. He and I are polar opposites, of course. That’s how nature works. It’s all about propagating the species and the best way to do that is to mix up the gene pool.

So when I snuck downstairs a few nights ago to move Dobbie, I was not the least bit shocked to find that my husband had already dismantled this “killer” vignette:

…and set up his own low-key scenario for the kids to find the following morning:

Oh how interesting. Elf on a Media Cabinet. {Yawn}

Oh no. This will not do, I said to myself. This is MY dance space.

I knew Martha next door was probably making her Elf do powdered sugar snow angels on her kitchen floor that very moment. There was no way in hell I would let my kids bear the shame of having to tell the other kids at the bus stop that their Elf just sat on a piece of furniture all night! BOR-RING.

So I grabbed a few simple props and voilá:

Instant drama. See how easy that is? Anyone can do it! Well, anyone but my husband. And not just because the cat avoids him like the plague.

(WARNING: Even without the demonic cat in the background, this scene may be a bit too macabre for many young children. My kids were fine with it. They watch a lot of Sponge Bob.)

Later that day after the kids were in bed, my husband beat me to the punch AGAIN and moved Dobbie for the night. He really outdid himself and moved the Elf to a totally different room. WOW – he so crazy!

What? You moved Dobbie to a different room? HI-LARIOUS!!!

FAIL. Poor Dobbie looks sad and alone, not impish and merry! You know who else found his Elf like that one cold December morning? Jeffrey Dahmer, that’s who.

Luckily I arrived in the nick of time. “Step away from the Elf, husband. This is not a job for amateurs.”

Again, with just a few additional props, Iris and her trusty feline sidekick were able to save the day and enjoy a good chuckle at the same time:

It’s the little things.

You’re pretty impressed by my cat right now aren’t you? Yes, Scat Scrabble appeals to multiple ages and species, let me tell you. All three kids thought it was awesome. The husband? Not so much. He’s just grateful I didn’t throw in one of my signature fake turds for extra oomph. (I actually did, but the cat is lying down right on top of it, honest to God. Bet she thought it was a little brown mouse. Damn.)

Luckily for our marriage, my husband catches on pretty quickly. Last night he just handed me the Elf (not a euphemism) and said, “I know you’ll just correct whatever I do, so here; have at it.” (Also, not a euphemism.) Is he well-trained, or what?!

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have defiled the collectible Rockwell Christmas Village that he had spent hours setting up just so earlier that day…

My husband was not amused. The kids sure liked it though!

Hey, just trying to keep the “Christ! Why do I even bother?” in Christmas. It’s a gift.

Oh stop it. You know my Mama dropped me on my head as an infant. But guess what! There are more of us out there! I found an entire subculture of other twisted Elfers. Wanna see? Then head on over to Baby Rabies and check out the fun contest she’s doing:

There are some hilarious entries! I’m submitting my Snow-Writing Dobbie picture. You’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite entries beginning on December 12th. Don’t worry, I’ll beg remind you.

UPDATE: Please visit the Inappropriate Elf Contest and click “Like” on #54 (“Dobbie writes his name in the snow”). Voting runs until Tuesday December 20th and the top three will be in the running to win an iPad 2. You can vote once a day, and you don’t need to register to vote! Can I get an AMEN?! 

So wrong, but so right,


« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2021 The Bearded Iris

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑