Two Peas in a Very Small Pod

Peas in pods.

Peas in pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been almost two years since Bubba moved in.  Or is it three?  There was some adjustment at first, but then we seemed to fit in like two peas in a pod.  A very small pod.

 

We moved Bubba in slowly.  First it was blankets and seasonal boxes.  You know, the things no one really notices showing up at your house.  Later, we would move in a knick-knack or two, maybe some boots or coats.  I emptied out half of my dresser space and one of the bedroom closets.  As those filled up, I hardly noticed he was starting to occupy what used to be my space.

 

SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:E...

Image:Emacs Tetris  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then one weekend, we piled the rest of his apartment into the back of a rental truck like it was a championship game of Tetris.  *All at once I understood George Carlin when he said, “Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?”  

 

By American standards we live in a small house.  In fact, according to **Apartment Therapy, we live in a house much closer in size to the average French.  For this reason, I prefer the minimalist look — you know, tuck all the clutter out of sight, so it looks like I don’t own any.  Bubba likes the honest approach.  His things are all out where he can access them.  No matter what devices I employ to keep his useful shit hidden, he always finds a way to keep it out next to my pretty stuff.

 

My grandparents, who lived in an even smaller home than we, demonstrated compromise in the most basic way.  Grampa would turn up the heat and Gramma would open a window.  If they were displeased with the other, they never showed it.  This was possibly my first and best lesson in cooperation.

 

Someone once said it’s never to late to teach an old pea new tricks . . . or something like that.  Bubba and I are still finding new ways to live together in this wee pod.

 

When we make our grocery run, we share a cart; my food on one side, Bubba’s on the other.  The fact that we disagree about whether to place the soda in the cart or underneath it, or how to park the cart in the bagging area fade in comparison to the system for which we have devised for loading it into the car.  We are a well-oiled machine.  If grocery-loading were an Olympic sport, we’d take gold.

 

Provided we take my car out on errands, I drive.   When I’m backing out, Bubba yells out “Clear!” as if I’m paying him for it.  If we take his car, he drives.  When Bubba backs out, I just close my eyes.  Keeping my eyes closed keeps me from gasping, which in turn keeps peace in the car.

 

I like listening to my audiobook during my morning routine.  Bubba says absolutely nothing in the morning, preferring to grunt unintelligibly akin to a Neanderthal.  This is how our mornings pass; him not interesting in speaking, me not interesting in listening.  The perfect non-communication.

 

These are a just a few of the ways that couples such as us become a partnership through tolerance, teamwork, and cooperation.  What works for one pair may not necessarily work for another, which makes it all the more fascinating.  I would bet that some of the most retold stories in your family are those of couples coming to terms with their relationship.  They are the  lessons of life, fables for the future.

 

Bubba loves his treats, and once they’re in the house, I can’t resist.  The thing is, Bubba likes his cookies and bars soft and chewy.  I like them crisp and crunchy.  One day he was breaking off the outside edge of the cookie.

Cookies

Me:  What are you DOING?
Bubba:  Ish aw hard (with a mouthful of soft middle-cookie).
Me:  That’s the best PART!
Bubba:  Mmm . . . nooo . . Dish ish d goob part.
Me:  Are you THROWING these OUT?
Bubba:  Mmm-hmm (with a look of serious disgust).

Since then, Bubba and I buy one cookie between us.  He eats the middle.  I eat the outside.  If I make a pan of brownies, I get the edges, he eats the gooey middle, and as it turns out we are quite happy.  As happy, in fact . . .

 

. . . as two peas in a very small pod.

 

Peace . . .

 

George Carlin

Cover of George Carlin

*George Carlin was one of Bubba’s favorite people.  He can quote several of George’s bits, and he hung a large poster of “An Incomplete List of Impolite Words: 2,443 Filthy Words and Phrases Compiled by George Carlin” in our bathroom.  Just one more way we live together in this little pod fit for two.

 

**Thank you to Lois of Living Simply Free for leading me to this site.

 

 

 


Living in Sin

 

Love

Love (Photo credits: PB Teen)

Shacking up.  Cohabitation.  Domestic Partnership.  Living over the brush.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  Bubba and I live under the same roof outside of matrimony.

We enjoy much of the same music, films, and even have the same sick sense of humor.  We share everything from living space to groceries.  Bubba and I have every intention of doing this till-death-do-us-part thing.  Sounds like marriage.  So why not just get married?

  • Children need safe, peaceful, loving homes.  Bubba and I aren’t raising any children.  There is the dog, of course, and separation could make that very messy indeed.  However, no children will be harmed in the making, or unmaking, of this relationship.  I am glad my family was born into a home with a mother and father, but I’m not sure that marriage is what made that happen.  Children are born into all kinds of good and bad homes.  Marriage does not guarantee that.
  • I don’t believe in sin.  I know there is good in the world, and unfortunately, bad too.  The bad stuff hurts children, kills people, and makes the world a scary place.  The home in which we live is a good place.  We believe in love and peace, and all that hippie stuff.  No, we aren’t smokin’ anything.
  • I don’t need a license to tell me I’m committed.  Signing that contract is easy and cheap.  Getting out of it can be difficult and expensive.  That’s the point, isn’t it?  We want someone to think twice before they walk out that door — and make ‘em pay when they do.  As if breaking a relationship and dividing up your stuff isn’t painful enough.  Yeah . . . no one thinks twice about that sort of thing.
"MARRIAGE AND PISTOL LICENSE" office...

Coincidence?

I want to wake up every morning knowing we made the choice — today — to be together.  I have made no vow before anyone but him that I will be here tomorrow.  There is no paper saying that I must share everything with him and he with me.  We choose to do that daily.

Will a license or marriage ceremony ensure that my partner will always love me?  That he will remain faithful?  That he will allow me space to grow and change?  Of course not.  It all comes down to trust.  Do we trust each other enough to marry?  Indeed . . . do we trust each other enough not to?

If, for some reason, we fall out of love — and that can happen — I don’t want to keep him here by a signature on paper.  I want to be free for each of us to find someone who will love and adore and cherish us again.  I love him that much.  I love myself that much.  If a paper and public vow is the only thing holding him here, I say GO!  The only thing that hurts more than breakup and divorce are lies and regret.

While it is true we don’t have a wedding anniversary, I think we have something better.  Sometimes when we are going to a nice dinner, Bubba will say, “This is our anniversary, isn’t it?”  And then we will spend the evening in celebration.  It might be any month(s) of the year, but we celebrate.  At some point, I will usually estimate how many years and months we have been together.  Bubba typically responds, “Really?  Well, I’ll be go ta heck!”

“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality” / Toy Sto...

“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality”

As for those around me with different points of view, I support you wholeheartedly to keep them.  I will attend your wedding, raise a glass to the honored couple, and hand-wrap the gift.  As a matter of fact, some of my favorite people live in wedded bliss or will soon, and I am glad for them.  And some of those people only recently received the right to marry.  It’s shameful to believe this took so long in a nation that claims separation of church and state.

Whatever your intention, no one should enter into a relationship feeling like the other is the better half, or that they are not complete without the other.  Rather, offer a whole person to the other, that you will form a partnership together.  Merge your lives together as a strong force of two, and not a single bond of one.

 

Peace . . .

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

 

Untitled

“Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view, That stand upon the threshold of the new.”
- Edmund Waller

Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

  . . . and check out these posts on the threshold of brilliance . . .

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A very good threshold of academic enlightenment . . .
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A project on the threshold (pun intended) . . .
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Big and badbutt thresholds! . . .
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Evening threshold . . .
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My Spiritual Path and Creed

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

As a baby I was baptized by the Lutherans, and when I was a little older the Baptists saved me twice.  I often accompanied my grandparents to a magnificent Presbyterian church with velvet pews, a massive pipe organ, and ominous stained glass windows.   The Catholics married me, the Moravians confirmed me.  I imagine I am still a member of the United Methodists.  Such is my spiritual path.  It is a compelling history, one that might lead you to doubt my upbringing and moral compass.

You can’t say I didn’t try.  I joined retreats, taught Sunday school, participated in vacation bible school and prayed.  I’ve joined bell choirs and bible studies, sung hymns and read verses.  I’ve helped with the Christmas pageant.  I’ve led youth groups.  I’ve attended both the Easter sunrise service and the midnight Christmas Eve ceremony.

My uncertainty arrived early.  In my childhood, arriving back from Sunday school, escorted by my big brother, I questioned a God who could send people to a fiery hell just for not knowing about Him.  That was what the teacher said.  She told us how important it was to tell others about Him.  If we didn’t, we would be held responsible.  That was my earliest memory of bible study.

As a youngster, the girls were ruthless.  Questions like “You don’t know what catechism is?,” “Do you believe in evolution or creation?” and statements like “I just don’t know how to feel about [so-and-so] because they’re Jewish” illuminated walls I hadn’t known existed.

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Sav...

The Baptists asked me, as a teen, to raise a hand if I didn’t know what would happen if I died that day.  I raised my hand, was led to the front and saved behind closed doors.  The second time (I was only being honest —  ever the skeptic) I raised my hand again, and was again led to the front.  The third time they asked, I still wasn’t positive what would happen if I kicked the bucket that very minute, but I did know what would happen if I raised my hand.  So I didn’t.

I was a new bride when the priest asked me if I would bring up my children in a Christian home.  So I signed the paper and I did as promised.  My children would have an intimate understanding of their beliefs.  They would have the answers when the world confronted them.

When our family was young, Sunday was the worst day of the week.  It began with the prodding to get out of bed and the crying that they were tired.  Words that would never be repeated in church were yelled through their bedroom doors.  I sometimes found a quiet place — the bathroom or the basement — to pray for peace in my own home.  “For their own good,” I would repeat in my head, the scriptures of submission and honor and discipline on my tongue.

In reality we were just a normal family.  We fought, we cried, we yelled, and we laughed . . . a lot.  Yet I could not escape the contradiction between what we were and what we let people see.  Every Sunday morning we were a perfect, spiritual family; the children eager, the wife loving, the father doting.   While behind the doors of our own home, there were hurtful words and autocracy.

I became a teacher and leader of young people in a religious setting, speaking the truth I believed.  As with most mentors, I learned more from my students than they from me.  I learned that there really is no stupid question.  I learned the value of honesty, trustworthiness, and acceptance.  I learned that everyone is different, and if everyone was the same that would really suck.  They taught me that the best path is usually your own.

English: picture taken by aliencam Category:Im...

And so the teacher embarked on her own path.  I questioned.  I delighted in the differences of others, and celebrated the differences in myself.  I found the world was a better place than I was led to believe.  I liked the people who were different, and to my dismay I noticed they liked me too!  I heard my voice and realized that it was sometimes fairly wise and intelligent! Until at last, I found I could not follow blindly the paths of those I no longer believed in or trusted.

Though I won’t say I didn’t learn anything from the church, the good messages I learned cross all religious and non-religious boundaries.  I also learned that hurtful people can say anything in the name of God and few will question him.  I think humans have a need to believe in something, and that’s okay.  From the earliest days we have believed in Gods, and oddly enough they don’t look a lot different from the Gods we believe in today.  Even Atheists have convictions, contrary to popular belief (pun intended).  Chances are, some of my beliefs look like some of yours.  And it’s okay by me if they don’t.  Because if everyone were the same, it would really suck.

I believe in family; the one that came before me and the one that will live after me.  I believe in myself and all of my capabilities.  I believe in those I trust and love and the potential they possess.  I believe we influence the lives of those around us, for better and for worse.  I believe in the power of forgiveness.  I believe in the resurrection of a life lived in vain.  And the fragility of the one life we live on earth.  Amen.

Peace . . .

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

DSCN2082_2 

“The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.”
- Zora Neale Hurston

 

Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

  . . . and take out a moment to look inside these posts:

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What’s inside sushi . . . ?
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10 Ways to be a Good Role Model for your Inner Child

Inner Child

Inner Child (Photo credit: CapturedbyKC)

Every child needs a good role model.  Young people are so impressionable and idealistic, aren’t they?  If you are a parent, you are likely careful with whom your child spends time.  You want someone who will make good choices, be honest, trustworthy, kind.

We are all role models, whether we want to or not.  We play a role and we model that for the world to see.  As a caretaker for your Inner Child, you are on duty 24/7.  Choose your actions wisely.

  1. Listen.  Get to know your Inner Child.  If you have said “SHHhhhh!” often enough, you may need to give him time to speak up.  He will be leery, and may have to remember what it was he wanted to say.  You cannot move on to any of the other items until you succeed with this first one.
  2. Inspire.  What is it that your Inner Child would like to be or do?  Choose actions that elicit that passion.  Seek out knowledge about an interest.  Give back to others.  Try something new.
  3. Be trustworthy.  If you tell your Inner Child you will do something, keep your word.  If you don’t think you can, be honest.  Don’t make promises you aren’t able or don’t intend  to keep.  Follow through with those you do.
  4. Apologize.  Only deities are perfect.  Admit mistakes.  Learn from them.  Promise to do better.  Your Inner Child will learn to forgive.
  5. Have integrity.  Your Inner Child will respect and admire your actions when they align with your values.  If you speak gratitude, and take people for granted, your Inner Child will suffer.  When you speak words of love, and show actions of hatred, your Inner Child is watching.
  6. Respect.  Treat your Inner Child the way you would want to be treated.  Be good, gentle and kind.  Show respect and gratitude toward others.  Respect the world, and the world will become your mirror.
  7. Give.  Children admire those who give freely and selflessly of time, money and essentials.  It is important for our Inner Child to feel there are gifts that come to those who need them.  He will look up to you as someone who fulfills those needs.
  8. Be strong.  Choose your fights wisely, then show your Inner Child how fiercely you engage.  Overcome obstacles.  Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.  Rise from the flames.  Reinvent yourself.
  9. Have confidence.  Be someone of whom your Inner Child would be proud.  Then be proud of whom you have become.
  10. Play.  Go out for ice cream.  Play on the swing set.  Lay in the grass.  Feel the sun on your skin.  Pick a dandelion bouquet.  Notice a bug.  Picnic in the front yard.  Take your feet off the pedals and coast.
inner child

inner child (Photo credit: Dave_B_)

What was your favorite playtime when you were a child?  Could you do that now?  If not, how could you change it for your grown-up self?

Peace . . .

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Interview

In January I job-shadowed a co-worker in another department.  It was mostly an informational journey, finding out more about what they do in that corner of the organization.  I hadn’t meant to fall in love.  As those who stray are often overheard saying, it just happened.

When the job opening posted, I submitted my résumé, with a carefully crafted cover letter, to the HR department.  Then I waited.

The first interviews were lined up over three weeks later.  A Friday.  They would be held early, before the workday surrendered to the weekend.  At the time the appointment was set, no one expected a snow storm.

DSCN1158Thursday the flakes fell all day.  By lunch the back roads were risky.  The HR department called.  No one who didn’t have to was coming in the next day, much less early.  My first appointment was rescheduled for the afternoon.  Soon I was messaged by the hiring manager.  Could I reschedule?  Yes, of course . . . doesn’t my résumé say that one of my strengths is flexibility?  Given the choice, I chose Friday afternoon over Monday.  Weekends are meant to relax, not fibrillate.

It was all worked out.  I would dress for the interview in the morning, wearing snow boots and carrying my dress shoes in a bag.  Returning home on my break as usual, I’d eat a light and healthy lunch, freshen up, and arrive back at work looking crisp and eager.

That evening, I gunned it up the drive to keep from lodging halfway.  Bubba met me at the back door.  He had gunned his car too, but his power steering pump whined.  Something gave and he lost the ease of his wheel.  He made it in, but the car was crippled.  He would have to take mine in the morning.

Okay!  So just another change of plans, right?  Deep breath and forge ahead.

Brush

Brush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday morning I dressed in my professional best.  My makeup and hair in place, nails groomed, brows plucked, Bubba warmed the car.  A trip home to freshen up midday would be impossible.   It was important I felt confident and unruffled before I left in the morning.

The last thing I did before I went out the back door was to grab my purse in the front room.  Looking out the window, I saw the young woman across the street spinning her wheels.  The plows that cleared the streets overnight left a dense berm of snow at the bottom of each driveway.  My young neighbor made the poor choice to try and run her vehicle over the drift.

Now, it occurred to me that if we backed out just right, we could keep our car in reverse and back down the hill until we found a clear area to turn around.  However, it would require us to drive, albeit backwards, right by her while she was stuck in the snow.

“Shoot!” I exclaimed.  Okay, I didn’t say shoot, but you get the idea.  I was starting to lose my cool.

I watched her tires spin a few more times without any encouragement from the car.  There was nothing to do except the right thing.  I marched past Bubba in my boots, well-coiffed hair, and lipstick.  I trod through the snow to the garage.  Plucking the lightest shovel off the wall, I strutted past the woman now on her phone in the street.  I began to excavate the incapacitated car at a feverish rate.

English: Cleaning up after a snow storm in Bor...

Before long, Bubba and a passing motorist had joined my endeavor.  The car was soon dislodged, many thanks were exchanged and we headed back to our own warm automobile.

Sweaty, wet, rumpled, my meltdown arrived violently.  Deep breaths turned into hyperventilation as I tried to keep tears from rinsing away my mascara.

By the time Bubba dropped me off at work, I had regained some small amount of composure.  The place was a ghost town.  The desks of my two office mates sat empty for the next hour.  The only callers were canceling orders.  The call from HR shouldn’t have surprised me.

Neither interview would take place that day.  A small voice in my head mocked my meltdown from earlier.  Next week would be a better time for interviews.  Surely everything that could go wrong already had.

Peace . . .

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