Tell me how you REALLY feel!

Next to perhaps husbands whose fumbling and bumbling, “couldn’t find his way through the mall without his wife” antics are well-documented by the media, the second most vilified social group in America, is the in-laws. Situationally, I think of the Griswolds in “Christmas Vacation.”

Every married couple has them, unless something devastating has happened, and it’s the in-law parents that we most hear about and make fun of. And while we all roll our eyes whenever we speak to others about them–regardless of whether or not we really feel that way–it’s not often we’re totally honest with our spouse about how we view our in-laws.

No? Well, draft up a “Will” and then give me a call.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that CareerMom and I, at the ripe old ages of…um…our current age, haven’t had a will, despite having two children (now three). It’s been ever-present on our minds, but we just never took the time to do it. I started doing one on some software I got for free with my tax software a couple of years ago, but I gave up after about five minutes of looking at the dozens of document options and becoming completely overwhelmed. But as luck would have it, God put people on this earth who have taken it upon themselves to figure out how to simplify these things for people like us. I think their formula goes something like this:

“Find guilt-driven parent. Convince them they need a will and promise to do it dirt cheap. While you’re in their kitchen talking to them about estate planning, scare the bee-Jesus out of them by explaining how their kids may not actually get ANYTHING thanks to the U.S. Government, and then hit them up for several add-ons to pay for our coming out to their house and doing this thing.”

So now we have a Will. We also have one of those “Don’t let me die like Terry Schiavo” documents too that tells whomever I deem appropriate, that I don’t want to be kept alive if I’m not eating on my own and wiping my own bum whenever I go to the bathroom.

In the course of this process, we had to decide a few things, such as:

  1. If we both get taken out by one of those parachuting Chick-Fil-A cows, who gets the kids? What if our first choice for custodians are also in the car and die? Who is our second choice?
  2. If any of the above happens, who decides how our money is spent?

Now here’s where it gets hairy. When it comes to deciding who gets your kids, naturally for many people–certainly for us–our immediate family came to mind, but so did every conceivable reason why they should, or should NOT be given such a responsibility.

  • They’re too old
  • They’re too sick
  • They live in Tim-buck-too (OK, Tennessee, but close enough apparently)
  • They have too many other grandkids to worry about
  • They don’t need this responsibility at their age
  • They live too far from MY family
  • blah
  • blah
  • blah

At a time like this, it’s hard to take your emotion out of it and step back logically and look at the situation. Given my familial background, and the fact that I’m closest to the one person who is probably the least related to me, either by blood or by law, I think I have a unique ability to do this–to separate what’s best for the kids, from what’s not going to hurt someone’s feelings.

Some call this ability a gift–others call it mean, brutal honesty. Only time will tell.

At any rate, the conversation that ensued while CareerMom and I debated these questions was not pretty–and it’s also not over despite having signed the papers. For every logical reason I have about why such and such a person should or shouldn’t be doing something with our kids or any money we have left over after I hire Guns N Roses to play at my cremation, CareerMom has her feelings about it and it generally differs from mine.

I foresee numerous posts stemming from this topic, but today’s take-home message is this: “Sure, your spouse SAYS they like your mom’s slightly eccentric mannerisms. And your dad isn’t crazy…he’s just gruff. But present the idea of having your children live with them for the rest of their pre-adult lives and see what your spouse says.”

My How Times Have Changed

Having recently been forced to upgrade my old computer, I’ve started realizing just how much things have changed in the last decade. And I pick the 10-year point because it’s when my life changed most significantly, and because it’s just a nice round number. But watching change happen around you is a bit like watching your hairline disappear—it happens so slowly that you don’t really notice it til someone points it out to you and then WHAM! You can’t NOT notice it anymore.

For instance, ten years ago:

  • We were all using dial-up
  • A 2.6Ghz Intel Pentium chip, with Hyperthreading, was just da-bomb! Now, it sucks
  • My dogs were puppies
  • I thought making the money that I do now would be a blessing
  • Christmas was still about “me”!
  • Stamps were 33 cents each
  • The DOW closed above 11,000 for the first time (aaah, the good old days. Thank you Mr. Reagan!)
  • IE version 5.0 was released (we’re now on what…8.x?)
  • MySpace was introduced and pervs around the world could now show off their freakiness!
  • We were all walking around quoting “Austin Powers”

But there have been more personal changes of course. For instance, in the last ten years, I’ve gone back to school and finished my degree. I’ve had three children and I’ve now been married for ten years. Ten years…wow!

Funny thing is, my shell has changed, but my mind has not. I’m still the same young-at-heart, testosterone-laden Male I was then. Only now it’s tempered with respect for my wife.

Now rather than figuring out when I want to start having kids, I’m trying to figure out how to stop having them and still have fun.

Instead of going for a run at 9 p.m. cuz I’m bored and have too much energy, I veg out in front of the TV while lying in bed because I know I’ll be up at the butt-crack of dawn getting juice and blankets for the boys, in between potty training and bottle feedings.

This is how old age gets you. It doesn’t hit you all at once with a slip in the bathtub and a hip fracture. No, it sneaks up on you little by little until the next thing you know, you’re having thyroid tests run and trying to figure out when Taylor Swift stopped looking like a child and became a hottie you’d hit given half a chance! (When you were SINGLE. When you were single…)

Oh snap! Maybe my mind HAS changed.


I’m alright, ain’t nobody worried ’bout me…

Seriously folks, despite the total lack of communication in more months than I’m ashamed to admit, we’re all good here.

Busy. Tired. Completely OVER the cost of daycare. But fine, nevertheless.

Just to catch you up in easy to read bullets:

  • Yes, I’m still alive and kicking.
  • I still have my job, my family, and if you disregard a busted toe, bad wrist and knees, I still have my health.
  • Marissa (our newest member) is 3.5 months old now. She’s a HOSS! But she’s also a sweetheart as long as you follow the rules:
    – If you hold her, you cannot stop moving. This means no sitting down…evar!
    – She likes to eat. Keep a bottle handy.
    – She will suck the dye out of your shirt, so you must ALWAYS keep a burp cloth over your shoulder
    – Never joke about not having changed a big poopy recently. You WILL regret it
  • MLI and MLE are doing well. They are also turning into true brothers, which means constant nitpicking at each other (which means mom and dad are constantly yelling at them)

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Just surviving the holidays the best way we know how (avoidance?). I promise to try and blog more…I really do. There’s just been no free time lately. If I DO have free time, I’m probably doing something wrong and should be either making dinner, cleaning the house, or holding the baby.

If I don’t talk to you soon, I wish all my virtual buds (and budettes) a very merry Christmas!