How We Got Here, Vol. 1

How We Got Here, Vol. 1

As I sit and stare, glassy-eyed, at a detailed listing for a pair of gently used baby sandals on the moms’ consignment group I’ve recently joined on Facebook, I wonder how I got to this place.

Three years ago or so, anyone who knew me would be able to tell you that I never wanted kids. I don’t particularly care for most children. They always seem to be very sticky and unpredictable, characteristics I prefer to experience in things like ice cream cones. In fact, when I started dating my husband Matt, I was pleased to set his mind at ease when I learned he did not want kids. “Oh, don’t you worry about me! I don’t want any either! Gross!” For years, I was annoyed when anyone who heard about my decision gave me a knowing look and cajoled me with, “Just wait. You’ll change your mind!” And lots of people did this. I’d show them! I’d have dogs, and cats, and I’d travel, and I’d enjoy date nights with Matt every night of the week, and I’d live happily ever after.

And I did! For a while.

This child looks like it might try to touch me

One ordinary night, a couple of years ago, Matt took an Ambien and settled in for a peaceful eight hours of rest. Because that’s the typical result of his taking Ambien, maybe nine times out of ten. But occasionally, before he falls asleep, he gets… weird. The Ambien kicks in, and rather than drifting off to dream of guitars and Squidbillies, he wants to talk about weird things for several minutes before he passes out. He never remembers anything he’s said, the following day. (Side note: This is why I never have to worry about Matt having an affair. Or really being deceptive in any imaginable way. I have access to inexpensive and effective truth serum, around three times each month.) His transition from total lucidity to being completely out of his senses can be quite subtle. He will usually say something vaguely nonsensical, which tips me off. Examples of things he might say: 

1. “I need to search for flights to Japan.”

2. “Can you explain how electricity works, but better than the way I already know?

3. “I know you think my feet are weird but I’m just so used to them. So is my mom.”

On this particular night, Matt explained to me that he wanted us to have a baby as soon as possible. Then, he calmly informed me that he’d be happy to “go in and rip that IUD right out of there.” Then he fell asleep, practically mid-sentence. I sat there, mouth agape, my usual pre-bedtime game of Candy Crush instantly abandoned. Sure, I recognized the telltale signs of an Ambien kick, but I was still floored.

The next day at work, I felt a little out of sorts. I tried to remind myself that Matt had no idea what he was saying. I finally got so agitated that I called Matt and told him I was coming by his office at lunchtime to talk. When I arrived, I solemnly recounted everything that he’d said the night before. “Do you secretly want a baby and you’re not telling me?!” I demanded. Matt just laughed. “No! Listen! Everything is fine! It’s just baby fever!” Oh…. was that all this was? What a relief! That was a close one. I decided to immediately put it out of my mind.

Matt would occasionally contract what he called baby fever, a temporary malady causing him to wish he had a baby of his very own for a period of time ranging from one hour to several weeks in duration. The baby fever would eventually break, returning him to a comfortably anti-baby stance and leaving him with little memory of his baby-craving delirium. Luckily, I had always seemed to be immune to this virus, preferring to hold babies for no more than five minutes at a time (and that only happened when the mother of the creature looked at me expectantly, as though I’d obviously want to hold it, which I didn’t, but then of course I felt like I had to). 

Baby fever
Baby fever at its worst. This person is screaming violently into her hankie because she is so sad about wanting a baby

Inexplicably, once the Ambien incident happened, despite my intentions to ignore it all, I started to get baby fever too. All the classic symptoms. I started to think a little about what that Matt/Courtney person might be like. Some things would be almost a given… High forehead. Sensitive. Sarcastic. But would he be musical like Matt? Would she enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer like me? Would her feet be weird like Matt’s? Could I teach him to love all felines, big and small? And I began to wish I could get to know that little being. I realized that, for the first time, I had so much love for another person, Matt, that I was curious to experience the full depths of what our life together could become. Yes, I know it sounds very dramatic and vaguely churchy and makes you want to roll your eyes. But it’s what happened. Suddenly, I felt fine with the prospect of hanging out with this particular nonexistent child, even knowing he or she would definitely get sticky frequently. 

We eventually decided to go for it (more on that in Vol. 2). Over time, Matt and I talked about other reasons we might want a kid. Our families would be elated, we had good stable jobs, and so forth. But I’m proud to say that my future child was ultimately the product of her father’s drug-addled ramblings. We’re off to a great start. 😍

Using Keanu Reeves for Marriage Equality

Using Keanu Reeves for Marriage Equality

I have been woefully neglectful of this blog, which was my favorite project for several weeks earlier in the year. I was struggling to decide on source material for the longest time in recent weeks, but finally I decided, hey, calm yourself down already. When there’s something worth writing about, you’ll write about it. Oh, and plus I have been busy secretly growing a human baby for months now. I mean, that is if you consider constant nausea, exhaustion, and crying jags “busy,” and I do. More about the human baby in a later post. Tonight, I need to address something far more pressing. I need to talk about marriage equality.

My husband Matt is rarely annoyed with or upset at me. I know. It’s really astounding  that I can hardly annoy him at all. He takes great joy in finding ways to annoy and upset me, though, because it is really easy to do. I’m a naturally high-strung and emotional person, and, despite years of trying to project a demeanor of general calm and hoping that one day my friends will start to consistently say, “Courtney? Oh man, that girl is so laid back. I have never met anyone who goes with the flow as well as she does,” it’s who I am. I’m just what they call easily rattled. Matt takes great joy in seeking out the things that I’m sensitive about and exploiting them for his own amusement, but I don’t get to return the favor very often. Ruffling his feathers is my Mount Everest. I am determined to succeed. But I’m not very athletic.

Actual footage of me trying to make my husband hate me

So when I find things that get under Matt’s skin, I like to really latch on and make the most of them. Inevitably, being a more emotionally stable and less reactive person, he figures out ways to avoid being irritated by whatever The Thing is. Therefore, when I strike gold, I try to enjoy it while it lasts. For example, for a while The Thing was that I thought Bruno Mars was overrated. I hated that stupid grenade song, and the one about how he should have brought her flowers and held her hand and all those other dumb things he says. I just didn’t like the music, and Matt refused to allow this opinion. Bruno Mars was a fantastic pop singer and I was wrong and he couldn’t bear to hear me talk about this, and so I talked about it a lot.*

Then, more recently, it was that I thought one of his current favorite bands, Big Wreck, sounded like Christian rock music.** As a former devout Baptist growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I felt qualified to make this declaration. As a guitarist and student of music for his entire life, Matt thought I was way off-base and lost his mind anytime I mentioned Big Wreck praising their lord and savior. Now, I’m sad to say, making up fake Jesus lyrics to Big Wreck’s songs no longer has the same effect. Just this very minute, I asked him which of Big Wreck’s songs he thinks is the most “Jesusy” so I could link to it in my blog, to see if he would get upset, and he gritted his teeth and then he gave me suggestions. It’s like he just stopped caring what I think, like some kind of emotionally intelligent wizard.**

Luckily, I have found something new.

I have always known who Keanu Reeves is, in general. That guy from The Matrix and some other stuff. In my late teens, I went to the movies to see the rom-com Something’s Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and that guy from The Matrix. And even in my youthful state, lacking in critical thinking abilities and general life skills, I could see that the guy’s acting sucked. He was stiff, overly articulate, and generally unpleasant to watch. To be fair, I never really had a strong opinion about him either way, or at least not until I learned how much Matt likes him.

I mean, you can’t just put a guy in a black turtleneck, sit him next to a powerhouse actor, and expect him to be interesting

The other night we were trying to decide what to watch and we stumbled upon The Lake House with Keanu and Sandra Bullock. Matt loves a rom-com, and I was game since I immediately sniffed out his vulnerability to Keanu-related remarks. All it took was one comment about how that guy sucks, and I knew I was on to something. So I worked hard to comment on poor Keanu’s sub-par acting chops as often as possible, throughout the movie. Matt was enraged! Success. He tried to counteract my attack with his own comments, but he was no match for me because I think he also secretly knows Keanu sucks. We had several exchanges like this:

Me: Oh here we go. That guy from The Matrix is trying to muster up emotion again. I wish Sandy would show up and put me out of my misery.

Matt: What?! Look at that guy. What an actor. Look at those quality tears.

Me: They had to hire a guy to stand right nearby with eye drops. Or there’s some person hiding under that table plucking his leg hairs.

You probably missed him because he’s so boring and lame, but Keanu’s over there, to the right.

At a certain point in the movie, Matt announced that we would watch Speed next, so I could see Keanu at “his finest.” When The Lake House finally ended an eternity later, and Speed started, I pretended not to see Keanu in the first few scenes he was in, which had the desired effect:

Matt: Look at that guy! He’s ready to fight! How can you not like Keanu?! Seriously!

Me: Who? Oh, he’s there? Which one is he again?

Friends, it was a glorious night. The moral of this story is not how much Keanu Reeves blows. It is to encourage you all to seek out that which makes your marriage irritation equitable, and hold on to your power for as long as is humanly possible, until its last dying breath. Stay the course. Don’t get discouraged if you try several different ways to irritate and you fail. You will find The Thing. And don’t forget to resurrect the most successful irritations weeks, months, and even years later when your partner least expects to have to deal with your annoying ass.

*I’ll admit that since Uptown Funk and 24k Magic I can no longer say “Bruno Mars is overrated” and sleep at night. That guy is amazing.

**I still don’t like Big Wreck. And I sleep really well feeling this way.