Tag Archives: seth

peanut butter puppy breath

For a long, long time, my vision of the ideal life has included a dog. In fact, though I have two cats and love them completely, I have always considered myself first and foremost to be a dog person. But getting a dog never seemed to be right for so many reasons. It was space, it was time, it was travel, it was work, it was relationship status – excuses, or perfectly good logical reasons, seemed infinite. I was even on the verge of getting a puppy a couple of times, but something always happened at the last minute to change it and I didn’t mind so much.

But over the last several months, my interest in getting a dog had escalated into full-on puppy fever. I cruised Craigslist ads on a daily basis – not just in my hometown, but in all surrounding areas as well. I researched dog breeds and decided I NEEDED a vizsla, and then decided what I really needed was just a short-haired brown dog with floppy ears of any breed.

And then a friend of mine started posting pictures of their accidental litter of puppies on Facebook. And then I found myself obsessed with the one I liked to call “the little brown guy.” And then, well…it’s kind of a long story, but I got really hormonal over the course of a week or so and ended up trying to convince Seth that it was puppy time. Seth insisted that it was not, in fact, puppy time, and that I shouldn’t make major life decisions while hormonal. And then we had this whole big thing about it where it became clear to him that I really, really wanted a puppy – no, wait, THIS puppy – and he told me I should get it even if he wasn’t pro-puppy, because he’d support me, and I was convinced getting the puppy would ruin our relationship, which is pretty great, and he was convinced that if I DIDN’T get the puppy it would ruin our relationship, and OMG drama drama drama and basically, in case you haven’t heard, I have a puppy now. WE have a puppy now.

His name is Bean. He’s a mix between a lab and a German shorthaired pointer, with some springer spaniel thrown in there somewhere. He’s going to end up being way the hell bigger than we thought, which means I’m probably going to have to move out of my townhouse at some point. He is super duper adorable and brilliantly smart and awesome, except when he’s being a psychotic holy terror or a complete dumbass. So far the ratio is mostly manageable. He likes to chew on stuff and he loves peanut butter in his Kong and he loves his human mom and dad and we love him back.

Seriously, Seth and I have both turned out to be total suckers for this puppy. We took him to Petsmart and let him pick out his own bed. We spend a ridiculous amount of time pointing out his adorableness and smartness to each other. We take an obnoxious number of pictures of him sleeping or nomming on his chewy thing or whatever.

Puppies are hard work, and I’m usually pretty wiped out from chasing him around the house and letting him in and out and in and out and in and out and so on. And I have had a couple of moments where I wondered what the hell I was thinking, getting a puppy right now.

But most of the time, when I think about it at all, I think about how quickly we got to the point where I can’t imagine life without him.

it happened in a burger king bathroom

For a very long time, I was absolutely certain I did not want children. I had thought it all out, see. I was not the mothering type. I wanted to spend my money on myself. I wanted to travel and have nice things. I proclaimed this loudly and often to anyone who would listen, and I took great pains to get offended when people would kind of shake their heads and say, “You’ll change your mind,” in response.

I was so mellow back then.

And then I entered this period of great ambivalence about childbearing, which I didn’t share with many people. I wasn’t really sure. Maybe I’d have kids. But I definitely did not want to date someone who already had kids. I’d heard horror stories of what a minefield it was to be a stepparent, and I just didn’t even want to deal with that kind of baggage. I wanted a man unspoiled by life, other women, and offspring.

Silly old mellow me.

So now here I am. I’m in love with the man I intend to marry someday, a man who loves me back and intends to marry me too. Weddings are always best when both spouses-to-be agree to show up, right? So I’m in love with this man – this amazing, intelligent, supportive, divorced father of two. Somehow I’m pretty sure he’s still unspoiled.

We waited several months into our relationship before I met the kids. Their stability is really important to both of us, and we wanted to be sure we were serious and in it for the long haul before we introduced them into our lives as a couple. So for the first few months we were dating, he went on his own to see them and I stayed home. When we began making plans for them to spend the first weekend with us, I was terrified.

I wanted desperately to like them and to have them like me back, but I knew there was a very good chance that they might not like me at all. They might even hate me at first, which would be fairly normal and probably not even about me as a person at all, and more about me as their dad’s new girlfriend. I tried to prepare myself for the possibility of a chilly reception and I hoped and hoped we’d have a good time.

And we did. I wrote about it in the spring. We had our moments of awkward tiptoeing and figuring each other out, but no one seemed to hate me and things were fine. I, of course, fell in love with them immediately. We had a couple of other visits and things continued to go pretty well, and I continued to fall in love. And I knew they liked me, and we had fun, but I didn’t know if they loved me and I didn’t expect them to. I’m not their mama, after all. I’m just The Other.

It’s become a little tradition that when we take the kids back after visits, we stop at Burger King. Seth and I have a thing for Mocha Joes and the kids can hit the Playland and it’s a convenient location. Plus it boosts our mood just a little, because though we never let the kids see, we’re always both a little mopey when we’re taking the kids back. So we stop at BK and the first thing we do, of course, is hit the bathroom.

Mira, age 5, likes to make small talk in public restrooms. One time we were at IHOP and I was waiting outside her stall for her to finish and from her perch on the toilet, she described to me in anatomically correct detail how babies were made. It’s always unpredictable and entertaining and sometimes embarrassing.

So we’re in the bathroom at Burger King and I’m waiting for Mira and she says, “Hey Lorie, you know what?” I’m kind of only halfway paying attention and I kind of absently say, “What, Mira?” and she says, “Did you know I love you?”

I’m almost certain it’s not the first time she told me that, but I think it’s the first time it came out of the blue and it’s definitely the moment I will always remember. It’s not terribly poignant, my little sorta step-girl on the toilet with her feet dangling down telling me she loves me, but ohh. My heart grows a little bit just in the retelling. She doesn’t have to love me, but she does.

It took me a second to respond that I loved her too, of course I did. She finished and we washed her hands and went out to join the rest of the family and the whole time, all I was thinking is, I want to be a mom. I want to be a mom. I want to be a mom.

the pivotal fried chicken incident

It all started one night way back in January, or maybe even late December, on the night Seth wanted fried chicken for dinner.

That’s it. Fried chicken. It should have been totally simple.

Of course, I don’t really cook, and I certainly don’t fry chicken, so the fried chicken dinner would have to come from a restaurant.

He probably doesn’t even know how significant this was, but I remember it all very clearly. We’d barely started dating. We had just gotten back into town from a quick trip to Baltimore, we were lounging around my house, I asked what he thought he’d like for dinner, and he suggested fried chicken. And I began to try to figure out how to order fried chicken for just two people.

I was used to getting food for either one person or six people, and I had no clue how many pieces of chicken and sides and stuff you’d need for two people. So I asked him to give me an idea of what I should get and how much and stuff, and he (reasonably) looked at me like I was a total nutjob and said, “I’m going with you, aren’t I?”

Oh. Oh! He was going with me!

We had a brief awkward exchange of “oh, you were going to go?” and “oh, did you not want me to go?” and “no, of course I want you to go” and “it’s okay if you don’t want me to go” and holy crap we’re talking about fried chicken here. But here’s the thing: for me, it was a completely and utterly foreign experience to have someone who didn’t expect me to go take care of it myself.

I thought about that for days afterward. He went with me to get fried chicken! He helped me figure out what to order! He helped me carry it to the car! I didn’t have to do it all by myself!

And now it’d be totally weird if he sent me out for fried chicken on my own. I could do it, of course. I haven’t become dependent on him or anything. But I know he would go with me. I wouldn’t have to do it myself.

Last week we celebrated our first six months as a couple. He sent gorgeous flowers to me at work and we spent a little bit of time talking about how far we’d come and where we are heading.

We. We’re in it together.

In lots of ways, it is very new and novel and amazing for me to be part of a “we.” And I love it. Our relationship right now is so very balanced and healthy that it’s natural and effortless for us to be in this together. We go places together. We make decisions together. We deal with bad stuff together. We celebrate good stuff together. And I find the “we” creeping into the rest of my life in a way that feels absolutely right.

We’re into sushi and anime and video games.
We’re going to a party this weekend.
We’d like to travel to Japan someday.
We’ll get back to you on that.

And I’m still independent. I’m still capable and competent. I can still take perfectly good care of myself. But I don’t HAVE to do it all myself. He won’t leave me on my own. He won’t make me do it for him. He’ll go with me to get the fried chicken.

Of course he will.

carry that weight

I knew I needed to write today, but I hadn’t written anything yet because I was having trouble deciding between two topics that seemed very different.

Today should have been Frank’s 39th birthday. It’s been a hard day, and I have been sad. With the exception of today, I haven’t cried much lately, but the weight of missing him seems to make my steps just a little slower, the effort of living my life just a little heavier. I guess over time I’ll get stronger, and the weight will be easier to carry. But some days it just feels unbearably heavy.

I was going to devote an entire post to Frank, but I was torn because some other things have been happening that are worth writing about, and I could not choose between them. In a weird way, I’m writing about both today.

This weekend I met Seth’s kids – Mira, who is 4, and Niomi, who is 12. They spent the entire weekend with us and so the four of us spent that time feeling out what I’ve been calling my practice family. We had a super time. We went to the playground, we blew bubbles, we ate too much junk food, we watched movies and TV, and we went roller skating. I used to live in roller skates, but it’s probably been 15 years or more since I skated. I still know how, but it was kind of frustrating that I’m in such lousy shape these days that skating wore me out quickly. Towing a flaily 4-year-old around the rink surely helped me tire out faster, but mostly it’s just that I’m lame and out of shape. It was okay, though, because we all had fun even if skating was a big fat fail.

It was nice, and strange at the same time. I realized that I know exactly how to do this mothering thing, that if I ever have kids of my own I’m going to be really good at it. I think that’s a combination of instinct, growing up the oldest of four girls, and watching my own mom’s phenomenal example over the years. Whatever it is, if I have the chance to bust it out full-time, I’m so on it. At the same time, I felt like an impostor the entire time, and was convinced that someone was going to bust me trying to be a fake mom to someone else’s kids and they’d drag me away to rot in fake mother prison.

There was something amazingly wonderful and right about what we were doing, about our little sunburns and our bubble-sticky hands, our sweaty roller-skate feet, our lazy Sunday morning with Spongebob and Lucky Charms. There was something joyful and giddy about giving a girl time to play laser tag with her dad, about hooking her up with a billion computer games and watching videos with her. There was something so peaceful and pure about dozing on the couch with a bath-fresh little girl sprawled on me, all arms and legs and sweet-smelling goodness. It was right. I was ready for it.

After we handed off the girls last night, Seth and I were walking back to my car in the cool fading light and we both realized that we felt lighter, almost more limber. Even though I ate junk food all weekend, even though I’ve been carrying this immense weight of sadness in my heart, I felt lighter last night. He thought it might be roller skating. I’m pretty sure it was the late spring sweetness of our time with his girls.

may 1 will be a brand new day

Let me tell you something about April. April is an absolutely pathetic crackwhore of a month smeared in dog poo and covered in parasites. If April were a person, I would kick April in the face repeatedly until every single one of its nasty, rotten teeth fell out, and then I’d pull April’s arms off and beat April to death with them. I hate April. April has most certainly been the worst month in what, prior to April, had been looking like a pretty terrific year, and at the rate we’re going, April 2009 may very well be a frontrunner in the contest for Worst Month of Lorie’s Life, Ever, No Matter What. April sucks and I hate it and I won’t miss its ugly-ass face one teeny tiny little bit. In case I haven’t been clear here, I fucking detest April.

With that said, there’s one major reason I’m alive and sane enough to witness April’s inevitable demise, and that reason is a 6’3″ software engineering, video game playing, insane philosophizing, adorable, wonderful, superboyfriendy package of awesomeness named Seth.

Even the most good-natured, generous, patient, supportive person on earth would probably struggle to be a consistently excellent friend to someone who’s had a month like I have had. I would not wish this month or the fallout of this month on anyone. But it has to be especially trying when you’re asked to drop everything and be there nearly constantly for your girlfriend of only a few months, who is mourning a man she loved before you and recovering from surgery on her dominant hand all at once. That’s a test no relationship should ever have to face, much less one in its relative infancy. All of a sudden, I found myself both physically and emotionally incapable of the independence I cherish, and to my great and pleasant surprise, Seth planted his feet and has been absolutely, unwaveringly here for me.

It wasn’t a surprise because of anything his behavior up till now had led me to believe. It was a surprise because I truly had no idea what to expect, and because I’m used to trying to drag myself through everything on my own. My family and friends have been great, too, but it’s been Seth who has literally been right by my side all month. He has helped me get dressed and make food and clean myself when I couldn’t do it on my own, and he’s helped me work through the first loss I’ve experienced of someone very close to me. He’s been incredibly patient and kind and has been able to anticipate everything I need and give it to me without giving me any indication that it’s a strain on him.

If you know me well, or have been reading for a while, you know I try to find lessons in all the crummy things that happen. This has been pretty damn crummy indeed, and I’m still figuring it out. But one tiny bright spot in this hellish month has been the increased closeness I’m feeling with Seth. I’m not sure we would have gotten so much closer this month if all had been smooth sailing. My hand is much better now, but my heart and soul are still in need of a lot of healing. Luckily for me, I know he’s not going anywhere.