Ah! My first writing retreat since becoming a mother five years prior. Alone in a cabin in the woods for four days with nothing but my notebook and pens, laptop, and books. Creaking trees outside. No television, no internet, no cell phone service, no mail delivery. No neighbors in sight. I would use this quiet time to cogitate, meditate, create—no interruptions, no chaos, no needs other than those of my own stomach and an occasional wash under my arms. Just my own unfettered thoughts and ideas to run amok without time restrictions or crises.
I wasn’t going to blow it this time, as I had the year before when a friend had lent me her house for two nights near an out-of-town teaching gig, and I’d been so guilt-wracked that I gave myself the shingles. I’d learned my lesson. Why did I not think I deserved this and that the boys wouldn’t burn the house down without me around? Scratch that. If the house burned down, it wouldn’t help if I were there, although they’d probably forget about the safety ladders.Read More »
I couldn’t get the Little Monster’s bath water to fill this morning. Upon closer inspection, I could see something stuck in the drain, preventing the plug from sealing. Lego? Gum-wad? Fake coin? Precious stone? Something I really didn’t want to get my fingers on without first identifying it?
I managed to pry it out: a bottle cap. Not this kind:
I have three goals in life, but they are all negatively phrased. They are things I want to get through life without doing.
Lately I’ve added a fourth goal, which is to remember my three goals. On a recent visit, my dad found my three negative life goals intriguing. He phoned me later to discuss them, but I couldn’t at the time remember for the life of me what the third goal was.
Now that I’ve remembered them, I’m writing them down:
Never sue anyone.
Never rent a storage locker.
Never get a divorce.
These seem simple, but I realize that they are tied to big-picture philosophies that can be phrased positively, yet not quite as succinctly as the yang to their yin:
Try to get along with people, and don’t hold resentments or try to get even (not even with that ahole who honked at me in Ballard, where it is illegal to honk, and who didn’t even look at me when I rolled down my window to shout bleep at him when he ran the red and damn I hope that guy gets his nuts sued off someday when he hits a bicyclist or pedestrian).
Don’t get tied to material stuff and don’t own more than I need.
Marriage is hard work but worthy work, and my long-term marriage is one of my proudest accomplishments, especially in this day and age.
Obviously, life can throw curveballs, and I also need to remain flexible.
If someone through meanness or carelessness incapacitates me or one of my loved ones and I subsequently need money to care for myself or them, of course I would sue for it. One does what one has to do. There are good reasons for lawsuits.
And I would urge anyone with an abusive partner to get their butts out of that situation. Not all marriage is worth saving. It’s only a sacred bond if both parties respect each other and that bond. I got lucky. My guy is quirky (maddening! aggravating! there’s a cow horn in my dishwasher! we drove to a winery yesterday for a tasting and we left with an empty 55-gallon drum tied to the car roof!) but trustworthy (when I asked, he told me exactly what the 55-drum on the car roof and the two in the vehicle cost…at which point I upped my order to include the vintner’s private reserve and a few others, instead of the one token bottle of Chardonnay I’d planned on, indicating that the Man I Married should pull out his wallet to pay for it). However, I’m lucky I live in a society where divorce is an option when someone is miserable in a marriage.
I am largely content in my marriage, though there are sometimes minutes or hours or days when I’m miserable in it, such as that car ride home with the 55-gallon drum lashed to the car roof.
It wasn’t so much the cost I minded as the noise. Anything over 43 mph and we had a 55-gallon bagpipe droning an excruciating dirge, which I shall entitle Lament of the Cider Maker’s Wife. I’m not sure if the noise was caused by the friction of wind through the tie-down straps, or wind through the small opening in the drum to which MIM had cleverly affixed the strap hooks, or whether it was the unholy manifestation of the screaming in my brain. Around the block would be one thing, but we had 66.12 miles to travel—us, the mobile embodiment of a soccer stadium swarming with vuvuzelas.
“This sounds just like the load of wood we carried home on the car roof last weekend,” the Little Monster piped up from the backseat. I couldn’t see him, blocked as he was by the steel keg wedged in the seat next to him.
The Little Monster and I should be grateful that MIM left room for us in the car; he had planned to purchase more than three drums. Before you give MIM credit for not stuffing one of us into a drum, I must point out that the drums don’t open (except for a 2” hole), which is why the clever vintner was selling them. “They’re difficult to clean,” he noted. You might be wondering: if a professional vintner has difficulty in cleaning these kegs, how in the world is the Man I Married going to manage? Ah, Grasshopper, trouble not your meditative thoughts with this conundrum, because he will probably never get around to it, and, if he does, it will keep him busy enough to prevent him from purchasing other equipment, except for special cleaning supplies.
But even the noise I could take. What I couldn’t take was when I turned to the Man I Married and asked, “Is it safe?” It’s second nature for me to visualize disaster scenarios like the drum tearing loose and crashing through the windshield of the car behind us, resulting in 1) us being sued because we’ve killed, paralyzed, and/or disfigured the extended family traveling happily to Great Grandpa’s 101st birthday party, and 2) losing everything in the lawsuit except worthless sentimental crap that we’d have to shove in a storage locker while we lived on the street, until 3) we divided up all of the useless crap after the divorce because I would never forgive him for the unsafe 55-gallon drum on our car roof that wrecked our lives. But I have an active imagination that is very adept at Technicolor visions of worst-case drama, to which he usually gives me the “thigh pat,” which is the nonverbal condescending communication that translates as, “Of course it’s safe, honey. Stop your constant worrying, which, although amusing and endearing, is also tiresome. The world is not about to end, and I would not endanger my family so recklessly. The load on the roof is secure, I assure you. Trust me. I have huge amounts of experience with buying large, expensive objects which I will spend the next few years carting from place to place while I figure out what the hell to do with them.” Yes, all of that can be communicated with one touch.
But he did not give me the thigh pat. He shrugged and shouted over the noise, “I have no idea!”
If looks could kill, I need never worry about #3 on my list, because I would be a widow instead of a divorcée.
The Erotica Writer’s Husband & Other Stories by Jennifer D. Munro
Kindle Edition at Amazon
12 humorous stories about sex and the sexes. These sensual yet comic stories offer a fresh take on literary erotic fiction, as if Anaïs Nin and Erma Bombeck met at the library to spin tales of laughter and the libido. Collected from the pages of Best American Erotica, Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Best of Literary Mama, Clean Sheets, Zyzzyva, and others.
An actual hot and steamy email exchange between the erotica writer and the erotica writer’s husband after he reorganized the laundry room (to create room for his cider bottles) and then went to work:
From:Wife To: The Man I Married Subject: Can I use the dryer?
BTW, nice change with re-routing the vent so it doesn’t block the storage door anymore.
From: The Man I Married To: Wife Subject:Re: Can I use the dryer?
Hopefully it holds- I can always use some duct tape for the dryer duct if needed.
From: Wife To: The Man I Married Subject:Re: Re: Can I use the dryer?
So I can use it?
And how will I know if it comes loose so that I can turn it off?
From: The Man I Married To: Wife Subject:Re: Re:Re: Can I use the dryer?
Yes, use it-
you will hear a rumbling right before it explodes- turn it off before it explodes
What can I do but laugh?
Speaking of The Erotica Writer’s Husband, my collection of short stories is now available as a Kindle e-book ($2.99). Thanks to my publisher Tod McCoy at en theos press for formatting it for the 21st Century.
“Jennifer D. Munro had me howling with [her] irony…” —Susie Bright, Best American Erotica Editor
“At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Jennifer D. Munro’s writing crackles with wit and hard-earned wisdom. Her prose is snappy and eloquent, and often laugh-out-loud funny about the most unfunny things…” —Janna Cawrse Esarey, The Motion Of The Ocean
“I laughed like a little maniac. I just loved it. Hilarious.” —Mary Guterson, Gone To The Dogs