A moment in our household:
Me: Do you want a can of pop?
Perfect Husband: Yes, but I’ll pour it into this glass. There’s something about putting my lips on aluminum that makes me think I’m going to get… you know… whatsitsfarbles.
A moment in our household:
Me: Do you want a can of pop?
Perfect Husband: Yes, but I’ll pour it into this glass. There’s something about putting my lips on aluminum that makes me think I’m going to get… you know… whatsitsfarbles.
I’m somewhat bothered by the fact that when I watch parents handling their toddlers in the supermarket, or at a friend’s wedding, I end up comparing how they deal with their small child to how I would handle a dog. I’m sure that has to be wrong. Not because the laws of learning wouldn’t apply to a toddler (after all, the average dog has the intelligence of a one and a half year old child, so…) but because I feel like I don’t have the right.
I have a dog, and I train dogs, so it’s natural for me to wince when I see dog owners making common mistakes. I see overly permissive owners being dragged down the street, and overly firm owners thinking that their dog is being stubborn when it’s really being terrified. But when I see parents make the same mistakes, I feel that I don’t have the right to wince.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging these parents (unless I see them doing something really awful, like letting their kid torture kittens or something. Then I would judge). I don’t even judge the dog owners who go down the street with their dogs strangling at the end of the leash. They aren’t bad owners, just poor handlers. I feel bad for them, and frustrated for them, because they don’t seem to know the things that I know. I always wish I could step in and tell them what I know without sounding like a real bint.
So it’s not judging, just frustration. But with parents, I really have no right to even be thinking the things I think, because I don’t have a baby and I don’t teach them for a living. I’m not totally baby naive. My goddaughter is five now, and though I don’t see her as much as I’d like, I baby sat her multiple times when she was younger. I’ve ignored her tantrums, and praised her for using the potty (thankfully, her mother is a firm and consistent handler). So I’m not, like, totally inexperienced. But still, I feel that I shouldn’t think the things I think.
Like, there are the parents who give their instructions in the form of a question: “Do you want to come here so I can put on your pants?”
…and the dog trainer in me thinks, “Make it a command, not a question! Use a firm tone of voice so he knows that this is not an option!”
And there are the parents who soothe their child through a tantrum in the mall, saying “it’s okay, shhhh,” and then buying the kid candy to shut her up.
…and the dog trainer in me thinks, “Don’t reward bad behaviour! Establish some negative consequences. Get her to do some puppy push-ups!”
Or a toddler starts running around in church, and the father gives an apologetic shrug to the congregation, as if to say “what’re you gonna do?”
…and the dog trainer in me thinks, “Don’t let him break the command like that! If he breaks from his sit, you need to enforce the command or he’ll never stay put again. Return him to the original position as many times as necessary for him to get the idea, and then reward him when he finally stays put!”
I think parenthood is going to surprise me, when I realize that I can’t just crate the baby to keep him from pooping on the floor.
…you are cleaning soft, stinky poo in epic proportions off of your kitchen floor at one o clock in the morning… and you’re just grateful that the dog chose the ugly linoleum instead of the nice laminate floor.
So I have discovered that dressing in the dark so as to not awake my husband tends to be what leads to that very special “bummed (inside) out” feeling.
So this morning I specifically looked for patterned underwear, which would only be patterned on the OUTSIDE.
Underwear, right side out.
It’s the small victories, really.
I’m having the laziest day evar. I just put on my clothes, and it’s THREE PM.
This is why I wanted a yard. The dogs peed before I even had to get dressed.
It seems ridiculously extravagant to still be lying on the bed reading in my bathrobe well into the afternoon, but I needed the rest. Yesterday wasn’t really a day off. I had to go to a conference to keep up my continuing education credits with the AHTA, so it was like another work day. Spending a day surrounded by total strangers does not make for a restful time. Although it was actually a lot better than I thought I would be. It reminded me that I am, and always will be, a product of Montessori:
I find structured labs where I have to follow structured activities (many of which I do not find educational) rather stressful. It usually involves a certain amount of interaction with the people in your class, which in this situation would be total strangers. It also requires that you shoulder a certain amount of responsibility. Here I am, doing something for the very first time, and I’m just supposed to fetch supplies and follow instructions on my own, instead of being personally taught and guided.
That is what I was expecting of the wet labs at the conference, but they weren’t like that at all. They basically treated us with a “you paid to be here so come on down and get your money’s worth” attitude which I highly appreciated. We were allowed to wonder around, watch demonstrations and do as much or as little hands-on practice as we felt comfortable with.
…Which meant that I played with the goniometer, but just watched people use the Gulich. I waved my hand over the Pulsing Magnetic therapy bed, and let them attach electrodes to my arm to feel what muscular electric stimulation feels like (WEIRD). They gave me full control over how high I turned it up, which meant I felt quite comfortable cranking it up quite high, trying to get my hand to twitch. Then I helped myself to the peppermint and tea trea muscle relaxing oils.
If they had created a structured lab, I would have hated every minute of it, even while learning. But this was actually quite pleasant. This is what Montessori school was like. They didn’t FORCE us to learn. They set certain goals, like you had to do a minimum of one math activity, one English activity and so on, but from there on the choice was yours. They assumed that you wanted to play and learn, and so it never occurred to any of us to fight it.
So really the conference was great, just what I would have wanted. But it was still an exhausting day for an introvert – strange place, strange people, strange gadgets…
Then Perfect Husband and I had a party to go to that evening. The hosts are good friends, but a lot of the people there are strangers. Which meant more socializing with strangers.
See, it’s not that it was a bad day. I learned a lot, and then had a nice, fun evening out talking to some really cool people and breaking my heart over an incredibly adorable blond boy, who seemed fascinated by my husband and kept dragging him around by the finger saying “night night?”
But for an introvert? That was NOT a day off.
After an eight hour sleep and then another five hours of reading lazily, I finally think I have the energy to face the day.
And it’s raining.
I’ve had my million dollar idea.
A dog book, called “A Dog’s Guide to Humans”.
I’m also considering “Humans for Doggies” but I’m afraid it’ll infringe on trademarks.
A dog training book, but tongue in cheek written TO the dog, explaining how to exploit the owner.
I am fascinated by some of the searches that sometimes lead people to this blog. I hope that they found what they were looking for here, but sometimes I’m not sure.
In case anyone uses these search terms again, I’ll try and leave some attempt at an answer, however useless:
husband asked me to leave the room
I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe he was trying to set up a surprise for you?
my future perfect husband
This one is mine. Now go about your search somewhere else, and good luck!
how is babby formed onesie
That’s a brilliant idea! I WANT ONE.
wife fucks coworker to humiliate husband
…that sentence makes me unhappy. Let’s move on…
what is a perfect husband, if there is one
I’d like to tell you, but it’s different for everyone. Maybe you should ask your wife/girlfriend for her take on it, rather than consulting Google on such matters.
sweet letter to husband whom just moved
That’s nice that you’re writing letters to your husband, but if he has moved away, maybe you should be having a serious discussion with him, preferably over the phone. Also, you don’t need to use “whom” just to impress Google.
perfect husband puts me down
I hate to break it to you, but that sentence is oxymoronic. If he puts you down, he’s more like a perfect asshat.
the perfect husband is really a cat
My cat wakes me up at the crack of dawn yowling for me to give him breakfast. He sleeps around the house all day, and never contributes. Maybe that’s your perfect husband, but it ain’t mine.
lady with half body and perfect husband
I would like to meet this couple. Hurrah for true love!
…Unless it’s the top half that she’s missing.
he seemed to be the perfect husband
Oh, please don’t leave me hanging! Then what happened??
king charles spaniel cut his groin open
So there I am, trying to get in 1500 words to Nanowrimo using the Write or Die application and knowing that if I stop typing for more than a few seconds the screen will darken to an angry red and a terrifying wailing noise will begin to sound… and my dog starts to bark.
My dog is a sheltie. He barks sometimes. In fact, for a sheltie he’s really not bad at all. Whether this is a credit to my dog trainer expertise or sheer luck of the draw, I’ll never know.
But even as I tell him to shush while trying to keep writing, I can hear what is disturbing him. The sound of voices outside, quite loud. They must be right underneath a window or something, I thought. My dog swirled around me agitatedly and moaned, wuffing. My fingers kept moving over the keyboard but I was becoming increasingly distracted. The voices were still there and sounded quite close. Could it be the TV? But my dog has never been tricked into barking at the television (although he has been known to look behind it anxiously when the Westminster Dog Show was on, looking for all those dogs he could hear). I call to Perfect Husband, “Love, what is that noise?”
The bathroom door is shut tight and the fan is on. He can’t hear any of this. So resigning myself to my punishment, I lift my fingers off of the keyboard and head downstairs.
There are two Asian women standing in my kitchen. This takes me by surprise.
“Your door was unlocked,” said one of them, hailing me.
“Yeah… can I help you?” I asked.
“We’re here to see the house,” she said, “and your door was unlocked.”
“This house isn’t for sale,” I said. “We bought it a couple months ago.”
This seemed to take the wind out of their sails. The woman looked at a paper in her hand in confusion.
“Can I see that?” I asked, leaning over her. “Ah. See, that’s the right house number, but you’re on the wrong street.”
Immediate apologies and general confusion. I see them firmly but kindly out the door.
“But your door was unlocked,” said the realtor in defence.
“Well, both of us are home, and we have a dog,” I said.
“I’m afraid of dogs,” quavered the other woman as my small, fluffy sheltie sniffed her pants leg delicately, plumey tail waving.
“Well, there you go,” I said. “Bye now.”
I came upstairs to my husband standing in the hall, staring at the flashy light and noise coming from my angry computer application.
“What was THAT?” he said.
“I just found two Asian women in our kitchen,” I said.
You can imagine the rest of the scene.
It is the kind of thing that people expect to be the big highlight of their lives.
Carrying the torch for Canada, on Day one of the Olympic Torch Relay. Perfect Husband didn’t win an iCoke contest, he was nominated by his coworkers, for all the volunteer hours he puts in at my work place. He has slung dog food, washed dishes, hauled equipment, dressed as Santa, and helped baby sit the many canine house guests I am constantly obliged to bring home with me. His workplace, a big Olympic sponsor, covered the cost of our trip to Victoria and even gifted him with his torch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so nervous and excited. He admitted to me that he was more nervous than he had been on his wedding day. I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or insulted. He said I should feel flattered. He had felt confident about marrying me.
As I dressed him in his official Olympic garb, and as he took deep breaths trying to calm himself, many things were on our mind. Would it rain? Would I be able to get a good view of him? Would the camera capture his run properly in the dark, with a glowing flame messing with the auto-focus?
The one question we weren’t asking ourselves was “will he actually get to run?”
But that is what we should have been worrying about.
I dropped him at the Empress and stood by proudly photographing him as he talked to fellow torch bearers and officials with clipboards. I saw his shuttle pull up, ready to drop him and the other torchbearers at their assigned start points.
It was beginning to rain.
I went home, got the umbrella out of the car, and headed off on the five block walk to his end-point (I wanted to catch him running towards the camera with the flame, and then passing it on). I was laden with a video camera, a still camera, a book in my purse, an umbrella, and Timothy the travelling bear, who gets photographed on all my travels.
I arrived an hour early, so I got a hot chocolate at Starbucks and sat down nervously to wait. I kept watching the road, waiting for it to be blocked off as a parade route. But cars continued to swish up and down the rainy street in the gloaming. It was half an hour til the run was scheduled. Twenty minutes. Fifteen. People were starting to gather with their kids and umbrellas, lining the road. Parked cars still coated the edges of the street. Traffic still swooshed. If it weren’t for the increasing number of spectators, I would have been seriously concerned that I was on the wrong road.
I packed up my book and reloaded myself with cameras, rain gear and bear. I walked to the end point, where a bunch of employees from my husband’s company were handing out noise makers, flags, and pom poms. We had stopped by their workplace earlier and they recognised me now, the wife of the torchbearer. They greeted me excitedly and as we waited they offered to hold my umbrella if necessary when the big moment came. I was trying to figure out how to juggle a still camera and a camcorder, one in each hand, while Timothy clung to the straps of my purse. I played with my digital settings, trying to find a setting that could focus on the bright lights in the darkened street. I fretted that my husband would be a blur as he came by. I worried that the flame would throw everything off. It was half an hour past the time for him due to run, but I wasn’t surprised. We expected delays. When does something like this ever run on time?
We saw police up the road, and said, “finally, they’ve come to block off this part of the route!”
Then the shuttle went by and we all cheered it as it passed us. But why did it pass us? I was at my husband’s end point. He should have been dropped 300 metres up the road, and the next torch bearer should have been dropped near us. I was confused. Maybe it had been a shuttle for the previous section of bearers, heading back to The Empress?
Then a woman came by, saying “We should all head up to Dallas. They’ve been rerouted because of protesters.”
Fear struck my heart.
I followed her, calling her. “My husband is the torch bearer for this section. Do you know where they are running now?” I pleaded with my eyes. Please let me not have missed my husband’s big moment. Please.
“I don’t know,” said the lady, “I just heard they got rerouted. They’ve already gone by, I think.”
‘Oh God,” I said, voice quivering, “I’ve missed it. I’ve missed it!”
I began to run. People were already dispersing. Adults looked disgruntled. Dampened children in rain coats looked upset and confused. Where was the torch they had been waiting for so long to see? Their parents had told them it would be a moment they would remember all their lives. So where was it?
I begged people for information, but no one knew anything. I couldn’t even call him. They hadn’t let him carry any personal items onto the shuttle. No cell phone. It was the first time in years that I hadn’t been able to get a message to my husband instantly with the touch of a button. We text all day long. Now my phone was buzzing. I answered it desperately. Too late. I called the number back instantly and got a voice mail. “You have reached the shuttle…” I left a desperate message, begging for information.
My phone began to buzz again moments later. It was my husband, sounding stressed and weary. He didn’t know where they were going. He hadn’t run anywhere yet. The official message for family members was to stay put until things were sorted out. He would let me know when there was news. I returned to my post, and filled in the anxious members of his company.
The protesters were coming by. Waving a multitude of signs, ranging from elitism to native land issues to complaints about HST, they had no unified message. They banged on loud drums, and some were dressed as zombies. They won no sympathizers. The cold wet members of the public had been waiting with their children for this one big moment, the one free moment of the Olympic Games, and this loud, scary crowd had robbed them of it.
People booed as they passed, and I thought “how stupid.” My Psych-degree sensibilities were offended by this group’s poor judgement. The only way that protesters can bring about the change they desire is by winning sympathizers. Once you convince enough people that women deserve votes, that everyone deserves health care, that gay people should marry, the change you desire can be brought about. You cannot win people’s votes and sway their opinion by ruining their fun. By hurting the little people. By disappointing children and average joes who had won the opportunity of participating in something amazing.
You want to win people’s sympathies and get attention? You quietly line the route with signs. As you wait for the torch, you talk to the people around you, make your arguments, get some people to say “I never thought of that…” Then, when the torch goes by, you wave your sign, and get it photographed by the media. There’s your media exposure. No one is angry with you. No one is hurt by your efforts to make your opinion known. You gain sympathizers who respect your professional attitude.
None of this Victoria crowd seemed to respect the frightening mob, nor to be at all interested in their opinions. They had hurt children, and won nothing.
People were beginning to disperse. I was near tears. What was happening? My phone buzzed. I answered it. Perfect Husband sounded rushed, even more stressed. “We’re at the Terry Fox Memorial,” he told me. “They’re planning some kind of lighting ceremony. I don’t know if you will be able to make it. Do what you can.”
I had no idea where to go, but a couple of people from his company jumped to the rescue. Going at a run, I was led through darkened streets and along a large, dark park. My legs burned. My chest, still recovering from my cold, was tight and I coughed harsh, racking coughs. When I could run no more, a lady ran ahead of me to see if she could see the torch bearers. Desperate and plodding as quickly as I could, I and my other companion arrived at the site… and everyone was leaving. We passed person after person walking away. Large, brightly lit Coke trucks with glowing neon olympic rings on theirs sides were pulling away from the curb. It was dark, and crowded, and wet, and confused. My companion and I couldn’t find the lady who had led us there. My phone buzzed.
“I’m here, I’m here,”I said to the phone. My husband sounded tired.
“It’s over,” he said, “I’m back on the shuttle. I’ll… I’ll meet you back at the Empress, I guess.”
“I tried,” I said, my throat catching. My husband had held the Olympic flame, and I hadn’t been there to see it.
“It’s not your fault,” he said. “I have to go. Other people need this phone.”
My companion, who had promised a friend of hers in Japan that she would photograph the torch, offered to lead me back to the Empress. I had no idea where I was. I was pathetically grateful, and struggling to hold back my tears. My companion and I verbally abused the protesters, and how they had managed to hurt so many members of the every-day public. And for what?
At the Empress I found more confused family members. An angry wife and her confused little boy, who wanted to know why Daddy hadn’t gone by with the flame. A worried mother, whose 14 year old daughter had been practising her torch run for months, and whose outfit she had tailored to perfection. We stood for half an hour in the rain, worrying, ranting.
“How can I explain this to my son?” asked the wife next to me. “When he gets angry and tries to throw things or hit me I tell him, “you have a right to be angry. It is okay to tell me how you feel. But it is not okay to hurt other people while you do it.” How can I explain to him that these people had less control than an eight year old child?”
“My daughter is just a girl who won a contest,” said the mother. “She isn’t a member of the government taking native land, or raising taxes. It isn’t her fault that the Olympics has come to Canada. She’s just a girl, who got a once in a lifetime opportunity, and she was robbed of it by these people. She’ll be disappointed and hurt forever over this. How is that right? Why did these people want to hurt my child?””
“My brother flew all the way from Toronto to see this moment,” said someone else, “his money is spent, and now wasted. What good does that do anyone?”
Word on the street was that the shuttle was delayed, had been mobbed and stopped by the protesters only a couple of blocks from the hotel. Finally it arrived. The big ceremonies on the stage at Parliament were almost finished, but we had missed it all, huddled in the rain and worrying about the people we loved. My husband didn’t want to talk about it. What was done was done. They had all stood in a line, and one by one the Olympic flame continued along the line. The other torchbearers had picked up the run from there. The protesters had not caught the flame. It blazed on. And only a handful of 10 people, disappointed members of the public, had lost their chance to jog down the road bearing it proudly.
My husband’s torch sported the soot of the Olympic flame. He may not have carried the flame, but he had passed it on. We were mobbed for over an hour by excited people wanting their photo with him, wanting to touch the torch, awed by the soot. I stood by the side lines while a line-up of people waited to get their photo taken with my husband, asking him questions which he nimbly dodged. Now was not the moment to be pitied. I could have stood there forever, beaming proudly. How many hours has my husband spent standing by while people asked me questions about the dog that I had to drag with me to the grocery store, the movies, his own workplace? He deserved this moment of glory, perhaps even more so than the people who had gotten to do their run.
He was still a torchbearer.
Back home, friends and family launched a search to find photos of my husband with the flame. They found two, one showing his face. I emailed the newspaper, thanking them for the photo, explaining that it was all I had. They emailed me back with sympathy, and sent me a high resulution copy.
Thanks to the Victoria Times Colonist and their photographer for this photo, which I claim no rights to, except the right to feel proud.
Okay, you all make me sad by not answering my questions. If I win NaNoWriMo, it’s no thanks to you!
Maybe I won’t even reward you with the full story about Perfect Husband’s torch bearing. The only teaser I’ll give you is… he was one of the ten.
As as side note, I have rediscovered how much I like writing in the first person. All the stories I’ve tried to write in recent years have been in the third person, but as a kid I always wrote in the first person. On a whim, I thought I’d try it again and it’s so much better. I feel so free, just being able to say what was happening and what the protagonist is thinking, without having to stumble over creating coherant sentences full of “he thought that” and “he reflected that” and “he noticed that” and “he held out his hand to him”.