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Ten Things I Am Thankful for This Thanksgiving

styer2

1. A one-of-a-kind dad who will leave me the following voicemail (imagine Alan Arkin’s voice, look and personality in Little Miss Sunshine) from time to time. “You are my daughter. You are beautiful and I love you. You and me Cher. You and me. Call me if you need anything.” If you know him, it makes perfect, wonderful sense.

2. In-laws who know how crazy I can be and still love and accept me for it. To be fair, they created the person that makes me a little loopy from time to time so it is partially their fault.

3. The possibility of hope and the courage I found to keep following our big dream, which is still a work in progress.

4. A husband who loves me in spite of my worst qualities and always comes back for more. No one knows what it is like to be us and experience what we’ve shared over the past few years and no one ever will. We may not always get through it with grace, but we do get through it and are always stronger for it.

5. Friends that distract me when I need it, give me a swift kick in the ass when it’s called for, and come to my defense like Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment when I’m wronged.

6. My brother and his wife for giving me a niece and nephew who bring so much light into my life. Like when my six-year old nephew rubs my arm until he falls asleep or when I find a sweet note on my iPad from my niece telling me what a good mommy I’d make someday because I take such good care of her and her brother.

7. A two-income household and good health. Given the hardships many have endured, I would be remiss to not show my gratitude for our jobs and the good health of my family.

8. A strong, supportive mom who has never, ever let me down. The fact that she is pretty cool, always stylish, and once coached my softball team in full makeup, skin tight Jordache jeans, and high heels is just a bonus.

9. The rediscovery of this blog and the ability to express myself in a new way

10. The little things like DVR, Breaking Bad, our holiday trip to NYC, La Colombe coffee, good books, and red wine

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Diary of a Mad Housewife

My First Turkey

My First Turkey – 2011

Okay, I’m not really a housewife. I do cook dinner five nights a week and I’m married, but I also have a full-time job with a fair amount of responsibility. Also, I do not clean – at least not up to any decent standards. So not technically a “housewife.”

Faithful readers of this blog and close friends all know the stories about my mom and Thanksgiving. For years and years, my brother and I mocked her when she inherited hosting duties during our early 20s. “She’s crazy.” “Everyone stay away from the kitchen. She might implode!” “It can’t be that hard.” These are clearly the words of two brats who never had the responsibility of cooking the most important meal of the year.

Paybacks are a bitch, and after hosting my first Thanksgiving, I called my mom immediately to apologize for this behavior. Luckily, she is very forgiving.

This brings us to 2013…

August: Pittsburgh – Visiting My In-Laws

Husband: “Cheri and I would like to host Thanksgiving this year.”

Me: (possibly out loud) “We would?”

Husband: “Yes, we talked about this last Christmas.”

Me: “Hmmm, can’t recall. Maybe we did? and maybe we could have discussed it in the past eight months since – you know, before you blurted this out to your whole family.”

Side note: My in-laws are great. They offer to help, they bring a ton of food, they are very laid back, and frankly, they wouldn’t care if I served frozen turkey. They are good like that. It’s just that I’m a planner. I like to discuss and plan and then plan and discuss. My husband doesn’t love this about me…

October: Our House

Husband: “I wouldn’t have agreed to move to the suburbs if I didn’t think we would host events like this.”

Me: “Of course. It’s just that I’m still a bit shell shocked from 2011 when our only toilet exploded at 11 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving and we had eight houseguest for four days. Then I yelled at you in front of your family, stormed outside, and, oh, cooked the damn turkey upside down.”

Husband: “Why do you always have to be so negative? Other wives aren’t like this…”

Side note: He didn’t actually say that last part, but I know he was thinking it.

November: Our House – Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving

Husband: “I wish you were a little more enthusiastic about Thanksgiving.”

Me: (silently screaming into my pillow)

November: Bryn Mawr Farmers Market – Five Days Before Thanksgiving

Me: “I have to figure out what size turkey to get and determine how long it will take to defrost. We need to make sure we have enough for leftovers and Friday dinner too…”

Husband: “Fine, I will make the turkey and the entire meal.”

Me: “Huh? I’m just working through the logistics (i.e. “planning”). Why can’t we agree that Thanksgiving is a lot of responsibility and that every woman in America (not just your awful wife) has angst about this meal. I’m perfectly normal.”

P.S. – You don’t know how to cook @&^%!

P.S.S. – I’m far from normal and of course we both know this.

Side note: If you search “Stress” and “Thanksgiving”, you get 91,000,000 results on Google.

So what’s a girl to do?

Things I Would Tell to My 25-Year Old Self

25

Me in my mid 20’s.

  • Calm down. You will get married (at 36) and you will love this person with every fiber of your being. You will also hate this person with that same intensity – every once in a while. It’s not a deal breaker. It’s reality.
  • Careers have a lot of ups and downs. You will have a great couple of years and then you will fall on your face for a while. You will have moments of well-deserved success. You will also be judged in ways you didn’t anticipate – by women of all things. That’s okay. They are shallow, vapid jerks. Let them have their fun.
  • “Good Will Hunting” is no fluke. Ben and Matt are in it for the long haul. Carol and Doug will end up together.  “Friends” doesn’t go out of style. And we will continue to be obsessed with Jennifer’s hair.  
  • Karma is real. People that do bad things will eventually see the other side of this. And be patient. This could take YEARS. Settle in.
  • Things happen for a reason. Those guys that just weren’t that into you? You dodged a bullet. The next 10-15 years will provide a lot of perspective on this. Get on your knees and thank god those relationships did not work out.
  • People change. You can’t expect everyone to be who they were. We all grow and change – some of us later than others. When you change – and really fall in love – you will see that and start to become a lot more accepting of others. Cut people a little slack.
  • You look great. You think you are not pretty enough or thin enough. You are and frankly you may never look this good again so soak it in now. But I would recommend a good eye cream regimen. You’ll thank me later.
  • You won’t become a mother in the way you thought. You will get put through the ringer, experience loss, and face your worst fears. Amazingly, this won’t kill you. In fact, it will make you stronger. And better. But you will always have a little hole in your heart.
  • Your parents are awesome. They will never let you down. You may catch some lousy breaks in life, but bad parents aren’t one of them. Don’t forget to tell them this. Or better yet, show them.
  • Ben Affleck is still everything. In fact, he only gets better with age.
  • You know how you love the idea of living alone (and eventually do)? That will stop the minute you own a house and your husband goes away for the weekend. You are a wimp. Get it together.
  • Travel rocks. You should travel more – a lot more. Go to Spain, Italy, Hawaii, Greece, or San Francisco. But you can’t because you are in debt…
  • Your debt will get worse. You should have been a lot smarter with your money. However, you will get out of debt…in about 10 years. You are an idiot. Don’t do it again.
  • Follow your instincts. They will never fail you. Also, trust yourself more and judge yourself less.
  • You will be blessed with many friends – some will stay, some will go. Nurture and treasure those friendships.  Oh, and have more girlfriend time. You will be a better wife for it.
  • You will learn how to cook, but you remain a lousy housekeeper. Luckily, you marry someone who accepts this – and pretty much everything else – about you.  
  • Stop worrying about everything. You won’t listen to me on this one. You will still do it. Hopefully when we try this again in 20 years you will have learned something…
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