Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In the eye of the beholder

Hanging out at one of our favorite weekend places, we noticed that the parking meters were all had blue covers on them. As we wondered about this strange sight, we noticed a blue shirt wearing woman on the street corner. The covers and shirts both had Helpful Honda Campaign on them so I was pretty much ready to move on to our planned lattes. However, MrCyclingLife couldn't resist the opportunity to interact with these blue shirt folk. One of those moments when our differences are highlighted. He couldn't understand why I had wondered off to get the local free paper from the stand in front of the Starbucks. I on the other hand was mildly annoyed at the delay in getting my latte. Later when were headed back to our cars, we spied a flock of blue shirt wearing folk. I encouraged MrCL to take a picture of them and tried not to be impatient when he took so long.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You Don't Understand!

Communication is one of those ongoing issues of marriage. It is key to so much of what we humans do. I sometimes wonder if MrCyclingLife and I are speaking the same language at all. Could there be gender-defined dialects? Ironically, our communication skills are leaps and bounds ahead of our parents. For much of the time I think we are doing great. Resting on our married couple laurels. Then a mega-argument moment happens and we suddenly feel totally isolated from each other. We aren't the yelling and screaming type of drama couple. We just sometimes manage to really hurt each others feelings. Then nothing we say seems to be right and we end up retreating like sad puppies to our separate corners.

I hate the idea of "marriage counseling" - you can bet MrCL does as well - but I think married couples could use an objective coach from time-to-time. Someone to send us back into the ring with a few pointers. Of course the object isn't to knock out your opponent, so perhaps I need to turn this metaphor in a different direction. We aren't looking for a winner and a loser in marriage. There will always be times when we hurt each others feelings. The important thing is the skills we develop for working things out. The ability to communicate helps to foster the sense of trust that is so essential for getting through our lives together. You are never finished working on communication. Marriage isn't being done. I think some people make the mistake of seeing it that way. It can be a refuge from the world, but it takes constant upkeep so it is there when you need it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

She Said: How We Met

In my waxing-romantic moments, I say that I crossed the country just to find MrCyclingLife. Most of the time, I just tell people with a wicked grin that we met at a bar. The story is more complicated than that though. I had met a friend through a college class and she had a friend working at a bike shop. The bike shop staff regularly went out as a group and one night my college friend and I started joining them. That first night I was focused on a job interview coming up and the antics of a drunk guy were just an annoyance. That night MrCL was full of antics. The next few months were much the same, especially the night of his birthday when his friends were on a particular mission to get him wasted. Simultaneously, my college friend and her friend had taken on a mission to get MrCL and I together. Since I was not as obsessed with meeting boys as they were and had actually gotten quite tired of being fixed up since I had moved to SoCal, their attempts to interest me in him had the opposite effect. I began to hate the sight of the poor guy.

The night it all turned around, I was actually trying to ditch MrCL. Much to my dismay the group had begun to disperse earlier than usual. I realized that I was about to be left alone with him so I announced my departure to my favorite Irish bar. He and his friend decided they would go with me and offered me a ride. I'm not sure why I accepted when I should have been quicker with an excuse to take my own car. So I found myself in a car with these two guys who decided to get TacoBell on the way, and suddenly much to my dismay his friend announces that he is going home leaving me alone with MrCL. (I would later learn that it was at MrCL's request. Boy, was I off my game that night!) Because MrCL was sober for once and I was forced to speak to him for the first time, I discovered the nice guy that I ended up marrying two years later.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

He Said: How We Met

I met my wife in a way that men in my family have done throughout the centuries, in a bar, in various states of sobriety. The evening had started out with pretty much the same goal: meet women. I was working at a bike shop and the one girl that worked there had some friends. She arranged for these friends to meet us at a bar in Costa Mesa. MsUrbanLotus was a friend of a friend of my female co-worker at the bike shop. Got that?

The usual modus operandi with my group of friends was to drink, get a buzz on and make asses of ourselves. In retrospect, I think that’s why my group of friends didn’t have girlfriends. Anyways, I digress. By the time I met my wife I was fairly drunk, which immediately pissed her off. This scenario played itself time and time again for several months, but at different drinking establishments throughout the area. Finally one night, for whatever reason, I had not drank that much and was sober. The night was winding down and my window of opportunity to impress MsUL was quickly vanishing. MsUL wanted to leave and go to an Irish bar not to far away. My wingman and I volunteered to go with her there in my car. However, my urge for empty calories and fatty foods over took my immediate need to 'hook up.' "Let's go to Taco Bell!" I said. Once we were at Taco Bell, I hatched a plan with my wingman. I pulled him aside and told him to announce that he had to leave, therefore giving me some valuable alone time with MsUL. After eating, my wingman peeled off and went home. With my buddy gone, it was time for me to work my magic. MsUL and I went to the Irish bar were we danced and I continued to schmooze her. It was at that bar she decided that I wasn't quite the troll she thought I was.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Telling Our Story

MrCyclingLife and I have been married for over 10 years and still find ourselves dealing with the challenges of modern marriage. Being really independent people can be the greatest challenge when we try to work together, but we are fortunate to be best friends who enjoy supporting each others careers. Our sense of humor has helped us get through life's ups and downs. You have to learn to laugh at yourself, because it makes communicating with each other much easier. Apparently high stress lives can be an effective contraceptive because so far we just have cats. We love living in our eclectic urban neighborhood where we can walk or bike to great restaurants, shops and our favorite coffee house. Although the cost of housing has skyrocketed since we moved here so we don't know if we'll ever be able to buy into the neighborhood.

For the most part, ours is not a traditional marriage, although we find ourselves falling into the traditional roles at times even though it is not our intention. We struggle with the typical areas of household chores, getting organized, finances and making time for each other in our busy lives. I have always been the one who reads books on relationships but to his credit, when asked MrCL will read some of them too. In my web surfing, I have been surprised and frustrated to not find resources for modern marriages of our generation (we're both Gen-Xers). We both enjoy writing and telling stories to our friends, so we decided to have some fun writing about our experiences and ongoing challenges. We'd love to hear from other couples out there. Let us know what marriage is like for you and if you have found any great resources you would like to share with us.