My husband and I often tell a joke about how we “almost got divorced over a poker game.” It sounds silly now, and when we talk about it, we both laugh so hard. But, there was a time when the sight of a deck of cards would throw us into a full-on word-slamming, hand-waving, grunt and groan war, all because of an incident that happened out of 2 clashing
It was a beautiful December night, and his parents were babysitting our new baby boy so we could have a night out at a friendly poker tournament. I was a self-proclaimed professional, and he…well, he’s intelligent in far too many other ways to crowd his mind with poker rules and strategies. I was ready to win the $200 pot and get a couple of last-minute Christmas gifts, and he was excited to wear sunglasses and shout “All in!” I was serious, and he wanted to have fun. The night ended in a heated argument with us sleeping in separate beds. I laugh about it even now as I type it, because it sounds so stupid! Bless my little heart for flipping out over poker chips! You couldn’t tell me that back then though…oh no. I knew it all, and no one was going to change my perspective.
I took the boys to the park yesterday, and while I was lounging in my chair and smiling at my boys running wildly through the wood-chips, I was interrupted by a young Chinese Mom with an extremely thick accent. She walked over to me with her waddling 1 year old and asked, “Are you married?” I was a little taken back by the question, but realized I still had my wedding ring around my neck from a rash on my ring finger.
“Yes, almost 8 years now,” I answered with a smile.
“Does your husband chew tobacco?” she quickly asked. I replayed the question a few times, in my head. Surely, there’s some confusion in her accent, I thought to myself. But, after asking her again, she repeated, “Does your husband chew tobacco?” What a weird question to ask a stranger.
“No,” I answered with my eyebrow raised, but trying to keep on smiling.
“Does he smoke tobacco?”
“No…no my husband does not smoke either.”
“What bad habit do he have?” She asked. I thought about that one for a while, and I couldn’t really think of any “bad habits”. He drinks energy drinks, and that’s unhealthy, but it’s not a bad habit. He exercises a lot…but that’s not bad either. That’s actually a good thing. He likes bread! No…wait, that wouldn’t be good if he was a Celiac…which, he isn’t. Oh gosh…I can’t think of any bad habits. Oh my…quick, think of something fast or else it’ll sound like you’re a fake Stepford Wife!
“He works too much!” I blurted out. As if he has a choice. He works too much? Such a stupid answer. That’s not a bad habit either. That’s a man providing for his family, even to a civilian household. I didn’t have to worry too much about it though, because she began to complain about her husband’s chewing tobacco habit (so that’s where that came from…still totally random to share with a stranger, but she must know I’m totally open to random) and his grumpy attitude in the mornings. I tried to speak some sense into this young bride about how his habit isn’t a deal breaker for their marriage, and grumpy mornings don’t necessarily make a person a horrible human being. The man loves her, loves their baby, and works hard to provide so she can be a stay-at-home-mom. She should just work through the tough integrating of lives through these first few years of marriage, and then worry about the tobacco. I tried to explain how the more she loves him and embraces his grumpiness, the less his 6am-crank-face will offend her. Just like my 1-year-seasoned-wife self from poker night, she was absolutely not open to any of it. How could love and tenderness and compassion be the wrong answer? How could I have not seen all of this back then? Selfishness. That’s the answer right there. I wish I could go back in time and flick 19-year-old Me in the nose and say,
“Shut up, you stupid, selfish, and whiny girl,” and then walk away into the time portal, flashing a peace sign.
Activity #40: Homemade Butter and a “Nutel-latte”
For the past couple of months, I’ve been getting raw milk from a farmer down the street. I get it on a weekly rotation, in glass jars. Cole made butter in his class this week, and I remember doing it as a kid with a container of heavy whipping cream, so I thought…I wonder if I can do it with the cream that rises to the top of the raw milk? Well, I tried it, because I tend to do that sort of thing, and it worked! I can’t wait to get my weekly milk tomorrow and make more! I hope I don’t ever have to go back!
1.) Let the milk sit in the fridge for a day to let the cream rise to the top.
2.) Scoop the cream out, carefully, and put it into a blender or food processor.
3) Blend until chunky on the sides and bottom of blender.
4.) Pour out the buttermilk. (I used mine for pancakes the next morning)
5.) Using a wooden spoon, break up and smash the butter to get all of the buttermilk out.
6.) Pour ice-cold water over the butter, and continue working with the wooden spoon to break up and “wash” the butter. Do this a lot until the water is running clear. If you leave buttermilk in it, the butter will spoil from the milk.
7.) Add a few sprinkles of salt, and work it into the butter.
8.) Store in a closed container in the fridge.