Monday, May 31, 2010

Be back in your lover's arms immediately

I have to be honest. On many occasions I have missed Tom to the point of wanting to make poor choices about the continuation of my heart beat. Unfortunately, the repressed Catholicism in me has strenuously objected assuring me that if I decide when to see Tom again I certainly will not see him again ever.

As this delves into a level of spirituality, myth, and psychoanalysis I am not equipped to deal with at this time I have taken no action. However, the universe has interceded!

On a recent visit to Home Depot this was left on my car.

For only $10 all my problems will be solved. I will be reunited with my lover permanently. I'll let you know how it works out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The wisdom of Marge Simpson

Marriage is a beautiful thing. But it's also a battle for moral supremacy.

- Marge Simpson

When I first read this quote it seemed to be to be dead on. Moral supremacy could be defined as having the highest principles or rules of right conduct or the most authoritative distinction between right and wrong; ethical. When a husband a wife are pitted against each other for this distinction a very strong irony surfaces.

But in spite of that I wondered if somewhere in the history of our relationship were Tom and I in this compeition? Like most people we want to be right. Well actually ...

I want to be right.
Tom wants to right.
Unless we were being insulted as a couple (and I don't think that ever happened) "we" never had a need to be right. Like most people Tom wants to be right and I want to be right.

A few months ago I read the phrase "When you are right you are only right." I love that sentence. While there are some things that really count and it is important to have an opinion and make sure the other person accepts that opinion (Car is stuck on a train track and a train is coming. It is pretty imperative your passenger accepts your opinion that getting out the car fast is critical). But most of the time, being right really does not matter.

Who cares if they like your idea to use a pulley? Who cares if the wood you left for the trash is under the allowable length and they still did not take it? Who really cares if you asked for three pumps and they gave you four?

It is a lot easier and less painful to let the conversation or event go. The earth will not stop moving.

Now I am not advocating always rolling over, or giving up, or letting someone get away with lying or cheating or always being lazy. But rarely in conversations where one is hell-bent to be "right" does the other person suddenly cheerfully smile and suddenly remember it is all their fault.

Usually nothing good comes from being right in the small stuff.

It was my nature to be right. To win, to get the wrong person to admit defeat, guilt, and be remorseful. Which is fair (of course) because I was right.

Tom taught me through his actions, in retrospect, that a lot of times it was ok to walk away from the disagreement. Not always. But sometimes. Tom made sure we never fell into a competition of moral supremacy. We both just tried to do the right thing and respect each other in the process.

Tonight I will go home with no one to call my bluff, to aggressively counter my opinions, or to happily agree that I am right. I guess some things never change.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tom helping Theresa

Tom and I had this weird relationship as it related to helping each other with really big stuff. By big stuff I mean running a marathon or a 50 miler ... or climbing a 19,000 foot mountain.

Generally speaking, I welcome help. I need it alot. I have run almost 40 races marathons or longer and I'll bet in 35 of them I needed help or encouragement in a serious way. Usually it was from Tom. I would be running and running and decide it was just too hard. I would promise myself I could quit next time I saw Tom sagging for me. And I would see him and I would try and quit and he would somehow talk me into running a bit longer. And then I would finish.

On the other hand if Tom was having a bad run or a bad training session and I tired to encourage him things went to shit in a hurry. Some of our best running "discussions" ended with him firmly but politely telling me to leave him alone and run ahead. I never figured out how to inspire him when he was down.

One the best times he ever kept me going was climbing Kilimanjaro. In truth, I trained harder, I was more fit, and I climbed that mountain strong and fast and happy. Tom's experience was slower, more painful and not as joyful. The same held true on summit day (we started climbing at 11 pm). Tom was tired and slow and I could not inspire him. He slogged along.

When the sun comes up you are supposed to be at the summit. We were not. We were a SERIOUS scree hill and a one mile path from the top. We sat down to watch the sun come up and when I sat I dropped my pole and it rolled a little ways away. At that point I can distinctly remember deciding I had climbed far enough and it was a bummer that the pole was so far away that I would not even try to retrieve it. I was smiling in the picture because I was planning on heading down. I was done. After miles and miles of happy trekking, I quit.

As you can expect, Tom struggled to his feet, picked up my pole, and managed to talk me into continuing. We summitted together.

When we started down Tom was moving slowwwww. Full of love and respect I encouraged him. With love and respect he told me to go ahead. I had no intention of leaving him (even with his guide). He stated firmly that me staying was not optional. We kissed goodbye and I saw him hours later in our tent.

I remain so grateful for the many races he helped me complete.
And I am even more grateful that he finally let me help him. I got to encourage him finish his final miles.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Sometimes I feel like I am the sound of one hand clapping.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

French Fries

Tonight I was driving home after a long day. I was hungry and tired and as usual had no food at home. It was also a day of much, very much, thinking about Tom.

All elements, tired, sad, hungry, no food plan meant only one option: MacDonald's. And even worse, it meant Big Mac and medium fries. As I was driving home food in hand I realized that NEVER until I met Tom did I eat fries in my house. We ate plenty at home during my decades with Tom, but since he died I have reverted to never eating fries at home again.

"Revert"? Interesting word choice. That is because the reason I don't eat fries at home is because I inhale them about 12 seconds after I get them from the drive through. No idea why I ask for ketchup because the only thing left of the fries when I get home is the grease on my fingers. And to be clear: even the fries that fell out in the bottom of the bag were gone. Tonight as I drove home, all fries gone before I turned in my neighborhood I remembered how Tom had such a strong feeling that it was improper to eat fries on the way home.

Sometimes I got lucky and could sneak a few fries if he ran in to get a lottery ticket but otherwise I was hosed until we got home, sat down, poured some water, and unpacked.

Today, months and months later, I have firmly decided that fat tastes good, and hotter fat tastes better than cooler fat. If you can drive safely and eat your fries, nod to Heaven and tell Tom I said it was ok. My guess is he won't argue with you.