The Search for Evening Activities

When Adam and I first met, the immediate reaction I had was to his energy. As someone who has so much energy that I selected a business name with “Manic” in it, that’s a big deal. What we soon realized though was that our energies were very different, but that’s ok, we’re still more in sync with each other than we’ve been with people before, so we work with that. But sometimes it’s a bit trickier.

My energy is slow burning and long. Think marathon running. As much as you’d assume with the manic in the business name and all, that I have a crazed spiking energy, I don’t at all, but I also don’t crash. As long as I get enough sleep, I can work 16+ hour days for weeks and just go go go. Adam is more of a sprinter. We joke that he has the same energy make up as our rat terriers, he goes really hard, and then has to nap. The harder he goes, the more napping. Sometimes if he has been skate boarding, working and socializing for too many days in a row without down time, he can stay on the couch for days. Quietly watching movies, playing games and sleeping. Constant quiet time is his reset and really essential to his mental health. So quiet evenings are something I encourage he do often so he doesn’t get to the shut down phase of days and days of it.

You can therefore imagine that a typical evening if he worked days (being in hospitality, Adam’s schedule is all over the place, but recently has had him home most days by 6pm), would have him lying on the couch ready for a movie by 8pm or so. I on the other hand, am just getting home from kickboxing, starving and wanting nothing more than to grab a quick shower, eat and most nights head back into the studio. I do jewelry production at night and try to schedule these for when Adam closes or has plans, but even on non production nights, I enjoy being in there working after 8pm if I can. A couple of night week though, we want to actually hang out together. This is where our energy levels are the most conflicted.

Last year I decided that besides being on for background noise at night in the studio, I am over tv. I despise sitting on the couch in a dark room with a movie or show on. There are so many things I want to accomplish in my life and none of them will get done in front of the tv. So I refuse to watch it and if Adam wants to watch a movie, I go work in my studio. So the nights he wants to hang out with me, he thinks that sitting in the living room together watching a movie is ideal. He gets to lie on the couch, and I’m near him.

I do not at all want to do this though and argue that silently sitting on different couches is not really spending time together. But then we’re left figuring out what to do instead. We don’t have much time to spend together each day, so I like to do things where we get to talk to one another. With how my energy works, if I’m not working, I’d prefer to be out doing and/or seeing things. But Adam goes into sprint mode during the day and rarely wants to do anything out and about after 7pm. To compromise, I’ll usually read in the living room, while Adam plays video games or with his phone. But sometimes we both want an activity besides going out to dinner where we can talk and have fun.

Last night we once again were faced with this dilemma at 8 or 9 pm. It was the end of the day, we had about 2 hours left in us before we were ready to wind down, and Adam was actually raring to go. What are we supposed to do together during these hours? I thought about going to the trampoline park, but due to Adam and the way his energy works, if he gets would up that late, he has trouble sleeping, so I don’t think that is the solution. We ended up playing Scrabble, but need more options as there is only much scrabble I’m willing to play.

In the summer we go swimming or walk the dogs, but even these need to be done before 8 as they are more enjoyed by light. I keep racking my brain for things that do not involve food, alcohol, spending too much money and can be done between 8pm and 10pm. I’m pretty sure that most of my friends who have little kids are in the middle of the night time routine, but I’d love to hear the things you all do!

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Time for Two

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We were talking to friends of ours with kids recently about date nights and we all joked that when you’re married without kids, its always date night. Unfortunately, it also means that you probably take it for granted. We of course enjoy the occasional, get dressed up and make a night of dinner out, but it happens as rarely for us as probably does people with kids. Much of the reason is due to Adam being in hospitality and my being self employed, so most nights we don’t see each other at all. It’s funny, I can always tell when it’s been too long since we’ve had a good dose of together time because Adam gets clingy and wants my attention constantly and I go the opposite route and retreat further into an island of one. To try and avoid this, on the nights we are home together we always eat at the dining room table, but it’s not a long meal and we’re both guilty of being on social media much of dinner as it’s rare downtime for both of us. We used to have these quick, under an hour dessert dates but once I gave up sugar, we were sort of at a loss about what should replace those mini dates. After we moved we came up with the idea to fit in an activity in the evening together. If it’s nice out and we’re both home, we go to the pool or walk the dogs. It’s actually better than eating together as we actually talk to each other without phones or food in the way and we are both happier when active. The days when the evenings are full are more the problem. If Adam is home, I’m working and not always able to just drop everything to hang out. We sometimes try to squeeze in a lunch, but it’s tough. I’m hoping that when the weather cools down (and it’s not raining, we seem to have one or the other this year!) we can fit in more day walks with the dogs. What do you do to spend one on one time with your significant other? We’re always on the lookout for fun things to do that do not involve eating, alcohol or kids where we can actually talk to each other. It’s harder than you think to find them!

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Celebrating Sobriety

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Today we are celebrating that my husband, Adam, is 4 years sober. It’s amazing accomplishment and I am incredibly proud of him. Such a wonderful milestone and I couldn’t be prouder!

In the back of my mind, I have wondered if I should blog more about what it is like to be married to an addict in recovery. At first I instinctively pulled back as I was afraid I would jinx it. But as time has gone by, I understand the importance of sharing experiences with addiction and sobriety and making it something that can be talked about. In my own life, the first year of my relationship with my husband took a nightmare-ish turn and the result thankfully was sobriety that has continued through our marriage. I felt incredibly isolated and alone that year. A few months ago I started wondering about how many other women were feeling that same way. So I opened up and posted a bit about what it is like to be married to an addict on facebook and was contacted by so many women that I realized it was time to speak up in a more public way. Today is the first day I have done so, but this will be a topic I will be writing about more often as time goes on and I feel more comfortable doing so. If you are in this situation and need to talk, vent, share or cry, please reach to me at anytime. You can contact me through any of the black icons or email.

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Divide and Conquer – how do you decide who does what in a relationship?

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Earlier today I had to laugh when there was a situation involving restaurant reservation making. I found myself getting all annoyed at having to log onto open table (so hard, I know!). While I muttered under my breath about Adam asking me to do his job, I thought once again about why in our marriage, we have very specific tasks that we each take care of. These are based on both skill and preference, as I certainty am capable of making reservations, I just for some reason really don’t like to, which is similar to Adam with laundry. Do you have assigned roles in your relationship with your partner (as in the love kind, not the business kind)?

A few weeks after Adam and I eloped, we moved from my apartment into which he had sort of moved, but not really, into a house new to both of us. The changes of both our marital status and living situation brought up new issues, mostly being who was responsible for what. Every relationship is unique like a snowflake and in our unique partnership, we both work and chose to not have children. However, there immediately were a few issues that we had to iron out as it seemed hard to get away from the “traditional” roles in who does what. For example, as I work from a studio in my home, it was assumed on Adam’s part that I would therefore do all of the “house keeping” chores. This did not sit well with me. Even with the help of someone who came in and cleaned every other week, there was still a good deal of upkeep that I did not have time to be doing while my work day was going on. Things like this has to be figured out over time and caused a good deal of yelling until we figured out a realistic plan of who does what. We also realized some interesting things such as having a cleaning person being in our house for 6 hours every Saturday was more annoying than sharing that work and doing it ourselves in a quarter of the time. As time went on, we started to divide tasks more and more, and sometimes sub divided (cleaning the house) tasks until we reached a point where we were pretty happy.

At the moment this is how we divide everything:

Sierra:
Cooking
Kitchen Cleanliness
Laundry
Grocery Shopping and Household Basics (for clothes for either of us, we actually go together which is both so dorky and sweet)
Schedules (for both of us, including travel)
Finances (if it involves money, it goes through me)
Dog Care (I organize it all and Adam does what I ask to help, which ends up being a bit less then half)
Personal Car Maintenance
Decorating
Dusting
Electronics/Technology (fixing, plugging in, trouble shooting, Adam just pushes it all towards me)
Anything involving wood, paint or floors
Keeping every single thing in the house/garage organized and in it’s place at all times (which oddly is not something that seems task like to me, its really more like breathing)

Adam:
Vacuuming
Cleaning Bathrooms
Washing Cars/Motorcycle
Personal Car/Motorcycle Maintenance (the motorcycle part could be a full time job)
Lawn Care
Gardening
Outdoor Holiday Decor (it’s a very big deal to him)
Plumbing (mild situations, we call for help if it’s possible he could make it worse, not better)
Anything involving the outside of the house
Garbage and Recycling Duty
Washes dishes after meals we eat together (for some reason we never use the dishwasher)
Communications (this one is HUGE. It’s equal in size to my handling our finances. It covers talking to any and all house related people such as repairs, lawn guys, if the internet goes out (unless I’m home alone) and people, making all dinner reservations, getting to know and being nice to the neighbors, making sure we are in touch with friends and family and on and on.)

It’s a pretty good divide and we seem to be doing well with this split. I wonder how much the assignment of chores has changed in the past few decades. Even though through history, besides for a few short decades in the US around the 1950’s, the majority of women have also worked, yet the bulk of the child care and house keeping used to fall mostly on them. Has this finally changed over time? Oddly we are also one of the few countries who does not have help in the home in the form of a cook and or house keeper regardless of class. The distribution of household tasks has always been a subject that fascinated me!

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Dueling Schedules

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A rare evening when neither one of us is working.

Being self employed and having my studio at home makes it so I can have a pretty flexible schedule, however the flexibility factor has been being put to the test recently and everything is failing. You see, Adam now has a schedule that is typical to restaurant management and is all over the place. Neither of us are functioning very well with it. It took Adam a month to be able to do anything besides sleep in the hours that he’s not at work and by trying to go along with when his routine, I was loosing my mind. You see, I love a good schedule. It helps keep my head clear and the blues away. Adam also like a good schedule, but he has no choice…I however do. Somedays he has to be at work at 7am, some days 4pm and some days in between. Some night he gets home as late as 3am. When he gets home, the dogs go crazy and jump on my head and bark and as Adam is all amped up from work, he adds to the chaos and I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Being a night owl anyway, the obvious choice was for me to work until 1 or 2am, so I’m up when he gets home. The problem is that on the days his schedule is the opposite of this, we don’t see each other as he goes to bed by 11pm and I am still wide awake. Honestly, it’s better than when I was trying to mimic his schedule, as Adam loves naps, he was making up for lost sleep, I was however just working through the longer days and exhausting myself. Mimicing his crazy schedule is not the answer. So what we’re doing seems to be the best option at the moment for us though. It’s just hard to get used to.

Do you have the opposite schedule as your spouse? How do you deal with it? Any tips for making sure you still get in a bit of face time each day?

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A Night Owl Sharing A Bed With A Morning Lark

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I love being in the studio late into the night. Its quiet, there are no emails, texts or phone calls coming in after about 11pm and as its dark out there’s a cozy feeling in the room. I have been a night owl since before I can remember. I have never wanted to go to bed. Not because I think I’ll miss out on anything, simply because my brain works better late at night. I’m at my sharpest, work comes easier and I can focus the best from about 9pm until about 2am. When I do finally force myself go to bed, I still can’t go to sleep but read for an hour or two. Only when I have been working really, really hard, such as working on a huge deadline for orders do I fall asleep quickly. As you would assume, I don’t think I have ever woken up and jumped out of bed all excited to go. I drag myself out of bed. After I read emails and check in with social media for a while. Which is after I have hit snooze 10 times…and then just shut off the alarm clock and gone back to sleep.

When I first met Adam, we were both under the impression that he too was a night owl. Then we got engaged and moved in together and we saw how different our natural rhythms were, we realized that was false. The biggest difference is that at 1am, I want to talk about all of the big things. Plans, money, worries…you name it, my mind is ready to discuss, solve and make some lists. Adam not so much. He gets really stressed out when I do this. On the other hand, 8am rolls around and Adam jumps out of bed if he has not done so already at 7am and wants to talk about all of the things, he feels that the time to start the day is NOW and runs out the door to tackle his to do list. I am still sleeping with a pillow over my head until he shuts up and leaves already. When I do finally force myself to get up, it is to get a cup of coffee and read blogs until my brain can process that it needs to function.

There have been some struggles with these difference as we like to go to bed at the same time, but we have some pretty good compromises going:

1. I promise to not talk about big issues after midnight and Adam is not allowed to whistle from midnight to noon.

2. I leave the studio at midnight to have an hour of wind down time in the living room before bed, which we try to go to by 1am, 2am at the latest.

3. Adam is a watch tv in bed while he falls asleep type and I am a read in bed in complete silence in order to be able to sleep type so he watches tv on his phone in bed with headphones while I read.

4. I am trying to get up by 10 every day, and on the mornings he’s still home when I wake up, Adam is trying to not come into the bedroom and ask me when I am getting up every ten minutes.

Do you share a bed with the opposite of you? How do you deal it?

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The rarity of a 63rd wedding anniversary for my generation

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My paternal grand parents celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this week. That’s them in the photos above with their parents, on January 20th, 63 years ago. I find this to be wonderfully amazing for so many reasons…mostly because as my generation grows older, I don’t think many of us will see this milestone, forget about experience it. For a generation of so many who waited until their 30’s to wed, or like myself, who divorced and then remarried in their mid 30’s, it will be pretty hard to see a 63rd anniversary. I’m feeling pretty lucky though as not only were all three of my great-grandparents still alive and well when I was a kid, but my grand parents are two of the most active seniors I know.  My grandfather (with a few bionic body parts) still walks miles a day and both are sharp as a tack. This gives me hope that maybe Adam and I have a chance of getting close.

As I know that my grand mother will read this…I hope you had a wonderful anniversary Ga & Pa, thank you for being such wonderful role models, I love you!

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Pursuing dreams and all that crap

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I have watched reruns of Friends too many times. I’ll even go as far to admit that I have the entire series on DVD and have watched it a minimum of 6 times all the way through. As you can imagine, I therefore have the ability to almost always draw a parallel to something on the show with what is going on in my current life and quote it. I do this in my own head most of the time as I seem to not know many people who watched the show as much as I have in the last 5 years. Perhaps some things should not be admitted on the internet. At the moment, I am relating pretty hard to Monica and Chandler when he decided (for the last time) that he was not fulfilled as a data processor. So anyway, I like Monica work everyday doing exactly what I want to do and Adam, just like Chandler… not so much. As someone who is living their dream, its tough to not encourage those around me to pursue theirs as well. Watching the person I share my life with work to live and not feeling fulfilled at all has been discouraging, and I often wondered if it was something that secretly gnawed at him from deep inside (just like Chandler! ok last one, I promise).

A few weeks ago,  after a series of events happened that made the working to live aspect fail, we discussed a change. There was opportunity to walk away (slightly battered and bruised) and start over on a path to work that was fulfilling. As with most in this situation, there is only a vague notion of what path to take…but thats part of the battle…and the fun. The downside is that in order to go down this path, we need to downsize…which means moving and adjusting our lifestyle. Really only a downside though in that I am starting to pack for a move August 1st. Ugh.

Being as I’m one of those freaky people who knew from a very young age what I wanted to be when I grew up, and did it, I’ve always been intrigued by those who have no idea what they want to do. I actually think I may be more excited to watch this process than Adam is. Either way, it’s always fun to embark on a new adventure together and this one is already looking to be quite a ride.  If you had the chance to start over with what you do would you? I’ve read that people these days have up to 6 careers in their lives. Not jobs, careers!

Here’s to following your heart…Wish us luck (and we’ll take empty boxes if you have them).

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