Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh Cap'n, my Cap'n

Hello Cap'n Coupon.

Today is your 40th Birthday.  I got you lots of presents but I also thought I would take this opportunity to express myself.  Stop cringing.  I'm not going to say anything embarassing.  About you.  The truth is, I am very happy to be your wife.  Notwithstanding the fact that starting next week, I will lose all authority over the remote control whenever your stupid baseball team is playing. And I swear, they are always playing (and sadly for you, not winning so much).  In any case, here are a couple of reasons why I think you're totally bad-a$$ and awesome. 

Reason 1: I know that I have a bad case of HTBS (Hair Trigger "B" Syndrome). And so sometimes when you say "I'm so tired" or ask me a totally innocuous question ("Is yesterday's newspaper on top of that pile?"), I lose my schmidt ("What do you mean that pile?! Like there are just piles and piles of crap all over the place? OK, maybe there are. But you have no right to judge me because I'm bad at housework. I am trying to be a good mom and not have them watch TV and play the dang Wii all day and that means I can't keep this place as clean as I want and don't even bring up the laundry because I am working on it, OK?!").

And you just smirk at me, while looking at me over your glasses, until I hang my head and say something like: "Umm... That may not have been a proportional reaction. I am sorry. Yesterday's paper is on top of the pile closest to the blue chair."

Reason 2: I never sleep and what must be worse (for you) is that I never shut up about how tired I am. I know you're tired, too. You work harder than anyone I've ever met. You never stop working (at your job or at home). But you're still not as tired as me.  You never really get any down time or a day off.  I know that you love to sleep in and that it stinks that you only get to do that maybe once every three months. What you don't know is how much I appreciate the fact that on Saturday mornings you let me catch up on my sleep and you wake up early with the kiddos and make a 900,000 calorie breakfast of awesomeness (with fresh coffee) and that is what I wake up to. At 11:00 am. 

Reason 3: I took a good look at you the other day and even though you are full-on salt and pepper (and the salt is winning)... Damn. You look like Cary Grant. You were cute as anything the day I met you, when I checked your ID to make sure you were 21 - but you look better now. 

(Quick sidebar - I was his waitress in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1995.  And maybe I looked veeerrrryyy carefully at his ID to find out, possibly his name or phone number.  Maybe.  But I did NOT pick him up in a bar, which is what he likes to tell people).

And the crazy part? You still love me. And it's fifteen (very unkind, female) years and three kids later. Female years involve scary things like aging and pounds and stretching abdominal skin like it's taffy.  There's probably some physics lab in Nevada that has figured it out into dog years divided by the gross national product times how many scales are in our house or something and the point is, I am so lucky.  LUCKY.

Reason 4: Even though you were extremely worried about our family's privacy - and seriously questioned my sanity - when I started writing this blog with Kate, there is no one who could be more supportive, honest and - let's face it - awesome. And those of you who think my posts are funny? A lot of it is due to the Cap'n. His suggestions and one-liners and edits make my posts.

Dude, you are the funniest, cleverest, wittiest person I have ever met. Please remember I said that the next time I succumb to HTBS or you come home to a scene of total chaos resembling what might happen if the monkeys were allowed to take over the zoo, complete with throwing brown matter at each other. Something which, I imagine, will happen in about 6 minutes... it's been a long day.

Reason 5: You are so old school. [Editor's Note: And, definitely NOT in the Will Ferrell running-naked-through-the-city "Old School" -- more like wearing-a-suit-and-tie-to-dinner-at-home old school.  So, just ever so slightly different. Sometimes I'm sad when he shows up to church and he's not wearing a fedora. Not that he ever has, but, I'm thinking he should. - Kate] And so awesome. I thought men like you only existed in movies and in the distant past. Sometimes I wonder if you're actually a TV dad. Then you accuse me of intentionally losing my last year's W-2 right before tax time or hiding your yellow tie where you can't find it and I think, "No. He's real".

Other men, when they turn 40, go to Las Vegas to party or to the Porsche dealership to have that lil' crisis (or just window shop for the lil' crisis -- you know, the economy and all). Not you. No no no. You can't wait to go to your Grandfather's farm - to clean and garden and scrub and work. Because, would John Wayne want to go to Vegas? No. He would go split wood and work the land. The only ones more excited than you? Our kids and the dog. All I hear about it is: "Farm! Farm! Farmitty Farm!" Other wives get European vacations. I get Cultural Revolution-style, Back to the Land, Blister Camp.  But I love it, because it means I'm your wife.

Reason Six: I know that the whole Cap'n Coupon thing has become kind of a punchline. But the truth is that you did not really become a crazy person about money until two things happened: I quit my job and my little sister moved in with us.

You totally supported my choice to quit my job. After two years of negotiating the nightmare of multiple day care providers, none of us could take it anymore. So I stopped getting paid. And then handing over my entire paycheck to the babysitter, who would them smile and hand me one of our children who had just acquired another charming strep infection or stomach bug.  I do not miss day care.

And it was you who said that my little sister needed to come live with us after breast cancer took her mom. And you were a father and big brother and confidant and driving instructor* to her. And the last thing must have been terrifying.

*The Cap'n taught Lucy to drive in character. He played a driving instructor named Field Marshal Randal Mantooth, who thought the track suit mimicked formal wear.  The Cap'n said the acting was involuntary and the only way to stifle the urge to flee - or vomit - as Lucy was destined to wreck whatever she was driving. And yes, she ended up totaling two cars in less than one calendar year, including an acrobatic car flip deserving of a medal.

And teenagers are really (f**ing) expensive and they eat a lot. (I still don't understand how she could consume 3 Dr. Peppers, an entire box of triscuits and a brick of cheddar as an after school snack and then two plates of pasta an hour later and still fit into skinny jeans that really ought to be called tights).

It meant you had to work extra hard, and brown-bag lunch, and cut coupons to provide for all six of us so that she she could save every penny of her survivor benefits to pay for a car and college.  And she made it to college, because of your support, encouragement, and Fred MacMurray-style lectures.

And this makes you unlike any man I have ever known. Because where I come from, men leave. And when they stay, they're often selfish jerks. And everyone, really, only cares about themselves. And you always do what's right, even when it's hard and sometimes awful, and it means you have to sacrifice what you want for what's best. And everyone in your family (and half of those in mine) now look to you to be the grown up and the Man (when no one else can muster the cojones to take care of business). 

I see now that being a great daddy may be the only job in the world harder than being a good mommy. Because it sometimes seems like the world is chock full 'o' d-bags... but men like you? One in a million.

Happy Birthday, Cap'n.  I Love you.

xo, Lydia

ps: Kate got you a Fedora. Wear it on Sunday or face her wrath.

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