Lust, Love & Jellybeans

Oh how I love Modern Family! In the most recent episode (*SPOILER ALERT*), Claire and Phil (the mom and dad) are caught in a compromising position (doing it doggy-style) when the kids try to surprise them with an anniversary breakfast in bed.

Which got me to thinking, right after I got engaged to my husband, some idiot said to us, “Congratulations! Did you know that if you put a jellybean into a jar every time you have sex in the first year of your relationship, and take one jellybean out of the jar every time you have sex after the first year, you will die with jellybeans left in the jar?”

Rendered speechless of a witty comeback, we laughed him off nervously, wondering what kind of jerk would say that to a newly engaged couple? Suddenly, my engagement ring felt too tight and I was beginning to look at marriage as a 5-10 year investment. But mad (read: young and foolish) fools we were, we got married anyways. We were going to prove him wrong. It was easy to believe that we could in those days, we were like bunnies then, all it took was a french kiss to get us all hot and heavy. We did it twice daily, at least (!) and we did it everywhere – in the back seat of cars (sorry Dad!), on hikes in the great outdoors, in airport washrooms, in airplane washrooms, in darkened movie theatres, even while driving (sorry everyone!)

Fast forward 3 years and a baby later, we had a 9 month drought (3 pre- and 6 post-baby). After the baby, it took a lot more than a well-intentioned kiss to convince me to drop my drawers. A cesarian scar, the sad realization that my stretch marks were permanent, and the emotional funk that can sometimes accompany the metamorphosis from a woman to a mom, pushed sex right out of my mind. And I would have forgotten about the jellybean comment forever, except for the fact that a friend warned me that as a wife, I needed to give my husband “just a little more sex than he actually needs” to keep him from straying, jiggly belly be damned. But I was a reluctant lover, and beginning to wonder if that idiot was actually right.

Fast forward 5 years and 2 more babies, I quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom, trading my MBA and my consulting career for the good of our children. Making organic purees, organizing play dates, ensuring developmental milestones were met, updating their baby books with precious memories, took precedence over me, my husband and the sack. I’m sure those jellybeans were downright dusty by this point. I was too run down to conjure up a lustful response to a wishful poke in the night so I started to go to bed later and later, long after my early rising husband was sawing logs, too tired to care that he was probably dreaming about show girls. When my husband started to hang out more with his single office mates late into the night, I began to wonder if this was the beginning of the end. I asked my mom, the veteran of a 40+ year marriage, how she made it work with Dad with 5 kids (even though I thought they should have divorced at least twice). She said simply, I think, “your Dad always needed sex.” I say that I think she said this, because she was speaking in Korean at the time and I may have temporarily blanked out at the mental image of my almost 70 year old parents doing it, and doing it more often than me. I doubted that she’d ever heard about the jellybean statistic.

Fast forward to the summer of my 39th year. During a routine hysterectomy, I contracted e-coli unbeknownst to the doctors. For the next 8 days my blood brewed up a big batch of peritonitis, which can be fatal without prompt treatment. My husband and kids came home with a Slurpee for me and found me semi-conscious on the bathroom floor. Over the next 4 days at the hospital, I not only rid my body of the e-coli, but also my pregnancy pounds. Friends told me I looked fantastic, which is really very terrible to say to someone who nearly died, but it was true. Madonna, bless her 50 year old heart (and rock hard abs) inspired me to believe that with this little unintended head-start, I could bring sexy back (well, I guess I should thank Justin Timberlake also). I mean what was I saving my body for anyways? Definitely not for science. Both my husband and I started going to the gym, we got a personal trainer, joined numerous boot camps, ran a couple of half marathons, tried out a home delivery food service, and while my weight stayed (mostly) down, my libido went up, and the rest as they say, is history. As we find ourselves somewhere in our 18th year together, by my calculations, at our current pace we should empty that jellybean jar in about 5 more years. As I’m sure, will Phil and Claire.

That guy was obviously a ding dong. Here’s hoping we all enjoy a jelly bean tonight!

Love Lucie

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For better or for worse

What do you do when your spouse shouts or swears at you? Do you shout back or do you cower? Do you flip him/her the bird or do you calmly ask, “why are you shouting at me?” Do you head for the guest room or pack your bags??

What if you started it?

Not by shouting or swearing, but by ignoring, withholding, and generally being pissy. We all have those days, don’t we? And apparently those days can impact other people. How do you hold a relationship together, when really, being on your own seems so much easier than saying sorry.

And lonelier.

Are two people really meant to co-exist in the same space? For all eternity? The Yogi Osho certainly didn’t believe so. About half of my friends are either divorced, separated or weighing their options. It’s actually reached epidemic proportions. Did you hear about that 80 year old lady that woke up from a life-saving operation, took one look at her 80+ year old husband and said, “Look, I may not have many years left, but I’m sure as hell not spending them with you.” Ouch.

For better or for worse. It’s in our vows, but I don’t think that I really understood the “worse” part when I said “I do.” 13 years later, I know that “for worse” is tough. For worse can quickly seem like life without parole, which is probably why so many people make a run for it. But getting back to better from worse, is tough work too, especially if your partner is not so quick to forgive and forget. Luckily for me and my husband, I have a terrible memory.

Love Lucie

In sickness and in health

I’m sick.  I have sweat pooling in my bra and goosebumps decorating my arm.  I’ve been lying on the heated bathroom floor under a quilt for the past 2 hours and now smell like a locker room, part Mr. Clean, part sweat and body oils.  I wince when I have to swallow my own saliva and am feeling utterly unlovable. 

Why did this happen to me?  A birthday party at the local giant jungle gym brought on the initial runny nose and ticklish throat, despite repeated dousing in hand-sanitizer, which snowballed into my present state on the bathroom floor.  My husband and kids are avoiding me (sure, save yourselves) and my self-pitying mind screams whatever happened to “for better or for worse?  In sickness and in health?”

Two Advil Cold and Sinus later, I’m in a much better state of mind.  The hyperhydrosis has subsided, goosebumps again flattened and my thoughts are softer, gentler and even look with promise towards the future.

Must buy more Advil!

Love Lucie  

You don’t bring me flowers

My husband never buys me flowers for Valentines Day, because “it’s too expected.”  So what then, you might ask, do I get for Valentines? 

When I look back at our 13 or 15 Valentine Days together (1994-1995 were on-again, off-again years) very little in the way of gifts that wow come to mind: dinners out at tables for two so jammed together, we were rubbing elbows with the couples beside us; being serenaded by cheesy troubadours schlepping songs and “roses for the lady”; flowers sometimes, and more rarely roses.  Oh, I did get that black corset from Agent Provocateur one year.  And we did get engaged twelve Februaries ago.  Definitely some wow years, and some that were just…whatever. 

The only expectation through the Valentines in my house is really good sex, even on a tummy full of pasta and red wine.  But if it’s expected, can you still call it a gift?  

Only if it starts with a full body massage…

Love Lucie