Having Fun

Making time to do something fun with your partner.

When my husband and I were first married, we did things together all the time. We shot pool, went to restaurants, played cards and Rummikub and Scrabble and Jeopardy. As the years marched on, Kwame went to nursing school, I took on more responsibility at my job, and then we had two babies within 15 months of each other. We had moments together instead of hours, and it was a rare occasion that we might pull out a deck of cards or a board game; we rarely made it out of the house.

The issue we faced, as the days got fuller, was not having friend time. We held it down at home, each of us working to get bills paid, make meals, keep laundry going. We held it down at parenting, scheduling appointments, reading books, potty-training, homework. We also took care of the basic needs of our relationship. But we let our friendship turn into a partnership- and that was bad.

About three years ago, I was reading on the couch while Kwame watched football, wishing he would turn the tv off and ask me to do something. Through the fog of my discontent I realized something with total clarity- I didn’t need him to make the first move! I was expecting him to come up with an idea to make space for friendship, when I was just as capable of producing a great idea.

I had an instant idea- fantasy football- but I was intimidated by the idea. I knew the league was about to have their draft, that they already had an even number of participants, and that they were all guys. Oh yeah, and I didn’t know anything about football. But in the way we are sometimes given a gift of certainty, I knew this was the perfect idea, and I had to at least try. After all, Kwame played fantasy football every year, and it would be something we could talk about, and a way we could compete (which is our love language)!

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Me beating the pants off Kwame

There was pushback to me joining the league that first year, because the league manager was certain it was just a way for Kwame to own 2 teams- his AND mine. But Kwame pushed, and I got in. I had expected that playing FF would only be a way to give my time to Kwame, sort of sacrificially, the way an amazing, unselfish wife might do. But it ended up being just as beneficial to me, giving me an outlet to learn something new, be fiercely competitive, and have enormous fun discussing football with my hubs.

This year marks the third I’ve played FF, and I have never regretted the time and energy I give it, because it is a great way of bonding with Kwame, and strangely satisfying for me.

 

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Kwame barely beating me by a measly 8.5 points

Sports-related activities don’t work for everyone, but there is always something that can be done to spend time together; it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Perhaps you and your partner agree to read the same book, which will lead to all kinds of conversation. Maybe you decide on a project to tackle together, your hands working in harmony to make or remodel something. Taking a hike, or throwing a frisbee, (or any number of out-doorsy activities), can be such a fun way to laugh and tease each other. All I know is that you don’t have to find something to do that you both love equally, because that isn’t always practical. But throwing yourself into an activity that your partner is excited about is a fantastic way of showing an interest that you might not have displayed in awhile. And it can provide so much life and laughter- especially when you beat the pants off them!

Project Halloween

I’m an introvert. If I followed my natural tendencies, I would do all my shopping online, see new movies only after they’d come out on DirecTv, and quit my job to become a professional reader, (if that’s not a thing, please don’t tell me).

After living half my life with the belief that I couldn’t/shouldn’t change this aspect of myself, I realized it was getting worse, and I needed to make changes for the sake of the life I want to live.

So I have pushed myself, just a little at a time, to be more social. Unfortunately, it is such slow progress that if I live to 100, I will still likely struggle. But hey, I wave to my neighbors at least 50 % of the time now, so…PROGRESS!

This year I am confronting one of my most feared social situations- Halloween. I mean, who likes people knocking on their door? And it’s happening at night, the guests often yell demands at you when you open the door, and then there’s our dogs…oh how the dogs love Halloween and all the doorbell ringing.

I decided to decorate for Halloween, with a few things inside, and enough outside festooning to indicate to all passerbys that the family inside is open for visitors. I set a budget of $30, because I am only working part-time while I go to school, loaded the troops, (my daughters and the neighbor friend), and set off for the Dollar Tree.

The Dollar Tree had a lot of cute things, so we bought:

* 5 orange styrofoam pumpkins
* a wire wreath
* black and wine-colored roses with eyeballs inside (my favorite- so weird but strangely pretty)
* 2 spider and 2 pumpkin votive candle holders
* a skull (Stella had to have it?!)
* a pack of matte black foam spiders, and a pack of sparkly foam spiders
* a pack of foam ghosts
* a pack of sparkly foam skulls
* 2 packs of googly eyes
* spiderwebs for the bushes outside
* 2 sparkly spiders the size of my hand
* sheer black ribbon with gold glitter spiderwebs
* clings for the windows
* rectangular sign that says, “The Fly By Night Club”, which is so cute I may keep up year-round

= Just under $33

When we got home, we cleared off the kitchen table, which is perpetually covered in clutter, and spread out a vinyl tablecloth we have that protects against the many spills that epicly happen. We decided to paint the styrofoam pumpkins first, so they could dry while we did other things, and then we would go back and bedazzle them. Halfway through the process, Miles came in from playing outside because his asthma was acting up, so he sat down and painted a pumpkin, and helped from that point.

After the pumpkins were painted and put on disposable plates to dry, the kids placed the window clings on our sliding glass doors in the kitchen, that lead to the backyard. Those had a problem adhering, but we swiped some water on the back, which fixed the problem.

Then we glued googly eyes to all the styrofoam spiders, ghosts, and skulls, and hole punched most of them so they could be hung up with string. We hung spiders from the tree in the front, and from the basketball net (which ended up terrifying our friend Emily later that night, so mission accomplished!), and hung the ghosts all along the perimeter of the roof that borders the porch. Once inside, we hung ghosts and skulls in the windows, and used Scotch tape to affix the sparkly spiders to the railing above the stairs. We dspiderraped the spiderweb netting all over the bushes in the front, which was the biggest pain, and I wasn’t super impressed with the effect, so I doubt I’ll buy that again.

Then I worked on the wreath, starting with wrapping the wire wreath frame with the black and gold ribbon. I pulled the roses off the stems, and hot glue-gunned them to the wreath. Lastly I bejeweled some spiders and glued those to the wreath too.

The final project was to decorate the pumpkins, and that was super fun. I made a face, because I’m so original, Kahlen (next-door neighbor) made a confetti pumpkin, Abigail decorated with pearls, Miles made a frowny face pumpkin, and Stella, who had the coolest ombre paint job left hers alone. Instead, Stella turned her attention to the skull she bought, painting it red, and sticking googly eyes into the eye sockets, and pearls where ears would be, to get a Frankenstein effect.

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The following two days after we got the outside decorated, it rained cats and dogs, and was ridiculously windy. The styrofoam pieces hung along the porch held up well, though, and it is clear from the sidewalk that we are taking this holiday seriously! To finish out my plan for pushing out of my comfort cave, I’ll work on a costume, and be ready to pass out candy, come October 31st!