I’ll Never Show My Face There Again

I respect and love my husband, which is why I would never, ever purposefully embarrass him at his place of employment.

Accidentally (like this day)? Perhaps. But definitely never on purpose. No. We need his job.

I had a good streak going for the first 13 years of our relationship; I never bothered him at work, and I never showed up looking crazy, homicidal, or inappropriately dressed. We never made out in the parking lot. We kept it professional, even when we worked together.

However, this year, things have taken somewhat of a downhill turn. 2016 has been the worst. It started with me getting a major concussion and is apparently ending with me making a complete ass of myself every time I venture out into public.

The kids are on Thanksgiving Break, which means that I have all three of them at home all day, every day, until November 28. No, I’m not counting down the days until they go back to school, why do you ask? Is it the crazy look in my eyes, or the increasingly-high pitch of my voice?

Yesterday I had to take my 5-year-old to the dentist, which required a lot of arranging and re-arranging of childcare because the first rule of motherhood is that you don’t bring more than one kid at at time to the dentist. I was rushed and short on patience and time and after we were done, I went to Robbie’s office to pick up my oldest, who was there waiting.

I decided to leave my purse in the van, because frankly, I was sick of lugging it around. I helped Asher out and locked the doors. We made the long journey inside the building — and as a side note, today was their Thanksgiving feast, so all of the employees were milling around, because OF COURSE THEY WERE — and we walked to Robbie’s office where Maverick was sitting alone, playing on his Nintendo.

“Where’s your Daddy?”

No response.

“Maverick? Where’s Daddy?”

“Oh, hi. Uhhh … I don’t know where he is.”

“What do you mean?”

I looked around the office. Robbie’s sunglasses and keys were on his desk. It looked like he’d just been there, so where did he go? I stepped into the main part of the building to see if he was out talking to someone, but he was nowhere in sight. After waiting a few more minutes, I picked up the receiver of the phone on his desk and called his cell. It went to voicemail.

Briefly, I considered walking back to the van to get my phone to text him, but when I looked over at the boys — one who didn’t even notice we were there, and another who was busy stamping every single important document on the desk with a rubber signature stamp — I realized that I didn’t want to leave them together, alone, in the office. I also really didn’t want to bring them with me. After a few more moments, I decided that I didn’t have time for this shit and I asked his co-worker where he was. The co-worker, with a plateful of food in one hand and a fork in the other, shrugged.

I’d been there for 10 minutes and I was over it. I scrawled a note on an envelope telling him that I was taking Maverick and asking him to call me, and we headed out. As we walked by the men’s restroom, it dawned on me.

He was in the bathroom.

Now, I know it’s not entirely rational, but that made me irate. Who poops for 15 minutes? Who poops for 15 minutes at work? Clearly, he does this at home — but the fact that he gets to do it at work too?! THAT BULLSHIT SENT ME OVER THE EDGE.

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After he walked us out to the parking lot and helped load the kids into the car, and after I made sure the doors were closed so they couldn’t hear me, I turned to him and said the following in my big, strong, outside voice:

“What were you doing in there?”

“Pooping.”

“THAT WHOLE TIME?”

“Yes.”

“What else do you do?”

“I read and I poop.”

“That’s just not normal. Do you do that every day? If I worked with a man who disappeared into the bathroom for that long every day, I’d think he had a problem. I’D THINK HE WAS JERKING OFF OR SOMETHING. WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE IN THERE LOOKING AT PORN ON YOUR PHONE? WHAT IF YOUR CO-WORKERS THINK YOU’RE THE KIND OF MAN WHO WOULD JERK OFF AT WORK?”

I stopped talking when I noticed the stricken look on his face. He took a step toward me and said, very quietly, “There’s someone right behind you.”

And when I turned around, there was one of his co-workers, pretending not to hear me shouting about masturbation.

I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be showing my face there again anytime soon. I think it’s also safe to say that I won’t be invited to.

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The Female’s Guide To Living With A Hairy Man

I’m married to a very hairy man.

When we first met, the first thing I noticed was his impressive height.

Nice.

Next, I took note of his ass.

Hot.

The third thing I noticed was that it looked like he was a hairy guy, which I find endearing, but his arms were strangely devoid of hair.

Interesting.

As I continued to study him, it became apparent that he was shaving his forearm hair—but not every day—so there was always perma-stubble. Apparently before we met, some stupid girl told him that his hairy arms were gross and that he should shave them, and he actually listened to her. My first act as his girlfriend was to put a stop to that.

I don’t mind hairiness; I think it’s masculine. I particularly enjoy the Neanderthal-like experience of being picked up and hauled down the hall by a hairy beast who is grunting under the strain of carrying me. I like how he’s always warm, and grazing his fur relaxes me. Shut up. It does.

However, living with a hairy man also involves dealing with the care and maintenance of his allover fur. I’ve learned that belly button lint really is a thing. My husband tends to collect large amounts of lint in his belly button, which he eventually pulls out and…tosses to the floor. The balls of hair and lint roll around the house like tumbleweeds.

Our children shriek “WHAT IS THAT THING?!” and cling to me as I calmly stroke their heads and murmur, “Shhh, it’s okay. It’s just another wad of Daddy’s belly button lint.”

I find chest and arm hair stuck to babies who have been sleeping on Daddy’s chest. I silently pick it from their faces as these thoughts race through my head: It’s not his fault that he’s hairy. He doesn’t mean to shed on the children. Maybe it was a full moon last night. I shed all over the house, too—long, blonde hairs. Maybe I leave hair stuck to the baby, and I just don’t realize it. Does anyone else have this problem?! *&%$#%^&&^%!!!!!

Sometimes I find hair stuck to me after snuggling with him. There is always a lot of lint in the lint trap, and hair all over the bathroom sink and in the bathtub. These things are to be expected.

What I did not expect were the periodic manscaping mishaps. They’ve been rare, thankfully—but when they happen…they happen.

Recently, I was in our home office writing. I looked up to see him leaning around the doorway. I noticed he was shirtless, but didn’t give it any thought.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

We chatted for awhile before he sort of coughed and stepped all the way into view. “I need your help with something,” he said. I looked up and gave him my full attention.

“I was shaving my head, you know, like I normally do, and I was shaving my neck like this,” I watched as he mimicked the act, “and then, the razor got away from me, and well…this happened.” He turned around to show me his back.

I gasped.

It looked like he was wearing an off-the-shoulder shirt made of hair.

“The razor slipped, so I tried to even it out. Can you fix it?”

I sat in my chair, frozen with amazement and horror. I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t look away. There was absolutely no fixing this, unless he was willing to shave his entire body and just start over. I stared at the hair puffing from his upper arms like furry shoulder pads.

If I were to write a book titled The Female’s Guide to Living With A Hairy Man, it would be the shortest book known to man, comprising exactly one paragraph, which would state as follows:

Do not negotiate. Shave him down immediately. The end.

BEARD

© 2015 Harmony Hobbs, as first published on Scary Mommy.

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Taking Selfies To Another Level.

I HAVE SO MUCH TO TELL YOU GUYS … starting with the fact that when I went to the Blog U conference last weekend, Nickelodeon sent me home with a selfie stick.

More to come soon, but I mean, can I really top this? Probably not.

Enter: life-changing apparatus.

Enter: life-changing apparatus.

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Poop and Redemption

This is a story of poop and redemption.

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Our middle child is three, which means he is full of words and energy.

I was so excited to send him fishing with my dad and husband last weekend, for the simple reason that I needed a break from the words. There are so many of them, and he’ll throw in a “MOMMY” just often enough to keep me from completely tuning it out.

In my excitement, I threw a change of clothes and a few wet wipes in a backpack and ushered them out the door. I didn’t ask specifically where they were going. I didn’t pack them any food. There was no pomp and ceremony. I said here’s the backpack, don’t forget the sunscreen, kissed them both goodbye, and shut the door.

You see, when you are where I am in life, you don’t ask questions beyond what is absolutely essential. After almost seven years of constant interruption, Robbie and I have learned how to communicate in shorthand:

Hey.

Hey.

(Insert hand signals so the children don’t know that we are discussing going fishing on Grandpa’s boat.)

 Awesome.

Bathroom?

Yes.

Be careful.

Love you.

Love you.

Bye.

Five hours later, I got a text.

Our poor boy got diarrhea, in the boat, in the middle of a body of water. He NEVER gets diarrhea. What are the chances?!

During the second bout, Robbie was holding him over the side of the boat, because apparently that’s what had to happen, as our child simultaneously peed all over him and shat down the side of the watercraft. It was probably at this point that my husband hit rock bottom.

Meanwhile, my dad just kept fishing.

The moral of the story is that from this point forward, whenever I find myself on my hands and knees cleaning congealed oatmeal off the kitchen floor, thinking that today is the shittiest day EVER, I’ll remember the first time Robbie took our middle child fishing.

And then … I’ll feel better.

My Best Half.

My marriage is not perfect.

As much as I would love to think of myself as the perfect wife, I’m not. At all. I have high standards. I’m demanding. My expectations are lofty — not just of my husband, but also of my children.

Sometimes Robbie will tell me that he feels like nothing is ever good enough for me, and he’s right. Nothing is. I always want more, because I am a goal-oriented person. I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat who wants to climb because I enjoy it and I don’t have time for your whining or lollygagging so either get on board or get out of my way.

Yeah. That.

I expect my sons to open doors and say “yes ma’am” and carry their Fiestaware dishes to the sink. Yes, my kids eat on real dishes. I expect them to follow directions and behave in public and say “thank you” and “please” because manners get you farther in life than just being smart. I expect them to follow directions and I expect to be respected because I am their mother and I deserve it.

I expect my husband to be able to fix things and keep up with the yard and be emotionally present and provide for our family. I expect him to listen and communicate and deal with the kids at the end of the day when I just can’t anymore. I expect him to be serious and funny and my partner in all things.

I expect a lot.

My expectations can be difficult to live with, but I give a lot in return and I am more demanding of myself than I am of anyone else. It will be a lifelong process for me to inch slowly toward Robbie’s end of the spectrum, where nothing is a big deal, as he inches slowly towards my side, where everything is urgent. We are truly yin and yang, which on a good day means we bring out the best in each other … and on a bad day, I want to claw his eyes out.

He does things like buy me stress-relieving water. Want to know why I was stressed? Because he was taking too long in the store. I could see him in there, wandering around. What the hell is taking him so long?! We need to GO!

He was hunting for the perfect beverage for his wife, that’s what he was doing.

10801931_10155098744040508_622468002666916761_nSidenote: the water didn’t relieve my stress.

The thing about our relationship is the love that overarches all of the differences between us. I could have married someone else and been happy. Maybe. But I have never and will never love anyone like I love Robbie Hobbs, and that is the thing that grounds me in our marriage. That is the thing that makes everything else make sense.

And then, from time to time, Robbie does something startling that reminds me just how lucky I am.

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In the blogging world, there are conferences that writers attend to learn how to be a success — whether that means learning how to make money through blogging, or how to go from blogging to authoring an actual book. I kept hearing about one conference in particular, BlogU, that I really wanted to attend. It’s supposed to be the best, and I think we all know how I feel about things that are the best. Why waste time doing something that is only marginally passable, when I can aim for THE BEST?

So back to the conference, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy will be there. Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat will be there. A ton of writers I am obsessed with will be there. I wanted to go so badly, tears would well up every time I thought about it.

I talked about it for months. Robbie wanted me to go, but we just don’t have the money for a trip like that. The airfare alone was ridiculous, and we are a one-income family of five. I felt guilty for wanting to go, but I’m a mountain goat. I can’t help myself. I WANT TO CLIMB.

I began looking into corporate sponsorships and devised a plan of action. When I sat Robbie down and presented it to him, he was on board … but quiet. Finally he said, “I think this is a solid plan, but you don’t have enough time to make it happen. I just don’t want to see you stressing out over anything extra. I’m going to figure something out.”

Then he stood up, and he took action. He set up a Go Fund Me. (You can view it here, it’s really cute.)

I cringed — hard — when he showed me his plan. I loathe crowd funding, and I dislike feeling like a charity case, but it was a huge success. People genuinely wanted to help. I feel really humbled by it (mostly because, if I’m honest, it really bothers me that I couldn’t afford to go on my own, without asking for help), and grateful to him because he knew I would miss out otherwise.

We had all of the money within one week.

So yes, I have high standards.

And that is why I married Robbie Hobbs.

Before we had children.

Before we had children.

Happy Birthday, Robbie.

My husband turned 33 today.

When I fell in love with him, he wore navy blue Pumas. Today, he bought a pair of cowboy boots.

This is just one example of how love conquers all.

Those are cowboy boots.

Those are cowboy boots.

Disgruntled Gypsy.

Last Friday night, Robbie took me on a date …

Wait for it …

That he arranged all by himself. My husband is awesome about doing that on occasion. I am very lucky in that respect, but unfortunately for him, I am not the date I used to be. At all.

On this particular night, I was exhausted and emotional and not very much fun. I tried to rally. I was there, wearing real clothes, standing upright. We had dinner, went to see Guns N’ Roses and Metallica cover bands, and didn’t get home until after midnight.

On the surface, it appears that I rocked that shit. But I think we all know better.

20150109_204111 1. My toddler bit me on the shoulder twice this week. If you look closely, you can see the bruises. If that’s not sexy, I don’t know what is.

2. Since I was going to be in a classic rock-type situation, I tried to channel Gemma from Sons of Anarchy. I quickly realized that I lack the leather, the attitude, and the body type, so I went with disgruntled gypsy instead.

20150109_225543 3. Despite the fact that I constantly tell myself I’m not out of touch, every time I leave my house and go to a place outside of my corner of suburbia, I am slapped in the face with the fact that I AM OUT OF TOUCH. I haven’t seen the inside of a collegiate music venue in so long that I got all weird and made Robbie retrieve the free draft beer because I didn’t want to have to ask the bartender for my free draft beer. “It feels rude,” I told him. When he hesitated, I made my disgruntled gypsy face.

4. Youths make me nervous. I don’t know if it’s because they draw attention to the fact that I’m yawning every 5 minutes (they aren’t), or because I’m bitter that I’ll be up at 6:00 a.m. with small children (they aren’t). When one got near me, I scooted closer to Robbie, but not too close, because …

5. I am officially at the point where I can’t even muster energy for sexy time on date night if I’m tired. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea. Up until this point, I could be the tiredest I’d ever been, but if it was date night, it also meant sexy time. Those days are now over. What used to be “the tiredest I’d ever been” is now my normal resting state. My “tired” has taken on a new level. See #6 for details.

6. Apparently, when I’m as tired as I was last Friday, I get weepy and weird and even though I try really hard not to talk about our children (because, date night), I JUST CAN’T HELP IT. I ended up bringing up a stressful topic involving one of the kids and working myself up over it on the one occasion that I didn’t need to think about it. Because that was clearly the sensible thing to do.

7. When a girl ran onstage and flashed the audience, I gasped in horror. She escaped the security man and popped back up later. I kept thinking about her mother. This is how I know I’m not the date I used to be, because I stood there thinking, if my daughter ever pulled a stunt like that and I heard about it, I would be equal parts mortified and concerned and OMGWHATWOULDIDO?!

8. Metallica, and their cover bands, terrify me.

9. Head-banging terrifies me. Brains should not be shaken like that.

By the time I got home,  I just wanted to put on my adult-sized fleece onesie, take out my contacts, and insert my earplugs. Which is exactly what I did.

Don’t judge me … you don’t want to see my disgruntled gypsy side.

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Axl Rose impersonator, in his underwear.

Almost Home.

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You know you’re with the right man when you have a text message exchange like this one, and the next morning you have this conversation:

Me: Oh my goodness … I just found the text I sent you last night. What does this even say?!

Robbie: It says “Almost home.”

Me: How do you know?

Robbie: (Gives me a look like that was a stupid question.)

Me: Oh.

#prayforRobbie

Last night at midnight my husband turned to me and said, “I’m nervous because I’ve never had sex with a 35-year-old before.”

I replied, “Don’t worry, you won’t.”

This is from someecards.com and my cousin Karen posted it on my Facebook wall. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

This is from someecards.com and my cousin Karen posted it on my Facebook wall. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

Just kidding … I didn’t say that. Even though somehow, in a series of strange events I still don’t quite understand, no one woke me up in time and I totally missed Christmas morning.

Oh yes. That. 

All the gifts wrangled, the stockings stuffed, the thought put in, and I didn’t get to see their faces when they saw it. Because I wasn’t there. Because I was asleep.

I was *ENRAGED at my husband, but not enraged enough to ban him from sex with a 35-year-old. I can’t go a year without sex. That’s just ridiculous. But you know what’s not ridiculous? The insane way that I will be wrapping presents from now on.

After I calmed down, I announced that I will henceforth be wrapping things the way Grandma wraps them. Everyone’s eyes widened with fear. Grandma uses a lot of ribbony knots and industrial-strength tape. People need help to open things from Grandma. And so it shall now be in our house, because I shall not ever miss a gift opened again. EVER.

I was freaking out over turning 35 today. I don’t know why. The fear has no logic behind it, aside from the feeling that my life is slipping by and I need to carpe all the diems before it’s too late. I’ve spent much of my life doing things that I’d rather not be doing, which is fine, but there is a time and a place for that and I like to think that at least a portion of it is behind me.

The next 35 years will be spent carpe-ing my diems in whatever way I damn well please, and loving my family, because even though I already have more than enough stories to tell, they just keep giving me more.

You can stop now, people. Seriously.

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*All of my mom friends told the story of How Harmony Missed Christmas to their spouses as a cautionary tale. Apparently a husband started a new hashtag on Twitter called #prayforRobbie. Just thinking about that made me feel much better … spread the word.