Confessions of a former sports widow

For the first six weeks after we got married, I was blissfully happy.  I basked in the newlywed glow.  I had a doting new husband.  Everything was just peachy.

But on week seven, something came along that put the kibosh on all of that. 

That something?  Football.  Little could I have known that a little pigskin and 22 grown men in skintight pants could turn my formerly attentive husband into a raging, all out football fanatic.

I became a sports widow.  At least on Sundays.  And Monday nights.  And, sometimes, Thursday nights, too.

Initially, I did not take my newfound widowhood gracefully. 

But after a time, I realized that my attempts to win my husband’s attention on the weekends were somewhat futile.

After the first few seasons, I even became resigned to the fact that, at least for 16 weeks out of the year, I was a sports widow.  At least on Sundays.  And Monday nights.  And, sometimes, Thursday nights, too.

But my husband sensed my growing discontent.  And, in an effort to put a kibosh on my incessant whining and pouting, did something that changed the character of our marriage.  Somehow, he convinced me to join his fantasy football league.

At first, I wasn’t sold on the idea.  I hated football.  I knew nothing about the sport.  But at least it gave us something to talk about on the weekends.  And, surprisingly, I was pretty lucky when it came to picking my players.

As it turns out, apparently Jay knew me better than I knew myself.  Because for as much as I despised football?  I hated losing even more.

Partway through the first season, I realized that, in order to win at fantasy football, I actually had to know something about the sport.  And so, I started watching.

And, slowly, a transformation occurred.  I actually started to like it.  I began poring over the stats.  I agonized over which running back to start.  I rejoiced alongside my husband when the bad guys fumbled the ball.

My husband says that introducing me to football may have been the best thing he did for our marriage.

I don’t know if I’d go that far.  But I can say that I now look forward to Sundays.  And Monday nights.  And, sometimes, Thursday nights, too.

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The WoW is kibosh.

Fugazi: It’s what’s for dinner

I made Fugazi for dinner tonight.  It’s a staple in our house.

What’s Fugazi, you ask?  Well, it’s not to be confused with fusili, which are those cute little spiral shaped pastas. 

Fugazi, as defined by the Nerd Mafia, means:

  1. Artificial, fake, false.
  2. Something that has no substance.

I struggle with getting my kids (the little ones and the big one) to eat their vegetables.  So, when it comes to preparing meals and snacks for my family, my motto is: “When life gives you veggies, make Fugazi.”  In order to do this, I’ve had to get deceitful creative, innovative and, at times, downright sneaky.

Here are my top 7 ways to prepare Veggie Fugazi:

  1. Fugazi with a side of meat.

    My kids, like their dad, pretty much think bacon is a fifth food group.  And really, can you blame them?  Mmm, bacon.

    But bacon is pretty handy for dressing up vegetables.  My theory?  Green beans, brussels sprouts, salad… if you put enough pig in a dish, they’re bound to get a bite of vegetable, even inadvertently. 

  2. Meat, fugazi-style

    When the bacon runs out, I whip out the fugazi meat.  Veggie sausage (not to be confused with Tofurkey, which I feel should actually be outlawed) is actually pretty tasty.  The kids gobble it up, and I don’t think they even realize it’s not actual sausage.  I’m actually not sure how many veggies are actually in veggie sausage, but at least the cholesterol/actual food ratio is a little more reasonable.  Unlike bacon.  Mmm, bacon.

  3. Crunchy Fugazi

    Veggie Booty is another staple in our house.  We go through a few bags a week.  Hey, there’s veggie in the name.  That counts, right? 

    Personally, I think the stuff tastes like cardboard.  But the kids go nuts for it.  And, it’s also pretty funny to see Chip sitting at his high chair, pointing to the pantry and screaming, “More booty, more booty!!”

  4. Fugazi with a side of Ranch

    I hate using this one.  But it works.  Kinda like the bacon thing.  When in a pickle, I’ll whip out the ranch dressing.  Because ranch makes everything better.

  5. Fugazi in a can

    Ah… there’s nothing better than fresh, crisp green beans, sauteed in a little butter and garlic.  To me, anyway.  My kids, however, won’t touch the things. 

    They prefer their green beans fugazi style.  As in, limp, dull, and canned.  Artificial green beans, if you ask me.  But, seeing as how they used to be vegetables at one point, I can’t complain too much about this one.

  6. Pasta Fugazi

    What type of Nerd Mafia man would I be if I didn’t make pasta?  And I’m not just talking about good ol’ Mac & Cheese; although that is another staple in my house.

    When I’m feeling particularly sneaky, I’ll make Lasagna Fugazi; otherwise known as vegetarian lasagna.  I’ve found that if you puree spinach together with the marinara sauce, even the most eagle eye little toddlers can’t pick out the green parts.

    I’m also a fan of the spinach and tomato flavored pasta.  It doesn’t taste that great all by itself, but when you throw in some cheese and bacon, it becomes an instant hit.

  7. Fugazi Bacon

    This one may be on the list, but I can honestly say I’m not crazy enough to try it.  I know what would happen if I dared to make faux bacon for my family.  All out revolt.

    And I have to say, they’re right about this one.  Some foods simply aren’t meant to have a vegetarian equivalent.  And bacon would be one of those. 

    I’ll get creative with the vegetables.  I’ll make substitutions where I think I can get away with it.  But one thing’s for certain. 

    Fugazi Bacon?  Will never be found in our house.

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Snot your average wedding

It was a beautiful wedding. 

Glowing candelabras. Endless yards of eggplant silk and lace that were crafted into nine (yes, nine) floorlength bridesmaids gowns.  Fragrant bouquets of iris and freesia.

My brother got married nearly twenty years ago, but I still remember many of the details.  Indubitably, it was also one of my more embarrassing experiences.

This was my first wedding… and my first experience with how sentimental I get at weddings.  As we stood in front of the congregation, I remember being washed over by emotions.  Somewhere between “who gives this woman” and “I Do,” I started to cry. 

And then it came.  I felt my nose start to run.

I suddenly realized I hadn’t thought ahead enough to bring Kleenex with me.  Not that there would have been anyplace to stash one, anyway.  I silently cursed the designer who had created a dress with enough fabric to make a small tent, yet didn’t have enough left over to put in one tiny pocket.  I gave a little sniffle and silently willed my nose to stop running.

It didn’t work.  The boogers came faster.  And in more abundance.

“Maybe no one will notice,” I thought to myself.

A few minutes later, I caught the eye of another bridesmaid, my sister, standing a few feet away from me.  She wriggled her nose at me Bewitched-style, as if to signal, “Psst, you’ve got a river of snot running down your face.”  Indubitably, someone had noticed.

Because by this time, the stream of boogers had made their way down my face at an alarming rate, and were now dripping from my chin in a very unladylike fashion.  I began to really panic.  My options were limited.

I looked down at the gorgeous display of flowers I was holding.  I won’t go into the elaborate details.  But I will say that by the time I walked back down the aisle, most of the snot was gone from my face. 

Indubitably, however, the flowers had seen better days.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story.  But of course it isn’t.

Ditching the flowers on a nearby bench, I quickly escaped to the restroom to compose myself and clean up.  When I emerged a few minutes later, I went to collect my belongings… only to find them missing.  I figured maybe the flowers got thrown away, or my sister picked them up.

As my sister told me later, this was not the case.  Apparently, the bridesmaids bouquets… all nine of them… were rounded up after the ceremony, and used as decoration in various other parts of the reception.  Like centerpieces.  Or at the buffet.  Or on the cake table.

I’ll never know where mine ended up.

But I learned some valuable things from that wedding.   I’ve never gone to another wedding since then without plenty of Kleenex on hand.  And, indubitably, I always steered clear of the bouquet toss.

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Mama's Losin' It
3.) Write about a true embarrassing moment…

You cannot fill a hole this large with mediocrity

My posts are usually lighthearted in nature.  But today, my heart is heavy.

At approximately 6 am on Saturday, a dear friend left us.  It’s left a gaping hole in our hearts, and in the epicenter of our home.

This is the place our friend used to reside.  The friend, who I’ll call Telly, was with us for years.  We’ve been through many things together.  To be exact: six seasons of Survivor, 94 regular season NFL games, a few VH1 “I love the 80’s” marathons, and approximately 2600 hours of Nickelodeon.

All that is left now is a gaping, 42″ hole that stares back at us in emptiness.

While our entire family has mourned the loss of Telly, it is my husband who has taken the untimely departure very well.  So well, in fact, he was actually chomping at the bit to go look for a replacement friend the very day Telly left us.

Which is a little morbid, if you ask me. Not more than five minutes after we had moved Telly’s 80 pound frame (still warm) into the garage, Jay started taking measurements.

As it turns out, while I was always happy with Telly, she was, in my husband’s eyes, simply mediocre.  Telly came from the era of analog television.  Her display has not high def, and she did not have surround sound.   And she was, shall we say, not very well endowed… size wise.

Simply put, Telly was not sexy enough for Jay.

So on Saturday, kids in tow, we ventured off to the replacement friend store, in search of Telly Two.  The gleam that appeared in my husband’s eye when we entered the store was unmistakable.  It immediately became clear that Jay would no longer settle for mediocrity.

The next 90 minutes made my head spin.  Unbeknownst to me, they don’t even make analog TVs anymore.  Who knew?  I also got a crash course on strange vocabulary like resolution, bandwidth, megahertz.  I was educated (by both the salesman and Jay) that, at least when it came to TVs, bigger is always better. 

I couldn’t take it. I convinced Jay that I needed some time to ponder.  And to mourn my beloved, simple and mediocre old television.  Preferably over a drink.

For now, the hole still sits.  But as football season rapidly approaches, I suspect it will not remain empty for long.  Telly Two will likely be bigger, faster and and sexier than Telly One.

And, if my husband has anything to say about it, anything but mediocre.

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