Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mrs. McNair & Love Talk

So now its confirmed, Jon and Kate are over and he's left his family in their big broken home to party on the Riviera with another woman instead of being there to walk his kids through their sadness and confusion.

That's no good.

I know I'm blogging about old news, but was anyone else aghast at the public pain and humiliation that Mrs. Steve McNair must have endured because her husband couldn't keep home where it belonged?!

This lady is someone I never knew existed until the story of her husband's death broke, and suddenly I'm feeling compassion and even anger for her at the consequences of her husband's choices.

And now the McNair kids don't have a dad because he picked the craziest Hooters waitress in all of Tennessee to mess around with??!! I'm mad for those kids, too.

When the McNair story was unfolding, MMA and I actually discussed this question: "What would hit you first, the pain or the anger, if you were Mrs. McNair?"

That was an interesting conversation.

We've been having lots of conversations like that recently because there have been so many people around us that are caught up in the hell of marital infidelity. People that we know, people like us (married for a few years, kids, seemingly established in their relationship) who are hitting a dangerous stage that comes out of no where.

Or does it?

In talking about this very real danger to any marriage, I hope we're moving in the right direction to protect what we have. But I know that talking is not enough. We are so guilty of not depositing into the marriage account on a regular basis. We might get a REAL date night every six months. Paltry isn't it?

We're in a Bible study group with three couples. When we get child care for Bible study, that's our adult socializing time. And its great, but certainly its not time that we're investing just for us to enjoy each other's company.

And yet we know the right thing to do here. It's like eating fast food. We know it's not healthy or nutritious, but we eat it anyway because it's easy. Sometimes I feel like we're feeding our marriage fast food instead of the good stuff. I tell myself that we're in a season in life that requires less time for ourselves so we can take care of our young family.

But at what cost? I love our family and wouldn't trade it for a second honeymoon (wait, let me think about that for a, I wouldn't trade it) but I'll be honest, I miss those carefree years; BK everything was easier...not more joyous, but easier for sure.

I love MMA and I'm lucky to have him. And I intend to keep it that way! We are embarking on a new Bible study with our group that is dedicated to improving communication within marriage. I'm looking forward to it. It's about time for a tune-up every couple of years, right?

So if anyone out there has the perfect marriage with the se
cret to spousal communication, go ahead and forward me the Cliff's notes so we can skip the book and just hang out with our CFs. (And still reap the benefits of the preventative maintenance.)

And let me tell you what, our bible stu
dy kicks a$$! I don't know if you're allowed to say that about a bible study, but we laugh, enjoy good food and wine, open up about real issues that we all struggle with and we put each other on the spot about growing in faith and pushing forward. It's not a safe-haven for anyone who wants to just listen and be left alone. (Which was where MMA was five years ago when I dragged him into it. And look at him now, he's the one calling me out on little white lies and the moral gray areas.)

I'm so glad to be Mrs. MMA!

I'll leave you with a couple of questions, and I especially want to hear from anyone who has learned things the hard way, (married or dating) how do you keep balance in your relationship with so much vying for your time? How do you invest in your relationship? What have you learned about communication within a relationship?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ike update from My Point of View

Our Galveston weekend was wonderful and we were lucky enough to have some family join us on Sunday. I picked up a cake, a few pizzas, a cooler of drinks and bam! Instaparty!

We stayed at this cute little condo that I picked for the location right on the beach. It turned out nicer than the pictures show, so I was very pleased. The little guy loved sleeping in the top bunk and kept calling the place our condo. I wish!

He was so excited about his birthday that it was at easily midnight before he fell asleep Saturday. Sounds precious now, but I was on the verge of doling out birthday spankings to help him fall asleep. MMA stopped me...he's good like that.

We managed to squeeze in lots of fun Galveston attractions: the beach, the strand, the ferry, dining at Pier 21...we will remember it for a very long time!

Ready for the update? I hesitated to post this part, but I have some things to say and this is my blog. So if you don't want to hear me drone on and on, abort now.

The island of Galveston is looking better than I expected. The sea wall did what it was designed to do. If you didn't know what Galveston looked like before Hurricane Ike, you might not realize they suffered a MAJOR disaster less than a year ago. The beaches along the sea wall (where they've trucked in unfathomable amounts of sand) looked pretty good considering the catastrophic erosion. We didn't venture to the west side of the island but I know that the residential rebuilding is a slower process.

Of course the economy, and so many, are still hurting...right down to the Catholic Diocese and the medical establishment. Thousands of jobs are gone. Sadly, La Kings is no more and all the beautiful old oak trees along Broadway were killed by the storm surge and have to be removed.

But tourism seems to be rebounding. And Galveston's resilience and urgency to rebuild makes me proud to be a Texan. It makes me want to take another trip to the island and spend money to help that effort.

Coastal Texans didn't have the same massive media stage to decry FEMA and the Red Cross and every other agency that did not and could not duplicate the generosity of the Katrina debacle. The celebrities didn't come out in droves to sing concerts or raise money to rebuild after Ike, either. (Or Rita, remember Rita? The easternmost Texas coast got hit twice since Katrina.) Now, less than a year after Ike, I'm afraid Texans have gotten all the help we're going to get and it was a pittance in comparison.

I feel compelled to moan about it here on my own little stage, because my neighbors were abruptly cut off or never given any federal aid for housing or rebuilding when Katrina services were dragged on and on right under our noses in Houston. The system was abused by so many (stuff like this) who milked America's generosity like a cow and it seems the media and the judicial system was in on it.

It was common to hear the term "Katrina housing" in Houston up until Ike hit three years later! Extension after extension was approved in the courts, everyone afraid to say to the leeches "Ok, you lost everything, but now its time to move on and GET A JOB."

Conversely, there was no "Ike housing." Ike hit in September and by November, people who also lost everything were cut off. In any case, FEMA is a joke to those who put in to the system. Like welfare, maybe one dollar out of a thousand ends up in the hands of someone who contributed. And its just a band aid, not a cure. But I digress.

Why am I so bent out of shape when my family has insurance and we didn't miss any meals waiting on Harry Connick Jr to belt one out for us?

Well, if Galveston looks good, Bolivar is another story. Bolivar is to Ike what Bay St. Louis was to Katrina. You know, the place that took the dirty side of the hurricane, yet was all but forgotten by the media.

Bolivar is a low lying peninsula just across the port from Galveston which is mostly rural with no tourism or big industry to speak of. We took the ferry across and were saddened by the conditions just an hour's drive from where we live. From the Galveston/Bolivar ferry you must drive at least ten miles to reach anything that resembles a store or gas station. Bolivar still looks very third world and most neighborhoods are still in shambles. Concrete slabs are the only indication that houses once stood where weeds are taking over. Destroyed buildings have been abandoned all over. If there was anywhere to stop and spend some money, we would have.

Has anyone outside the Houston area ever heard of Bolivar or Crystal Beach?

Houston, (like so much of the country) was exceedingly generous after Katrina. Our mayor stepped up get those poor people the hell out of the Superdome without considering who would reimburse the city. Then they ended up Houston's problem and we ended up eating millions of dollars in that effort, BUT, still, I think we did the right thing in helping our neighbors in their time of need.

But my closer neighbors, were not extended the same generosity. Where were 'ya Dallas? That bothers me.