Laments About My Family

You Can Own a Smart House, but You Cannot Make a Homeowner Smart

And That Smarts

Smart House, but Not a Smart Homeowner

You can own a smart house, but you cannot make a homeowner smart. I know from first-hand experience. You see, I live in a smart house. “Live” is perhaps an inaccurate description. “Trapped” is a better word.

You see, I have a techno-wise son and an enabling husband, who enthusiastically says “yes” to every new electronic device “The Kid” wants to install and program into our house.

My friends think I’m lucky to have The Kid on-call 24/7 to solve my computer needs, but I know the ugly truth: He and my husband are engaging in a modern form of gaslighting, ostensibly working to modernize the house in ways I don’t—and will never—understand. It’s driving me crazy and that’s their real goal. Read more

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Instant Pot Madness

Big Boys and Their Kitchen Toys

Instant Pot Madness

Christmas has come and gone, but Instant Pot madness lingers at our house.

Handsome Hubby (HH), a modest fellow of few wants and needs, had expressed a gift wish for an Instant Pot, a wish I failed to heed until it was too late. I should have realized he was serious when he started reading New York Times Instant Pot articles to me with the solemnity he usually reserves for stories about the environment and the Golden State Warriors.

What is it about men and their desire for gadgets? Read more

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I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

But the Show Must Go On

I can't get no satisfaction

So sang the Rolling Stones. I know how they feel. For sadly, I can’t get no satisfaction. My husband no longer satisfies my needs the way he did in the glory days of our courtship and first years of wedded bliss.

“Oh, God, not again,” he moaned just the other day as I gently nudged him awake. “We just did it,” he lamented.

“Come on,” I demurred sweetly. “That was hours ago. Come on. Get up.”

“You’re killing me,” he protested. “I just cannot do this seven-nights-a-week and twice on weekends. I’m not young anymore.”

“Come on,” I repeated. This time in a firmer voice.

“You’re insatiable,” he muttered weakly.

Now, I suppose you think I’m talking about sex … Read more

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Carson City Courtship – What Were the Odds?

Falling in Love with Handsome Hubby

Carson City Courtship

CARSON CITY, NV — Who would have thought they would stay together? The odds of them lasting much beyond that first fast attraction were small.

He was a small-town boy, who lived most of his childhood in one tiny house in Reno, Nevada, one tiny town. She was a Big City girl. The smallest “town” she had ever lived in was Las Vegas.

His life plan was to practice law in Gardnerville, Nevada (population 3,414) and take lots of time off to cross-country ski. She had big city dreams, wanted a brownstone facing Central Park and to win the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Cold War.

For her birthday, he gave her four books. The first three were cookbooks including one titled “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.”  To put it kindly, she was less than enchanted.

“Why cookbooks?” she asked with more than a hint of outrage. Read more

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear middle-aged muddlers! Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family and friends. Eat hearty and be well.

As for Handsome Hubby and me, we’ll be muddling along—cooking a vegetarian, vegan Thanksgiving dinner sans turkey for our vegetarian, vegan spawn! Wish us luck as we create new traditions while celebrating the past!

I’ll be back next week with new Light Laments for women (and men) “of a certain age.”

Fondly,
Karen

AND if the holiday and spending time with family is more of a “lament” than a “laugh” for you, please take a quick break and read some of my prior stories. In fact, it might be a good time to re-visit my 8 Tips for Personal Holiday Fulfillment–Sure-fired Ways to Get the Gifts YOU Want!

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8 Tips for Personal Holiday Fulfillment

Sure-fired Ways to Get the Gifts You Want

8 tips for personal holiday fulfillment

Halloween has come and gone. I’d better get started with my holiday gift list or I’ll be in big trouble. I’m not talking about my holiday gift-giving list. I’m talking about my gift-getting list. Oh, let’s be honest. It’s my “Really, Really Want, Gotta Have, Pretty Please, Will You Get Me This” list.

All year I’m on the hunt for perfect Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday and “just because” gifts for family, friends and colleagues. I even buy “unbirthday” gifts for attendees at birthday parties, because I love shopping for others. I am such a dedicated gift shopper, that when my children were growing up, we celebrated the “birthdays” of their stuffed animals. Any excuse for cake, ice cream, new book purchases and gift bags!

But come the holidays, my “give unto others” spirit makes a U-turn. I lust for carefully curated payback from loved ones in the form of “just right” gifts for me.

And who better to pick what’s “just right” than me?

If you’re honest, deep in your heart, you’re a tiny bit like me. Admit it. You’ve endured a few too many years of ill-gift-gotten-gain in the form of toaster ovens, fuzzy slippers, and hand-held vacuum cleaners.

So, in the spirit of female solidarity, I offer these eight tips to make your holidays (plus Mother’s Day and birthdays) brighter and your gifts better. Read more

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Inheritance Guilt

Much Too Much of a Good Thing

inheritance guilt fine china overload

Do you suffer from inheritance guilt? It’s a problem many of us middle-aged baby boomers face. Your parents pass on and you inherit all their “stuff.” Are you grateful or do you buckle under the weight of unwanted material overload and guilt?

Nowadays, more and more of us fall into the suffering and lamenting category. One friend of mine cannot wait to dispose of her mother’s mink coat. Another hates her mother’s bright orange, fish-patterned ceramic platter. For me, the cause of distress – fine china.

And while it’s all well and good to lament, on a practical basis, what do you do when when you have too much of a good thing or even too much of a bad, but deeply sentimental object? Read more

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We Don’t Have a Special Song

Can the Marriage be Saved?

CD search for our special song

Something was lacking in our marriage and I hadn’t even realized it. Then it hit me. We don’t have a special song. Now I worry. Can the marriage be saved? Read more

Scratchy Sheets and Thread Counts

We're Having Trouble Under the Covers

unhappy couple peering out from under marriage sheets

Early in our marriage, my husband and I kept track of who owed whom what. We kept itemized sheets for most everything, but most of all, we counted movies. I liked foreign films, preferably with subtitles. He liked, no, loved, action films, preferably with lots of blood.

Usually it was a zero-sum game. One foreign film for one action flick. If the foreign film was so boring that even I had to admit it was boring, I had to pay up with two action films in a row. If the bloody action film was so violent that even Handsome Hubby (HH) had to look away, I’d get two foreign flicks as recompense.

Then, at some point through the many years and the many movies, the system broke down. We stopped counting. As long as there was good popcorn and the seats were comfortable, we were a happy movie-going couple. No give and take required. A natural film equilibrium had been achieved. We both took this as a sign of middle-aged marital bliss and contentment.

The Battle of the Bed

But, of late, a new source of counting has creased our otherwise happy marital countenance. We’re having trouble in the bedroom, more specifically in bed. Read more

Everybody’s a Critic

Feedback Bites Back

Critic taking and giving stars

It used to be that criticism belonged to the ranks of five classes of people – professional critics, impartial consumer product reviewers, your mother, your best girlfriend, and your in-laws.

Now, thanks to the Internet, everybody’s a critic. Everybody with a bone to pick — informed or terribly ill-informed — is a critic.

You can ding short-staffed restaurants, struggling retailers, and barely-managing masseurs on Yelp; you can demolish drivers on Uber and Lyft, and you can anonymously trash-talk people on all sorts of social media websites. It’s a scary Internet world.

For a long time, I ignored casual “citizen” reviewers. If I wanted to know what somebody thought, I wanted to know what somebody-in-the-know knew and opined. If I needed a theater or a movie review, I opened The New York Times Arts and Book Review sections. If I needed a new toaster or vacuum cleaner, I turned to Consumer Reports.

If I needed confirmation that my husband was an insensitive clod, I asked my mother (although she generally sided with my husband). If I thought I looked fat, I’d ask my girlfriend for a hasty assurance that I was mistaken.

But now I know that everything is reviewed online, even you, even me! Read more

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