Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Happy Thanksgiving"

Thanks to our many friends, commenters and readers who are beacons of light illuminating the path of this journey we call "this thing we do".

May God give each one of us the grace to see the many blessings and the inexhaustible mercy he bestows upon us each day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Add Sugar, Stir with Wooden Spoon"

“Get over here”, I said sternly. I jabbed toward the cocktail table then tapped the end of it.

"Tasking’ her to the gym yesterday didn’t get her motivated like I had hoped it would. She did not make it out of the house - at all. Didn’t make it out of bed really. Only long enough for an abrupt chat on instant message:

“You there?” She had just signed on.
“Yes, I’m here. How are you feeling?” Ever the concerned husband.
“Not good. Haven’t gotten outta bed.” Lethargy bled through.
“Omg…this is bad. Did you take your vitamin?” I figured if I mentioned one “task”, she’d mention the other.
“No”. She added no filler.
Why don’t you go on and do that.” Long pause.
“Okay, done.” More lethargy.
“Good”. Then all of a sudden she said…
“I’ll talk to you later.”
I paused and waited for her to address the gym. It was 2 in the afternoon. I knew she wouldn’t make it. The pain is tough on her. Depression even tougher. I waited, desiring to grant amnesty. She never mentioned what I sensed she remembered.
“Okay”, was my pixel lit response. That’s all she needed to avoid “hanging up”. She signed off immediately.

When I got home I found her right where I’d expected to find her – in bed. I didn’t mention the task. Just loved on her a bit. It helped her mood. Motivated her. Other than an undulating wave of perimenopausal hot flashes her evening went reasonably well. That was yesterday.

“Sit down right here.” Sugar sat. Submissive. Knees pressed together; hands placed demurely on her thighs; naked under her dark green robe.

At first I headed to the bedroom for our utility paddle. But changed my mind and doubled back. I decided that one of the large wooden spoons from the crock would be a quieter way to “stir" things up. I picked the one with the longest neck and the widest bowl.

I pulled one of the high back bar stools away from the long marble counter that splits the identity of the room. I turned it around, sat and looked down at her face. She looked up at me, her face poignant in paradox: part curiosity, part knowledge; partly troubled and part pain. These are the hard ones, these punishments. I know she’s dealing with a whirlwind of challenges. Sometimes I feel like I’m just adding to the mayhem.

I slipped the spoon under my arm, rested my elbow on my knee and, without breaking eye contact, buttoned the cuffs of my dress shirt. How authoritative – I thought with a smidgen of pride. It was more nervous fidget than anything. Her eyes shifted nervously then dropped sullenly. A knowing look erased all paradox.

“You missed a task yesterday. You didn’t make it the gym.” I channeled D’Onofrio’s Goren, tilted my head, lean down a little and flicked the air with the spoon to scoop up the lost eye contact.

“I was waiting to let you off the hook”, I said. “I knew you weren’t able to make it. But you decided not to mention it. All you had to do was address it.” She sat sullen in silent confession. I reached for a throw pillow and placed it over the arm of the sofa.

“Stand up and lay over this pillow.” I patted it with the warmth of an invitation to a Calgon bath. She jutted her chin in a soft up nod and added a lazy point toward the love seat. I picked up the signal and reached for one of the other throw pillows. She knew she'd need it to muffle the screams.

When I lifted her robe it was as if her globes gave the rising sun its light. “You-Need-To-a-DDress-Your-Tasks!” I enunciated through clenched teeth striking her as hard as the enunciated consonants. I repeated it again. And again. And once again. It was quick but painful. The singing of the morning finches just outside our window were as Pips to her screaming Gladys Knight. Then it was over. She stood up.

“I want you to understand something”, I offered tenderly while easing her into my arms. “I do not fault you for what you’re dealing with. I’m not trying to fix it. I don't hate you for it. I’m not trying to cure it. I just want to help best I can. You understand that don’t you?” She nodded.

“I’m not always going to take it easy on you like this”, I added with a smirk as I began to collect my stuff and leave for work. I was thinking that it may have gone too quickly. Thinking that she may not have been "stirred" as much as she needed. But once the cloud of tears lifted, her sun did not stop shining all day. She was in good spirits and stayed "stirred up" throughout the day and well into the evening.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"'Element X': The Irreconcilable Difference"

Sometimes “this thing we do” makes me feel like we’re mad scientists in a laboratory of marriage. One day Sugar put a smidgen of her submission into a test tube laced with trust (the butt of which is placed over a Bunsen burner) – and both grew exponentially. I stirred a monocotyledonous portion of my dominance into a Petri dish smeared with respect – and both went into “Breck mitosis”. We poured both containers in to a dormant cauldron of stale communication and the thing began to bubble up with effervescence that continues to emit a wonderful fragrance that fills the entire laboratory.

But it ain’t always all pretty. Sometimes our laboratory is on high alert; the situation becomes volatile; bad chemistry can have the whole shebang on the verge of blowing up. I was reminded of that recently when “Element X” reared its ugly head again.

“Element X” is not like wondering: “Why does the male of the species even lift up the toilet seat if all he’s going to do is piss all over the bathroom floor?! (Hey! At least he puts the seat back down). “Element X” is not like being grossed out by the sight of used “feminine products” in the trash can or irritated about all that cosmetic crap that’s left all over the bathroom counter. And it’s not whether the toothpaste tube is being squeezed at the bottom, the middle or the top. As irritating as all of these things can be, when you drop ‘em into a bubbling cauldron of communication you still get a sweet fragrance in the lab.

What is “Element X” you ask? Well, when a reasonable expectation that an emotional and/or physical need will be met within a relationship is faced with a bona fide reason that that need cannot be met, you have “Element X”. It is not preference. It is 100 per cent pure unadulterated irreconcilable difference.

When “Element X” is not dealt with, it smells like an elephant fired off a “missile” onto the floor of the marital laboratory. You can’t help but smell it but you act like you don’t. You might even step in the shit and have it contaminate every other experiment being conducted in the laboratory. Some couples, after stomping around for a while with turned up noses, actually let the laboratory blow up just to get away from the stench. This is marital suicide.

I’m reminded of that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine, who is staunchly pro-choice, walks out of a restaurant mid-meal because the owner is pro-life. Later, she falls in love with a handsome moving man – the apparent man of her dreams. Jerry, ever the instigator (oh that Jerry!), casually asks her what her new fella’s stance is on abortion. When Elaine finds out the guy is pro-life she breaks down in tears and is forced to break up with him. For Elaine the man’s stance on abortion is an irreconcilable difference – “Element X”.

“Element X” is a recurring menace in our relationship (it’s not always all well and good over here people!). It robs one of emotional fulfillment, closeness and physical satisfaction, while burdening the other with emotional dissatisfaction, distance and physical discomfort. The accompanying stink of resentment and guilt tends to invade the other experiments, everything comes to a stop and there’s about as much people activity in the laboratory as there is at Madam Tussads’ wax museum.

Like all good scientists Sugar and I continue to hypothesize and theorize about what will work to resolve – or even dissolve – “Element X”. We continue to experiment (which doesn’t always go well) and examine the results (which are sometimes disastrous).

Here’s what we’ve learned so far: “Element X” can’t be negotiated, traded for, or met by compromise. It can’t be “Dom’d” in or “Dom’d” out; “sub’d out or “sub’d” in”; spanked up or spanked down. And it can’t be set aside forever or it will start to stink like month old ground beef cooking over coals of sulphur. It is not preference. And there is not a lack of desire to reconcile it. It is just 100 per cent pure unadulterated irreconcilable difference.

It used to come up twice a month and the smell would linger for two weeks. But it’s only come up twice this year and didn’t linger at all. Yeah, it stank. The feelings are real. The pain is real. The guilt is real. And all unavoidable. There is great wisdom in recognizing that a problem within your relationship cannot be solved. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t make the situation any less frustrating.

Do you have an “Element X”? Maybe it has something to do with political worldviews, religious beliefs, sexual needs, moral standards or philosophical positions. And, more importantly, how do you handle it? Do you over engage it? Under engage it? Or act like it doesn't exist? As a scientist, I'm truly curious.

Sugar and I know that when “Element X” comes up (and it will) we will go from harmony, to horror, to hell on earth as quick as a hiccup. But as mad scientists in the marital laboratory we have found out that, when it does come up, we can go back to honky dory in lickety split, smelling sweet as a rose, if we just drop that shit into that bubbling cauldron of communication that is fueled and inspired by that other wonderful concoction: “this thing we do”.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"You and Me"

As you can tell from SugarAnne's rambling post over here, (and all the wonderful comments she's received) that it's been a great year of connection, growth, love and, well, correction for us.

I was looking back over my pages and pages of notes and thoughts for potential posts (is writer's block contagious?), and came across the lyric to a sappy little love song (and I mean sappy, which is why I never posted it). It a simple song that speaks volumes about appreciating the simple things, staying focused and, I think, remaining humble. 

I don't wanna get all touchy-feely on y'all or nut'n (I mean, I AM a "beast" right?) but here's a portion of the lyric (full lyric here, listen here)

You and me ain't no superstars
What we are is what we are
We share a bed some popcorn and t.v. yeah.

And that's enough for a workin' man
What I am is what I am
And I tell you babe
Well that's enough for me.

When I got home from work
I wanna wrap myself around you
I like to hold you and squeeze you
'till the passion starts to rise.

If I could take you to heaven
That would make my day complete

But you and me ain't movie stars
What we are is what we are
And I tell you babe
Well that's enough for me.
            - Alice Cooper, “You and Me”, Album, "Lace and Whiskey"

I think I'm most thankful that early on, with the help of y'all in the community, that I was able to understand that "this thing we do" is unique to every couple. And that all we had to do was simply be ourselves with ourselves and simply be just "You and Me" and no one else.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Candy Rapping"

I’m a panties man. Bikini. She knows this. "Reg-a-layshun panniz" I call 'em. So when she bent over in boy shorts I knew there’d be trouble. She looked too damned good!

“Today you’re gonna be spanked with every implement in the house”, I said right out the midnight blue that matched her shorts. The white crisscross stitch at the seam had disappeared into the valley that separates her delectable roundness.

“Uh-Uhhhhh”, came her sing-song protest. “Why?!!” She snapped to attention and turned to face me.
“Because those boy shorts look too damn good on you girl. And besides, you need it.”

Believe it or not, being the “beast” that I am, it’d been over a week since SugarAnne had felt the sting of a paddle. That’s because she’d been a real good girl (“I’m always a real good girl” she would say); and partly because the pain in her hips had prevented me from rewarding her with the “slap and tickle” she deserved. But now she was up and about and going out.

“I DON'T need it!” She spat. Riiiiiight, like she’d admit it if she did.
“Yeah y’do” I grabbed her arm, pulled her to me and let my free hand slip down and around. I gave her ass a firm squeeze and then let my fingers search for the lost stitching between the mounds of her maturity.

She pulled away and leaned over the dresser fishing for something or other. I could see her look at me in the mirror. But I was focused on the candy wrapping. Voltage shot through me that would increase the electric bill. She would pay. I stepped up, gripped her hips in my hands and pulled her to me. Already dressed for the gym I pumped her like a junk yard dog humping. (Hey, what’s a “crack” addict to do?!)

But this would not be the moment. She had already planned “girlfriend” time over our regular Saturday morning gym excursion. (Hey, what are ya gonna do? She’s impetuous like that. It’s part of her charm). She wiggled her treasure into a snug pair of form-fitting jeans. (Shit! I hate it when the candy gets double-wrapped when I’m hungry for a piece).

If I didn’t know any better, methinks she dragged her feet in coming home. She came lugging her “looking good in those tight ass jeans” behind home some 6 ½ hours later talking about, “I feel like taking a nap.”

“Uhhh….no. First I want you to collect every implement you can think of” I commanded, “And line them up on the coffee table here.” She retrieved what she conveeeeeniently “remembered”: the ”tickler” (our very first paddle that does just that: tickles), the “weapon of ass destruction” (our most often used paddle), the unnamed paddle ball paddle I absconded from Best Buy’s promotion of Kodak products, and the “heatstroke” (a short handle bath brush).

I could see her memory was short so I retrieved “Ephipany” (a heavy dog leash made of synthetic cloth), the loopy Johnny (the “majority whip”?) and a just discovered hair brush with grooves on the “love side”. She immediately deemed the hairbrush “un-implementable”.

I faked adamancy on using the loopy. But she cried “RED!” (our safe word) so loud I’m sure people outside stopped, turned around, looked up and wondered where that echo came from. I tossed the loopy away (after all, this was “slap and tickle”). But that opened the avenue for every other implement.

Savoring my own anticipation I started candy rapping in the living room where I slow-cooked her bottom over those tight assed jeans. She wriggled. In the den I peeled back that top wrapper, turned up the heat and “roasted her rump” over those “violating” boy shorts. She jiggled. Next I peeled back those shorts and “fried her baloney” (the bath brush was featured). It did not tickle. Perhaps she cried. I don’t think so.

In the bedroom it was much less spanking and more or less thanking. I wanted this to be different than our usual late Saturday morning fornicatori-Olympics. And it was. I set the mood by cranking up a pre-arranged rhythm and blues love songs list from “back in the day” as they say. And after giving her a long oily, full body massage and getting swept up in the music, we made love; long, good, warm and tender love.

When we were done and lying there wonderfully spent and physically exhausted, she turned to me with mock irritation and said “Are ya happy now?!” Still sassy, it was clear that it was she who was happy.