Usually it’s fun sharing personal moments with you on these pages. However, when I started this website I promised honesty. A raw, unfiltered look at parenting and marriage. So because it would be more than a little hypocritical of me not to address when I’ve made a terrible mistake, I’m owning up here.
I cheated on my wife.
I know it sounds cliche, but I didn’t set out to cheat. It just kind of happened. Marriage and parenting is a tough journey and somewhere along the line MJ and I just got…disconnected. I’m not making excuses for what I did, but let me describe the situation and you can honestly tell me if you think it looks familiar.
I’m a guy who likes certain things and let’s just say, without being too descriptive, alone time with MJ is one of them. I need it to feel close with her and to keep me sane. And when I go long periods without it, I…well, I take matters into my own hands.
I don’t want to get the gender police after me but seriously, what’s a red-blooded American male supposed to do?? I can’t sit there with overwhelming wants and needs with a wife who goes to bed at 9 pm and live like that forever. It just doesn’t work and honestly, I think it’s a little selfish of her to expect that it would.
The part that’s my fault is vowing I’d always be faithful no matter what. It’s easy to agree to that in the beginning when everything is new and you’re both super into it and you’re literally binging with one another. But eventually seasons pass and one person inevitably loses that drive, while the other wants more. Needs more. What then? What do you do when you’ve promised to only do it with one person, but then that person won’t make time for you?
It started with MJ and I getting into something a little kinky and weird. We were introduced to these women who are kind of naughty yet sexy, and they don’t get a lot of male attention because, well, they’re in prison. But even though MJ no longer wanted to make it a priority, she asked me to wait for her because she didn’t want me partaking without her. I agreed, but how is that fair???
So one night after she went to bed early and I was still up, I went ahead without her. I knew it was wrong, but if I’m being honest that kind of added to the excitement. Once I thought I heard her coming downstairs so I paused what I was doing and froze. If she had found me she would’ve KILLED me, but it turned out to be nothing so I kept going.
Eventually the lying became too much and she smelled the guilt on me. When she confronted me and asked if I’d been unfaithful, I didn’t bother denying it. I just begged for her forgiveness and pleaded with her to give me a second chance.
I’m not sure how it will all work out and I’m trying to be better. But the urge to give in and have everything I desire all at once is so powerful. And I know for a fact I’m not alone in my infidelity, as 46% of couples fall victim as well.
So how about it, folks? Do you Netflix cheat on your significant other??
I was compensated with a free year of Netflix and an iPad for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.
The road to this point has been long, difficult, and even broken in some parts. But a place of our own that we actually own has always been the goal. Always. The specter and possibility of it loomed behind every decision MJ and I made, and home ownership is the impetus for every hour I work. Every side job I take. Every penny MJ meticulously saves. Every minute I’m away from my family has been spent in order to one day provide them with a place that’s ours and ours alone.
Some people shake their head at my tunnel vision and tell me it’s not worth all the worry and stress and especially the money. But honestly, a single family home is about more than the money for me.
I’ve lived in apartments or condos for the last 16 years. Which is fine — it’s not like I’ve suffered. But you know what I’m looking forward to? Light from all four sides of the house. Think about it. For a decade and a half I’ve had one wall that is essentially a dead end. A barrier. A windowless stretch of darkness which is enough to block out the light, but not the sounds and annoyances of neighbors residing on the other side. When we walk into our new house, I’m going to stand in the middle of it all and bask in the sunlight streaming in from all directions, and not give a damn about people upstairs, downstairs, or adjacent.
This move also means security and permanency for my family.
Sturdy walls on the outside tough enough to weather the elements and a welcoming coziness inside that keeps my family warm and comforted. It’s an old house to be sure, and a century worth of life has taken place in and around it. But we will breathe new life into it. Revive it. Let it revive us. It will be our sun and we’ll revolve around it as our clan ages in orbit, and hopefully it will create a gravitational pull for our boys that keeps them coming back occasionally even after they take up residence elsewhere.
The yard isn’t big but it’s enough room for three boys to play and pretend our patch of woods is a far-off forest. The rocks mountains. The trees far better climbing structures than any playground.
The neighborhood is centrally located but tucked away and quiet. School is now a short walk instead of a drive, allowing us a slice of Americana that has all but disappeared. The town is safe, the schools are well funded, and we even have friends within walking distance.
The garage is an enigma to me, having never had one. A happy puzzle to solve, to be sure. Will the car go in there? My canoe and kayak? My snowblower? Crap, I’m gonna need to buy a snowblower!
But mainly, this place is our home base. Our little corner of the world. Ours. No more worrying about whether or not the landlord is going to sell or finding a place after our lease is up. No more stopping the kids from hanging out in the backyard because the people we share a wall with are already out there and we don’t get along with them. No more guilt about not providing something more substantial and permanent for the kids. This will be our little universe and a place where untold memories will be made.
Yet what I just realized — and I mean it actually dawned on me right now while writing that last paragraph — is this isn’t really a new home. It’s a new house. Home? That’s wherever MJ and the boys are.
She is my sunlight on all four sides and she is the tough and protective exterior with comfort on the inside. The kids are my warmth and the memories are made no matter what and where we are. A house has an address but home is a state of mind that can’t be mapped. I’m thrilled to be in the new place and proud of how hard we worked to get there, but ultimately I’m proud of us and what we’ve built together as a family.
If you could create your ideal steakhouse in your own kitchen, what would it look like?
That was the question posed to me by Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups, who challenged a bunch of dad bloggers to battle for the title #KingofSoup. If you know me, you know I love steakhouses, the steak steakhouses serve, and I ALWAYS get soup. In fact, soup is so important to me I once broke up with a girl in college because she insisted soup wasn’t a food. OK, that wasn’t the sole reason our relationship ended, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play a part.
I love soup, especially in winter. It’s warm and comforting and informal — just how I like my restaurants. If there are peanut shells on the floor of my steakhouse, I’m a happy guy (note: my wife was NOT ok with peanut shells on the kitchen floor). So when I wondered how I could take that level of comfort and inject it into my new steakhouse kitchen, it was easy.
First of all, every king needs his queen so MJ would have to be there. Second, all steakhouses have animals hanging on the wall. Them’s the rules.
Next, the #KingofSoup needs the royal treatment when it comes to service. That’s why I hired my two oldest princes to serve the king and queen. From setting the table to taking our order to actually cooking the food, these guys came through in a big way and helped make our homemade steakhouse possible.
You might think amateur princely chefs look cute, but we probably gagged on the food. Well, you’re wrong. Mainly because Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups are so easy to make and taste really, really good.
All you have to do is put four cups of water in a pot, wait for it to boil, whisk in the contents of the bag, and then 5 minutes later you’re enjoying the flavorful, slow-cooked, taste of restaurant-quality potato soup right in your own home.
I went with the Loaded Potato and it was delicious. My wife likes a little more kick, so she hopped on board the Three Cheese Chipotle train. But whether you choose those two, Creamy Potato, or the Cheddar Broccoli flavor varieties, it’s guaranteed your soup will be filled with real Idaho® red potatoes and red potato skins, delivering exceptional taste and texture in every spoonful.
I ended up wearing my PJs and comfy slippers to my in-home steakhouse, meaning I literally applied the comfort of my castle to my newly refurbished kitchen. Just call me Elvis, because clearly I’m the King (of soup).
Don’t believe me? Check out this ridiculously cute behind the scenes video taken in my new steakhouse.
It was expected because she was old and in declining health, but unexpected in that she died after being hit by a car. In full view of the kids. The end result of a still mischievous but half blind/deaf dog taking advantage of a door that didn’t quite latch.
I was on the train home from Boston when I got the call, and I immediately broke down in tears. Which is fitting, perhaps, since sadness is what led me to her in the first place.
It was 2007. I was a newlywed living on Cape Cod and working as a journalist. An investigative piece I was working on led to the revelation of some pretty severe canine abuse, and I was so disturbed by what I saw that I began volunteering at the local dog shelter.
But my disgust at the mistreatment of those dogs wasn’t the only reason I was there.
Despite having a job I liked and marrying the woman of my dreams, things had turned fairly nightmarish in a hurry. MJ was in the middle of a downward spiral we’d later find out was bipolar disease. Her manic periods had given way to crippling bouts of depression, and she had no love for herself never mind any to give to me. She was sad all the time and talked constantly of running away and never coming back. I would tell her how much I loved her, but that just seemed to make her feel guilty and she shut down.
But the dogs at the shelter were always happy to see me and pummel me with affection. That’s literally what happened the first time I saw Haley — she ran around the counter, jumped up, and hit me right in the balls.
And then she captured my heart.
Haley was brought to the shelter by a wife whose husband thought a dog would save their marriage. It didn’t. As a result, poor Haley was put on a kennel run and largely ignored for 14 hours a day. And because she loved people but was around them so little, she craved attention and closeness. She also thought any time you left the room you were never coming back, so when you did she was so happy she could barely contain herself.
She had endless affection and devotion to give, and I had a limitless need for love and companionship. The only problem? Convincing MJ.
You see, she was fairly open to the idea of a dog but she had conditions:
No dogs over 50 lbs
No ridiculously excitable dogs
No dogs with long hair
Haley was 0 for 3. But I knew in my heart she was the one, so I made one of the only unilateral, executive decisions I’ve ever made in my marriage — I signed up to temporarily foster her. My wife was FURIOUS when I came with a 75-pound ball of excitable, long-haired, slobbery love. But that fury soon gave way to having her heart melted by our sweet girl, and then “temporary” home turned to “permanent” in a matter of days.
I bought Haley the most expensive dog bed I could find, and then let it go completely unused because she cuddled right next to me on the bed every night. We went everywhere together and walked the Cape Cod Canal, hiked local trails, and went for runs. She was a retriever in name only because she never fetched a damn thing in her life, but she was a slobbering pile of unadulterated love and I loved her right back.
She was a total beta, but if she heard a noise or thought an intruder was present, watch the hell out — her growl was deep and fierce and scared off at least one lurker I can remember. But I didn’t want an attack dog, because we wanted a pup who’d be great with kids — and Haley delivered.
Haley was so gentle with kids, even when they climbed on her, pulled her ears, and stepped on her. She really bonded with Will and she was his “sister” for 5.5 years before Sam came along. When we’d practice sharing, Will would have to share with Haley and I’ll never forget how cute the two of them would be, staring out the window every day that I got home from work.
With Sam it was a little different. The two of them got along well enough, but it was always a tempered and grudging respect. Neither of them fully embraced the other, and there was much jockeying for position in the household hierarchy.
But Tommy? I’m not sure what it was about Tommy, but Haley loved him immediately — and vice versa. Tommy’s favorite thing to do is crawl/walk over to Haley and place his cheek gently on her head. I don’t blame him, Haley’s ear are wonderfully soft velvet. When she slept at the foot of the bed, my toes would search for those ears and I’d immediately sleep more soundly and with much comfort.
Comfort. That’s going to be my one biggest regret — that I couldn’t comfort her at the end and pay her back for the massive amount of comfort she brought to me in the nearly 10-year long span we were together.
I knew she was at the end of the road. Her health was terrible, she had tumors everywhere, she could barely stand, she couldn’t navigate stairs, she had lost control of her bladder, and the sound she made while breathing was terrible. We were in the midst of making arrangements to put her down when this happened, I just…well, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Even last night, as my shovel dug a hole through roots and rocks in my parents’ yard where she loved to play, I couldn’t let go. I carried her from the car, wrapped her in her favorite soft blanket, and cried. I sat there for 30 minutes next to her grave, in the dark and the rain, with her head cradled in my arms, because not being able to feel the comfort of those velvety ears seems unimaginable to me. So I kept taking a few more minutes. Just a little more time. One more scratch behind the ear.
We might have given her a good life, but as corny as it sounds, the rescue rescued me. The dog who lavished us with love, slobbered sentiment all over us, and made our home a better place.
What started with her hitting me right in the nuts ended with the gut punch of loss. But in between are countless moments of comfort and peace dogs seem to bestow upon us so effortlessly, yet we take them for granted time and time again. For nearly 10 years she filled our lives with life and love and tons of slobber, and her only goal in life was to be near her people. Actual people live much longer lives and never approach a more noble and meaningful existence.
I preferred Haley’s company to that of most people, and I’ll miss her as I would a friend. I’ll miss her frenzied and joyful leaps when I walked in the door, even if I was only gone 30 seconds. I’ll miss her ninja-like maneuvering for food, even at the end when she could barely move. I’ll miss the feel of her fur pressed against my face when I needed comfort I couldn’t find anywhere else. I’ll miss her gentleness with the kids. And I’ll never forget her constant vigilance when MJ was pregnant — resting her head on her belly, and knowing when she was going into labor even before MJ did.
We gave Haley a soft bed, lots of food, and a warm home. She gave us a decade of life, love, and unlimited slobbery kisses. We got the better end of that deal.
Dog owners, give your pups an extra squeeze today. And if you’re thinking about getting a rescue, just realize you’ll probably be the one who ends up getting saved, not the other way around.
You know how it is, right? Before kids, MJ and I did it all the time. Constantly. We couldn’t get enough and we’d spend all night doing it. In our bed, on the couch — didn’t matter. We did it and we didn’t care who else saw.
But now that we have three boys, it’s not so simple.
First of all, we don’t do it together nearly as often. It seems there’s always a kid around who needs attention, so getting on the same page to do it is nearly impossible. Also, and this is tough to admit, but we just don’t seem to share the same preferences. MJ likes romance but I like action because I want to get right to it. I know she likes to take her time and relax, but I like to do it in short bursts. Sometimes I need a snack or a bathroom break in between doing it, but I’m usually pretty good about getting right back on the horse.
Lately though, MJ hasn’t really wanted to do it. Which means, well, I’ve started to do it alone.
I felt really bad about that at first. After all, we did it together for so long and it was great. I very much prefer doing it with her, but if I have to choose between doing it alone or not doing it at all — I’m going to choose to go solo. And if I’m being honest, sometimes that’s nice. All alone, late at night, lights off and everyone else sleeping. After a few touches it suddenly comes to life and BOOM — I’m revved up and in business.
But there’s a certain amount of shame involved, no question.
Sometimes I’ll hear MJ or the kids stirring while I’m right in the middle of doing it, and I panic. I never want to stop doing it after I’ve started, so I’ll get up and go somewhere else. Yeah, I know. Sick, right? I’ve done it in the bathroom. In the kitchen. In the closet. One time I did it outside and the neighbors were none too pleased. Hell, sometimes I find a way to do it on the train, which is tough with all those people around let me tell you. Another time, Will caught me while I was in the middle of doing it. That was a tough one to explain.
But hey, I’ll do what it takes to make sure I can do it until I reach completion. Otherwise I’ll be totally unsatisfied and grumpy.
Yup. Watching Netflix sure can be tough after you have kids.
Hey everyone, don’t forget the newest season of Orange is the New Black has dropped and is ready for binge-watching!
***I received free Netflix for a year and SmartTV for joining the #StreamTeam and writing a monthly Netflix post.