Friday, August 26, 2016

Keepin' It Real In The Blogosphere

   Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary of Menopausal Mother. I've seen a lot of changes in the blog world since I first started; large sites that I never imagined would fold---but have, and smaller blogs that took off on viral posts and made overnight sensations out of a handful of bloggers. I've seen page views rise, fall, and sometimes skyrocket in a 24 hour span when a particular post has hit a nerve. Some of those popular posts introduced me to the underbelly of the blogosphere---internet trolls that harassed me and made me question if I was cut out to be a writer. Fortunately, I learned to develop a tough skin and ignore their insults.

     I've reached goals that five years ago I never dreamed would be a reality for me, and ridden the waves of both success and failure more times than I can count. More importantly, I've learned that I can dust myself off after a fall and climb back onto the saddle of my unpredictable muse.

     The blogosphere has also given me life-long friends who have mentored and encouraged me since the beginning. There have been numerous times when I've considered folding up Menopausal Mother for good, but these lovely blogger friends remind me that there are faithful readers out there who come here for a little lift when the rest of the world is not so kind. I can't argue with that because I need laughter in my life just as much as anyone else.
     One of the main reasons I started this blog was to bring joy to women who were experiencing the same, uncomfortable symptoms of menopause that I was facing. But over time, it became so much more. I realized early on that I couldn't focus solely on menopause---I was limiting my audience. So I started writing about my family life, friends, my quirky habits, work, vacations, and my love for all the four-legged fur babies who live in my home. I also opened up about my depression issues and the personal losses I've faced over the years. Although those were the hardest posts to write, they garnered the most comments and gave me the support I needed when sadness was getting the best of me. I'd wanted to keep my blog upbeat at all times, but a fellow writer once told me that she felt I wasn't keeping things "real" on my site, and accused me of hiding behind my humor. She challenged me to write something that made me uneasy; to step out of my comfort zone and share something so painful and raw that I would feel myself bleeding across the page while I wrote it.

     So I did. And as terrified as I was, I hit "publish" after writing my first serious piece, The Box, several years ago. That morning, I closed my laptop and stepped out of the office for a bit because I was too afraid to read the comments I'd receive. But as frightening as it was to take that first leap into non-humor, there was also a strong sense of relief knowing that I'd finally removed many self-imposed boundaries by sharing something deeply personal with total strangers on the internet.

     When I checked back in on the site later that morning, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and I knew at the moment that my writer friend had given me the best advice possible. I still prefer to write humor on my blog, but since that time, I've been sprinkling a few poignant pieces over the comedic posts to add a little boost of flavor to Menopausal Mother.

     My blog and I have come a long way since that August afternoon in 2011 when I published my very first post. I've discovered that the blogosphere is a strange and wonderful place; a great starting point for my initial goal of writing a book, and for sharing articles on larger websites in an effort to spread an important message. Blogging has also been the perfect platform for self-expression and for connecting with others who share the same vision. Over time, I've developed an amazing, supportive community of readers both here and on my Facebook fan page, and it's their enthusiasm that motivates me to continue writing.

     Thank you all for standing by me through bouts of writer's block and for being my inspiration these past five years. I hope to bring you many more years of laughter, and I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you soon. Cheers!

****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? It has been a busy week for sharing blog posts! I was featured  Scary Mommy with "A Mother's Advice to Her Son heading Off to College",  and on The Tribe with "15 Things No Parent Should Have to Say to Their Teen Daughter." Have a look and see what you think!


Friday, August 19, 2016

Fly On The Wall In St. Augustine

    Welcome to another Fly On The Wall group posting, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, 10 bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a peek into their private lives.

     For years, I have wanted to visit St. Augustine, Florida. I'm a native Floridian, and believe it or not, I have never visited one of oldest cities in the U.S. even though it's only a five hour drive from my home. Say What?? Yeah, I was too busy carting the Family to Disney World a gazillion times over the last 30 years. I've traveled all over the country, and after college, did the whole student tour thing in Europe where they cram 20+ countries into four weeks. I think I might have slept on the bus through a few of them.

     With my husband's birthday looming on the horizon, I thought it might be a good time to seize the moment and book a trip to St. Augustine...... Best. Decision. Ever. So much to do and see there! We stayed at a cozy little B&B and pretty much ate and drank our way through the city. Incredible seafood dishes and the best handcrafted cocktails I've ever had. For those of you familiar with the city, here are the places we visited during our four days in St. Augustine: St. John's Jail, Potter's Wax Museum, The Fountain of Youth, The old wooden school house, the old Drugstore, and both the Tolomato and Huguenot cemetery. We also did the ghost tour, plus the Old Time Trolly Tour; visited the oldest Museum store, the history museum, all the shops on St. George Street (the historic walking mall district), the Cathedral Basilica, Flager College, Lightner Museum (and we ate in the famous cafe in the old swimming pool area), San Sebastian Winery, and the Castillo de san Marcos fort. We also ate at all the yummy restaurants that were recommended to us: O.C. White's, Harry's, The Columbia, A1A Ale Works, and the Raintree.

     There were a lot of funny conversations going on during our trip, but I can only remember a handful of them (I was too busy stuffing myself with lobster and pomegranate martinis). If you had been a fly on the wall during out vacation, here are a few snippets of conversation you would have overheard:

"Those figurines in the wax museum look younger than me, and they've been here for over 100 years."

"This ghost tour can't be the real deal. How are we supposed to believe in this stuff when we have Casper the Friendly Ghost as our tour guide?"

"As many bars as there are in this town, no wonder so many tourists see ghosts in St. Augustine. I just saw a pink elephant float by on St. George Street."

"On the outside I'm older, but on the inside, I'm still 33 and living in the moment. Which means I mentally do everything but physically do nothing."

"If I was a soldier back in the 1700's in this fort, I would have gone AWOL because there was no A/C and they had to wear wool uniforms, even in the summer."
"Thank God none of them were menopausal in this heat. Then they would have really had a mutiny on their hands."

"For us, the saying 'Ride or Die' is the equivalent of sitting in a motorized wheelchair and pretending we're Peter Fonda reliving his role in Easy Rider."

"The food here is incredible, but this B&B needs to have a midwife on call because I'm so full I think I'm birthing a food baby."

"This reminds me of our trip to St. Petersburg when we went to the Titanic exhibit. I'll never forget those gorgeous first class staterooms."

"If my family had been on the Titanic, we would have been in the third class section because we were so poor. Actually, we would have been the ones working in the boiler room. In other words, we would have been dead."

ME: "I know you thought it was a good idea to walk to the Fountain of Youth from our hotel because you thought it was just a few blocks from the fort. But we've been walking forever and I still don't see it."
HUBS: "It's just around the corner, I swear."
ME: "We're still walking, and its been almost an hour, in 96+ temps with only a drop of water. Even the drivers are laughing at us because we look like stupid, sun-baked tourists. I could kill you for this!"
HUBS: "No worries---I was already contemplating jumping in front of one of the tourist trolleys."
ME: " Good, because at least then I'll get a free ride back to the B&B."

"Isn't it cool to think we're staying on Aviles street---the oldest street built in the U.S.?"
"As old as you are today on your birthday, I would think you'd recall watching them build it."

     It was a great trip folks, and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a trip to St. Augustine. Just be sure to bring pants with elastic waistlines.....unless you plan on hiring a midwife for your food baby.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                   http://www.
Menopausal Mother                  
Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.                        
Searching for Sanity                    http://singlemumplusone.                         
Never Ever Give Up Hope             http://batteredhope.blogspot. com                         
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                      
Southern Belle Charm                   http://www.southernbellecharm. com
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy               http://eileensperpetuallybusy.
Molly Ritterbeck                              http://mollyritterbeck. com/        
Go Mama O                                 

Friday, August 12, 2016

15 Ways Your Man Proves He Loves You

     My husband and I recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary, but I'll admit, reaching this milestone hasn't always been easy. We've had our share of trials and tribulations that have put our relationship to the test. Yet somehow, we've always landed on our feet and back in each other's arms.

     Since the beginning, my husband has proven that he has the "staying power" necessary to make our marriage work, and that he takes his wedding vow, "For Better Or Worse," very seriously. Obviously trust, understanding, respect for one another, loyalty, good communication skills and patience play a big part in a lasting relationship, but it goes beyond that. In many cases, it's the little things that are the glue that keep a couple together. Forget about sappy Hallmark cards or the wilted flowers from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If your man is truly in it for the long haul with you, he's proven it by doing some of the following things:

1.) Digging a slippery contact out of your eye when its rolled too far back under the lid for you to retrieve....even though it's 3:00 a.m. and makes him incredibly squeamish.

2.) Goes to the convenient store in the middle of the night to grab a box of tampons for you even though he's the only man in line without a six-pack of beer and a case of Marlboro cigarettes.

3.) Walks the dogs when its raining outside so that you don't have to get wet (or get peed on).

4.) Gives up his tickets to a hockey playoff game to stay home and help you eradicate the colony of lice that have taken up residence on your seven-year-old's head.

5.)  Plunges the unidentifiable thing in the toilet that NO ONE claims is theirs.

6.) Does his best to throw something together for dinner when you've had a bad day and can't move from the couch. The meal may be made with an unearthed, frozen hunk of pork roast that you could have sworn you discarded a year ago, but that's okay, because everything tastes good smothered in ketchup.

7.) Endures watching a girly movie with you and isn't afraid to tap into his feminine side by shedding a few tears during the show (or maybe he's just crying because you ate the last of the buttered popcorn).

8.) Doesn't mind picking up the kids from their after school activities when you're running late. Never mind that he also enjoys embarrassing the kiddos by dancing in his seat when a Pitbull song comes on the radio.

9.) Kills every cockroach and spider you find in the house. This has nothing to do with the fact that your loud shrieks break the sound barrier and cause his ears to bleed whenever an insect crosses your path.

10.) Tells you that you're beautiful even when you wake up looking like an angry porcupine.

11.) Offers to clean the house when you're frantically working to meet a deadline. If he rearranges the kitchen and switches everything around in the pantry, just smile and thank him. Does it really matter if your favorite pasta is hidden behind a large box of mothballs?

12.) Holds your hair away from your face when you're barfing the questionable sushi you had at the all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet he insisted on trying.

13.) Retires to the couch for the evening so that his snoring won't keep you awake. Then again, he might just be afraid that you'll cover his face with a pillow if he snores while sleeping next to you.

14.) Scratches that place on your back that you can never reach when it itches. But don't be surprised if his hand wonders elsewhere during the process. He might have an itch that needs scratching, too.

15.) Lets you drive the newer car in the family while he putters to work in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car that should have been put out of its misery ten years ago.

     I've heard countless women complain that their men don't bring them flowers or candy to show their appreciation. Ladies, you can keep your roses and chocolates. I'd rather have a man who finds angry porcupines attractive and has great plunger skills.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I am thrilled to have my first article featured on this week! Check out my funny NEW post on dealing with the dreaded HEAD LICE! Eek! You can read it here: 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sizzling Summer Writers Series: Guest Post By Stacey Gustafson

     Many of you will recognize the name of my guest writer today. She has been featured on my site before because I've always admired her clever sense of humor, and I can easily relate to most of what she writes about---family life and midlife chaos. I'm thrilled to bring back Stacey Gustafson, the funny woman behind the blog,
 Are You Kidding me? and the author of the bestseller, Are You kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives.

     I met Stacey at the 2014 ERMA convention, and had the pleasure of spending time with her again at the 2016 workshop last April. I discovered that not only is she an entertaining writer, but also a GREAT stand-up comedian. She did a little show for us at the convention and received a standing ovation because her act was HILARIOUS!! Do yourself a favor---check out her blog and BUY HER BOOK. You'll love it! Please welcome her today to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love!

Want a surefire way to get your kids and husband off the couch fast? Just say you’re going to take a nap. All hell breaks loose.

Let me start at the beginning. We enjoyed going out for breakfast on Saturday mornings. Nothing beat a big stack of hotcakes, thick smoky bacon, side of hash browns and a plate of toast to induce a coma later in the day. By noon, I could barely move much less keep my eyes opened.

Time To Ask Friends Over
“Okay. Can I have some friends over?” my daughter asked, bolting off the sofa and stuffing a bag of popcorn in the microwave.
“Talk to your dad. I’ll be in my room with the door shut. Try to keep it down.”
Ten nanoseconds passed. My husband yelled from the bottom of the stairs, “Remember guys. Be quiet. Mom’s sleeping.”
Attempting to sleep here!
After years of trying to get my son to try piano and violin lessons, he tapped his way from the kitchen, up the staircase, down the hallway and into his room with a pair of drumsticks that had been MIA for four years. Click, clack. My eyes fluttered opened like a moth around a porch light.

Don't Forget the Dog
Not to be excluded, our dog, Stanley expressed his displeasure regarding my nap as well. He sniffed under the door and catapulted his 20 pound body forward. Ping. He gave me a smug look as the door burst free, routed in the blankets and staked out a comfortable spot at the end of the bed.
“Buddy, if you’re quiet, I’ll let you stay,” I said, hopping up to shut the door.
What’s that? Faint rustling of feet came from the staircase. Big man feet. Like a stalker, he paused, hesitated and then ever so slowly, turned the knob on the double doors. Kabong! Doors burst free. With a shuffle of sock feet, my husband whispered, “Don’t worry. It’s just me. I’ll be done in a second and out of here.”
Yeah, right.
After using the toenail clippers and electric razor, he stomped out of the room, pulled the doors shut and yelled downstairs to my daughter, “I’m on my way!”

Still Taking a Nap
I drifted off for a couple of minutes. From outside the opened window, I detected the whine of a chainsaw and the distinct smell of gasoline. When I married my husband, he was not a lumberjack. But Paul Bunyan decided to do a little light remodeling in the backyard. Now.
Oh, come on.
I popped up in bed, blinking like crazy. Out the window I spied a saw. And a tree. Timber. Next up, I watched as he reinstalled loose fence panels with a hammer. Bam, bam, buzzzzz. When finished, with a flourish he let out a big whistle for the kids to join him and admire his workmanship.
By that point, the dog couldn’t contain himself. He charged the open window and jumped up and down to get a peek at the commotion. Ruff, ruff, growl.
Finally, I stuck my head out the window and said, “Hey!”
“Mom, did you get a good nap? Come on out.”
Yeah, a full five minutes.
“Look what Dad just did. Isn’t it great?”
“Looks fine. I’m coming.”
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I’m going to sack out on the couch. Quietest place in the house.


Stacey Gustafson’s book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives, ranked #1 Amazon Best Seller in Parenting & Family Humor and Motherhood. She is a humor columnist, blogger and wannabe comedian who has experienced the horrors of being trapped inside a pair of SPANX. Her blog, Are You Kidding Me? is based on her suburban family and everyday life. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and seven books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Her work appears in Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Pleasanton Patch, Lost in Suburbia, Better After 50 and on her daughter’s bulletin board. She lives in California with her husband and two teenagers that provide an endless supply of inspiration.
Twitter: @RUKiddingStacey

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Did You Steal My Spandex?

    Do you like to read humor? Do you need a little pick-me-up to get yourself out of the doldrums? They say laughter is the best medicine for what ails us, so why not escape the heat of the summer (and all the stress of politicians bashing one another in the news) with something that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face?

     I have the perfect remedy to restore your sense of humor. For a limited time, you can STEAL MY SPANDEX at the low price of just .99 cents for the ebook version, which is available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble.

     If you buy my book, here's a little summary of what you can expect between the pages:

"Who Stole My Spandex? is a witty selection of stories from Doyle’s madcap world of menopausal pitfalls, wardrobe malfunctions, and a family full of pranksters. This clever compilation includes laugh-out-loud pieces like "Queen of Klutz,” "One Size Fits None," and "Hands off my Egg Roll!" From couples' colonoscopies to nightmare holidays to disappearing spandex, no topic—no matter how crazy or unimaginable—is too taboo. With a heavy dose of self-deprecating humor, and a dash of sentiment, this marvelous collection of anecdotes will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt the call of nature at exactly the wrong time. Welcome to the nuthouse that Marcia Kester Doyle calls home."

     Still need some convincing? Check out what these reviewers had to say about WHO STOLE MY SPANDEX? LIFE IN THE HOT FLASH LANE:

"I did not steal anyone's spandex (possible liar who should be frisked), but I AM speechless. Utterly speechless." ~~ Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and Author of the bestselling book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened

"Finding humor in the mundane days of motherhood is no small feat, but Marcia Kester Doyle succeeds with flying colors. She's the BFF we all want to have, who's been there, done that, and isn't afraid to tell it like it is. Grab a glass of wine, hide out in the bathroom and get ready to laugh with Marcia. Sounds like a perfect night to me!" ~~ Jill Smokler, Author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy

"Marcia Kester Doyle has a terrific way of looking at the ordinary and finding humor. When she sharpens her wit, no family member is sacred and no reality TV show is safe. Through the laughter there are some tears, as Marcia gracefully pens about broken hearts, loss, and life struggles. If you need to laugh, cry, and think, all in one book, then Who Stole My Spandex? is a great choice for you." ~~ Jen Mann, author of the bestseller, People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges

"No matter what life has dished up for her, Marcia Kester Doyle has an uncanny gift for seeing and sharing the humor or beauty in every situation. I've been a fan of Marcia's writing for several years and I'm always amazed at her ability to make me belly-laugh at the most universal topics like shopping, aging, and marriage." ~~ Leslie Marinelli, CEO of In the Powder Room and Editor and Co-Author of the bestselling women's humor anthology, You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth

"Who Stole My Spandex? is required reading for anyone who enjoys laughter at any age! Marcia Kester Doyle has the ability to turn a seemingly everyday event, mishap, or unexpected "issue" into a cause for celebration and high amusement. She writes so honestly and entertainingly about her life and loves; channeling Erma with humor, verve, warmth, and hard-won wisdom!" ~~ Jenny Isenman, Humorist behind and Jenny From the Blog

Don't wait! Grab your copy now while the sale lasts!!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I have a brand new article featured on Your Tango this week. Check out the story of my crazy hair---- "I Changed My Mom-Hair And My Life Got Significantly Better." You can read it here: 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fly On The Wall In An Orb Weaver's Home

    Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group postings, hosted by Karen of  Baking In A Tornado. Today 10 bloggers are inviting you into their homes to give you a glimpse of what you'd see if you were a fly on the wall in their house.

     Normally when I write these posts, I never identify the people behind the conversational tidbits that I share. But this time I have to give credit where credit is due. My husband has been on point lately with his creative comebacks, but I did my best to get a few jabs in there myself. I'm sure that nosy fly on our wall was throughly entertained by some of these conversations:

INSURANCE SALES REP: (on the phone with my husband): "Mr. Doyle, I'll need you to sign the insurance documents we sent to you, then scan and email them back to me. You do know how to do this, right?"
HUBS: "Are you kidding me? My wife and I are so old, we still use Wells Fargo to deliver everything by horse."

HUBS: "I feel like crap today and it's all your fault."
ME: "How is it my fault?"
HUBS: "You made me drink too many of those strong concoctions you prepared last night."
ME: "I thought you loved my Moscow Mule cocktails."
HUBS:" I did, until I woke up this morning feeling like the mule kicked me in the head."

SON: "Mom, how old is that box of cereal in the pantry?"
ME: "Which one?"
SON: "The one on the floor behind the cookbooks."
ME: "That's really old----don't eat it. Throw it out."
SON: " I thought this was Raisin Bran cereal and I already ate half a bowl. But now I can see these aren't raisins."
ME: "What do you mean?"
SON: "These are weevils.....and they're swimming in my milk."
ME: (trying not to throw up in my mouth) "Look on the bright side---you just got your allotment of protein for the day."

     Last weekend, Hubs and I went with the family to a Brazilian steak house that has an all-you-can eat buffet and waiters who approach each table with skewers of sizzling meats to choose from. The quantity of meat is unlimited, which means it's a carnivore's dream. Hubs took full advantage of the restaurant's generosity, sampling pretty much every type of meat that was offered. Two hours into it, he was groaning and rubbing his belly. When I asked him what was wrong, he grimaced and said, "I just ate every animal on Noah's Ark."

SON: (attempting to iron his shirt) "Who the heck put the iron setting on wool, for godsake?"
HUBS: "I did. I ironed sheep yesterday."

     One of our pugs sleeps at the foot of our bed every night. She really is a sweet dog, but if you try to push her aside or pick her up while she's in a deep sleep, she growls and sometimes snaps. Hubs is terrified of waking her, and when she sleeps between his feet, he's too afraid to move. The other night, he needed to pee really bad, and inadvertently woke the dog when he moved the blankets. She sat up and glared at him from the foot of the bed. I grinned and said, "Good luck getting to the bathroom. You just woke the Kraken."

SON: "I have to do my brain training exercises today."
HUBS: "Well, that shouldn't take long."

     Late one night several weeks go, my son had a run-in with a nasty looking spider. This was no ordinary house spider; it was large with claw-like front legs and a hump on its back. The spider dropped from a tree near our driveway and onto my son's neck before scurrying back up to its web. My son let out a howl and woke Hubs to come outside and kill it with a broom. Once things settled down, my son researched the spider online and learned that it was a Cat-faced Orb Weaver. For days, Hubs couldn't resist singing a certain song every time our son entered the room. He sang a different version of the old Gary Wright song, "Dream Weaver" by changing the lyrics to "Cat-faced Orb Weaver" (my son was not amused). Not to be outdone, I made a special poster and hung it on my son's bathroom mirror:

     Ironically, my daughter also had a spider issue of her own recently. A friend spotted a small spider in her apartment but didn't bother to kill it. A few days later, another larger spider appeared on my daughter's drapes, and she called me in a panic....
DAUGHTER: "Mom, my worst nightmare just came true! That little spider that my friend saw earlier was just in my bedroom. Do those things grow overnight, because this thing was HUGE. What if it was sitting in the corner of my bedroom all night, just watching me and waiting until I fell asleep so it could lay eggs in my ears??
 MOM: "You need to Google it and find out what type of spider it is."

     Yep, you guessed it. Cat-faced Orb Weaver. If you're not prone to nightmares, go ahead and Google it. I dare you.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week I had my first article featured on Grown & Flown: " 8 Things That Surprised Me The Most About Having Grown Children." You can read it HERE

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:
Baking In A Tornado         
Juicebox Confession                                     
Menopausal Mother                                   
Spatulas on Parade                                 
Searching for Sanity                                 
Never Ever Give Up Hope                           
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                     
Southern Belle Charm                                 
Go Mama O                        
Molly Ritterbeck                                                                                                       

Friday, July 15, 2016

Same-Page Marriage Woes

     Anyone who has been married for any length of time has had their share of disagreements. I've been married for thirty years, which qualifies me as a professional "argument" arbitrator. Some of the feuds I've had with my husband have been more serious than others, but you have to know when to  pick your battles to get on equal footing.

     The two of us come from very different backgrounds, each with our own set of emotional baggage. For the most part, we're on the same page, especially when it comes to parenting. But there are other issues in our marriage that have reduced us to foot-stomping, sulking toddlers when neither one of us is willing to give in. The issues we are argue over most include:

Children: We want the best for offspring, but sometimes we disagree about their choices. I have no problem with my children dating at the age of sixteen, but my husband would rather they wear a chastity belt until they're thirty-five.

Money: This is the one subject that consistently pops up in our disagreements, because there is never enough of it to cover our expenses. My husband would love to drop some bills on a new bicycle, while I'm out scouting deluxe critter condos for my five chinchillas. And neither one of us wants to fork over five-hundred dollars for a new water heater. Sudsing up in the oscillating lawn sprinkler just might be worth saving a few bucks. 

Sex: My spouse is a morning person, and I'm a night owl. I preferred to hide my imperfections by candle light. He, on the other hand, rises with the sun and is as chipper as a toddler cracked out on Coco Puffs cereal.

Friends: Everyone has a friend that their spouse doesn't like. My husband has belligerent buddies who get drunk during sporting events and embarrass me with their rude comments. I have gal pals who love to chat it up all night over a bottle (or three) of wine. My husband refers to them as "yappers" who need to be muzzled after midnight.

Pets: My spouse would be happy if there were no pets in our house. The little accidents on the carpet and hairballs rolling around on the floor like tumbleweeds drive him to distraction. He feels that raising children is enough of a responsibility without adding critters to the mix. The night I brought home a stray bunny to add to our growing zoo population, my husband threatened to make rabbit stew. We argued for days, but he finally relented because the nibbling critter keeps his mustache hairs neatly trimmed.

Time Management: After financial issues, this is the second biggest issue on which we don't see eye to eye. When the kids were toddlers, we argued over whose turn it was to stay home and change diapers while the other person had free time with their friends. Now that we are older, free time is not an issue, since the adult kids have left the nest (and thankfully no one is still in diapers). The problem we face is trying to coordinate our schedules for family gatherings. Between strip bingo and pancake breakfasts at the Elk's Lodge, we rarely have time to schedule our colonoscopies together.

Technology: I was like a bear coming out of hibernation when it came to technology. I was the last one to own a cell phone, Kindle, or laptop. My husband brought me into the twenty-first century with my first iPod, which I had no clue how to use. When he tried to teach me the basic steps, I became frustrated and impatient. I couldn't grasp how something so small could be so complicated. The Hubs made the mistake of asking if I was born during the Jurassic period when I couldn't figure out how to use this wondrous gadget. The conversation ended when I chucked it at his beer belly.

Chores: The biggest question of the week at our house is: Who's turn is it to clean the bathroom? No one wants to scrub that toxic dump without a pressure cleaner and heavy-duty gloves. The kitchen isn't much better, since it looks like a bacon grease bomb has been detonated. We usually flip a coin to settle the argument. The Hubs still hasn't figured out why I always call "heads." (It's a two headed coin.)

In-Laws: When you exchange wedding vows, you inherit more than a spouse. You inherit their crazy-ass relatives as well. It's like Forrest Gump's analogy of a box of chocolates: some might be nutty, and some might be rotten. And some might be deceptively hollow inside. The best compromise is to move a continent away from anyone else who shares your DNA.

Jealousy: When we're at parties and I see my husband flirting with a bleached blonde or a buxom brunette, my temper rises. I become like Medusa, my eyes zeroing in on him, willing him to turn to stone. If necessary I bring out the big guns and publicly share that little tidbit about his painful hemorrhoids.

     Marriage is never easy; it's a give-and-take relationship that needs to be nurtured in order to bloom. Trust, communication, and respect are the keys to a healthy marriage. After being together for thirty years, my husband and I have to learn not to sweat the small stuff. In other words, there's no point in arguing over whose turn it is to change the grandchild's blow-out diaper. Pretty soon, we'll be changing each other's adult-size ones.

***This story originally appeared in "Clash Of The Couples" (November 2014), published by Blue Lobster Book Co. I'm honored to be a part of this anthology with so many talented writers. If you would like to read more humorous stories about lover's quarrels, feel free to order the book from Amazon HERE.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week I had articles featured on MOGUL--- "The Seven Dwarfs Of Menopause"  and on THE FIFTY PLUS LIFE----"From Empty Nest To Full House."



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