The Obvious

783 things you didn’t know about a. and me

Posted in a., love, meme by theobvious on February 19, 2009

Apparently, I am on a different Facebook* wavelength than most of the educated world, so this meme only came to my attention when Dooce posted it over on her blog. And for much the same reasons as her (because it concerns A. and the two of us as a couple, a topic that doesn’t get enough time in my disgustingly me-oriented spotlight), I hereby bring you the ‘Facts about our Marriage’ meme.

*Can you believe ‘Facebook’ is still not recognized by the WordPress** spell checker?
**Nor is ‘WordPress’.

What are your middle names? We don’t have any. In this part of the world, not many people do. I hear that A.’s Jewish name is Aryeh, but he never uses it.

How long have you been together? 1608 days (4 years, 4 months, and 25 days)

How long did you know each other before you started dating? 660 days (1 year, 9 months, and 21 day)

Who asked whom out? Nobody did. We moved in together the day we first kissed (that was his idea). After all, it was a close move for me from the master bedroom of our saintly friend’s house into her spare bedroom, A.’s residence at the time. We graced her home with our presence (and unseemly noises from our messy room) for another year, and if it weren’t for her, it might have taken us another stupidly unhappy year to finally realize we were meant for each other.

How old are each of you? We’re almost equally 22 (I am 12 days closer to 23 than A. is).

Whose siblings do you see the most? A. is an only child, so my brother.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? Living in crowded spaces most of the time.

Did you go to the same school? We did, for a term. Then A. dropped out. A couple months later, so did I. The school we went to was  Moscow State University.

Are you from the same home town? We’re from different countries even.

Who is smarter? A. and no mistake. I know lots of tidbits, and am able to answer most of A.’s questions, but he is the one who keeps asking those questions, and with his incredible talent and diligence (and access to books as a bibliographer) he is growing a brain so large he’ll soon need to rent space for it in my head, where there’s plenty of room left over.

Who is the most sensitive? Is sensitive the same as petty? No? You sure? Then I have to say A. He reacts deeply to things and is capable of crying tears of compassion, which is rare and beautiful.

Where do you eat out most as a couple? A delightful salad and soup place downtown, called Mano Guru. Seeing as A. is a vegetarian on his way to becoming vegan, and I’m a predatory carnivore on my way to vegetarianism, the choice is not overwhelming, but we do love our soup.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Probably Israel.

Who has the craziest exes? A. has none, and my only serious one acted batshit crazy at times, so I have to say me.

Who has the worst temper? Is this the point where pettiness counts? Me me me! Guilty as charged.

Who does the cooking? A. does. See previous post.

Who is the neat-freak? I am, but not to the point of actually cleaning. I am a bit OCD, so when we had our own space I cleaned in sudden deadly outbursts, leaving everything gleaming, but here I don’t know where to start and more importantly, where to end, and it kills me – and our room is a dump.

Who is more stubborn? I think we’d give each other a fair run for the money.

Who hogs the bed? Nobody does.

Who wakes up earlier? A., he is not such a hopeless night owl, and he has to go to work in the morning too.

Where was your first date? A. tried to take me to an amusement park, but it was early spring, and it was closed, and he was devastated. So we went to a mall instead and invented a game where we both got each other cute little gifts, and then we had ice-cream. Of course, that was six months after we got together.

Who is more jealous? Totally me. I ask him whether he likes a girl, make him say she’s okay, and then torture him for a week with accusations that he LIKES SOME OTHER GIRL OH NO DIVORCE BELLS ARE RINGING! Alas, I am as crazy as my ex (viz, batshit).

How long did it take to get serious? We were talking kids and joint rooms at nursing homes right away.

Who eats more? A. is capable of fitting more food into his stomach at a time. But as for actual eating, that’d be me. I go hungry all day (no breakfast and no time during class), and come home at 8-9 pm so hungry that I eat and chew and snack and munch all evening with very short breaks. A sad (fat) smiley face goes here.

Who does the laundry? A. does, and none of my clothes have been damaged yet.

Who’s better with the computer? Isn’t that the same as ‘smarter’? A. can fix almost anything (he thinks it’s actually anything, which is sometimes annoying), and his aforementioned diligence (=he is a nudnik) helped him teach himself everything he needs to know about software and hardware, more than can be said about many a computer repairman.

Who drives when you are together? My dad. A. can’t get a license because of his poor eyesight, and I failed my test (=am a loser), and have avoided retaking it ever since.

More to the point, this man is the one I love and intend to continue loving for some time. At least so long as he doesn’t grow that unsightly beard back and/or until he loses his gift for bedtime stories.


escape into blogland

Posted in emotions, love, people, photos, travel by theobvious on August 22, 2008

For the past several days my mind has been an informational and emotional Alcatraz: plenty of treasure on the inside, nothing ever gets out. The trip was so overwhelming and so tiring that I felt as though my ability to share had been swept away. I was all left back there, exhausted.

Every time I’d close my eyes, I’d immediately fall asleep and see people laughing, frowning, waving at me. My favourite girls in dresses wet with seawater, my dear boys with stubble on their chins and hoarse voices from the singing and the endless arguing. I saw countless breathtaking Crimean views – mountains, plains, the sea – but none as beautiful as my friends. Then, again and again, I’d force myself awake and find myself alone, hundreds of miles away from the people I regard as my world.

I thought I needed a timeout to get back on track, but it seems like that timeout could go on forever. So I’m easing myself into normalcy, browsing Etsy, working out, editing photos (half-thinking of selling some prints), drinking Coffee of the Week at the Coffee Inn, following Olympic basketball (Lithuania lost to Spain in the semi-finals, bah), watching Wall-E (the cuteness!), reading all your blogs, trying on my own blogging hat once again. Welcome back, me.

people on the roof

people on the roof

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hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back from work we go

Posted in love, me myself, news, the thrilling goings-on, travel by theobvious on July 22, 2008

Dear diary, it’s been a while. In these past couple of weeks the following things happened:

1) our third wedding anniversary. Last poll showed we are both still pleased with the arrangement, so yeah, staying married for now. If this sounds cynical to you, rest assured we had lots of time for sappy professions of love as we boarded and rode an overnight train to Moscow. How creative is a second-class sleeping carriage for an anniversary venue?

2) we had a seminar in Moscow for work. You might have gathered as much already. After all, we only ever go to Russia, where most of our friends and all of A’s family live, for work. It seems that all we did this week was ride various trains and buses, wait for people, and argue with them. Oh, and goof around, of course. After all, these are the people we love.

3) I turned 22. A gloomy day it was indeed, despite the numerous gifts and celebratory text messages I got. I’d never spent my birthday bickering with people about insignificant aspects of reading texts with children before, and I’d rather it didn’t happen ever again. Oh, and we were hungry most of that day. And I didn’t get a birthday cake, which is plain sinful.

4) I read ‘A Midsummer-night’s Dream’ for the first time from beginning to end, and most of Neal Stephenson’s ‘Quicksilver’, and there are two more books of his Baroque Cycle remaining to read, and Pratchett’s latest, ‘Making Money’. Nothing bad about that.

What did you do? This is not a rhetorical question.

forever question mark

Posted in boredom, life, love, thoughts by theobvious on June 28, 2008

On a house not that far from my own there is a graffiti: A.V. + J.U. 4EVER? Just like that, with a big fat question mark. It strikes me as deep and tongue-in-cheek at the same time, like someone challenging eternity with a can of spray-paint. ‘Oh yeah,’ they seem to be saying, ‘you think you’ll be together till death do you part? I bet there’s an expiration date here somewhere.’ I wonder whether the question mark was pirated on to the love note, or if it was there originally.

It’s summer break, which is weird, because there is nothing much to do, except the daily workout and the two-and-a-half hours I will spend at the hotline every so often. (My first unsupervised shift was today, and boy am I glad that there was a mix-up and I didn’t have to stay for five hours!) I am reading a book or two a day and not really sleeping or eating enough. There is only so much boredom a girl can survive, so I need to come up with somewhere to put myself quickly.

Our laptop is broken again, and no amount of soldering wires to microchips helped this time, plus we lost most of the tiny little screws, so A. took it down to the service shop, and I am browsing on borrowed time. Dad’s laptop is newer than ours and it runs Windows Vista, which is sleek but excrutiatingly stick-prone. It keeps slowing down as if it has forever. Well, a question mark would be right in place there, so please don’t rush to alert the blogging authorities if I’m absent a lot.

i’m back

Posted in important, love, people by theobvious on April 1, 2008

Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’d be a lie to say I missed the Internet. I was having too much fun. As a result of this week though, there were over 1000 new posts on LiveJournal and over 700 sitting in my Google Reader when I switched the laptop on today. I’m almost through now, but I skimmed, so sorry for the lack of comments.

The plan was to pretend nothing had happened and head straight to class-coffee-workout, but all I could muster any enthusiasm at all for was the gym – now that I’d missed. Tae Bo is invigorating and I can’t wait to switch to a real martial art class when I shape up at the gym. Class – meh. I might go tomorrow, or not, depends how long I spend enjoying the sunny spring weather in the afternoon.

Right before I left a touching story happened: a famous blogger posted about some bad news in her family. Most of her readers immediately assumed her mother had died, because the mother is also a blogger, loved by all. So when they found out she was, in fact, not dead, they all left her comments like – ‘So glad you’re alive!’ and ‘Great that you’re still here!’

When I read that, I thought how we never usually tell people that. I’m glad you’re alive? That’s weird. But then suddenly they’re gone, or you’re just not talking to them anymore – and that’s it. You’ve not said it and they will never know. So now upon my return to the www, I’m rushing first off to say to my beloved friends and relatives: even if you don’t read this, it’s awesome that you’re alive! I understand it all the better now, after having spent a week with many of you and now returned to my City of Few People. Miss you all already.

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my valentine

Posted in a., love by theobvious on February 14, 2008

When I get asked why I hang out with and talk so much about my male friends, or how come A. sometimes doesn’t go where I go, or why he spends so much time in Russia, or all those other questions people like to ask me, here’s what I think about.

There was a time a while ago when I thought I wasn’t yet in love with him and he thought he wasn’t in love with me anymore, and I happened to spend a night on his shoulder. He was courteous enough to keep both his shirts on, and even his socks. He hardly moved all night. I’d never been that comfortable before. Some time later we ended up together.

For a while people said they had never seen a couple as perfect as we were. We clung to each other for dear life, living proof that love existed. Then we calmed down. The reason for that is that in those first months our love was very much on the surface. I wasn’t sure what was going on inside me, and A. proclaimed his support of any choice I would make. All that we had was this mad affection we showed off like a war banner.

Now we have fought those battles. The banner is gone. The love has rooted itself so deep inside that it might be less visible from the outside. But the core and essence of my heart consists of him. I still go to sleep on his shoulder. I still hold on to his hand. He is still my guide, my guru, my husband, and my friend. He is the father of my every imaginary son. Every home I’ve ever pictured was tailored to his height.

However many crushes I might get on my friends, however many hours we might spend apart, however many rows we might have, he is the port I come back to. I am His Majesty’s Ship, and while tomorrow is the designated day of love for everyone around us, I am firmly anchored to him every day of the year.

it pays to have friends

Posted in good, important, love by theobvious on January 11, 2008

The most awesome thing that happened to me today was when someone said ‘It’s great that it’s going so well for you and A.’ – and I was like, is it? Oh well, I guess it is. Thanks man, you made me think.

And now you might go all House-slash-Cox M.D. on me and say ‘Did I accidentally make you think I had human feelings? That I cared a tiny rat’s ass? You know me better than that.’ Yeah. I still love you.

hard to be a girl, so nice to be a jerk

Posted in important, love by theobvious on November 25, 2007

If I were you, I’d have told myself to get over myself already with the braces. Think of the African kids, I would exclaim theatrically. They can’t get braces, good for them, I would reply sourly. Much bickering would ensue.

You didn’t say any such thing to me, Internet people, because as a rule you are not jerks. I, on the other hand, sometimes am. It’s amusing to be cynical. It’s fun to mock people and know for a fact I’m smarter than they are.

If a friend broke a leg (God forbid, of course), I’d be the first to send emotional text messages and bring over soup. I’d look at them with moist eyes and tell them jokes to keep their spirit up. I’d even show them puppy pictures.

But as long as there’s no real trouble – or if I don’t like the person I’m talking to – there’ll be as much sarcasm and teasing as I can produce. And because I only pick smart people as my friends, I usually get away with it.

There isn’t much of a screening process to become my friend. When I meet someone, I understand very quickly whether I like them. If that is the case, the deed is basically done. Pretty much no gradation other than yes/no.

I don’t really know what goes on on the other end. Why do people choose to have anything to do with me? I’m acerbic, smart-aleck-y, honest as a principle (decidedly not a good trait), and lots of other disgusting things.

Whatever the reason, even though I’m a much dumber version of House more often than not,* I still have excellent friends who put up with me and send me under-deserved praise in SMS. And that’s the point. I couldn’t be more thankful.

*At other times, I’m Pitiful Whiny Girl, all OCD and anxiety, no brains, just emotions. Even less attractive and we’ll talk about it some other time.

1+1 doesn’t have to be 3

Posted in a., family, important, love by theobvious on November 12, 2007

Look at my blogroll. Most of it is mom-blogs, journeys of adoption, fertility battles, different children, huge families. I guess it might be hard to believe that I am childless and planning to stay that way for a while. Not very surprisingly, then, I was asked about children again today. Here are some of the most common ways I’ve been asked that before:

  • ‘I want grandchildren!’
  • ‘So when should we expect to see you expecting?’
  • ‘How about little ones?’
  • ‘I heard you’re pregnant!’

No kidding about that last one. That was about the most popular thing to say to me when I just got married. Somehow, people assume that you don’t get married when you’re eighteen unless there’s a reason for that growing in your belly. You are commonly expected to fall in love, live together, sleep together, use flavoured condoms, get an exotic pet. But marriage? That’s for adult folks.

And then, when they are finally convinced that you got married because you actually love each other, they start trying to fit you into the next stage of their stereotypes: a family is only supposed to be complete when there is a kid. Therefore, naturally, we must be planning one in the nearest future. And people don’t hesitate to ask us about those plans whenever they feel like it.

I am a little tired of saying the same things over and over again: I am not ready. My husband might be, everyone else might be – but I’m not. I have issues that I need to sort out before I even start to think of bringing a whole new person into the world. I am not ready to commit. I am impulsive and irresponsible. I am afraid of pregnancy. I feel utterly unsuitable for parenthood.

It is still strange for me that I’m not alone anymore and never will be. That I always need to act with regard to the feelings of a particular human being. That I need to control my wishes and behaviour for someone else’s sake. There are so many things I can’t do anymore, and miss doing, that I don’t think I’m even physically capable of taking on any more restrictions right now.

This does sound harsh, but no, I don’t view my husband as a hindrance. Nor do I view children as inhibitions. I’m not child-free, I love children and want to have them one day. Right now, though, I’m just scared out of my mind. I am also angered by the hard time people are giving me without even intending to, just by being a little thick – and the even harder time I’m giving myself.

picture day again

Posted in a., family, love, photos by theobvious on November 8, 2007

This is A., my husband of two years. I love him still, though I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer if he doesn’t cut his hair JUST LIKE THIS PICTURE again! It’s too long! Too long and messy! And long! Ahem. No, just kidding. I love him and I love his hair. (Maybe take just a little bit off here and here?)