Say yes to the 600 pound little hoarder.

I watch too much TV.

I always did, you know. I’ve been a vidiot since early childhood, when my father would ask me, “Do you think you’re ever going to make a living out of watching television?” Well, I showed the old man. For sixteen years, that’s exactly how I earned my keep. I spent six years teaching cable company employees how to sell TV channels they were too lazy to watch; then, I spent ten years writing bill stuffers for cable customers, telling them what they should watch on that hodgepodge of channels they didn’t know they had. Of course, they would rip up my work without reading it, but that wasn’t my problem. All I cared about was having a valid excuse to hog the remote at home. I would blissfully surf from one channel to the next, watching all kinds of good garbage, and if anyone tried to pry the clicker from my hand, I’d clutch it to my chest and cry, “this is RESEARCH; I’m WORKING!”

I was shameless.

But then, when my husband and I were between houses, we moved in with my kids for a month, and my son taught me a whole new way to watch television.

You see, my son has two overriding interests in life… real estate and food. If he can’t sell it, flip it or fry it, he has no interest in watching it. Consequently, everything he wants to see or hear is available on two channels: HGTV and the Food Network, and he didn’t let us watch anything else while we were guests in his house.

But you know what? It didn’t matter to me. At the time, we were in the throes of selling one house and buying another, and he introduced us to programs that spoke to our hearts. Should we have fixed up the old house instead of buying another? I spent hours binging on Love It or List It, and never got a definitive answer. Should we buy new furniture or fix up the old stuff? Christina Al Moussa wouldn’t have hesitated; she would have thrown the old garbage out and filled our home with blingy new furnishings. Should we look for a house with a pleasant configuration, or pick up a bargain and knock down its walls? I longed to share in Chip Gaines’ destructive catharsis, and long after we’d moved into our comfy new home, I’d stare at each wall maliciously, wondering whether I could knock it down and enjoy the delights of open concept living.

I must say that my husband got over the HGTV thing much faster than I did; once he was ensconced in his very own man cave again, he took his brand new remote and started surfing around for his kind of television: Law and Order, NCSI, and old John Wayne movies.

I sat in the living room, combing through the listings with Jonathan and Drew, and every time my husband entered my domain, he’d ask the same question: “Are you still watching that crap?”

I began to feel self conscious about it… and like a fat little girl who feared being caught with the third Hershey bar of the morning, I started changing the channel whenever I heard him coming. One day, I switched to my son’s other favorite, The Food Network, and chanced upon a group of chefs being forced to make a dessert out of the outrageous ingredients in a little brown basket… horrid things like mangoes, spinach, geoducks and Milk Duds… and I got hooked on Chopped. Faster than you can fry an egg, I became a Food Channel addict. For months I watched nothing else, and I really must tell you, I picked up a lot of information. I learned how to balance sweet and savory elements, how to substitute some herbs for others, how to get commercial tomato products to stop tasting like tin cans, and how to put tiny servings on enormous plates, so people would think I was a gourmet chef. I learned everything except how to duplicate Anne Burrell’s spun sugar hair.

Goodness only knows how long my Food Channel addiction would have lasted had my daughter not met a wonderful boy and entered into a serious relationship. Like most mothers, I started dreaming of the day they made it official, and started wondering what kind of wedding dresses were out there, and which would look best on my daughter. I knew that TLC had a program called “Say Yes to the Dress,” and one day, when Chopped was playing a rerun with which I was a little too familiar, I did the unexpected. I switched the channel.

Oh, boy.

TLC has Say Yes to the Dress… Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta… Say Yes to the Dress UK… and for those who’ve already said yes, Four Weddings, in which four bitchy brides attend each others’ nuptials and throw shade on their rivals’ gowns, venues, food, liquor, and guests, as they vie for a honeymoon they could easily have afforded had they not spent the GNP of Lichtenstein on their over-the-top bridal celebrations.

Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta plays between seven and nine in the morning. At first I would fall asleep at some point in its second hour and wake up for Four Weddings. Sometimes, though, I’d wake up between them, and that’s when TLC
used to play Hoarders. A few times, I awakened to see a house that looked much, much worse than my own messy little abode and I’d think, “Geez! Look at that! I’m not THAT bad!” Just when I started thinking I’d watch Hoarders on a regular basis, the channel changed its programming lineup and started showing “Little People, Big World.” Very quickly, I got caught up in the life of the Roloffs… in their divorce, their children’s marriages and pregnancies, their burgeoning new relationships.

After Four Weddings, when I was about ready to go and make myself some lunch, TLC would play “My 600 Pound Life.” Don’t you think this one speaks right to the heart of this chubby chickie? Every show is the same. You meet an enormous person who can no longer move, bathe, travel, work or have sex. They visit Dr. Nowzaradan (who should really throw away his bottle of Just for Men hair dye) to ask for a gastric bypass. He puts them on an 800 calorie a day diet, and asks them to lose 30-50 pounds in a month. (I know. Right???) They cheat and put on weight. He yells at them, throws them in the hospital, and shows them they can lose weight by actually not eating. He sets them free, and they try harder. They succeed, get their surgery, and lose hundreds of pounds… which leaves them with enormous flabs of flapping extra skin that needs to be removed surgically. Nobody ends up good looking, but at least they can work, drive and bathe.

Try to watch this at lunchtime without cutting back on calories. It’s the best deterrent to overeating that I’ve ever found.

Dr. Now is followed by three or four hours of Say Yes from New York, then the channel’s evening programming, which usually consists of multiple episodes of one of their shows.

A few nights ago I wasn’t sure whether to expect the Roloffs or Dr. Now, and I found a brand new program… dealing with the problems of severely overweight little people.

That’s when I realized I had a problem.

All I wanted to do was browse through wedding dresses; how did I get myself mired in the personal problems of a bunch of fat dwarves?

I need to stop this addiction to specific channels. I really do. I need to start watching scripted series, and movies, and sitcoms and plays, regardless of which network plays them. I need to start watching the news, and more public television.

Or better yet, I need to start reading books again.

Books.

I loved them, you know.

And I will again. Right after Randy shows this bride the newest gown by P’Nina Tornai.

Glinda the Good Witch and the Feather Duster Lady

My paternal grandmother was not a pretty woman. She was, God bless her, a heavyset, sallow-skinned lady with a face like Sun Yat Sen. I saw her for the last time when I was seven, and my memories of her visage would had faded long ago had it not been for photographs. We don’t have many of them… an unremarkable picture of her walking with my father, at some point in his teens… a few shots of her at my christening, blending into a sea of relatives. But we do have a few images of her that are burned into our psyches… indelibly imprinted in that naughty, rascally corner of the mind where cheeky disrespect flourishes and laughter springs up inappropriately.

All of those pictures were taken at my parents’ wedding.

You see, my poor grandmother lived in the country… in a little town in the Eastern part of Cuba far removed from the cosmopolitan elegance of Havana. When she came to the big city to attend my parents’ wedding, she had a black lace dress to wear which was perfectly appropriate, but she didn’t have a fancy hat or fascinator, which was de riguer for women attending nuptial ceremonies in the 1940’s.

Now at the time, my mother’s uncle (the one whom I always called Grandpa) was married to a woman who was breathtakingly beautiful, and dressed like a celebrity. When she strode by in tulle and feathers, she looked like a flight of angels; few others had the grace or elan to carry off her frocks, jewels, or hats.

You know where this is going.

My poor homely grandmother needed a hat, and my grandfather’s wife asked her to select one to wear from her breathtaking collection.

And they marched off to the wedding, where many photographs were taken.

Wicked, wicked photographs.

I first remember finding them when I was about eight years old. My brother, sister and I asked my mom to show us her wedding pictures, and she, innocent soul, pulled them out. Did we focus on the fact that mom looked like a queen? Noooooooooo. Did we noticed that Dad looked like a million bucks, dressed to the nines in his natty cutaway? Uh uh.

“Oh my God,” one of us asked. “Is that Grandma? Why is she wearing a feather duster on her head?”

“That’s not a feather duster,” another one replied. “It’s covered in mosquito netting!”

“Maybe it’s a buzzard that got trapped!”

“Why didn’t anyone try to swat that thing off her head?”

My mother looked in horror at her three impertinent children, laughing uncontrollably, breaking out into louder and more raucous peals every time they turned a page in her wedding album.

“Stop that!” She yelled at us. “Show some respect! That’s your father’s mother!”

“And she’s wearing a feather duster!” we cried out.

“Shut up before he hears you!” she implored. This should have had the desired effect… we knew my father had little patience for disrespectful urchins… but then we saw the twinkle in my mother’s eye.

“You’re busted, lady! You think it’s funny too!”

And that’s how it started…the countless afternoons we spent leafing through that album laughing at the feather duster lady. It was the one activity guaranteed to chase away ennui, to distract us from the stresses of childhood, and to fill us with unfettered glee.

In time we grew up and got married.

Knowing how my siblings and I visualized our grandmother, I swore that my mother would look regal in my wedding pictures. I had my cousin design her a gown that royalty would have coveted… an elegant creation made of richest Belgian lace… and indeed, whenever my children look through my wedding album, I know they see her and think, “Wasn’t Grandma Cusita a lovely lady!”

I should have worried about my mother-in-law.

The irony of it is that my darling Mazey was normally one of the best-dressed people I knew. She had a wonderful figure well into her later years, and a real appreciation for fabrics, textures, colors and trends. The woman had closet after closet filled with truly elegant clothes; beautifully cut dresses, exquisite separates, and enough expensive shoes to make Imelda Marcos feel like a piker.

But a few months before my nuptials, she called me and said, “Wait till you see the dress I bought for your wedding! It is the most magnificent gown I have ever seen!”

“What does it look like?” I asked.

“Oh, it is so beautiful! It has your blue and pink colors, long sleeves, and a big, full skirt. So flattering!”

She sounded so happy, so triumphant at having found this perfect frock, that I honestly rejoiced for her, and really looked forward to seeing her on my wedding day.

As my bridesmaids and I got into our gowns in the dressing room of our wedding venue, the door flew open, and Mazey made her entrance with all the confidence of Carol Channing on the stage in Hello, Dolly!

And my sister-in-law cried out, “Holy shit, Ma, you look like Glinda the Good Witch!”

She did, too. The dress was indeed pink and blue… it had a layer of diaphanous blue fabric draped over another layer of gauzy pink, looking for all the world like a cloud of gossamer  ham. The sleeves were so full and so poofy that even Princess Diana could not have carried them off, and awkward embroidered flowers that echoed the wilted lavender weed sitting on top of her head.

And the future became clear to me… my children would spend rollicking afternoons leafing through our pictures, pointing at their grandmother, and asking, “Why didn’t anyone garnish that dress with pineapples?”

I thought of them today as I shopped through the Internet, looking for something divine that I could wear to my daughter’s upcoming wedding. I found an outfit that filled me with delight. It’s a cross between a jumpsuit and a caftan, made of a nice, flowing fabric in a scrumptious aubergine color…

And I heard my unborn grandchildren cry out, “Grandma looks like a big purple bat!”

Passing the baton…

They say that women spend the first part of their lives dreaming about their own weddings, and the rest of their days dreaming about their daughters’ (and if they’re lucky, granddaughters’).

That’s certainly been true for me.

From the time she was in daycare, holding hands with the little boy who lived next door to her care provider, to the wonderful moment this weekend when I saw that the hand her beau was holding sported an engagement ring, I’ve longed for my daughter’s betrothal.

Oh, the weddings I’ve imagined throughout the years! Sumptuous shipboard weddings with chandeliers and an orchestra… rustic barnyard receptions with hayrides, mason jars and square dancing… breezy, beachy blowouts at the Jersey shore, with clambakes and bonfires under the stars… wildly sophisticated New York galas, with white-gloved waiters serving pheasants under glass… tiny, intimate ceremonies at soulful little chapels with shimmering stained glass.

In order to practice for the day when I could plan my daughter’s wedding, I spent years trying to throw perfect parties for her. Every birthday became a challenge. I never had the money to buy magnificence, but the Lord blessed me with plenty of imagination, so her birthday parties were awesome. There was the year we rented out a small movie theater, so she and her friends could watch a movie by themselves, eating candy and popcorn to their heart’s delight (not expensive if you do it at 10:00 in the morning!). There was the bash at a local pizzeria, where a passel of 6-year-olds were actually convinced that they themselves had made the pie.

Best of all, there was the Sweet Sixteen party. For pennies… pennies!… I managed to secure a top notch catering hall, which served six foot subs and hot dogs to kids who preferred weiners to filet mignon. I designed and made her invitations, since she wanted gryphons as her theme, and nobody made gryphon-inspired stationery in those pre-Harry Potter days. I got two DJs for the price of one, since a local DJ wanted to train her very handsome son in the family business. And I made all the centerpieces… glorious vases filled with leafy greenery, each one holding a beautiful,  delicate betta fish, much to the surprise of many of the kids who attended.

Since so many people wanted to take the vases home, I spent the following week filling more vases with greenery and betta fish, and driving remembrances of my kid’s party all over town.

And now, she’s getting married.

And she and her fiance want to plan their own wedding.

Let me pause for breath before I continue writing.

They want to plan their own wedding.

I suppose I wanted to plan my own wedding, too, back in the day… but there were plenty of other women vying for the job. Not my own sweet mother, God bless her memory… she didn’t have a party-planning bone in her body… but there were plenty of others. There was my wonderful cousin, who designed my dress. I told her I wanted ivory satin and diagonal ruching, with no lace or train. She told me in no uncertain terms that anything other than white would mark me as a hussy, and designed the most magnificent white lace gown, with a majestic train that marked the start of my life as someone’s queen. I had never seen, let alone worn, anything more lovely, and I will be grateful for her input until the day I die.

Then there was my husband’s dear cousin, a jeweler, who asked what kind of diamond I wanted. I told her how much I liked emerald cut jewels; she found me a brilliant cut diamond that is lovelier than any other on earth.

And then there was my mother-in-law. She insisted on a wedding in North Jersey, because she didn’t want her family to travel (so my gang had to schlep an hour and a half to the ceremony). She insisted that all her nieces and nephews be included in the bridal party (I barely managed to sneak my siblings and three friends into the mighty entourage). She let me know in no uncertain terms that a small Saturday brunch was a crazy idea; we threw a Saturday night extravaganza that cost roughly what I made that year.

Oh, I got my own way on a few things. Jeff didn’t wear white, as his mother had wanted; I knew damn well we could never pass him off as a virgin. I got to choose the invitations and the bridesmaids’ gowns too… but wait… Jeff’s aunt had the dressmaker raise all the cousins’ necklines.

But all in all, it was a heck of a wedding… and fifteen years later, my husband and I renewed our vows in a tiny little chapel with just a few friends in attendance, getting the ceremony we’d always wanted.

So I’m going to let my daughter and her fiance plan their own wedding.

She’s seen how a party should be put together… how to get maximum bang for the buck… how to select a caterer that will please the guests… how to choose music that will be meaningful.

I have to trust that this magnificent young woman and her godsend of a fiance will design a celebration that they can remember joyfully throughout the rest of their lives.

Now I have to look for something new to obsess about.

I can’t stand any more vitriol.

What do people gain by denigrating others?

Do they make desirable changes in those whom they attack? I doubt it. Do they alter their targets’ perceptions, and get them to behave according to their own beliefs and principles? I don’t think so. Do they create an environment in which cooperation can exist, or better yet, flourish? I haven’t seen that.

Denigrating the weak is indefensible, of course… it’s bullying, and it destroys egos, relationships, and communities. It has been known to take lives.

However, people today seem to take great pleasure in denigrating the powerful… especially those with whom they disagree. I’d like to know what they think they’re accomplishing.

At the moment, our nation’s elected leader is a man who is totally despised by the genti cognoscenti. I can understand that… in recent years, our country was led by a man whose hubris, duplicity, and contempt for Middle Class America seemed to far exceed his accomplishments. I certainly had no fondness for him.

Was he attacked by members of the opposition? Sure. He was called some absolutely noxious things. His wife was, too (and I’m no fan of hers, either, since the day she visited a homeless shelter flaunting $600 sneakers). Did this change his policies? No. Did this lead him to be more open and truthful with the public? No. Did it lead him to initiate dialog with those who disagreed with him, to see whether they had any common goals, and to create an environment in which cooperation could exist, let alone flourish? Nah.

Eight years after assuming leadership of a land where people vigorously disagreed, he left a country in which warring factions absolutely despised each other.

His successor is certainly a flawed man. He seems to speak before he thinks, and he appears to put as much energy into fighting insignificant battles as he does into solving the problems of his nation and the world. He has attacked and offended large segments of the constituency, sometimes as a matter of policy, but occasionally, as a consequence of unrestrained testosterone.

He appears to have way too much money… so much money that even rich people turn into Jacobins at the sight of his homes, his golf courses, his plane. His wife is too flawlessly pretty, like a surgically enhanced Galatea whose smile keeps a hint of marble. His older children are too successful (perhaps because they work in family businesses); his youngest child is too much the well-guarded porcelain angel.

The man is far from perfect… but he IS the man who won last year’s election, because half the people of this country preferred his take on the issues. They considered him more patriotic, more national-safety oriented, more economically savvy, and more likely to create an environment in which the middle class could stop descending into debt.

The calls for impeachment began even before the man was inaugurated. The results of the election were (and are) questioned. His right to govern while retaining financial benefit from his businesses was probed. His choice of successful people to fill his Cabinet was criticized… whom should he have chosen, neer-do-wells? His outreach to foreign leaders was castigated; his attempt to slow the influx of anti-American entities was seen as xenophobic.

That’s fine. If you disagree with his policies, his alliances, his staff or his actions, go ahead. Complain. State your facts and provide your back-up.

But don’t use vulgarity and violence to express your discontent. Don’t applaud a so-called comedienne who holds a mock-up of his severed head; while I celebrate her right to speak freely, I despise her metaphor in an age when America’s enemies are beheading their own people, and those who work for peace among them. Don’t send me “funny” Facebook messages that infer the president and his daughter have an incestuous relationship; don’t expect me to laugh when you compare his son-in-law to a feminine hygiene product. Don’t call his wife a victim or a whore and then call yourself a feminist; you can’t demand respect for women and then choose some women to be exceptions to the rule.

I did not vote for this president, but the vitriol with which I see him attacked has turned me against his opponents more than against him or his supporters. I get the feeling that his opponents want him to fail so badly that they wouldn’t mind injuring the nation as they take him down. No one wants Congress to dialog and craft bills that would serve the nation while pleasing both sides of the aisle; they just want to make sure He Doesn’t Get the Votes. God help us if there’s another opening on the Supreme Court; Deborah herself would be voted down if he were to put her name forward.

I have stopped reading messages from friends whom I truly love because I am sick and tired of the bile they endlessly vomit. I miss the days when we disagreed in a civil way, and spoke about people with respect.

Sadly, I don’t expect this little rant to change anything… but this was a message I needed to express.

Happy birthday, Old Man!

Tomorrow is my beloved husband’s birthday. Don’t ask me how old he’s going to be… he will be two years younger than I am, and I don’t remember my age.

All I know is that he has, thank God, lived a very long time, and in his span, he has picked up Valuable Information that is not available to others in his proximity.

For example, he is the Only Person Left in New Jersey who Knows How to Drive.

If you don’t believe me, follow him as he traverses the New Jersey Turnpike. He is the only person who understands that the speed limit is the lowest permissible velocity at which you can travel… and that’s only when you’re in the right lane. When you move into another lane, you not only have to go faster, but you must do so at a regularly increasing rate of speed. God keep you from his wrath if you speed up and slow down repeatedly, especially if there isn’t anyone in front of you. Where did you learn how to drive? How the hell did you ever get a license?

Most importantly, if he is driving behind you and he’s closing the gap between his truck and your vehicle, it is your job to Move Into Another Lane Immediately. Most people don’t know that… and they don’t always realize it when he honks his horn, flashes his high beams, or questions the marital status of their parents.

The only thing my darling man doesn’t know is Where the Hell are All the State Troopers who should be ticketing all these stupid idiots.

He is equally knowledgeable in another setting: the supermarket. Evidently, my husband is the only person in this town who can count to 12; everyone else is standing in the Express Line in violation of the Neon Sign above the cashier. There are an awful lot of stupid people at the supermarket. There are those who stare at the shelves of food surrounded by prancing, noisy little people: they obviously have No Idea How to Control Their Children. Then there are the ones who stop pushing their carriages in the middle of the aisle, or even those with the effrontery to stop and chat with another shopper. Neither of them realize that Other People Don’t Have All Day to Waste.

There are the clueless cashiers who Don’t Double Bag Heavy Items like milk bottles or cans… or even worse, the ones who place such items atop loaves of bread, which are thereby RUINED.

And worst of all, there are the idiots who wait until the cashier has rung up their orders before they pull out a thick walletful of expired coupons. This particular breed of moron refuses to acknowledge any error, arguing every single discount until my husband informs them that Uncle Sam Taught Him How to Kill People.

Oh, I have to wonder how this poor, poor man can bear to leave the house every morning. He goes to work with Idiots Who Don’t Know What They’re Doing and deals with Customers Who Think They Can Pull a Fast One on Him. He does this so he can support me and occasionally come to the aid of our children, who Don’t Know the Value of a Dollar, and have no clue as to How to Survive in The Real World.

He tells me that he only gets through the day because he knows that no matter what crosses his path, when it’s all over, he Comes Home to A Woman Who’s Crazy About Him.

And he’s right.

Happy birthday, my darling.

The value of a good mistake.

I once made a mistake that cost my company about $100,000.

At the time, I don’t think I was making $10,000 a year.

My boss should have fired me. Her boss certainly thought so. But she didn’t. She hugged me and said, “Kid, if you’re going to make a mistake, make sure it’s a big one.”

In the six years I worked for that company, I made them a couple of million dollars. Maybe a couple of couple. Had she fired me, that’s money they would never have made. She knew that, and God bless her, she always remembered it. I worked for her for a few more years, and throughout the rest of my career,  some of the most enthusiastic job recommendations I ever received came from her.

Did I ever make that mistake again?

Hell, NO.

You learn from the big mistakes. They force you to analyze your actions. They shine a light on what you do, and how you affect the people around you. They challenge you to craft creative solutions, so you can pick up the pieces and thrive again.They teach you humility, since they force you to say “I’m sorry.” Yet somehow, they instill confidence in you, since they prove that your actions really and truly do have consequences that are greater than you may have imagined.

I learned many valuable lessons from that one mistake… and there’s one I treasure above all others: people are not expendable. They may commit errors… in fact, it’s certain that they will… but if you view their gaffes as opportunities to teach, rather than punish, they’ll eventually pay dividends that far exceed what they may have lost you.

My heart breaks for George.

There’s a commercial on TV right now that fills me with horror and revulsion. It starts with a very petulant young woman who stares at the camera and states, “I hate being married to George.”

My heart breaks for George.

George, whoever he is, has pledged his life, his love, his worldly goods, and his future to this woman, who disdains his gift in front of him and a very wide spectrum of witnesses.

I keep turning her words around in my mind to see why they bother me so much.

What if she had said, “I hate George?” I don’t think that would have bothered me. Everyone is disliked by someone. Had she expressed a mere distaste for him, I would have thought, “Run, George! She’s pretty, but she’s not worth your time.”

And if she had said, “I hate marriage,” it might not have bothered me either. After all, any institution can be analyzed coldly at a distance, and found wanting. Marriage is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a unique, self-imposed form of bondage, whereby one gives up the right to live freely, spend recklessly, travel alone and impulsively, act selfishly, and best of all, enjoy the oxymoronic experience of being hunter and prey, as one stalks potential lovers with the hope of being bagged. It’s easy to find marriage a bit constricting at first… and it takes more than a little time and practice to find its bonds comforting, rather than restrictive.

She doesn’t say “I hate marriage,” though. She actually says, “I hate being married to George.”

As she speaks, I hear one human being saying, “This particular person has given me his life, his body, his trust, his hopes for a family. He has denied himself the right of seeking anyone else to hold him, feed him, comfort him, care for him in sickness and in health, share his fortunes, or even lie by his side in the grave. This person has pledged the totality of himself to me… and I wish he hadn’t. I don’t want him…him specifically.”

I also hear her say, “I’ve pledged my life to this person. I’ve promised him my body, and the fruit of my womb. I’ve chosen him among men as the person with whom I will age  and mature… as the person with whom I’ll share my days and nights, willingly. I’ve made a commitment to love him when it becomes difficult, to overlook his flaws and even reach the point where his imperfections fill me with protective tenderness. I’m tied to this man… and I find the bond constricting, rather than liberating. I’ve promised to stay with him for a lifetime, and I don’t want to be with him another minute.”

I can’t imagine anything more dismissive… more cruel.

Oh, I’m being an idiot. I don’t think this chick thought it out so thoroughly. I think she married in haste, and repented it quickly.

But then the camera pans out to George, and he says, “This is off to a good start.”

Poor George. Does he expect his marriage to last? Does he think this girl will ever treasure him as he might deserve? Does he expect her to ever put his needs and wishes ahead of her own? Does he expect her to be faithful, either in body or in soul? Does he expect her to bolster his ego, and see the most beautiful reflections of himself in her eyes?

What can he hope for? How deep a chasm has he fallen into?

I can’t imagine hating another human being so much that I could say, “I hate being married to him.” What absolute hell that must be! How devoid of hope one would have to be! How joyless!

I love being married to Jeff. I love being married. I love Jeff.

I love knowing that this man and I have chosen each other, and take increasingly greater delight in each other every single day, even when we sit in silence, riding in a car or staring at a TV, wordless and secure in the rightness of our bond. I love knowing that he treasures me even when I’m dopey, or lazy, or whiny, or just plain annoying. He’s happy knowing that he’s the center of my universe, even when he’s cranky, or goofy, or stubborn, or unreasonable.

I guess I find this commercial so troubling because I don’t like to sit in heaven and look through the window to hell.