Posts Tagged 'marriage'

2009 MOFT of the Year: Mrs. Deadman (of course!)

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, but it’s that time of year when I must bestow the coveted My One Favorite Thing award of 2009. Last year, you may recall, Cottonelle Wet Wipes Toilet Paper won the 2008 MOFT, just edging out Barack Obama.

This year, there are so many worthy candidates. Certainly Obama was in the running again, as his January inauguration provided one of the more stirring moments of the year. But while infinitely better than what we had at this time last year, the Prez has been just a bit disappointing to me, so he’ll have to settle with his consolation Nobel.

Other early notable contenders for the 2009 MOFT included Reddi-Wip, the Oster Electric Wine Opener, Scramble (a perennial favorite), Phil Ivey, the St. Louis Cardinals, Dexter, our housekeeper Gloria, and Ingrid Michaelson. Meanwhile, a number of late dark-horse candidates in recent months have emerged, including the Wii (finally got one and it rocks), Modern Family, fantasy football, and even in the last couple of days, this hilarious, mind-fu** of a video.

But in the end, to be honest, it really was no contest. By far, My One Favorite Thing of 2009 is my brand shiny new wife! (She may in fact be even better than the Wet Wipes!)

For those of you don’t know, I married the now Mrs. Deadman on Halloween in Saratoga Springs, NY. It was quite a lovely and fun event if I do say so myself, with almost all of our closest family and friends in attendance.

While I so far am very glad I took the plunge, overcoming the commitment phobia that’s plagued me my entire life, i do have a couple regrets from that weekend. One is the DJ, who sucked so hard I am surprised there was any air left in the reception hall (she will certainly be a top contender if I get around to doing My One Least Favorite Thing of 2009 sometime next week).

Another thing I regret was not taking the time sometime during the night to give this little speech about my new wife. It was something I planned on doing, just like the Mrs. and I both planned on taking a brief moment to thank a bunch of people, but we wanted to try and spread out the speeches and toasts and let people eat and have fun, and then it just never seemed like the right time.

It really is amazing how crazy weddings are when you’re one of the key participants. The night just flies by, and you really feel like you have no control over anything. (Apparently, it wasn’t just the wedding night that didn’t go exactly as planned – Sorry Genghis!). No matter how many people warn you to try and appreciate the moment and be truly present, it’s basically impossible. You feel more like a character in a movie than a real live human being making perhaps the most important decision of your life.

But the truth is, we just should have done what we had planned. It was our wedding and our party, and we just should have found time to thank the people who helped make it all happen, and I should have delivered my little ode to Mrs. Deadman (which to be fair I had thrown together very quickly the week before.)

I guess instead, I will have to settle with posting it here and hoping people read it. So without further ado, here it is:

I just want to say a few words about my beautiful, brand-spanking new wife. Keri and I had our first date 2 years, 2 months, and 2 weeks ago from this very day. And I knew very early on, I had stumbled upon something special.

In fact, I remember one day, no more than a couple of months into our relationship, getting ready with Keri to go out and I found myself just staring at her for a few moments before eventually blurting out ‘How in the world did I get so lucky to have found you?”

“No seriously,” I asked, “how in the world have you stayed single long enough so that I could find you?!?”

I mean, here was this incredibly smart, extremely sexy and cool girl. Sensitive and sweet – with just enough spice and even a touch of the occasional vinegar to keep things interesting. Pretty and funny – not only appreciating my own sense of humor, which is tough enough, but also constantly making me laugh. And it all came bundled in this one little enticing skinny package!

So of course i thought there had to be a catch.

Now it turns out there was no catch, but as I said, this was very early on, so my question might have been a bit naive.

Because the truth is, it’s just that relationships are hard, very hard – and I think people in general – and especially as we get older – are too quick to throw our hands up in the air and throw in the towel when things get a little tough and the inevitable concerns arise. It’s so easy to just give up and move on.

But I think it’s OK when two people in a relationship sometimes have differences of opinions, competing philosophies. It’s healthy. Would be boring otherwise. It’s when we accept and maybe even embrace the differences that we grow as people and couples.

And there is no doubt I have learned so much from Keri over the past two years, especially about how to live a good life and be a better person. And honestly, it would have been impossible to move on because even during tougher times, there were certain things about Keri that stuck with me.

Like how genuinely scared and concerned she looked when she came to visit me in the ER after I had a little heart scare, tears welling in her eyes as I was hooked up with all these wires (probably worrying what the hell she was getting into).

Or like how she is with our dog, Oliver, the love and affection she showers on him – and this was most certainly not a dog person when we first met.

Or how she makes me laugh by breaking out into one of her silly godawful dances, such as the infamous one-legged south-facing boogie (which perhaps if you’re lucky enough, she’ll share with you tonight).

Or how warm she is with all of my family and friends, who will invariably come up to me after meeting her and warn me, “Don’t you dare F this up, Darren!!”

It was just always so easy to envision Keri as my wife because she is exactly what i’ve always pictured when I thought about my life in this stage.

And the more I think about my original question – “How in the world did you stay single long enough so that I could find you? – the more I wonder if the answer is not just that relationships are hard, but that perhaps, this is the only way it could have possibly been.

That it, and us, and today were always going to be. Had to be.

And I am just so happy and thankful right now, so excited about our future … and I love you very, very much!

I’m back … and the Bear will be joining me shortly

OK, I know I’ve been a bad, bad, bad dagblogger for quite some time, but seeing as I’m getting married in less than four weeks, I’m giving myself a pass. (Today’s key word: ELOPE!!!)

I’ll be back more regularly by the end of the year, but for now, I just wanted to give you a ballsy prediction:

The market is nearing a significant short-term top. Nailing the exact timing is always difficult, but I expect we’ll be significantly lower by the end of the year, and certainly by the end of the first quarter of next year, I expect we will see market averages at least 15-20% lower than we have now.

Way back in March, on the day after the stock market bottomed, I wrote a piece predicting the rally could have legs. Now before I go patting myself on the back too hard, I must admit I’ve been surprised by how long the rally has lasted and how ferocious it’s been. But I suppose that’s the kind of combustible response you get when you combine a recovery from a near-death economic experience with trillions of dollars in government stimulus and bailouts and near-zero interest rates.

So why do I now believe the party is about to end? Well, for several reasons. First, my prediction is obviously influenced by my overall negative view of our economy. Employment is still ugly, consumer debt levels are still too high, the dollar is getting perilously weak while commodities like oil and gold are rising on an almost-daily basis. To stimulate the economy, we’ve pursued short-term measures like foreclosure relief, tax credits, and Cash for Clunkers, which have done little to resolve the structural imbalances in this country. The only thing we’ve really accomplished is burdening future generations of Americans with crushing levels of national debt. We may in fact see decent GDP growth for the next few quarters but that’s only because the comparisons will be so weak.

The overall bullish reaction to this better-than-expected – but still rather grim – drumbeat of news we’re getting is another reason I’m worried the good times are about to end. Take today’s action, for instance, with the market moving higher because of some new economic data. What are these promising green shoots of which I write??

Well, for one, tetail sales rose 0.1 percent for the month of September, according to a survey. This is the first sequential rise in sales in over a year, and apparently a cause for massive celebration according to the chief economist of the group that led the survey. “Let the retail recovery begin,” said Michael P. Niemira of the clearly unbiased International Council of Shopping Centers. “This is the start of a better performance and better fundamentals.”

Hogwash. With unofficial unemployment rates still in the teens and rising, I guarantee you this holiday season – and many holiday seasons to come – will be a big disappointment.

Speaking of unemployment, by the way, the market is also cheering the fact that the Labor Department reported that new claims for jobless benefits fell to 521,000 last week, the lowest level since January and, yes, ‘better-than-expected.’ Meanwhile, this still means that more than a half-million Americans lost their jobs, above the rate where overall unemployment would start falling.

i wouldn’t say the pundits and experts are universally bullish – which would be the ultimate contrarian indicator – as I do still see some skepticism out there, but I believe investor complacency is rising to dangerous levels while most of them try desperately to chase the market.

The final reason for my growing bearishness is more technical, but basically comes down to the fact that many of the stocks I look at are now approaching their 2008 highs. This is a little inside baseball, but basically it’s often the case that old highs for a stock end up being significant resistance points as investors who bought at those levels look to get out close to even. You see these ‘double tops’ often when looking at stock charts.

Since I believe that very little has been done to fix the economy structurally, I feel that 2008 levels will serve as a high watermark for the market for years to come.

Now don’t get me wrong. We’ve done a few good things to justify these higher prices. Inventories have been drastically reduced. Many companies have cut costs and yet kept efficiency and productivity levels high. The emerging markets like China and Brazil have shown a great deal of resiliency. And certainly the prospect for a total economic collapse – which seemed almost inevitable at the height of the panic – now appears very remote, at least for the foreseeable future.

But mostly what we’ve done is comparable to giving a sick, lethargic, malnourished patient a shitload of sugar and then celebrating the fact he seems more energetic. The sugar high crash is coming and it won’t be pretty.

MOFT: Episode 14 (The soon-to-be Mrs. Deadman)

Sorry for my extended absence the last couple of weeks, but the excuse is a good one: I’m engaged!!

So as much as I may have wanted to make the clementine My One Favorite Thing of the Week – I mean, really, it’s got all the health-filled, sunshine-y goodness of the orange but with more sweetness, less seeds and in an adorable little easy-to-peel package to boot – it’s only fitting that I bestow that honor instead on the amazing girl who finally convinced me to give up 35 glorious years of singlehood.

The soon-to-be Mrs. Deadman is sweet, smart, sensitive, silly and sexy (yes, she too comes in an adorable little easy-to-peel package). Even though we’ve been together for just under 2 years, it is tough to imagine my life without her. She has a very caring soul, is incredibly nurturing (you should see her coddle our dog – and to think she wasn’t a dog person when I first met her) and totally trustworthy. Her smile and laugh are infectious. She keeps me entertained and challenged. She supports me in every way imaginable. She gets along beautifully with my family and friends (and as a big bonus, I love her family and friends, too). I really could go on and on about how great my fiancee is (we both hate that word and have stolen her sister’s use of the word beyonce instead), but suffice to say, she is a catch.

Now that I’ve made all the readers sick with my saccharine description, I will begrudgingly admit we’re not perfect. We have our scraps. But that’s OK. We know we love and care about each other a great deal and we start with that premise whenever one of those thankfully rare disagreements arise.

At some point, I will probably discuss my qualms over the institution of marriage in general and how I got past them. But for now I just want to keep this (mostly) romantic!

The bottom line is that I’ve found someone who makes me laugh, who makes me think, who makes me horny, who makes me dinner (on the rare occasion!), who makes me happy … who just makes me better.

And I feel like a very lucky man.

Ah, perfection … it comes with a price

So the other day I was talking to a softball teammate who’s about to get married, and we were discussing why more and more people in their 30s and 40s – at least in New York – seem okay with the prospect of staying single. I know that many of these older bachelors and bachelorettes want children and I’d have to think that few of them relish the prospect of aging without a constant, dependable companion and lover. Yet they can’t seem to find the one worth taking the ultimate plunge.

My friend and I pretty much agreed this phenomenon stems from the fact that people were waiting later and later in life to marry, and by then it’s often too late. You see, the older people get, the more set in their ways they get, the more likely they feel their way is the right way, and the more unwilling they are to make the compromises necessary for a healthy marriage. And given how different men and women are to begin with, that increasing inflexibility becomes a deal breaker.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again in relationships, as trivial complaints and issues snowball into insurmountable obstacles that eventually threaten the love and attraction that initially existed. Heck, I’m 34 and still single, so I wonder if I’m falling into the same trap.

That’s why I try to remind myself what I’ve often told others in my life who I know really want to fall deeply in love, get married and start a family:

Nobody is perfect. And that, alas, also means you and me.

So don’t settle just for the sake of settling, but be careful you’re not searching for something that doesn’t exist and would be extremely boring even it did. Rather, learn to live with others’ imperfections. Try to understand why they exist. And one day, you may just find beauty in them.


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