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Archive for February, 2010

by Shannon Penrod

In my next life I want to be a heterosexual, white male.  I know, generations of oppressed people have felt the same way.  White straight guys could vote when no one else could, they weren’t captured in their homeland and taken half way around the world to be sold into slavery.  White straight guys got to be heads of countries, corporations and county fairs.  The truth of the matter is that all of these bastions of white straight maledom have been shattered – there is only one remaining discriminatory practice and I ran squarely into it this week.  Shelf liner paper.  Think about it.  No one ever asks a straight white guy to line shelves.  It simply isn’t done.  This is why I want to be a straight white guy in my next life.

I wrestled a six foot long peice of Contact paper this week that had enough adhesive on it to glue Rush Limbaugh’s mouth shut permanently.  I wrestled and I won – okay, it has more wrinkles in it than both the Gabor sisters together – but it’s down.  Now my family is safe from—-why is it we put shelf paper down?  I don’t even know!  But there is some inbread genetic code that clearly tells my x chromosome driven brain that you can not unpack dishes into a cabinet without first lining the shelves.

My husband lifted, he toted, he packed- but he didn’t put shelf paper down.  I know if it were up to him there would be no shelf paper.  He could have slept soundly knowing that our dishes were sitting on …I can’t even say it, can’t even think it…gasp…gulp…unlined shelves.  As he pointed out, the shelves were already lined.  With the last person’s shelf liner.  I explained to him that it didn’t count unless you put the liner paper down yourself.  He looked at me like I was from another planet.  Don’t they teach this stuff to boys?  All the women I know understand this concept perfectly and frankly so do my gay male friends.  Even my straight guy friends who are not caucasian get the shelf liner paper thing.  Where were all the staight white guys when the rest of us were being indoctrinated into the nightmare of shelf liner paper?

These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

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by Shannon Penrod

Have you ever noticed that things are rarely what you thought they would be,  but sometimes they are better than you could have imagined?  When I was a little girl, I thought that one day I would get married and have children and that my husband would give me diamond earrings for Valentine’s Day.  And of course there would be the standard box of chocolates in the shape of heart, maybe a romantic dinner and the necessary heart-felt declaration of undying love.  That was the romantic dream.

The reality is so dissimilar to the dream it borders on hilarious.  There is no box of chocolates, to begin with I am allergic to chocolate and I no longer eat sugar, so the chocolate for me would be more like a death sentence than a declaration of affection.  There won’t be any diamond earrings either.  This year, like the last few years, my husband and I have agreed not to spend any money on each other for Valentine’s Day.  There are other places our money needs to go, so instead he have committed to non-monetary acts of love.  I know that there are some people who would be disappointed in this, not me – for me this is what it’s really about.

Last night my knight in shining armor made a late night trip to Walmart so the Lego Fairy could exchange our son’s Valentine candy for a shiny new toy.  Our son can’t eat sugar either, but the Lego Fairy makes it all okay.  This morning my hero got up with our son and went with him on a treasure hunt to find clues to where the Lego Fairy left the Valentine LEGO.  I wish I had video taped it.  My Valentine makes everything an adventure, everything is high drama, big excitement, the best of the best – which our son loves.  That kind of performance can’t be easy right out of bed, but my love is always up for the challenge.  After the LEGO had been found and appropriately “Ooohed” and “Ahhhed” over, my husband set about mixing my son’s biomeds together and giving them to him.  There are two rounds of meds, one in the morning that is messy because it is in powder form and one at night that is easy because it is pills.  I have the night shift, my husband unfalteringly mixes the messy morning dose.  That’s how my Valentine rolls.

Except for the visit from the LEGO fairy, this morning was like any other.  My husband got ready to go to a job that doesn’t feed his soul, a job he does to keep a roof over our heads.  He kissed us goodbye and headed out the door.  After he was gone I went down the hall to our bedroom and saw that he had taken the time to make our bed.  I sat down on the bed and started to cry… because I am so lucky.  I don’t know how many men there are who could go through all we have been through in the last few years and be the loving, caring, husband and father my guy is?

There are so many times my husband has shown tremendous strength, grace and humor since we started on this journey through Autism.  He is a rarity.  This is what he did for my birthday last year.

Seriously, who needs diamond earrings? I have a husband who makes me laugh and unloads the dishwasher!  I have an embarassement of riches. So to my husband I simply say: You are the best man I know. I love you more than I did on the day we got married, which I didn’t think was possible. You make me feel like all things are possible and give me the courage to face all the things I wish would go away. You make me laugh when I am sure that there is nothing left to laugh about. Most importantly you have given me the two greatest gifts in life; You have loved me for who I am, and you have made it possible for me to play the greatest role of my life : Mom. Thank you love for continuing to rock my world! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Your Loving Wife

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