Ghettofabulous Good Times

My in-laws were just in town for two glorious weeks. During their visit Hubs and I got not one, not two, but THREE date nights! Have I mentioned how much I love my in-laws? Yes? Okay then.

As Hubs and I usually space our date nights to once every Pope, I valued every single minute of bonus alone time I got with him, but one date was extra special. Hubs took me on an insider tour of his old patrol division in South Central. (We’re not supposed to call it South Central anymore because apparently the name has a negative connotation and by changing the name we have magically made all of its problems go away, but I’m a rebel).

Yep, changing the name makes it all better.

Right now I bet you’re thinking, “those two love birds sure know how to carve out moments of romance.” And you’d be right. We surely do.

I’ve been bugging Hubs to take me to that particular division for a while so that I could accurately describe it in my unpublished work of burgeoning genius, but every time I suggested it Hubs would get a look on his face as if he’d suddenly developed hemorrhoids and one of them had exploded. Apparently, according to crime stats, his own personal experience and the movie End of Watch, that area is dangerous and he loves me. Also he doesn’t know where all of our important paperwork is or how much Tylenol the kids get. But due to the UWBG (unpublished work of burgeoning genius) I would not let it rest.

So when he turned to me and actually suggested it on his own without any coercion or overt emotional blackmail I jumped up and down and ran to pick out my best South Central touring outfit before he changed his mind.

It's Christmas for unpublished authors in the ghetto.

It’s Christmas for unpublished authors in the ghetto.

Then I ran back out:

Me: If someone starts shooting at us, is it better for me to recline in my seat or lean forward?
Hubs: I’d recommend getting down on the floor so you have the protection of the–
Me: Engine block! Right!

(Yes this was our actual conversation and no, it isn’t unusual for us to discuss things like this.)

At that point I may or may not have wet my pants a little in excitement and had an elaborate fantasy wherein Hubs and I were in a gun fight and I took a bullet in the shoulder and had to dive over the hood of my car to take cover behind said engine block. Then as I was losing consciousness, cradled in Hubs’s arms I said, “promise me that your next wife will be ugly and good with the children,” and Hubs laughed through his tears, realizing that I was the most bad@ss wife in the entire world.

I love that fantasy.

Then Hubs generously armed himself, I packed tasty South Central touring snacks and we departed in a ball of excitement (admittedly all mine). I was so filled with joy and gratitude that I actually let Hubs drive my new leased pride and joy and only commented on his Captain Agro driving style once on the freeway. Once we got into the neighborhood I forgot to care about the welfare of my car because it was SO EXTREMELY AWESOME!

This church is on Trinity street and the Holy Spirit burned its roof right off.

It was even better than my Ride Along in Rampart Division, when I got to see a felony arrest, a perimeter and ride Code 3 (lights and sirens) to a call, and it’s hard to beat that. Hubs is the best South Central tour guide and heavily armed husband EVER!

Seriously, he’s the Starsky to my Hutch, the Crockett to my Tubbs, the Gyllenhaal to my Peña…huh, it looks like I took you on an unintentional homoerotic tour of famous cop shows. Alrighty then.

"Riley gets 7.5 ml of Tylenol for a fever."

“This was the best date night ever.”

Hubs expertly navigated the ‘hood, showing me the locations I’d used in my UWBG and some that applied to the work stories he’s shared, like “this is where I was chasing that gangster and we got hit by the Volvo” and “this is where I was wrestling with that guy on PCP and my partner stood back and watched.” He pointed out houses of “frequent fliers,” kept me informed of which gang’s territory we were in, answered all of my questions and pointed out some interesting characters and idiosyncrasies of the neighborhood while people stared at us as if they’d never seen a giddy, suburban soccer mom touring their neighborhood before.

Then Hubs took me to a really cute little Mexican place for lunch where I bought some souvenirs.

What? You thought I'd bring home a bag of crack and an undocumented worker? That's so racist.

What? You thought I brought home a bag of crack and an undocumented worker? You need to look at your code of ethics, my friend. And anyway, you can totally buy those on the internet.

As it turns out I’ve actually been in that division a few times on my own, which I thought was very cool. It reminded me of my pre-Hubs days when I regularly wandered neighborhoods in which I could get mugged or at least need a tetanus shot. Hubs was not as excited about that realization as I was.

I understand his concern. He just doesn’t realize the extent of my bad@ssery. But one day when we’re in that gun fight…

Crime just got its eviction notice.

Crime just got its eviction notice.

**********

Photo Credits:

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To Overprotect and Serve

Cops can be a little overprotective of their loved ones. It’s not their fault really. They see all kinds of horrifying things and automatically overlay the faces of their loved ones on the faces of the victims. It’s human nature, like nose picking.

(Look, let’s not lie to each other and pretend that we don’t all occasionally mine the nasal cavity. I think we’re beyond that point in our relationship.)

Anyway, Hubs sees disturbing things. Then he thinks about my giant noggin and how much he wants to keep it safe. After all it holds the secrets to which medicines and snack foods each of our children gets. Then he comes home and puts unfair restrictions on me, like telling me that I can’t take the kids and drive around South Central Los Angeles so that I can accurately describe the smell of ghetto in my unpublished work of genius that will one day pay for the kids’ college. Now tell me, how will I ever finish my future best seller without an accurate description of the olfactory qualities of ghettotude? It’s almost like he doesn’t want the kids to go to college.

“It smells like drivebys and Colt 45, you patronizing bourgeois biznitch.” (image via JonathanRosenbaum)

Anyway, yesterday Hubs came home from a long day of collecting parole violators and saw me lying on the kitchen floor with our son’s train set and my smart phone, taking pictures from different angles in order to best capture the joy that the train set could bring to a child who had not suddenly decided to outgrow trains between putting said train set on his/her Christmas list and discovering it under the tree. This hypothetical child’s parents are probably combing Craig’s List in search of an affordable train set right this minute, because they can’t afford to purchase one from Toys”R”Us since they both lost their jobs at the coal mine. Are there coal mines in Southern California? Maybe they worked at the Cheesecake Factory. Either way, it’s heartbreaking.

I explained this to Hubs who promptly told me that he didn’t want me to use Craig’s List because serial killers and child predators cruise it to find unsuspecting housewives for their next victims. Hubs apparently didn’t fully grasp the selflessness of my intentions–that for a mere $20 (or best offer) I could bring joy to an underprivileged train lover and his/her economically burdened parents. Such selflessness transcends personal danger. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil…except boys named Damien who bear the mark of the beast, because I saw The Omen and there’s no way I’m selling a train set to a kid who is pure evil. That would be irresponsible.

“Mommy didn’t get me a train set so I threw her off the balcony.” (image via tvtropes.org)

I helpfully explained that I was avoiding the sociopaths on Craig’s List by omitting “sensual massage” from the product description of my ad. Hubs was not amused. I offered to include “toy comes from a non-smoking, gun-filled household.” Hubs didn’t find that comforting either.

I had no choice but to launch into the speech wherein I explain that I survived 30 years before meeting Hubs because I make extremely good decisions (except for occasionally in my teens and twenties, a fact that I don’t include in my speech because it doesn’t support my argument). I further explained that because I now tote around two dependents and am more burdened informed about the dangers lurking everywhere I am even more cautious and observant in my day to day dealings. Plus I just watched two Steven Seagal movies back to back that were filmed before Steven got fat and started exclusively wearing those Chinese jackets. I’m more in danger, statistically speaking, riding in the passenger seat of Hubs’s decrepit jeep while he practices his agro New England driving skills.

“Are you making fun of my size and fashion choices? I’m going to take off my beautiful jacket and kick your ass.” (image via wikipedia)

I deliver this speech periodically when Hubs starts to worry about the safety of my plans. It does nothing to waylay his concerns but I like to occasionally deliver the speech anyway because I enjoy hearing myself talk. I finally put Hubs at ease by promising not to let anyone come to the house without Hubs’s armed presence. Sometimes Hubs just wants he and his weapon to be included.

Honestly, it’s exhausting to be so well protected. It’s almost enough to make a girl want to shop the Walmart Black Friday super sale with an open fanny pack or go to a Burning Man festival in a Romney/Ryan t-shirt as a part of a midlife rebellion.

Just kidding. I mean it’s not like I have a death wish.

Go Ruck Yourself UPDATED

Marines are not known for their restraint and moderation. You’ll never hear a war story of a battalion that went in and made some people mildly uncomfortable, broke a couple of things, said sorry and left. That’s just not how they roll. Marines are mildly depraved and dangerous.

Which is why I married one. Who doesn’t want to sleep next to depraved and dangerous every night?

Hubs derives a great deal of joy from enthusiastically hurting himself with physical endeavors and I enjoy watching. Every once in a while he will try to include me in his physical torture, but I’ve become fairly adept at graciously bowing out. See, Moderation is my middle name. When my body says, “ouch” I say, “What’s the matter? Did I hurt you? I’m so sorry. Let’s talk about it over a beer.”

I might use Hubs as inspiration to stay physically fit, but I do my best to keep our fitness regimens fairly separate. It’s best that way. Because I want to live.

However, I have a friend who frequently does mud runs and physical challenges with her husband. There are always pictures of the two of them looking exhausted and happy at the end, somewhere near the beer tent. Sometimes one of them is wearing a tutu. I look at the pictures and inevitably feel a pang of envy. I want to do that. Suffering is okay when it’s done in a tutu and followed by a beer. And it would be something Hubs and I could do together.

Foolishly I mentioned this to him, thereby proving that communication isn’t always the answer because this is what he came up with:

THE GORUCK CHALLENGE

(image via gorucknews.com)

I should have known that it was way beyond my capabilities by the excitement on Hubs’s face when he called me over to the computer. He looked like a five-year old opening his first box of Hot Wheels.

The Goruck Challenge was created by a Green Beret. Notice the distinct lack of tutus. Still, I looked at the picture above and thought, that doesn’t look so bad. They’re doing push ups in the surf. I like the beach. Maybe there’s a picnic afterward.

(image via gorucknews.com)

Treading water arm in arm can be fun.

(image via gorucknews.com)

Especially if you’re next to the pretty people.

I was feeling cautiously optimistic. I had visions of Hubs and I smiling and sweating side by side, just us and our new friends with whom we’d share laughter and a pitcher of beer later. Like an Amstel Light commercial, but with better beer.

Then I saw this picture and my enthusiasm ran from the room Scooby Doo-style.

(image via gorucknews.com)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that is nighttime. And those people are still carrying a giant log.  In cold wet clothes. Without a food truck. I like physical exertion. I also like to sleep and eat.

All of a sudden it didn’t look like fun anymore. Cold, wet pants chafe. Nobody wants raw thighs.

And then I realized what the Goruck Challenge really is. It’s some sort of mini Hell Week for people who fantasize about joining the Special Forces or want to relive that torturous time. I am not one of those people. I don’t need to be a Green Beret. Rambo was a Green Beret. He ended up in a tree, sewing up his own arm. I have difficulty stitching up a stuffed animal. And my big head looks terrible in berets.

(image via gorucknews.com)

Oh look, it’s dawn. And that’s not a breakfast burrito they’re carrying.

(image via gorucknews.com)

There’s nothing I like doing better after not sleeping or eating than push ups. Here is where I would collapse in a pool of my own vomit and cry or giggle hysterically while the Cadre (which is a nice way of saying Sadist) yells at me.

(image via gorucknews.com)

They’re carrying out the participants who’ve lost the will to live. That’s nice of them.

(image via gorucknews.com)

This guy made it through alive, but take a look at his elbow. I believe that’s an open wound. I bet he’s been crawling through all kinds of nastiness all night with that thing, picking up Lord only knows what diseases and no one gave him antiseptic and a Goruck Challenge band-aid. I give him another 12 hours before his arm falls off.

(image via gorucknews.com)

And now everyone is ready to go home. Wait a minute…

No beer tent???? Ah HELL no! If I’m going to carry a log all night in chafing pants, somebody had better be waiting for me, holding a frosty beverage.

Clearly this challenge is designed to make me cry, vomit and tear a muscle. Hubs and I have very different ideas about what constitutes a fun physical challenge. And as many times as I tell Hubs that this does not in any way look like a good time to me, he keeps grinning and saying, “I know you can do it” like some sort of deranged motivational speaker. Clearly he has no respect for my life or my inner thighs, which leads me to wonder if he’s taken out a large insurance policy on me or something.  My personal well-being may be at risk.

Please send help.

UPDATE:

The Goruck Challenge is now following me on twitter. I’m being stalked by a challenge! They’re coming for me…and I think they’re bringing the log. Please hurry. Time is. Running. Out.

Who Da Loop? OODA Loop!

A couple of weeks ago, on the way to a parole search, Hubs was traveling in the lead car of a law enforcement convoy when he saw a fire on the median between the freeway and the main adjacent boulevard. A pile of tires had been set ablaze, the kind of fire that often signals the designation of a body dump (homicidal maniacs rarely care about their carbon foot print). At least that’s what Hubs was thinking in the split second between seeing the fire and yanking his car over.

Hubs leaped from the car, grabbed a fire extinguisher, sprinted to the fire and went to work. He ultimately emptied two fire extinguishers to douse the flames. After seeing no body in the charred remains, Hubs turned to take the empty fire extinguishers back to the car.  At this point some of the other team members were just getting out of their cars.

In the eloquent words of the Probation Officer, “Dude!” Thirteen years later and I still find myself stunned and impressed (or occasionally appalled) by various things Hubs does.

Hubs shared this story with me, as he often tells me about his day at the office (later on he had a parolee at gunpoint in a bathtub, but that’s another story) and he said that the team members who were slow to respond were probably just out of the OODA Loop.

Who da loop, you ask?

He had to explain that one to me too. Apparently it’s a concept developed by military strategist and USAF colonel, John Boyd. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. It was used in the military to gain the upper hand over an opponent. The quicker one can process this cycle, the more likely one is to gain the advantage over a situation or opponent.

John Boyd aka The Ghetto Colonel, Forty Second Boyd, Genghis John, The Mad Major. He was not into smiling. (image via Wikipedia)

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with Hubs wouldn’t be surprised to hear him describe this philosophy. It’s how he lives his life. For better or worse, Hubs will act quickly. It makes him extremely good in a crisis and sometimes destructive in the home. You don’t want someone using the OODA Loop in your home if you own a lot of breakables, which is why you’ll hardly ever see a curio cabinet full of Precious Moments figurines on a military carrier.

This window was an OODA Loop victim during a yellow jacket incident.

A glass doorknob OODA Loop victim from a “Daddy I’m stuck in my room” incident. Notice the judicious use of duct tape in both cases.

Some shiznit could get broken, there may be some colorful language involved, somebody might even get their feelings hurt, but Hubs will leap into action in a swift and dramatic fashion, while the rest of us say, “Dude!” And then he’ll duct tape the carnage together later. That’s just how he rolls. With a siren.

It is impressive, but if you think about it, mothers use the OODA Loop all the time. Sure it usually doesn’t involve a freeway fire or a gun fight and we try our best not to break household items, but we regularly face our own sort of combat. For instance…

You walk into your two-year old daughter’s room, after her “nap” (otherwise known as the hour she plays in her crib to give Mommy a much needed break) to get her out of bed before the nice man from Craig’s List comes to buy your sofa and discover that your sweet cherub has gone Picasso with the contents of her diaper.

Except your daughter’s painting will commemorate a bombing in her bedroom instead of Spain. (image via Wikipedia)

You Observe the carnage: you might say something colorful that you hope your child won’t repeat later.

You Orient yourself: poo on the walls, crib, stuffed animals, ceiling fan (now that is impressive) and daughter, husband entering room and exclaiming more colorful language, bathroom directly behind you, front door through which you Craig’s List purchaser will arrive in ten minutes, behind you and to the right.

You Decide: husband will take poo-coated daughter to the tub. You will grab a trash bag, Clorox wipes, paper towels, rubber gloves, a vacation in Bermuda (No! Now is not the time for vacation plans! Focus!). You will stay locked in the offending room for as long as it takes and husband will handle the sale of sofa and disoriented daughter.

You Act: scrubbing poo and salvaging toys for the next hour.

Oorah! OODA Loop!

You are one bad@ss mama. John Boyd and Hubs salute you with an emphatic “Dude!” Now go out and get yourself that camouflage diaper bag. But shower first because you smell like poo and Clorox.

A Few Good Birds

Another budding bird family moved in to the corner above our front door. We didn’t even have time to take the old nest down and scrape off all of the bird crap. Those birds came in and just built another nest right on top of the last crap-filled one. I’m not one to judge, but just between you and me, that’s pretty ghetto.

And then they promptly started flying at my head every time I walked in or out of my door just like our last bird neighbors. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I was raised to be more neighborly than that. If you move into a new neighborhood, you wave at your neighbor, smile, say hello, introduce yourself. You don’t dive bomb them and then crap on their doorstep. I try not to crap on anyone’s doorstep, neighbor or not. That’s just common courtesy. Am I right? I mean who is raising these birds?

Naturally I complained to Hubs about the situation. I was just venting, you understand. But of course Hubs was upset about it. He found it unacceptable. Nobody treats his wife like that. He’s very protective. It’s sweet, really. I felt vindicated and forgot about the whole matter.

Then not long after our conversation I came home to find the bird’s nest above our door gone. In its place was a large rock. Only the bird crap remained as evidence of our former neighbors.

While I was pleased to approach my door without a Hitchcockian scene, I was also concerned for the birds’ welfare. I asked Hubs about it, but he gave me the Jack Nicholson “You can’t handle the truth” look and I dropped the subject.

“We live in a world that has birds. And those birds need to be dealt with by men with guns.” (image via jack-nicholson.info)

Did I inadvertently request a Code Red on some harmless, albeit obnoxious feathered friends? That was certainly not my intention. I was just venting. I wasn’t calling for street justice.

I’m a bleeding heart liberal and pacifist. Mostly. I was a vegetarian for six years. Sure I eat beef now, but I’m pretty sure the cows I eat are horribly depressed and longing to be thrown on a grill. I would never eat cows who had plans for the future. Nor would I call for violence against unborn birds who were simply a bi-product of irresponsible parenting. I would rather see those birds go into some sort of youth mentoring program, so that they could become productive members of our society. Or the food chain.

Then again, I don’t know for sure that Hubs harmed those eggs. There’s no concrete evidence to support that conclusion. I haven’t been contacted by PETA or an animal advocate. If there were any wrong doing surely Pamela Anderson would be on it. She handled the whole Kentucky Fried Chicken protest against chickens being inhumanely fried. In Kentucky. Or something. I’m fuzzy on the details but I think she’s looking out for chickens and birds everywhere, so chances are she’d be knocking on our door if those birds were unjustly treated.

Having a buxom blond with a camel toe show up in your establishment isn’t really punishment and in fact might encourage animal cruelty. (image via gossipbay.net)

Besides, Hubs is an animal lover. I’ve seen him affectionately care for dogs, cats and small, feral children. And he is extremely tender with the eggs he uses to make his omelets.

I think I overreacted. I bet those bird eggs are on a farm somewhere. Or in a bird sanctuary. He just didn’t want to tell me because then I would want to go see them and he probably didn’t have enough gas in the car. Gas prices are outrageous right now. And the economy is sluggish. His silence was probably born out of economic reasons. Not moral ones.

The birds are fine, which is a relief…

because I complained about the raccoons too.

“Ruh Roh.” (image via dreamstime.com)

 

This Little Piggy

My in-laws are in town, which means that my waist line is thicker, my kids are happier and Hubs and I got a date night. Woohoo! Date nights in this household happen about as often as a lunar eclipse. It’s hard to find a babysitter that fits my husband’s standards. Even the people who do well in the interview and polygraph usually balk at the body cavity search. Nana and Grandpa are exempt from invasive investigation–you don’t want to suggest a body cavity search to an Italian mother from New England unless you have really fast running shoes and access to a witness relocation program.

So Hubs and I got an ENTIRE afternoon and evening to ourselves. HELLO! You’d have thought we skipped our Ritalin we were so giddy. We had enough time to break our ten-mile we-don’t-want-to-go-any-further-in-case-there-is-an-emergency-and-the-kids-need-us-plus-this-babysitter-is-costing-us-an-arm-and-a-leg radius. I even put on a dress and impractical high-heeled boots. Plus jewelry. And Hubs smelled suspiciously like cologne. That’s how excited we were.

Unfortunately we sprinted out the door too fast to have a picture taken on this particular date night, but look how excited we were on a date in 2010!

We got off to a shaky start. We chose to go to an area that we both really loved when we first started dating: the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Lo and behold, we aren’t in our twenties anymore and don’t find crowds, panhandlers and street performers every 5 feet, singing conflicting music genres all that charming anymore. Plus, I was hungry and I need to be fed on a regular basis or I get a little agro and, though Hubs finds me especially attractive in that state, it’s not a good idea to start a fight in impractical high-heeled boots unless you’re Cat Woman.

Watch out for this chick. She'll roll you for your wallet and a ball of yarn. (image via dreamstime)

Luckily we discovered a cute little cafe off the promenade and I found Jesus at the bottom of my salad bowl. Well honestly I’m not sure whether Jesus was at the bottom of my salad bowl, my husband’s plate or the bread bowl, but I found him in one of those spots along with my love of mankind. A big shout out to the cook at Le Pain de Quotidien. I don’t know you but you saved some lives with your over priced salads this weekend.

I usually deal with loaves and fishes but an organic salad is also nice. (image via dreamstime)

Then we headed to REI. Hey, we don’t get out much. Don’t judge us. ‘Cause you know what? We weren’t the only couple in there on a date night. In your face!

I’m sorry. I went a little agro on you. I just need a granola bar.

Seriously, if you want to feel a sense of community, head on over to the running shoe section of an REI. Runners love other runners and they are some really nice people, which is why I pretend to be one of them. So anyway, there we were surrounded by our new besties, shooting the breeze about the merits of different running shoe styles (you are so jealous of my date night–I can tell) and the topic turns to the new barefoot style shoes. Hubs loves any new fitness gadget, so he got up on his athletic soap box and sang the praises of this brilliant invention. One of our new friends jumped on board and proselytized about the philosophy behind the shoe–how the shoe allows all of the bones and muscles in your foot to act independently in the manner in which they were meant, yadda, yadda, yadda. At that point, I had completely bought into the lie that I am a runner and I excitedly decided to try on a pair.

Barefoot running makes you younger, happier and more attractive. (image via dreamstime)

Here’s the thing: the bones in 40-year-old feet don’t want to act independently. They especially don’t want to act independently after being jammed into impractical high-heeled boots that fit much better before I was pregnant and my feet widened.

I torqued all of my shell-shocked toes into the individual toe spots inside the life changing footwear and then I jumped around and did the type of calisthenics that I imagined runners must do. However, one of my toes seemed to really dislike the shoe. Apparently I forgot to brief it on my secret identity. I decided against the purchase. Back into the impractical high-heeled boots my feet went and after a few heart-felt goodbyes, we departed REI to finish out the rest of our date night.

My husband's running shoes. Notice how they mock me and my psuedo-runner status?

The next morning, my toe woke me up bright and early with a manifesto about the horrors of barefoot shoes and delusional people who believe themselves to be runners. It’s diatribe got even louder when I tried to walk to the bathroom and continued to increase in volume until I finally considered that my toe might be broken.

My first broken bone. You have no idea how disappointing it is to have avoided breaking a bone all these years and then break one trying on a shoe. Pathetic. Seriously. I’m going to tell people I was paragliding with a snowboard in uncharted mountains.

How I Spent My Winter Vacation And Broke My Toe by Kelly Redican. (image via dreamstime)

I called a foot expert. No, not a podiatrist. A dancer. No one knows more about broken toes than a dancer and you can pay them in Diet Coke and cigarettes. So I called my dancer friend and got a very detailed treatment plan guaranteed to heal my toe and make me graceful and painfully thin. Bonus.

And you’d better believe that on our next date night, Hubs and I are going base jumping in Columbia. For real.

Captain Agro Rides Again

My husband is a terrible travel companion. He has many other wonderful qualities–he’s a fearless climber, tireless talker and accomplished break dancer (don’t trip, it’s true) among other things. However if you need a free-spirited companion to accompany you and your children to an exotic location that can only be reached by plane, he’s probably not the way to go, unless you enjoy traveling with Captain Agro, in which case have a nice trip and don’t forget to pack his spandex suit and cape.

image via dreamstime. Swimming with a cape is extremely impractical, which is why you never see super heroes snorkeling.

The problem is that Hubs is never mentally off duty despite what his schedule might say. If there is a gangster with a gun and poor people skills or a 90-year-old with a broken hip and no Life Alert within 50 miles, Hubs will be involved in some capacity—comforting an old lady, delivering a head injury. Possibly at the same time. Because he can multi-task.  It’s in his nature, like athleticism and flatulence.

Take our honeymoon for instance. We went to St. Martin, the self-proclaimed “World’s Friendliest Island.” I picked it because there would be no language barrier, it is located in the Caribbean, which is like being in Florida twice removed and a family friend had offered the use of his villa. These were all qualities selected with my husband’s comfort level in mind because honestly if you drop me off in the middle of the worst neighborhood and tell me that I am on vacation in another country, I’ll be giddy with excitement. I have exceptionally low standards and regard for personal safety when traveling.

Image via Dreamstime. Pollution and crime just look nicer through my rose-colored travel glasses.

Hubs disliked St. Martin immediately. There was too much poverty and poverty meant crime. The local police station was unimpressive. (Doesn’t every man take his bride on a romantic trip to the pokey?) Further more, It smelled disturbingly like South Central LA with an ocean breeze, which, come to think of it, explains why he never purchases the Ghetto Ocean Mist scented Febreeze.

When it was time for bed, Hubs paced at the window like a watch dog with a nervous disorder, surveying two individuals at the bottom of the hill on which our villa was perched. They looked suspect, the type of men who might cut the tags off pillow cases and use the pillow to smother an American citizen…and then poorly tip their waitress. I didn’t share his concern so I did what any loving wife would do—told him he was ruining my honeymoon and drugged him with Tylenol PM.

Hours later I awoke from a noise in the living room.  I woke Hubs, who left the bed and ventured to the living room buck naked (his preferred sleeping attire) but armed with a souvenir machete he’d found and stashed by the bed when I wasn’t looking. The machete was printed with the words “St. Martin: The Friendliest Island.” Nothing says friendly like a machete.

image via dreamstime. This guy looks super friendly and really happy to see you.

There outside the sliding glass doors, perched on top of a ladder and removing the louvres from the window atop the sliders was one of the men from the bottom of the hill. Apparently he was an unofficial member of the island welcoming committee staging a surprise welcome party. His friend crouched off to the side of the porch below him, probably to jump out and holler “welcome!” at the appropriate time. Because that’s what you do at a surprise welcome party. Duh.

Hubs started a casual conversation with the man on the ladder (just a dude on a ladder and a naked tourist exchanging pleasantries) in an effort to better understand their motives and relax them in the event that further violence was needed. About the time it became clear that the welcome party was off and none of us would be pen pals, my husband also realized that getting into a knife fight with two men while sporting no clothes was not optimal if he valued his testicles, which for the record, he did and does.

Testicles are a man’s favorite accessory. Like earrings only lower.

image via dreamstime. I bet she doesn't want to get in a knife fight and risk losing one of her balls either.

Hubs casually suggested to our new friends that they wait where they were because he had something for them, possibly party favors or a thank you present for throwing us such a thoughtful party. Then he strolled quickly but casually into the bedroom to throw on the nearest pair of pants.

Our new friends did not wait around for their thank you present, which admittedly sounds rude but, as I mentioned to Hubs afterward, maybe they were overwhelmed by the thought of what possible present a naked, machete wielding American might produce for them. I can’t really blame them. Hubs told me the same thing once and I ended up pregnant. Makes you think twice before accepting a present from him, you know?

38 weeks after accepting a gift from a naked American.

I unsuccessfully attempted to convince Hubs that experiencing the local crime scene was just another charming way to truly get to know another country.  He was not swayed and announced that he would never travel anywhere he could not take his gun nor sleep without pants again (cue the sigh of relief sound of heartbreak from our neighbors), I went back to bed and he stayed up to plan his own surprise party for the welcome committee should they return.

When I woke in the morning and went out to the living room again I found Hubs surrounded by homemade weapons and an empty pot of coffee.  By this time he had lost the need to blink and excitedly showed me his homemade weapons stash. I thought the stapler strapped to a board was especially nice. Then we sat and watched the local hotel burn, a completely unrelated event I think, but I can’t be sure.

image via dreamstime. Our love burns bright--like a three alarm hotel fire.

Hours later we were flying home, my bikini never having seen the sun.  And that was the end of my honeymoon, as well as the last time Hubs and I traveled outside of the United States.  And whereas my biggest regret was leaving the honeymoon without so much as a tan line, my husband’s biggest regret was having been in close proximity to two capering criminals and due to lack of gun and pants not catching them. Clearly we have different travel priorities.

One could argue that Hubs is an excellent person to have around in the event of an emergency and they’d be right. On the other hand, the emergency is less likely to happen if he’s not there—at least I’m not aware of the emergency, which is almost the same thing. After all, ignorance is bliss or at least an umbrella drink.