Let me start off by saying, I am the undisputed LORD of the thermostat.
I like it cold in the house. My philosophy has always been that if folks are too cold, they can always put on extra clothes. However, if it’s too hot, I can only take off so much and then I’m simply sticky, sweaty, and getting NO SNUGGLES FROM ANYONE!!! For 15 years now, I’ve been the undisputed lord and master of the thermostat and peace has reigned in the land.
However, like all who wield ultimate power, every authoritarian gets challenged from time to time.
When Builder moved down in December, he brought an irrational hatred of cold, endemic to the peoples of the Great Frozen Northland, along with him. This wasn’t too much of a problem during the Southern winter, when one can honestly wear shorts most afternoons in January. With him being the Chief Financial Officer of our household, a desire to not run up the gas bill keeping the house hot lent extra credence to my case for cold. However, just as the Southern winter has a extraordinary warmth, so too does the Southern summer. The town we live in tends to be atypically cool in the summer and has temperatures 5-10 degrees cooler than anywhere in the surrounding region but nonetheless, the temperatures and humidity in the summer can be grueling. Hardly the best environment for a human radiator such as myself.
After a solid month of pre-summer heat and spiking humidity levels I can say I have learned something about Builder and I. We both agree on a steady consistent 68 degrees as being the optimal temperature for any household.
Our sole point of disagreement is merely a matter of degree. I reckon by Fahrenheit and he does so by Celsius.
I wake in the morning covered in sweat to find out that the temperature has been bumped up in the night to 74. I turn it down to 71 and it starts cooling off just in time for Builder to turn it back up to 75 before leaving for the day in order to conserve energy. I get home in the afternoon to a blazingly hot house that cools down just in time for him to get home. We spend the rest of the evening generally taking turns in an elegant and polite game of thermal tug of war that keeps the house somewhere between 71 & 73. As the summer progresses though, no amount of determination on my part will keep the house below 75 as our ineffective AC unit tries to stay afloat.
Over the last 6 months or so, as Builder has settled in and incorporated himself into the household, he and I have taken each other’s measure more in full and worked to establish a balance and rapport. Parenting, spousal support, budgets, relationship issues, etc…
We should do just fine assuming we can take the heat of the summer and handle the war of degrees.
Growing up, we had five biological members of the family, with two or more friends-bordering-on-siblings staying with us and dropping in for meals at any given time. I learned to cook for a small army.
When it was just me and Builder, I made enormous, elaborate meals. I really struggled to learn to cook in small amounts and to shop for a more modest family. We would have leftovers for days on end (and I’m not always great about eating left overs). So I found my niche when I magically found myself cooking for seven people plus various extras as they drop in. We sometimes toss food, but less often when it was just me and Builder, and the extra that is left over at lunch or dinner is quite handy in being the next work day’s lunch for those of us on the go and out of the house.
However, as we are in the process of purchasing our first house, we sat down and took a long hard look at our budget. I just about swallowed my tongue.
Three grand. Sweet baby monkeys, we spend three grand a month on feeding the horde of growing people. It means I’ve gotten incredibly lazy at shopping sales and doing bulk items of the stuff we use a lot. We also have been lazy about ensuring that when we are on the run, we aren’t resorting to fast food, and date nights have relied heavily upon going out to eat at a grown up restaurant with booze. I’m a sucker for a well made drink, so it’s almost always impossible for me to resist trying out a bar.
Needless to say, we are working to fixing this. I have SOME ideas (including making Builder be in charge of telling me nights are left over nights), but I’d be intrigued to hear what y’all do. Especially when keeping children out of the pantry and kitchen when they’ve had pretty free run for the last decade or so.
It has come to my attention that some of my spouses* need a pick me up. I am assuming that this Wednesday has not been any kinder to your people than it has to mine, so here’s some furry love for you.
This is Lovey Kitteh. She loves on all the people.
And this is Grumpy Kitteh. Because she is grumpy**.
And today, Builder is attempting to make all the printers go. The laser printer is working just fine, but the ink jet is giving us trouble. The cats are decidedly gleeful about this. Because it means we are printing something pretty constantly in an attempt to make the stupid thing work.
There was much hissing and sadness because apparently only one cat may occupy the Splendid Throne of Printerdom at a time. So Grumpy Kitteh has a sad.
So as we were working, I realized that I CLEARLY had to share the silly with the world. Because these are the things meant to be shared. Shared joy multiples and shared burdens get lighter, right?
So here’s a bit of joy to help brighten your day.
*I’ll be honest, I’m having a hard time with the plural of “spouse”. Cause you have houses, but mice live in those houses.
**More anxious than anything. I thought about giving her prozac for a bit on the recommendation of the vet. But the prospect of wrestling her to the ground every day to take kitty prozac made me look hard at what we could do different. Because I like to keep the skin on my arms mostly intact***. And, let’s be honest, the cat fights harder than any toddler ever could.
***Morning Glory gets a big huge kudos to the fact that when she and Builder were bringing the Frozen North down to us (almost quite literally), she drugged both Lovey Kitteh and Grumpy Kitteh. And only lost a bit of skin. Her training as a pediatric nurse comes in handy every now and then.
(Grumpy Kitteh secretly gets the last word.)
Where to start….
In December Builder started making plans to move down to the Deep South. The house in the North was put on the market, packing began and tickets were purchased so that I could fly up and help. The plan was to pack, load the Kitties in the car and drive back. After some adventures involving two very unhappy cats and a visit to the vet and only a little bit of bloodshed, sedatives for said Kitties were obtained. The trailer arrived and Builder and Hoyden’s northern friends and family helped us load up most of the house. It was a strange thing to be trusted to pack someone else’s life, to be trusted to make the decisions about what goes, what stays, what finds a new home. Every time I went North, it was strangely comfortable being in the home that Builder and Hoyden made. It wasnt MY home, but it felt familiar.
The time came to leave and there were tears shed from all involved. Uncle Gamer had been living with Builder and the bond that those two have is just a beautiful thing to watch. I am an only child. I do not understand the love that brothers and sisters have for each other. But watching Builder with his siblings makes me so very happy. Especially Uncle Gamer, who is greatly missed.
I wont bore you with the details of the very very long drive to the South but it does involve very unhappy, yowling cats, torrential rainstorms, snow and the occasional nap. We made it home and the Trio and Hoyden and Duck were very very glad to see us. The Tiny Dog was less than happy though. She made the mistake of trying to greet the Kittens and got scratched for her trouble. Currently there is an uneasy truce between them which is frankly hilarious to watch.
Builder didnt rest long and started working on making our space his. Unpacking, rearranging, more unpacking, fitting two beds into the master bedroom….You know, usual stuff. Yes, that’s right. Two beds. A King and a Queen. Our room is just a blur of beds, dressers and Iphone chargers. True to his name, he found the best way to utilize the space we have and its working out wonderfully. Our Tribe came out to help unload the trailer when it arrived and after several trips to the storage unit, it was over and our house was Our Home. It looks like US. All of us. And its wonderful.
Now let me back up to the day that we unpacked the trailer. Its important to note that Seeker and his two kids were there. For those of you who dont know, Seeker is the gentleman who I have been dating/seeing since the summer. He’s wonderful. Funny, kind, smart, sarcastic, compassionate, not afraid to talk, indulges my silliness. Over time, I have fallen in love with him cause seriously how could I not?
I had met his kids one other time because frankly its sometimes hard to say “this is my married girlfriend who has 3 kids and 3 partners” and have it go over well. So this was the second time I had met them and the first time for them meeting my other partners. It went very well. Like, really really well. Everyone felt at home. IT was relaxed and nice and warm. This, my friends, was a big huge step. Like, massive huge step. Seeker is new to Polyamory and is finding his way. Its hard to learn the balance, how to have time, how to have enough communication, how to meet everyone’s needs. But he is learning and its a beautiful thing to watch. I am so lucky to have Hoyden and Duck and Builder along to help him with questions that may come up.
So. That gets us through to the present time. Kids are back in school, Seeker is becoming a more important part of my life, Hoyden is working hard and looking forward to school, Duck is working crazy hours, I am busy with the volunteer work I do, Builder is working on finding employment, Tiny Dog is still scared of the Kitties, Kitties are secretly in charge of the household. All as it should be.
I also want to give a special shout out to Hoyden for holding down the fort, braving snow days, keeping me sane, letting me cry when needed and working herself silly under at times gross conditions. I love that lady. ❤
Today a dear coworker of mine puts his wife of a lifetime into the cold, hard, Southern soil. It is a dark day, a cloudy day filled with mist, cold, and a biting north wind as the sky drips water but never quite drops a shower. A cancer survivor who had seen the beast and lived to tell the tale, his beloved wife fell out of remission and ultimately lost the fight. I never met her but the love my coworker shows for her, the same love that I show for my partners was evident and heartwarming. Nerdling, Morning Glory, and Hoyden all three know my coworker and can attest to this fact. My coworker has friends and family to help assuage his grief but he is now a widower and has time to himself to parse his feelings and recast his life.
It occurred to me the other day that should Builder, Hoyden, Morning Glory, and I go the distance and sustain and nurture our familial and romantic bonds to our dying days (and we’re just crazy/committed enough to do it!!!) that will bring about unusual circumstances. In the flower of our productive and healthy young adulthoods, that day seems far off and inconsequential. When we think of the phrase “till death do we part” it’s not real to us yet. We think on growing old together and perhaps of goodbyes but not of widowing together. Unless we happen to board the wrong flight someday, poly postmortem will be a different experience altogether. The survivors will find themselves not only dealing with the lost of a loved one but also off balance and trying to regain their footing at the same time. The thought of us slowly outlasting each other until we are down to one is an odd one and unique to the poly experience. Usually one partner dies and then the other follows suit. A widow or widower who dies can remarry as they wish without anyone but their children’s feelings to consider. If one of us were to die, could the grieving triad accommodate a new fourth member like a new character on a TV show or would such an act fracture the remaining relationships?
For now, I’ll settle for a moment of brief and somewhat melancholy and morbid speculation while kicking the bigger questions back down the road to where they belong. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know who will be in it. I have knit my soul to these good people and I personally plan on out living and caring for each and every one of them.
Till death to we poly part.
I may have lied about the T portion of this post, but I definitely have some A for ya.
We got a question from a reader, and after we answered the reader, we thought it would be an awesome idea to respond where everyone could see.
Miss D asked “How do you guys make time for everyone? It seems like it would be easier, living together, but I doubt we’ll be able to do that until our boys are at least teenagers, and they’re only 7 and 4 now. Hubby and I are embracing our ability to love more than one person at a time, and I’m just concerned that it won’t work because there won’t be enough time.”
It’s hard! We have a teenager, and then two littles — out of toddlerhood but not quite autonomous and definitely still in elementary school. There are days when I look at everything we do, and I wonder how families with two parents do it! We are very much like other families in that there are never quite enough hours in the day, and the ones we do have, we fill up with adventures and excitement and family time.
I do not believe that we have figured this thing out. We overextend ourselves, over commit to what we can do, and occasionally run ourselves ragged. That all being said, we are moderately successful at being somewhat well adjusted. This is what works for our family — everyone does something slightly different and what works for us might not work super well for another family. YMMV and all that jazz. I also suspect that we do something similar to how people with children juggle social lives (we just involve other people we have sex with!).
Advice disclaimer aside, we take turns. There are some days where you get to spend it out and about on the town with people who aren’t your immediate family (they might be lovers, they might be friends, they might be a bit of both). There are some days that we spend it all at home with the family. And there are days where the other adults get to go out and people get to hang out with the kiddos.
The practical portion of this means that we say no. A lot*. We schedule things**. A lot. And honesty is required. This may be the hardest part.
I know that I, personally, sometimes struggle to set realistic expectations, both with myself and with my friends and lovers. This has been illustrated very clearly with how my relationship to Kibeth and Touchstone has evolved: I promise the moon and deliver a picture and a candle. That left them feeling unsettled and unimportant — it wasn’t fair for me to set up expectations that I couldn’t deliver on. I failed at settling realistic expectations and being honest about what I could give.
If someone is looking for a full time partner, and what you have to give is a couple of nights a month (or a night or two every month), then those expectations don’t match up. That isn’t to say that you cannot have a really fulfilling relationship that all parties enjoy. But I will say from personal experience that relationships go much more smoothly if expectations are matched up from the beginning.
I’m probably showing my biases, but I think the way through this type of conundrum is by communication and honesty. And some of what will decide how people weather this is by deciding what is important. And littles will make the margin of error much smaller: they need so very much from their parents. That being said, parents need time to recharge and to be people, too. So, MIss D, I wish you guys luck and I hope that helps. I’m looking forward to hearing how you do on this adventure called life!
*Well, the men are infinitely better at saying no than Morning Glory or I am. We *try* to be good at saying no.
** If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. This includes date nights, alone time, and sexy time. That isn’t to say that we cannot do things spontaneously (we do), it’s just that if it isn’t on the calendar, it probably doesn’t get done.
When you’re in love, every stinking love song on the radio seems to be about you. Conversely, it seems that often times, when one is heartbroken every stinking love song on the radio is all about you as well! : D
Some songs stand head and shoulders above the rest though.
I’ve been a fan of Webb Wilder (The last of the full grown men) since a child. His album “Doodad” was seriously one of the highlights of my childhood. “And The Rest Will Take Care Of Itself” has long been the song I’ve associated most strongly with Morning Glory. I was not a very happy person before I met her. The love she gave me picked me up out of the gutter, made me whole, and I feel as if I have blossomed in the sunshine of her caring affection these last 15 years.
This song is forever about her and the redemptive power of the love she has so generously given me.
“In the thick of night, it’ll hold up in the light. Put love above everything else and the rest… will take care of it’s self.”
As beautiful as that song is, I have to admit it was not the song that was supposedly destined to be the song of my soulmate. When I was in Junior High I fell in love with Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”.
As the haunting sounds of the guitar would sweep across the dance floors of the many JR High dances I attended, I’d dream of love unfound and imagine how good it would be to get to slow dance with a girl.
Any girl. : D
I craved the physical touch and emotional security of swaying too and fro to that dreamy guitar while being held and affirmed by someone who love me so much that it was nearly painful to think of it. I vowed that SOMEDAY I would meet an amazing woman and we’d get married and that would be our song and that SOMEDAY we’d be sitting at a reception or event, that song would cue up and I’d finally get to dance that magical dance with my true love.
As luck would have it, a short time after Morning Glory and I wed, we found ourselves at a wedding reception and that song cued up. As the Clapton’s lonely guitar beckoned I grabbed my true love’s hand, pulled her gently towards the floor and she looked into my eyes and said, “UGH! I can’t dance with you to this song.”
“WHY NOT?!?”, I desperately replied.
“This was me and my abusive asshole ex’s song and it makes me think of him.”
I had to laugh even as I cursed the heavens for playing such a cruel hoax on us but little did I know that Morning Glory was not to be the last true love of my life. More than a decade later I would again find myself at a wedding reception and once again, “Wonderful Tonight” began to play. Openly this time, I glanced at Morning Glory who smiled and nodded at me, and then I led Hoyden to the floor and got to have the magical dance I’d always dreamed off.
*happy sigh*. Love is indeed grand and the possibilities presented by polyamorous love are as splendid as they are varied. : )
One might well expect that this was to be me and Hoyden’s special song then, right???
It wasn’t until later that I found the song that most makes me think of the fair Hoyden.
“Reminiscing” by the Little River Band would be that song.
Aside from simply being a spectacularly sweet song, customary for tummy rubbing style slow dancing, it really captured for me what is the most important things about love and music. Both captivate your heart and mind and take you to times and places you hadn’t otherwise conceived of.
“How to tell you girl, I want to build my world around you.”
This was the verse that stuck in my noggin and just wouldn’t let go. Reminiscent of the feelings I had for Morning Glory when I met her and we started building our life together, this simple phrase epitomized my feelings for Hoyden and our desire, along with Builder, to build our lives around each other. To take the wonder of our separate lives and weave a tapestry of splendor and loving commitment to each other.
Which leads me to my final song that has always impacted my heart and soul in regards to my life and my love.
“Remember When” unifies this theme of a loving life mixed together with cherished memories of tearful joys and sorrows, challenges overcome, loves lost, and a strength and endurance through love and family.
Today is the 15th Anniversary of the day Morning Glory ran out of gas and rolled into the gas station I worked at on a tank full of fumes and drove away again with my heart and a trunk filled with possibilities. Neither of us had much clue what was in store for us but we knew we BELONGED together. We knew that no matter what, in good times and bad, we’d always be together, it would be wonderfully terrifying, and the adventure of a lifetime.
It’s just a little over two years since we started knitting our hearts, minds, and family to Builder and Hoyden’s. With 15 years of life and love with Morning Glory under my belt, I can honestly say that I think we’re gonna do just fine and I challenge anyone to prove they could do better.
At long last, we all have the song in our hearts and partners to dance with.
Till the very end.