I often refer to my wife as "She Who Must Be Obeyed". I stole that particular term of endearment from one of my favorite literary characters, John Mortimer's British barrister Horace Rumpole. It's the nickname by which Horace often refers to his wife, Hilda. Horace, in turn, gets the term from British adventure novelist H. Rider Haggard's 19th century serial She: A History of Adventure. The She of the title was an immortal queen of a lost African civilization. "She" is short for "she who must be obeyed".
I bring this up because today She - I mean Kim, celebrates her birthday. I often make the obligatory married guy bashing marriage jokes, but the truth is, the married part of my life far outweighs my years of bachelorhood in terms happiness. I attribute this to Kim and not to the institution of marriage (which I still have my doubts about). I'm the first to admit that I'm not the easiest person to get along with (of course, by admitting this failing, it makes it OK). Kim, however, is the ideal partner; she tells me to shut up when I'm being a jerk (as infrequent as that may be); she's always supportive; she thinks I'm a great writer; and she is an incredible mom. Over the course of our marriage she has developed into my best friend. Obviously I love her, but equally important, I like her. She gives me a strange look whenever I tell her that, but being in love and really liking someone don't often go hand in hand. Of course we have our differences, and at times we're like The Odd Couple (I won't tell you which of us is Felix and which is Oscar - at least not today), but I'm lucky to have her for a partner.
How much do I love my wife? Well, I agreed to an addition to the menagerie; an Italian Greyhound puppy which Kim named Isabella (the perfect companion for Francesca our cat; maybe we should re-name the golden retriever Caruso instead of Casey, but it would only confuse him if we changed it now). Since Casey is very much my dog, Kim has been yearning for a pet she could call her own. For months whenever we've been near a pet store, she forced me to go in and play with the Italian Greyhound (if there was one). While I admit they're cute, they were not my idea of what constitutes a dog. Kim wanted a lap dog, but not one of those annoying yippee or foo foo dogs. Enter Isabella.
As an early birthday present I finally relented (translation -Kim caught me at a weak moment) . When we brought Isabella (Bella for short) home she was just over 3 lbs. A month later she's doubled in size to a scale-shattering 6 lbs. Her maximum weight is in the 9-15 lb range. I have to admit I've grown very fond of the little rug rat, and Casey adores her; its quite the sight to watch the two of them play. Casey is around 80 lbs and his head is the size of Bella's entire body, but he is so gentle with her it's amazing. OK, there was the time when they were playing tug of war with a stuffed animal and Casey sent Bella flying across the room, but that was an isolated incident. Even Francesca (or Frank as we gender-challenged folks like to call her) has finally gotten used to the baby (for the first week Frank kept a cautious distance; probably not sure if Bella was a member of the rodent family). Now, when she's in the mood (being a cat she is very much an independent creature), she will deign to play "tag" with her two canine siblings.
I'll admit that this has been pretty much a stream of consciousness sort of blog. I suppose the point of it is Happy Birthday, Sweetie!