Vampire Cupcakes’ Rules for Marriage

Relationships are hard sometimes. We get grumpy, we snap at each other, I yell, he ignores it, and we definitely disagree on at least eleventy gajillion things. Not the least of which include what constitutes “a mess” and what an appropriate amount of space on a bed a five foot tall woman should occupy.

We definitely don’t have all the answers, but we still think we’ve got a pretty great marriage. Over the years, we’ve sort of collected a few rules that cover some areas the standard vows might be a little unclear on. We like them. Maybe you’ll like them too.

  • Only One Crazy Per Crisis Limit: I think a lot of couples follow this guideline. It’s hard to make it through a rough patch if everyone is losing their shit. We agree that only one of us is allowed to go off the rails at any given moment. For us, it’s usually whoever reaches their bullshit limit first, or whoever is having the biggest crisis.

Don’t ever let it turn into the ever-annoying game of “Who Is Having the Worst Day?” That path leads to darkness. Who the hell wants to win that game anyway? Take turns. Be nice.

  • The Go Team Timeout: We’re nearly always working on this one. So much of the time, people get caught up in the details of a problem. Sometimes being stressed causes us to argue about it instead of solve it. Either one of us basically reserves the right to call a timeout to remind us about the most important thing: We are a team working together against a problem, instead of two people against each other WITH a problem.

It doesn’t matter how serious or inane the problem is, it’s way too easy to fall into the trap of the second way. When you choose the first, it’s a much better way to re-frame the conversation, and it feels good when you find a solution you can both agree on. Then, you get to give each other a high five instead of an apology! Kickass!

  • The Unconditional Trust Clause: Yes, couples should always trust each other. That’s not what we’re dealing with here. You know how in horror movies, one person sees the killer ghost, and tells their spouse, and noone believes them? And then everyone gets possessed and their faces fall off and stuff? We don’t want that. So we agreed if one person says something completely unbelievable, and then ends with, “I know it sounds crazy but, you HAVE to believe me,” then obviously, we HAVE to believe them (we reserve the right to request a medical evaluation also). We don’t play with this rule. In fact, in seven years, we’ve never used it. But we do like to point out when we’re watching TV or movies all of the moments when this clause would have saved the day!
  • The Argument Escape Hatch: A personal favorite. Sometimes, you’re in an extra bad mood for any number of reasons, and maybe you find yourself in an argument about who touched the remote control last. Or, maybe it’s about something less tangible, and you’re arguing about a hypothetical day where you woke up in each other’s bodies, and what exactly the rules should be, and what it means about your relationship in the actual world. The point is, sometimes you hear yourself and you suddenly realize that this whole thing is kind of dumb, but now you’ve sort of backed yourself into a corner and you are definitely NOT wrong on this.

The escape hatch lets you stop the argument, but no one has to apologize or be declared the loser. It saves everyone’s pride, and lets you move on from the silly stuff while breaking the tension.  This is o only for minor arguments, and not to be attempted during the serious stuff. Our escape hatch works like this: yell a random word or phrase (of late I’ve been favoring “Peanut Butter Shoelaces!”), and then–run away. The argument is now over, return to your partner when adequately refocused to return to your regularly scheduled day. Other options include hiding in your shirt or retreating into a blanket fort. You may NOT tuck and roll from the car (sorry, honey).

We’re weird-ish. We know. Steal these if you like, or roll your eyes at us. It’s all okay by us.

What about the rest of you? What are your rules? Maybe we want to steal yours, too.

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The Best Advice

I am a blessed person. I have been lucky enough in my life to be surrounded by brilliant, amazing people, who inspire me every day. Sometimes they inspire me just with the way they live, the kindness they share with me, and other times, they give advice that takes root in my heart, and they live on as a small voice inside my head, reminding me how extraordinary life truly is.

My Great Aunt Peri was a petite woman who loved her family fiercely. She kept an impeccable home, and was one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever known. She was a real class act, and is the face I see when I think about what it means to be a Lady. She also gave me what turned out to be one of the most profound pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I think she’d like it that I’m sharing it with you now (and is maybe chilling in Heaven wondering what took me so long. She was big on sharing).

I wish I could remember it better, but it’s one of those moments that the significance only settles on you later, when it’s lived in your bones a while. I was probably around 12, and Aunt Peri and I were in the car alone, driving into town.  I was chattering on and on as I’ve always been wont to do with a captive audience. She had a way of listening to whatever I said intently, like my 12 year old thoughts were just as important as anything an adult had to say. I must have been talking about what I was doing on the weekend, and the weekend after that one, and so on, because I remember her turning to me, and saying in her matter-of-fact way,

“You know, Spring, there are many more weekdays in your life than weekends. It’s important to make them all count.”

That’s it. Bells didn’t go off, I didn’t yell “A-HA!” I don’t even remember what we talked about next. But over and over in my life, I’ve found myself worn down, in front of different televisions, different homes, with different worries, and thinking about how I just can’t wait for the weekend. Thinking about how if I can just make it through another Friday, I’ll be on MY time, and everything will be better.

Then I hear her voice in my head, and I feel foolish. It’s all MY time. Why am I hoping for those hours, even entire days of my life to rush by, to put off happiness and enjoyment until 2.5 small days just because we call them the Weekend, and claim them as something special? Why in the world do we squander so many moments under such a silly premise?

We put off being happy for so many other reasons, don’t we? I’ll be happy when I lose weight. I’ll be happy when I buy a house. I’ll be happy when I pay all my bills off. I’ll be happy when I get this job, or that partner, or this other thing… Over and over, right? Except we all deserve to be happy now. Now is all we have, when we get down to it, isn’t it? It really shouldn’t matter whether right now is 7pm Saturday night at the best party ever with your BFF, or a quiet Tuesday at 2pm in the middle of your workday. Both those moments are the perfect opportunity to smile and savor the beautiful now we are given every time we continue to draw breath.

There are 168 hours in a week. We call maybe 54 of those our weekend. That means, if we spent our time waiting for the weekend, that is roughly 68% of our lives that we’re discarding. Over half our lives declared as somehow less valuable, waiting for what?

Be happy now, friends. Right now. You deserve it. Make it all count.

The Games We Play

This is our love ball. It’s okay, go on and giggle. We know it sounds vaguely dirty. It makes us giggle, too.

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I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I remember the early days of our relationship–back when he first asked me to his place to “look at his art” (I thought it was code, and was shocked when it turned out he really did have artwork and no ulterior motives), and before I knew it, there was a day weeks later when I realized I’d spent nearly every night at his place. It was the same day he introduced me to friends as his girlfriend, and my response was, “Oh crap, I am!”

For the first time in my life, I finally understood how something could “just happen.” Up until I met him, I had a lot of logical ideas about compatibility, good planning, and all sort of other standards and notions about picking a partner that made perfect sense. He made me crazy even then, but I loved him almost immediately, and I knew that life with him would never be boring.

I was right. I always am. I’m pretty sure that makes him crazy, too.

Somewhere in those early days, we started playing this game. At some point, he threw this ping pong ball at me. I threw it back. I wrote those words. We threw it a lot. We started yelling “Love Ball!” just after whipping it at the other.  We still play–perhaps not with the same fervor we once did, but that ball has made it’s way with us through three homes, and six incredibly interesting years together.

He usually throws it too hard. It always hits me with a resounding smack, and the momentary sting of it sometimes fills me up with anger. It’s hard to stay angry when you look down and see that heart and those words. He’s gotten me upside the head with it more than once. His aim is inconsistent.

My aim is usually even worse. I’ve thrown it, and completely missed him. Sometimes, he doesn’t even notice. Other times, I think he hasn’t noticed, but he has, and is just biding his time to throw it back at just the right moment.

I can’t remember a time when he hasn’t caught me off guard. I’m surprised with it nearly every single time. He almost always sees it coming a mile away. Funny how that works.

Maybe some of you could get something to throw at each other. We can’t teach you how to play. We’ve just been making it up as we go along. It’s one of those games where the rules aren’t really clear. It’s the kind of game that never ends–no one can win, so no one loses, either. Maybe that means everyone wins. It’s always so hard to decide, but I think that might be my favorite part.

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Family Movie Night. (Me, Mr. Cupcakes, Princess Adora: Mistress of Tortitude. (Not Pictured: Kitty Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He was off on a catnip smuggling operation.)