Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Husband Makes Me Nuts—Secrets to a Long Marriage

How to survive marriage, respect, marriage, love,
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

People ask, "What's the secret to staying married so long?"

Once, at a dinner with other couples who'd been married ten, twenty, or thirty years, I asked what they thought the secret to a long marriage was. There was nervous laughter, but in the end they gave variations of the same glib answer I have.

Don't leave.

  • Or, if you must leave, make sure you go back. 

Pretty lame isn't it? But the truth is that there isn't an answer to staying married. Articles and research on the subject catch my eye online. I'll start to read them, sigh, and shut them down without finishing. They're written by experts. They're written by someone nearing their seventh anniversary—or maybe their tenth. 

Come October I'll have been married thirty-five years. 

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS. Please, girlfriend, unless you've been married that long (or longer), when I read your sage advice I'm probably going to roll my eyeballs so hard they creak. 

No! They don't always do that! 

I've never let age define me, probably because I'm so bad at math that I hardly notice time and number things. But when the thirty-five years number sank in, I considered lying about the age of my marriage. 

Yet as I tell my husband, the warranty isn't even up yet. Plus it doesn't feel that long. That is probably a good sign. I'm seriously considering renewing that warranty when it is up. That's not what I say during fishing season though. 

Life is hard af

It is every shade of wonderful to have someone who will always have your back. But what kind of person will always have your back?
  • Someone you can trust
  • Someone who is kind
  • Someone who can trust you
  • Someone you respect

Experience has shown me that real marriage doesn't look like a Hollywood Romance. You can fake it through the white wedding and maybe a couple years in, but is that who you both really are? Or is it a template of what you assume marriage should be?

Marriages don't have to fit into a box. 

You can make your own box. It seems mandatory to adjust expectations to what works for the two of you. My husband loves archery and fishing. He saves the electronic guts of everything that breaks and builds stargates and portals to other dimensions nothing yet, but he could. 

My days are spent making imaginary characters say what I want, and moving piles of books and papers around. Sometimes I wake my husband in the dead of night because the printer won't work or other life-threatening emergencies. This works for us. (It does, babe. Don't argue.) 

When someone asks what makes a long marriage work, I say you have each other's backs and keep finding things about life that thrills you.

It's never going to be a picture perfect marriage. Living with someone else is just too damn annoying. Can you imagine coming home to another box of fishing crap stuff from FedEx (possibly live insect larvae doomed to become bait) sitting on the dining room table next to a box of random boat motor parts? How about finding your husband using your hairdryer to blow dry the inside of his fishing waders?

It killed the hairdryer.

Don't worry. You can probably get the parts to fix it online.

Here comes the big secret.

The secret that no one tells you about marriage is this...

You don't always like your spouse!

It's true. Sure, I've seen those testimonials of people married sixty-five years who say, "We've never had a fight!" I call bullshit on that. Maybe they're from a stiff upper lip generation or culture, but I promise you there were some marital battles going on that could liquefy the bowels of a Cold War politician. 

Some marriages shouldn't last. Nobody should have to endure abuse and cruelty. I don't judge couples for opting out. Choosing the right partner is at least partially good luck. 

If you love, trust, and respect your partner it's worth staying.

My husband still does all those little annoying things he did since the start of our marriage. His dirty clothes live in a pile about two feet from the hamper. Unless I drill-sergeant over him he never makes his side of the bed. Over the years we've slowly, almost imperceptibly, broken up the chores into those traditional His and Hers boxes that I swore I'd never allow. 

After all this time I can admit with confidence that I'm annoying af to live with too. He gets to watch me make the same mistakes over and over. He gets to talk to a woman who drifts completely out of the conversation and into a story-line. He always knows. He says, "Hey! Where'd you go?"

"Uh, sorry, Kahtar needed me."

How do you deal with the petty differences and the same person's annoying habits for years? I can only tell you what works for us. (But I know it's worked for many friends married just as long too!)

Give each other space to continue growing as human beings.

After we got married I was certain he'd give up hunting and fishing to hold my hand and listen to my story ideas for the rest of his life. I also knew he'd stop dressing like a nerd with a few top quality camo jackets. He knew I'd never hang onto pregnancy weight for a decade or stop being young, and I'd certainly stop philosophizing about whether or not animals have souls. And I know he thought I'd quit walking around the house with my nose in a book about twenty hours a week too. 

Nothing changed but us.

There have been plenty of growing pains over the years because he continued to be who he is, and I continued to be who I am. But the magic is that we found common ground because we looked for it!

the reality of marriage, married thirty-five years, secrets
Our Dorky Love Story isn't very Hallmark.
The reality is that neither of us is the near-child the other married. They're in here still, but we've both changed into older, wiser versions of ourselves—with no regrets. I like to think that's in large part because we've had each other to count on all these years.

My husband has continued to fish too much and hunt with bows and arrows. He likes to be in the woods or on the water, far from civilization. Sometimes he does slightly Frankenstein things with electricity and old computer parts. I like to write and travel the world. Most of the time we do these things separately and when we're back together again we meet up with the same enthusiasm we had when we first met. That's not half bad for almost thirty-five years. Maybe I should renew that warranty, hmmm?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

On The Road Again...the not-so-glamorous-truth about travel

on the road again, travel blog, travel has romantic connotations, the ugly truth
The Glitter Globe by S.R. Karfelt

Travel has romantic connotations it doesn't deserve.

In some ways it's like marriage. It's great, but you work for results and there is pain involved. 

In that way travel and marriage are like a fitness plan too. You pay for shortcuts and bad choices.

This morning Microsoft put a lovely green hillside covered in steppes on my screen. I took the click-bait and asked for more information. Where was this lovely place? Vietnam. 

Now I grew up seeing movies and soldiers from Vietnam. Never once did I think hey, I wanna go there! But the war is long over and it's a gorgeous country. If I do someday go, I'll bet that the insects are brutal and the rain miserable—not to mention the flights and getting around.

But the photos would be epic!

Travel photos lie so hard. You'll see the Alamo without seeing San Antonio is crowded right up to the walls. You see the perfectly centered Colosseum without seeing the traffic or the masses of tourists melting in brutal Roman heat—not to mention the pickpockets. You'll see the Parthenon without seeing it took me three hours lost with google maps (or the cost of my phone bill for all my data usage), as I slipped and slid over smooth-as-ice ancient marble walkways to get there. You also won't see that the wind on top the Acropolis blew so hard that my dress flew up around my ears. Mind you nobody should see that, but it probably made a show on somebody's Snapchat somewhere.

Pictures might show you a thousand words, but there are a billion words you're not seeing. 

We see pictures from other people's trips without seeing that their seven day trip included 1.5 days of travel-heck each way. Not first-class private plane travel like in the movies. It's usually the flying equivalent of sitting on a seat of nails inside a chicken bus next to hygiene-impaired travelers who want to talk politics. 

You don't see the traveler's credit card bill after they get home. You don't see if they ended up having to buy another ticket to fly home because weather cancellation wasn't covered by the crappy trip insurance they bought. 

Looking at travel photos we don't see that the traveler got dust-induced bronchitis or some version of what they so elegantly call that travel stomach ailment in Egypt—Pharaoh's Revenge. Don't drink the water is an excellent warning, but it's like trying not to get a contact high during a Motley Crue concert. Sooner or later you have to inhale. Sooner or later the water and bacteria in your environment will infiltrate that sack of water and protein that constitutes your body.

Travelers rarely take photos of the ugly bits!

Who wants to remember the bad stuff? Maybe that's the secret to success in travel, marriage, and life. Embrace the beauty. It's something I try to do. 

That time the flight got cancelled and the airline put me into a concrete room with shutters opening onto an alley freaked me out. There was no glass. I could see feet walking by at one in the morning. Shoot, I could have reached out and grabbed an ankle. Likewise they could have slipped inside my room. People would have seen them, but they could said my solo-travel-mind.

It took me an hour or two to realize the alley was dotted with many rooms like mine. The night air kept the old rooms cool in the hot climate with no air-conditioning. Come morning I woke to sunshine and flowers draping the windowsill. The feet never stopped.

In the end it became a good memory, but you never know how things will turn out. It's a fact when you travel, but it's a fact in life. The secret about travel is a secret about life in general. You find the joy by setting your sights on being positive. You roll with it. You plan the best you can and endure or embrace the changes that come your way. 

Travel does change you. But so does life. The thing is, a pretty picture of your trip or your life isn't the part that changes you. It's the squat toilets that change you. It's finding the inner strength to keep walking. It's getting lost and finding your way that changes you. It's when you choose to remember the beautiful parts and that you got yourself there that makes travel wonderful. 

S.R. Karfelt, Author, travel blog, egypt, the nile, luxor
S.R. Karfelt
Is change always painful? I'm still learning, still traveling, and still changing. There's definitely pain involved.

This picture is me manning the rudder of a faluka going down the Nile in Egypt. That trip was magic. I fell madly in love with the place. I also had Pharoah's Revenge a couple of times. Breathed dust for three weeks. Had severe culture shock. The traffic scared the living shite out of me. So did all the heavily armed police at first. Couldn't walk outside without getting swarmed by strange men. That last bit probably sounds way better than it is. It was a growing experience. I can't wait to go back.

This trip, the one I'm heading out on now, is going to involve a concert to see The Struts at last and glamping. They tell me glamping is glamorous camping. Experience has taught me that camping is always painful, but I'll bet I get some excellent photos.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Valley of the Kings and Tut's Curse

The Glitter Globe, Karfelt, author, travel, egypt
The Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt

You do realize that every single person entering this tomb is going to die, don't you?


After weeks in Egypt most of the study group was coughing, not entirely from mummy dust. Probably not from ancient curses. Egypt is dusty. Deserts are dusty. Have I mentioned the dust?

There's an old-fashioned tram you take to reach the tombs in The Valley of the Kings. It reminds me of Disneyland. But no amount of artifice could duplicate this place. High cliffs surround the valley. Boulders worthy of Indiana Jones perch at dangerous-looking angles as you pass beneath. 

Precarious boulder placement always reminds me of my husband. Once we were driving a rental car with questionable brakes along a narrow road beneath dodgy-looking overhanging rocks in the Sierra Nevadas. Below us cliffs dropped to raging rivers and certain death with no guardrail.

     "I have to close my eyes," I said.
     "Why?" asked hubby. "Do you think this mountain has been waiting millions of years for you to drive by?"
     "Yes," I said. "Yes, I do."
     "That's pretty conceited."

Only an engineer can make you feel vain about expecting death.

The biggest dangers in The Valley of the Kings appears to be sun-related (heatstroke, sunstroke, not packing enough water). I appreciated those precarious boulders just the same. Vendors selling postcards waited as we disembarked. I bought two large piles of them for $1 each. To date I've taken approximately thirty-five thousand photos on my phone and I doubt one of them is as nice as a postcard. 

Photographs aren't allowed at all in what I consider the best tomb. Seti I is stunning. I recommend going there first thing. Most of the tombs are enormous. The hieroglyphs, paintings, reliefs, and few remaining artifacts are so beautiful and intriguing it's easy to spend an hour or more in each tomb and run out of time. Seti I and Ramses VI were my favorites, but they're all stunning.

egypt, luxor, travel, ramses
No, this isn't Seti I's tomb. I followed the picture rules.
The tombs have color themes and hieroglyphs leading the way down ramps.

solo travel, karfelt, the valley of the kings
Only one tomb had protective covering over the walls.
Yes, it's as far down as it looks!

the glitter globe, karfelt, egypt, travel
Every tomb is stunning.

Travel, egypt, luxor, tombs
An attempt at a panorama. See why I purchase postcards?

Surprisingly, King Tut's tomb is the smallest!

This Pharoah's unabbreviated name is Tutankhamun. His tomb is recognizable and notable because it was discovered intact—which is unusual. The other tombs had been ransacked over the centuries. 

Tut, King Tut, Tutankhamun, Karfelt, the glitter globe,
Archaeologist, Howard Carter discovered Tut's tomb in 1922. There are old black and white photographs outside the tomb.

Some of my study group have been returning to Egypt and the Valley of the Kings for so long that they reminisced about a time when you could slide down into the empty treasure room on a ramp.  

Now that treasure room is covered up and beneath your feet as you stand outside the tomb entrance examining photographs.

Tutankhamun's treasure can be see at Cario's Egyptian Museum. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Treasure, Valley of the Kings, Karfelt
This snake is designed to surprise and slide quickly out of his hiding place.
It still looks like it's moving!

travel photos, karfelt, egypt
Anubis is my personal favorite.
He's the god of the afterlife and not a dog as I like to pretend.
Who doesn't want to be greeted by a dog in the end? So please
leave my illusions alone.

footstool, enemy, tut, karfelt

There are several thrones. What delighted me
was the footstools decorated with the kings enemies
so he could rest his feet on them. Why did that go out of style?

The glitter globe, egypt, luxor, valley of the kings
S.R. Karfelt
Valley of the Kings
Lord Carnarvon died six weeks after helping Carter uncover Tutankhamun's tomb. Something happened with a canary. Cobra symbolism became involved. There were rumors. It was said. Whatever, whatever. 

In the end every single person who uncovered Tut's tomb died! Don't allow the near one-hundred years that have passed make you logical. There was dust! Probably coughing. 

Please excuse my curse irreverence. I reserve my worrying for important things like precarious boulders. Come on, which do you think is more likely?