Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just See a Thing or Two in Me

As part of the series where I introduce or reintroduce the members of my family, I'd like to give you MathMan.  Not literally, of course.  He's the glue that holds the rest of together.  I'd say he's the most important piece of the puzzle because without him, there would be no us.

But what can I say about the person who has shared over half my life, alternately loving me and wishing a painful death upon my sorry ass?  Okay, here's a perfect example of a MathManism. Just now he wanted to know why I was snickering as I typed (lord, I snicker at my own writing, how embarrassing) so I read him the line.  His response?  "That's passion, honey.  You may not think we're passionate about each other, but you'd be wrong."

Over the years, I've written many posts either about or including MathMan.  He's a gift, a source of material both poignant and humorous.  I'm sorry I can't link to the old Unglued blog because those were times to try this couple's soul and MathMan's light really shined that summer of 2008.  Lately, we get along so well, it seems almost like the calm before a storm, but the truth is, we're in the eye of the storm.  Thankfully, we've learned to use the other as both anchor and launch.  It's a lot easier to take risks when you've got a safe place to return to.

I did a little research into my own scholarly writings on love, marriage, and friendship and found a few posts that would best illustrate this man I met in August 1987, hooked up with on October 1, 1987, began cohabiting with in November 1987, married in August 1988, lived apart from August 1997 - November 1997, separated from in October 2000, was served divorce papers by in December 2000, reconciled with in February 2001, treated badly January 2008 - May 2008, ran away from for a day May 19, 2008 and returned to bruised and broken, but smarter May 20, 2008.

The rest has been smooth sailing ... if you like a wild ride, that is.  Why he puts up with the drama will probably always be a mystery to me, but I'm fortunate that he does.

I've thought a lot about what it means to love and be loved.  The main male character in my first manuscript is based on MathMan.  While working on that book, I've had a chance to really dissect what it is that I like about him, what I love, what I find perplexing and what I wish were different.  In so many ways, that piece of writing has been a labor of love.

There's so much I want to say, but then so much has already been said.  So let's take a look...

The Many Faces of MathMan, not a poem
He's the man who pulled the poo cork.
Who texts me from the bathroom to let me know he's peeing. (True story)
He's the driver for the Commute Chat video series
He's a math guy and so much more.
The father of my children, Big Daddy to the cats.
He's my muse, my erotic inspiration, the person who tells me to get my butt in the chair and write and stop whining about it.
He makes me laugh. And laugh some more.

One of his hallmarks is the ability to say a lot using a minimum of words.  This morning I sat in bed reading Betsy Lerner's The Forest for the Trees and read the following to MathMan:
"Most writers appear neurotic; the truth is, we don't know the half of it.....What's useful about neurotic behavior is that they lend a shapeless day structure.  If you must use yellow paper, if you must drink a double espresso before starting, if you can only write for three hours in the morning, then at least you have parameters...."
MathMan rolled his eyes.  "That's because you're all Special Ed."

He went on to say that he'd learned a few years ago in a training that if someone said the characters moved on the paper, try giving them colored paper to use.  He has a whole bag of tricks for helping learners cope with their unique styles.

He also noted that he's always known that I'm a little crazy.  This was said without apology or derision, a statement of fact like 2 + 2 = 4.

I'd be a liar if I tried to contradict him.

Circa 1988. A great year for love, for hair? Not so much.


  1. You're lucky to have each other, you know, and luckier still to know it!

    Much love to you both.

    (As long as he supports me in being your long distance girlfriend, he can stay. ;)

  2. Wow. I had to stop watching the flickr stream. You are married to one GORGEOUS man. [Why, pray tell, did he chop the Vedder 'do?]

    Well done, you!

    The fact that he's a great support to you [and an incredible dad to your kids] makes it all the better. Congratulations to you and MM; may the happiness and snark continue for years to come!

  3. It is pretty amazing that love can be so elastic.

    (And why are you dissing the 80s hair? You kids look great!)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Oh, and Lisa - thanks for the nice comments.

  6. Frieda B, when you say support - I think many think. But I will ponder the thought, probably forever.

  7. You already know what I think of the Mathman, Lisa. And I hope that the Mathman does as well.

    He is the man, indeed he is. He is the man.

  8. WOW what a colorful history.. and i agree with mathman, it's passion.

    it's beautiful when divorce can be reconciled... good for you two..

    i hope to be so lucky..

  9. Lovely. Lucky . Both of you. And us, to "know" you. You ...and Patrick Dempsey.....

  10. very nice.

    my husband and i were separated for months in 1999 (we disagree on the exact # because he counts when we were still sharing the same house, but not bed). he still refers to this break as "my marriage hiatus" (mine not his).

    whatever it was, it worked--for now at least. we're still married so far.

    thanks for sharing. both of you.

  11. Awww. Yay for Mathman! He's my favorite recurring character on this blog. It's easy to see why you'd be passionate about one another.

    And yay for you, too, Lisa. I think you're writing at the top of your game lately. Yes, we writers may be a little neurotic -- or okay, a lot neurotic. But wouldn't life be absolutely intolerable if we weren't writing and demanding exactly the right pen/paper/schedule/breakfast menu? I need all of the above, by the way. (My husband, former psychologist, recently told me that in my need for structure and routine and predictability, I sometimes remind him of the Down's Syndrome kids he so loved caring for in his early days of psych work. ;)

  12. Two thumbs up for a brainy guy with a sense of humor and the fortitude to keep the dream alive.

    Good picking, Lisa!

  13. MathMan sounds like a wonderful guy the way you write about him. Also the kitty likes snoozing on his shoulders and that says a lot.

    In honor of MathMan, my favorite equation:


  14. Really lovely post. It sounds like he loves you madly and has the gifts and abilities to deal with "moving letters"( I love that metaphor). I am so happy you two have gotten to the place you are. I remember the unglued posts and I have been rooting for you both since back then.

  15. Beautiful testament to love, Lisa! I've been with my husband since I was 16 so I know whereof you speak.

    Oh, happy centre of storm!

    The Middle Ages

  16. This is fabulous, Lisa! I think MathMan sounds wonderful. Sorta makes me wish I got to the the crazy one in my relationship *shifty* Seriously though--I think those fall apart then work it out things often DO end up much stronger.

  17. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt, and realistic portrayal of what it means to be married for a long time. I'm very proud of you both and glad as hell to know you.

    No more broken plates :-)

  18. Mathman seems like a really funny guy...and you are both lucky to have each other! This was so sweet and well-written. :)

  19. Ain't love grand???

    Romantic love is the easy part of a relationship... it is getting through those really rough spots that test the marriage. The volcanic teen years. The unemployed periods. Major family crisis stuff.
    Blow outs. Head about to explode from stress periods. Making it through all that & still hanging in there together.... true love.

  20. You two are so lucky to have each other. He sounds like a wonderful husband!

  21. Can this post be expressed as a polynomial?

  22. You know, I like that guy. He seems like a rock with a sense of humor - a great combination for making a marriage work!

    Congrats to both of you on your survival skills. ;)

  23. I just love what I know about you two via this blog. I think you're both lucky.

  24. Thanks for this post. Gives me hope for a LTR (that there is ebb and flow).

  25. YAY, for the dynamic duo: Mathman and Neurotic Woman!!!!!!

  26. What a lovely tribute to Mathman. Great pictures too. He is one hot dude!


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