The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, April

So, here’s the deal about the note and RV ornament I received from Richard.

The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, April

We had just moved into our first house with a 4 year old, a 9 month old, a cat, a dog, a snake named “Buddy,” and a goldfish named “Twirly Norman.”

Unopened boxes in every room served as furniture. We were all exhausted.

And that’s when Richard announced he had to travel to New York for business.

I wasn’t happy he was going to leave me alone with mountains of unopened boxes labeled “misc,” two small children, and half of Noah’s Ark, but business is business.

Until it isn’t.

After letting me know he was going to New York Richard said, “Ya know, I really could use a break. Since Atlantic City is so close to New York, I think I’ll extend my trip a few days and spend a little time there. Whatta you think?”

Whatta’d I think? I thought a lot of things. None of them were nice.

“No, I don’t mind,” I thought to myself. “Of course you deserve a break. I don’t. But you do. Go. Go, Oh Wonderful Husband of mine. Go. Enjoy yourself. Don’t even think about the kids and me.”

After retrieving my jaw from a box labeled “Dumbbells, and Other Assorted Crap” I said, “Look. You decide what to do. I’m sure if you think about it long and hard enough you’ll do the right thing.”

So, Richard went to Atlantic City for five days after a short meeting in New York.

He came home looking relaxed and happy.

I looked disheveled and displeased.

Richard tried to show remorse, but it’s not in his DNA. However, as a peace offering, he gave me the note in which he kinda, sorta, promised never to leave me alone again to go to Atlantic City, and a cute little ornament of the RV he’d be living in if he did.

Where suggestions go to die

Richard has never had much use for opinions other than his own.

Whenever I’d try to share my views with him about something…ANYTHING, he’d plaster a look on his face feigning interest, even though I knew he had none.

When I’d finished making my case he’d just stare at me. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? What was I supposed to do with that?

Once in a while, if I was lucky, I’d get a “duly noted.” Gee, Darling, thanks for throwing me a bone.

Around 20 years ago, in an attempt to assuage my frustration, I made a unique suggestion box for Richard’s desk at home. Suggestions could go in, but there was no way to get them out.

Richard’s Suggestion Box is still as relevant today as it was when I made it. He still doesn’t give a tiny Gerbil’s ass about what anyone else thinks.

In the nutshell of our life together, the only opinions or ideas that matter are Richard’s. The worst part is he’s usually right, damn it.

At the bottom of the blog post The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, I said I’d write about each month in more detail. So, here’s another look at the month of August, and close-ups of Richard’s Suggestion Box.

The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, August
The Top
The Front
The Back
The Side
The Other Side
The Bottom

#lesliejochase_imarried him anyway, The 2018 All About Richard Calendar

The Oatmeal Incident

Due to the fact that I’ve become more and more gravitationally-challenged, Richard has begun spouting the phrase “SITUATIONAL AWARENESS! SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!” in an attempt to help me become more conscious of my surroundings.

I’ve heard Richard say it so many times it has become my unintentional mantra.

Last week I carefully walked downstairs, fed the dogs breakfast, took a few moments to make instant oatmeal, and pour myself a Cup of Jo. Coffee in my left hand; oatmeal in my right, I slowly made my way back to the bedroom and placed both mugs on my dresser.

The Situational Awareness-O-Meter of my right hand must have been off just a tad, maybe because I’m a leftie. Instead of placing the mug of Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal on my dresser, I placed it between my dressers. There was just enough room for it to tip over and slowly feed its contents onto the clothes in every single one of my Elfa wire mesh dresser drawers.

Reconstruction of crime scene.

Why do I always try to use things in ways in which they were not intended? Why do I say things like, “Oh! Look at that toilet on the side of the road! Wouldn’t it look great with purple flowers spilling out of it in the the middle of our garden?” I‘ve only done that twice. It didn’t look as good as I’d hoped it would, so I did it again and it still looked like crap. So, why did I think Elfa wire mesh dressers would be so much groovier than normal dressers?

As my father would say, “Because you’re dumb.”

The first thing I did was stand still and watch the glacier of oatmeal meander into every single one of my stupid drawers as it carved its way through the crevasse of my two stupid dressers. It was as if a dog was claiming his territory by peeing on all of my clothes in super slo-mo.

The second thing I did was watch it globbulate into a thick puddle on the floor. One little packet of instant oatmeal sure doesn’t look like much in a mug, even after adding hot water, but that’s only when it’s horizontal.

Since the oatmeal moved at the speed of, well, oatmeal, it had only been able to deposit sediment on some of the clothes in each drawer. I quickly grabbed armfuls that had managed to escape the wrath of molten breakfast cereal and threw them onto my bed.

I ran downstairs, grabbed the entire box of kitchen garbage bags, ran back up and stuffed two of them with oated clothes until there were no clothes left behind.

I’d been meaning to clean out my drawers, anyway.

The tidy side of the room is Richard’s.

I ran back downstairs and emptied both bags into the washing machine. There was no time to separate my whites from my oatmeals.

Summoning enormous amounts of “Situational Awareness x 2” I took one drawer at a time, walked to the loo – – because skipping was simply out of the question – – and placed it in the shower. The drawers came clean, but boy, were they steamed. (Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.)

But, I had no time to celebrate, my friends. There was still oatmeal on the frame of my dresser, and the floor. It was beginning to congeal, and not in a good way.

I used a wet towel to clean the dresser. I tried to do the same to clean the floor, but that only resulted in a thinner layer of oatmeal.

There was only one way to get the job done: I Swiffer Wet-Jetted the crap out of the floor.

When all was Swiffered and done, I ran back downstairs to see if the washing machine had been able to eat all of my oatmeal. Not so much.

In an attempt to Bounce the oatmeal fragments out of my clothes, I threw them into the dryer with a dryer sheet. Sure enough, when I opened the dryer, the lint trap was full of oats.

I thought about swapping the Elfa dresser with the normal-person dresser in my office, but moving the dressers by myself could easily create an unsafe Leslie environment.

I still like to bring my coffee and oatmeal upstairs, I’m just more “Situationally Aware!” It’s bound to spill again, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Just like the oatmeal, I like to live on the edge.


Do You Shave?

This is a chapter from my book-in-progress, I Married him Anyway.

“Do you shave?” Richard asked me.

We were on our “First Date; The Second Time Around.” “The First Time Around” was when we dated on and off during high school. We’d break up every summer when he’d leave for camp. After all, I needed my freedom.

After seeing a student production of “Once Upon a Mattress” at Lake Forest College, we stopped for dinner at The Aardvark Pub. As we waited for our orders to arrive, we sipped our Cokes, talked about the Star Wars movies, college, our parents, siblings, and even our dogs.

Up until he’d asked me if I shaved, being out with Richard that night was so easy, comfortable, and familiar. I was so happy to have found him (more on that in another chapter) and that he wasn’t dating anyone at the time.

We both seemed happy to be in each others’ company. We picked up right where we’d left off four years earlier, except we were now four years older, and much more mature.

Well, I was. He needed a few more years in the oven.

I remembered Richard as being the nicest guy I’d ever met. I was going to be moving back home after attending Indiana University so I could finish up my English, Creative Writing degree at Lake Forest College. I hoped Richard had come home from Miami of Ohio and was living with his parents.

While at I.U., every frog I’d kissed wasn’t capable of turning into a prince, and I chucked every fish I’d dated back into the sea. I was in yet another a dead-end, unhealthy relationship at the time. In fact, it was so dead, it needed to end.

I finally realized it was time to be in a meaningful relationship with someone who I cared about, and who cared about me. I just knew Richard was that person, and I couldn’t get him, and his hair, out of my mind.

On a puddle-jumper from Bloomington, IN to Chicago, the only other passenger on the plane was Barb, a mutual friend of Richard’s and mine. She was sitting across the aisle from me. Coincidence? I don’t believe in them.

Before the plane took off, and it was quiet enough for us to hear each other, Barb and I caught up on life. The topic of conversation finally landed on Richard. I told Barb how much I’d missed him, and asked her if she knew where he was, and what he was doing. She didn’t, but she gave me great advice, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

So, after transferring to Lake Forest College, I began a quest to find Richard. If I was successful, I was going to ask him out.

That’s all I had to do, but, as I’ve always been told, I make things more difficult than they have to be. I didn’t just call him; I took the scenic route.

With Barb’s words of wisdom in my head, and a lot of help from my friend, Laura, which involved stalking Richard, and several other misdemeanors (which I’ll elaborate on at another time,) I was finally on a date with Richard.

And, that’s when he said those three little words.

It was such a strange question, I wasn’t even sure I understood what he meant.

“Do I shave what?” I thought to myself. “Poodles? Sheep? A little off the top?”

I still needed time to process his question.

Thankfully, our food arrived, giving me a few more seconds to try to formulate an answer.

So, I picked up a French fry, and said, “Well, I get my legs waxed, if that’s what you mean.”

He glanced up from his plate. The expression on his face looked like I had just told him one of my favorite hobbies was blood-letting. He had obviously never heard of waxing.

I thought that if I explained what waxing was, I’d get closer to understanding why he wanted to know if I shaved. “Well, it’s kind of like shaving,” I said.

He looked relieved.

“Was that what you meant? I asked, as I picked up another fry.

“Yes,” he said, with a smile. I was happy I had finally cracked his code.

I took a bite out of my burger, being careful to be lady-like and chew with my mouth closed, waiting to speak until I’d finished swallowing, and asked, “Why did you ask me if I shaved?”

I picked up another fry, dipped it in ketchup, and was about to take a bite out of it when he said, “I wanted to find out if you were one of those European-types who doesn’t shave her legs and armpits.”

I dropped my fry. Getting reacquainted was one thing; asking me if I had hairy armpits was an entirely different animal.

Barely looking up from his plate, therefore not seeing the look of bewildered disgust on my face, he said, “I was just wondering if you’d become one of those chicks who went away to college, and decided to go all ‘natural,’” he said, while making air-quotes with his fingers.

I was offended on behalf of my friends who had decided to go the “natural route,”and, I finally understood his question. He wanted to make sure, before he “got with that,” which didn’t happen as quickly as he always tells people it did, that my legs and armpits were as smooth and silky as a Mexican Hairless cat.

At least I knew he wanted to see me again.

Let’s get artificial here, for a moment: I looked completely different from the last time he saw me, and he didn’t notice?

I looked the best I ever, or will ever look, thanks to my very gracious, aforementioned friend, Laura, who spent 2 1/2 hours working magic on my face. As a model, Laura knew what she was up against, and was more than happy to put her talent to good use. Maybe she saw me as a challenge.



My own mother didn’t recognize me when I came home from Laura’s house to get dressed before Richard picked me up in his Red 1974 Plymouth Duster.

Laura had applied her own expensive makeup with her own expensive brushes to turn this frizzy duckling into a sparkling swan. She even lent me one of her favorite necklaces. I have to say, I looked exquisite and radiant. And all Richard wanted to know is if I shaved?

Finally, I figured out why Richard hadn’t noticed Laura’s handiwork. There’s a step at the entrance to my parents’ house, so when I opened the front door to let Richard in to pick me up for our date, I stood about six inches taller than he. Richard failed to look at my face, or make direct eye contact because his eyes had made direct boob contact. That’s when he said these five little words, “Nice to see you both.”

I guess I’d overlooked his comment because as soon as I saw him, I fell hopelessly in love and was busy planning our wedding in my head.

A paper bag over my head would have sufficed, as long as the girls were front and center.