My husband, Mark “Vila”‘s projects

For some reason, my husband is in a competition with himself. He thinks he has to “one-up” himself every holiday. We’ve been together for 18 years and our first Valentines was spectacular, so you can imagine the three-ring circus he feels pressured to produce each year.  He’s really close to burning himself out. I mean, aside from buying me a seat on the space shuttle while Elton John sings “Rocket Man” from the seat beside me…how can he keep up this pace every Valentines Day?

I’ve tried to talk him down off the “Best gift ever” ledge many, many times. I think I may have gotten thru this year. And, not coincidentally, it was one of the best Valentines we’ve had in quite a long time. Imagine that!

Thank goodness he was swamped at work designing all the plant Monsters for EPCOT’s Flower & Garden show because he had ZERO time to train doves to spell out “I love you, Maryellen” in the sky.

Instead, he heard an add on the radio for a show I’ve wanted to see and secretly bought tickets. I was brought to tears when we drove up to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center and I saw the sign:



It’s one of my favorite things. Sitting in a theater, curtain opens and I get to watch something. Someone or something entertaining ME! Awesome. Kids with our babysitter, sitting next to my honey, watching Witches sing their hearts out…


I was so happy and overwhelmed, I couldn’t wait to tell Mark. We both know baby sign language from teaching it to our boys so I laid my head on his shoulder and put my hand on his leg in the “I love you” sign:



Mark looked at me and smiled. We watched the rest of the show in what I thought was the warmth of our little, unspoken “moment”.

After the show, he turned to me and asked,

“Hey, during the show, why did you give me the Spiderman hand?”



Happy Valentines Day….no pressure.


I’m paraphrasing a bit, but that’s basically what Mark said when we first saw Wickette.

“I’ve always had BIG dogs. I don’t know if I want a small dog. How can you wrestle with a small dog? How can you play catch with a small dog? How can you snuggle up with a small dog?”

May I present my “REAL” man and his small dog……


Halloween started in July for us. Mark was offered the job of Art Director of Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream this year and jumped at it. Was it because he wanted to make scary mazes for the masses or because he got to live in a hotel like a bachelor all summer? Hmmm…

Have you ever heard the saying, “The mechanic’s car is always broken down.”? I guess it’s not really a saying, but more of an ironic phenomenon. My Mom once called a company to come fix her car’s cracked windshield and the truck pulled up with a huge crack in it’s own windshield.  Well, whatever that’s called, we have it at our house. Thousands of people paid lots of money to see my husband’s amazing Halloween handiwork  at Busch Gardens:

And OUR house?  Well, you be the judge:

I feel sorry for women married to masseuses, chefs & gigolos.


Mark set up the “work tent” in the backyard. He told me he was going to use the shade to clean out the garage. Then a storm came and did this:

Now he can’t clean out the garage. I’m going to check the “history” button on his computer. If the Weather Channel comes up…he’s in BIG trouble!

Shhhhh! I’m trying to channel Peter Walsh. Peter? Oh…Peter…? I need you desperately! Come in Peter…

I decided to give my husband the best Valentines EVER!  He’s always coveted our friend’s garage floor. It’s some fancy, schmancy, tri-colored, coating-they-use-on-the-space-shuttle kind of thing. All I know is when I heard it costs thousands of dollars, I laughed really hard. Then when I saw he was serious about wanting to get it, I gave him the “In your dreams when you win the lotto” look.

I did some research and found that this horrible economy would work in my favor for a change. I found a reputable company that said, “Will work for food”. So I hired them.

“Happy Valentines, Mark! I got you your fancy schmancy garage floor.” He was ecstatic.

This is what I didn’t know: EVERYTHING has to come out of the garage. It has to stay out of the garage for 5 days. 2 days to apply the “gold dust” and 3 days to dry. (Sigh.)

I was watching one of the hoarding shows and almost choked when I looked at the screen and then looked out in my yard…AAAAAHHHHHH!

The floor is done and tomorrow will be the 5th day. Let’s see how long it takes for everything to get put back inside. Anyone want to take bets?


AFTER! A speckled masterpiece.

What did I get for Valentines? Absolutely nothing. Someone was too busy with his new garage floor and forgot to get me anything.

I wonder were he’s going to put his bed in the new garage?

The score so far: 2 dead Bearded Dragons & 1 Mountain Dragon that has refused to eat on it’s own and has been hand-fed by my husband for 2 months.

I think everyone should have a hobby BUT

You're kidding me, right?

Doesn't this automatically make me "Wife of the Year"?

 I have to stop posting my angst over these reptiles because if they keep dying…I’m the prime suspect.

What I learned from my Ma…

Guilt, when used in non-lethal doses, can be a huge motivator. Husband’s worms scare the bejesus out of wife…she uses quivering lip and just enough guilt to make this happen:

Can you hear the "Sanford & Son" theme music?

This is just the stuff we pulled out of the center of the garage.  Then we pulled everything away from the back wall:

Left side

Right side.

What’s in the boxes? Crap we can’t live without. We haven’t opened the boxes once in the 2 years we’ve been here, but we definitely can’t live without it. Sometimes I get curious and think, “I wonder what’s in this box?” Then I get really tired and go back into the house.

I’m waiting for the show “Hoarders” to show up. I’ve called them several times.

Shelves were purchased and assembled.

2 of the 5 units that line the back wall. Nate testing the weight limit.

I woke up this morning thinking I had had “The Dream”. The dream that the garage is organized and I pull my car in and out of it all day long…just because I can. Then I realized that it wasn’t a dream. It was my dream coming to fruition.  1/3 of the project is complete. Shelves line the back wall of the garage and bins of {?} are neatly placed in their new home.

As I was sitting in a lawn chair, staring at the new shelves, I asked Mark:

“Why did this take us 2 years to do?”

“Because I wanted to do a pimped-out custom garage but we don’t have the money for that right now.”

“Nothing wrong with this quick fix until we do have the cash, right?”

“I dunno…seems wasteful to buy temporary shelves.”

“Mark, if we had gotten them when we moved here we would have been using them for 2 years already!”

“Still seems wasteful to me.”

{sigh}”I’m glad your worms got loose in the fridge.”

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