Today we’re honored to have the cake pimp himself, Earl Anderson (aka Mr. Frostings), contributing a guest post to the blog. His topic: the trials and tribulations of building a “second story.” Take it away, Earl.
“There are eight million stories in the naked city, this is one of them.” I always loved that line from Naked City, a TV show I used to watch in reruns as a kid.
This story is about marriage. My second one to be exact, as such, its my Second Story.
I am certainly not the only one on their second story. According to Marriage101.org, 41% of first marriages end in divorce (note, I didn’t say “fail”). The bad news is that it gets worse from there; 60% of second marriages and 71% of third marriages also end in divorce. We love repeat customers, but truth is, I would much rather get the call for anniversary cakes.
Oblivious to those figures, at twenty-five and madly in love, I planned a forever with Number One. I am convinced that all superheroes are twenty-five because you are never smarter or more invincible than you are at twenty-five. I was flushed with the genius of my proposal, my amazing taste, and the surety of lifelong wedded bliss. I knew that this relationship was Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Elvis and ‘cilla or, at the very least, John and Yoko. It was too. For the first sixteen years. But, it ended.
Marriage is an addicting lifestyle. Withdrawal from that life is painful and it hurts everyone differently. For some, waking up alone in the morning is the hardest part. For me, it was turning the light off and going to sleep alone. Embarrassed and defensive, my shields were up at full power. I was clueless to what exactly I was missing or where I really hurt. To say that I was a lost soul in my own life is a vast understatement.
Emotionally crippled and morally ambivalent, I set out to be the star of my own story, which I called; “Confessions of a Serial Dater: Sleeping in the wet spot”. I spent almost ten years dating, acting like the third date was a carcinogen and thinking that if I didn’t hurry, I would somehow run out of women in the greater Los Angeles area.
Then, suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a woman that was not going to be trifled with or taken for granted. Maybe I was ready or maybe I was just open. It’s possible that the therapy helped and that my Zen practice allowed me to discover what it was that really mattered to me. I think that she just reminded me that life is built for two and mine was now ready for us. I loved her before I recognized it or could defend myself from it. I proposed, she set a date, and off we went.
When you first marry, you learn that she isn’t always date ready, and can be just as big a mess as you are, at times. You may have visualized a clean house, clean laundry and hot meals. Trouble comes when you realize she was thinking the same thing. You learn to compromise and share responsibilities. You assign jobs and set boundaries. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. You’re happy to learn how to be a good partner. Long gone are the ideas of “wife duties” and “husband duties”
You enter the Second Story differently. You have already learned where the land mines are right? Call when you’re running late, do your share of the dishes without being asked, and never, ever, make fun of her Mother or admire how nice her sister looks. If you’re ready for this second relationship, you’re also ready to do more than lawn care and auto maintenance, you can do the laundry too.
We also benefit from being prepared for the reality of living with someone. Awkward moments are gone! Coming into this relationship we have accepted that our Angel is likely to fart in bed, morning breath no longer scares us, and a little pillow drool is acceptable. You are convinced that you know how to be a partner, and damn it, this time you’re going to get it right!!
It was quite shocking when I realized that my prior knowledge was just a starting point. Thinking I could use an old map to get to a new destination was just wrong. This is more than just a new partner, more than a new relationship. This is a new marriage. It needed a new map.
Marriage is inherently the sum of its parts. It’s details, details. Some things mean nothing, but some things mean everything. There’s danger in learning that a kiss goodbye before I leave the house is everything, if that’s all I ever learn about this new relationship. If I want this marriage to work, then I better keep trying and I better keep learning. It’s a moving target.
I taught my sons that the key to having good friends is to be a good friend. Trust and loyalty is earned by being trusting and loyal. There is no place for selfishness in a marriage. The minute I ask myself “Where’s mine”, she has the right to point down the street and help me along my way.
I’m learning a lot from my second marriage. Most importantly, it’s really not a Second Story after all. It’s my second chance at a First Story together.
Earl Anderson, AKA “Mr Frostings” is a life long Californian living a short 40 miles from where he was born. Along with his duties as Cake Pimp and Head cheerleader for Fantasy Frostings, Earl is the Purchasing Manager for a Packaging Supply manufacture in Fontana, CA. His self described “Brady Bunch” family includes his two sons, two daughters, two grandchildren, Henry the dog and two cats that have adopted the entire bunch.