Archive for November, 2009

Christmas Stalkings

Monday, November 30th, 2009

At first, it may seem that this topic has nothing to do with Long Distance Relationships. However, hang with me and I think you’ll see that in some situations what I’m about to rant about could have its application in a LDR situation.

At my previous job I had a television in my office which was kept on mute but had three channels and a phone line monitor on four quads of the television. How was I to know that one of the hardest parts about changing jobs was the loss of a television in my office? Or maybe it is just the loss of my office, as I am now dumped back into cube-land. But I digress.

With the bad (loss of office….do I sound bitter?) comes the good and I now work from home about 50% of the time. When I’m working from home I find it conducive to have the TV on – even though I can only “watch” one muted channel at a time….alas I do not have picture in picture capability. Maybe the next set….

Anyway whilst watching too much home shopping I ran across three items that on their own were creepy. But after the third one I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me! What the heck is wrong with people?”

The first one is a nifty product marketed to children called EyeClops. They are “infrared stealth binoculars” with night vision technology. Yes, I said night vision technology: because your child is out after dark trolling for other little children to torture, ‘er I mean, play with in the pitch darkness of a winter evening.

The second thing on my Santa Stalking Wish List is a gadget called Silver Sonic Hearing. The infomercial for this gem points out that the gadget not only allows you hear what people are saying up to 90 feet away, but they delight in highlighting that the earpiece has been designed to look like a headset you’d wear with your cell phone. “Find out what people are really saying about you,” the announcer says. “They’ll never know you’re listening!”

Now I can only speak for myself, but if I was wearing the Silver Sonic hearing device and I heard someone commenting about how the dress I was wearing made me look fat, I’m going to guess that I’d end up telling them to kiss the fattest part of my rear end and it would be pretty apparent that I heard them up to 90 feet away.

And finally, whilst flipping through the big three home shopping networks I ran across this techno-treat: The Eagle-I Built In Video/Audio Recording Camera Sunglasses.

They were showing this nifty toy at a playground and how with these sunglasses it meant you’d never have to miss even a single second of a child playing because you were fumbling for a camera or video equipment.

Now maybe I’ve watched one too many “Criminal Minds” marathons but the first thing that crops into my mind is that unless you were doing some sort of extreme sport, like snowboarding on near vertical slopes, performing large jumps of up to 40 feet on your mountain bike, or scaling El Capitan in Yosemite, why on earth would you need a recording device in your sunglasses?

In fact, why would any person need these three products? Who is the niche market someone is going after with these “toys”?

The Radical Right militia perhaps? They can use the night vision and the Sonic hearing device to make sure no $%#@!@ government people come onto their property.

A serial killer maybe? He or she could surely use all of these little toys to help them decide who their most vulnerable next victim is.

Of course I promised that this rant would somehow relate back to commuter couples, didn’t I? And while I’m not recommending that anyone use any of these devices in this manner I’d point out that if you don’t trust your significant other, you can use these tools to stalk him/her and find out what they’re doing when you’re not together.

Happy Holidays and Merry Stalkings.

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Shifting Sands

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

As someone who has been in a long distance relationship for over two years an odd thing has happened: the balance of power has shifted between my husband and me. I have now taken a job away from Mr. J. I’m now the one driving weekly to spend the weekend with him. The career path I’ve recently chosen has more fully made me responsible for the two of us living apart.

Another small shift in our perspective is now I’m the one offering comfort to Mr. J during a family crisis. Until this situation with my stepson it has always been crises in my family. We’ve cancelled vacations overseas due to medical emergencies in my family. Mr. J has burned up precious vacation time to accompany me home for the funerals of my grandparents, and my uncles.

Here is what I could not fully appreciate before now: living in two places is exhausting. The travel between two cities basically means I’m never settled anywhere, never in one place long enough to rest. I have a new respect for people who commute on a weekly basis or travel for their jobs weekly.

And offering moral support on a more long term basis? Also harder than I realized. Regardless of how tired I am now is the time for me to step up: to bite my tongue when Mr. J’s tone is sharp. I try to understand the stress he is under, even though I personally have no frame of reference. I choose my words carefully, wanting to offer up whatever comfort I can be during this stressful time. Curling around him while he catches a nap in midday, feeling his body relax into mine, teaches me that sometimes comfort comes in saying nothing at all.

To anyone who knows Mr. J and me as a couple I’ve always said Mr. J is the nicer one of us. As I transitioned into this new job, even with all his worry and concern about his son he has been phenomenally supportive of me. He listens to me as I explain the new culture of this company. He listens when I grouse about how hard it is to piece together a myriad of new systems, learning who is who in a corporate maze and how to handle my new challenging responsibilities. He soothes me, allaying my fears when occasionally it seems overwhelming. Mr. J reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t afford him the same courtesy when he started his new job two years ago. I was barely civil. Hurt beyond words, I refused to be supportive. I didn’t ask about his new role. I didn’t even know what he was working on the first six months we lived apart. I was the worst kind of spouse.

Frankly, I hope we never have to live apart again. On the other hand, I am optimistic. I believe I’ve finally matured enough that should we once again reside in different domiciles I could live the example I’ve had my husband live for me: to be more selfless, to encourage at every turn, to basically be the life partner everyone deserves.

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We Interrupt the Drama of My Life for Something More Long Distance Related…

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

In today’s Sunday paper I was pleased to see a column Q&A on Long Distance Relationships in one of those colorful Sunday magazine flyers: USA Weekend Magazine. Written by RelationTips writer, Dennie Hughes, she answers the question, “My boyfriend will be transferring to a school across the country. Do you think that, with all the “face-to-face” technology available, a long-distance relationship could work?”

The answer provided by Hughes starts by talking about inexpensive technology: web cams and Skype, Facebook and Twitter. She also touches on blogging, instant messaging and something I’d never thought about: playing online board games together.

She does mention that LDR’s can work if you are already in an established relationship but doesn’t seem to think it can work if a couple is in the early stages. For the full article click here.

I’m curious as to why she pooh-poohs people just getting started in a relationship. Obviously she doesn’t know our guest blogger and friend Amy who was kind enough to share her story with us in September. Amy met her husband on-line when they lived states apart. They just celebrated their 11th anniversary in the Spring.

Nor has Hughes met my friend and neighbor who met the man who would become her husband literally hours before she boarded a plane back home from her dream vacation in Egypt. They not only managed to get through those first few months, they are now several years married and have a beautiful son.

Hey Dennie – don’t be so quick to dismiss new love, even if it is miles or continents apart. It may not be “ideal” or more likely the real issue it doesn’t comply with what most people think are “normal” relationships. But people make it work all the time.

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