I started this blog planning a short digression on how it's Valentine's Day and I've been thinking long and hard about the nature of true love, married love, endless love, you name it. And of course, what better title for a book about a woman who's feeling just a little bit restless in her relationship than SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER? I interviewed Jenny using my standard questions but I have to say I got off on a bit of a tangent below, all because a dear friend sent me an article that included a quiz on how passionately married you were and I took it and I found myself pretty damn smug that after thirty-two years of sharing the same bed with my husband, we (I took it for him and for me) came out just dandy, thank you very much.
According to The New York Times, most couples who've been together for years find their passion ebbs into a 'calm contented' kind of love'. And this is a good thing. But, say you’re feeling just a bit wistful? Not to worry.
Your passion can be revved right back up with a walk on the wild side. As in, taking risks, doing something just a little scary, a little unfamiliar, together. Apparently, it's like Red Bull for the libido.
Depending on your personality, this might include things like sky-diving or running with the bulls, or maybe, if you're like me, just stepping out on the ledge. Being crazy. It doesn't have to be expensive, just expansive, just a quick trip to the land of La-La-La- LOLA (Hey, they don’t call them The Kinks for nothing.)
Like, say, last weekend, I was feeling the need to express my Inner Anarchist. I was driving in my car, well, my husband's car. That was the first crazy part.
I knew I could have taken my station wagon. Should have taken the station wagon. After all, no one has ever, ever, died in the back seat of a Volvo Station Wagon. Hard to argue with the facts, except maybe a Philistine could argue that since I was in the front seat, it didn’t matter so very much.
I still don’t know how to explain myself, but something came over me in the driveway. I’d already closed the door and said goodbye. As if it were any other day and I was planning to run a quick errand. In and out. Back and forth. Same old, same old.
Instead, I found myself fingering my key chain, eyes wide shut, groping for the thicker, shorter, more supple and yet vibrantly resistant grey leather remote until it responded to my touch with a strong click and an incredible lift of all four door locks simultaneously!. Feeling some force deep inside me begging to be cut free from its chains, I turned on the radio and then, just like that, I found myself thinking, hey, to hell with all that I don't care if Marketplace Morning’s Sound Money is on or not! I don't care! I AM WOMAN! HEAR ME ROAR. With a turn of the screw, NPR was history. History, I’m telling you.
From that point forward, I found myself overcome by a tingling vibration that worked its way up my loins and made me do some things I can tell you now I never ever thought I’d do!
Some devil-may-care deep within had -- many months earlier -- hidden deep within the tight crevices of warm leatherette, a Bruce Springsteen compact disc. Before I could admit to myself what I was moving toward, I was wresting the stiff bit of voice-candy from its rubber casement and slamming it into the player. Hungrily I pressed my fingers against the volume, pushing it up and up and up, relentless in my desire until I was overcome by BORN TO RUN Well, in my defense, I might quote just some of the suggestive language contained within. Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims and strap your hands across my engines!
From there on in, I was toast. Not burnt, but definitely on the rotisserie, in search of meaningless thrills and random acts of insanity. I found myself groping blindly at a black buckle-like button dangling so close above me, I swear, I felt it was taunting me give in, to reach out, to touch it. I knew even then I would have to pay the costs at some later date. There would be a reckoning.
For starters, I knew I wasn’t wearing any sun block. As in, zero. Not even SPF 15 moisturizer. Not even Chapstick on the only part of the human body that is not endowed with a single molecule of protective pigment against the elements! I knew too, deep in my heart of hearts, that my hair was barely contained. Coils of unfettered red curls could tumultuously spring forth at any moment from the inadequate fasteners I’d carelessly donned earlier that day. Still. I had started this wild goose chase and I wasn’t backing down in the face of collateral damage. I was in it for the long haul.
So to speak.
Just like I’d read in the operator’s manual, the machinas gave itself over to my needs. Can you blame me if I simply took what was mine and allowed myself to experience the slow, yet forceful, even inevitable, release of glare-proof glass? Did you know glass is the strongest material known to man and can resist several tons of pressure in the deepest darkest ocean? So true, and still, with what I can only call a natural, even elemental, graze of my tender fingers, this immovable object had met its irresistible force. Appearing allmost sullen in its initial hesitation, the locked orifice opened wide and revealed the naked clouds above. A slight ripple of wind forced its way into my surprised mouth and nose. I knew the risks I was taking were beyond free-radicals and broad spectrum ultra violet rays. It had been a warm day in North Florida, and for all I knew, there were mosquitos within the vicinity.
Bring it on! I thought, and with that, I dialed my husband and told him to break out the Solarcaine and no-more-tears Johnson and Johnson’s detangling rinse. I was bringing sexy back.
“Is she wearing a seat belt?” he asked.
“As if,” I laughed, knowing just between us, just how twisted a wild child like me could get when bent on thrill.
Now, enough about ME. More about Jenny, who has gotten rave reviews for her book.
"Jenny Gardiner brings to life Claire Doolittle with such vibrancy that I feel I know her. Such was my concern over Claire's and Jack's happiness, that I couldn't put the book down which is a rarity for me.With her sharp wit and hilarious descriptions, Ms. Gardiner has a delightful voice that left me wanting more."
"This is book is the 'Bridget Jones Diary"'for all of us married and harried moms! And perhaps a good gift to give to our younger and single girlfriends. It's a gentle and humorous way to give them a glimpse of what's to come . . ."
"Sleeping With Ward Cleaver is a fun, cheeky, often candid and thoroughly engaging story that hits on relationship issues to which many readers will relate."
Here's our interview: