My Life As A New Wife: The Year In Review

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Farewell newlyweds, hello old married couple.

Celebrating my first wedding anniversary made me feel kind of like Miss America coming to the end of her reign: triumphant, honored, and just a little bit sad to give back the tiara and say goodbye to my title of newlywed.

But I must, because now at end of Year One, I am officially a wife – with a new title and new duties. If longtime pageant MC Bert Parks was still alive, he’d be singing me a new tune.

What a difference a year makes.

No longer a swingin’ single, no longer subsisting on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and no longer letting my laundry pile up until I run out of underwear, life looks a lot different now that I’m Mrs. Scharf than it did when I was Miss Brandon.

For starters, I now shop at Gelson’s, I do a load of laundry every few days, and I have more food in my pantry than I know what to do with. The year has had much personal growth, changes both big and small, and lots of groceries to put away.

Yep, I’m a real housewife of Beverly Hills, alright.

Year One has been nothing short of a mind-blowing, eye-opening, waist-expanding experience and here’s why:

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Robby Scharf, a most fascinating creature.

I NOW HAVE THIS FASCINATING CREATURE CALLED A HUSBAND

I don’t know about all husbands, but mine is so interesting, I find myself observing him like an exotic animal. He’s sophisticated and elegant, but he loves to burp and fart like a 10-year-old; he’s strong and stoic, but tears up when watching CBS Sunday Morning; he’s an alpha dog, but he loves funny cat videos; he’s a manly man, but he loves to shop; he’s never been married, but he’s got some serious game as a husband.

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Say hello to my mac & cheese.

I LEARNED TO COOK

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I was raised by a working mom who excelled more in the office than she did in the kitchen. Not that Sonjia Brandon couldn’t cook; she just preferred to make deals rather than make dinner. So when I got married, I donned my apron (a bridal shower gift) and got down to business.

It’s been a year of “firsts” in the kitchen for me. I made my first short ribs, my first macaroni & cheese, and my crowning achievement as a wife (drum roll please) MY FIRST BRISKET. I can’t emphasize the importance of this major milestone for this Jewish girl.

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Good news! Nina and Nancy didn’t throw up from my lasagne.

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank my friends Nina, Nancy, and my many Facebook friends for their recipes and culinary guidance.

It truly takes a village to make a meatloaf.

Yeah, I made that too.

 

 

 

I WATCH A LOT MORE SPORTS

I’ve always been a sports nut, but I definitely met my match when I married Robby. The guy is a total sports junkie, particularly when it comes to televised sports. It’s not unusual for him to have a few TVs going and a couple of iPads tuned in, especially during playoff season.

He may be the bigger sports fan, but I’m the sports bettor in the family. I say who needs to watch the game when all you need to know is the spread?

THERE’S ALWAYS MUSIC IN OUR HOUSE

This is the benefit of marrying a guy who plays the bass, attended Berklee College of Music, and has been performing with The Cowsills for over 25 years. It’s almost daily that I’m in earshot of a rehearsal or treated to an impromptu jam. And when I want some peace and quiet, I put on a pair of incredible Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (shameless plug – Robby works for the company).

But what really makes a Robby a rock star? He does the dishes.

NEWS FLASH! OOPS I MEAN HOT FLASH!

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Year One…and they said it wouldn’t last.

Poor Robby. Two seconds after we get married, I hit menopause (or rather menopause hit me). Great timing Mother Nature thanks a lot! Nothing like having to navigate your new married life with night sweats and mood swings. Plus, between the hormonal brain fog and the occasional senior moment, I can’t remember shit.

Has it really been a year already?

It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun, watching sports, eating a lot, and making beautiful music together.

Now if you don’t mind, I must attend to my next wifely duty: making my first turkey.

Burping And Farting: Marriage Is A Gas!

Wedding Pic #6I’ve been married for a little over six months now, and as comfortable as I am around my husband Robby, I still can’t bring myself to burp or fart in front of him.

I will do anything to avoid anything intestinal in his presence. This includes holding it in, sucking it up, breathing through it, and running into another room to blow it out. Am I old-fashioned, or just too much of a lady to let it rip? Aren’t some things better kept a mystery like bodily functions and flatulence? Or once you’re married, are all bets off?

Sorry, but I’m mortified at the thought of any gas passing through my cheeks – both sets.

(Early in our courtship, Robby and I were watching “Behind The Candelabra,” and I laughed so hard at Michael Douglas doing Liberace that I accidentally tooted. I was so embarrassed I could have died.)

My husband, on the other hand, is a guy, and guys LOVE gas, as I’m finding out. They burp and fart with abandon, and think it’s hysterical. When Robby has something to share, he bombs away with a gust of air and a blast of laughter. Marriage be damned!

Much to my surprise, every one of my married girlfriends tells the same story about their spouse’s penchant for pooting. Most go like this: “Phil is just a fart looking for a place to happen. After he cuts one, he’ll say: ‘Thank you I made it myself, aren’t you proud?”

HA HA you guys are SO funny! Groan.

I try not to encourage Robby, but the truth is, flatulence IS funny and even I can’t help cracking up (besides, if I held it in, it would come out somewhere else and we can’t have that, can we?) With the right timing and tenor, belching and breaking wind can be comic gold. I personally can’t do it, but I appreciate the talent it takes to pull off. For this Robby, you’re a genius.

One night we were sitting around watching TV and I thought I heard Robby let one, so I called him on it.

Me:                 Did you just say something? 

Robby snickers like a mischievous 10-year-old.

Me:                 I thought so. Please use your words next time. 

Robby:            You live in Beverly Hills, don’t you speak Fartsi?

Fartsi. See what I mean? The comedy comes out everywhere in our house.

It takes getting used to though. Between never cohabitating with a guy and never having brothers, I’m relatively new to this gas passing in front of the opposite sex.

And then there are those flatulating couples who’ve turned gas-passing into a competitive sport, trying to one-up each other with every expulsion. I have a girlfriend who’s so gleefully gassy, her husband proudly describes her as a Union Carbide plant. If he farts down a grocery store aisle, she lovingly calls him a “crop duster” and high-fives him for his efforts.

The question is: Do love and gas mix?

While researching the subject, I found an AskReddit message board offering the following answers:

  • “After many years together, we have seen (and smelled) each other at our worst, whether it was nursing each other through food poisoning, the flu, post-surgical recovery, or just the aftermath of a big chili dinner. The odd fart or belch has to be something spectacular to make it onto the marital radar, and then is more likely to be the source of amusement than disgust. Helps if you keep your inner 10-year-old alive.”
  • “This sort of situation is both appealing and disturbing. I want to be so comfortable with my husband SO that I can fart in front of him and he can still think I’m sexy, but I also fear that after a while, the stench I am capable of expelling from my anus would eventually kill our relationship.”
  • “I don’t get people who hold in their farts forever. I totally do for the first several months of a relationship. Then one squeaks out after tacos or whatever, and opens the door. I particularly can’t imagine voluntarily holding your farts in for YEARS of marriage. Talk about uptight.”
  • “My wife still holds it in most of the time, but sometimes she will let one out and i find it incredibly endearing when she lets me in behind the “no-fart” curtain. It’s an honor, and a privilege.”
  • “Trust me, farting in front of someone doesn’t kill the romance of a relationship, having a stick up your ass does though.”

It’s been said that love means never having to say you’re sorry. I say love means never having to say you’re sorry for having gas.

Married People: Who’s F**king?

iStock_000005058065LargeWhen I was single I always used to wonder about my married friends’ sex lives: how often do they do it? Is it good? Does it stay good? Does being married make sex better? I always wondered, but never asked – maybe because I didn’t want to pry, or maybe because I didn’t want to know if it the news was bad.

I worried. What if married sex WAS bad? What if it’s different? Or boring? What happens if it can’t be sustained, or the excitement wanes?

Is it normal for sex to change once you’re married? What IS normal anyway?

Well, now that I’ve been married for a few months, here’s what I can tell you: even though Robby and I are newlyweds, we’re in our 50s, so we’re really oldie-weds, which means we’re totally different people now than we would have been if we were in our 20s and just starting out. Don’t get me wrong, things are just as hot – I’m just getting it in flashes these days. Continue reading

A Career Dater Finally Quits Her Job

b1110503da138461db47e9ad8643011dOther than a few squabbles about bulk buying at Costco, the transition to married life has been thoroughly exhilarating, horizon-broadening, and perfectly natural all at the same time. It’s new, but not weird. It’s an adjustment, but not a tough one. It’s a life change, but one that I welcomed.

After living alone and being on my own for so long, you’d think that marriage would be a total culture shock – and it is – but it’s really not that shocking. Or crazy. It’s kind of normal actually, kind of like I’ve been a wife all my life. Weird.

No, the crazy part of transitioning into marriage was transitioning out of dating, a way of life for me for nearly 50 years.

I was a career dater. I dated all the time, at all times of the day. Breakfast dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, drink dates, even a driving date to the mechanic to pick up my car.

I’ve had blind dates, online dates, chance meetings, dates disguised as business meetings, and one Facebook encounter that would lead to the date of all dates. Thank you Robby Scharf, for ending the longest single streak on record (next to yours of course).

After a long and illustrious dating career – one filled with some triples, a couple of doubles, an occasional home run, and lots of times at bat – I finally and gladly retired. I happily hung up the jersey, emptied out my locker, and said goodbye to the game. I’m using a lot of baseball metaphors here, but you get the point.

I left the business.

I didn’t realize how much work went into being single until I got married. And let’s face it people, dating is like having a second job. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, dating is work. Looking good, spending money, getting out there, going to parties, going to the gym, being charming, being social, being “on,” making an effort, making eye contact, strategizing, chatting, flirting, schmoozing, is all very time consuming, not to mention exhausting.

Online dating alone is like a second job. You spend hours managing your sites, then dealing with all the emails, winks, flirts, and instant messages. You have to sort through profiles, respond to inquiries, assess potential prospects, distinguish between the suitors and the posers, coordinate schedules and make plans. Just weeding out the weirdos is work!

So you can imagine when you’re used to doing it 24/7 and all of a sudden you stop. It’s like quitting a job you’ve had all your life. This is why the transition has been so peculiar – I mean, one minute I’m hanging out at Wolfgang’s happy hour with my fellow single girlfriends, the next minute I’m joyfully making my husband a meatloaf.

Two words I never thought I’d say in the same sentence: “husband” and “meatloaf.”

Some feminists might gag at this, but I have also discovered that I love doing his laundry, underwear included. Every time I fold a pair of his boxers, I think: Wow look at me! I’m a wife! And the fact that Robby hasn’t thrown up yet from my cooking must mean I’m doing something right.

Dating might have felt like a second job at times, but I always did it with a smile on my face and a good attitude. The key for me (and for any single person out there) is to not take it too seriously, have fun, and always keep your sense of humor. That way, it won’t feel so much like a job.

And here’s the great news when you’re ready to retire: instead of getting an office party and gold watch, you might just get a diamond ring and a wedding.

I Like Big Rebuttals And I Cannot Lie

IMG_4549And now a few words from Robby Scharf, my late blooming husband:

Ah, my wife Treva. I love her like I’ve never loved anyone before. As beautiful as she is talented, she possesses a wonderful ability to convey in words what many of us think, but may not express.

Her last blog post, “Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco,” https://thelatebloomingbride.com/2014/08/05/women-are-from-venus-men-are-from-costco/ is so great, that I literally did LOL, and mean it for what might be the first time ever in history. As funny as it is, I feel there are a few points that need rebutting.

It’s true what Treva said about my gear. Guys have a lot of it and I’m guilty as charged! There was quite a bit of stuff I needed to get rid of when I made the move to Beverly Hills. Along with my office stuff, I also had recording equipment, many computers, about 20 guitars, power supplies, gadgets, and lots of cables – all of which I had to keep.

Also in her blog, Treva mentioned LED light bulbs and her love of the environment. Well, one of the first things I noticed when we first started dating were the large outdoor floodlights inside her apartment. These overly bright, heat-inducing, very inefficient lights are great if you’re shooting a movie in your living room, but not if you’re using them for recessed lighting.

I knew that these were going away as soon as I had any say about it. I purchased some great LED light bulbs that got just as bright (and even dimmed) but Treva hated them as soon as they turned on. She was “gracious” enough to give them a chance (for about 3 ½ minutes) but that was it!

We actually got in to a couple of rows over this. We’re presently in a semi-state of compromise as we have the old lights back in the hallway and the new LEDs in the bedroom (but that could change any minute).

As for Costco, there’s nothing wrong with shopping there! Costco is a mecca for good stuff (Who doesn’t know this? Oh, right, my wife).

And while you’re getting a half a year’s worth of toilet paper, a couple months of Skippy, 3 lbs. of coffee, 48 AA batteries, and two dozen bagels, you can also enjoy samples of Luigi’s Chicken Parm cutlets, Bernie’s Gyozas, and Mamma Joe’s Lowfat Chocolate Pudding, and then get a delicious Costco hot dog and drink for $1.50!

And the booze selection and prices at Costco are excellent! Anejo Tequila for $19? Alright, it’s Kirkland, but it’s really good! (Mixed with Simply Lime makes a great Tequila Gimlet).

See? You don’t have to be a father with kids to love shopping at Costco!

Sure, I’m guilty of overbuying things every now and then, but Treva will go to the market today for something today, and not think about anything else she may actually need tomorrow or for the rest of the week. So she ends up going to the market multiple times in a week (sometimes just for one item). This causes me to scratch my head.

I was quite surprised to learn that Treva grew up not having some “basic” staples in her household. For example, early in our relationship, I went to her bathroom and asked where she kept the Kleenex. She answered, “I don’t use Kleenex. Use toilet paper instead.”

I scratch my head again (good thing I bought that gallon of Head & Shoulders at Costco!)

Some other things Treva never had in her house growing up: ice makers, electric fans, Saran Wrap, and toaster ovens. I recently walked into our kitchen and saw Treva remove a piece of burnt toast on a paper towel (which she was using as a plate) that was on fire from the toaster oven!

As Treva and I continue to navigate this thing called marriage, I’m sure there’ll be more to write about – and lots more to rebut – so stick around.

(For more of my views on marriage, sports and politics, please feel free to follow me on Twitter: @Robby525)

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco

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Robby’s happy place: Costco and me.

It was either me move into his man cave/bachelor pad in the heart of gritty, urban downtown L.A., or him move into my charming, old French Normandy apartment on the Westside. Downtown L.A. is cool and groovy if you’re a guy, but not if you’re a princess from Beverly Hills.

We had just gotten married and needed to consolidate and start cohabitating, so Robby came out West. Just like Jed Clampett, he loaded up the Prius, and he moved to BEV-ER-LY. Hills, that is: swimming pools, movie stars, and me.

As he proceeded to cram the contents of his 1,850 square foot loft into my teeny two-bedroom, something occurred to me: MEN ARE FROM COSTCO. They are different animals. They don’t live like us women. They have lots of man stuff: junk, supplies, gear, equipment, electronics, toolboxes, miles of cable and cords, unexplained wires, and gadgets of all kinds and sizes. If men aren’t from Costco, then they’re from big box stores for sure.

Maybe I’m just not used to a man around the house, or maybe I’m too used to living alone, all I know is that Robby moving in has been a fascinating study in how men live and function. Remember, I’ve never even lived with a guy, so this is all new and intriguing. I feel like I’m Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom, observing a most unusual creature: my new husband.

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A little light shopping.

My Baby Buys In Bulk

If you’re single and anything like me, you buy just enough food for a week. A couple bags of potato chips, a loaf of bread, a few frozen Trader Joe entrees, some wine maybe, and not too many perishables lest they go bad (single people dine out a lot).

Robby, as I’ve discovered, likes to buy in bulk – everything from bulk paper goods to bulk food. This I don’t understand. What single guy without kids shops at Costco? Where exactly are you going to put those 24 rolls of paper towels?

You should see my pantry now. It’s now stuffed to the brim with industrial size jars of peanut butter, and crammed to an inch of its life with canned goods. I get claustrophobic just looking at it.

If you ever run out of toilet paper though, come on over. We’ve got enough to cover everyone for the next two years.

Guys Like Projects

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Drill baby drill!

Robby loves a project. The minute he moved in, he started retrofitting, wiring, re-wiring, installing, hooking up, dismantling, and assembling. He tossed out all my ancient cordless phones, and replaced all my light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs, which I hate, but marriage is compromise, and I love the environment, so the bulbs stay. He’s outfitted our place with lots of other much-needed things, which as a single woman, I never thought to buy.

For this reason, he’s made up a song for me. It’s called “The Absence Of A Man,” (sung to the tune of “The Shadow Of Your Smile”).

Robby is very handy. He loves to build shelves, organize stuff, and hang things. And I let him because I love a Jew with a drill.

Men And Their TVs

Robby wasted no time in giving away my old TVs, and installing his new big screens into every room of my apartment. You know the fancy kind with all the bells and whistles and super complicated remote controls? The HD quality is fantastic, but now I don’t know how to change the channel.

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Welcome to NASA West.

He also promptly renegotiated my cable bill, which was way too high. Who knew?

Hey Time Warner, stop ripping off your female customers!

Robby loves his TVs, and his laptop, and his iPad. His office looks like a cross between Mission Control and Command Central.

Houston, we have a problem: NASA is now in Beverly Hills.

So now we’re all settled in, but the debate still rages on whether women are from Venus and men are from Costco. As soon as I get back from shoe shopping and Robby returns from stockpiling jars of relish, the discussion will certainly continue. So stay tuned (to one of Robby’s TVs of course).

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Need. More. Condiments.

My Vows: A Dream Writing Assignment

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingFinally getting the chance to write my marriage vows was more than just this bride’s dream come true. It was this freelance writer’s finest hour.

The dream assignment that had previously been out of reach for so many years, was now mine. I had waited patiently and worked tirelessly, but I finally got the job. Without delay, I immediately put pen to paper and began crafting my vows. God knows I had a lot to say.

Truth is, I’ve been writing my vows in my mind for 50 years so I already knew what they were going to include: expressions of my love and affection, my hopes for marital bliss, and tons of heartfelt promises and praise for my future husband. My vows would also be tear-jerking and knee-slapping all at the same time.

All I would need was the right guy and a mic, and I’d be good to go. I got both: Robby Scharf and a great Sennheiser microphone (P.S. Robby works for Sennheiser so I got the package deal).

That’s right, not only did I finally get to write my marriage vows, I got to read them aloud too! What a gig!

My vows weren’t fancy or flowery; they were just a 439-word count of my love and delivered right on time – just like a good freelancer.

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MY VOWS

“As a writer, I’ve written all kinds of things: from copy to content, branding to blogging, but I’ve never written marriage vows – a dream assignment I’ve waited a lifetime for.

And the most wonderful part of this assignment is that I get to write about an amazing product: Robby Scharf.

When I first met Robby, I knew I dug him; when he told me he liked sports, I knew he wasn’t a pussy; when I heard he was a Jewish rocker, I knew he was no ordinary Jew; when I found out he watched MSNBC, I knew it was a match; when my father gave him thumbs-up, I knew he was something special.

And when I watched him volunteer with the disabled athletes at Special Olympics, I knew I had to have him.

But when I fully experienced the depth of his caring and character, I knew it was love.

Robby, you are my champion, my protector, my BFF, my favorite comedian, my trusty ad court partner, my own personal IT guy, and my new emergency contact number.

You are my Mr. Right in every way.

You are the Ashford to my Simpson, the Burns to my Allen, the Kool in my Gang, and the Earth and Wind to my Fire. You are music and laughter, safety and comfort, strength and support, everyday of my life.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingI vow to you: my love, my heart, my soul, and my spirit. I vow to keep my racquet head up, and keep my eye on the ball. I vow to keep my only child tendencies in check, and I vow to keep the spare toilet paper in the bathroom instead of in my office closet. I vow to keep an open mind about moving to the Valley, and I vow to learn how to make a brisket and spend more time in the kitchen.

As your wife, I vow to keep you happy, healthy, and fit – whether you like it or not. Remember, you are marrying a personal trainer so deal with it.

To your father Eddie, I vow to make a good daughter-in-law. Good, in that I will never stand in the way of you and Robby and Major League Baseball.

And finally, to your mother Fran who is not here with us today, I vow to make her proud. I promise to take good care of her son, and honor the extraordinary man he has become.

E052414A-0605I’ve dreamed of writing these vows all my life, and now, this moment is here. Thank you Robby for making me your Mrs. Scharf, and for making all my dreams come true.”