Not exactly the Brady Bunch

August 30, 2007


But you already knew that, didn’t you?

First of all, there is no housekeeper (as you have heard me moan about on numerous occasions). This little fact is painfully obvious if you came and saw my house right now. We’ve been home from vacation for two weeks and every person’s bag is still sitting right where we dumped it. I think this means we have too many clothes. That and that we’re shitty housekeepers. Once again, please consider yourselves warned. If you drop by for tea unexpectedly, it will not be nice and neat. If you call an hour ahead, please don’t open the closets as all the clutter will be stashed there until after your departure, probably long after your departure.

Secondly, the color of my kids’ hair matches. This actually comes in handy, and I wouldn’t like to be more Brady in this way. It’s helpful not to always have to explain that it’s Jon’s son and my daughter, as if somehow we don’t all belong together because of the timing. When people see me I can sometimes see them thinking to themselves: “Ah, it’s the mother that’s blond.” I normally don’t correct them unless it feels appropriate.

Thirdly, I work. I work hard, dammit – as hard as I can work with a desk job, anyway. So there’s no casserole in the oven or PTA meetings (or even a chance to break lamps, because we all go our separate ways during the day — except when LJ is here, and then he and Jon try to pack a month’s worth of living into a week).

Fourthly, and most importantly, there is no ex-Mrs. Brady and ex-Mr. Florence Henderson in the TV show, and they are most definitely there, in all their brilliance, in my real life.

Back and forth. Give and take. Joy and nail-biting. Ramifications of their choices. Ramifications of our choices.

Take the lid off. Stir the pot. Put the lid back on and pray for the best.

And you may look at my life and think that it looks neat. Because I like to show you the neat parts. And in many, many, many, many ways I am blessed.

But I’ve been thinking lately that I haven’t done a good enough job of showing you the shit side of my life. The side that has me wondering why everyone is so upset about Larry Craig. Isn’t that just what people do? Oh, I know that there would have been a day when I would have been semi-shocked (if not totally shocked), too. I guess going through something like that changes the level at which you find things shocking. (I love to refer to myself in third person when I’m feeling verklempt.) Oh, you didn’t know I had gone through something like that? Whoops. I guess that’s because I didn’t tell you.

What else would surprise you about my life? Would you think the same of me if you knew the things I don’t tell you? What do you think of me now?

For all the pretty pictures, both mine and those of the Brady family, it helps to remember that the latter is fiction (and the lives of the actors were, in reality, just as difficult as any of ours) and the former are chosen because they are the best parts of my life. I could spend a lot of time transcribing the fights that Jon and I have or rehashing old, hurtful stuff, or post pictures of Jon and me in our glasses, sweats and dirty hair (our regular weekend attire). But as so many people say, “Life is just too damn short.” For the good, bad and everything in between, thank you, God, for letting me have this life — dirty house and hair, fish tank with green water, difficult exes and all — because it’s mine.

From season one: “The Honeymoon”

Desk clerk: Oh, Mr. Brady, you have signed this Mr. Brady, Mrs. Brady and family.
Mike: Hmm, I forgot. It’s force of habit. Kids aren’t with us.
Desk clerk: But you did ask for the honeymoon suite.
Carol: Oh, it’s quite alright Mr. Pringle. You see …
Mike: [interrupts her] It’s quite alright darling. No need to explain. It’s obvious that this gentleman doesn’t dig the modern generation.


  1. You sound just like someone I’d drop in unexpectedly to have tea with. Infact, if you were my neighbor, I’d do it in my jammies. But, could we make it coffee? I much prefer coffee. I’ll bring the creamer.

  2. Pool, you are welcome in my home anytime. Coffee is nearly always on — though I’m one of those coffee snobs who thinks that if it’s been on the burner for more than 20 minutes that it’s not good anymore, and then we’ll just brew a fresh pot! You’re my kind of girl, Pool.

  3. This was so fine, and honest and forthright, my lovely friend. I’d think less of you (or be more intimidated)if I thought you were all Brady Bunch perfect (anyway, you’re prettier than Florence Henderson). We all have bits of us, the shitty bits, as you suggest, that we don’t choose to share with anybody other than the most intimate, and maybe not even then. Exes? I still have two living in this mid-sized town — one just a block away. “Why the fuck did she move there?” asked my current wife. I had no answer for that. Still don’t. Oh, and lots of other stuff. But, you know, we survive pretty well, don’t we? We have turned corners in our lives and it’s not so bad. That’s what I feel, and it comes across as what you feel, too. Yes, one of these days maybe we’ll sit down and have that long talk. You did get me rambling about all and everything.

  4. Hi Ian ~ I would definitely love to sit with you and a cup of coffee and learn more about your life. You’ve mentioned so much this week that just fascinates me, and you seem to have made it through. I’m thankful that Jim inspired this whole conversation because it has led to a deeper level of knowing, even in terms of knowing my own situation, but also in terms of knowing all of you on a deeper level, which is nice, and cherished. What’s that line in the country tune? “If you’re going through hell, keep on going . . . “?

  5. Which reminds me of another favorite line of mine: “Religion is for those who are afraid of Hell; spirituality is for those who have been there.” Thank you, as always, for your comments.

  6. Ian ~ Marvelous! I hadn’t heard that one before, but I think it just made my list of favorites. That’s the supreme difference between my parents and me: on both fronts. After what we went through, I’m not afraid of hell any longer. I think that’s a good thing. Happy weekend to you!

  7. Just remember:

    — Mike Brady died of AIDS in 1992.
    — Greg Brady lost his virginity to his stepmother.
    — And Jan Brady is clearly bipolar — that “Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA!” business cleared called for a pharmaceutical solution.
    — Bobby and Peter Brady are sociopaths. Who else would put itching powder in a sister’s sleeping bag?

  8. Jim ~ Do you have a fan club or somewhere where I could sign up for being a fan of yours? I’m a fan. You rock. Not that any of those things are funny — but they are — in a sick, sordid way — especially the last part. And one question about Greg — but did he *like* it? Ooooooh, that’s so bad, I know.

  9. And don’t even get me started on Sam The Butcher’s swath of bloody terror through the cast ….

  10. Oh, but you see that’s partly why I chose the Bradys in the first place. Everyone knows it was a sham. Kitty Carryall, my ass. I guess I didn’t even realize that I was selling a pack of bullshit until you pointed it out — quite kindly, I might add.

  11. You write about the wonderful parts of your life because you have the grace to celebrate them, and the strength to forge through the rest but not dwell on it.
    I should learn from your example and just celebrate the fact my son starts college next week. So what if his @#%&*!father refuses to part with a dime to suport this endeavor. Though truthfully, the latter has occupied my head far too much this week.

  12. Hey Ang-
    You’ve shared some of those shitty parts of your life with me (remember the 3am session?), and I love you more for it. It is part of who you have become and are becoming. Hang in there. And, about the coffee on the burner for more than 20 minutes? You and “CoffeeDen” would get along real well…
    I’m looking forward to dropping in on you–soon we’ll be neighbors!!!

  13. V. ~ Thank you. I am wound up about the negative stuff more than I want to be. I think that’s why I’m trying to learn that what I focus on will indeed persist. I guess I just hadn’t realized until Jim pointed it out that there may have been a superficial quality to the blog because when I delved into something deeper, it was usually as a full-blown rant, which would then be removed a couple of days later. If anyone feels you on the lack of support, I do. My ex enjoys everything he wants to without ever having to pony up. But that’s who he is, and I’ve made myself crazy wishing he would change. So much nicer since I’ve been letting that go. Dan gave me a wonderful analogy about natural disasters and how we don’t rant against them. We realize what they are and just try to get the hell out of the way. Selfish people will always be selfish. That’s why we’re not with them anymore. 😉 Here’s to the celebration!

  14. Franny! I’m so glad you stopped by. Are you coming over soon? Maybe you could bring some of these good people with you. And yes, I doubt that I will ever forget that 3 a.m. conversation. In the church, no less. I was so lonely. And you were there for me, and I have loved you ever since that night for it. Denny is just the best. Please do call me soon. I’d love to do Starbucks with you. I’ve also been thinking about which song to choose for karaoke. Do you think your sweetie daughter-in-law (or two) would come with us? We’ll have to film it for the blog. It’ll be fun. 🙂 I love you!!!

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve been reading through your posts and so admire your honesty and forthrightness. I’m not quite there yet as to my personal life – hard to do. I think I may learn a few things from you!

  16. Hi Beth! You are too kind. I was recently goaded into being honest so can’t really take credit. I’m really not where I want to be yet either. It’s a tough line to tread when you know that everything you say is public. I was loving your blog, though, and wish you all the best!! It feels good to be in the thick of it with someone else, doesn’t it? I’ll be visiting soon. Thanks again for your kind words.

  17. Great post! You actually gave me a flashback! My mother had 8 kids and our lives were pretty regimental. It was how she coped. We had chores every day and she spent her life cleaning. I used to wish so hard that I could go and live with the Brady’s…LOL

    Then I met Sandy. Her mom had 6 kids and their household was in total disarray at all times. Kids coming and going, dishes piled high and their mom smiling and reading a book. I loved it there. It was so relaxed and happy compared to my own home.
    Your home sounds like a place where kids can be kids… nothing can be more important than that.

  18. Hi Dawn ~ Well, we certainly aren’t regimented, that’s for sure! It’s wonderful that you realize that’s how your mom coped. In my dreams I am Sandy’s mom. I do my best and just keep trying to relax and deal with my issues so that my kids enjoy their childhood as much as possible. Thanks so much for visiting!

  19. The Brady Bunch was a litle creepy, if you ask me. Give me real life with real (and gloriously quirky) people any time. And at this point, I’m not sure there is anything you could tell me that would make me not love you!

  20. Hi C ~ Absolutely. I think what I loved about it was that at its best it was supposed to be a portrait of a wholesome family but everyone knew that it was really just a sham. There’s something about the inauthenticity of it that was speaking to me when I wrote this. Kind of a parody of my own life and the lives of every family. And you are FAR too kind to throw that last sentence in. I’d better hurry and come up with something. 😉 I’m just so thankful to have found you as a blogging friend and treasure your comments and your posts.

  21. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  22. Hi Idetrorce ~ On which part? And how positively awful if we all agreed about *everything* don’t you think?

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