"Uh, NO MA'AM! I refuse to date a man that plays video games!"

Haven't you heard this before???? Were you the one that said it???

This topic has come up on more than one occasion in my circle of friends. And it's not just a hot topic with my single friends, but the married ones alike! What is it about these hot wired plastic boxes that hypnotize men people to the point where they can't seem to notice the on-going world around them? Is it the escape from reality? Is it the competition? Is it both??? No matter the answer, the PlayStation, Wii and XBOX 360 are here to stay! And if you're the woman who's made the above statement, your selection in men is expeditiously dwindling to slim pickings!

I always tell my friends to not dismiss the man that plays video games. Hell, he could always be doing worse! But when you're in a relationship where video games are involved, a mutual understanding has to be met very early on. There must be BALANCE. When things get to the point where you feel as if the video game gets more attention than you do, that's when you have a problem.

Now, if you and your mate have already established ground rules and have a mutual understanding on the topic, then there should only be a small and non-confrontational reminder of what the original understanding was. Your man should have no problem getting things back in order. BUT, and this is a big but, if you've been in your relationship for over 6 months and have watched/listened to/heard about this man playing the game every waking moment of his day, and you haven't said anything about it, then honey, you're going to be faced with some major disappointment. That's not to say that it will never get to where you want it to be; but you are definitely going to face some huge, blow-up arguments before you get there. And if you're looking for a living testimony, look no further.

Yes, I have lived the nightmare and the dream. Mr. Marcus is an AVID Xbox player. Now, please understand that he wasn't so avid during the first 18 months of our relationship. Yes, he played video games, but when we were together, which was all the time, we gave each other our undivided attention. It wasn't until I moved to Fort Smith that his gaming time increased drastically. It was what he used to fill the time that we used to spend together. It filled a void. But even then, it wasn't all that bad. I mean, if you don't count the hundreds of times he wasn't listening to me during our phone conversations, but still. When we did see each other on the weekends, that was our time. Rarely, would he ever turn the game on over the weekends. So there wasn't much to complain about.

It wasn't until we got married and moved in together when I started to see a problem. I guess it was at its worst point about two months in. We had already had one or two "discussions" about his gaming time. But it got to the point where Mr. Marcus would leave for work before 8 am, get home from work around 6:30 pm, kiss me hello (most of the time), change clothes and eat dinner by 7 pm, turn the game on by 7:12 pm, play the game until almost midnight, and then that's when it was time to be married. I kid you not! I promise, it got so bad, that I couldn't even stand to be in the same room with him while the game was on. I hated everything about it...and sometimes, even him while he was on it. I hated the way he talked to all of the people he played the game with; I hated what they talked about; I hated the fact that they would argue about some of the most ignoramus topics...and actually be serious about it! I felt myself growing more and more depressed. It was getting difficult to carry on a conversation with him, even when he wasn't playing the game. I couldn't be the wife I wanted to be, or even supposed to be. Of course I kept the house clean, cooked everyday and took care of Davin. But I wasn't fulfilling those other wifely duties. But can you blame me???
Who wants to spend any time with someone that CHOOSES to spend 4-6 of their free hours out of the day doing something other than spending time with you??? Not me!!! That's not the way to get somebody all hot and bothered.

I was at my breaking point. I couldn't continue acting the way I was acting and expect him to "get" how I was feeling. We had to have a long and serious come-to-Jesus-meeting. And after a lot of back and forth of me telling him what he was doing wrong and his rebuttals of "I'm NOT gonna quit playing the game!" (even though I never asked him to), I was finally able to explain to him how I really felt. I told him that I felt as if he'd rather spend his time with a machine than with the living, breathing flesh that he chose to marry. I told him that I felt like he would defend playing the game without even considering how it was effecting our relationship. I told him that it just wasn't fair for him to spend four hours playing the game, and then I was left with about 45 minutes. I told him that I couldn't be the wife he wanted me to be if he couldn't be the husband I wanted him to be. And you know what, he heard me.

I thought that, if not the fight, our resentment would last a couple days and our little home would turn into an ice cold box. But, before we laid our heads to rest, we had reached a resolve. Once I stopped pointing the finger, and started expressing my actual feelings, my loving husband had reappeared before my very eyes. And for the first time in our 5 year relationship, the man told me that he was SORRY!!! Not that "I apologize" business. He said, I'm SORRY!!! And I swear to you, that was the sexiest thing he had ever said to me!!

I didn't set any boundaries or guidelines for the game after that. I felt like it was something that he had to do on his own so that I could see that he fully understood where I was coming from. I only asked him to keep his priorities balanced and in check. And he has.

So you see, ladies people, video games are not the enemy; just as long as there is a proper balance and you never feel that it always comes before you. And if the scales are a little off, don't blow up, cause a scene and and put them on the defensive. Have a sit down and tell 'em how you really feel.

SN: As you can see, this post was produced sans Mr. Marcus. And in his typical fashion, he seems to think that my post is acurate, but a little one sided. He'll be back a little later with his side of things, so be sure to stay tuned!

Hamilton House Wishes: Living Room

I'm back today to dive a little deeper into our living room...and to get you guys' opinion on a few things.

So you may remember from this post a few weeks ago, what our living room currently looks like. If not, here's a little reminder:

Not a whole lot has changed, except for the disappearing Christmas decor. Its still looking beyond sparse and even a bit schizophrenic. The sofas are from my old apartment and I can't stand them! They're in great condition, but I'm so ready to get rid of them. I promise I would sell them today for $1 if I knew someone that would pay that much for them....and then drive to Poplar Bluff to come and get them. Everything else in the room is practically new. The TV stand we got from IKEA about a month after moving in. The curtains I made from some fabric I ordered on line a couple months ago (I can't sew, nor do I own a sewing machine, so a little Stitch Witchery is my best friend). I also made the console table near the front door (its just three pieces of wood and a couple screws...so simple). It's just a shame that with all of this stuff in the room, it needs so much more.

So I gave you a little list a couple posts ago that names a few things that I'd like to have for this space. Here's a little visual to catch you up on everything.

Here's the breakdown:

1. If we were to ever get the sofa of my dreams (seen above, but more info on it below), we'll need some additional seating to make the room function properly. I found these chairs on Target's website and fell in love with the white and wood combination, just like our TV stand. Their curvy shape contrasts perfectly with the clean lines in the sofa, and they are just the right size to not overwhelm the room and make it look cluttered. I'd place them directly across from the sofa, which would sit right under the window.

2. Where do I even begin??? I've been dreaming about the same sofa for almost a year. I've been to visit it in the IKEA Dallas store about 4 times. I'm starting to feel like I'm stalking it! Maybe because I kinda am. This beauty is 10 ft long! It has memory foam cushions! You can store blankets or pillows in the arm rests! It's almost completely customizable, being available in almost ten different fabrics and colors! And if I get tired of the gray-brown color that I'm currently in love with, I can always change it by just buying a new cover! I could go on and on about this thing. Its perfect in every way. The only reason why we don't have it right now, is because of the logistics to get it to Poplar Bluff. We can either pay about $350 to ship it here, or we'd have to drive to Dallas, rent a truck, and then bring it back on our own. Dilemma of the year!!!

3. This is just the fabric I used to make the curtains that are hanging right now.

4. I really, really, really like this coffee table. It's just the right color and the perfect size to fit in front of the new sofa. It has a second shelf, which is great for stashing magazines or remote controls. And the price isn't too bad either.

5. Yes, this rug is funky town...but I like it! This black and white show stopper would help the curtains feel like they're a part of the space, no matter what other colors I use in the room. Not to mention its almost 9'x12'! You just can't beat it at that price!

6. No, this isn't our exact TV stand, but it has more than a few similarities. I just wanted to make sure it was represented on this little board.

So now that I have the basics covered, I'm really contemplating the next layer. Color. Texture. Pattern. Yada yada yada. My initial thoughts for the space involved navy blue, yellow and gray. Those thoughts have evolved and floated off in several different directions. I've created a couple more boards to show some possibilities.

These two boards show just a little of what's going on in my head. The extra stuff you're seeing are what would more than likely be throw pillows throughout the space. I already have the navy blue pillows on hand (found at Target for just $4.44 each!). I would either find existing pillows that follow these same pattern and color combinations, or I would just buy the fabric and have someone sew some quick 18" covers (which is what I'm leaning toward).

I really want something different from the norm. I just can't decide if I want it to be subtle or bright and cheery. What do you guys think? Which way should I go? I'd really appreciate your opinion!


Holiday Recap!

Welcome back guys!!! Did you enjoy your holidays? Mine were quite different this year. Mr. Marcus, Davin and I, actually, celebrated Christmas and New Years all by ourselves, here in Poplar Bluff, sans any family members. This was our first time 1. not spending Christmas with either sides of our family and 2. not bringing in the New Year as a couple minus Davin. Now, this is not to say that we didn't have an amazing holiday season. I promise you, it was great. Just a little different is all. And since things were so different, we decided to go ahead and keep the different theme going.

We didn't want to have the traditional Christmas dinner, so I whipped up the following:
  • a nice salad (I like to use the Dole Spring Mix lettuces, dried apricots, chopped walnuts, Havarti cheese, and a homemade dressing of extra virgin olive oil, honey & balsamic vinegar...this is really really really good with strawberries and grilled chicken if you want to make it a meal all on its own)
  • Cod & Crab cioppino (I got the recipe for this seafood soup here), a couple of Cornish rock game hens with rosemary & garlic roasted potatoes (recipes for those are here and here)
  • and then I finished this meal off with a delicious hummingbird cake (OMG...this cake was so good. Get the recipe here).

This food was so good, even Mr. Marcus couldn't help but tell me that he was impressed with my skills. Boom! Best Christmas gift ever! I mean, almost.

Anyway, we spent most of our off days lounging around. Davin got some major outdoors time with his daddy. We did find our way to a big high school basketball tournament that was going on in town. I took some time out of my busy lounging schedule to clean, take down Christmas decorations, tackle a couple projects (more on that soon) and even cut my hair!




I know you guys are just loving my stank/FIERCE face. I'm really giving it to you in this one. : ) Well, I'm loving my new cut. And in my usual fashion as an adamant DIYer, I did it all by myself...hence the curls you see above (tip: its a great way to hide any imperfections!). I was a little nervous, though, when I thought about wearing my hair in it's "natural" state. Trust me when I tell you, blunt bangs + rotini pasta sized curls = a recipe for disaster. But, I decided to at least give it a test run. So, after a good wash and a set of twists later, here's what I got:

Not bad right!?! I kinda just let the curls fall where they wanted to and then pinned the right side up above my ear. What's even better is that this style lasted me about tree days with little modification needed; meaning, it took me less than three minutes to do my hair for those three days! Loved it!

So what did you guys do over the holidays? Did you spend it with family? Go anywhere fun? Update your look? Tell me all about it!