*Amendment to this post: Today’s Moment’s of Happiness Despite the News has been taken down but will be available in September of 2018 in book form! The below unaltered text is a peek at what you’ll find in the upcoming book.

And so today’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Today, I brought my husband alarm clock shopping.

Yes, my life is one exciting event after another.

But here, I really was excited. My husband has had the same digital alarm clock since he was in eighth grade. Michael is fifty-two years old. He received the clock as a gift for Christmas in 1977. From “Santa”. That would make 40 years with this clock when we hit Christmas this year.

So first off, yes, I’m a bit weirded out about the fact that Michael was in eighth grade the year I graduated from high school (he got the clock in December 1977 – I graduated six months later in June 1978). I feel a little bit dirty now. Geez.

And second, yes, I wonder about an eighth grade boy who still believed in Santa. But this is Michael, after all.

But really. A 40-year old alarm clock?

He has a name for it. He calls it Clocky.

And it really doesn’t work all that well. He’s missing the plastic window in front of the numbers. His buttons are worn and half pushed in. Michael constantly thinks that he set Clocky, but it doesn’t take. Which means this slow-waking man suddenly has to come zip into consciousness on some mornings and charge off to work. Michael is not a charger. He’s also very used to the truly obnoxious noise Clocky vomits when he goes off. It’s not a clock radio – there is only this very alarming (hence the word “alarm”, I suppose) buzz/shriek/air raid siren that still makes me, after seventeen years of marriage, sometimes startle straight up in bed. But Michael sleeps through it. He automatically hits snooze without even really hearing it. He tells me he only does it a certain number of times, and he tells me this when that certain number of times is long gone.

I’m sure Clocky was a good clock. But he needs to be retired. He’s put in forty years with a boy turned adolescent turned college student turned young man turned adult turned husband and stepfather turned father turned grandfather…the clock has had a good long run. He’s tired. He doesn’t want to wake up in the mornings anymore. He wants a life without snoozes.

And I really, really don’t like the damn thing.

So today, I dragged Michael to Bed, Bath and Beyond. I told him to pick out whatever alarm clock he wanted. He chose one that looks like a big globe that changes colors. You can program it to pulse light according to music or just gently change color to color as you fall asleep. The lights will come on gradually as you wake up. It plays music. You can charge your phone with it. If it made a cup of coffee and had it piping hot and at your bedside upon waking, I would have bought two of them.

I don’t think it has a name yet. And I know Michael will be a little bit sad when he plugs it in and sets it up tonight.

So I’ve encouraged him to leave Clocky plugged in and resting on the corner of the bedside table, next to the photo of Michael and his father when Michael was just a toddler. Clocky can still beam the time out in bright red digital letters and Michael can still see him every night, every morning.

Just like he can see me every night and every morning.

Just don’t turn Clocky on.

That doesn’t apply to me.

It’s a compromise, the guiding light of all good solid marriages. And frankly, if Michael can hold on to a clock for forty years, even after it’s not working so well, I figure he’ll hold on to me too.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.


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