In which Eric brings me something back from India.

Love is...taking the initiative.

Intimacy = Sharing + Caring + Connecting (Thanks, Dr. Paul Coleman of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Intimacy!)


First, an update on the 30-day Challenge (skip down three paragraphs if you want to go straight to the funny stuff):

Recently a friend called me a romantic.  This took me by surprise.  Until I met my husband Eric, I people called me a lot of things, but never a romantic.  I didn’t believe in all the “hearts and flowers” mushy stuff, and I had never experienced true intimacy.  I was a divorced mother of two, and I believed “it” would never happen for me, if “it” existed at all.

It turns out, “it” does exist, and “it” — through Eric — found me.  Now, I treasure the intimacy we share.  Cue the “ahhhhhhh” response from our studio audience.

Last week, I shared with the blogosphere the 30-day couples’ intimacy challenge I had issued to Nan over at Little Black Dress Diaries, because Nan had the audacity to suggest her relationship with her husband was even close to as awesome as is mine with my husband.  Ha!  I think NOT. 😉  Although it is awesome.  Go, Nan!

The Deets:  For the next 30 days, every single day, make time for and engage in some kind of physical intimacy with your sweetie.  You may not jump under the sheets every day, but there’s a whole world of fun you can engage in.  Hold hands, Eskimo kiss, gaze into each others’ eyes, etc.  And you can’t keep this plan a secret.  You have to ask your partner to participate and commit with you.  You’re going to see more posts from me on this, sharing feedback from others that are participating, feedback on how this impacts their relationships.  I’d appreciate your comments, or you could email me ( and we could keep your input anonymous.

Many of you answered the challenge, although it turned out you are more shy than Nan and me!  A few brave souls posted blogs (see list at end of this blog).  I’ve had a lot of DM and email about this issue.  Some of you wanted to participate but your partners refused.  Some of you did not want to commit to this type of interaction with your partner.  That’s OK.  To each, his own.  But I choose intimacy, and by golly, I’m going to keep writing about it until this challenge is over!


My Update: In Which Eric Brings Me Something Back From India

Meanwhile, my sweetie was still in India.  Last time I blogged on the 30-day challenge, I shared how we made it work while he is on the road.  He came back on Saturday!  So, I’ll bet you want to know how it went?  Did one of you just scream, “NO?!?”  Don’t worry, I keep it PG on Road to Joy.

Well, the first two hours were fantastic, in a “gosh I hope nobody gets injured” sort of way, and that’s all I can tell you because of the PG rating system.  And these two hours included gifts: jewelery, beautiful handwritten cards, and a Kama Sutra book as a joke, since we were participating in the challenge (holy cow, how would you like to be the models that posed for those photos!?!?).  Soon, though, we had to gather the kids and go to a high school football game.   Then, because he traveled 42 hours to get home, he fell into a deeeeeeep sleeeeeeep.  Me, too — I can’t sleep when he’s gone.

When we awoke, he was sick with a stowaway Indian virus friend he brought home with him, so sick that I nearly took him to the emergency room. Poor Eric.

But, intimacy = sharing, caring, and connecting.  It doesn’t have to be ground-moving, even if 3,000 miles separate you for two weeks.  I held his delirious hand, I brought cold rags for his forehead, I picked up his prescriptions.  I typed his dictated emails.  OK, we’ve got caring (me) and physical connection, but sharing requires mutuality and my husband was near comatose.

So, Eric shared his virus with me, and I got sick, too. Ugh!  Not the kind of sharing I hoped for.  Now we were both sick.  And there was no more caring, connecting, sharing.  Unless you call sharing a bad attitude intimacy.  Me, not so much.  That’s how we spent Monday and Tuesday.

I made an emergency Walgreen's run as soon as I became symptomatic.

Wednesday, Eric recovered just in time to return to work for my worst day.  I called him from the orthodontist, where I had dropped one child.  I needed to go to Bellaire High School and pick up another child and drop him at the orthodontist, then take the first one back to Johnston Middle School, return and pick up the second and drop him back at Bellaire.  Except I was throwing up in the parking lot of the Frost Bank Building at Bellaire and 610.  If you were there on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., you know I am telling the truth.

I called Eric, and my hero came to the rescue.  I somehow made it the three miles home without getting pulled over even though I looked and drove like a drunk.  Eric works only 10 minutes from the site of my public puking, so he took over with the kids.  Ahhhh haaaaa, sharing/caring does not have to occur simultaneously…

That night I was still too sick to sit up.  Eric brought our 365 Questions book to bed (for more about it, read Couples that make you want to puke. How apropos the title.).  He snuggled up to me.  He read the first question:

“If you could be reincarnated into another life form, what would you choose to be?”  He stroked my (sticky) hair back from my (pallid) forehead.

“A dolphin,” I mumbled into his chest, which, by the way, smelled like the Obsession cologne sample I had packed in one of his India gifts.  It was great to have him home.

“Are you sure about that answer?” he asked.

“Yeahadolphinimsurewhatswrongwithadolphin.”  I really didn’t have the emotional or physical strength to give every answer twice, so I might have sounded a wee bit irritated.

“Well, I would chose to be a cardinal, and they mate for life. And you would be a promiscuous dolphin, while I would be a lonely old bachelor cardinal.”  His tone was pure “duh, Pamela.”

“Fine, I’ll be a cardinal, too.”  Even though I can assure you I would want to be a dolphin.  Men.

He made noises that I took to indicate that my revised answer, while late in coming, was satisfactory to him.  He handed me the book.  I read the next question.

“If there is such a thing as an afterlife, what do you hope yours looks like?”  I scraped my toes against the sole of his foot, and he curled it obligingly.

Eric then gave a long answer, most of which I couldn’t hear.

IMPORTANT SIDEBAR: Eric and his offspring mumble and whisper.  I call them the Whispering Hutchins.  I don’t mean that as a compliment, most of the time.

Eric walked to a "safe but rough" area of Mumbai to buy cards & presents. That's where he picked up his virus. He said wealthier residents actually had on surgical masks to avoid germs. Uh oh. That, and the open, running sewage = NOT GOOD.

“I can’t hear you.”  Again, might I point out that in my condition I should conserve energy rather than repeat everything?

“I said I’d want to be with you.  But I’m not sure I would, with that kind of attitude.”  He lifted the back of my hair and let it drop, then did it again.

“I hope you’re kidding,” I sniffed.  I wondered if I was going to throw up again.  Maybe.  Not yet.  Be very still.

“I’m kidding.”  His voice sounded playful, and he continued with the hair game, so I decided he was likely telling the truth.

“OK, then.”

“Well, what’s your answer?” he said.

“I would want to be with you, snuggled up like this, but I’d have chosen a cardinal as my form in the afterlife instead of getting the answer wrong.”

Eric let out a long-suffering sigh.  He took the book and read another question.  His hand moved to my upper arm, and he lightly pinched a trail along it.

“If you could be a super-hero, what powers would you like to possess? That’s easy.  I’ll go first.  I’d like to flkjwema;lkdmm.”

I said a quick prayer.  Dear Heavenly Father: please help me understand my husband.  Just 15% of the time would be enough.  That’s all I ask for.  Amen.

“What?” I asked.


“Seriously, Eric, what are you saying?”

“I’D WANT TO FLYYYYYYY,” he yelled in my ear.  “What would you want?”

“Bionic hearing.”  I nipped his chest to let him know I was sort of kidding, but with an edge.

“OK, Wiseacre, last question for tonight, and then your cranky butt needs to go to sleep.  How would you spend the perfect summer day?” he asked.

“It’s really hot in the summer and there are lots of bugs.  I don’t want my perfect day to be in the summer.  I like the fall.”  I nestled further into the crook of his arm for a better sleeping position, which was futile, because someone had to get up to turn off the lights.  Rats.

“Why don’t you just let me answer this one, and you concentrate on being very, very quiet and sleepy?”

This man is smart.  “OK,” I said.

“I’d spend it in a cabin with you, somewhere cool and beautiful with no mosquitoes, and a giant bed and a fireplace.  We’d get up and ride our bikes –” he held up his hand to quiet me as I started to interrupt, “after sleeping in and doing all the things we haven’t been able to do for the last three weeks, and we’d ride our bikes on smooth roads with no cars.  We’d see lots of animals.  We’d hike to a gorgeous stream, have a picnic, and nap on a blanket.  Someone would bring us dinner that we would eat outside by a campfire while we snuggled in a double lounge chair and looked at the stars.”

I smiled.  I know he felt my lips curl up against his chest, because he put his mouth in my hair and said,  “So, could you hear me OK down there?  Would my summer day be OK with you?”

“It’d be perfect with me.”

“Hey, you know when you get better we’ll only have 18 or 19 days left on this 30 day challenge?  I’m thinking we’re going to have to use an average number for our final total.  What do you think?”

I pretended I was asleep and snuggled closer.  I didn’t fool him.

And I think he’s probably right.


p.s. Thanks to my grandmother, Mama Kitty, for cutting out all the wonderful “Love is…” cartoons from the newspaper for me when I was a little girl.  I still think they’re adorable.

Blogs on 30-days — Check these awesome women (and couples) out!

30 Days — No This is Not All About Sex!

30-days of Intimacy

IC Day Three

30-Day Couples Intimacy Challenge

SEE Them

I Love Your Face

I’m Truly In Love With Him

30 Day Intimacy Challenge Day Four

Find 100 Ways

Is Your Marriage Collecting Dust?

23 Responses to “In which Eric brings me something back from India.”
  1. OMG! You two are nauseating. In a cute I want to kill you both kind of way though. You are also a wonderful writer. Just wanted to let you know that between my puking from the nausea. Kidding…I’ll continue to let you do that in the parking lot of the Frost bank building, which is where my kids go to the dentist!

  2. ryoko861 says:

    If my husband and snuggled at night he’d probably fall asleep about 3 minutes into the snuggle.

  3. LBDDiaries says:

    T’was a worthy tale well worth waiting for (only I wish I didn’t have to wait a week for updates from you since they are soooo good).

    First I “awwww”ed – then I gagged (over the puking) – then I laughed so hysterically I woke up Alpha Hubby who was concerned something was wrong. The tale of the 365 Questions book, as told by you, is beyond funny! Oh I loved this post – it was AWESOME and so proved what intimacy is all about. Not “the act” but all the things that are involved up to, and including, the act. I am soooo glad you got the “gosh I hope nobody gets injured” before you got the Indian bug he brought you!!!

    • Pamela says:

      My husband is very good at the small intimate gestures, and we are both very touchy-feely. Champions of PDA. Truly gag-worthy.

      I wish I could update more, but my gosh I’m not getting anything done between being sick and day job (and kids and husband). WAAAAAAA. I need a clone.

  4. Eric Hutchins says:


    • Pamela says:

      My plan is that by tonight we are both recovered, and we can resume life. Kind of feels like everything ground to a halt in June, doesn’t it? I need to make us a schedule of all the things that we have to get back in order. Because I know how happy a schedule would make YOU.

  5. Bless your heart! Poor things…both of you! But I think that you’re right when you said that this challenge was more than sex, more than the physical level, it’s about intimacy and showing you care for your partner. Taking care of each other while sick definitely tops the charts! I know that I’m a horrible sick patient…and so is my husband!

    Hope you’re feeling better…and can’t wait to hear about the last two weeks…

  6. Pamela says:

    Cute! I definitely think you are a romantic. Not in a gushy way, just in a love-your-husband/not-afraid-to-talk-about-it kind of way.

    Oh, and if it’s any consolation I had a public puking session at the CVS on Montrose a couple of months ago, around 10 AM. It would have been hard for anyone in the area to miss. I’ve only been back once since and I wore a hat.

    • Pamela says:

      I feel 100% sure that this is Christina Uticone, not only b/c of the reference to Montrose, but because she is one of the 3 people in the world who I gave admin privileges to on the blog, ha ha. Thanks, Christina/Snowcones 🙂

  7. Jerseygirl says:

    You two are so adorable. But a cardinal, seriously? Swans mate for life too, you know.

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks ! I KnOW — cardinals!?! My husband has a weird thing for cardinals. His mothers maiden name: Cardinale 🙂 Methinks it began there …

  8. That was so sweet….I’m so happy he’s back home. I can’t wait to see you guys…..very soon.


    • Pamela says:

      We can’t wait! We need to get on our darn bikes and ride — it’s been since the end of June since we could train, and Eric’s going CRAZY 🙂

  9. Nikkolish says:

    I’m glad to read that your sickness isn’t getting in the way of intimacy. Hope you’re feeling better by now!

    Thanks for your comments about my daughter. She had a better week and the teacher seems a bit less concerned.

  10. debbie says:

    I keep reading about this challenge! Sounds like you two are up for it:)
    Came over from SITS to say hi.

  11. Jenny says:

    Turning on Desperate Housewives to get a dose of reality after all this cotton candy!


    • Pamela says:

      🙂 Sadly, we are this sickening. However, we are both nearly certifiably insane, and I try to leave that out of most of the stories. We’re pretty sure that the reason we are “meant to be” is that there is no one else that could stand us!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Well of course!  Life always tries to get in the way of intimacy! Some people have been sick (Road to Joy).  Some people have had college tours and sick sons, and a soon-to-be 2 weeks hunting trip […]

  2. […] how have YOUR last three weeks been?  I’m hearing from a lot of people whose last three weeks have been pretty amazing. INSERT EXAMPLES […]

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