Tag: marriage

Make Room for Mommy: This Double Shift Never Ends


Blogger and mom Rachel Doyle says she spends most of her waking life parenting her toddler and keeping her pets alive. In this week’s creative nonfiction offering, Rachel shares two funny stories from the sleep-deprived pet-and-baby survival files. 



“I WILL sleep tonight!” My overly loud proclamation practically echoes off the bedroom walls. I glare ominously at each of my three bedmates in turn. Several consecutive nights of broken, restless sleep have left me at the end of my emotional rope.

“Sorry,” whispers The Snorer.

“I know you are,” I sigh. I pat his shoulder half-heartedly.

“I no kick,” states The Kicker as she elbows both her father and me in the ribs trying desperately to wriggle down in between us.

The Farter doesn’t speak, but her belly rumbles loudly. A portent of ill winds to blow.

“I no wanna kick,” states The Kicker again. I’d believe her, but she elbowed me in the boob and stole half of my blankets as she said it. She is burrowing frantically in the belief that if she can establish a beachhead in the next five seconds, she’ll be allowed to stay. She wants to stay. She has no desire to spend the night in her own bed. The one where she can kick, thrash, moan and burrow with unimpeded impunity. No, she’d much rather be with us…kicking.

I sigh again — the martyr — and grudgingly grant her an inch or two. She smiles and arranges my share of the blankets over herself. I turn off the light and pretend to relax.

The Snorer starts in, and The Kicker sucks energetically on her thumb. I whisper “I’ll be back soon” to the one who’s awake, and move to stand. Before my feet hit the floor, she has co-opted my pillow. “Is nice for me,” she states without apology.

Couple Love: Art Imitates Marriage


For Allan Comport and Sally Wern, the married founders of design firm, Art at Large, success, excitement, and partnership balance out the scary uncertainty of the commercial illustration industry.

“Sally and I lived and breathed the world of illustration and commercial applied imagery, she as a successful illustrator, and me as an artists’ representative,” Allan explains. “Our business morphed many times over 25 plus years to experience success in editorial, advertising, institutional and publishing work.”

The two met while working at a summer camp in Ohio when Sally was in tenth grade, and Allan was a sophomore in college. Between her sophomore and junior years at Columbus College of Art and Design, they wed. Sally had worked in the illustration industry since before they met, and Allan became passionately interested in the field.

“The idea of using my knowledge of relationships and communications seemed a natural fit to begin handling the sales, marketing and account representative work of the studio,” he says.

Soon, the two started working together, Sally doing freelance, Allan taking care of the business side of things. Over some years, they expanded their studio to include several other illustrators and seven photographers and eventually merged their small company with Shannon Associates in New York, one of the premiere artist agencies in the world. Sally illustrated while Allan represented numerous artists.

In 2005, they split up–professionally, that is. Sally continues to design for and run Art at Large, doing large-scale environmental graphic design. As a full-time MICA prof, Allan is one of the favorites among the illustration seniors who turn to him with their paralyzing fears of jumping out of the nest and plummeting into the real world of illustration. (I just graduated from MICA, with a concentration in illustration.)

“It was great to work closely for many years. We are both still completely committed to art and commerce, and support each other’s creative initiatives every day,” says Sally. Allan says he is proud of the direction his wife’s work is moving in. Each truly has admiration for the other that is almost tangible. They have two children and live in Annapolis.

Couple Love: Changing the Locks


When edgy Chop Shop stylist Shannon Bailey-Puller—she snips like a sculptor, and has studied with scissor wizard Nick Arrojo—met her husband Bill 10 years ago, he was starting barber school, and she wanted out of a marketing job. They bonded over hair chat—quickly, Shannon decided to go to cosmetology school, and move in with Bill.

At night, the two would trade details from their day’s hair lessons—all very romantic, until they decided to sit down in their kitchen and trade homemade cuts.

“Bill got so pissed because I wasn’t doing it the way he wanted; he shaved it off,” Shannon says. “When I asked him to do my highlights and color, because he wanted to learn, [he acknowledged] it’s hard. He realized he didn’t want to do women’s hair, and I didn’t want to do clipper cuts on a man!”

The cutters’ story gets cuter: Today, Shannon, 35, styles and colors at Chop Shop in Lauraville, while Bill trims men’s hair directly downstairs in his basement storefront, Blue Spark, named for a song by the punk band X. (His long-standing clientele consists of affluent business men, edgy rockers, and blue-collar guys.)

“Any guy can come, and Bill makes men look better,” Shannon says. “Bill’s personality is laidback and easy to talk to. He can talk your head off. He can debate you, too.”

Shannon says both she and Bill have strong people skills, equal to their skill with hair.

“Reading somebody verbally and reading their physical body language, it’s all part of the [haircutting] experience,” she says. “You have to ask the right questions. I always ask, ‘What do you do for a living? Do you wash and go? Do you spend time with your hair?’ You don’t want to give a high-maintenance cut to a person who doesn’t want to be high-maintenance stylist.”

Though the two remain enthusiastic about their careers, they try not to linger on shoptalk at home. Now and again, though, during the workday, Shannon does pop downstairs to say hello and survey her husband’s handy work.

“Bill is a master clipper cutter, and I’ll go sit and watch him work just because I still like to watch what he does, because he has a different skill than I do,” she says.

The next big step in coupledom for the two could be a joint shop for men’s and women’s hair, but if they decide to make this leap, Shannon votes for another upstairs/downstairs arrangement.

“I love my husband to death but if I had to work beside him I think I’d kill him!”

Chop Shop 4321 Harford Road (410) 426-2300
Blue Spark 4321 Harford Road (410) 444-1110