My One Year Anniversary Today – Did I Scam Her?

It was too much work trying to meet women. My sister met her and said right away, “when are you going to marry this girl?” So like any 18 year old nerdy guy (except I was 41), I proposed fairly quickly. And right when I had the opportunity, I locked it down.

(She’s looking a bit SKEPTICAL at City Hall here. Just SIGN RIGHT HERE, Baby!)

Now its one year to the day later. I realize there’s been some changes. I don’t have dirty clothes all over the place, for instance. I think my breath might be better. For some reason I cut myself while shaving more often. The other day I was bleeding all over a video I had to do at Yahoo. Pretty embarrassing when the folks at Yahoo had to say, “stand still already!” while the band-aid was applied before showtime. I have furniture. When I met Claudia I had three mattresses and a table (but no chairs). I also stopped bleeding money (drinking all day and night could get expensive) and I stopped eating three glazed donuts for breakfast.

Some other small changes:

–          I do yoga. Not every day. But I do it. I started exercising when I started going out with Claudia. I was very intimidated by gyms. I had never even been in one and had no idea how to use the equipment. I didn’t want to be embarassed. I imagined a locker room with all these ripped guys changing clothes and then there would be wimpy, out of shape me. Maybe they’d lock me in a locker, 41 years old, and leave me there. People never change.

But Claudia was really into yoga. And I’m the worst combination of competitive and paranoid. So I figured there’d be all these healthy, good looking guys in the yoga classes while I got older and weaker and sicker. And so on. Imagine then: old, weak, sick, maybe even in a wheelchair, and on top of it guys hitting on my wife. So I went down to the gym and got a trainer. He was very good. He got me lifting weights, pushing myself, jogging. I couldn’t take it. It was too much for me. I was brought to the point of death on each training session.

But then I started doing yoga. And I liked it better. It was just as brutal but there was 2500 year old philosophy that went with it that coincided with a lot of my other beliefs. So now married one year and I’m loving the yoga.  [See: How Yoga Has Completely Humiliated Me]

–          I don’t live in the city. The second I got separated I moved into the Chelsea hotel on 23rd Street. “What are you doing here?” the guys at the front would ask me. “Its been ten years since you lived here.” Well, I’m back boys!  For me, it was like returning to my roots. The crappy paintings hanging on every wall. The occasional room with no doors on the bathroom. The calls at 1 in the morning reminding me that once a month I had to move rooms according to new laws. The used condoms on the staircases. The random suicide note found in a kitchen cabinet.

Then I went on one date where the girl said she had to discuss with her therapist about how I lived in a hotel. And not only that, SHE was a therapist. I was in double therapist jeopardy. Nothing good could come from that. So I moved out of the hotel into a building right on Wall Street. But when I met Claudia I could tell something was off. She wanted to live by nature. By nature, I’ve always hated nature. And loved cities. But one day she left the apartment while I was on the phone with my business partner and she took the train 70 miles north of the city (to a town I used to live in) and she found by coincidence the exact house I wanted to live in ten years earlier and by coincidence that day it was available for rent. So a week later we moved in.

So now I live 50 feet from the Hudson River about 70 miles north of the city. Its beautiful outside. Every Sunday, bands play by the gazebo here. There’s a bed and breakfast with a good restaurant right next door. Claudia says, “its like a Woody Allen movie here on weekends.” But now I’m paranoid. I hope she doesn’t think I look like Woody Allen.


(I took this photo of Claudia a few feet from where we live)

–          ­I had a checkup. I hadn’t been to the doctor for a checkup since I was 17. But when I was 43 I got a checkup. I’m doing pretty good. I had the doctor repeat in front of Claudia and one of my daughters that I was “perhaps, maybe, one of the healthiest 43 year olds” in the population 1000 town we live in. I’m pretty proud of that. I asked for a certificate or something that said that but the doctor had run out. Meanwhile, since meeting Claudia I’ve also been to the ear doctor, the eye doctor, I had all my teeth taken care of, and I’ve even been to a gastroenterologist. Maybe now I can live as long as she will live. I’ve also been under the chemical magic of anesthesiologists twice! I wish I could get my own private anesthesiologist for a little dose every now and then. Is this a business idea? Recreational anesthesiology? [See, Me and Jay Leno]

–          I see my kids more. The town where I live is right near where my kids live. We’re taking them to an indoor water park today. I think they are excited. Claudia just saw a to-do list one of them wrote so they wouldn’t forget anything today. It has items like “1. Get Dressed”. And “8. Pack all Play Items in Blue bag.”

Perhaps the most important lesson: never forget to pack your Play Items. No matter where you are going.

–          I write every day. I don’t know what happened. But starting in late October I decided to cut the BS and start writing about the things I felt were really important to me. I had never done that before. It was like someone gave me a lobotomy and took out the muscle that filters the crap that stores up in the neurons in the brain. Everywhere else there is BS but people are afraid to say the truth.  I got tired of being afraid. And occasionally I’ve been crushed for being too honest. But whatever. What did that one guy once say? “The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable”.  President James Garfield (who said the above quote) could also write equally well with his left and right hands. We elect really talented people to office. [See, Do you Have to Be Rich To Be Honest]

–          I stopped failing at stupid businesses. In the year before I met Claudia I started and failed at three different businesses. This one and this one I’ve written about. One I haven’t written about yet. It was miserable and I couldn’t breathe when I was doing it. I’d lie down in a hammock and let the world spin around me while the business went down the drain within almost seconds of me starting it and I wouldn’t answer the phone. I’ll write about it some time. But I figured out what I was good at, got back to my Daily Practice,  and started thinking more long-term about ways to live out the American dream. We’ll see.

(one of the bad businesses)

Its 5 in the morning. I’m drinking coffee. It’s completely quiet although in about ten minutes a train going into the city will pass by. My kids are still asleep. Claudia is in the other room reading something. In a few seconds I’ll probably get up and refill both our coffees. It’s our first year anniversary today. So she’s going to have to wait a second for me to refill those coffees. I have to finish this post.

  • Anonymous

    James, she looks hesitant as if looking for assurance that it;s okay to affix her signature :) Happy anniversary to you and Claudia.

    • I think she thought immigration was going to come out and arrest her.

      • mackdizzle

        pimping aint easy, you are one goddam hell of a writing pimp master- i can’t get enough keep it up

  • Follow me on Twitter @csquaredtrading so I can DM you something I don’t want on the stream.

  • As someone who exposes scams for a living, yes you definitely scammed her :)

    • I see the “other Tim” and I enjoy the same blog.

    • Anonymous

      It’s only a scam if one party considers the deal a loss. I think she knew more that what she was letting on. 

  • Pete M

    Happy anniversary. Life sounds good!

  • C. Martin

    Hey! You do own a suit! How long did you and Claudia know each other before tying the knot? Anyways, Congrats and have a good anniversary!

  • Anonymous

    You are now domesticated.  Glad to see you are enjoying life. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone as seedy hotels for you or running around with people dressed in green with guns for me to move on. Best of luck
    BTW. The Dunkin Donuts did well on their IPO without your 3 glaze purchase.

  • Congrats! Nice post. 

  • jdub

    Congratulations.  I am glad you are happy.   Everyone in this world deserves a chance at being happy.  Most never realize that when the chance comes by you had better grab it or it could take awhile to come back to you.

  • Anonymous

    congratulations buddy..

  • You forgot to add that now you can become a US citizen.

    Congratulations on your health and happiness.


  • An anniversary is a two-person holiday.  I hope the two of you have a truly wonderful holiday together.

  • You don’t happen to live in Beacon do you?

  • michael Rusinas


    As a begining yoga practicionar what are your thoughts on this product for begining yoga students. It was orginally designed for blind students but I keep telling her to market it for begining students.

    • AnaKatanai

      I had – have – an idea that would extend the appeal of you package – and I was going to share it, simply give it to you.

      I went to your website and found to my disgust and dismay that you DEMAND as a requirement to contact, the person’s name and ADDRESS and ask for their phone number (phone number isn’t required, but address is).

      What the fark?   ADDRESS?  Phone number?   The is NO valid reason to demand an address as a prerequisite to sending a contact email.   Altucher doesn’t and I’ve NEVER seen any reputable website do such a thing. 

      The only reason you’d do it is to spam and/or sell (the latter is most probable) the names to others.  Mailings lists are lucrative and attempting to accumulate one is offensive in th extreme.

      The only time you could ever POSSIBLY need an address is if you were mailing a purchase.  Otherwise there is no valid reason and lots of invalid reasons.


  • Caromusa

    “I don’t have dirty clothes all over the place”: please, please, please, tell me HOW can I get my husband to do the same! (and stop smoking) :P

    • I stopped smoking *for* someone once. It doesn’t work. Smoking then becomes a passive aggressive F you when there’s a fight. He has to want it independently of you. 

      • Well…some people just need a push and having an external motivator can help.  I quit smoking for my then-girlfriend, now-wife.  It wasn’t easy, but I knew I needed to stop and the pressure of having her be disappointed in me if I couldn’t get it done was enough to keep me on the right track.  I also lost a bunch of weight when she was pregnant with our first born…not wanting to be a fat, out-of-shape father that couldn’t handle parenthood and my son was the motivation to get things under control.  So, sometimes, you can change for someone else.

  • So nice to read this James, Im happy for both of you!

  • Angel Milev

    Happy anniversary, James and Claudia! May there are many others to come!

  • Andrew_Ferri

    They say the first years the toughest, but what do I know

    • I would argue, in most cases, the last year is the hardest. But I say that only from the statistical standpoint of more marriages fail than succeed. 

      • The first year is tough.  First year with a baby is really tough.  First year without your spouse must be really tough to, but I haven’t experienced that yet.

  • Sussan

    Congratulations. Lovely post. No, you didn’t scam her! It’s obvious that you love her in a worshipful way which is all that most women want, Adulation, love. It’s not so easy to find this from a man, but odds are increasing as men work harder to understand what real women are. You happiness amply testifyies to your success. Don’t lose it, this feeling.

  • congratulations james and claudia :)

  • Jennifer Strukoff

    Congrats to the two of you! Both of you have inspired me to write, get laid off and practice more yoga. 
    Thank you!

  • Happy anniversary!

  • JH

    Happy anniversary!

  • Congrats James. Many more

  • Ssouth

    Happy anniversary, James. It sounds like you and Claudia are living a really good life right now.

  • Congrats to You and Claudia and best wishes…

  • Subbu

    Keep writing James, it is wonderful to hear the same thoughts and fears !!

  • By nature, I’ve always hated nature. Classic.

  • “Men are like cabs. Just gotta find one when his light is ‘on’.” Good for Claudia that you took a fare that wanted to go outside the city limits! Happy Anniversary to you both.

  • Ajmbruce


  • Curtis Michelson

    Kudos and Congratulations to you both.  You each inspire me in the most delightful ways.

  • Asg749d


  • Elizabeth

    You both look great in the picture.  Congratulations 

  • Holly

    Happy anniversary, you both sound so happy and at peace together. This post made me smile. :)

  • When the right people come together they are both better for it. It sounds like you are certainly better for having met Claudia. 

    Congratulations, James. 

    How you handle being away from the city. I need the city too and I am not sure how easily I could give that up.

  • LB

    Hi James – Congratulations. Do something nice for her that she would never expect. Women love surprises. Good luck!

  • murali


    Happy wedding anniversary!

  • Anonymous

    “when someone else’s truth is the same as your truth, and he seems to be saying it just for you, that’s great.” Bukowski. I’m sure I’m not the only helpless man out there feeling this! Thanks James!

  • Best wishes to you and Claudia for years to come.  Have a fun day with your family.

  • Jacob Johnson

    Congrats! Love the summary of the positive effect of the relationship. Can’t wait to read next years;)

  • Congratulations to both of you!

    By the way, I don’t think you scammed her. I think she saw right through you, deep into your mind and soul.

  • Romolo


    I have been reading your blog for a several months now.  It’s something I look forward to every day.  Keep it up!

  • Congratulations.  I have known my wife 28 years, and have been married 24.  It’s not always easy.  But if you marry your best friend it makes it a lot better.  Hope you did that, and like me, it looks like you married way above your pay grade.

  • Elle

    Congrats James and Claudia, so happy for you both :)

  • John H.

    Congrats James and Claudia. Thanks for sharing the happiness!

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations and enjoy your bliss!

  • Anonymous

    If marrying her had anything to do with you writing this blog everyday, then THANK YOU CLAUDIA.  Best wishes to you both.

  • Jay

    One year congrats ! 

  • Great photo of you two – oh, and you look damn good in that suit, James.  It’s obvious through your other posts as well how good she has been for you.  Happy anniversary to you both!

  • Adnan

    Happy Anniversary James !

  • Cdd

    You deserve the best.. Now treat her like the Queen she is…Congrats to your guys.

  • Lovely tribute James. This is how every woman wants to be “scammed”. Congratulations to you both.

  • Lovely tribute James. I think most women would like to be “scammed” like this. Congratulations to you both.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations and best wishes for the next years.

  • Syren

    Happy Anniversary to you both!  Your are an inspiration and source of great amusement and I wish you a lifetime of happiness with Claudia.  But don’t let that make you soft so your blog goes down the tubes.

  • mark

    Congratulations on your first anniversary!

  • The Sovereign Bohemian

    Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaappy Anniveeersaaary!  Hope you both have a memorable day, and life, together.

  • superhl

    The power of a woman! Pick a bad one and you will end up in poverty. :Pick a good one and you will become very successful in every way.
    “Who can find a virtuous woman? They are like rare rubies!”

  • seems like the love of a good woman has made you even luckier

  • Moayad

    Just wondering James, do you have a post about “how to build a strong mind” how can you force your mind to be always  positive? I believe if a person is strong-minded one, events, people, feelings,  shouldn’t have so much impact  on him and shouldn’t push him off track. But for some reason these things do have affect on me and I don’t know how to avoid them or manage them and stay focused.

    • I think thats very hard. I’ve written a bit about this (“how to deal with crappy people”, “9 ways to fight fear”, etc) but negative thoughts are still going to come out (i haev one post, “the power of negative thinking”). The key is to practice labeling thoughts “useful / not useful” and that’s it. Just label them. The more you label, the more productive you become when you see how many thoughts are just not useful. But check out some of those other posts also. 

      • Moayad

        Labeling thoughts make sense as it draws a a line and stop you from going further. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

  • Alexander Nuttall

    Thanks James!

  • Congratulations to you both, obviously.  And, it sounds like we all need to be thanking Claudia here.  If you are suggesting that your daily writing and the removal of filters that got in the way of your writing are both largely due to Claudia’s influence, then I know I certainly owe her a beer or a cup of Chai tea or a great smelling candle or something.  As I’ve said before, this blog is just awesome and has become my number one “read” every day.  If you hadn’t met her, I’d probably still be checking out things like Awful Plastic Surgery and TechCrunch.

    Okay, I still read TechCrunch sometimes, but can you blame me?

  • Scam is such a harsh word.  
    It reminds me of other four letter words:SpamShamScabScarA wise man once said “It is not good for man to be alone”Looks like he was right.

  • Rabelias

    Congratulations! Happy Anniversary…

  • Thanks everyone. She just said, “seems like it was much longer than a year” . Maybe still a skeptic!

    • The Sovereign Bohemian

      I have already commented, but as I take your comment humorously, she must be a perfect, upbeat lady for you.  The gods have smiled on you both.  Enjoy!

  • MNScott

    Its like I keep telling people. “The answer is yoga. Doesn’t really matter what the question is. ”  By the way, James, you clean up remarkably well. You should swap out your banner photo that could double as a mug shot for a nice wedding photo.


    • To elaborate on that answer:  “Practice, and all is coming.”  :-)

  • Congratulations!!

    In a way we all scam our wives; if you are lucky enough to get a woman’s real love and she is your true partner, as a guy, you must be putting up a real show because we are all messed up.  My 0.02 cents, $2.00 if no debt deal is done.

  • modernmind

    It’s clearly evident now as to why you are motivated to save a life each day via your daily practice manifesto. It is even more evident now per this post as to how your own life has been so lovingly saved.
    Congratulations, James.

  • Some people spend their entire lives waiting for a miracle.  You found yours in Claudia.

    Congrats to both of you, and many more!

  • Dspidero

    Leave us out of it (but how nice to be included).  I think most of us love you both.  You are a poster child for the phrase “at least you have your health”.  

  • Jason Ramay

    Look at yourself in that black jacket and silver tie. SHARP! THAT is why you shouldn’t wear all white, but mostly black over white and silver/blue. Claudia is gorgeous. Congratulations to you both.

    • Thanks Jason! I have to find that tie now. I think I lost it. 


    Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!  Frame that picture.

  • Sooz

    2mins left of this day..just getting around to reading. Well darn a belated wish!
    Hope your day was as special as you both are!!
    Here’s to peace and happiness. Hold on to it dearly and never ever..EVER take it for granted.

    Your wedding day photo is Oh so Beautiful..:))

    • Sooz

      oh and..
       100% agree about the play cloths..:)

      • Sooz

        and play items too..

  • Sooz

    2mins left of this day..just getting around to reading. Well darn a belated wish!
    Hope your day was as special as you both are!!
    Here’s to peace and happiness. Hold on to it dearly and never ever..EVER take it for granted.

    Your wedding day photo is Oh so Beautiful..:))

  • min.yeo

    congratulations to the both or you! What a lovely and sweet post!! 

  • Jeffbeary

    You crack me up.  I love you man!

  • mousekateer

    dude , you are just funny as hell….in a good way

  • Congrats James. To a lifetime of love, peace and good health together. A right partner makes a ton of difference in one’s life and glad that you found a Yogini. And though you are not looking into the camera in picture above but you two look amazing together.

  • Jhandu

    Happy Anniversary…Congratulations. start reading Bhagvad Gita too, it will really enlighten you about this materialistic world we live in.

    • Read it in Amar Chitra Katha form when I was 7 years old. Loved it then and have every version of it now (about 30 different Amar Chitra Katha issues deal with it). Also read RK Narayan’s version. I know these are simplified versions but too dense for me otherwise. 

  • Vivek

    Congrats to both of you and best of luck !!!

  • Joanielevine

    i fell in love with both of your blogs and then found out you were married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thats a nice compliment Joanie. thank you. And thanks for the review on Amazon! 

  • I’m getting married on August 7, and I hope next year to be as insightful about my first year of marriage as you have been. Thanks for this post.

  • Congrats mate and wish you all the best to both of you!

  • Kevin M

    Happy anniversary James & Claudia. Enjoy life!

  • happy anniversary…keep it up.

  • alexfreeburg

    Congratulations! Glad you’re liking country living.

  • Raoul

    Do you think, James, that Claudia would have seen you differently if:

    – you were not separated?
    – you didn’t have kids?
    – you were not a successful person in a respected profession?

    I am your age, and share some of your intellectual and social background, and in general, if a man hasn’t been married or started a family by our age and is not obviously eminent in some field of endeavor, not much else matters. Women don’t want to stick around and get to know him.

    OTOH, if you have certain stamps of approval, you can live in a crack house, display no social graces, and own no clothing free of food stains, and the real you can still get his chance to shine. (happily you don’t seem to be this extreme. ;) )

    What do you think?

  • Backpackermom

    “Then I went on one date where the girl said she had to discuss with her therapist about how I lived in a hotel. And not only that, SHE was a therapist. I was in double therapist jeopardy. Nothing good could come from that.” Posted by James Altucher on July 28th, 2011

    1. Funny.
    2. True.
    3. If you’re reading this and involved with any kind of person in this type of work, fleeeeee!

  • Beautiful couple. You really snatched yourself a pretty girl. Congrats!