Monday, June 17, 2013
I think my mom would agree that the job of decorating a home is really never finished. Homes seem to evolve with their inhabitants, and ours is no exception. I pine for the day, though, when decorating might be just the task of improving or evolving, rather than completing.
I’ve always loved photos. Looking around our walls, I’m surrounded by my husband’s and my memories. It occurred to me yesterday, though, that every photo in our home was taken before or on our wedding day. Even though I knew my husband would hate the pomp and circumstance of a formal portrait session, I just couldn’t help myself.
After my very best sales presentation, my husband seemed at least amenable to having our portrait taken. Being relatively new to the area, I thought Google was probably the best place to look for a photographer. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a photographer online must know how frustrating it can be; every site looks the same, and presumably in an effort to create phone traffic, no one includes pricing. An hour into my search, an idea hit me.
“Oh! We could use our wedding photographer! They have offices all over the country.” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
“Are you insane?!” my husband asked. Hmm. Not exactly the response I expected.
“What do you mean? They were great!” I answered.
“Do you have any idea how much they would charge us to do that? I can’t even imagine. There’s a reason they do weddings. They need people to be so blinded by the whole event that they’re willing to spend a fortune on photography to document it all. This is everyday life now; we don’t need to spend a bunch of money to get photos of us. You get to see me every day.” He playfully batted his eyes at me as if to prove his point. Definitely not the way I wanted this conversation to go.
“No! Weddings are more expensive because there’s so much pressure and drama involved. The separate shoot they did for us the day after the wedding was only $250, and we got copies of all of the photos,” I explained.
“Yeah, that’s because they raped us the night before for the wedding!” he immediately countered.
“Stop it! You make it sound so bad!” I laughed beside him.
My husband returned the laugh before continuing into a separate imaginary conversation: “’How was your wedding night sex?’ ‘Oh, Cari and I didn’t have any. We just got bent over by our photographer.’”
I shook my head. “I know. It was expensive,” I conceded. “I guess we could have brought our own camera and just taken a bunch of selfies, but somehow I thought we might want more than that.”
He giggled (a very masculine giggle, of course) and said, “Nah, they did a good job. We can use them if you want.” Our session is scheduled, and we’re one step closer to a fully decorated home.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I’m sitting here thinking about what year forty of marriage must be like. Only nine months in, my husband and I might already be out of things to talk about. It’s no wonder, really. We’re constantly telling the same stories to – or in front of – one another. We often stop a conversation halfway through, after one of us realizes that we’ve already covered the topic at least once before. Usually we just shrug it off with a laugh and sit in silence for a few minutes.
We took a weekend trip to see some friends and were passing through Charleston, South Carolina, this afternoon on our way back home. In the six or so years that we’ve spent together, I can’t even count the number of times we’ve driven across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the United States – connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
My husband tensed as we started across the bridge. I chuckled to myself as I watched him carefully keep his eyes forward in an effort to avoid an accidental glimpse of the water below us. For some reason I always think it’s cute that this man’s man of mine is afraid of crossing bridges, even when the structure is sturdy enough to hold eight lanes of bumper to bumper traffic.
“Hey, did I ever tell you the story about this bridge – how it’s the longest in the country?” my husband asked, probably trying to distract himself.
I just smiled over at him and nodded.
“So, I’ve told you every time we’ve come through here?” he laughed in realization.
“Mm hmm,” I smiled back. “And every time we come through here I remind you that it’s actually the third longest in the country.”
“Huh,” he nodded and looked back toward the road in front of us.
“So,” he started again, “this bridge…”
I just smiled over at him and shook my head.
“Well, it’s tradition now!” he explained. He continued to tell me all about the bridge that I already knew all about while I smiled indulgently beside him. Never mind the fact that we’ve had the exact same conversation innumerable times; my husband apparently just enjoys being an authority on bridges, despite his nearly paralyzing fear of them. I suppose one of the benefits of repeat conversations is the opportunity to become an expert on many different topics. I think we’ve got bridges covered..
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Sometimes it feels like I’ve been with my husband my whole life. It seems impossible that our wedding was less than ten short months ago. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s not that I’m tired of him or we can’t stand the sight of one another; I’m simply amazed at how well we’ve come to know each other. I guess that’s what happens with marriage.
We’ve spent so much time together that it’s easy to occasionally forget that we both had our own lives before we met. I guess I’ve always tried not to think about his relationships before me or any single male behavior he might have once had. Occasionally I get a little glimpse, and it always surprises me.
My husband and I were headed out for a few after dinner drinks over the weekend. We’d been following the same car for a few minutes, when I noticed that the car had a Georgia license plate and a ZTA sorority window sticker proudly displayed in the upper right corner. I don’t always notice this sort of thing, but as a University of Georgia alumnus, it’s sort of bred into me to recognize paraphernalia from my alma mater. I pointed the Georgia sorority girl out to my husband.
“Ah. Should we follow her?”
“Um, no, I don’t think so,” I answered with an amused expression.
My husband put on his turn signal and waved, “Bye, hot Georgia ZTA, whatever that is,” as she continued driving straight.
“It’s a sorority at most universities. You know I never did any of that, so I don’t know all that much about it. I think they’re usually pretty cute girls, though.”
“Ah,” he answered again. “Actually, all of you Georgia girls are pretty cute,” he added with a wink.
I laughed. “Maybe it’s a Southeastern school thing. I’ve always heard that Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee all have pretty girls.”
He was already nodding. “Actually, yeah, they do. You know who’s got really good looking girls is Kentucky!” Suddenly our conversation had taken a turn and become boy talk. “They’re really hot,” he included for emphasis.
I just nodded, not sure what to say next. Finally, I asked, “Wait, how do you know?”
A smirk spread across my husband’s face. “I hear things. I get around.”
“No, you don’t. I’m with you all the time. I’d know if you were ‘around’.”
My husband burst into laughter. “Well, that’s true. I wake up in the morning, you’re there; I go to bed, you’re there; I go to the movies, you’re there; I go to lunch, you’re there…”
“We get it,” I answered, nodding. It seems we seriously need to improve our social lives.
“Believe it or not, though, I did things before we met.” I took a deep breath and leaned away from him, feigning disbelief. “If I’d just been holed up in my house waiting around for you, we could never have met.” He turned and playfully batted his eyes at me.
And there it was. Our conversation had circled back. “Well, that truly would have been a travesty,” I answered. We smiled at one another for a minute before getting out of the car.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
As I’ve said before, my husband and I are both trying to get back into shape after nine months of gluttony and sloth (i.e., fun). More accurately, I’m trying to get both my husband and me back in shape. “Round is a shape,” my husband would say. However, I’m not quite ready to embrace our roundness.
We’ve become more active in the afternoons, and we don’t eat out as much. Instead of pot roast and ribs every night at home, I’ve tried to introduce vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats into our diet. Sometimes it goes over well. Sometimes, I can’t help but giggle while I watch my husband choke down a leafy green and flood his mouth with the nearest beverage.
When I saw the tuna steaks at the grocery store’s seafood counter this week, I just couldn’t resist. I knew it would be a gamble. My husband doesn’t really care for seafood, but I thought maybe I could find a recipe he wouldn’t hate. So, I planned our dinner menu of peppered tuna steaks, sautéed broccoli, and corn.
“What’s for dinner?” he asked as soon as he’d kissed me hello yesterday afternoon. His face didn’t inspire much confidence after I relayed the bill of fare.
We sat in silence as we slowly emptied our plates. I was both nervous and amused as I occasionally glanced over at my husband. When he’d finished eating, he said, “Well, you did it.”
“What did I do?” I asked, waiting for the smart dinner comment that I knew was coming.
“You introduced me to something new.”
“And?” I encouraged.
“It was really good!” He sounded both surprised and relieved. I couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction. Clearly he’d been expecting something awful.
“Were you nervous?” I asked, still giggling as I cleared our plates.
“I don’t know if nervous is the right word. Let’s just say I was fully prepared to not enjoy dinner tonight,” he explained with a grin.
“You have no faith!” I teased. “Why didn’t you say anything when I told you what we were having?”
My husband shrugged. “Well, I appreciate you making dinner,” he started. “I don’t ever want you to think that I’m not grateful. I was just prepared to suffer through it silently…and hope and pray that you never ever made it again.”
I giggled again, and my husband immediately broke out into his version of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, singing, “We are never ever ever ever having tuna for dinner. We…”
I held up my hand to stop him, grinning like a school girl. "Well I guess I'm glad you liked it then!"
He answered my smile before not really asking, “Ice cream?”, and we did. Everything’s fine in moderation, right?
Friday, March 1, 2013
Yesterday was a very exciting day for me. No, we didn’t leave for vacation or go on a big date night; my husband and I picked up our new washer and dryer! After nine months of marriage and suffering through a tiny, stackable washer and dryer, we picked up our beautiful, full-size, front loader, energy saving washer and dryer.
When my husband saw how excited I was about a washer and dryer, he just stood in front of me laughing. It occurred to me that I might have changed a little over the last year. Whereas a vacation or chance to get dressed up and go out used to thrill me, I now get excited about things that have an effect on my daily life: a washer and dryer, a new desk, and yes, even a cookware set.
Once the two pieces were inside the house, my husband and I looked at one another as if unsure of what to do next. “Well,” my husband started, “I guess we should get them hooked up.”
I never realized what an ordeal it is to install a simple washer and dryer. Perhaps it’s just our home. The couple who built our house installed a large counter and shelving system in the laundry room, making our installation an extremely tight fit. My husband took a quick look at the space, and we went off to Home Depot to get what we needed.
After two trips to Home Depot to find the right size vent, we got home and realized that our dryer had a different plug than the house was equipped for. My husband huffed and left for his third, and last, Home Depot trip of the day.
When he returned home, we both kneeled in the laundry room, ready to finally install the machines. His toolbox and the bucket of tools that I had accumulated during my single life sat between us. My husband leaned over and began to rummage through first his toolbox and then the bucket of tools.
"Hey, where'd this bucket of tools come from?" he asked.
“Those were some of mine from before,” I answered.
"How come some of my screwdrivers are in it?" he asked with a playful smirk.
"I don't know. I guess they just got mixed in. I didn't have all the tools in the world -- just enough to get a single girl by,” I shrugged.
"Obviously not! You have all my screwdrivers in here. Where's my little one?" he asked as if I had not only taken all of the screwdrivers from his toolbox, but also organized them in the bucket of random tools. He continued ransacking both the bucket and his toolbox in search of his “little screwdriver”.
"Will this one help?" I asked, holding up a small Phillips head screwdriver that my mom had given me years ago.
"No,” he replied straight-faced. “And even if it could, it has a pink handle. I couldn't use it anyway."
“Oh, yeah, we can’t have you using a girly one,” I answered laughing. “It probably doesn’t even work the same.” He grinned back before locating the red and black tool he’d been seeking. I shook my head, smiling, as he finished doing the manly work. He could have used a pink tool with ribbons on it for all I cared, as long as our washer and dryer were installed and working.
Monday, February 25, 2013
If I had to describe my ideal Sunday night before the beginning of another work week, it would be just like last night. As I finished checking my email and was just about to shut down the computer, I heard my husband uncork a bottle of wine in the kitchen. I let out a happy sigh as I saw him turn the corner with my glass in hand. I stood to follow him to the kitchen and noticed that the counters were loaded with bowls, pans, and a mix of cheeses and pasta.
He must have read my puzzled expression and answered my silent question proudly, saying, “I’ve got dinner tonight.” I raised my eyebrows approvingly and turned to leave the room. “You could stay and talk to me with your wine if you want…” I sat down immediately at the bar.
My husband, Cairn terrier Angus and I all piled up on the couch after dinner to watch a movie. With the remainder of my glass of wine in hand, a delicious dinner that I didn’t have to prepare, and couch time cuddled up with my boys, it really had been a perfect Sunday night.
About thirty minutes into the movie, though, Angus created a smell that was as bad as I’ve ever experienced. If it hadn’t been so cold outside, we probably would have opened all our windows to let it out of the house. My husband and I marveled at how such a small dog could create such an unpleasant smell. After my husband and I got quiet, we watched as Angus turned to clean himself, as dogs do.
“Ugh! That’s so gross. Can we trade Angus in?” my husband asked, disgust still all over his face.
“For what, a girl?”
“Yeah,” he answered nonchalantly. Just when I was about to explain why I enjoyed having a male dog, my husband clarified, “I was thinking a hot maid.”
I rolled my eyes and put on my most tolerant face. “Yeah,” I started, “it might be nice to have a maid, but I don’t think I’m ready to trade Angus in for one quite yet.”
“Oh.” He paused and looked genuinely disappointed before adding, “I thought we were on the same page.”
My husband’s pretend dissatisfaction faded away and we both sat laughing loudly. Once we’d completely recovered from both Angus’s smell and the laughter, we settled back into our seats on the couch.
Mere minutes passed before my husband let out a burp that even the neighbors might have heard. Angus began barking at the startling noise. I turned to shake my head at my husband. He just patted his chest as if to settle it.
“Just too much sexiness?” I asked. “Can’t keep it all in?”
“I’m all man, baby,” he answered back.
“You and Angus both, I guess,” I replied, adding playfully, “I’m surrounded.” My husband chuckled and pulled me into him. Angus curled into a ball at my feet. They burp; they smell; they’re all man, and I’m glad they’re mine.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Before marriage, I was warned that the monotony of daily life sometimes makes it hard for married couples to stay connected. On his suggestion, my husband and I always schedule a weekly date night. It helps us get out of the house, sometimes do something new, and always have a good time.
Last night, we drove to our neighborhood’s “place to be”. It’s a nice restaurant with an extensive menu and covered outside bar, just in case we wanted to stay a while after dinner. As far as a date night goes, we were both in the mood for something a little low key after a long week of work. We walked in and glanced at each other as we heard the voice pouring through the speakers; it was karaoke night. We both shrugged at one another before advancing inside, unsure of where the night was headed.
Once seated, my husband ordered a Fat Tire draft beer, and I asked for the same. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that what used to be my Bud Light man turns craft on occasion. As soon as we ordered our food, another brave soul stepped up to the microphone. The intro for Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” began, and I bit my lip waiting to see what would come next.
Well, it wasn’t pretty. My husband and I ate our food and tried not to cringe at what seemed like every single song. It was one terrible act after another, with one or two mixed in who actually seemed to know the song or have heard it before. I had to give them all credit for trying, though.
As I could have predicted, my husband and I moved to the bar after dinner. It was a hot mess that we just couldn’t stop watching (or hearing), so we sat down outside to experience the whole thing even better.
We watched a brunette woman, still in her suit from work, walk up to the microphone. Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” started coming out of the speakers. My husband and I stared ahead. I think she might have been the worst of the night. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but it was awful. If I could have removed my ears, I would have. We almost left. Almost.
“Look at that guy up front cheering her on!” my husband pointed out over the music. I looked to the left of the stage to see her date, clapping along, whooping every few bars of music. It was actually a very sweet moment to catch, and I smiled at them, in spite of the sounds she was making. “You know that guy’s getting laid tonight,” he added.
“You know, if or when I ever sing karaoke again, you should absolutely be that supportive!” I answered.
“Well, if you ever sing karaoke again, I think you should bring a big group up there with you,” he immediately responded, giving me a look that said I’d need someone else to help drown out my voice.
I opened my mouth in feigned offense. “I’ve sung karaoke before! Are you saying I can’t sing?!”
“No, not at all…,” he answered as the song came to an end. I waited. “It’s just some songs. You’re better with the slower stuff. I just think the higher pitched, faster songs aren’t really your thing.” I just smiled at him and stayed quiet. I knew he had more to offer. “Maybe you should just leave that stuff to the professionals. You know, like you’re not great at mowing lawns, so I’ll never ask you to do it.”
“So, I’m not good at singing fast songs,” I accepted. “Alright, I won’t sing them if I’m bad at them.” My husband sat next to me with a satisfied expression. “And I won’t mow the lawn.” His smile started to widen as he realized where I was headed. “You know what else I’m not good at?”
He took a breath before answering, “This should be good.”
“Washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms – I’m terrible at that!” I answered, grinning widely.
He matched my grin and shook his head. “It sounds like we’re going to need a housekeeper!”
We both laughed as “I Believe I Can Fly” started to play. We stayed for a few more songs before making our way home. I’d say we had another successful date night.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
It’s amazing how you can live with someone and go days without really talking. My husband and I have both been so busy getting settled into our new home and starting new jobs that there really hasn’t been much time to sit down and be us. So, last night we lay awake in bed talking and catching up until well after midnight. We needed it. We needed to have that quiet time – just the two of us and our pillows.
About an hour and a half went by and my husband asked, “Hey, you feel like fooling around?”
I thought for a minute and realized that I didn’t feel like sex at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to make love to my husband; I realized that I was just really enjoying the conversation and the comfort of it all. I didn’t want to have the moment interrupted by my husband moving his arm that easily rested on my shoulder or untangling our legs that seemed to be molded together.
I moved just slightly so I could see his face. “Not really. Is that okay?” I asked. I wondered if he, as a man, needed sex like I needed conversation. And with not even nine months of marriage behind us, I can’t have my husband needy or dissatisfied.
“Of course it’s alright. Just thought I’d ask,” he answered, and I caught his wink before he rested his head back on his pillow. I nuzzled back into his chest as he started where we left off.
We talked and laughed for a while longer about anything and everything – our upcoming vacation, plans for the future, my car, politics, and things I don’t even remember. I think sometimes I forget how much I enjoy simple (and sometimes lengthy) conversations with my husband.
When our exchange finally started to die down and we lay quietly together, my husband asked again, “Are you sure you don’t want to have sex?”
I thought for a minute. It was funny; even though it had gotten really late, after my need for conversation was satisfied, I realized I actually did want sex.
“Yeah, let’s do it,” I said with a smile after a minute.
“Wow,” my husband marveled.
“What?” I smiled as he got closer.
“What power!” He continued to look at me in awe.
“What do you mean?”
“Sex power,” he explained. “You can just sit and ponder whether or not you feel like it. Whether or not we had sex tonight totally depended on what you said. You could have said no, and we both would have rolled over and gone to sleep. Amazing…when did that happen?”
We both started to laugh. “You have that power, too. It’s not like I can force you to have sex.”
“No, no, it’s different,” he argued. “You’d never have to. I always want sex. Men are just built differently. You’ll never have to ask me twice!”
I laughed aloud again. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. I’ve never thought about it.”
“Amazing,” he said again. “People have killed for power like that."
I laughed again before my giggles grew muffled. I never realized I had sex power. Actually, I don’t think I ever realized it existed. I’ve decided not to let it go to my head and made a mental note to always use my power for good.