marriage

So Much To Come

Several weeks ago, my computer crashed. This happened shortly after giving in to those constant reminders that I needed to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10. Coincidence? Maybe. Or it could just have been that the computer was five years old.

While my husband Sam and I both can usually handle anything that goes wrong with our computers, neither of us were able to do anything this time, as the hard drive had failed. Fortunately, Sam’s friend was able to retrieve all of our documents, photos, and videos. We had pictures from back when I was in college all the way to this past Christmas. Words cannot express how grateful I was that the friend was able to take care of this for us. (If you haven’t already bought an external hard drive and back up your data regularly, you should do so!)

Since our Mac Mini arrived, I’ve been copying over all the files from the external drive and organizing things into folders, which has made for one interesting trip down memory lane. There has been laughter, tears, and a lot of “what the heck was I thinking?!” moments.

Pre-children.

Remember how just a few wine coolers were enough for Girls Weekend? That’s quite the drop off from my college days. I came across this photo from a little party Sam and I had in our first apartment when I was a senior and was surprised at how much booze we had on hand.

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(That’s not the right date, in case you’re wondering, as that would be just a month after LM was born.)

After the party pictures, I found photos from our wedding and honeymoon. Most were of the typical wedding and honeymoon fare, but a few others were more…interesting. There’s one picture of me with my bridesmaids, one of whom is holding a knife, while another is sewing up a button that came off the back of my dress before the ceremony. Yet another photo shows my sister wearing a huge t-shirt at the reception instead of her dress, and one from the honeymoon shows me red-faced and walking like Frankenstein, as the resort was all-inclusive and I was able to drink to my then lush heart’s content.

Next are pictures of our first home, which we had signed the papers for before tying the knot. Each room has a different theme, including the infamous Irish bathroom with the bright green paint that glowed in the dark. Thanks, Sam.

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The realtor was appalled with this and encouraged us to paint immediately.

There were also lesson plans galore. There were units on The Diary of Anne Frank, The Watsons Go To Birminghman, and Romeo and Juliet, to name a few. There were some plans that I don’t remember teaching. One Excel file contained grades for all of my 70-odd students.

Little Man.

I found documents where I tracked all sorts of stuff with Little Man, from how often/how much he ate to the words he knew. One of his earliest words was “No,” and the last thing I recorded was the sentence, “Put your shoes on, Mama.” He was the same age as Baby Girl (20 months) when I entered that sentence. Two things: I don’t remember him calling me “Mama” (sniffle) and he was hella verbal.

There was Little Man’s first birthday, first Halloween, and first Christmas. Then came pictures of him on his first day at preschool. There were a few pictures of him sporting a black cast on his arm when he broke it shortly after his third birthday. And, oh, the vacations. That sweet, smiling face building sandcastles and karate chopping waves. Pictures of him on his first soccer and t-ball teams appeared eventually. After going through more folders, I found a picture of him on his first day of kindergarten. Less than two months after that day, we would find out that he would be a big brother.

Me.

Littered among the pictures and lesson plans were copies of my earliest articles as a freelance writer. Wanna know the topic of my first piece of paid writing? Newborn bowel movements, which makes sense, considering some of the things I tracked with Little Man. Everyone starts (and apparently stalls) somewhere, so thank God for pseudonyms! Finding screenshots of some sports articles that were published on Yahoo was nice, though.

While I’m on writing, there were so many short stories and novel attempts. Many of the novel attempts were, from my estimation, halfway finished. I also came across business plans for the consignment store I started and ran for a year before selling it. I was obsessed with planning and, like with the novel attempts, would stay up for days planning down to the tiniest detail, but after I opened it, the wind was taken out of my sails and I eventually loathed going to my store and sold it.

There were also many, many diet plans, meal plans, and exercise plans. We know what that worked out. Between the stories, the business, and the dieting, I’ve come to that conclusion that I’m not much for sticking with things apart from my little family.

Sam. 

Ah, the house plans. Before we bought our current house, one of Sam’s favorite things to do was come up with plans for a house he wanted us to build. Some of the houses would have been amazeballs, and others were just awful, like the one that had my tiny office/writing area off the back of a walk-in closet. Those were fun times, though, planning for what we wanted to be the place where we’d likely spend most of the rest of our lives.

I also came across songs Sam had written. Some files were simply lyrics, but others were recordings of Sam playing the guitar and singing the songs he had written. I may be biased, but some of the songs were among the best I’ve ever heard.

There were also videos of my husband portraying a character we created. The character was a redneck who praised all things Sarah Palin and had a profound hatred for hippies, Obama, and Tina Fey. There were a few videos of him singing songs in character. Another document I came across held song lyrics we wrote that were inspired by quotes from the movie Sling Blade. (Back before we became Netflix zombies, one of our favorite things to do when we had alone time was create funny stuff together.) I also found the folder with videos of him singing these songs, as well.

Baby Girl.

Finally photos of Baby Girl came around. These were more organized than a lot of the other files, since Sam set up imports to go into monthly folders. There was one video Sam took shortly before I had the C-section where the doctor was trying to check on things and Sam asked me how I felt. Since I couldn’t sleep more than a couple hours that night (and we had to be at the hospital at 5AM), I was pretty grouchy and told him to put the damn camera away, much to Sam and the doctor’s amusement. And then came photos shortly after she was born, the day she came home, the first time she sat up on her own, her first Christmas, and her first birthday.

And that brings me to now. So much has changed. More than one-third of my life is on that drive — and all of my kids’ lives and much of Sam’s. There are no more lesson plans or photos of ridiculous parties now (not ones of that caliber, anyway). And no more first birthdays and first steps will be saved on a computer we own. But there is still so much to come.

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You’re So Lucky

Whenever I talk to someone about my husband, I’m often told how lucky I am.

“He cooks? Wow, you’re lucky.”

“He helps out with the kids? You’re so lucky.”

“He changes diapers [in public restrooms]? My husband would never. You don’t know how good you’ve got it.”

Those are just a few drops in the bucket of my perceived luckiness (or otherwise good fortune), but they’re fairly representative of the type of comments I’ve gotten over the years. Many of these comments make me question the standards some women have for their husbands. I don’t think it should be considered luck that my husband changes the diapers of the child he helped create or cooks some meals, as he eats, too.

(I also wonder whether people ever think that my husband is lucky to be married to me. Probably not. If I’m letting my husband do so much to help out, then he probably got the short end of the stick in this marriage in their eyes, and they haven’t gotten past the tip of the iceberg as far as the things my husband does goes.)

But this post isn’t really about the roles husband and wife or mom and dad have in the home. Because at the end of the day (when I’m not griping about my husband’s slobbiness or attempts to give us frostbite by adjusting the thermostat), I really do feel lucky. Just not in the ways those other women think I am.

I feel lucky that I have a husband who copes with my mental illness as well as he does. Not only did he encourage me to get help when he noticed things were spiraling out of control, even though I was adamant that nothing was wrong with me, he didn’t bat an eye when the many, many labels started getting thrown at me. I was scared that he might leave me and want to find someone normal, but he told me that I was “perfectly imperfect” and that he loved me just the way I am.

I’m lucky that my husband can pick up on my mood shifts. I’m not talking so much about the big cycles (although he’s aware of those, too), but the ups and downs that I often experience throughout the day. I try not to let things show, but he can often tell by the slight edge to my voice or my sudden quietness that I need my space or need him to take over doing homework with Little Man or whatever it is that I need in order to try to get a handle on myself.

I’m lucky that I have a husband who picks up the slack when I’m depressed. While I’m not about praising my husband for doing chores around the house or running errands, I do appreciate it so much when he takes on some of my load (on top of his full-time job) when making myself get out of bed in the morning is like climbing a mountain. Does everything get done during those weeks and sometimes months? No, but he tries. (For the record I do try, too, but during those times getting one or two chores done feels more exhausting than deep cleaning the entire house.)

I’m also lucky that my husband tries to reel me in when he notices certain moods (I guess you’d call it) getting out of hand. For example, a few weeks ago, we had dinner with some friends. On the drive home, I told my husband I got a weird vibe and didn’t want to do anything with them again. He was shocked, as these are long-time friends of ours. Instead of arguing with me about it, he said it was something we could talk about later, that we didn’t have to make any decisions at the moment.

A week later, he asked if I still felt that way. I told him that I didn’t and couldn’t understand what came over me in the moment to feel so strongly, as no one did a thing the least bit offensive and were awesome as always. I guess it’s just part of the whole mood disorder thing, but the main thing was that he was looking out for me on that.

Staying with that same “reeling me in” theme, I’m lucky that he tries to divert my plots to go off my meds and quit seeing the psychiatrist and the therapist. Yes, I know I shouldn’t do this when I’m of a rational mind. Occasionally I’m not of a rational mind, though. I doubt everything, including the legitimacy of my disorders, and am convinced that all I need to do is quit everything and mentally toughen up. He makes sure that doesn’t happen, thankfully.

So, yes, I think I’m lucky to have a spouse that supports me through thick and thin. Is thinking this a bit hypocritical since I raise my eyebrows at other women when they tell me I’m lucky my husband does things? Especially since this is kinda what he promised when he said his “through sickness and in health” vows? Probably. But I still feel lucky to have someone who loves me in the way that he does.

It’s Getting Hot In Here

Winter has now arrived in South Carolina. Or it’s visiting at least. I know this because I went outside today in a long sleeve shirt and felt like I needed a jacket. Laziness prevented me from going back inside for the jacket, but still, I needed it…and I got to turn on the heat in the car! After a winter break that shifted between balmy and monsoon-like, we had temperatures drop to almost freezing overnight and they didn’t get over 43°F today.*

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Do you know what all this means? Aside from even more colds and getting to wear super cute jackets? That trouble is brewing in the Anxious household. We don’t often fight about money or how we raise the kids (irresponsibility for the win!), but we do butt heads on the thermostat. My husband has already complained at least five times about how hot I’ve made it inside.

“You turned the thermostat up to 69?”

“You’ve got a space heater on?”

“The other space heater is on?”

“Oh my god, the space heater is set to 79!”

“Why do you want the [gas] logs on when you’ve got both space heaters on?!”

For the record, Baby Girl and I were taking a bath and it gets cold in that part of the house where our master bedroom/bath are thanks to shit duct work, so I tend to make things warmer than I normally would. This means three extra sources of heat instead of two. You can’t have a little baby (or a grown woman) getting out of bath water to freeze half to death before getting dried off and into her PJs. Yes, I totally played the Baby Girl Card, and I’m prepared to do so for weeks to come.

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Sam’s preferred thermostat setting for the colder months is 64, and he continues his the madness into the summer by trying to burn us up by setting the air conditioner on 76 (although I’ve seen higher). I’m the opposite–I like things nice and cozy in the winter and frigid in the summer. I’m a power bill payer’s worst nightmare.

Here’s to another few weeks/months of arguing over the indoor temperature. And maybe even a few snow flurries!

*You people with all your snow and ice better not poo poo on my winter post.

O is for the One Ring

I mentioned before that the Lord of the Rings was a pretty big thing with my husband and me. Read our dating story for more on that.

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At some point during our dating period, we bought each other cheap One Rings off eBay that supposedly said:

One ring to rule them all

One ring to bind them

One ring to bring them together

And their hearts, entwine them.

It probably didn’t say that, but at the time I couldn’t read a lick of Tengwar and didn’t know any better. They were also supposed to be silver, but turned a color that wasn’t close to silver within months. I still have mine, but don’t know what happened with Sam’s.

Anyway, fast forward about 9 years later (which is Christmas 2013). At this point we’ve been married for just over 7 years and both of us have lost our wedding bands.

I lost mine first. Actually, I lost my beautiful expensive engagement ring five or six times, and then I finally lost my wedding band (I have a terrible fidgeting habit and if I’m wearing rings, I’ll take them off and mindlessly play with them). A few months after losing my wedding band, Sam lost his, which he felt really bad about. Obviously, I was in no place to guilt him, so I didn’t…much.

Did we take both of us losing our wedding bands as a sign that we weren’t meant to be? Hell no. I was a good three months pregnant with Tax Break #2. What we did take that as was the opportunity to buy the rings we wanted all along, but didn’t because we cared a bit about getting strange looks back when we got married.

This is what I ordered for us off Amazon–stepping it up almost a decade later!:

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His knuckles are the hairier ones. I swear.

 

That’s right. Our wedding bands are now the One Ring. As Little Man would say, booya!

FYI: these rings are tungsten carbide. In other words, they are cheap (but they also don’t scratch easily)! So if we lose these, no problemo, back to Amazon I’ll go.