O Lord, on our first date 50 years ago, he was so nervous, he ran two stop signs. I promptly hit the floor. Thank You for stepping in and making sure that date improved! Still, OMG, who would have thought then we’d be valentines for a lifetime?
It was the best of times. Set in the worst of times.
Amid COVID restrictions, how could we celebrate 46 years of wedded stress — er, bliss?
Normally, I offer suggestions way beyond our first anniversary, when Hubby’s parents paid for dinner at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Now, we pay for our own celebratory meals, sometimes in restaurants with daunting silverware and equally daunting prices. We no longer limit trips to exotic locales like Wabash, Indiana. Once, we even splurged on Hawaii.
But now, what to do?
Hubby enthused, “Let’s take a hike.”
But we hike so much, Hubby’s Fitbit thingy is exhausted.
“It’s cold,” I whined. Snuggling and drinking hot chocolate sounded saner.
“But I want to play in the snow.”
Snow? Okay! I donned cold-weather gear.
In a nearby forest, verdant pines and leafless oaks looked equally elegant. Outlined in white, scraggly weeds and thorny bushes proclaimed their Creator’s redemption. Though seemingly dormant, the forest teemed with animal tracks — with life.
Our decades together rested on us, light and joyous as snow.
It was the best of times.
Temperatures rose the next day, when we hiked at a nearly deserted park. Trees, having lost magical white clothing, shivered. We plowed through dark, sticky mud, attractive only when I imagined we were adventuring through brownie batter.
Soon, we navigated puddles, then streams flowing across trails. Images of Israelites crossing the Red Sea flooded my brain. Biblical thoughts, at least — more biblical than some eddying in my mind.
At a bison pen, big, shaggy animals barely blinked at our presence.
Bored bison are so romantic. Especially their smell.
Water inspires swoon-moon-June feelings, even in January. But the gray, half-frozen lake resembled an old black-and-white TV screen.
Skinny-dipping? For polar bears only.
Hubby asked, “Want to kayak?”
“Not enough ice and water for you on this trail?” I queried.
Fortunately, he was only half-serious. But he related how he and fellow Boy Scouts, during their winter paddle, chewed gum to mend their busted canoe.
“We had fun,” he insisted.
Despite challenges, we’d enjoyed our second hike, too. Together.
On January 4, 1975, I wouldn’t have anticipated fun on a mud hike. Then, we were all about storybook moments, white and sparkly like my wedding gown.
We still relive those moments, as on that incredible, snowy hike.
Still, mud-hike marriage moments happen, even in Hawaii. On a tropical trail, Hubby extracted me from sucky mud that stained us orange.
Thank God, we haven’t told each other to take a hike. Instead, we’ve taken a lifelong hike together, including the best of times and the worst of times.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are magical and mud-hike moments in your marriage?
O Lord, You recall that 46 years ago today, a freshman medical student and his unemployed bride promised You they would love each other for life. The odds of keeping those vows appeared even skinnier than they were. But, OMG, thank You for helping us do the impossible!
Hubby and I labeled our new home’s difficulties as “temporary.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines that word as “lasting for a limited time.” As in, “This sparkly 1970s wallpaper is temporary.” Or, “This white carpet where kids held pop-spitting parties is temporary.”
In remodeling timelines, “temporary” resembles a blank, signed check.
We should have known better, having delayed remodeling our former house until we’d lived there 23 years. Then spent big bucks making it irresistible … so we could sell it.
Now, 11 years later, “temporary” has caught up with us again.
We’ve made some improvements: new siding, roof, and landscaping. Hubby painted the ugly, “temporary” black front door.
He says it’s orange.
I say it’s terra cotta.
Which illustrates two reasons we procrastinate in updating our home:
- Hubby is male.
- I am female.
This complicates the simplest project, yet we’ve made progress. After only 45 years of marriage, we not only like our terra cotta/orange door, we arrange decorative pillows on our bed without debate. Hubby keeps the plain one on his side. The fancy one goes on mine.
Surely, we can now agree whether to paint kitchen cabinets Blue Sand or Eggshell Ecstasy.
Hubby’s eyes narrow. “Have you ever seen blue sand? Anywhere?”
I haven’t experienced ecstasy boiling eggs, either. However, I don’t want to extend a discussion about color misrepresentation to blank-check proportions. Then the cabinets will go unpainted another decade.
But a decade is temporary. Not forever.
It just seems like it.
Hubby, a reasonably skilled handyman, could shorten makeover timespans if he were married to a better assistant.
We attempted wallpapering together. Once.
Everything I touched turned to trapezoids.
No matter how carefully I measured. No matter how many tutorial videos I watched.
I should create one for homeowners like myself. I would condense “Seven Simple Steps to Your House’s Total Makeover” to “Two Simple Steps”:
- Light a match.
- Burn the place down.
But then, I’d have to move again, probably to jail. Even wallpapering with Hubby seems preferable. Though he might feel differently …
I suggest another option, in which we could forego painting the kitchen and cabinets and installing new counters and —
“New counters?” Hubby’s eyes narrow again. “Since when?”
Surely, I say, if we paint the kitchen, we should replace ancient, discolored counters. The flooring’s nicked, too.
“If remodeling seems overwhelming,” I say brightly, “we can move to a different house.”
After we sink a ton of money and work into our present home to sell it.
Before moving to another house with temporary sparkly wallpaper. Temporary stained kitchen counters. And temporary carpet somebody showered with Blue Sand …
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you at home with the temporary?
O Lord, Thank You for my Boy Scout and his love for Your creation. Thank You that we’ve shared several great camping trips this summer. But now he’s bought new backpacking gear for primitive wilderness camping. OMG, thank You that I won’t share in that.
O Lord, thank You for the avid camper I married. I, too, love sharing in Your beautiful creation. But OMG, I’m wondering if each of us defines camping–and a few other things–a bit differently.
O Lord, when Hubby and I first rode our new tandem, we nearly took out our neighbor’s trash cans. He wasn’t perfect then and isn’t now. And unlike Daisy, I don’t always “look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.” But OMG, thank You for 17 years and 5,500 miles of mostly fun cycling together without a crash.
O Lord, given the personality differences during this quarantine, I imagine a large number of your children have to repent daily. But OMG, would it be so bad if I, um, interrupted Hubby’s Zoom college class only once?
O Lord, thank You for brain cells — though they seem to have vanished from our household lately. You know that in our absentmindedness contest, Hubby and I are neck and neck. But OMG, having placed the coffee pot on the Keurig, I think I have the coffee pods’ vote.
O Lord, I thank You for a steaming cup of coffee this chilly March morning. My husband thanks You for a cup of tea. As we’ve aged, we hope we’ve grown in wisdom. In insight. In compassion. But one thing is sure: OMG, our cups have grown with us.