Archive for the ‘On Marriage’ Category

Exactly three months AFTER our anniversary, we finally got around to opening our Love Letter Box and reading all the notes inside. We were supposed to do this on our actual anniversary, but as explained, life got away from us and it didn’t happen until September. One night I was like, ok we’re doing this damn it! And I got out some paper and pens, and we wrote our letters. After finishing those, we broke out the tools and broke into our box. My dad made the box for us, securing it with screws just to screw with us I think.

Inside were the letters we had written each just prior to the wedding last year, along with some fun notes from our wedding guests.

We read the letters from each other first (I don’t remember what I wrote in mine, but Mike’s was so sweet!), and then the notes from the guests. This was our favorite:

She’s going to kill me for posting that, but whatever. After reading everything, we added our new letters (without exchanging them) to the box and sealed it back up.

And now it’s sitting on a bookshelf in our new home, waiting to be opened again next year. Maybe closer to our actual anniversary this time…

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When I got a tattoo recently (my first!), one of the employees asked for the story.

“I have three sisters, and awhile ago we all decided we’d get the letter Z tattooed on us somewhere. Our last name starts with Z, and that way, no matter what, we’d always have that bond.”

“So… do all your married names start with a Z?* Or was it your maiden name?”

“Actually it’s our maiden name, but three of us kept it when we got married.**”

“Oh yeah? Wow. What did the husbands think of that?” (She asked with obvious disdain.)

“They didn’t care. If they had cared, they wouldn’t have been the kind of men we would have wanted to marry.”

Apparently, keeping your name is radical even in a tattoo shop. Where people are covered in gun tattoos. And drawings of aliens playing guitars and smoking joints.

*I think she saw my ring and concluded I was married.
**One actually hyphenated.

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Our first anniversary was over two months ago. I’ve been waiting to write this post because we totally failed at anniversary-ness, and I was hoping someday we’d catch up with ourselves before I had to tell you how much we sucked at it.

When we got married, we started a tradition that involved a Love Letter Box. Basically we wrote letters to each other prior to the wedding, and we put them in a box that my dad built and nailed shut. We were going to read them on our anniversary, and then write new letters to each other and add them to the box. And repeat, repeat, repeat every year until we die.

Well guess what.

Our anniversary was June 12, today is September 8, and we still have not read those letters. We haven’t written new letters. We haven’t even opened the damn box. I don’t even know where the box is! Wait, not true, I do know where it is. But still, we so suck.

Part of the problem is we’re just not really romantic-y people, but the rest of it is that we’ve been so busy this summer that despite saying many times “let’s do our letters this weekend,” we never did it. We may be rock stars at pre-marital counseling, but we apparently suck at anniversaries.

We did manage to get each other gifts though, although mine ended up being a bit of a disaster. We’re not big on gifts around here, but we thought it would be fun to follow the traditional anniversary gifts list, so this year was paper. Mike bought me a blank journal, and he managed to give it to me on time (foreshadowing for my gift disaster)!

[Imagine a photo of said journal here. I can’t find the pic I took!]

I had this brilliant idea to get Mike something to remind him (us) of our Europe trip, which was, in part, an anniversary celebration even though it took place a month early. So I found birdAve, an etsy seller that made city prints like this one:

I ordered one for all three cities we visited: London, Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, Rome. I got to customize them as much as I wanted — I dictated what landmarks or symbols I wanted on some cities, and I selected bright, bold colors for the backgrounds.

Now I fully admit that I didn’t order these until the day before our anniversary (oopsies!), and I was ok with receiving them a little late. But there was a shipping snafu (not my fault, nor the seller’s) and after weeks of waiting, still no prints. BirdAve was spectacular and sent me another set of prints as soon as I asked him to, and he even included a bonus print of our little town. Cute! Anyway, that’s the disaster, his gift took weeks to arrive. Not a really a disaster I guess. But then when I gave them to Mike, who had eagerly anticipated this gift for weeks, he opened them and goes, “Oh cool. What do I do with them?” What do you do with them? HANG THEM UP! So yeah, that’s what I get for trying to be all romantical.

Anyway, our real gift to each other was our Europe trip in May, so these paper things were just tokens. And we haven’t done our Love Letter Box yet, but who cares? We’ll get to it. As for what we did on our actual anniversary day? We hung out with family at my dad’s house. It took us a minute to realize that we were at the location of our wedding on our anniversary, because we’re at my dad’s all the time, and it didn’t occur to us as anything special at first. But that’s precisely why we got married there, because it’s a place we love to be.

My stepmom snapped this picture of us reading in the sun in the exact spot we exchanged vows a  year earlier:

The day of our wedding was hot and horribly muggy, but the day of our anniversary was quite lovely. It really was a good day. Happy anniversary darlin’!

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As you may have gathered from Mike’s post about his dad, we are moving. Again. Without exaggeration, the longest I have ever lived in one place since I graduated high school is a year and a half. And that was only once, usually it’s a year or less. I move all the time, it’s like a hobby. Even as a kid, I lived in several different places, so it’s really nothing new to me. But I’ve grown to hate it. I love the newness of a move – the opportunity to set up shop anew, to start over, to feel the freshness of a new place. But I’m so over the packing and lugging and unpacking of the shit. All the shit!

But alas, here we go again. Our situation as it stands is that Mike works in City A, while I work in City B, over an hour away. We live in Town C, somewhere in the middle, but it’s a place that is nothing more to us than somewhere to sleep. We wanted to get involved with the small town atmosphere, we swore we would, but it’s just not home and so we didn’t. We go to City A, where our families are, nearly every weekend. And we miss out on stuff during the week because we’re not there. We miss being in City A. We miss it a lot. It is where we have decided we want to be longterm, and so moving back there now is the first step.

Fortunately, the stars aligned for once, and Mike’s dad is getting married and moving out of his house the same month we need to be out of our apartment. His house is in a good neighborhood, it’s the right size for us right now, it’s the right price, and his dad can’t sell it right now anyway, so he’s looking for a renter.

There are many things that we are waiting on right now – I would like a job that doesn’t require a 75-minute commute or at least a way to keep my current job without that kind of drive every day; Mike would like to find a way to make more money; so would I for that matter; and we both want to start a family very soon. None of these things are working out right now, despite our best efforts, so the fact that the house situation came together pretty easily is a real blessing.

At the end of October, we’ll be packing our bags (and boxes) (actually that’ll be happening over the next couple months), renting a truck, and moving all the shit to a new house. At least it’s in the city that we want to be for the long run. We’re getting closer to the kind of life we wish for.

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Last night we had to pack for an upcoming trip. Every fiber in my being did not want to pack because I feel like that’s all I do lately: pack, unpack, pack, unpack. So I was being very childish, throwing myself on the bed in protest of packing.

And instead of getting fed up, instead of telling me to pull it together already, Mike simply sat down and walked me through the packing process.

“Now, you’ll need at a lot of underwear. At least 10 pairs. OK, now get some socks.”

“But see that’s the problem! I can’t even figure out what socks to bring. I have ankle socks, athletic socks, dress socks… I can’t even figure out how to pack socks right now!”

“Grab two of each kind. Doesn’t matter what colors. We’re on vacation, we’ll make it work.”

And so on until my suitcase was full. Honestly if he had been the one throwing the packing protest, I would have rolled my eyes and told him to get over it. This is why, as much as he sometimes makes me crazy, he’s a keeper.

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Shannon: What kind of drumstick do you want?

Mike: The one with fudge filling.

Shannon hands him a drumstick with caramel filling

Mike: Oh, I wanted the fudge filling.

Shannon: I thought you meant caramel. There isn’t any with fudge.

Mike: Yes there is. Vanilla with fudge filling.

Shannon: No, there’s plain vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and vanilla with caramel.

Mike: I’m pretty sure I bought the pack that had ones with fudge.

Shannon returns to fridge to confirm.

Shannon: Nope, like I said, vanilla, chocolate, vanilla with caramel.

Mike: That can’t be right.

Mike comes to fridge to confirm.

Shannon: Seriously? I’ve looked twice now and told you there is no fudge filling. How do you not believe me?

Mike: I was just so sure…

Shannon: I don’t blame you. Afterall, I have forgotten how to read.

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When people hear that Mike and I each kept our own surnames at marriage, the most common question we get is “What about the kids?” And we’ve mulled it over greatly, and decided that we’ll hyphenate their last names.* The decision to hyphenate was a hard one for me. I kind of hate hyphenated names, but it was the best compromise for us. And Zone-Morris really isn’t a bad name.** In response to that, the most common question is “But what about when they get married? Pretty soon there’s going to be a Jane Marie Zone-Morris-Smith-Miller walking around. The horror!”

To that I say, whatever dude. I figure my kids can do whatever they want when faced with that decision. I admit, I’ll shed a tiny tear if they someday drop Zone, but I won’t take personal offense. I won’t make them feel bad. At least that’s my plan. I’m free to make my surname decisions, Mike’s free to make his, our kids will be free to make theirs when the time comes.

ANYWAY! The point of this is to direct you to this interesting real life scenario on one of my favorite naming sites.*** Seriously I find this name shit fascinating.

*We reserve the right to change our minds when actual children appear.
**Those are code.
***It’s actually a baby name site, but I like how she tackled this issue.

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