Archive for the ‘Our Relationship’ Category


Mike comes home with a new library book.

Shan: What did you get?

Mike: Shades of Grey.

Shan: Oh, I want to read that!

Mike: It’s not the sex one.

Shan: Um, yes I know. It’s a dystopian novel, which you know is one of my favorite genres, thank you very much. Besides, I’ve already read the sex one.

It’s true, I read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. I was searching for the Jasper Fforde novel on my library’s e-book site, and it wasn’t available. But my search revealed all three books of “the sex one” were, which I knew would never happen again. And I needed something to read, and I was sick of searching for something that was available (it is becoming more and more difficult as more people get e-books and libraries can’t keep up!), and yeah, I read it.

I’m now reading the dystopian novel, and already, less than 100 pages in, I like it far better than the E.L. James book!

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, dinner, romance and love. When I first heard that Shannon would be out-of-town for work starting Tuesday of this week, I had a momentary feeling of disappointment. No Valentine’s Day? Then I thought about it. We’re not that couple. We don’t need a holiday to tell us to remember that we love each other. As the day neared, we joked a little about not being together for Valentine’s Day, but we didn’t really even think about it seriously. It was just another day.

The mutual lack of significance we placed on Valentine’s Day gave me the idea that a surprise gift would really be cool. So, while Shannon was out with her sisters doing yoga, I made the call to 1800 Flowers and ordered a gift basket to be delivered to the hotel she would be checking into on Tuesday evening. Brilliant. That’s when things went to hell. And they went to hell in stages.

Stage 1: The missing address. Somehow, the polite Indian fellow who took my order (his name was “Jeff,” but that’s another post) forgot to get the address of the hotel from me. He got the name of the hotel and the zip code, but no street address. 1800 Flowers proceeded to call me thirty-seven times in the course of 1 hour while I was sitting next to Shannon. Finally I gave in and answered, which forced me to make up a story about Walgreens calling about my prescription. To get the address, which was accessible by internet, I sneaked outside with Shannon’s sister (thanks Kelli) and pretended to help her put in her car seat while I explained what I needed from her, and her smart phone. On the way to a family dinner, she covertly found the address and wrote it on a receipt that I had sitting in the car. When Shannon went to the bathroom during dinner, I sneaked out again and called 1800 Flowers back. They assured me that, with this last piece of information, the package would be delivered by 7pm Tuesday. One more white lie about my Mom calling and asking for help moving something and I was home free.

Stage 2: The waiting game. On Tuesday, I woke up giddy. I left Shannon a little note wishing her a good trip, and headed off to work. After a long day at work and a long afternoon wondering when Shannon would check in, she called me from her hotel room. She then proceeded to ask me for help with her credit card bill, complain about travel complications, and make absolutely no mention of her surprise at my gift. What the hell? After calling the hotel, it was determined that the package did not arrive. I called 1800 Flowers, but apparently the don’t take calls on Valentine’s Day. I went through their automated system for several minutes, and was hung up on. Cool.

Stage 3: Tracking the problems. On Wednesday, after innocuously determining that Shannon would still be at her hotel that night, I called the hotel again. Still no delivery. The hotel, a Country Inn and Suites, suggested that maybe it was delivered to the Comfort Inn and Suites across the street. Another phone call, still no gift. I called 1800 Flowers again, and actually got to talk to a person, who informed me that the package was delivered on Tuesday. Um…pretty sure it wasn’t. When I disagreed with him, he immediately told me that, even though it was delivered, if I did not receive the package then he could refund my purchase and give me a $20 voucher toward a future purchase.

Stage 4: Decompression. After fuming about poor customer service and the stress of coming up with a fun idea, and then having it blow up in my face, I told Shannon the whole story. She of course thought it was hilarious and thought I was adorable for trying. Since she wasn’t expecting anything, she wasn’t disappointed. And it is a pretty funny story. But I’m still kind of annoyed.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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My Wife’s Closets

That’s right…plural.

First, a disclaimer. This post is a good-natured commentary on Shannon’s adorable  attachment to clothing, and in no way is a criticism of any kind. I love my wife and find her style both fun and sophisticated. Love you honey!

So, in our temporary home on the road between our jobs, we had a huge walk-in master closet. Shannon took it over. She filled it. Literally, we couldn’t close the closet door. I was relegated to the outpost of guest bedroom closet. To be fair, this was actually a good situation, since I get up several hours before Shan every morning. She gets to sleep, and I get to access my clothing.

Before our move out, we made the obligatory Goodwill pile. Out of my meager clothing collection, I put together 2 kitchen-sized garbage bags full of old sweaters, tee-shirts, slacks, and shirts that will no doubt sit at Goodwill for years until the luckiest giant in the world happens across them. My wife, out of her room-o-clothes, came up with about 12 items. And I will not mention The Shoe Collection, which could be rotated for 2 full months with no repeating (ok, I just mentioned it). Adorable. 🙂

After the move, we found ourselves with a unique problem. We have a master bedroom with a tiny closet, and a guest bedroom with a large, double closet. The only realistic solution was to switch our arrangement, so I take over the master closet and Shan takes over the guest bedroom closet…I mean closets). It works. It really does. The end result however, is a mostly full closet and a 2/3 full dresser in the master bedroom, along with an entire dresser that is, so far, completely empty. In the other room, we have an almost overflowing double closet and 2 full dressers (we inherited two dresses in the move and suddenly find ourselves with a low of drawer space).

In fairness to my beautiful wife, she has been equally indulgent of me when it comes to the kitchen. The most notable culprit, the mixer. The beautiful, 25-pound KitchenAid mixer that I had to have, and now barely use. We all have our things.

I guess the round-about message here is, I find this clothing situation funny and cute, which must mean I love my wife, right?

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Marriage is about lots of things, and many of those things are about evolving. Recently, Shan and I discussed birthday presents. We’ve recently had some pretty fun birthdays. Last year we went on a hot air balloon ride for my birthday. And for Shan’s last birthday her family and I surprised her with an ’80s themed surprise party. This year we went to dinner and a comedy club for my birthday. In addition to these activities, we give gifts. But, recently, we decided to forgo the gift-giving. We will still give each other gifts, should the mood strike us, but we no longer feel the need to buy something specifically for birthdays. If we want anything special and need an excuse to buy it, we’ve agreed to treat ourselves out of our joint checking account to a little birthday gift.

This discussion took place weeks before my birthday. I’m not much of a birthday person anyway, so I wasn’t really expecting a gift in the first place. After our birthday evolution discussion, I really didn’t anticipate anything. Much to my surprise, Shannon gave me a corn dog maker!

One of these days I’ll learn how to insert pictures into a post (or get my wife to do it for me). Until then, imagine a George Foreman grill, but with 6 depressions that can hold enough cornbread batter to surround an average-sized hot dog. Not quite the same as a fried corn dog, but pretty awesome.

(Thank you for the photo, Shannon.)

Devoted blog readers might be aware that corn dogs are my favorite bachelor-snack whenever Shannon is out of town or just absent for dinner. Now I can make my own, anytime I want!

Evolution, it seems, is a slow process. Shannon insists that she didn’t spend much on this gift, but it happened right after we agreed to stop buying birthday gifts. Hmm… Perhaps I’ll do better when her birthday rolls around in December.

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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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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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Shan: I’m going out of town for work the week after next.

Mike (out loud): Oh…ok.

Mike (in his head): I better get some movies and stock up on corn dogs.


Here’s the thing. Every so often, Shannon has to go on the road for work. Usually it’s a few days, and it’s never too far away. But it happens, and it changes the days she’s gone. I feel a reduction in purpose when Shan is away. I have no one to cook dinner for and no one to watch tv with. That purpose needs to be filled, and I do it with movies, video games and food. Movies that Shannon generally doesn’t show an interest in, and food that she doesn’t like.

This week, I filled that purpose with the following.

“The Expendables”
“Rescue Dawn”
“Bad Lieutenant; Port of Call: New Orleans”
Brats and coleslaw
Corn dogs
Ham and pineapple pizza
Chunky Monkey

It’s not that I don’t miss my wife when she’s gone. I do. I miss her and I look forward to her return. It’s just that, if she has to be gone, I might as well have pizza with fruit on it. Life’s all about purpose.

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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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Mike: Something something something, trying to be funny (I don’t really remember what he was saying)

Shannon: *feigned smile*

Mike: Blah blah blah (again, don’t remember)

Shannon: *eye roll*

Mike: Exactly how often are you annoyed by me rather than entertained?

Shannon: Oh. You’ve noticed that huh?

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Shannon and I did not marry for money. This is indisputable. Fortunately, we love each other. I saw this fact clearly yesterday in a conversation about moving.

We were sitting in a movie theater lobby waiting for a movie to start, and began discussing what we might do in the next year about our living situation. We have both been sort of anti-house-purchase in the past. Too much work and too much risk. Too hard to move away if you need/have to. But lately, now that we are pretty sure we want to settle in a particular area, we’ve started to consider it. We can get a pretty good deal right now, and probably buy a house that we can grow into and possibly make money off of some day.

We started talking about when we might want to start looking last night, but that discussion quickly turned to the dreaded down payment. It turns out that, when you pay for a trip to Europe and a mini-van in the same month, it doesn’t leave much money for a home down payment. Where would that money come from?

Shannon offered that she had savings bonds given to her by her grandparents. All totaled, they would help us toward a down payment, but not give us one. Then she turned to me and jokingly asked “what do you bring to the marriage?” I replied, not jokingly but in a joking tone, “a van payment and some student loans…oh, you probably meant assets…yeah, nothing.” Sad day for me. Fortunately, Shannon didn’t care (or already knew that fact and had come to terms with it).

The bottom line of our discussion: we have no house down payment. We may have to move into yet another tiny apartment and save for another year to collect a down payment. Any suggestions?

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