Friday, August 10, 2007

Eight Things about My Marriage

Anita Hill at Thomas HearingsLet's see . . . I've been tagged quite a bit lately but in my typically rebellious fashion haven't done anything about it and I mean to correct that today. Consent of the Governed, The Adventures of a Super Wife and Pollywog's Pond tagged me with the "8 Things about Me" (or variations thereof) and Amber at Random Ramblings of a Drifting Mind tagged me months ago with a list of my favorite restaurants. I like doing memes but it takes me a while to come up with anything to write in them so I often bookmark tags and come back to them when I've got something to say--hope I haven't forgotten anyone else's tag.

The second time I did this I listed childhood memories, the third I focused on my high school years and this time I'm going to give you eight tidbits about my marriage. Pull up a chair.

1. Where did you meet your husband? We met during the Clarence Thomas hearings, if you remember that hallmark of American judicial embarrassment. Yes, we're probably the only couple in the world who can claim to have been brought together by Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. Biggest coincidence? Clarence Thomas was scheduled to speak at Andrew's graduation from law school though we never made it to the graduation but that's another story.

Okay I'm stretching things a bit, we did meet during the confirmation hearings but it was 1,000 miles away from Washington D.C. It was my senior year of college and I was visiting Andrew's apartment for the first time with my room mate and Andrew came running down the stairs, tying his tie to get ready for work. He turned on the t.v. and asked if anyone knew what had been happening with the hearings. Yes, one look at my handsome political science major and his effervescent Conservativism and I knew he was The One for Me.

2. What was the first thing you said to your husband? Okay maybe it wasn't quite that easy. Things didn't start off that smoothly. In fact, after he ran downstairs, turned on the t.v. and plopped himself in front of the screen to catch up on Clarence's trauma he looked up and noticed me and my room mate standing there. "You're really tall," he said. A genius that one.

Instantly I was impressed because, being six feet tall, that was the first time anyone had ever noticed that I was farther from the ground than the average woman (can you hear the sarcasm dripping?) I'd always been taught that to comment on a person's personal appearance was rude.

I'd never think of going up to someone and saying, "Wow, you're fat" or better yet, make an assumption about their hobbies based on their body type such as by saying, "You're really hefty there, you must be a sumo wrestler" or "You're pretty small and skinny, have you thought about becoming a jockey?" You wouldn't believe how many people over the years have asked if I play basketball. The comments had grown tiresome, especially since I was rather self-conscious about being so tall.

So you can bet that romance was in the air with this winning observation of his and I said very kindly, "And you're the first person to tell me that."

Hard to believe that with a beginning like that we ever got our Love Boat out of port, huh? Yes, it's just a testimony to the power of love--or of a hot tub.

The Olive Garden3. Where was your first kiss? First date? Remember that hot tub comment? Sigh. Let's just say that we were sitting in the hot tub after hanging out all evening and he made his move. We had our first "official" date (up till then it had been a lot of informal socializing) a week later--at The Olive Garden.

We sat down at the table and the waiter handed us the menus. We opened them and after a minute or two Andrew asked me, "Uh, do you know what you're going to order?"

"Oh probably the chicken. Maybe the spaghetti, I don't know--why?"

"Well how much money have you got?"

Now thoroughly suspicious, I said, "I've got a few dollars, why?"

"Do you think you could cover the tip?"

"Uh, sure . . . "

If he'd known how many times over the next sixteen years he'd be teased about asking me to cover the tip on our first date I think he would have instead rolled up his sleeves and washed dishes. But don't worry, he's been a great investment.

4. Did you have a long or short courtship/engagement? It took us a while to get engaged. Mostly because I had told him that I'd never marry someone shorter than I was (yes, go ahead, call me shallow). He, however, took my statement as a personal challenge and from that day forward plotted how he would slowly, carefully, methodically and systematically break down my defenses until I was so madly in love that I'd give anything to get him to ask me to marry him. Oh he's good. Did I tell you he's an attorney?

5. Where did you get engaged? At LaVell Edwards stadium right there on the 50 yard line. The biggest score ever made in that stadium--though we were the only ones there at the time. Then we went out and celebrated at--you guessed it--The Olive Garden. He picked up the tab.

6. Where did you get married? In Littleton, Colorado which is a suburb of Denver. Andrew was from Colorado Springs so Denver was the best place for us. The morning of our wedding we put our things in the car and drove the hour and a half from The Springs to Littleton but it wasn't until I got dressed that I realized I'd forgot my wedding shoes, all I had was my black heels I'd worn up there. No shoes. And Andrew? He'd forgot to bring dark socks. So there we are getting our pictures taken and me with no shoes and him with white socks. We're a stylin' pair, let me tell you. Luckily my dress covered my faux pas and his tuxedo covered his--just don't look too closely at the wedding pictures. At least it was summer when we got married and not winter then I would have had problems.

7. How did the reception go? Great. I mean, we were married, we hardly noticed anything else. I think we showed up somewhere and shook a few people's hands and the details seemed extremely unimportant. Though I do remember one detail in the form of an ex-girlfriend who threw herself into Andrew's arms in the reception line to "congratulate" him. That was popular. "Back off lady, he's mine--you had your chance."

One thing though, when I get nervous I get sick to my stomach. Really sick. And being that it was my wedding day I was rather nervous--okay I was a Stumbling MASS of Anxiety and Nerves. But I was so worried about making myself sick and ruining the day that I was really concentrating on keeping my stomach in its proper place. Everything went smoothly, I didn't eat anything but I didn't get sick and was able to make it through the day with smiles and hugs. Shoeless yet happy.

No, I saved my heaving for the airplane. The next day we were up at 4 am to catch our plane to Dallas, from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale, from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau, from Nassau to Eleuthra, from Eleuthra to Harbor Island by water taxi. I spent the ENTIRE Dallas-Ft. Lauderdale leg in the lavatory, begging for death. About the time the plane was ready to land I dragged myself down the aisle back to my seat to find Andrew talking to a little old couple in the seats behind ours. They were wrinkled and twinkly, the kind that must have been someone's favorite set of grandparents and Andrew smiled as I collapsed in the seat next to him.

"Dear, you don't look so good," the sweet little old lady said with a smile.

Andrew smiled a cheeky smile of his own and said, "She's not feeling so well. We got married yesterday."

The two of them said, "OH!" together and smiled like little school girls and did a giggle as I was wondering if there was anyone nearby who'd be willing to put me out of my misery. Nothing like having your insides ripped out unless it's having your insides ripped out and having the neighbors know it was your wedding night.

8. How was the honeymoon? Not bad, I mean you've heard our itinerary going down to the Bahamas and it was more of the same going back up to Anchorage for the second reception at my parents' home a week later. Nine planes total for the entire experience.

When we'd planned our honeymoon I'd accumulated Frequent Flyer tickets and we wanted to go as far as the miles would take us, so The Bahamas it was. We had visions of moonlit strolls on the beach, romantic rides by horseback with the surf pounding at our steeds' hooves, the scent of tropical blossoms wafting through the air.

Instead we arrived on Harbor Island (a total of three miles long and 20 feet wide) on Sunday. You recall I had been sick and had had nothing to eat for two days. I required sustenance. However, everyone on that dear, God-fearing island was in church. Every shop or stall was closed and there was nothing to eat on the entire island. Even the hotel restaurant was closed for the afternoon. We ended up walking toward town until we found a guy selling pineapple off the back of his pickup and we bought one and he chopped it up with his rusty machete for us. We ate like savages and it tasted wonderful.

The moonlit strolls never materialized. No one bothered to tell us novice travelers and city folk that when you're on an island in the middle of the ocean on a cloudy night it's dark. As is DARK. We went to the beach and couldn't see our feet and with only the sound of the waves and serial killers creeping towards us we got spooked and ran back to the bungalow and decided that was enough moonlit romance for us.

The horseback rides? Well there was a kid with two horses for rent and we mounted up with visions of galloping passion--though it was more of a heave than a mount because I'd never been on a horse before and required quite a bit of help. The nags were safe enough but no one ever mentioned how bouncy riding a horse is--someone really needs to invent a better shock-absorption system because you get your brains jarred out if you don't know what you're doing. I didn't know what I was doing. So instead of galloping flames of passion we had clopping, bouncing, brain-jarring marching guaranteed to make anyone watching double over in laughter. Oh yes, it was romantic.

So after five days we were ready to head back to civilization. We should have stayed at the Hyatt-Regency in Denver and enjoyed room service for five days.


So now that I've borne my soul about my wonderful 15 years of marriage are you ready to spill your guts? Whom shall I tag? How about . . .

An Ordinary Mom
Mental Tesserae
A Happy Heart
Dandelion Mama
I Love Flip Flops

If you'd care to play, the tag is yours.

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Anonymous said...

mmmm your 8 things about your marriage could be a nice novel or movie.

Mary Alice said...

That was lovely. Just curious, is Andrew a former Air Force brat being from Colorado Springs? (I’m sure, being near a base now in Anchorage, you have only heard that question a few times less than the one about playing basketball)

Shalee said...

Oh, I'm glad to see that Andrew took your issue as "the great challenge". And that he won.

And on our first time together, Mr. Right didn't have enough money for our KFC picnic. He's lucky I hadn't blown all my workstudy check yet, otherwise we would have been playing at the park eating just biscuits. There's romance in the making, I tell you...

Deb (aka bobo) said...

Guess I shouldnt feel bad considering I've never had a honeymoon. That's for the 50th wedding anniversary party.
the Alaskan Mom

Robin said...

That was lovely Michelle, just the right mix of love story and tongue-in-cheek humor.

I remember a tall friend of mine once threatened to have a button made that said "yes the weather's fine, and no I don't play basketball". Though at barely 5'3" myself I'm more likely to be asked how's the weather down there. Just as a cultural note, I'm not actually that short in Israel, so it's always a bit of a shock to go back to the US and see everyone towering over me.

deedee said...

Your first date reminds me a little of mine. After meeting on a blind date boat ride, my future husband asked me out for pizza. When we got to the restaurant, he had to borrow a shirt from a waiter, we were coming back from the beach and his was wet and sandy. And then after we ordered, he asked if I could pay because he didn't have his wallet.

Heather said...

Great story. I can't imagine eating pineapple on an empty, upset stomach, though. You are iron woman as far as I'm concerned! :o)

Charlotta-love said...

I am only 5'8" and I get asked if I played basketball or volleyball all the time. No. You see these long legs...I have no control over them unless I'm walking or biking. Running...HA! I enjoyed the post. I guess I need to find a guy who can't cover the tip. :o)

Deb said...

That was a great story and you tell it so well! :)

Qtpies7 said...

LOL those are great!
I met my husband because he was standing by a really cute guy I wanted to meet. hehe

Lei said...

I love that you make these things fun and interesting to read.:) What year did you graduate from the Y?

Amy said...

My friend and I have decided there are two types of events in life: Those that are funny when they happen, and those that make for great stories later.

Oh, and I was barefoot on my wedding day, too. In my case, it was intentional though.

metaDAD said...

Awesome, I did the same thing to my (future) wife on our first date - she was mortified (snicker, snicker).

R said...

LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome take on the 8 Things Meme. :)

Wow, you're tall! That's classic.

Sarah @ Ordinary Days said...

I love how you mentioned how unimportant the details seem at your reception. Same for us. We just had a great time and didn't really care if we got a chance to say hello to Great Aunt Gertrude who we hadn't seen in ten years. We just focused on enjoying OUR moment!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am a little shallow, too, although my husband and I ended up being the same height :) !!

I will play along, but give me a fed days ... weeks :) !!

An Ordinary Mom said...

fed = few ... I should probably go eat lunch now.

Mrs. O said...

Fun engagement story. You will have to go back sometime and get those moonlit strolls in.

Anonymous said...

What a fun post! It seems the best marriages often have inauspicious beginnings ;)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

I enjoyed reading this. It was a great idea to share 8 things about your marriage. What a fun story!

Anonymous said...

That was so sweet to read. My husband is on the tall side and HATES when people ask him if he is into basketball!

Anonymous said...

hi michelle: i literally giggled out loud when i clicked open this and saw that picture you decided to post with this! you are a hoot. the horseback ride was funny, too. thanks for sharing. i love the way you use your flair to colorfully paint a story instead of just throwing the papers at me. ~blessings, kathleen :)

ps. i was over at an appt during your church time sunday, but didn't see you. wanted to say hi. so HI michelle :)

Blondie said...

I love hearing about how people found each other in life. This is great!

JHS said...

You're a brilliant blogger. You knew that when your readers saw that photo of Anita Hill next to the headline "Eight Things About My Marriage," we were gonna have to read the article! :-) At least, I was . . . being a . . .(ahem) lawyer. I used to practice family law, too, so that really got my attention!

Unknown said...

That is great! I loved it. What a great way to respond to a tag.

Michelle Alley said...

What a fun tag! I'm on! What a fun post. So hilarious you forgot your shoes, and he forgot his black socks - sounds like a good match!

DMo said...

I really enjoyed reading about the beginning of your life together. That is a fun topic to hear couples talk about. I would be curious to hear the same story from your husband's perspective. :-)

I enjoy reminiscing with my wife about our experiences together--I think it brings us closer...and certainly makes us smile.

Anonymous said...

That was so funny!

Unknown said...

How seriously fun was that? I loved the journey!!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a great wedding! Well, at the end of the day only one thing matters: LOVE. L - life withe the beloved, O - Oh, my GOD - how great it can be!; V - very extraordinary thing called you and I; E - eternity