Tag Archives: anniversary

Side by Side – Practically

Well, time sure flies, because once again this week it was our wedding anniversary.  And while this one passed without major “incident”unlike some of them, in reflecting, it seems that it was evident early in our life together that romance was going to take a bit of a back seat to practicality. 

For example, back then, who got married on December 1st, except of course people who were putting together a quick wedding and couldn’t wait until June because they would be a family by then?  We did – for the romantic reason that back in those days I worked in an accounting office.  In 1979 the tax laws were such that a husband only had to claim the wife’s income from the date of marriage – so he actually got to claim me as a dependent for the whole year, meaning that our income tax refund paid for our 2 week Bahamas honeymoon.  Now that’s Amore.

Even as we departed the next day on our honeymoon, our dreamy, romantic resolve was tested.  In an ironic twist, we were the only married people on a plane load of “PWPs” – Parents without Partners.  And man, THOSE people could party.  It was the one week a year they got away from their kids. We weren’t even off the tarmac and they were  sitting on each other’s laps lighting up smokes (you could do that then), blasting music and conga-dancing down the aisle  – and making snide comments about how we were sure to become “future members”.

 Then fast forward a couple of years to an anniversary that we decided to celebrate by going to a romantic lodge in Haliburton.  We made our way to the quaint destination, and when we booked in, we were informed that we were the only non-members of a family reunion that was taking place at the lodge. They had booked all the rooms plus the cabins.   We both got dressed up into our nice evening wear to go have our anniversary dinner in the dining room downstairs, and found it completely full of the very loud, very boisterous “Mc-Something” clan.  We attempted to hold hands and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, but it was somewhat diminished by the fact that the family reunion people had selected this night to hold a “funny hat contest”.  It’s hard to sustain that come hither “look of love” glow when you’re interrupted and asked to pass the salt by a man wearing toilet paper roll antlers at the next table.  We finally adopted an “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” attitude, and instead of spending the rest of the evening reminiscing about our wedded bliss, we cleaned up at their Euchre tournament.

One downside of a December anniversary is that you are also competing with the Christmas party crowd.  Another time – our 10th , we went to a very nice upscale restaurant in our town, and it was SUCH a big deal because by now we had a couple kiddies so we usually only dined out under golden arches.  This night, with Grandma babysitting, once again we’re all decked out in our finery, and they sat us in a room at a cute little table for 2, right beside a long table that sat about 24 people from a local firm celebrating their Christmas party.  There were non-stop speeches and service awards all night.  (It sounded like a nice place to work.  I made a mental note to send them a resume.) Ever impressionable, I found myself wishing I had thought to get hubby a 10 year plaque. 

Of course there have been lots of anniversaries since that one – and this year we took practical to a whole new level.  I stopped at the drug store the other night to pick up an anniversary card, and lo and behold, found my beloved in the same aisle, on the same mission.  But he had already been to one store and come up empty handed.  He explained that there were none that expressed his feelings.  I completely get that.  He likes to get the sentimental cards, and couldn’t find any that said “I love you, moreso when you aren’t being a bitch”.  And as per usual, the ones I looked at for him all had me gagging and laughing out loud, – not because he isn’t wonderful, but I’ve just never been able to pull off a “You complete me” with a straight face.  My go-to card usually mentions something about stealing the covers, or pictures of a couple of cute dogs snuggled up together, and the sentiment is implied and unspoken. So in this instance, instead of actually purchasing cards, we just pointed out to each other the ones that we would have purchased. (I went the high roller route and chose the pricey “sound” one that blared Shania Twain’s classic “You’re Still the One”.)  Then we spent the $10 on lottery tickets instead, and left the store.

Then yesterday, on our actual anniversary, we very practically went to a restaurant where we’ve accumulated a substantial number of “VIP” points, and we need to use them up, because we think we won’t be going there much in the future.  First we had to wait at the bar because neither of us even thought of making a reservation. The romantic ambiance was established almost immediately, as they had an Ultimate Fighting show on the bar tv, and there were numerous scenes of heavily tattooed, bald and buff fighters with cauliflower ears and blood coming out of their mouths.  Romantic AND appetizing.

The hostess then sat us in a booth beside the entertainment (that’s new), a 70 ish Scottish man with a guitar who started up the minute we were seated, singing loud mournful ballads, with the odd Jimmy Buffett and Roger Miller thrown in for good measure.  Conversation was out of the question.  So, not wanting the evening to be a total bust, in my mind the evening focus shifted from romantic dinner to mouth-full sing-alongs of “Those Were the Days”, and “Trailer for Sale or Rent”.  Hubby was unphased by my impromptu booth-side Karaoke. After all these years he knows that if there’s music and I know the words, I can’t resist.  And truthfully, knowing the real words isn’t a deal breaker.

At the end of our day though, we carried out our ritual of getting out the wedding album and looking at the skinny bride with the sausage roll flipped hair, and the dress that copied the one in the Rocky movie, and the lean groom with the jet black hair, mutton chops and Magnum PI moustache.

Those Parents Without Partners may have been half right.  After all these years, we may be a bit lighter on the romance – but we are PWPs. Partners who are Practical.

 

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Wedded Bliss aka Hell on Wheels – Part 2

Where was I? Oh yes, discussing our uber-romantic anniversary memories, the stuff mushy greeting cards are made of.

Fast forward 11 years. It’s Dec. 1, 2010. We’re now celebrating our 31st anniversary. Hubby looks the same as he did on our 20th – whereas the only thing unchanged on me is that I’m probably wearing the same outfit. The two of us were going to have dinner at a pub, and then coming home to exchange cards and gifts. Still, logistics must be organized to accommodate our kids. Kate needs picked up at a friend’s on the way home.

Before we headed out to dinner he announced “I’m not taking my phone – you’ve got yours.” (Important information later.) We dined, picked Kate up and when the three of us got home it was pouring rain, so I reached my hand out and he handed me the keys. He had been complaining that the lights in the car were too dim on the way home, so I muttered something about, was he going to check the headlights, and Kate and I made a dash for the house. I struggled a bit with unlocking the door to the house, but we got in and went about our business.

I went upstairs, and logged onto our computer. Kate was watching tv, and playing with the cats. About 1/2 hr passed. I was surprised that he was taking so long outside because he had his nice clothes on, and we were planning to exchange our anniversary cards and have cake. Then I heard pounding – like I hear when he’s locked out of the house. I walked downstairs and asked Kate if Dad was locked out, but I checked the porch door and it wasn’t locked – and I saw that he was sitting in the car with the interior lights on reading something (which I expected was probably the car manual or something to do with the dim headlight problem) so decided I must be hearing things, and headed back inside.

So about 20 minutes later (50 minutes had now elapsed since we got home) he comes STORMING into the kitchen like a madman and flings his leather coat across the floor like a lunatic. I say, “What were you doing out there?” He answers, “TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE #*#(%((%## CAR”!!! It seems he had been LOCKED in the car ever since we got home. Evidently, if you lock the car and leave it (remember the part where I struggled with opening the house door? Apparently I clicked the car lock) it becomes a virtual prison. Plus without the keys the horn doesn’t work – he didn’t have his phone – he was flashing the lights off and on but of course we didn’t notice because we were staring at our respective electronic devices. And did I mention he’s somewhat claustrophobic?? And also that he had to PEE???? It seems that the pounding noise I thought I heard was him, trying to kick out a window. And the precise moment when I looked out at and saw him calmly reading – that just happened to be when he had decided as a last resort to read the manual to see if there was any way to open the doors from inside.

Apparently there was something in the manual … because he got the passenger door open – but he won’t tell us what he had to do. He says we’ll have to figure it out ourselves when it happens to us. Of course, Kate and I were understandably concerned and sympathetic on the floor laughing till we cried. And, unbelievably, he no longer wanted to exchange anniversary cards or have cake, and said we should wait until tomorrow. Who knew men in their 50s could be so moody?

My car was quite a sight. It looked like I had been harbouring a pack of angry cheetahs. He trashed it. He remembered some emergency escape thing he saw in the trunk, and attempted to get to it by ripping out the not- normally-removable back seat. Even one of my CDs was smashed – which I later learned was in an attempt to fashion a MacGyver style tool to pick the lock. Also, I used to have Sirius Satellite radio, but it seems the antenna was not designed to survive a sustained 200lb man thrashing.
I drove to work the next day in a back-seat less, radioless, car that had a string dangling from the rear view mirror where my air freshener used to be. Good times.

Ahh, anniversary memories. They still bring a tear to my eye.

Legal Notice – the “He’s not an idiot” clause : In order that I be allowed to write about this, I had to agree to a include this link illustrating that there is an ongoing issue with people getting locked in BMWs. http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1391032

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Wedded Bliss – aka Hell on Wheels Part#1

Recently there have been a number of acquaintances of ours celebrating milestone anniversaries, and it makes me look back fondly(?) on some of our own. We know couples who have renewed vows in elaborate ceremonies, re-enacted proposals in romantic locations, further validating their bonds with substantial pieces of jewellery. What our anniversaries lacked in romance and gemstones, they have tended to make up for in memorability.

Take our 20th anniversary, Dec 1st 1999. The kids were 13, 11 and 9. We were rabid hockey parents of our 13-year-old son, and a big game happened to fall on our special day, in the distant town of Goderich. Since we at this point still clung to the faint hope that we had spawned the next Gretzky, missing the game was out of the question, so we had decided to make the best of it and have a fun pizza dinner before the game. But, it was all very convoluted. Hubby was commuting with someone else, so had to get dropped off after work to join me and the 3 kids at the Pizza Hut in Kitchener, en route to the game.

We all arrived, and we waited 40 minutes until the lone waitress made her way back to us and admitted that it was their staff Christmas Party night, and that they hadn’t even begun to prepare the food we ordered over half an hour ago. We had to leave right away to be on time for the game, but promised the kids we would go out afterwards. We paid for our pitcher of pop (stupidly – I was far too nice during the 90s) and left.

After the game, we went to the Goderich Pizza Hut. Now weak from hunger, in their haste to get inside the restaurant, the kids tumbled out of the back of our clown car-esque Mazda Protege, and slammed the door hard, before ensuring that all limbs including digits had safely exited the vehicle. Little Laura, our youngest, had her thumb slammed in the door. I herded her, wailing like a banshee, through the crowded restaurant to the bathroom, while the rest of the family went to a table. I ran the cold water over her hand, trying to convince her (and myself) that it was fine. What didn’t help my case, was a bystander customer, (who was a bit ghoulish, frankly) who hovered around us saying helpful things over and over like: “Oh yah, that’s broke for sure.”

Laura could not be silenced long enough for me to even get a breadstick into my growling stomach, and my repeated reassurance that going to the hospital wasn’t necessary wasn’t working, mostly due to:
a) ghoul lady
b) the pulsing and rapidly increasing size and awkward angle of the digit in question.

So again I herded her still-wailing self out through the restaurant to deliver the news to the family that for the second time today, we would be leaving a Pizza Hut hungry.I arrived at the table to see sister Kate maniacally laughing. One of the selling points of Pizza Hut to my kids, was their hard and fast “10 crayon guarantee”, for serious table colourers. She was giddy from low blood sugar, and when the waitress brought her a colouring place mat and 10 crayons, she found the fact that 7 of the crayons were red, and 3 were yellow, hysterically funny. The wait staff were looking at her as if they were on the verge of fashioning a strait-jacket out of the table-cloth.  Hubby had already placed our order, and the sympathetic staff (surprisingly eager to see the back of us) gave us a bag of ice and offered to make it a take-out order. They kindly told us where the local hospital was, and then offered to deliver our pizza to the hospital parking lot. We paid and all loaded up back into the Mazda and sped off.

Dad and I took Laura into the Emergency room, which involved an x-ray and a splinting. The two older kids waited in excited anticipation for the pizza delivery in the car. We live in the country, and don’t have the benefit of fast food delivery, so this was a momentous occasion for them indeed, a stranger showing up at the door (albeit in this case, the car door), and not only were they allowed to talk to him, he was going to provide them with food. It was a happy day.

When we were finished in the ER about an hour later, we made our way across the parking lot toward the Mazda with the completely steamed up windows, a telltale sign that our romantic dinner entrée had arrived. To add insult AND injury, when little Laura got into the back of the car with her hand all bandaged up, she whacked her head on the door frame, once again setting off the familiar wailing that had by now become the soundtrack to this 20th anniversary, and causing her sympathetic sister to once again, laugh hysterically, to the point of pop coming out of her nose.

The older two had made their way through most of the pizza, but had thoughtfully left a couple of pieces for the patient, and for us two lovebirds. It’s hard to stare soulfully into each other’s eyes and drink your cans of pops with romantically entwined arms, when you’re both facing forward and wearing seatbelts, but we did our best.

Until last year, I thought our 20th would stand as our most memorable anniversary. It seems I was wrong  … which explains why this post is a two-parter.

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