13 years of wedded bliss out of 14 ain’t bad

It was HER making room in HER house for MY stuff; it wasn’t ours.

I was flicking through the TV channels a couple of weeks ago and discovered there’s some new reality show about newlyweds that’s going to be airing soon. Couldn’t tell you the name of it – and truth to tell, wouldn’t bother to look it up – but the clips were full of Sturm und Drang because doesn’t that sound entertaining?

The running joke The Wife and I have is that we’ve been happily married 13 years; we’ve been wed 14 . The skill of fading memory makes that first 12 months not feel THAT bad. We didn’t argue as such. Still, it had its stresses, and most of it involved space.

I had been living in an apartment before we got married. Meanwhile, she had purchased a two-family dwelling in the early 1990s, and she was living on the first floor. When we got hitched, the task was to move all of our stuff into that half of the house.

First, we got rid of my microwave and much of my furniture for space consideration. The microwave was large and older, so she was worried about radiation or the like; interestingly, we donated it to soon to be former church. We didn’t replace it with a smaller model because she didn’t think we’d need it, and there was no counter space anyway. (I’d only been using mine almost every day.) I had purchased a nifty chair only a couple of years earlier – real furniture I bought, rather than bachelor make-do – and I was sad to get rid of it, though I did give it to a friend who could use it.

The furniture of mine we did keep was squeezed in here and there. My wife and mother-in-law were watching one of those HGTV home renovation guys. I happened to be in the room at the time. He suggested building “up, up!” So we had one dressing on top of another. It looked goofy to me, and I wondered if the floor could bear the weight. Other things were boxed up, inaccessible.

One of the surprisingly sage things our then-minister said in premarital counseling was that we ought to get a place of our own. I tended to agree, even before the fact, but she didn’t understand. She was making room in her closet for my clothes, wasn’t she? That was the point; it was HER making room in HER house for MY stuff; it wasn’t ours.

This is why, in the fall of 1999, we started house hunting, and actually moved into our current dwelling in May 2000, shortly before our first anniversary. The new house has its own series of problems – it’s over 100 years old – but claustrophobia at least isn’t one of them.

More to the point, it’s OUR house, and that has made all the difference in the world. There are ancillary stories about popcorn, and Scotland I’ll tell, but only if you ask.

Happy 14th anniversary to my honey.