Fifteen Years

In some ways, it seems like just yesterday and in others it seems like I’ve never known life without Michael. He’s my soul mate and my best friend. Today marks 15 years of being married to him. Best decision I ever made. Go read his post and see lots of fun pictures of us through the years.

My Mother’s Friend

Ruth is a friend of my mother. She’s lived a simple life in a trailer in rural Oklahoma raising her grandchildren on minimum wage with the help of her spouse of 20 years.

Ruth died last week, and her spouse is alone. Alone without the benefit of Ruth’s social security, her pension, nothing. You see, Sharon is Ruth’s widow.

The light-bulb went off for my mom. Why shouldn’t Sharon be entitled to the same benefits as any other widow? Why should the life they built together be so unceremoniously tossed aside? Ruth and Sharon’s relationship never hurt my traditional marriage.

This is what the marriage equality movement is fighting for. Ruth and Sharon. The right to live and love and pass that love along to their grandchildren. The right to leave your spouse with the benefits you worked for.

My mother contacted my cousin to tell him that she understood a little better what he was fighting for. Her message:

Crying over my lunch. One of my members who has become more of a friend then just someone you deal with professionally just died. These two ladies have shared their lives for many years. No matter who called they would say this is Ruth&Sharon. Well Ruth died yesterday so Sharon called me to set up an account for people to donate to so she can pay for a simple memorial service. I took care of business but now I am much closer to understanding your stance on same sex marriage Sharon now has no financial help. Love ya

My cousin turned it into something awesome because he is cool like that. He gathered donations and matched funds to be sent to Sharon as an anonymous miracle.  He did this in addition to the work he does with The Trevor Project. He is a blessing that reaches far beyond the LGBT community.

Within one day, donations reached the maximum of what he could match. Thus is the ever continuing magic of community. It gives me hope in the face of a world that seems more insane and cruel each day. This kindness won’t bring Ruth back or even fix all the wrongs and injustices, but at least Sharon doesn’t have to feel alone.

I can’t do much, but I’ll be pitching in as well. I can’t fathom the hurt of losing the love of your life and being left adrift. It’s not right and if my small donation can help lessen her burden, then it’s the least I can do. I cannot share all the details due to privacy concerns, but if you want to help too, I will act as middle-woman and get whatever funds deposited into her memorial fund. Get in touch with me or just hit the Paypal button with a note telling me that it is for Ruth and Sharon. At the very least, spare a kind thought or prayer for Sharon.

There is so much need out there. I know we are all stretched pretty thin. Please don’t feel obligated. Just know the opportunity is out there to be part of her little miracle.

To Love and Be Loved

We don’t generally do much in the annual exchange of cards, dead plants, and candy. Honestly, we don’t need a mass produced sentiment because we love each other every day. Also, I am excellent at killing my own plants.

Sure, we’re lucky, but it’s not all luck. And since I’m not a ECLFWWLINYAPASRTAWAP, I might just have something useful to share.  I’m no east coast liberal feminist type, after all. I have been happily married for 14 years, never divorced, I have 1 child, etc.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

I’m talking to the singles here.  Are you just going to the singles bar, the club, whatever in the interest of meeting your soulmate? Stop. You are wasting your time. Go do something you love that you are actually passionate about. Chances are, you’ll meet someone there that’s passionate about what you’re passionate about.  This starts you several steps ahead.

My husband and I met in the music building at the University of Central Oklahoma.  Music people are weird, so we automatically had that in common.

Ditch the script and talk

On your first date, instead of just trying to impress them enough to make sure and have a second date, try having a conversation.  Attempt to get to know each other a bit. Find out what makes them tick. You’ve already got at least one shared interest so breaking the ice should be fairly simple.  If you’ve just found the right one, the story of your first date may be one you tell your grandkids one day.

For our first date (which wasn’t technically supposed to be a date, but I digress), we went to Denny’s and shared an appetizer of chicken fingers. Being the one with disposable income at the time, I paid.  It did not make me feel like some sort of empowered woman, just an employed one. He still opened the doors and got my chair. We never finished those chicken fingers because we were so absolutely engrossed in our conversation.

Moving forward

Gentleman: Be creative.  If she demands expensive trinkets to prove your love, move on. There’s nothing wrong with lavishing her with gifts, but romance doesn’t need to be expensive.

Ladies: Don’t demand expensive tokens of affection in order to earn your continued attention.  There are particular professions where you can trade your company and affections for compensation.  That’s not a relationship.

Early in our relationship, I was up in my 3rd floor dorm room when I heard something hit the window.  Pebbles.  I looked out only to see EvylRobot standing on the sidewalk looking back at me clutching a bouquet of daffodils that he’d cut from his grandmother’s garden.

Let your relationship grow and nurture it along the way. Be best friends. The friendship will get you through a lot.

So Now It’s Permanent

You’ve exchanged vows or decided that this thing is for the long haul in some form or fashion. Don’t stop being enthralled. Always be thankful that this amazing human being chose you. Guess that makes you pretty great yourself.

Ladies: I’m looking at you. You’ve found your knight in shining armor. He’s strong and handsome. He’s skilled and intelligent. Treat him that way. Never belittle him. Yes, you are going to get angry. Talk about the actual issue, don’t tear down your man. If you’ve seen the wife on a prime time sitcom say it to her husband, you shouldn’t say it to yours.  You didn’t marry the buffoon comic relief that sells Swiffers to soccer moms between canned laughter. Treat him like the champion he is.  He was good enough to win you over, right?

Also, there is nothing wrong with catering to him and his desires to a certain extent. I’m not talking about becoming the silent mouse of a wife that waits on her husband. I mean, don’t be a self-centered slug. No, you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym in some attempt to keep the 20 year old hard-body figure that attracted him in the first place, but don’t spend all of your down time beached on the couch in unflattering pajamas either. No, you won’t be in top form and in your cutest most flattering outfit that accentuates all the right curves every day. Sometimes, you’re going to be the slug on the couch. But a little effort goes a long way. It’s not all about your appearance either. Get him his favorite ice cream, take care of his socks. Make an effort to make him feel special.

Guys: Don’t belittle your wife. She’s the lovely, engaging creature that was good enough to capture your attention, right? Don’t let anyone else whittle her down either. Sometimes that means you face off with a friend that isn’t treating her with the respect she deserves. Sometimes that means you reassure her and build her back up when she needs it. Although she may be capable, sometimes she needs you to rescue her. Be her champion.

And I bet you can guess what’s next.  You don’t get to be a slug either. Make the effort and do the things that make her happy too.  Make her feel special.

To both parties: TALK! About everything. Yes, everything.  Your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your bowel movements. Ok, keep the last one to a minimum, probably. Seriously, communication is the cornerstone for every relationship. When that little voice in the back of your head says ‘better not mention this to husband/wife,’ tell that voice to shove it and tell your significant other about it. Maybe it’s that cute intern in the office that said something flirtatious. Telling your significant other about it lowers the threat level.

Which brings me to my next point. You’re relationship is worth defending. Don’t go griping to some third party and use caution with ‘harmless’ flirtation. That not belittling thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, especially don’t do it when they aren’t around. (I should note that seeking counseling is not griping to a third party. Seeking counseling is also not a sign that you have failed and need help. Sometimes it may be worth while to seek the guidance of a professional almost like a relationship check-up and an opportunity to make it better.)

Life is an adventure. Take your adventures together. Sometimes, they are scary and crazy and just might work (BTW- 2012 was the first profitable year for TheHolsterSite. Throwing your savings into a CD so you can take a loan out against it to buy an industrial sewing machine so the one of you that’s just been laid-off can launch a full time business from home counts as a pretty scary and crazy adventure. Turned a profit in the 3rd year, this crazy thing just might work.) Take up a new hobby together or show interest in a hobby they’ve already got. Way back at the beginning, we started this on a footing of a shared passion. Hang on to that and find more. Always treat your significant other with the respect they deserve and be deserving of the respect they give you.

Kids

Yep, your focus and schedule and priorities are going to change when you add offspring. Make sure your relationship does not take a back seat to being parents. Your job as a parent is to guide your children into adulthood. Once that task is done, you don’t want to have to get to know each other all over again. Take time for each other.

And so on

I’m not going to tell you how to raise your kids or how to divide up the household chores. We have a pretty good division of labor and ignore our chores equally. You get to figure that out on your own.

No, not every relationship will fit the pattern. Not every family will look the same. And no one can give you the formula for how it is going to work for you. Certainly not me. All I can tell you is what works for us. Do we always get it right? Nope. But we will always keep trying.

This Valentine’s Day, and everyday, if you’ve got a special someone, think about how they are special and how blessed you are to be with them.

If you don’t, be awesome anyway, and treat yourself like the impressive creature that you are.

14 Years Ago Today

14 years ago today, I pledged to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, and I am so glad I did.  We’ve shared our ups and downs and gone on many adventures. I expect we will have many more adventures in the future.  Never a dull moment.

Best Wedding Gift Ever

Williams Sonoma doesn’t carry it.  I don’t think you can even order it from Amazon.

Brad Pitt bought Angelina Jolie a shooting range and armory as a wedding present.  Good job, cute dancing monkey!

I can think of few gifts that would be more romantic.  And honestly, I think he got the idea from EvylRobot.  Or maybe those Oklahoma boys are just awesome like that.  For our 10 year wedding anniversary, EvylRobot took me out to our own shooting range.  We laid down on a blanket with a couple of rifles and spent the afternoon making targets dance across the field.

(h/t Stranger)

Hard To Believe We Were Ever So Young

That’s us.  Thirteen years ago today.  Can you believe it? Look at that full head of red hair. I had to wrestle the wedding album onto the scanner for that one.  That’s right, we got married back when they were still using film.

So far, the second decade together is even better than the first.  We’ve been through amazing adventures and only grown closer.   Sure, we’ve been through tough times, but we never would have gotten through them alone. And the years have balanced far more heavily on the good side of things.  Michael is and will always be my very best friend and one true love. I’m looking forward to many more years together.

 

 

Happy Birthday!!

Well, not really a “birth” day technically as the EvylRobot, being a robot, never made a birth canal journey, but happy cut-from-your-mother day doesn’t flow so easily.  And I don’t think Hallmark makes a card for that.

Today we are celebrating the anniversary of the EvylRobot‘s entry into the world.  I, for one, am quite thankful he was extracted.

Not only is he my husband; he is my best friend.  He’s my co-conspirator in life’s adventures, and the father of the one and only WeeBot.  You see, when I sprung for a robot, I got the Deluxe edition.  Spared no expense, I tell you.  You all know him as the craftsman of the finest custom leather holsters money can buy.  Did you know he’s also a wonderful cook?  And a musician?  Even after 13 years together, I keep discovering new bonus features.  And his chassis has held up quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

Needless to say, I’m crazy about him.  Happy Birth Release Day!

Fellowship Of The Gun

I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started shooting.  Honestly, I just wanted to add a new skill into my skill set.  I never would have guessed that it would strengthen my already awesome marriage. It is an awesome thing when your spouse is you best friend and partner.  It’s even better when you share so many interests in common.

Hubby has a great guest post up on The Weapon Blog today.

The fellowship of the gun is a powerful bonding experience. Sure, when you run the machine in the zone, there is you, your target, and the gun connecting you. Everything else dulls and fades out as though time is slowing down all around the little tunnel that the shot is going to follow. But, to have your best friend and lover there to cheer your greatest shots and offer a “you’ll do better next time” for the botched ones – there is little else that compares except of course, being on the other end of that interchange.

Go read the whole thing.