Chats with K on my B-day

(Did you notice my title rhymed?? All these chats didn’t happen today…)
In honor of my birthday (today!) I’m sharing a collection of conversations with my husband, otherwise known as ‘Chats with K.’ We’ve got some good ones today.

I needed a sound system setup for a wedding shower…
K: Do you want to use these speakers? I have two of them and a sub woofer in my office.
Me, walking into his office: What do they look like?
K: Um. One fell over right here. One fell on the floor under my desk. And the sub woofer is… uh.. I think it might be.. no…. I think it’s in this pile.
Me: Your office is quite the mysterious place, dear.

Still talking about speakers…
K: I’d like to get another Sonus or two for the new house but they’re expensive.
Me: I wish it was possible to read all the books in the world.
K: …I think we’re on two different strings of thought right now.

While walking down the NUT aisle at the grocery store…
K: Look at that big jar of nuts! I just want to stick my face in it!
Me: …you want to bury your face in those nuts?
K: I do.

I leaned in to give him a kiss for the first time that day…
K: Your breath smells like a trash panda.

K: You’re 26 going on 27. I’m going to need you to realize this and stop saying “ghosted” and “chill as f*ck.”
Me: I’m a millennial. I use millennial phrases. You’re a millennial, too.
K: No. I’m a baby boomer at heart.

In the same breath…
Me, while scrolling through thehomeedit: These pictures are giving me serious goals. I mean… not to sound like a millennial or anything.
K: Ha. Most millennials don’t have goals so I’d say you’re doing great.
(Here I reminded him, for the 14 millionth time, he’s a millennial.)

Me: Do you know how I know I’m getting sick?
K: Because you’re blowing your nose constantly?
Me: …well, I guess. But also because I’m so hungry.
K: Oh. Well of course.

K: It sucks that my appointment doesn’t start at the same time as yours.
Me: Yeah.
K: I’m just going to be sitting around, biting my tongue.
Me: …bidding your time?
K: No, biting my tongue. I just bite it. Damn it. That’s a day-ruiner.

Me: Did you hear Hugh Hefner died?
K: Yeah. He’s probably the only person that people don’t say, “Well he’s in a better place now” about.


When I turned 25 I flipped my lid but 27 doesn’t seem bad at all. Last weekend we spent our time celebrating our friends at their wedding and next weekend we’ll be burning calories moving all the remaining stuff into the new house. This birthday is truly sandwiched by incredible events and the most wonderful people. I feel very fortunate and happy today 🙂

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Guest Post from Finding Ithaka: Marriage in the Military

Hi, readers of Life as Louise! My name is Carolann, and I blog over at Finding Ithaka.

I’m a writer and military spouse living in Hawaii. My husband, Nick, is a submarine officer. He’s had a lot of different jobs over the years, but he’s currently working on a submarine. The past year has been really hard because he has been gone a lot getting the boat ready for deployment.

My blog is named after a poem called “Ithaka,” (http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=74&cat=1), which is about enjoying the journey in life instead of just focusing on the destination. I think that is great advice for anyone in life, but especially for military spouses, because the destination changes so much.

A few months ago, Audrey emailed me with an idea for a blog collaboration. She said one thing she noticed from reading my blog was how similar she and I are, but how different our marriages are. She works with her husband, and they spend a lot of time together. Over the past year, I have barely seen my husband.

So. how do you make your marriage work when you see each other all of the time? Do you drive each other crazy? And, how do you make it work when you barely see each other? We interviewed each other to find out! Read my answers below and then hop over to my blog (findingithaka.com) to see what she has to say!

1. How do you celebrate big days or holidays? Do you plan it around Nick being home or do you celebrate with friends/family/on your own?

If Nick is not around, I usually end up celebrating holidays and birthdays twice, which is not a bad deal! Because I live near many other military spouses, we all make sure that we have someone to celebrate our birthdays and even our wedding anniversaries with. No one will be alone on a special day.

But Nick and I always make up for the holidays when we are together. We’ve been known to celebrate holidays months after they have happened.

Even though I have been doing this for a long time, this year, it was surprisingly hard for me to be without Nick on our wedding anniversary.

Since we spend so much time apart and I don’t spend a lot of money when he’s gone, we tend to go big with celebrations whenever we are able. I am planning a big trip to another island for us so we can celebrate our anniversary, which I am excited about.

2. How do you handle big decisions when Nick is out to sea? How do you handle life-changing decisions together (i.e., moving across the country)?

Submarine officers change jobs every 2-3 years. They go back and forth between working on a submarine and shore tour. During a shore tour, they usually work in an office job that supports submarines in some way. Shore tours are great because they usually are home every night.

So, every 2-3 years, a big list of jobs comes out. Nick then has to rank the jobs by location and job. He talks to the detailer about what is more important to him – being in a specific location or having a certain type of job. While they ultimately send them wherever they need, I believe that they take your preferences into consideration.

You have to make a big list of what you want and explain your preferences. We always make the list of preferences together. He wouldn’t ask to go somewhere that I don’t want to go.

While I wasn’t sold on coming back to Hawaii for this tour, I knew that Nick wanted a specific job on a specific type of submarine here. I knew that if we were going to dedicate our lives to the military, I wanted Nick to enjoy what he was doing. So Hawaii here we are, and I am really glad we are here.

As far as smaller decisions go, those are harder when Nick is out to sea.

Communication with submarines is virtually nonexistent. We can send emails, but they take forever to get through. They also are screened, and we are not allowed to discuss dates. I can’t say something like, “when you come home for Christmas….”

I can’t ask him what he thinks I should do about our car or a problem I’m having with our landlord, because by the time he gets the email, responds to it, and I get his email, I will already have made a decision.

So, Nick and I have an agreement that whatever I decide to do while he is away, he will support that decision. Even if he would not have made the same decision. I mean, we’ve been together for ten years now, so I usually know what he would say, and we are usually on the same page anyway.

I fully believe that military life as a married couple is s a team effort. Each of us plays a different role. Part of that team effort is Nick giving me the freedom to do what I need to do while he’s gone. I never worry about what Nick will say because I know he supports me 100%, just like I support him.

3. What does dreaming about the future look like for you and Nick? Kyle and I dream about our professional and personal future at the same time, but I’m sure you guys are in for some big changes when one of you (specifically Nick) has a large career shift. Do you take it one year at a time or have you found ways to plan further out in the future? 

Nick and I were just talking about this! We like to dream about the long-term future after Nick gets out of the military. He has 14 years under his belt, so it’s not too much longer until he reaches 20 and can retire.

Anything before that is too hard to predict because we have no idea what jobs are going to be available for Nick or where we are going to live.

When I was younger, I dreamed of getting a Ph.D. in English and working as a professor.  But there is no way I can do that while I am always moving around. Maybe I will go back to school one day, but my dreams have changed.

Now, I dream of writing a memoir about my life as a military spouse after Nick retires. My professional goals have shifted, but I learned that have that having a solid family life is more important to me than a big career. I want to be home with Nick when he is home. I want to spend time with my family. I don’t want a corner office.

Nick dreams of going to culinary school. We want to write a cookbook together.

But mostly, we dream about settling down somewhere quiet with a dog and a couple of kids, never moving again, spending our weekends hanging out with our family and going on adventures. I’ll write my book while Nick makes us dinner.

I think that all of the time we have spent apart from each other and our families has shifted our priorities. Our priorities are not about our careers, but about what we want out of our life.

4. When you’re together, how do you and your husband intentionally spend quality time with one another? 

Our favorite thing to do is cook dinner together, drink some wine, and hang out on the couch. We bond over food and cooking together. Before Nick was in the military, he worked as a cook, and he has always loved cooking.

We also love to travel! Since I save a lot of money when Nick is gone, we like to put that extra money towards taking big trips together. That uninterrupted time together has been so important for us to reconnect. We like to do the same things when we travel – eat, hike, and explore – so those are always really great times for us.

I am on my phone all of the time, but I try not to be on my phone when Nick and I are together. The less time you have together, the more precious that time becomes. I do think that this life has made us appreciate each other in ways we would never have otherwise.

5. What are your favorite qualities about your husband and how do those qualities contribute to your unique relationship?

They say that opposites attract. That has never been truer for a couple than it is for Nick and me. But this is what makes him so interesting to me, what keeps us talking all night long. Where I lack, he is strong, and where he lacks, I am strong.

Nick never gets angry, and he has so much patience. His calm, laid-back attitude is a really good balance for me because I have a lot of anxiety. He’s good at helping me calm down.

I love Nick’s spontaneity, the way he thrives on trying new things and lives his life to the fullest. I love that he is always up for anything. I love his strength, his unique way of looking at the world, and his deep insight. I have never met anyone like him. All of these qualities, I think, are key to thriving in the military. I think he does a pretty good job managing his work/life balance and not bringing work home with him – which helps our marraige a lot.

Nick is incredibly selfless, and he never takes the easy way out. He has sacrificed so much, volunteering for the toughest, most time-consuming responsibilities on the submarine that no one else wants, and taking the time to help anyone on his crew who needs him. Knowing that he puts everything he has into his job has made it easier for me to sacrifice my career to support him.

6. What’s the best marriage advice you can offer? What’s the worst marriage advice you’ve ever been given?

I think that simply being nice to each other and trying to understand where the other person is coming from is the key to our marriage. Even though we are married, we have such different lives. We have to try to find ways to understand what the other person is going through and what they need, even though we never really can.

He has no idea what it’s like for me to be constantly trying to reinvent my career and editing my resume. I have no idea what it’s like to work 100 hours a week on a submarine. Nick can’t even tell me about what he does at work. So we have to try to give each other the benefit of the doubt and do our best to help each other whenever we can.

Another thing is that since Nick works such long hours, I do all of the cleaning, errands, and running around. He cooks. That division of labor has also made it easier since we know exactly who is responsible for what.

The worst marriage came to me at my bridal shower from some of my older relatives. They all said, “never go to bed angry,” which I don’t agree with at all. Not all arguments can be solved in a few hours. Sometimes it’s best to go to bed and think about things and wake up refreshed the next moving.  Weirdly, a lot of other advice I got at my shower involved ways to make my husband think he was in charge while I am really the one in charge. I think that marriage is a team, not a game where you are trying to outsmart each other.

Now go visit Carolann’s page to see what I said about my marriage! And thank you to Carolann for collaborating with me and writing this wonderful post!!

Chats with K

Before we dive into our conversations… today is my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary! ❤︎ So I want to devote a paragraph or two to them real quick…

My parents are wonderful odd balls. (My brother and I got it honest.) My teenage years gave them (esp. my mom) a run for their money sanity, but as an adult I spend so much time with them. Mom and I still bicker sometimes & Dad and I shout over politics, but through the years I’ve learned so much about marriage and life from them. Honesty, forgiveness, understanding, and humor are the key ingredients to a happy relationship.

Bonnie & Clyde trying to steal the getaway-car thunder four years ago at our wedding…

So Happy THIRTIETH Anniversary to the animal-loving, garden-growing, child-raising, country-living parents that I’ve grown up loving and admiring. Fred and I are better people and better spouses because of you two. Thanks for everything! ❤︎

And now… a collection of random, weird conversations with the husband… 🙂

Me: You know… when I’m calm, I imagine these smooth-yet-wavy purple lines running through my body, carrying my calm energy to every limb. But right now I’m filled with these spiky hot pink and orange wiry balls just pulsing all throughout my insides because I’m so freakin’ anxious about all the things we have going on!
K: …your head is one f*cked up place to be, isn’t it?

In preparation for my garage sale…
Me: I’m pretty much done collecting stuff, but I wanted to ask if you had any shoes you wanted to get rid of.
K: No.
Me: …what about the ones in your office that you said you didn’t want.
*K glares at me.*
Me: So what you mean is ‘Yes, but I don’t want to take the time to look and weed them out.’

We’d been waiting almost two weeks for an important call…
K: Alright, Miss Cleo. You think they’re going to call today? What’re they going to say?
Me: Oh, Kyle. I don’t have that kind of foresight. I can’t predict when or how you’ll die, but I can predict that you’ll die.
K: Not me. I’ve hidden horcruxes everywhere. You’ll never get rid of me.
Me: …I so appreciate that reference, honey. But also I know two of them are the corvette and Lylee.

K was letting the dogs out and called me to the back patio.
K: This is either the biggest maggot I’ve ever seen or it’s the fattest, shortest worm.
Me: That’s a slug, dear.

The Fruit & Flowers Anniversary

According to the internet the 4th anniversary is traditionally the fruit/flowers anniversary.

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

Every single anniversary blows my mind- half my brain can’t believe we’re been *married* so long and the other half thinks of the wedding as mere weeks ago. It’s weird but I imagine most people feel this way about big days/events (…right?).

When we got married I was transitioning between jobs. I’d just left my role as an administrative assistant and was due to start as a technical writer once we returned from our honeymoon.
Four years later I work for/with K at Pageantry Innovations ❤︎

When we got married K was working full time at Dr.Pepper/Snapple. Then he’d spend 3 to 5 to 8 more hours a night at the PI workshop (a.k.a. my dad’s truck garage). All weekends were spent at the shop.
Four years later K works full time for himself and he operates out of a 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse with five employees (including me!).

When we got married I still lived at home. The week after our honeymoon I moved all some of my stuff to our 475 sq. ft. apartment that K had been living in alone.
Four years later we’re very comfortable and happy in our two-story home.

When we got married we had one dog and zero children. We adopted Lylee the December before the wedding.
Four years later we are still human-childless, but we’ve added a wagging tail to the pack with Enzo. The dogs will be 6 (Ly) and 4 (Enzo) this year.

Taking our 4th pic sometime this week!

When we got married my hair was brown and I was a life-long nail-biter.
Four years later it’s blonde. Ha. And I’ve mostly quit biting my nails!

When we got married my brother was single and lived at home and K’s brother was dating a fabulous girl named Alice. I gained one sis-in-law (K’s sister Lori) at our wedding.
Four years later my brother is now married to Xtina and living two hours from home. K’s brother also got married (to Alice!) so I gained two additional sisters-in-law!

When we got married our best friends were either single and loving it, dating and loving it, or newly married and loving it.
Four years later a few of our friends have a child or two and some of our friends are engaged to be married this year or next!

Bridal Shower 2013 (inspiration below…)

When we got married K didn’t have a passport.
Four years later I’ve gotten that boy out of the country three times. Heck yeah!

So… regardless of the way four years feels, I’d argue quite a bit has changed. I’m a big advocate of doing life at the right pace for you, and I’d say Kyle and I are managing that. I feel very lucky to have spent the last 4 years as his wife and I am ridiculously excited to spend the next 100+ more right next to him.

Happy Anniversary, Kyle ❤︎

Chats with K and more…

First order of business: Happy Birthday, Mom!
Secondly: K is my husband.

My mom called me but the call dropped almost immediately. Then she called back.
Me: Hello again.
Mom: Where ARE you??!
Me: Mom… you’re the one who dropped the call.
Mom: I know. I just wondered where you are.

. . .

While watching the Super Bowl in overtime.
Me: What the heck. Falcons had this. I don’t like Tom Brady. He’s a poophead.
K: A poophead, eh? That’s harsh.

. . .

Me: Self-pity doesn’t look good on you.
K: Everything looks good on me. Except sweaters.

. . .

K’s grandparents dropped off some candy at the office for us.
K: Do you have any Valentine’s Day candy left?
Me: …yes. What are you in the market for?
K: I’ll trade you these Skittles for something.
Me: You know I don’t eat Skittles.
*K gets up and starts to walk over.*
Me: Hey! Sit back down. You don’t get to raid my inventory.

. . .

Me: Alright, we’ve got to figure out lunch because I’m dying.
K: I’m not hungry yet.
Me: Fine. I’ll just get myself food. Maybe a bento box from Katana.
K: Get me a Hollywood roll.
Me: At this rate why don’t we just go eat there?!
K: I’m still full from my McDonald’s.
Me: AND THE TRUTH COMES OUT. No wonder you’re not hungry. You’ve been holding out on me.

. . .

Me: What would you do if I died?
K: Right now?
Me: Yes.
K: Probably drive you to a hospital.
Me: ….okay. I mean long term.
K: Oh. I don’t know.

. . .

We were sitting with a financial advisor discussing IRAs and K’s overall worth due to the business. The advisor stepped out of the office to get something and left us alone.
K (quietly): I’m worth more to you alive than dead.
Me: That’s true. For now…

. . .

I made a cleaning list to keep myself accountable. But then K saw it and decided to initial next to the chores he had completed.

And to be clear, by initialing next to “Load/Unload Dish Washer” he literally put his dinner plate in the rack. That’s it.

. . .

I’m glad we get each other’s somewhat dark humor. Ha.

THIRTY YEARS OLD

On Sunday my favorite human is turning 30 years old. THIRTY YEARS OLD. I met him when he was 18. That blows my mind.

Once again I was going to share the details of our Texas trip on here today. But then I decided I should write something about Kyle. But I don’t really know what to say…

I often mention K on this blog so there’s not much I haven’t said. (This birthday post is one of my favorites.) Today I’m making him answer some questions in honor of his birthday. Spoiler alert: He dodged most of them.

We’ll start with the hardest question: Peach pie or yellow cake with chocolate frosting?
It depends. Just a generic pie and cake, the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. If it’s your grandma’s peach pie, I’d pick that.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last 30 years?
That’s too deep.
Answer it.
What the hell. (He’s technically not being a smartass… A few weeks ago we realized that we live our lives in a very “what the hell” kind of way. I’ll blog about that some other day. Essential when an opportunity presents itself we say “what the hell” and go for it.)

What age has been your favorite?
My favorite pizza is JNG.
That’s not an acceptable answer.
It IS an acceptable answer. That’s not an acceptable question.

If you didn’t play drums what instrument would you play?
Probably nothing.
You’re so boring.
I didn’t ask you to ask me these…

Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Enzo.
That’s not an answer.
I don’t knooooow. I’m not a casting agent… I guess, with my language, Samuel L. Jackson.

Advice for a 20 year old?
Drop out of school and start a business.
That’s not good advice, dear.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know.
You could at least be nice and say with me.
Well, yeah. Duh.

circa 2010

Annnnnnnd there you have it. *eyeroll*

So happy birthday, Boo. I can’t wait to see what this decade brings. You can accomplish anything ❤︎ I love you.

                                          – A

Happy Not-Valentine’s Day

FYI, Last week I took a semi-planned hiatus from the blog because I’ve been feeling directionless and angry and trite. K and I were in Texas for business, too, so I just took the week off. (I still read posts when I could. )

On Tuesday I talked about books and skipped over the Valentine’s Day obligations, so today I want to backtrack. I don’t know how you feel about Valentine’s Day, but I’m OK with having a random day in February to remind me to show some love. (In 2015 I shared the love with all sorts of people.)

kanda

This year K gets all my attention. I met Kyle almost twelve years ago.

❤︎ In all that time he has never made me feel like I couldn’t do something, ability-wise or permission-wise. He doesn’t doubt me.

❤︎ We will celebrate four years of marriage in April. Two years ago some stupid drama knocked me off my horse and made me breakdown mentally. K picked me back up and made sure I knew he was on my side no matter what. It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize his loyalty to me until that moment. He’d pick me first for dodgeball. He’s the co-captain of my Quidditch team. I’d be his “one choice” as far as deserted island companions go.

❤︎ I have always said that I don’t need K and he doesn’t need me. But I will openly admit that my life would suck so much without him. He’s my favorite human. I feel my best when I stand next to him.

❤︎ My husband loves dogs as much as I do. That’s not a learned characteristic. He is a bleeding-heart dog lover and that is my favorite quality in a person. (A direct quote from him on Tuesday: “Dogs aren’t a hobby. They’re a lifestyle.” Lol.)

❤︎ I have been angry and feisty and prayerful these last few weeks. I am an unapologetic feminist and sometimes that means angry rants at the dinner table and frustrated fact-sharing in the car wash queue. And K has endured it all with an occasional mumbled, “Yep” or head nod. I’m politically vocal and he’s reserved, but we’re both unapologetic.

And just for fun…

Who’s older? Kyle.
Who was interested first? My guess is me…
More sarcastic? Neither one of us are sarcastic.
Who makes the biggest mess? K.
What are your middle names? Louise & Geoffrey
Do you have any children together? Ly & Enzo. One was even adopted out of wedlock! *gasp*
Did you go to the same school? Yes, at different times.
Who is the most sensitive? Me.
Where do you eat out most as a couple? JNG. Hands down.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Jamaica, I think.
Who does the cooking? Me.
Who is more social? K.
Who is the neat freak? I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I like things to be where they’re supposed to be.
Who is the most stubborn? He says me. I disagree.
Who wakes up earlier? K.
Who drives when you are together? Mostly him, but I do on occasion.
Who eats more sweets? K.

I got through all of that without saying I love Kyle, but I do. We’ve been busy this month with the business and dogs and travel, but I’m never too busy to say I love my husband, even and especially on an average day like February 16th.

Happy Late Valentine’s Day ❤︎

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