I More Than Love You

Last week we kicked off our trade show/travel season at work. It’s a six month chunk with roughly nine potential shows or competitions spread throughout. (We also do a trip in August.) I spend a great deal of time with my husband regardless, but traveling together pushes us physically closer for longer stretches of time in higher stress situations.

So natural I got to thinking about our marriage.

I really enjoy my husband. I think he’s funny and witty and smarter than even he knows (and, trust me, he thinks plenty highly of himself). He’s sarcastic and not romantic (in the traditional sense) and not nearly as sentimental as me, though, so I don’t always tell him how gosh damn wonderful I think he is.

But I realized this weekend- five years post wedding & 11 years after agreeing that we should, in fact, date- that I ought to tell him sometimes.

I drank a few adult beverages one night on our recent business trip and *accidentally* gushed to a mutual friend about how our business’ success is 50% luck and 50% my husband (plus all the people we’ve had cycle in and out over the last 6 years, self included). I told them that K has a large ego so I’d never tell him this, but he’s so damn smart- socially & logically. He has no business or engineering education but he’s really done something incredible with the company.

The applicable part of this story is that I have these thoughts about K but I don’t ever tell him. Maybe our marriage is rare, but I doubt it. Chances are there are some “obvious” things you admire about your spouse (or grandma or brother or best friend) that you don’t tell them because… well… why would or should you?

So I’m encouraging you to tell them. It makes your marriage or relationship or work experience or neighborhood that much better. People like being told that the things they’re doing and saying every single day are being noticed and admired and appreciated.

They say to tell loved ones that you love them. Or to say thank you more often. Or to spend quality time with people. But I also encourage you to notice what you admire or appreciate about someone & tell them.

Chats with K

Last Saturday marked 11 years with Kyle. The original “chat with K” occurred on that day in 2007.

Me: Guess what? My parents finally decided it’d be ok* if we dated!
K: Cool!
Me: …so…?
K: Well, I guess we’re dating now.

Always the romantic, friends.
*There’s an age gap between us (and I was 17) so we wanted our relationship to be ok with my parents before we called a square a square.

Alright, now our more recent conversations…

I have a lot of these today…


K: If we have a kid that wants to race go-karts I could get behind that. I’d sponsor the shit out of their car.
Me: The fact that you just said “kid” and not “son” is pretty much why I married you.


Me: If you were going to throw me a surprise party what would I want?
K: Quidditch.
Me: I… uh… yeah, actually. But that’s not what I was going to say.
K: That’s because I know you better than you know you.


Me: What time are we starting this landscaping project on Saturday?
K: Your dad and I will probably go get the stone around 6am.
Me: …so I should probably reschedule my 8am massage?
K: *glares* I’d say use your best judgement.


K kills a flying against the counter with his hand and looks at me proudly.
Me: You’re gonna clean that up, right?
K calls Lylee over and swipes the dead fly onto the floor. Dog eats it.
K: I did it.


While driving in the car…
K: Pick some music to jam out to. You always want to talk. I don’t get to jam with you in the car anymore.
Me: I would LOVE to not talk to you and jam out, thanks.


Me: I think you think I’m mean to you.
K *grumbles*
Me: I’m not mean to you. I just treat you like an adult. Don’t you want to be treated like an adult?
K: *sneezes all over the seat next to him without covering his mouth and grins* Does that answer your question?


After bitching at him for leaving clothes all over the kitchen…
Me: Kyle, I work hard all day and then come straight home and clean. You come straight home and mess.
K: But what would you clean if I didn’t mess? We’re like two peas.
Me: It’s about to get murderous up in this pod.


Me: Make me an egg.
K just looks at me.
Me: Enzo, go make me an egg.
K: You’ve eaten several time today.
Me: It’s called “healthy”, Kyle. It improves your metabolism.
K: …one of those times it was Doritos.

That’ll do it for this round of chats.

Date Ideas for Couples Who Don’t “Date”

I’m going to make a confession that will shock and horrifying marriage bloggers.

We don’t go on scheduled weekly or bi-weekly or monthly date nights.

Don’t get me wrong- we go on dates. They’re just not regular or scheduled. Our relationship doesn’t work that like. We’re both workaholics (who work with each other) and it’s healthier for us to veg at home (sometimes together and sometimes apart) instead of heading out on the town. I’m an introvert and K is an introverted extrovert so we alter our life and relationship to make ourselves happiest.

Ok, enough explaining. When we DO go out on dates, they tend to be a little bigger and/or planned out than what a weekly date night might entail. If your “dating style” is similar to ours, here are a few of our favorite things to do together:

An evening concert.
We love going to concerts together. We’ve been doing it since the very first month we started dating. When we were younger we’d show up to the concert venue, rock out, and then pig out on fast food or gas station food on our drive home. Now we like to go out to dinner first, then attend the concert (and then come home and crash like old people, lol).

A trip to the local creamery.
We live about 0.25 miles from the town’s BEST creamery. In addition to yummy ice cream, we both love their homemade coney sauce. On beautiful evenings when we don’t feel like cooking we climb into the convertible and cruise over there for dinner together.

Early morning breakfast dates.
I think one of my hands down favorite things to do with K is to wake up semi-early on a Saturday or Sunday and get breakfast at a local diner while the world is still waking up. There are lots of places near us but our favorite is a cute one a few towns over. With maybe 12 tables inside, everyone knows everyone. We’re strangers in that town, but they’re so friendly and it’s fun to watch them greet one another and catch up as they come inside for breakfast.

Walking around car shows.
I married a car enthusiast. We’ve spent many afternoons slowly walking through car shows, admiring the vintage rides of yesteryear. Truth be told, I’ve actually learned a lot about cars from K while walking around these shows. My dad, brother, and grandfathers are all car lovers, too. I guess it’s in my blood 😉 Perusing car lots and open houses are also a fun way to spend the afternoon. For us anyway.

A festival lunch date.
We don’t really care for crowds. Additionally, in a small town like ours, when you immerse yourself in a crowd you’re bound to know a handful of people- some you like and some you don’t. We’ve found that by going on weekday lunch dates to street fests and fairs, we avoid crowds and lines and small talk with people we haven’t seen since high school. AND we get the benefit of fresh lemonade and vinegar-soaked fries 😀

I think it’s adorable and cute and #relationshipgoals when couples plan out weekly quality time. I really do. It’s just not how we operate 🙂 All kinds of kinds. These occasional outings work well for us and keep us happy and connected. Next time you’re looking for something to do with you s/o, try one of these!

What kind of date activities do you and yours like to do?

Chats with K

Just your average round up of conversations I had with the husband…

Me: Maybe these melatonin pills put you to sleep because when we take them I have to keep quiet for 30 seconds while they dissolve under my tongue.
K: Yep, I was just thinking that.

Discussing lunch in the middle of my alcohol & dairy detox.
Me: Let’s get Chinese.
K: We just had Chinese food.
Me: It’s my only option! Italian is creamy and cheesy. Mexican is creamy and cheesy. American food is creamy, cheesy, AND greasy.
K: Those are my favorite dwarfs!

Me: Do you ever feel like your lungs are restricted and you can’t take a big deep breath?
K: Yeah.
Me: I think it’s because I slouch.
K: I think it’s because I’m fat.

On National Puppy Day I posted a few adoptable dogs to K’s FB wall after he told me not to.
*phone rings; it’s K*
Me: DON’T YELL AT ME, DON’T YELL AT ME.
K: ….I haven’t been on Facebook yet but what did you do?

K: I don’t know why I haven’t fired you yet.
Me: Because it’d be awfully expensive.
K: How do you figure?
Me: “Cheaper to keep her.”
K: I didn’t say I’d divorce you.
Me: That makes one of us.

Upon entering Gettysburg…
K: Is this like a National….
Me: Park? Yes.
K: So should I not have a knife in my pocket.
Me: That is correct.
K hangs head and walks back to the car. We’ve seen this play out badly way too many times.

Me: I am the first person to get angry and outraged over silly jokes and trivial things-
K: Yeah. Good job.
Me: …that wasn’t the end of my thought.
K: Oh.

I collected some gems this month, I think. Lol

Chats with K – Holiday Edition

Ho hum… Time for a *somewhat* holiday edition of husband conversations.

Me: Why were single-word band names so popular in the 80s?
K: I don’t know. They just were.
Me: Boston, Kansas, Styx, Journey, Rush, Wham-
K: No. Do not include Wham with that group of artists.

Mid-November I was listening to loud Christmas music & baking in the kitchen.
Romantically wrapping his arms around me and nuzzling his chin in my neck, Kyle whispers: Hey, I’m gonna go ahead and turn this shit off.

A female colleague was stopping by later in the day.
Me: Your new girlfriend is stopping in later.
K: I don’t have a new girlfriend. Two of you is enough to deal with.
Me: Excuse me?

Me: Maybe we should get your niece and nephews stuffed animals for Christmas.
Kyle: No, Isaac still has mine.
Me: Teddy Rump-skin?
K: …first of all it’s ‘Teddy Ruxpin.’ Secondly, no it was A.G. Bear.
After kissing Kyle good morning…

K: Did you brush your teeth?
Me: …yes. Why?
K: *sniffs my lips* You smell a little like old person.
Me: Umm…
K: Did you eat an old person for breakfast?

I laid out my cabin trip outfit the night before I left:

 

 

K: Did you even pack any clothes?
Me: …yeah? Why?
K: I feel like all you need to legitimately camp is that outfit you’re wearing tomorrow.

 

 

Such a comedian.

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.