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!!

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

Comparing Apples to Orange to Instagram

I don’t discuss my full time job here very often (ever? ) but I work for an appraisal company. A large part of my day is spent comparing commercial properties to one another (or comparing markets or construction quality or amenities…). All day long I make comparisons- it’s second nature now.

In valuing property, comparisons are necessary. That’s 100% the opposite when it comes to valuing our lives- comparing ourselves to one another is so dangerous and toxic. I think all bloggers tackle this problem in a post at some point, but just recently I witnessed individual friends get down on themselves after making comparisons. That led to a self-evaluation where I realized that I tend to put pressure on myself, my marriage, my relationships, and even my dogs after comparing myself/us/them to someone else.

We all do it. I have mommy friends that compare themselves to other moms (or compare their child’s development to other children). I have friends in the dating pool that compare themselves to other people who are dating or recently engaged. I have married friends that ask K and I  about our relationship and then compare us to their life. I’m sure that parents of adult-children compare their lives to other older parents (i.e. how often their kids come around, whether or not they’re grandparents, how close they are to retirement). There’s no age restriction on comparing- we all do it.

comparison

I enjoy social media, but we know those perfect snapshot moments don’t help. Engagements, pregnancy announcements, new houses- they makes us wonder if we’re where we should be in life. Tropical vacations, perfectly cooked dinners, beautifully lit trees and steaming cups of tea- we wonder how others manage to have it all and what we should be doing differently to achieve it, too.

A few days ago I talked a friend off a proverbial ledge. She’d had a great day and was feeling good, but then she looked around and started second guessing what was happening to her in comparison to others. We both came to the conclusion that these ‘harmless’ comparisons were making her dangerously unhappy. It’s ok to want what we want and it’s ok to look to others as examples, but we can’t idolize other relationships or careers or lives. First of all, we’re all different and things never work out the same way for one as they do another. Secondly, we don’t actually know how glamorous (or tragic) someone’s life is. And, regardless, it doesn’t matter- you have your life and there’s no Freaky Friday fortune cookie that going to swap it with another person.

feelgood_1

I am happy with who I am and the life I live and the place I’m at- but I still fall victim to comparison more often than I’d like to admit. I glance across the aisle and see how someone else is doing on their wife test or employee test or friend test. I try to put myself on a grading scale. How am I doing as a daughter? friend? dog owner? Well clearly not as good as so-and-so… just look at those Instagram pictures!

It sucks. And we all do it. And we need to remind one another (gently) to stop. So here’s your reminder today.

Your house is cozy and comfy, even with the cat hair tucked in the corner of the steps. Your tree is just the right size and sparkle for you. People love you for the person you are- they’re not comparing you to anyone so why are you?

Pass the message along and remind someone else that we don’t live in a venn diagram. Pat yourself on the back and then pat someone else’s back. Go after the things you want, not the things you think you’re supposed to want. The people around you are very happy with who you are- you should be, too  🙂

You do you, boo.

audielou.com_signature

 

Fictional Love: #LoveBlog Link-Up

I couldn’t resist linking up with Brita for her February #LoveBlog Prompt today! Brita’s introductory post explains the link-up and today’s topic happens to be Fictional Love. Straight from Brita’s blog:

“Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? What TV couple is most like you and your significant other?”

Obviously I couldn’t pass this one up, but when I asked K what fictional couple resembled us he was absolutely no help… (So if you disagree with my answers, dear, it’s your own fault…)

bones_fox_tv show

I wanted to be all classy and refined and pick a literary couple- maybe an Austen “ship”, as the kids say these days.

Side note… I heard my 14 year old cousin utter this phrase on Sunday: “Hey Sarah, Amy totally shipped you and Henry together.” (Names were changed.) When asked about her verbiage, I was told that “shipped” is when you romantically link two people together, even if (or especially if) they’re not an item. I don’t know. Kids are weird.

the_office_tv

Ok… back to my fictional focus. In the end, I chose two TV couples.

First of all, I see a little bit of Jim and Pam (The Office) in us. We have a vast arsenal of inside jokes and I’m so attracted to my husband’s wit and humor.

the_office_tv

But more than that, I think we’re kind of similar to Booth & Brennan (thus all the Bones gifs). Funny enough, I think that K is more like Temperance and I am more like Seeley. K is rational and less emotional than I am. He’s guided by thoughts verses emotions. (Hellllooooo, personality results!) I’m like Booth- we’re spiritual, hotheaded, and we feel things very deeply.

bones_Fox_tv

I’ll keep up my search for a couple that mirrors us 100% (or even 90%). I made the last minute decision to go with this topic so my brainstorming session was limited.

Now this question had two parts so let’s explore that thing about fictional crushes…

  • George Weasley will always be one of my first loves. (“Fred” is my brother’s name, so I chose George.)
  • Young Magneto from X-Men. (Or maybe just Michael Fassbender….)
  • Jim’s humor. (The Office)
  • Josh Lyman’s brain and wit. (The West Wing)
  • Aladdin was my very first love. I wanted to marry him. My stuffed bear from childhood (that I still own….) is named Aladdin after my very first love.

But if Kyle was a fictional character he would hands-down be my favorite. Smart, funny, witty, intelligent, attractively arrogant, perfect nose, stylish, musically inclined… I mean, what’s not to love?

mad_men_don_draper
Kyle looks pretty damn good in a suit, too… But this isn’t him… Obviously.

Did you have a fictional “first crush”? (Or a fictional current crush!?) What couple or friendship do you and your significant other or best friend embody??

audielou.com_signature

LoveBlog with Belle Brita

My Passions | Blog-tember Day 4

*Happy Friday!*

I was a little hesitant to commit to the fabulous Blog-tember Challenge (hosted by Bailey Jean), but with the encouragement of Stephanie I’ve decided to approach it like an a la carte challenge and participate on the days that I don’t have anything concocted.
…like today!

Friday, September 4: What are you passionate about?

Easy enough prompt, yes? I am passionate about:

  • animals
    Hands down, my deepest worldly passion runs about on four legs (sometimes less) and barks, growls, meows, grunts, and moos. Honestly, I could do a month’s worth of posts dedicate to animal rights and behaviors and welfare and cruelty… but I’ll save it. I use cruelty-free products, brake for squirrels, help lost pets find their way home, and share a bed with two cold noses (and a human one). My career goal is totally focused around animals and someday I hope to be saving lots of lives!
  • fall
    I hate wishing the days away, but I can’t wait for the leaves to turn and the temperature to drop. I love October (and my birthday!) and the fall weather and fall foods and marching band and leaves and hot drinks and scarves and boots and clouds and everything fall. It makes me incredibly happy and every year I look forward to the changing seasons!
  • my relationships
    I know that I drive my husband crazy because I’m constantly observing. I observe myself, him, our relationship, other people, past interactions… EVERYTHING. But it makes me a more conscious human. Sometimes I lay in bed and watch our dogs sleep or listen to K breathe. Sometimes I sit quietly in the living room and take in the wall color and the fireplace and the bookshelves, and I feel so grateful to share this blessed life with my husband and our friends and our family.
  • reading, writing, and scrapbooking
    I love to learn and create and savor memories (captured in pictures). These three things are my hobbies and I feel so refreshed when I can dedicate time to each activity.

passion

There are things I wish I was passionate about/hope to be passionate about, too! These include yoga, cooking, and being a mom someday. I think I’ll work on yoga first… HA!

What are you passionate about?

-Louise

Brave Love Blog

My Full Heart

Two years ago at this time (10pm) I was freshly married and dancing amongst our fabulous wedding guests. I had no idea where I’d be two year later. I definitely can’t complain.

Right now I’m camped out on our couch, snacking on a delicious yellow cake (with chocolate frosting) baked fresh by my wonderful mother-in-law. I’m watching Once Upon a Time in hopes of catching up by next Sunday, and I’m hearing my two beautiful pups chomping on bones. Funny enough, Kyle just walked through the backdoor after a half-day of work. I don’t know if my heart could be happier right now.

On Saturday K and I left for Niagara Falls (Canada side) and we returned home this afternoon around 1. We were met at the door with wagging tails and puppy kisses. It was a short trip, but a perfect one. This evening I rode with my mom to a neighboring city and spent some time perusing Target and getting dinner with her. It’s been a wonderful day.

My heart is so happy and grateful and full and excited to start Year #3.

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey