Saturday, December 26, 2009

35 Years

Taken at our wedding reception December 21, 1974, on a nice December 80-degree day  (Craig looks so young I appear to be marrying Steven . . .)

December 19 was our 35th wedding anniversary! Wow, that sounds like a lot of years. I remember when my parents celebrated their 25th and how old they seemed to me at the time. They made it to their 40th before my Mom died and here we are, only a few years away from that. We celebrated by going for an early dinner at the Reedville Cafe. It's a local place, one-of-a-kind that serves delicious meals far superior to the factory-food-popular chains that proliferate our area. We splurged by ordering an appetizer of their delicious homemade onion rings. I don't remember ever ordering an appetizer before at a restaurant. It's not worth the expense and most restaurant meals are enough food for me anyhow. But it was our anniversary . . .

December 19th seems like an odd day to get married. It is close enough to Christmas that most people would avoid it. We had a challenge scheduling our marriage. Because we are Mormons who were being married in the temple, we didn't have the choice of a totally open calendar. Temples were not open over Christmas and New Year break except for one day between the two holidays.

We were BYU students living in Provo and that week before Christmas was finals week, which ended Friday December 20, so getting married before that was not convenient. The last day that temples were open was Saturday the 21st. We wanted to have our reception in Southern California that day, but the drive from Provo was going to be close to 12 hours so we couldn't get married and get to our reception all on the same day. We didn't want to use that one day in between the holidays because we wanted to have our quasi-honeymoon over before Christmas so we could head back to Provo on the 26th.

We decided to get married at 7 PM on the 19th in the Provo Temple, then drive to California on the 20th, have the reception the 21st, go on a two-to-three-day honeymoon, come back Christmas Eve, leave for Provo the 26th. It worked out OK because I moved my final exams to be done on the 18th. Craig had two finals on the 19th. He took the first one, then when he showed up to the second one the teacher excused him because he had earned an A no matter how he did on the final. So he went home and took a nap.

Now that we passed that milestone, we have five years till the next significant one. My dream celebration would be to camp at Cape Kiwanda for a week, if I will still be able to get into a sleeping bag on a pad on the ground in a tent under the stars in my old age!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Genuine Romance

An advice columnist recently featured a letter from a 20-something gal whose live-in boyfriend never sent her flowers. She went on and on about how she begged him to be romantic by sending her flowers. She hinted repeatedly, and when that didn't work eventually worked her way up to saying that if he really loved her he would send her flowers. Gag. I wonder if her next step was to hold a gun to his head. Would she have been happy then? The advice person said, "if you want flowers, buy them yourself." Amen. And she went on to say that everyone has their own way of showing love or being romantic, but it might be not be a Hallmark ad.

So I thought I would write a few paragraphs here about what passes for romance in our household. Someone else might think how dull or boring or unimaginative we are, or that we should be doing this stuff anyway. But every time I hear boasts from friends that their husbands often bring them multiple giant bunches of flowers or pricey jewelry or that they dine at the Stephanie Inn ($$$$) regularly or whatever, I just smile and think how dull, boring and unimaginative that would be in my book.  \Sure it's nice and has its place, but there are endless ways to show feelings, and putting forth a healthy outlay of cash is not required.

My husband fixes my computer. On demand. Sometimes not on demand. I use it a lot for research and have a low tolerance for clunk. If I even so much as hint that there's a problem, he drops everything to wave his magic wand. Voila!  It is fixed.

He also writes programs just for me to do what I need done.

Recently the door to our deep freeze got left open and you know how that goes. You can't shut it again until you defrost it, and I had to go to work over in Troutdale for the day. I quickly unloaded it and set a pan of boiling water inside and left. I knew when I came home that I'd be scrubbing and chipping before re-loading it. But surprise, it was completely defrosted AND completely scrubbed out. Now that's romantic.

Occasional drives through the countryside are something I really enjoy and guess what: he does all the driving while I do all the looking. And we both are happy.

I've never had to mow a lawn, never had to clean the rain gutters (and believe me, that's a gooky job here in the PAC NW). If he's passing Winco he might call to see if we need any groceries. He makes the trips to the bread outlet for bargains. He takes Daniel on errands so I can have a few quiet minutes. Recently we had been discussing adding insulation to our attic by doing it ourselves; a month ago my husband declared the day had arrived, made the arrangements for materials and machinery, and we worked together that evening to get it done. We could have been sitting in a nice restaurant instead, or he could have brought me flowers, then sat down to watch sports on TV. But instead we had this fun time working together that won't be forgotten. Installing insulation can be romantic? I vote yes.

Perhaps I'll dine at the Stephanie Inn before I die. But being romantic revolves less around impressing the other person than from an attitude of "what can I do to make [the other person] happy?" I think at least one person in this household knows the answer to that question.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Childhood Used to Be Dangerous (But More Fun)

On Bridget's blog is a video of Magda going down a slide. She scooted her little self forward on the dull plastic ramp until she was able to glide a few feet to the bottom. At that point the slide levels out so that she didn't go flying off into oblivion. Perfect for a 15-month-old.

Unfortunately, slides and other equipment made for kids now days is across-the-board dull. Slides that don't slide, monkey bars too close to the ground, and I rarely see teeter-totters (see-saws) or merry-go-rounds anymore. Kids are safer but they sure miss out on fun.

Teeter-totters were the best. It was a balancing act to get onto them--someone had to hold your seat in mid-air when you climbed on but once you had a roughly equal weight on the other end, how fun it was to push up to the sky, then feel your stomach flop as you hit the ground. On the negative side, a careless or hateful partner on the other end could leap off unexpectedly, slamming you to the ground with enough force to knock your breath out. But that rare misery was worth it for the excitement.

Slides were great. They were made of metal and could be sky-high. Metal slides zoomed you down at top speed and sent you flying off the end onto the asphalt or dirt. On a burning summer day you could increase the thrill of the ride by using a sheet of Mom's wax paper to polish the slide. Then you hurtled down at freeway speed  and shot off the edge, getting scorched by hot metal all the way down. 

A favorite childhood experience was when a neighborhood mom took a group of kids over to a nearby empty hill, with cardboard boxes, and let us hop in and slide down willy-nilly. I guess sometimes we got overturned and ended up with a mouthful of dirt.

I don't doubt that kids got hurt on toys before safety measures were in place. My brother slashed his chest on a rideable fire engine with sharp metal edges. A friend broke her arm when she fell off a skate board in the day when the wheels were inadequately small.  Probably worse than that happened  to kids. But we survived the fun, eventually healed and learned to be tough.