Monday, March 17, 2008

18 Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. This morning when I wished Mike a Happy Anniversary I said "wow--18 years! That's a whole person we've been married!" Mike's response: "yeah, if we had been married under different circumstances, we would be celebrating the fact that someone was moving out today!"

Mike and I met when we were 19 and in college. I worked at the university bookstore and he worked across the street at the printing and mailing shop. Part of my job was to mail books back to the publishers, so I had to visit the printing and mailing shop every day. And somewhere along the line the magic happened. That and the fact that we attended a pretty small university and sooner or later everyone there hooks up.

By our junior year we were seriously dating and by our senior year we were engaged. We were married the first Saturday of our senior year spring break. We rented the scariest apartment you have ever seen. People were appalled. And frightened. Looking back, I am mortified. Our ceiling leaked when it rained--we were on the first floor of a 3 story building. We were about 2 blocks from Seattle Center in a street side apartment with a big window facing the street. Our bedroom did not have a door. Our next door neighbor smoked so much that our apartment filled with smoke and his windows were stained yellow. I'm surprised we were not killed in our sleep. It was in this little love nest/hell hole that we got our 4 week old cat Binx, who was rescued by a friend in an alley. Binx lived for 16 years.

The day our lease was up we moved. We found a much safer and cleaner apartment on the other side of Queen Anne Hill and lived there for about 3 years. Some dear friends from college, Scott and Kristin, lived above us and we spend many an evening in their apartment, in our pajamas, playing Spades while drinking cheap alcohol and watch Honeymoon in Vegas. The 4 of of could recite the whole movie and still do when we see each other. It was in this apartment that we rescued Alice, the passive-aggressive-neurotic-no-longer-peeing-on-our-bed-cat. Mike was working for Aldus/Adobe Systems and loving every minute of it. I was working for Northern Life Insurance, doing customer service and hating my life. Honestly, I think sanitation workers have more fun that I did at that job. And they make more money.

My mom selected the fabric for these dresses.
I think every single bridesmaid hated them.

Mike's sister Tiffany is our 9 year old
flower girl in this picture. She is now
married and about to have her first baby.

We then decided it was time to purchase a home and do something responsible with our money. We bought a condo in Issaquah and lived there for about 4 years. We loved our condo and we loved living in downtown Issaquah. We bought real furniture, reliable cars, invested our money, belonged to a gym, and Mike was still loving his job as a tech support manager of the dynamic media division of Adobe. I hated my job so much that I quit. Just up and quit. I was becoming a miserable bitter person who worked with other miserable bitter people. So I quit. And this is when I learned to knit. I was taking a break from the miserable bitter part of my life and decided that in my time off I would learn to knit. I took to it instantly.

I got a new job as a tech support lead for a very small software company. I worked there for 3 years and tried very hard to like it. But in the end I realized that I hated it just about as much as my insurance company job. Customer service for angry bitter people is not my gift. Too bad it took me 9 years to figure that out! During this time we bought our money-pit that we are currently living in. In the last 10 years we have scraped, sanded, painted, demolished, rebuilt, added-on, replaced, dug up, planted...this house has been more work than we ever thought possible and we are not even close to being finished.

It was during my stint as a tech support lead that I became pregnant with Ryan. I quit working once and for all to stay home with him. While at home I honed my knitting skills while doing the whole mommy thing, then had Eric 2 3/4 years later. Mike was RIF'd from Adobe, along with just about every other employee there and took advantage of his generous severance to find himself. He had been wanting to get into financial planning and realized that this was his golden opportunity. He got his Series 7, did a bunch of interviewing, and got his first job as a financial advisor. I won't even get in to how magical life can be when your family's only income is purely commission based.

Ryan is now almost 8 and Eric just turned 5. Mike is now 7 years into his career as a financial advisor and well, you all know what I do.

And what have we learned from our last 18 years together? I can tell you this:

Mike will never, ever change anyone's sheets. That cell was never part of his brain's composition. The one for dusting is missing as well. Mike can spend hours, nay DAYS organizing and sorting through his half of the office, but cannot for the life of him transform Optimus Prime back into the semi truck. Mike can teach the boys anything and has the patience of a saint when it comes to homework, computers, games, baseball scores....after 18 years of marriage we have discovered that Mike can teach me nothing due to my impatience and unwillingness to relinquish control. And I am unable to teach anyone anything. That's right. I have neither the gift of teaching nor the ability to be taught. 2nd grade math homework? Daddy's job. Why Ryan can't tie his shoes at the age of 8? Mommy is afraid of strangling him with the laces in a fit of rage.

After 18 years of marriage Mike knows that I hate scary movies and loud noises. He knows nothing makes me happier than a big bowl of Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream and that I will not, ever ever ever deal with any kind of pest in our home. He knows how much I hate to see food at the bottom of the sink and that I'm prone to tossing my clothes on the bench at the foot of our bed. Mike knows, without me ever having to tell him, that I like to sit on an aisle near the back at the movie theater and that I like to be very early.

I know that Mike does not really care for chocolate, but loves anything with pumpkin or strawberry. After 18 years of marriage I have come to know that he truly will watch anything if it's on ESPN. He likes indie movies much more than I do and is always running 10 minutes late. Mike is very passive-aggressive and has one of the best laughs I have ever heard. And after 18 years of marriage we both still hate camping with a passion and neither of us can stomach American Idol.

Mike is my biggest supporter and fan, selflessly does the grocery shopping for me, and despite the fact he seems physically unable to ever shut the pantry door, he is my best friend.

Happy Anniversary Mike!


Tiff said...

You just made me cry. Thanks a lot! :) Love you guys.

Leah said...

Beautiful, Jen. Happy Anniversary, you two!

my pink toes

ExpatKat said...

What a wonderful post! Isn't it amazing how much we learn about each other and ourselves through the years. We will be celebrating 19yrs in May.
Congratulations to you both on your special day and I hope you have many more years together!

Carrie said...

Happy Anniversary! I believe we went to the same University. :) Do you, by chance, know Dr. Macdonald of Philosophy and German education?

knittingqueen said...

We went to Seattle Pacific University and graduated in 1990. Is that where you went? That prof does not sound familiar, but then again, Philosophy wasn't really my thing!

Carrie said...

I most certainly did go to SPU, graduated in 94. I knew from the location of the bookstore and the printshop/mail center and the mention of small college and Queen Anne that it probably was SPU. I asked about the Prof as that's my dad :)

knittingqueen said...

Small world! You were starting just as we were leaving. My mom works at the library and my father-in-law worked in planned giving until about 4 years ago. And my sister-in-law works there as well!