Friday, December 12, 2008

A Few Funny Facts

I got to thinking today about some of the funny things about my relationship with my wife, and decided I would share. Many of these are perhaps not so much funny as unusual, but here goes:

1. My wife and I are 33, but have been a couple for nearly 20 years. We had our first date at the age of 15. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 24, 1990, and we went to see Home Alone. My sister drove us to the theater, and then her father picked us up. We have actually known each other since we were 13.

2. We were both virgins on our wedding night, despite having dated for 7 years by that time.

3. On prom night our senior year, my Mom let us have a wine cooler (and I mean a single wine cooler) when we got home, and we thought that was really "wild and crazy." It was also the first time either of us had ever drank.

4. After we got married, when we decided to list our names in the phone book, we wanted to have both our names listed. However, we were not comfortable with the privacy issues involved in that, so we decided to just list our first initials together with our last name. So we were listed as S & M (last name). We were both so naive that neither of us realized that "S & M" referred to something else. For those of you who know our last name, you'll realize that this is even funnier.

5. We lived for two and a half years in a 2-room dorm apartment, while my wife finished a second degree and I worked as a resident director. The apartment was literally just two dorm room-sized rooms, together with a small bathroom and kitchenette. It was probably not even 500 square feet. Our queen-sized bed (queen, not king) filled the bedroom so completely that there was only about 2 feet between the left side and the wall, about 2 feet between the foot and the wall, and perhaps 3 feet between the right side and the wall. We stuck my small computer desk in the corner, and you had to turn to the side, or even crawl over the bed, to get past it to the bathroom door.

6. We separated in late 2003 and got divorced in 2004, then got back together in the summer of 2005 and had our divorce anulled, which means that - officially - we have never actually been divorced.

7. My wife suffered from serious problems with heart burn during her first pregnancy. Everyone told us the old wives' tale that this meant our child would have a full head of hair. When Bug was born, she not only had a full head of dark black hair, but she never lost it as most babies do. She has thick, long hair to this day - far thicker and faster-growing than her younger sister, with whom M never had any serious heart burn.

8. Our kids sleep in the bed with us, and we are the ones who decided that we would encourage them to do that.

9. M and I used to watch the Golden Girls every Saturday night, when it was still on in prime time. Later, after we were married, we watched the reruns on Lifetime literally every day after work - it was sort of a ritual. We don't watch the Golden Girls much anymore, but now we watch Reba reruns on Lifetime in the afternoons after work.

10. Neither one of us graduated from college with a degree that we ended up using. Both of us have gone back to school to get a second degree instead, and M has now also gotten a Master's degree on top of that.

11. When M and I first got married, I was in a period of my life where I suffered quite a bit from untreated anxiety and depression. One of the ways that this anxiety presented itself was in unreasonable and obsessive fears about my health and the well-being of my loved ones. Whenever M would go out for the evening, with friends or to her parents' house, etc., I would sit up all night a nervous wreck, fearing something terrible would happen. Fortunately, she did not do this very often.

However, one night in particular, not long after we were married, she had gone out to dinner with friends, and I sat in the apartment with my stomach in knots fearing that she would meet an untimely and horrific death. The phone suddenly rang at about 8:00 pm, and my stomach dropped. Could it be the police phoning with the bad news? "Don't be silly," I told myself as I reached for the phone with trepidation. "Hello?" I said. And a deep, unfamiliar voice replied, very slowly and gravely, "Scott?"

I still remember to this day the feeling that went through me at that moment. My worst fears confirmed. The only way I can think to describe it is that it literally felt like my entire body shut down for a moment. It was a momentary feeling of being carved out of stone. It was really quite awful. Anyway, I recovered fairly quickly and literally managed to croak out a "Yes?" as my heart started pounding away in my chest.

It turned out to be my goofy Uncle who has called me in my entire lifetime maybe 3 times. He said my name funny simply because he was being silly. I remember trying to cover up the panting relief I felt when I realized it wasn't the medical examiner's office calling, and I remember thinking that my voice sounded breathy and hysterical in relief, and that he must surely find my tone of voice strange.

12. One evening, during that first year of marriage, M saw a mouse run across her path in the bathroom, and we were both so disturbed at the thought of a living, breathing rodent in our apartment, that we left almost immediately and stayed the night at her parents' house.

13. Strangely enough, M and I really do not have nearly as much in common as what it seems that many other couples do, but we both love the same kinds of foods and restaurants, we tend to like the same TV shows, we agree politically and for the most part religiously, and we both love to take late night drives.

14. When we were younger, we always said we wanted 3 or 4 children. Yet, after our first, we were nearly to the point of deciding to stop there, and now that we have had a second, we have decided unequivically that we are finished. We both tend to think that people who want more than 2 children are a little manic and perhaps should be locked up.

15. Prior to asking M out for the first time, I angsted over it for weeks, even going through the age old motions of dialing the number and then hanging up. My phone back then was a replica payphone - wall-hanging and totally black, complete with nickel-, dime-, and quarter-sized coin slots and a panel to open to retrieve the change. So that was the phone that I finally called her from for the first time. Since we didn't attend the same high school, most of our relationship ended up being over the phone for thost first three years. We saw each other every weekend, but did not actually see each other during the week. However, we would talk on the phone for - literally - about two hours every night. The phone is what literally characterized our relationship back then. I first told her I loved her over that phone, for instance (and she didn't say it back, the hobag! - in fact, her response was, and I quote: "No ya don't").

Our relationship, of course, has been off and on stormy throughout the years. We were screamers even back in high school. We broke up in college once, but got back together. And of course we divorced and later reconciled. Somehow we always end up back together - we've been part of each others' lives for so long, not having the other person around is sort of like divorcing your own family or something.

So, with our love of quarelling and reconciling, and our origins on a replica payphone in mind, I'll end this post with the lyrics of what we call "our song." It is called "Coast of Carolina" and it was written by Mac MacAnally and performed by Jimmy Buffett (I've italicized the particularly poignant parts):

Little roadside restaurant we artfully complain
Groovy tells the waitress that his chicken died in vain
Most every day goes by according to design
I live this dream and still it seems I have you on my mind

[Chorus]
From the bottom of my heart
Off the coast of Carolina
After one or two false starts
I believe we found our stride

And the walls that won't come down
We can decorate or climb
Or find some way to get around
Cause I'm still on your side
From the bottom of my heart.

I can't see the future
But I know it's coming fast
It's not that hard to wind up knee-deep in the past
There come alot of Mondays
Since that phone booth that first night
Tears and miles and years and smiles
I wanna get it right.

[Chorus]

These days I'm about the time I used to go to bed
Living large was once the deal
Now I watch the stars instead
They're timeless and predictable
Unlike most things that I do
I tell the wind and my old friend
I'm headed home to you.

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