Category Archives: Marriage

The Perfect Husband (My Personal “This Is Us”)

It’s that time of year again… our anniversary. I’ve written about all the frogs I had to kiss on the road to finding my husband (The long and winding road). I’ve also told you the story of how we met (Our story). Like many of you, I’ve become a fan of the show “This Is Us” and I’ve come to realize that Rebecca isn’t the only one with a perfect husband. I’m living my own personal This Is Us story.

If you watch this show, then you have heard Mandy Moore’s character, Rebecca, refer to her husband Jack, as perfect. (Jack is perfectly played by the wonderful Milo Ventimiglia.) Rebecca doesn’t say this flippantly in that way that we throw words around without meaning them or even thinking about them. No, she backs it up with examples.

My Jack is called Joe. And he is also perfect.

I came into this marriage with two teenage girls and a dog. In both cases, you would never know that these had once been mine, not his. The dog fell immediately in love with Joe and I became some woman he used to know. The girls are his stepdaughters, but he would never tell you that. By word and deed, they are as much his daughters as they are mine. He would do anything for them and for me. He has done far more for us than we have for him. I could never list all of the rescues, repairs, and lessons he has provided for my daughters. I could never tally up all the hours he has spent unselfishly doing things for us. And I could never repay him.

Those Three Little Words

Joe knows how important it is to say those three little words… “You’re not fat.”  Years ago, I was watching a show about a woman who weighed several hundred pounds. I asked him if he would leave me if I got that big. He said, “Are you kidding? I’d marry you all over again!” Now that’s true love.

Babies and dogs love him. Joe almost always knows the right thing to say. He will do anything to avoid a fight… so we rarely fight. I certainly can’t complain about that. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about him. He’s a great gift giver. He serves his country in the Air Force and serves his city as a firefighter. That’s TWO superhero uniforms he wears.

Jack Pearson (from This is Us) believes that you find your soulmate, you get married, you stay together until you die. Period. Joe is much the same way. There’s no giving up. For years we had a clipping posted on our bulletin board that said “Period. Plain and Simple.” because that’s Joe’s philosophy. Things are simple. No need to complicate them.

We (the teenagers, the dog and I) moved into the house where Joe had once lived alone and we immediately filled it up! We considered moving into something bigger, but we put it off so long that eventually the kids grew up and left and we no longer needed more space. Now I’ve been living here for 15 years and that’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. This man has brought a stability into my life that never existed before. Say what you will about change being good… I have loved having a steady, predictable life for a change (no pun intended).

Maybe “perfect” is too strong a word. Of course he has a fault or two. For instance… I can’t get an honest opinion from him when I want to know if I look ok before I leave the house. No matter what I look like, he’ll tell me I look beautiful. Any imperfection he may have is far outweighed by the good. Even if he’s not perfect, he’s perfect for me.

Happy anniversary, Joe!




Here We Go Again

Seems like I’ve done this before

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may recall last summer, while my husband was on a short deployment to Bulgaria, yours truly was thrust into the world of manual labor (i.e. yard work). As luck would have it, history repeats itself this month as he is on another brief deployment. If you didn’t read that post, or don’t remember what it said, I highly recommend it. Click here to read it.

I appreciate my husband’s (and all other military members) service to our country. So I’m willing, during these deployments, to step out of my spoiled little bubble to pump my own gas and mow the yard. It’s the least I can do for America. Literally.

My husband wanted to cut the grass right before he left, but I was quite insistent that he not do it. It was his last day before a very long flight and that’s not how I wanted him to spend it. When it came time for me to cut the yard, I felt of tinge of regret for that decision. Then a tinge of guilt for the tinge of regret. Et cetera.

Unable to avoid it any longer, and knowing that it was only going to get deeper, I headed outside to tackle the jungle that concealed my backyard. The first thing I did was check the gas tank, which was low. I looked around for the gas can to top it off, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Again, if you’re a regular reader, you know that I recently organized the shed, so if the gas can was in there, it should have been visible. I decided that I would mow until I ran out of fuel.

Certain that I would run out of gas before the job was complete, I waited for that sputtering sound that would warn me that my mowing time was nearly up. I wondered who I would ask to finish it off and come back to mow again, as needed, until my husband returns. He’d already told me that I couldn’t call the hot guy who used to do our yard because he charges too much. If you saw him… uh, I mean if you saw his work, you’d agree that he’s worth every dime.

The one time you hope to run out of gas…

Still waiting for the sputter, I glanced at the shed, from just the right angle, and noticed that little red gas can hiding in a corner. Dang it! If there’s gas in that thing, I’m going to have to finish the yard. And there was. And I did. And I have the shoes to prove it.

green shoes

I also have the little green dog to prove it.

green dog


Hitched Without a Hitch

There’s an old saying, “the wedding went off without a hitch” meaning everything went as planned. There’s another saying that when a couple gets married, they get “hitched.” In the case of my daughter and son-in-law, they got hitched without a hitch.

I’ve heard so many disaster stories of weddings gone wrong. I have a friend whose cake fell apart upon delivery. Another friend got a big hug from the flower girl (who was wearing makeup) right before the wedding, leaving a lot of her makeup on the dress. In each case, the bride took it very well. They both said, “It’s OK. I’m getting married today!” I don’t think I would have handled that so well.

So many things could have gone wrong. When there are kids in a wedding, there’s always a risk that they’ll go rogue. But the flower girls and ringbearers did their jobs perfectly. Nothing fell. No one fainted. No one said “I don’t.” It’s not enough to say that nothing went wrong. I wish I could list the thousand things that went right. The weather, the pre-wedding music, the dress, the hair, the make up, the vows, the bubbles and the horse drawn carriage. The perfection spilled over to the reception with fantastic food, family and friends dancing to great music.

The bride was so much the opposite of nervous that she wanted to go out to breakfast the morning of the wedding. How many brides feel like eating a full breakfast on the wedding day?  That’s how confident she was but this was the right groom, on the right day, at the right time. We ate at The Arcade, the oldest cafe in Memphis. Unfortunately we didn’t get to sit in the Elvis booth.

arcade, Memphis, restaurant


While everything involving the bride and groom went off without a hitch, it seems that no day can be completely perfect.  There were some snags for a few of our guests.

A cousin of the bride was on a sequestered jury. We knew all week that he might not make it to the wedding. As luck would have it the jury finished deliberating just in time for him to make it. Well, he would have made it if the trial had been in Memphis. By the time the trial ended in Nashville and they drove the jury back to Memphis, he arrived just in time to miss the whole thing. We really missed him being there. The good part was that the wedding venue was close to the jury drop off location. So his family didn’t have to go far to retrieve him.

My niece, another cousin of the bride, arrived at the wedding in plenty of time to make it. But she was detained due to a fender bender in the parking lot. No one was hurt and she made it inside for most of the wedding.

When we arrived at the reception my sister, the bride’s aunt, was complaining of quite a bit of pain. She’d been having some mild pain for a couple of days but it was now kicked into high gear. Enough of us in the family have had kidney stones to recognize the signs. So we sent her off to the emergency room. Guess who drove her to the ER? The niece who had the wreck. If it’s true that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, then she was the safest bet!

Since my sister was all dressed up for the wedding, she got a lot of compliments in the ER about being too pretty to feel so bad. My niece had to leave her briefly. When she came back she told the staff, “I’m looking for the lady in the pretty dress who’s dying in pain.”


The lady in the pretty dress

It did turn out to be a kidney stone. A sizable one. She had it blasted a few days later and is recovering well at home as we speak… or as I write.

As far as I know, no members of the groom’s family were harmed in the making of this marriage.




It’s A Boy!


When I was in my 20s, before I had children, I didn’t have any hobbies to occupy my time. The husband had lots of interests, but I couldn’t seem to find my thing. I tried to learn to play the guitar, but my fingertips weren’t tough enough to tolerate it. Reading made me sleepy, so I never finished a book. I tried to learn to crochet. I was learning at stitch that required me to count to twelve, make a turn, then count to twelve again, over and over. I caught myself counting “seventy-one, seventy-two…” I’d counted ever so much past twelve, and had a long straight line to show for it. I gave up on crocheting. I tried to learn to sew, I only made one dress before giving up on that as well.

Eventually, my first daughter, Laura came along and there was no time to worry about hobbies anymore. Being a mother took all of my time and attention. I mean that in a good way. As it turned out, I enjoyed motherhood much more than I expected. Laura made it easy. She was an unusually happy baby. And she grew into such a smart little girl. Her vocabulary at three was bigger than most adults’. I felt that I’d finally found something I was good at. I decided I wanted four kids… two girls and two boys to be exact.

A few more years later, my second daughter, Melissa was born. She was such a sweet, cuddly baby. She grew into a shy, quiet girl who never gave us a minute of trouble. She loved playing with her sister, but could also entertain herself for hours playing in her room alone. Or reading. No one loves to read more than Melissa. I would have had ten more just like her if I could.

I planned for four, but for reasons too numerous to go into here, I never had anymore kids. It made me sad. To console myself, I said that someday my two girls would marry two boys, then I would have a complete set.

As of last night, I have my first boy! It’s a son-in-law!


I’d like to think that if I’d had a son, he’d be a lot like Chris. After all, Chris is a lot like my daughter. Alike enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her. And the ways that they’re not alike… they find those things endearing or at least tolerable! I couldn’t have picked a better husband for my daughter. He is everything that she prayed for and more. If I told you all the romantic things he has done, you wouldn’t believe me. Or you’d say that he has set the bar for romance too high for other men to reach.

Speaking of being able to reach… he’s tall! I finally have someone who can reach the stuff on the high shelves! He’s also insanely good looking. So no matter which parent my grandkids look like, they’ll be gorgeous!

We love Chris and we’re so happy to have him join our family.


Our Story

It’s our anniversary, so I’m going to tell you our story.

It was the summer of 2001. I had spent all summer working weekends in an ER and spending the weekdays at the lake with my daughters and our dog. Every weekend I dropped them (the kids, not the dog) at their dad’s, worked two 12 hour night shifts, picked them up on Monday morning and headed back to the lake. We spent all week walking in the woods, floating in the lake and doing whatever we wanted. When summer was over and the kids had to go back to school, the ER manager asked if I could work some extra shifts during the week. So, I picked up a random Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, on that same random Tuesday, Joe picked up an extra shift on an ambulance. When he and his partner arrived on a scene to pick up a patient, Joe stepped out of the ambulance into (he would soon discover) a hole that was concealed by overgrown grass. He twisted his ankle. I don’t know all of the details of how the fire department handles these situations. Someone had to take Joe to the ER and someone else had to take his place transporting the original patient. What I do know is that they brought him to my ER.

When I saw a firefighter in uniform in the waiting room, with an ice pack on his ankle, I couldn’t resist making fun of him. “You’re supposed to bring the patient, not be the patient.”

I checked on him frequently between my other patients. He must have been there a long time because we talked quite a bit. When he told me what firehouse he was working in that night, I told him that I went to the high school right behind that house. He said that he went to that school too. Um… what? I didn’t believe him, but it was true. We went to the same high school and didn’t know each other.

I also learned that, in addition to the fire department, he served in the Air National Guard and would be shipping out for a two week deployment in a few days. On my birthday. To Hawaii.

What I didn’t know then, is that Joe is very shy the first time he meets someone. So the fact that he talked to me at all was amazing. But asking for my phone number when he was discharged from the ER… that was a miracle!

We went on a couple of dates before he left for Hawaii, including the best first date ever. He called me frequently while he was there. Two weeks later, when he was scheduled to fly back to Memphis, September 11th happened. He tried to gain my sympathy for being unable to fly back home. Sorry buddy, you’re stuck in Hawaii. I don’t feel sorry for you.

September 11th had an effect on everyone. For some of us, it accelerated our relationships. Another side effect was that people were afraid to fly, so flights were pretty inexpensive. Joe wanted to take advantage of the cheap flights and show me Hawaii. We left Memphis on a cold, rainy Valentine’s Day and a few hours later we were in warm, sunny Hawaii. Two days later, we rented a convertible and drove along the coast. In the words of Adele, “it was just like a movie, it was just like a song.”  I said, “This place is so romantic. Are you sure you don’t want to get married while we’re here?”  He said “OK.”  That was not the proposal of my dreams, but it’s how we became engaged.

It was a weekend, and the following Monday was a federal holiday. It would be Tuesday before we could find out if we could get married there. Yes, we could.  We got a marriage license. One phone call got us a location, preacher, and photographer. I got my nails done and ordered flowers. We bought rings and a dress.

On Thursday morning, the same day we were scheduled to leave Hawaii, six months to the day after we met, we stood at the base of Diamondhead and got married. This weekend, we’ll celebrate the 14 wonderful years that have passed since that day and the many more to come.

The Long and Winding Road

When I was 30 years old, I found myself unexpectedly divorced. Single. Alone. All I knew how to do was be half of a couple. Taking no time to mourn or adjust, I immediately began searching for another half. And so began the longest EIGHT years of my life!


My first relationship lasted about a year and a half. I thought we would marry. We didn’t, but we did stay friends. That is, until he got a new girlfriend who wouldn’t let him be friends with me. He married her.

The next one lasted about a year. That’s when I discovered that I wasn’t his only girlfriend. Worse, I wasn’t even his main girlfriend. I was The Other Woman! He married her.

There was one that seemed almost perfect. We had so much in common. We discovered that we’d repeatedly been in the same places at the same time. Our kids were the same ages. Things moved quickly in a short amount of time. Suddenly, he brought it to a screeching halt, claiming that he needed to get close to God before he could deal with a new relationship. Apparently the “god” that he wanted to get close to was the other woman he was dating. He married her.

A married friend once fixed me up with one of her single friends. We didn’t click. However, a few years later, when my friend was single again… He married her.

I can’t say they were non-commital.


In the midst of all of this, I received a lot of Truly.Horrible.Advice:

Play hard to get. Stop letting them know that you’re interested. Men like the chase.
At what point is it safe to let him know that I’m interested? At our wedding reception? After we have a couple of kids? I’m pretty sure that the moment I become interested is when he starts chasing something else.


Play the game. Don’t be so available.
So, after I turn down the date, and I’m sitting at home eating ice cream alone, at what point do I realize that I’m winning at this stupid game?

You’ll find someone when you stop looking.
Really? Don’t most people stop looking when they’ve commited to someone else? That seems like a really inconvenient time to find The One.

My response to all of the bad advice was that I won’t play games. If a guy thinks there’s something wrong with me because I like him, I’ll take his word for it. After all, he knows himself better than anyone. If he says, “It’s not you, it’s me,” I believe him. When he says, “You deserve better,” I agree!

I decided to hold out for a decent man with enough confidence and self-esteem to know that he was worthy of my affection. It turns out that such a man existed. Now all I hear is “Where did you find him?” and how lucky I am to have him. This had nothing to do with luck. This was work! I found him by looking hard and praying harder, never giving up, never settling and by not listening to bad advice.

Some say that I had to go through all of that to appreciate what I have. I’d like to think that I’m intelligent enough to appreciate a good man without being lied to, cheated on and propositioned by married men. But if this was the only road that would lead me here, then I’m glad I took it… because He.Married.Me