I love you (and links)

One would think that after more than a decade and a half of years in marriage and 20-odd years together that I wouldn’t be learning new things about you.

But this year I did learn something new.

One of the things you said you loved about me back when we were teenagers was how much I cared about things.  You’ve generally been calm and have tended not to pay much attention to current events.  But you liked about me that I wasn’t and I did… you said you admired that.

Generally when something has been important enough to me, I’ve been able to ask you to do something and you’ve done it.  I’ve always thought that you’d gotten out of your comfort zone in those cases because of your love for me and because I thought things were important.

But this time you’re doing more than I’ve ever asked.  I asked that you attend a university anti-hate rally, go to the women’s march, and make calls with the weekly actions from one of the lists.  You’re doing that, but so much more. You’re paying attention to the news and occasionally send me links.  You’ve volunteered for all sorts of things with the local democrats [and now indivisible].  You’re helping the local group that works with immigrants.  You’ve become a certified voter registrar.  You’ve gone so far out of your comfort zone with all this activism.  And you’re not even unemployed yet!

And I asked you why, and you said because it matters.  Because you need to do something about all the horrible things going on.  Because it’s the right thing.  Not because I think it’s the right thing, but because it is the right thing.  You don’t seem to be enjoying all of this– you’re still an introvert who dislikes politics and are much more comfortable with playing games on a virtual landscape or with the sterile world of saving lives through engineering.  But you’re doing it anyway.  Because you’re a responsible person.  A good person.

You told me this morning that you’d slept poorly because you’d had a nightmare about gunslingers and then when you woke up you kept thinking about politics and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Usually that’s me who is doing that (and usually I wake you up and you talk to me until I fall sleep again).

I don’t know what life is going to be like in a few months when this post posts.  I don’t know who our president is going to be or what kind of links will be following this post.  Right now as I type this, the news is about lies about ties to Russia as the President’s men are recusing and resigning.  Remember that?

But I do know, whatever the future holds, where ever we are this June 17th or next or any June 17th after, I am lucky to have been able to spend my life with you.  I admire you.  You are the best person I know (our children, as always, included, as they came from you).  And, as always, I love you so very much.  Thank you for sharing your life with me.

And now for some links!

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Juneteenth is this weekend (technically it’s Monday, but the weekend is better for celebrating)!  Celebrate the actual end of slavery!

What can you do if your senators are Democrats?

Republican senators are unable to explain even what they are trying to fix with the AHCA.

Republican health care bill would raise insurance premiums

Russia may have actually hacked some voting.

Counter-protests last weekend

Another thread on sexism and HRC

Celebrate bureaurcracy

Stop pretending you’re not rich

#2 will live seemingly forever

Maybe I need a writing hat!

Saliva DNA and migration

I cleaned out my email inbox a bit… here’s some scholarly articles:

Ugh Uber

Manager bias decreases work output for minorities (get rid of racist managers!)

Gender diversity and performance in venture capital

The lifecycle of scholarly performance across fields

Head Start works even better when followed by better funded K-12

The presidential election was bad for health

/end scholarly articles

Modern love fairy tales

Ow, the title on this.

Get Old Man’s War for free through June 21st

This is a nice mansion

This is a cat house

Interview with Seanan McGuire

Nerd!  Also, Sweet

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16 years and the routine of marriage

Every night that we’re together, and most nights when we’re apart, we talk as we drift to sleep.  Or rather, you talk, and I fall asleep.  I fall asleep when my feet get warm and I’ve heard your soothing voice.  After that, you tell me, you realize I’m asleep and only then do you fall asleep yourself.  You make me feel comfy and cozy and warm and safe.

We’ve built a lot of routines during our years together.  I do the bills, you do the vacuuming, we fold clothing together.  You’ve worked around my annoying habits, and hopefully now find them endearing.  I know I love your eccentricities– the way you have of hobby jumping every few months, your goofy sense of humor (even the horrific puns!), especially the crinkle you get next to your eyes when you’re about to be extra-silly.

These patterns of comfort remind us we’re working together to create a tapestry of life.  If we’re being metaphorical.

And the intertwined paths of our lives are not at all boring.  Our well traveled rhythms still provide plenty of excitement.  Even as we dance our familiar patterns, things change as the children come into being and grow older.  Our routines spiral into something familiar and something new.

Every year with you is wonderful, every month, every day, every hour, every minute.  I can not think of anybody with whom I would rather tread familiar paths or explore new places.

As you’ve heard me say before and as I will say again, many times a day for the rest of our lives, I love you so much.  I’m so lucky to have met you and to have you for my own.

You are my center

You make me grounded.

I can have had the worst day at work, the worst luck, the ickiest tummy ache.  And you’ll hug me, and I’ll feel your warm arms around me.  And for a moment, everything will be ok.

You are my comfort.  You are my hero.

I never want to imagine life without you.  Everything will always be ok, no matter what, so long as I have you and the children.  So long as we have each other.

I love you so much.

15 years today!  And hopefully for decades to come.

The first time I met you

You remember these stories as well as I do, maybe better, but let’s revisit them in front of a bigger audience.  :)  Audience, imagine us as teenagers, which is something we once were.  The setting is a boarding high school.  Try to remember…

The first time I met you, it was after school in the evening or maybe in the day on a weekend, no it couldn’t have been a weekend.  I don’t recall exactly, but there weren’t many people around.  You were sitting alone in a “pit”– those mini-coliseums leftover from when our school building was an open school.  You were depressed.  I asked what was wrong.  You told me you’d asked a girl to a dance and she’d said no.  (Many years later she would come out as lesbian, which is the only possible reason I can think of that anyone would not be attracted to you, but then, I’m biased.)  I said generic that’s too bad you’ll find someone some day kinds of things and moved on with my life.  You moved on with yours.

Several months later, I want to say three because that’s a good number, I met you a second time.  Your roommate, for some reason I can’t remember, probably because I’m getting old, threw me a birthday party.  I think because my birthday is really close to your suitemate’s and that struck him as cause for celebration.  I was in a lot of classes with him and he was a fun guy in the way that precocious tweens are funny to real teenagers.  As his roommate, you were invited.  We talked some, though I don’t remember about what.

Every night between study hours and the time when they locked the dorms, a group of us, mostly from my science class, including your roommate, would roam around the campus in order to stave off cabin fever.  Sometime after my birthday you figured you had classes well enough under control and could start socializing more.  So you joined your roommate on these walks.  By the time your birthday rolled around, I knew you well enough to get you a present (though I don’t remember what it was… maybe Twizzlers?  Probably the only present I’ve gotten you that didn’t suck.)

Oddly, people started dropping out of the walking group and it ended up being just the two of us a few nights here and there.  You were so funny, talking about D&D and GURPs games as if they were real.  Almost a stereotype, except for not looking the part, with your tall, dark, handsomeness.  (Not that I dwelled on that back then.)

One weekend I decided to stay at school instead of going home.  It was the most fun I’d had that year.  We hung out, you and your roommate and some of your hall mates and I.  We ranged all along the off-campus area we were allowed to visit, and maybe a few places out of range.  We enjoyed the spring and being young enough to still roll down hills.  I broke up with my first boyfriend (from home) that weekend.  I still liked him as a friend, but I didn’t love him.

One night you kissed my hand saying good-bye on a walk.  One of those silly gallant things someone who loves living in fantasy worlds might do, meaning nothing by it.  And suddenly I realized I loved you.  I’d had no idea.  No idea.

I thought maybe you liked me too.  I was pretty sure.  I mean, who kisses someone’s hand without meaning something by it?  Turns out you do.  But I didn’t know that until ages later, when we were established enough that it was only minorly embarrassing to me.

Time passed, and we had more walks just the two of us.  And we had one of those conversations where I thought I was saying one thing, and you thought I was saying something else, and your response made sense in my context and in your context as well (another thing we discovered ages later)… and somehow we were dating.

I remember you seeing me off the first time when my mom picked me up, and she asked if we were dating and I said yes.

These memories used to be stronger, and they’re fading with time.  I feel like that song in Gigi, ah yes, I remember it well.  There’s so much life that’s happened since then.  We’ve spent well over half our lives together, and those baby and toddler years take a toll.

My love for you has not diminished.  I’m still that giddy 16 year old whenever we touch (especially when our progeny keep us physically apart for too long, or when I get to spend the week working from home while the kids are in school).  I still spend huge amounts of my day thinking about you.  But there’s so much more now, that there wasn’t then.  You’re still the most fascinating and attractive person I know, but you’re also a comfort and a support and a partner and a father to our children.  (And an accomplished cook!)  I can’t imagine life without you.

I love you so much.

Money can’t buy me love

But it sure can make our lives easier!

Remember what, 13 years ago?

We were about to move to a new city (well, technically we were about to drive to Canada, but in a few weeks it would be a new city).  We had about 4K total to our name, much of it saved up from my work-study jobs in college.  When we got to the city, we slept on the floor of a friend from college at night and searched for housing during the day.  We ended up in a tiny 10×10 apartment.  We had to borrow money from my parents to put down a deposit.  We walked everywhere because we couldn’t afford the 70 cents to take the subway until school started and we got our subway passes along with our stipends.  We bought used kitchen equipment for $20 and a terrible desk for $10 from some people who were leaving, and a new futon for $120 and a paste-board dresser for $80.  As the pastor who married us suggested, we ate a lot of macaroni and cheese.

We bought an overpriced bed with that first stipend (after paying my parents back), and a Le Creuset pot.  I remember calling my dad before making the purchase because he’s the most skin-flinty person I know.  He argued that we spend more time on the mattress than any other place and it’s important to get a good night’s sleep.  Also Le Creuset pots last forever.  In retrospect, we should have tried to bargain the guy down on the mattresses, but it did last 10 years without problem (although the salesman swore it would be good for 15).  We had to put that purchase on three different credit cards because we didn’t have enough of a line of credit to put it on one.  The guys at the shop said they broke up purchases like that all the time.

We ate mostly vegetarian and lots of cheap starches.  We’d go to the open air market once a week and stock up on veggies, and then we’d rush home to process them before they went bad.  Soon after school started, we got an offer to move to student housing– a two room 10×30 apartment for the same price.  We jumped at the chance and broke our lease.  We didn’t lose all of our deposit though because our old place filled up very soon after we left.  After a year we had enough saved to pay for car insurance, and we retrieved my car from my sister, complete with shiny new dents.  (That a lot of random people in the city wanted us to know they could fix whenever they saw us in a parking lot.)

After two years there, we moved to be RAs.  Our apartment was still two rooms, but smaller, and we shared a kitchen with the students.  Saving 20K/year on rent, we were able to save quite a bit of money.  We bought a video projector which we still have.  I can’t believe we just had to get a new bulb for it.  We’re growing older, my beautiful love.

After two years of that, we realized we’d need more time to finish our dissertations, and left the students.  We had a hard time deciding between a smaller apartment and greater savings or a bigger apartment and finally having some space to ourselves, maybe getting a cat.  One of your labmates told us her apartment building had two openings, and we visited, and we picked a large apartment.  It was expensive and falling apart, but oh, in such a lovely neighborhood.  And the kitchen was tiny and awful, so we had a granite-top bureau made to extend the kitchen space to our dining room.  We also impulse-bought an expensive butcher block that we don’t need and has been a pain to move, and a lovely dining room table.  Our dining room here looks a lot like our dining room there, though we no longer use the butcher block except to hold our knives.  We traveled out to the suburbs and bought a living room set and felt a little bit like grown-ups.

Before we even moved in, we drove out to a no-kill shelter and got our kitties.  The baby who had had babies, so tiny and yellow who became my best friend when I gave her chicken and who cleaned up to a lovely lively white and black cutie within a few days of not being surrounded by scary big cats.  The big kitty who loved on you just the right amount at the shelter and has the same heart condition as your grandma.   They’re currently reminding you of their presence through generous gifts of cat-hair, just as they have every summer.

An increase in income and change in location meant we could upscale our food choices.  Whole foods, Trader Joe’s… but we still walked to the local grocery too.  The walk to WF was nicer.  Heck, our entire neighborhood was lovely.  What a change from our first 4 years.  The radiator may not always have worked correctly and might have been prone to flooding, and the water from the pipes might sometimes have been dangerous, but we still loved that apartment.

And then with one thing and another we got jobs and with the money we’d saved we had a housing down-payment equivalent to what we’d need if we were paying on mortgage what we’d paid on rent.  Silly us, we thought we’d need a house this big.  But it’s a lovely house.  And somehow right at the top of our price range… the most expensive place we looked at.

When we first got here, after the downpayment and expected and unexpected fees and emergency expenses, we couldn’t afford to buy a w/d, or rather, we could get cheap ones, but we wanted nice ones.  So you took our laundry to the local laundromat/pub.  (Why don’t more towns have that combination?)  We were about to get new furniture when our planned second car purchase got pushed up by an F150’s sudden stop.  And then suddenly we had a baby and money and no time to get more furniture.  But we didn’t need it– toys from your parents and children’s books from mine ended up filling every available space.

We finished furnishing the house right before going on sabbatical.  Pardon, Faculty Development Leave.  We don’t have sabbaticals.  People suggested putting pictures on the wall so the place didn’t seem so bare.  So we did, from one of those cheap home furnishings places.  I’m not sure if it helped.  We split that living room set across the two living rooms.  Eventually we rented the place out, even though it was furnished.

We’d saved a year’s spending to go on that faculty development leave, and we enjoyed it to the fullest extent.  I wonder if we’ll have another year like that again.  In the end, we still had money leftover and made a pretty big dent in our mortgage when we got back.  You tried out the self-employment lifestyle that year and liked it, even though your company didn’t bring in very much.  But we didn’t mind.  Your business partners though, their wives didn’t make quite as much as yours, and they didn’t like each other as much as they both liked you.  And so the experiment ended and we went home to our regular jobs.

Back at home you toyed with keeping your job, maybe going into administration.  But your heart wasn’t in it.  So we started thinking about what we could do to make you happy with your career.  And we unexpectedly needed to start DC1 in private school.  And DC2 came along.  And now you’ve been self-employed for a month or so.

And here we are today.  Still working things out.  Happy that we saved so much so that we can have the freedom to try new things.  That we can spend on what’s important.  That we can not worry so much about so many things that aren’t important when you have money but are terrifying when you don’t.

I love you so much.  I hope that we have decades and decades more of saving and spending and living and loving together.  Life without you would be nowhere near as rich.

Related:  A year ago today.

Quick note to the most amazing person in my world

Everything I said last year is still true… except we’ve added another year and another child on the way.  I cannot tell you how much I love you.  Every day is better because you’re in it.

Thank you for:

taking such good care of me
being the most awesome daddy
making yummy ice cream
being warm at night when it’s cold
talking me down (and giving me food) when I’m irritated
being able to fix anything
feeding me when I’m hungry
listening to me when I need to think something out
suggesting things when my mind is gone
reminding me to exercise
being fun to talk with and be with
reminding me to take my lunch
being the kind of guy who regularly calls his grandma
being tall, dark, and handsome, and having a great chin
helping me get up
telling horrible puns: No wait, not that one
always being there when I need you

Like DC says, I love you *this* much, where *this* is as wide as my arms can go.  But it’s even more than that.  Like infinity.  :)

I LOVE YOU, DH!

I can’t believe it has been 11 years of marriage.  We’re getting old!  And this year marks the year that we’ve spent more than half our lives together. We’ve got a beautiful small child, and two adorable kitties.  And a wonderful future ahead of all of us.

We’ve checked off the standard list of accomplishments and accouterments together:  education, jobs, cars, house, steady retirement savings.  We’ve got dreams for the future. But even without any of those life would still be wonderful because together we can accomplish anything.

We’ve been poor, we’ve been stressed, we’ve been through heart-break and celebration.  You’ve been my rock and help-meet and partner through it all.

We can finish each other’s sentences, but even still surprise each other with new ideas, new thoughts, new ways to grow.  Even terrible new puns.  You calm me when I’m irritated and feed me when I’m hypoglycemic.  You help me find rational solutions to any kind of problem.  I’m never afraid when you’re there to help me.  I trust you with anything and know that you will always take care of me, just like I will always take care of you. You make me a better person.  And more than that, you make me happy.

Every single day I think about how blessed I am to have found you. Happy Anniversary!

Related posts:  The proposalThe wedding. Now please join #2 in wishing #1 and her husband many more happy years together!