Nine…

Listen.

The whole goddamn world is on fire.

And I don’t want to talk about it.

Today I have squishy feelings because it was nine years ago that I went on a date with a boy I met on the internet. We sat in a Caribou halfway between our respective homes and talked for eight hours. The weather was snow-raining and gray and cold, which is exactly what is happening outside my window right now.

Nine years of my life with this guy.

I say it every time, but it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

We don’t actually celebrate our dating anniversary since we got married, but it’s hard not to at least acknowledge it.

I met him at my absolute lowest point.

He saved my life.

There’s no other way to put it.

Here is a picture of Emerson Mouse hanging from my hair.

This is a highly accurate representation of the goofy-ass things my Robert will do to make me laugh on a daily basis. And especially when it feels like the world is caving in on itself.

I love him.

So.

Fucking.

Much.

The Seven Year Itch…

Seven years ago I married a boy I met on the internet.

Statistically, we should be seeing a decline in our relationship at this point. The Seven Year Itch is something that actually happens according to research.

I’d say for us, the longer we’re together, the better we get.

Does that make us special?

No.

Not really.

Plenty of people survive statistics.

My parents have been married for fifty years.

It’s not always rainbows and giggles and arguments with stuffed animals. We have ugly conversations and disagreements. We get stressed and irritated and snappy. But we communicate—even when it sucks—and we tend to talk everything to death. Things are far from perfect, but we’re US.

And I love US.

I can be my whole, awkward, weird, inane, obsessive self, and he tells me he loves me for all of it.

He is my sanity and my saving grace.

I love him more than I ever thought possible to love another human being, and I love him more every day.

I always have these elaborate plans in my head for commemorating our anniversary in writing, but really, simplicity works better.

Seven years.

And not the least bit itchy.

Seventy-six days…

I was rifling through some old files recently, falling into a rabbit hole of bad web design and a whole lot of writing notes for stories long forgotten, and I found a blog post. I have no idea if it was ever actually posted. It would have been on my Live Journal, but I’m too lazy (and frankly, too avoiding-bad-memories) to go through and look for it.

It’s nothing terribly ground breaking. It’s just a lengthy ramble about being with Bob, moving in together, and how unfathomable it was that everything was falling into place so easily and so fast. I had just [recently] moved in and I had yet to get fired from the Toxic Shit Hole. It’s a lot of waxing on about how awesome he is and how much I love him and how happy he makes me and…pretty much everything I still wax on about now.

But what caught my attention was the end of the post…

I did some math the other day…I’m nuts, I know…

Since the day we met, we have spent every single weekend together.

From November 18, 2007 to February 1, 2008 is 76 days.

Of those 76 days, we have spent 57 days together. (including the days when it was only a few hours coming or going)

That makes 19 days apart. And those all involved lengthy phone conversations.

This is how we’ve grown so close so fast. This is why nothing feels rushed.

I made my “official” move in with him on our 2 month anniversary. (Give or take a day or two.) From the day I moved in we have spent exactly one night apart.

It’s been seven years.

According to an internet calculator that’s 2,558 days since our first date.

2,497 days of living together.

1,887 days of marriage.

And we’re still the same clingy koala bears we were on day one.

Who knew?

The Bobs … December 2, 2007

Five…

In September 2007, if you’d told me in two months I’d meet the love of my life and in two years I’d be married to him, I would have written you off as bat-shit crazy.

Oh ye of little faith.

It’s been five years since Bob and I got married.

In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve known him forever.

In others, HOLY CHRISTMAS how has it been five years already? (Seven together come November.)

There are still days when I look around and think, “Holy crap, I’m married. How the hell did that happen?”

I love my Robert with all my heart.

He is my sanity and my saving grace and even on my worst days he makes me so unbelievably, inexplicably happy.

Six…

Bob and I don’t have many pictures of the two of us together (aside from our wedding pictures). As often as I dink around with my camera, I just don’t think to take any of us.

Six years ago was our first date. It feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time, it’s gone by in a flash.

Six years ago our primary concern was when we could see each other again. (EVERY WEEKEND) Yesterday we were discussing the appointment to get my car fixed, planning new tires for Bob’s car, and when we should bite the bullet and finally buy that upright freezer we’ve been waffling on for months.

Life.

It is good.

December 2007 … our first Christmas vacation together.

September 2012 … magical Red Rocks.

Out there in between…

It’s odd…when I was looking for things to get for Bob for his birthday, my only hang up was what to get him. Once I figured some things out, it wasn’t difficult to spend the money. Buying something for my husband, I barely thought twice.

I have a folder currently sitting on my desktop titled “wishlist.” It has pictures and a text file of links to things I’ve been considering buying for myself for my birthday. I’d never remember what it was I had in mind otherwise. It’s all fairly cheap and simple stuff. Nothing extravagant. And after staring at it for quite some time, I think I know what I really want to get off the list.

And I can’t seem to bring myself to click purchase on a single item.

I am incredibly cheap when it comes to buying things for myself. (Unless we’re talking music from my absolute favorites.) I agonize over every last dime I spend. Never mind the fact that the money in my bank account is essentially for me to spend as I please. I waffle and debate and more often than not walk away without buying anything.

It stems from getting fired and having no choice but to spend my money on nothing but absolute essentials. And then having to make a decision between paying bills or paying for the medications that were more or less keeping me alive.

Now buying anything frivolous for myself makes me twitch with guilt no matter how badly I want something—or how cheap it is. I even agonize over my music purchases, which can be incredibly painful.

Bob and I are not hurting for money. We’re not exactly rolling in it either. We’re comfortable. We can pay our bills without issue and still have money to put into savings and budget for the fun stuff.

And yet, I balk at getting a haircut, buying clothes that fit, or splurging on goofy items I imagine would make excellent fidget tools to soothe my bad-addled brain.

I suppose that makes me a responsible adult?

Or just crazy?

I have no idea.

Superficial intuition…

I have decided I’m going to buy myself things for my birthday this year.

I don’t ask for or expect things for my birthday. I’m not one of those women with the bullshit sense of entitlement, who expects and demands my husband to shower me with all my material desires for every occasion, and then gets all bent when he doesn’t give me what I want.

Bob buys me things I want all year round. And it’s much more special when it’s unexpected than on a specific date.

I’ve already pre-ordered season ten of Red vs Blue. Though that’s more of a must keep my collection complete than a birthday present. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to get the 10-season boxed set but I cannot justify the price no matter how much bonus content there is, considering I already own all the seasons. Maybe someday if we win the lottery. Then I’d even go for the blue-ray version.

The 3 Doors Down greatest hits collection (with 3 new songs) comes out on my birthday, so I’ll be buying that number as soon as I can get my hands on it. (Odd it’s coming out on a Monday and not a Tuesday with the rest of the music world.)

But there are other things I’m considering getting for myself that I’d have a hard time justifying otherwise, because they are completely ridiculous. Granted I am completely ridiculous, so it’s not that surprising that I’d want such things. But I’d never expect anyone else to buy them for me…stuffed critters, music paraphernalia, perhaps another Rooster Teeth shirt…we’ll see.

I’m also incredibly cheap so I might just go with some music that’s been sitting on my iTunes wishlist for awhile and call it a day.

I have a month to decide how to waste some money.

Until then, I’ll keep window shopping.

What are you doing for the rest of your life?

I always feel the need to commemorate anniversaries with essays waxing poetic about years gone by. Then I start writing and it takes off in an entirely different direction that I never intended and I end up scrapping the whole thing.

Three years ago today Bob and I got married.

He is my best friend.

He is my saving grace.

I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love another human being.

Every single day I am with him, I feel so unfathomably lucky to have him.

Tonight we are 950 miles from home.

My ridiculously fantastic husband is indulging my crazy and we are in Denver because I had a completely insane notion that I needed to see Train (and Andy Grammer—let’s not pretend this wasn’t the deciding factor here) in concert when they played on our anniversary.

I couldn’t bring myself to brave the State Fair on Labor Day last year when they were here, but apparently I can drive 900-some miles to see them in another state with little hesitation.

Or maybe I have finally, officially cracked.

I’ll let you know when we get home.

Crazy would be changing your mind…

I had this whole post planned out in my head waxing analytical and poetic about the state of my brain when it comes to making decisions and blah, blah, blah. Then it got really long and drawn-out and it missed the point entirely of what I really wanted to say.

I had a pipe dream about a road trip. Then I got nudged by a couple of completely fantastic friends about said pipe dream. And my brain went into overdrive and when Bob got home from work (on a Saturday…Boo and Hiss for the busy season) I asked him a COMPLETELY INSANE QUESTION.

And now the pipe dream is no longer a pipe dream.

It’s a plan of action.

Bob and I are going to Denver in September.

We’re going to spend our anniversary (THREE YEARS…whaaaaaaat?) at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with some little known music acts by the names of Train, Andy Grammer, and Mat Kearney.

Because the combination of TRAIN (my absolute FAVORITE band) and ANDY GRAMMER (the current object of my musical obsession) proved to be too much of a draw for my COMPLETELY INSANE self. And we’re road-tripping 900-some miles to go see this show. Mat Kearney is just an added bonus as he has a place in my musical heart as well.

This will be the first ever vacation/road trip/whatever Bob and I have taken together.

We bought concert tickets. We have a place to stay lined up (because Jenn is awesome). Everything else is up in the air. We have a lot of details to figure out. When we’re leaving. When we’re coming home. Whether or not we’ll trek down to Colorado Springs to see my aunt and uncle. What to pack. What not to pack. And whether or not I have completely lost my mind once and for all. (I totally already know the answer to that one. Yes. Yes I have.) I need to make lists. I need to look up directions (as back up for the GPS). I need to curb the daily (hourly?) panic attacks of HOLY CHRIST ON A BIKE AND HELEN’S HANDBASKET WE’RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS.

Despite the panic though, I am stupidly excited. And so is Bob. Because DUDE, we’re DOING THIS.

In the meantime, I listen to music.

And hit play again on my new theme song.

Because Andy Grammer knows what’s up.

And maybe I should care more about safety
But I can’t ignore or betray these voices singing
You can do this, you can do this
You are not a lunatic
Crazy would be changing your mind
You can do this, you can do this
You are not a lunatic
Crazy would be leaving it behind

A letter to PIMA…

Dear Jim,

I’ll be honest, there was a time I dreaded your very presence in the cubical next to mine. It was probably [mostly] unwarranted, but it was true.

When the Absent Minded CFO fired The Beast and hired you (or re-hired as was pretty much the case) in her place, I was a little excited. Working for The Beast had been a nightmare. And being under the “management” of my sister was probably one of the dumbest moves ever made. I wasn’t at all worried when the Absent Minded CFO added you as one of my direct supervisors. I was promised spread sheets with macros and simplification and streamlining of a lot of processes that had been a hot mess for a lot of years.

I started to learn…fairly quickly…that your method of streamlining and simplifying often meant over-complicating everything. The macro-driven spread sheets were nice and all, but there was entirely too much production involved every time we wanted to change or even use one of these modern marvels.

I started to dislike you. You started to drive me crazy. I dubbed you P.I.M.A. (Pain In My Ass). In hindsight, I can’t quite remember what it was that got my ire up on a daily basis with you. I know there are a lot of documented tirades in my old blog. And if I wanted to dredge up more unsettling memories of the Toxic Shit Hole I might just go read up on what it was that made me want to junk-punch you multiple times a day.

It didn’t help, I suppose, that you were in charge of some of the most infuriating development projects in company history. (I still can’t drive past the Groveland site without giving it the stink-eye and the finger.) And all of these projects were headed by the most infuriating executive in the world—who was not, surprisingly, the Absent Minded CFO. They were a source of great stress for both of us, and fueled my disdain for you like no other.

I don’t quite remember when things started to change. But they did start to change. I could venture to guess it was not long after I started getting help for my mental illness. Because as I got sicker, I started to appreciate you as my boss more and more.

You understood.

You had first hand experience with the shitstorm that is depression and anxiety. You knew what I was going through. And with that connection…you became my sole ally in that company. Not once did you ever accuse me of being a fraud (unlike…everybody else). Not once did you make me feel like I had to justify my diagnosis.

You became my friend.

You saw me cry more times than I can even count.

And then…

You quit.

You had gotten fed up with the bullshit of the Absent Minded CFO and the Most Infuriating Executive Ever and the Toxic Shit Hole in general. You found a better job, with better pay, in a better environment, and you quit.

You were still tied in with a few behind the scenes workings, as you had been for years after you quit the first time. But your long and frustrating relationship with that company was almost severed completely.

I felt a little abandoned, to be honest. My sole ally had left me alone. I had no one left on my side, to help with my defense, whenever I was called in on the carpet and accused—often indirectly but never subtlety—of being a fraud.

The last time I remember seeing you was shortly after I met Bob. You had come into the office after hours when there were still quite a few people around. Apparently you had been talking to one of the big-mouths because you stopped by my desk and asked me when the wedding was.

It wasn’t very long after that, that the Absent Minded CFO fired me.

I wished you had been there—been the one to help me pack up my desk…after nine years of occupancy…been the one to walk me to my car. But at the same time, I was glad you weren’t, because it probably would have been that much harder knowing that the one person I could trust had been forced to concede my defeat.

What I really wanted to say in all of this is Thank You.

Thank you for being my friend when I needed one.

Thank you for believing my illness was real, when no one else did.

Thank you for understanding, being a shoulder to cry on, and for just being there.

I appreciate all of it more than you’ll ever know. And more than words can adequately express.