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I should preface this post by saying that I really hate Valentine’s Day.  I think is the most contrived holiday, which perhaps has some nice origins, but now has simply given way to a day on which people who don’t have a significant other feel like losers, people who DO have a significant other have unrealistic expectations, and little kids are forced to give stupid commercial cut-outs with, like, Hannah Montana on them or something, to every. single. person. in their class, and I have no doubt that there have been many the “forgotten” (either intentional or otherwise) little kids that are then crushed for life.* So call me the Valentine’s day scrooge, but I think it’s stupid.  So there.

Anyway, now I’m married and perhaps I should like Valentine’s day, because I have this built-in-always-friend around when I want to celebrate it, but I was fortunate to marry someone who felt equally negatively (although perhaps not quite as emphatic) about the stupid holiday so we really don’t celebrate it very much.

Enter our mutual gift to each other:  chocolate covered strawberries and grapes.  OH FRUIT HOW I LOVE YOU!  OH CHOCOLATE HOW DB LOVES YOU!  OK, let’s be honest:  It was mostly a convenience purchase because we both love it, it’s normally totally out of our budget and we had a coupon.  I do think it is super dumb that they have “Valentine’s” fruit arrangements (versus a…”birthday” fruit arrangement…and what is the difference?) (MMmmmmm fruit) but whatever.  I love it.  They could call it “Christmas” fruit and I would find it delicious in July.  I cannot wait for it to get here.

Moving on…

I decided to use Valentine’s Day to jump on Laura’s post about her husband.  See, it was her anniversary the other day, and I made it to her post because apparently she had a dream about me and her skinny jeans, and DB has given me some ripe fodder these days because, it seems, he is pregnant too. So it’s kind of almost like he’s watching Oxygen right along with Ed, Laura’s husband.  They seem to be of similar ilk.

(Hi DB, I love you…)

So first, DB’s diet of late.  It seems that he has this thing for pickles.  As in, I ate that one pickle back in the day, asked him to get some more, and haven’t been able to touch them since.  However, DB has really picked up the slack.  He eats pickles for every meal.  Like, um, a pregnant woman.  He also ate ice cream for dinner last night.  (I ate a sandwich.  He didn’t eat ice cream because of me, that’s for sure.)

On the flip side, DB is my culinary hero.  Two nights ago, I asked him to pick up dinner at a local deli.  This place has a massive menu of sandwiches, fried food, and things like burgers and hot dogs.  I asked him to get a LOT of food, since I wasn’t so up for anything in particular and I figured I would find something in the array that I could eat…so he bought a sandwich (that he hates), some mozzarella sticks (that the last time he purchased about a month ago, I was so in love with I wouldn’t let him touch), and, for himself, a chili dog.  With the chili on the side, since I thought perhaps I would want a *bite*.

I am a vegetarian.  The notion that I would *want* a bite of his hot dog is a totally foreign concept.

Anyway, he came home with all of this food, and opened up his hot dog to take a bite.

I looked at that hot dog.

If there was a soundtrack for my life, it would have sounded like the heavens opened up RIGHT ON THAT HOT DOG.

It looked like…well, words can’t do it justice.

So I asked him for a bite.

Unhesitatingly, he handed it over.

I took the first bite.

It!  Was!  Orgasmic!


I swooned.

He watched me get giddy over *his* meal.  With *TWO* other options in front of me.

I asked him if I could take another bite.


I have never been so in love with a food object before, let along a processed meat product.  Who the heck am I these days?!?

He had to eat PB&J that night.


OK, moving on from food…

Sleeping:  I did not know this before getting pregnant, but apparently one has to pee a LOT in the first trimester.  I am up at least once (and usually twice) every night to pee.  It kind of sucks.

In the beginning, it sucked for DB, too, since apparently I am as graceful as an elephant getting in and out of bed.

However, a few weeks ago, I noticed a strange new phenomenon.

I was not the only person getting up through the night.

For some reason, DB, too, must wake up to pee through the night.

??  That is just weird.

Puking: DB has always had a very sensitive stomach.  I call it efficient.  His stomach detects something undesirable and boots it out, quickly.  Flip switch, eject.

Recently, he’s gotten more pukey.  (Perhaps it is the diet of ice cream and pickles…)

However, on the flip side, I must end with this tidbit of why I do love my husband oh-so-much.  These days, I’m only pretty much throwing up once a day – at night.  It’s tolerable, since I am not really nauseated the rest of the day.  (I mean, it would be better to keep it all in, but I’ll take this.)  (I did not throw up the orgasmic hot dog.  And no, I cannot think of a better adjective than that.  I think it really says it all.)

So ANYway!  Last night, I brushed my teeth gingerly, hoping it wouldn’t incite the stomach to blow.  As I was leaving the bathroom, I sensed a problem.  Being the very independent woman that I am, I called out, “D!!  She’s gonna blow!” –

He charged in.  “Oh, no, honey.  Just relax.  Take a deep breath,” rubbing my back.

Oh, no.  Too late.  I yacked in the sink.

Here is where I have a wonderful awesome husband:

UNFORTUNATELY, some yacked up parts did not make it down the drain.  The sink began to back up.  (I did not share the similar story of when I was in the shower and I was alone, but I think there are some things I need to keep to myself.  Go figure.)  DB ran to the kitchen, got a plastic fork, and started to jam. barfed. up. tomatoes. down. the. drain.

How insanely disgusting is that?

I know.

And then we went to bed.

Happy Valentine’s Day, honey.  I think it is a stupid holiday, but I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone other than you.

*This has never happened to me, although I moved a lot as a kid and I have no doubt that it could have.


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Because you know what?  Sometimes I procrastinate A LOT.  Like now.  And sometimes, if I write everything I am thinking, I will stop procrastinating and get off my posterior and accomplish things.

So here are all of my oh-so-deep thoughts:

1)  I am becoming a total coffee snob.  I didn’t start drinking it until last December, when I was trying to write a  horrible, terrible, life-altering paper (this is, in fact, the paper that really helped me a) define my views on abortion and b) make me decide that I would not, in fact, be completing my PhD program), and I needed to stay awake, and hey – coffee!  Buzz buzz buzz.  But now I am kind of stuck-up about it.  Like I have an amazing husband who makes the coffee every morning, and it stays in this thermal carafe thing, and I am not excited about the taste of this specific coffee.  Who knew I would ever get to the point where I would drink so much coffee that I would actually be able to discern between “amazing”, “great”, “decent”, and “gag me with a spoon” coffee?  Not me.

I would estimate this coffee as between “great” and “decent”.  Which is fine, except that I will no longer be drinking coffee shortly and it will be very unfortunate if I stop drinking coffee on a “decent” note.  So I will be procuring additional coffee options today.  Any suggestions?  I seem to like Peet‘s coffees, but, see, here’s the thing:  Peets has, like, 8,000 versions.  And I repeatedly fail at remembering what I like and don’t like.

This okay/decent coffee is a free trade version from our local food coop.  (Yes, we buy free trade stuff.  It goes along with my whole “story of stuff” philosophy.)

1b)  You might be wondering how foreign cars fits into my SoS philosophy.  Well, we try to buy cars that were not shipped overseas all put together, but that were assembled here in the U.S.  That way we are not clubbing baby seals, but not taking a bath in patriotism, either.  Thoughts?

PS  I sound like we buy cars all the time.  We do not.  We have not actually ever bought a car together.  However, we go car shopping ALL. THE. TIME. because we have a dog the size of a teenager and we’d like to be able to go somewhere with him and another human being at some point in our lives…’cause our current car is a Golf.

2)  Sarah Palin is just the gift that keeps on giving.

3)  Our Muppet dog is finally getting groomed tomorrow, AND I made an appointment for contacts.  I will probably have an eye infection by the time the appointment comes, though, because I am down to my last pair and the appointment is not for 2 more weeks.  (Note to self:  procrastination is sometimes costly.)

4)  Physics blows.  No, it sucks.  It sucks and blows, if you can believe that.  Ha!  My father laughed at that one.

5)  Having a dorky husband who loved physics is good for marital relations.  This is a big surprise to me, actually.  So here I go with my funny story, and then I will be done blogging for the day (SERIOUSLY!)

I have mentioned a million times how DB is WAY smarter than me.  Or, at least, he is smarter in ways that I am not:  like he will remember (no kidding, folks) the content of a general chemistry class he took in his freshman year of college in 1992!!!!!!!!!  (If I could capitalize numbers, they would be capitalized there.)  That was SIXTEEN years ago!

So about 3 years ago, I decided to pursue (ahem) medical school.  (Does this sound familiar?)  I started out by taking general chemistry.  At that time, DB promises that he will help me.  I start out the class, all determined to be a rock star of chemistry despite my background in….POLITICAL science, not BENCH science.  Whatever, right?  I can do anything I put my mind to! Somehow, in that brief enrollment period, I believed that, wholeheartedly.

Except that DB was ordered to do a TDY* for 90 days…with 2 days’ notice.  I was left on my own to suffer through gen chem.

So, he promised he’d help on the phone.

For our VERY FIRST problem set for which we are separated, we get on the phone together, and I start asking him questions about sulfuric acid.  Like does it dissociate completely (there are two protons on it), or does one proton stay on it?

We got in a GIGANTIC fight.  Like I hung up on him, crying and thinking that we would never be able to stay married at this rate, if this is what SCIENCE CLASSES do to HIM!!!  (That was supposed to be funny.  Laugh there.)

I was unable to pursue this plan at that time, so I abandoned it (although I did pretty well in gen chem that semester, despite our marital tutoring arrangement).

Until now.

And now, here I am, taking physics and bio, and expecting DB to coach me through physics.

I will say:  we both did not expect it to go well. In fact, the reason I took chem 2 and orgo while he was overseas was so that he COULDN’T be around to help me – I was all on my own.

But I will not pass this class without a tutor (I know my learning style, and the class doesn’t teach the way my brain works…and, let’s face it – my brain is losing elasticity and I just generally suck at this stuff), and we really don’t have the cash for a tutor, so perhaps by necessity – or perhaps because DB knows this crap better than my TA does – it is working out splendidly.

So splendidly, in fact, that now I do my homework at the Starbucks** next to his office every Thursday, and I call him to help me out whenever I have a question!

So this post is dedicated to my lovely coffee-making, scarily-book-smart husband.  There is no occasion for it other than a) I appreciate him, and b) I am procrastinating SO EFFECTIVELY, and c) although this blog drives him slightly batty, he is supportive.

(And he loves those FBI emails.  So feel free to keep them coming!)

*TDY=Temporary DutY assignment.  Like, “go to X city and work there for 90 days”.

**Starbucks:  did you know that if you have spare change, and you use a Coinstar machine, you can get a gift card to Starbucks (or many other fine retail establishments)?  We had so much change – minus the quarters – that DB managed to get a GC for $150 at Starbucks before he deployed in March.  That, along with SP, is the gift that keeps on giving.

I have effectively blown 35 minutes now.  If you are still reading, I am amazed, and thank you.

(If you are reading this and you know I should be cleaning my house in preparation for Furniture Moving Night, I PROMISE PROMISE PROMISE that this is just a short break. Promise. Lots of things will be cleaned in the next 5 hours. Promise.)

(If you are not one of those very few people, sorry for the bad intro.)

So, marriage.

I know I talked about writing about Biblical marriage, and eventually, I promise, I will. I *think* DB and I have worked pretty hard on creating that. It’s a work in progress, you know. We have talked about it with a number of different people, though, so we have a generally good sense of the end goal. (For those of you who are not of my belief system and whose only understanding of what I’m talking about is the Southern Baptist way of explaining marriage, where a wife “submits” to her husband, the omnipresent source of fortitude and decision-making, know that I am not of that ilk, as you might understand it.)*

So I was unloading the dishwasher a few minutes ago, and as I was putting away our cool blue dishes that were a wedding gift, I came across this one white ugly plate that is a holdout from DB’s bachelor days. It made me start to think about the conversation we had last night at the dog park about communication, and it made me laugh, and I decided you all needed to know about it.

Right before we got married, one of DB’s older, wiser colleagues (who has some very odd personality traits, but somehow has managed to stay married for like 30 years – which is amazing considering how odd he is, and he is the first to say it) pulled him aside, and said, “Remember, marriage is about communicating expectations and needs.” He’s said it, oh, say, maybe 800 times since March 2005. We kind of repeat it like a mantra.

It’s amazingly true.

Right AFTER we moved here, we were engaged, but not living together (as I’ve mentioned before). DB was living with some friends (he had lived here before to go to law school and had lots of friends here), and I was living with crazy people in a house. (Don’t bash me for calling them crazy. They were. The girl bought a house but couldn’t afford the utilities for said house, so we kept it at a toasty 50*F all. winter. long. You could see your breath in the house, and we had to defrost the bathroom pipes with a HAIR DRYER.) One Friday night, DB called and I was sitting at home, probably exhausted from my horrible, thankless job as a substitute teacher. (Did I say thankless? Holy hell, it is. Aragahagh.)

DB: “Hey, what are you up to?”
Me, silently: ‘What do you think? We just moved here and I’m living with crazy people.’ But the walls were thin, so:
Me: “Not much…what are YOU up to?”
DB: “Thinking about what to do. What are you doing for dinner?”
Me, silently: “Helllllooooo, it’s Friday night in a city I moved to for YOUR job. You figure it out! Come pick me up!!”
Me, out loud: “Well…what are you doing?”
DB: “Well, J [roommate] and I were thinking about going out”
Me, in a poorly-veiled huff: “OK then! I guess I’ll just have CEREAL!”
DB, very happily oblivious: “OK!”

Not the stuff of a wonderfully communicative marriage, folks.

I hung up and cried, and cried, and cried, and called my MOM, and told her “I don’t WANT TO EAT CEREAL! I thought we would go out! He SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!”

To which she replied, “Honey, there will be a LOT of things he ‘should have known‘.”

Then DB called back, totally oblivious, and couldn’t figure out why I was sobbing.

We made a lot of progress that night over not-cereal for dinner.


The dishes: I brought them up, and now I’ll explain why.

In our pre-dating life, DB and I were friends, although we lived on opposite sides of the state in which we grew to love each other. About a year after he’d lived in his bachelor pad, he decided he needed furniture, and asked me to come with him to Ikea (I love Ikea!) I figured it was a fun time, so I went to visit him and then we set off on the long (4 hour) drive to the closest Ikea at the time.

Remember, I am *just* a friend on this mission. I thought I was providing company, not decorative advice.

So he looks around at the coffee tables, picks out this massive, gargantuan, mammoth of a table, and asks, “Hey, do you like that?” I said, “Sure.” [It’s not going in my house, so why not? But wow, that’s quite…ugly. Glad it’s not going in my living room!]

He gets to the dishes, which he apparently needs, because he’s been eating off of his parents’ fine china (!) for the last year (his parents are long-ago divorced – randomly he got the china). He picks out the most boring, ugly, off-white ceramic dishes that would look right at home in an institutionalized setting – from among many other options that look very attractive – and asks, “what about these?” Me: “Sure!” [They’re cheap, sure, but MAN, they are ugly!]

He gets to the glasses, and picks out the $0.25 glasses with weird little decorative rims around them, and happily shoves them into his cart after procuring my blessing.

Little did I know: Those items would be joining us…forever. They may be cheap, but they do. not. die.

So then we started dating, and we got engaged, and we moved to our current city, I lived with crazy people, and once we got married, we moved to this puny apartment (maybe 250? sq feet). It wouldn’t have been bad, except that DB contributed most of the furniture. Including that lovely massive hulking coffee table.

The room was so small that you’d walk into it and be forced to either sit on the couch or hurdle it (and climb over the mammoth table). The couch touched the coffee table, which touched the tiny TV, which didn’t seem that tiny since it was oh, say, 3 feet away. (The TV is like an 8″ TV. I’m not exaggerating when I saw tiny.)

We kept the dishes, despite their insane ugliness. We got cool new dishes for our wedding, but we kept both sets of dishes in the rotation – I didn’t want to hurt DB’s feelings, and he thought I liked them, too.

Then, we moved to our current place.

And we were unpacking.

And we had no space for two sets of dishes (not that we did before, either).

And I cried, because I was extra emotional, and said, “DB, I really hate these dishes!”

And he said, “Me too! I thought we kept them because YOU liked them. Let’s get rid of them!”

And what followed was a discussion about expectations. He expected me to make sure he didn’t buy something stupid. I didn’t think he wanted my advice, since we were just friends, and who was I to judge his purchases? He thought I *liked* the dishes, since I said, “sure!” when he put them in his cart. I thought he *loved* the dishes – after all, he picked them out, right?

So after…4? years, we ditched most of them. We kept one glass and one place setting, not because they are pretty but because they remind us of what’s important in our relationship.

****TOTAL ASIDE: I will not go into too much about this, but…as we [DB and I] understand it, biblically-based marriage is one of mutual respect and mutual (here’s that dreaded word) submission. Yes, I said it. Submission. To each other. That verse you hear when people are spouting off about Christians and their marriages? I realize it sounds horrible to the non-Christian. I also realize that Christians defend it (as a colleague once did to me, when I was 19 and clueless and very fired up about everything (oh, wait, that hasn’t changed – but I was 19) as this: It is an analogy. Here it goes:

Submitter: Decider
the church submits to God: Jesus loved the church SO much that he sacrificed His life.

Oh, wait, that doesn’t make any sense if you’re not a born-and-bred practicing Christian? I know. So let’s just say this: it’s mutual respect out of love and reverence for Christ. Someone who has been granted “authority” in a marriage, particularly, is being given a great gift. If a marriage is truly characterized by love, a husband would never make a decision/request that harmed his wife, and his wife would never make a request/decision that harmed her husband. Really, the word “submit”, that is so loaded and jaded and angering in modern English, is one of many words that translations could draw upon, and I do find it curious that we, as believers, continue to use it, especially when it incites such anger and is such a clear barrier to those seeking God. Although the Gospel itself can be offensive, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, the human translation of God’s Word CAN be poorly interpreted and if that translation becomes a lightening rod, I do not believe it is glorifying to God.

It IS submission, but it is MUTUAL submission. If ever there are decisions made that are not honoring to the other spouse, the marriage is inconsistent with biblical teaching. That is more than I planned to say on that, and when I feel more intelligent, I will try to flesh out what I am talking about in a better post.

Only DB can make the word “testator” sound dirty. As in,

“Little, do you have your testators?”

Or, “Little, what happened to your testators?”

Or (speaking for Little, our dog), “Maybe I lost my testators somewhere. I don’t have them anymore!”

Our fun Saturday-night activities: writing DB’s Last Will and Testament, along with other important legal documents. It’s amazing how it takes so many words to write “I give everything to Rachel.”

Pithiness is not valued in legal practice.

Three years ago today, DB and I married in a very happy (some might say exuberant) ceremony. DB is the best husband I could ever ask for. I figured you’d want to know all of the ways he’s awesome (not meant to induce vomiting, so if you are not a sappy person, skip past the list):

  1. We are the only couple we know that sleep cuddled together all night, every night (see reasons we did not get a queen sized-bed post, below). If DB gets out of bed in the middle of the night, I scooch over in bed, still asleep, looking for him (apparently until I reach the edge of the bed, then I give up the search). There have been a few times when he’s had to return to bed on my side of the bed because he can’t get in on his!
  2. He makes me coffee or a latte or a steamer (I didn’t start drinking coffee until recently) almost every morning, and if he leaves earlier than me, he puts it in a cup labelled with my name for when I wake up.
  3. It’s really painful for me to walk the dog on the mornings that are super cold, so if it’s really cold outside, he makes sure to wake up extra early to walk him, even if I don’t have to leave until late.
  4. He always gives me the good pancake, or the good cinnamon bun (I want to keep this to a dozen, so I’ll fit it in here – he makes cinnamon rolls every Saturday morning), or the good piece of pizza. These are things I don’t really appreciate until I’m making a list like this one.
  5. After 15 years of strict vegetarianism, I had to start eating red meat to get some iron because I don’t absorb iron any other way (for some reason) and I can’t take iron pills. However, I find meat disgusting!! DB handles the meat and cooks it so I can eat it. He makes awesome chili. 🙂 (We haven’t come up with a suitable plan for when he leaves for three months. Any ideas? I think he’s going to make a lot of chili and freeze it.)
  6. He is my absolute best friend. I’ve never had a real best friend before because I moved around a lot, but I think if I had to wait this long to find him, I really lucked out. He stays home from work if I’m sick, he takes my calls if I’m panicked, even if he’s in some (super secret meeting where all they’re doing is planning where to get lunch) meeting, and he bears the brunt of the crazy grad school/work schedule that I currently keep.
  7. He hates, hates, hates onions. Onions are like DB’s kryptonite (how do you spell that?). When we first started dating, we went to an absolutely delicious dinner prepared by my extended family-member’s-then-boyfriend’s-family (got that? It was a truly delicious meal and I don’t want them to read this and be offended, but it’s a funny story). Anyway, everything in the whole meal was onion-based, but the woman didn’t know I was a vegetarian, so she was really concerned that I wouldn’t have anything to eat (not a problem – seriously – the food was awesome) and DB didn’t want to say anything about the onions. He managed to eat *most* of the meal. For DB, this is a huge accomplishment and a huge sacrifice. I didn’t realize it at the time, but if you know DB in real life…you do. Anyway, it made him sick (I think it was psychosomatic) but he did it for me.
  8. He charges my cell phone every night, so when he goes out of town my phone dies because I have forgotten what it’s like to actually care for your own phone.
  9. He lets me have this blog, even though he is completely freaked out about it.
  10. He feeds the cat and talks to her in this funny high-pitched voice, and then he talks (I can’t wait for people from his office to find this blog, I must say.) He’ll say, “you gave me more food than that yesterday. Don’t you remember yesterday? This room service sucks.”
  11. He also talks for the dog, although we disagree on the specifics of what the dog says. He talks for the dog in this dopey, “I don’t get it” voice most of the time, until the dog protects the house or car, at which point the dog’s “voice” becomes a mean, I’m-gonna-kill-you-voice (DB will say, “Get the &^%$ away from the house!” or “Step away from the vehicle!”)
  12. When my friend got married in January, he stuck around in the lobby of the hotel while all of the bridesmaids were getting ready (all day), waiting for one of us to ask him to do something. And then the photographer needed something, so he ran to a camera store to buy her a part she needed. He did this even though he was exhausted and I was being a little mean to him because there was a lot going on (and I had two glasses of wine at the rehearsal dinner, which is roughly equivalent to drinking an entire keg of beer for most people so I was a little hung over).
  13. He always teases me that he’s going to give me one gift for both our anniversary and my birthday, which is in three weeks, but he always finds the time to get gifts for both. 🙂

Ok, a baker’s dozen is probably good.

How we met: DB and I met in a very transient Bible study group when he had just finished law school and I was just out of undergrad (for those that care, that means that we’re 5.5 years apart), but we were just acquaintances. Then I moved to another state for graduate school (post-grad degree #1…which totally reminds me of this, but obviously that wasn’t the intention, and in my defense, I’ve taken lots of time off in between degrees to work in other, non-academic jobs), and he randomly moved to the same state to pursue a work opportunity while he applied to the Bureau. When he got to said state, he emailed our Bible study and said, “Hey, everyone, I left (old state) and I’m now in (new state) – bye!” And, I’m sure to his total surprise, random me answered, “Hey DB, it turns out I’m in (new state)! Let’s hang out!”

So we did. We actually hung out a few times. We lived about 3 hours away from each other but he had to go to my neck of the woods often enough (for work, or for his FBI application) that we could get coffee or dinner together.

And then, I got sick. He emailed me (probably in April?) to see if I wanted to get together, and I wrote back, “No, because I’ll be busy until late July”. [No, these are not typos. I seriously told him I was busy for 3 months.]

Not surprisingly, he was a tad offended, but I meant nothing by it – to me, it was a simple statement – I’m swamped! But then my friend’s friend’s father suddenly passed away, so we decided to pay our respects at the funeral home in DB’s town (and this is roughly around June, in my “busy time”). Unfortunately, we got lost. I had a brilliant idea: I had a friend who lived here, so I’d give him a call!

Now, the ultimate outcome – that we got engaged – is only because of my truly kind and generous nature.

Although I was completely unaware of it, he was not thrilled that I was calling him for directions; he thought I was just avoiding him with that email. Naively, I asked him if he wanted to get dinner with us that night, and he answered, “Maybe. I need to finish my laundry.”

(Now is that like the modern-day equivalent to “I need to wash my hair”, or what?!?)

At any rate, he came to dinner with us (after making us wait for about 2 hours – no kidding), he was nice, and we started hanging out a bit together again. By the fall, we were back to being pals, and in January, we started formally “dating” (ie, we kissed, an element of the relationship that was not previously present), and in April – yes, April, 4 months later – we got engaged (after being friends for 2 years).

DB, I love you so, so, so much. Here’s to another three (hundred) years! 🙂


First, I want to make it very clear (in the first sentence so whatever snippet some weird search engine pulls off of this will see it) that I *know* the most recent “refund” checks are not, in any way, going to prevent the demise of or ameliorate or stimulate the economy. Just wanted to put it out there. But for those people who believe that claim, well, we did it. Spent that money, I mean. Let the flurry of growth begin.

A few weeks ago a friend sent me the link to the Story of Stuff. I strongly suggest visiting the site if you haven’t, although the little label on the site says that 2 million people have visited the site, so maybe I was the last person in the country to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth your time. There is a 20 minute video clip that’s pretty entertaining and, in my opinion, thought-provoking. This little 20-minute video had a profound effect on my…level of guilt.

I’m trying to determine how guilty I should really feel, so maybe all of you (and I know there are a lot of you clicking from Pho for Four…hi there) can help me out. Here’s the situation: our current bed is a full-size bed that roughly resembles a taco. The flattest part of the bed is in the middle, and DB and I sleep cuddled together (single people, don’t barf) both because we like to AND because we don’t really have a choice. If we WANT to sleep apart, we have to cling to the edge. Sometimes the cat or the dog join in. It’s a fairly well-populated full-size bed.

Numerous people warned us that we would run out to buy a queen-size bed within a month of being married (no, people, we didn’t live together before we got married. I know. It’s crazy in this day and age, but if you click on the “About Me” link, you will see that I am a POLITICALLY liberal *evangelical Christian*. The kind that believes in not living together before marriage! And I can go into great detail as to why I think this is a wonderful thing but that is really not the point here). Anyway, they warned us. We would be cramped. We’d go insane. They warned us not to register for full-size sheets because we’d regret it.

I’m here to tell you – we lasted THREE YEARS. And we’d keep lasting for many more had DB not laid on a queen-size bed in a mattress store and realized that his feet were fully on the mattress without doing some body contortions.

So anyway, Saturday morning, I was in agony. I have joint problems, and every morning my body recoils against the gymnastic moves required by the taco bed. Saturday was a particularly problematic day, but most mornings I do roll out of bed in some degree of agony and bee line for a hot shower, where the water helps a little bit. I attribute this pain fully to the bed. I don’t get this pain in a hotel room. However, DB bought this nice full-size bed from Ethan Allen 4 years before we got married, and it is supposed to last forever, so we were committed to the full-size mattress for a while, and I felt guilty buying a new full-size mattress because then we’d just have to replace the full-size mattress with a queen size mattress in a few years when we finally DO have a child (since we will probably adopt, and it seems that co-sleeping is strongly recommended for promoting attachment, and…I can’t imagine how we could put anything else in the full-size bed), and we’d be wasting valuable resources (financial, environmental, and everything else) if we got a new (full-size) mattress, if only to replace it shortly.

(Can you see the role guilt plays in this?)

So I had lots of temporary solutions: The Real Simple magazine informed me that to fix a taco bed, I just needed to put towels under it. That was heavenly – for about a month. I decided to buy a mattress topper. Three mattress toppers, to be exact. And Saturday I had my eyes on a new one (#4) that, I was convinced, would really make this bed work. I figured I’d rotate the bed again, pop another towel under there, and get a new mattress topper at Costco (total price: $150). I’m thinking I am being a good steward of the economy by using this temporary fix, and stalling the bed-purchase decision just…a…little…bit…longer.

DB, on the other hand, had other ideas. He said “no” to the mattress topper. And instead of rationally explaining my cost-savings plan (flipping, towel, and topper), I cried. (Remember, pain. Pain makes one slightly irrational.) Feeling very sad for me, DB suggested that we just take a little stroll through the mattress store. Just to see. Not to buy. We made a pact in the car:

Anyone who has ever been in a mattress store knows that this process is worse than buying a car. It really is. And I was like the poster-child for hard-hitting mattress-selling tactics: I was dressed in a huge hooded sweatshirt (that was just my Saturday errand-running grub), I had just been crying, and I truly hadn’t slept in a few days (see procrastination post, below). The woman told us to try out the tester bed thing, and I almost fell asleep. Repeatedly. It was really pathetic, actually.

Anyway, there was this bed that was the.most.comfortable.bed. I’ve ever, ever laid on. And I was laying there, swooning silently and wondering how (why?) we had decided to make a pact, and apparently DB was thinking the same thing (and probably eying the 0% down for 12 months or whatever, and knowing that we will be making more money in a few months b/c of DB’s overseas gig, and hopefully thinking about the sad state of my joints), and this guy comes over to us with the woman. The woman says, “this guy [a rep from one of the suppliers] heard about your joints and the state of your bed and wants to make you an offer – you can have 50% off of any bed in the store.”

50%?!? Seriously?

Keep in mind: we came in the store to shop for ( a full-sized replacement for the taco. Mattress only. No waste. Medical necessity purchase *only*.

The 50% discount induced a drunken stupor. In a fit of ecstasy, we laid claim to a – cough – $4000 – yes, $4000 – QUEEN-SIZED mattress. At 50% off, that is *only* $2000. We were on cloud 9 until we…fell. Hard. And thought about who on Earth would buy a $2000 mattress!

Now here, single people, is where you might want to take note, as we are still learning this on a daily basis. Marriage is all about communication and expectations. DB’s thought: it is necessary to buy a $2000 mattress for Rachel’s joints to be better. My thought: “oh my gosh, what if we buy a $2000 mattress and I’m STILL IN PAIN? And how irresponsible is this?!? We could save a million orphans with this $2000.”

Long story (and a lot of perseveration) short, we went back on Sunday, canceled the order and purchased a queen size bed at a more reasonable price and it is a really comfortable bed. In fact, the mattress retailed at $1700 but we purchased a model that had been returned by someone so it was a LOT less expensive. So everyone’s happy.

Here’s where the guilt kicks into overdrive.

We now need a bed (frame), because otherwise we will be sleeping on the floor. Here’s where the conflicted part comes in. I want a cool bed. I have this irrational desire for a Pottery Barn storage bed with cute baskets or whatever. It is irrational because a) we have nothing that matches it, b) we can’t afford it, c) it’s expensive and it’s made out of particle board (!!). I have now been to 12 furniture stores but I just really don’t know what I want. If you watch the “story of stuff”, they suggest you a) buy used or b) buy local. So I’ve searched high and low for a used bed. I can’t find something I’m psyched about. I went to a furniture rental place where you can buy returned furniture, but I wasn’t stoked about that stuff, either, and I went to a local furniture maker place and they were okay…but a little pricey (which I’m okay with if I don’t feel like puking after I buy it…puking from the guilt, I mean). We thought about going to Ikea, buying a cheap bed of renewable resources, and then giving it to a college kid (or Goodwill) or someone who will need it when we can finally commit to a bedroom set.

So…what to do? I can drive myself insane with the guilt of buying something made of wood and resources from Africa, manufactured in a place that cost mothers in developing countries their lungs, and starved fish in the ocean of clean water as it was shipped over to my entitled self here in the U.S. (Yeah, this is seriously what I’m thinking.) DB’s opinion is that we should just buy something that we can use for the next 20 years and I should not feel so guilty about it, and we keep EVERYTHING. Even the guy in the local furniture store said (although he was, admittedly, a very odd guy), “where is this guilt coming from? Do you shop for everything at Wal-Mart?” (For the record, I refuse to shop in Wal-Mart or any of its subsidiaries.)

What do you think? Is it irresponsible perceived obsolescence, buy a bed AND matching other furniture (keeping in mind the children in Africa, Asia, and the wildlife that paid the price to get this to me…) DB really wants stuff to match but I feel eternally guilty about buying more furniture, too, that we don’t necessarily need, because we do have two furniture sets (one twin, one full) that are waiting to be used at my parents house…that we plan to use for our future children. So how terrible is it to buy new furniture?!?

P.S. Comment quickly because we are seriously going to be sleeping on the floor soon, and our dog tracks in a lot of gross stuff.

PPS Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this post.