Living Single While Very Married… The Mystery of the Burnt Out Bulb..

Any of you fans of Nancy Drew when you were growing up?  I was and at least one of those books kept me up one night scared to death.  I read “The Ghost of Blackwood Hall” one warm summer night in the back bedroom of my grandparents farmhouse.  All the adults were downstairs and I could hear their voices drift up the back staircase and yet when I finished the book and turned out the lights every single noise scared me.  From the big clock ticking in the hallway to the old  furniture creaking as it adjusted to the heat. Yes old furniture contracts and expands as the weather changes and voices its  opinion of the warm non air-conditioned  house by making very scary noises.  Well at 10 years old they scared me.

I survived the night but never read another mystery late at night and all these years later I still remember that book vividly.img_1204

Fast forward to the present day and I discovered I had my own mysteries to solve right here at my house.  Not as scary as the ghost in the old mansion but almost as perplexing.

With Paul busy learning the ropes of his new job many miles away I had lots of projects to get done as well as keep up with house.  Strange things started to happen.  The lighting just wasn’t the same, my car started looking like a Christmas tree with all the lights that blinked on the dashboard, laundry took forever, cabinet doors were open and I kept cracking my head on them and the yard was out of control.

To be honest the funniest one was the light bulbs…I saw many had burnt out and I meant to change them, really I did but for some reason I didn’t.  It took me awhile to figure out why I was waiting and this time it just wasn’t the procrastination gene I inherited.

The mystery was easy to solve.  All of these antiviral things and many more were all things that Paul took care of and either I never noticed or it just wasn’t on my radar to do.  The light bulbs go out all the time but he is so quick to change them that I never bothered.

The car maintenance was also his deal and we both dropped the ball on getting it inspected ( a nice military officer informed me it was 4 months overdue and no I couldn’t get on base with an expired inspection sticker..yikes)! How I escaped getting a ticket is yet another mystery.

The cabinet doors..well I have a really bad habit of not closing them and Paul always closed them if I forgot.

The laundry..well he always helped, especially with the folding.  I sure wish someone would invent a folding and put away machine.  As for the yard..no matter how hard I tried it just didn’t look as good as when he did it..I managed and it was a good work out but not my forte.

Changing the light bulbs just reminded me that he would not be home to do it for a long time.  The other stuff gave me new appreciation for all he does around here that I did not notice.

Many people thought and still think we were crazy to do this living single while very married thing.  Maybe we are but so many good things have happened.   It has given us new appreciation for the little things we do each day to help each other out.  It gave us a taste for life without each other ( no thanks!)  and our love and commitment to each other has grown.

I can’t say I can recommend doing this to strengthen your relationship but I can tell you that noticing the little things he or she does for you, the family and the house will make you smile and love your special guy or gal even more!

Living Single While Very Married! The first of many good-byes…

After our very long road trip to get Paul to his new job the day we were dreading arrived.  No matter how many times we have done this, saying good-bye never gets easy.

I stood in the airport trying not to feed into my fear and uncertainty.  We had no idea how long this would last, how often we would see each other, if he would like the job, or if it would just be too much for the both of us.

What had we done?

The list of unknowns grew exponentially and I finally had to put it out of my mind or I was going to go crazy.

I thought back to our very first real good-bye when we were  at the ripe old ages of 21 and 22 yrs. He headed to flight school and I headed back to college. It was hard enough then but we did have the advantage of a pretty solid time frame and a date when we knew we would be together forever.

Navy deployments followed, along with TDY’s ( temporary duty assignments) and other things that kept us apart.

One thing remained constant.  We always dreaded the good-byes.  The last hug, the last kiss, the promise to write ( calling was not always an option, no cell phones or even computers back then) and the hope that time would go quickly.

Thirty years later and we were back to where we started.

So we hugged and said good-bye, took some deep breaths and I boarded the plane and started this new unknown adventure.

Three  things I knew for sure:

I loved Paul enough to let him go pursue his dream.

He loved me enough to understand that I needed to stay.

And the one  other constant with all these separations that we always looked forward to…

The “hello’s” are ever so delicious!!

I don’t have any photos of our goodbyes and only one of our hello’s but it remains a favorite.  At Barbers Point Naval Air Station, Oahu , Hawaii  Feburary 1984..a few days away from being a family of four!

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Living Single While Very Married: On the road again…sharing a seat and a laugh with George and Gregory Peck!

So a little over 2 years ago we began this adventure.  It has had it’s up and downs and we are ready for new adventures of “Living Together While Very Married” !  That is what we both signed up for but we keep hitting the replay button on this “Living Single While Very Married”   What?  Nobody is more surprised than we are and fingers crossed we will end this journey in 2016…BUT in the meantime let me catch you up.

So Paul took his “dream” job and I am keeping  the home fires burning here on the East Coast.  We had ( still do) really great reasons for doing this and there have been some really good things that have come from this arrangement.  There have also been some really difficult times and despite seeing each other as often as possible we miss each other tons.

One of the first parts of this was our road trip to get Paul to his new job.  Flying is great but there is nothing like a road trip to really see the country.

As we made our way across the United States we had fun seeing family in Ohio and Michigan/Indiana ( also known as Michiana) and we made my one requested stop to my childhood stomping grounds of LaGrange, Il just outside of Chicago.  I spent my “wonder years” there and still love the place.  As kids we had such freedom and walked EVERYWHERE ( school, the movies, shopping)  In the summer we left to go play and we were lucky if our parents could get us in for dinner.  Good times.

623 S. Kensington Ave LaGrange, IL

My “Wonder Years” home..good memories!

As we left Illinois and ventured onto RT 80 in Iowa we discovered some really interesting and fun places.

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Just in case we weren’t sure what road we were on!

We, of course had to stop at the “The World’s Largest Truck Stop”  Paul  heard a rumor they served the world’s largest hamburger ( his favorite meal) but turns out it was just a rumor.  Still it was fun.  Here are a few photos:

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Just in case we forgot where we were

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And just what you need to find at the World’s Largest Truckstop!

 

My  favorite stop was “The Wilton Candy Kitchen” ( not to be confused with the Wilton Cake Company)  I had envisioned antidepressants this quaint little town, bustling with visitors and a busy old fashioned candy and ice cream parlor.

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Not exactly what I had envisioned..but I loved it!

Well I got it partially right.  We drove through Wilton, IA and the town looked like it was on vacation and the Candy Kitchen appeared to be closed.  I got out to take photos and up drove Thelma and George….the proprietors.  Thelma was busy bustling around, complaining about George ( in a humorous way) and was out the door before we knew it with ice cream sodas for some good friends.

George had worked in the Candy Kitchen since he was 6..he was 93 when we met him and very entertaining.  We felt like we stepped back in time.  I was wondering if  Sheriff Taylor, Barney Fife and Aunt Bee were nearby.

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I swear Barney Fife is near by!

We ordered some ice cream sodas and watched as George operated the machinery like he was still 6 years old.

They were very proud of their famous celebrity guests  Gregory Peck and Brooke Shields.

I even got a photo behind the counter with George but first I had to promise him that I would never tell Thelma he allowed me behind the counter.  Evidently Thelma wore the ice cream pants in this family.

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George really loved serving up ice cream!

It also looks like she had no problem having Gregory Peck behind the counter!!!

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We asked George to take a few photos…I think the digital camera threw him off a bit but he gave it a good shot.

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I was a little sad to leave and promised myself we would stop by when we made the trip back in a few years.

Sadly if we do get to stop George will not be there.  He is now serving ice cream to all the angels.

It would have been easy to just blow through Iowa and not stop anywhere and make a beeline for Paul’s new stomping grounds.  So happy we took the time to see the sights and meet the people.

We only spent an hour or so with George and Thelma but I smile each time I think of them.  I might have to go out and have some ice cream in George’s memory.  Won’t be as good as his homemade ice-cream but I can pretend!

As always keep triing!

Oops…You were probably wondering why we are “Living Single While Very Married”

Nothing like writing a post in your mind and thinking you had published it.  Shhh don’t tell my kids or they will think its time to put Mom in a home.

I have been living and writing a bit about “Living Single While Very Married” for so long that I actually forgot to post WHY we are doing this crazy thing at this time in our lives.

Many thanks to my friend Barbara who has read many of my posts and finally asked “did you ever tell us why you are doing this?”  Thinking I had I quickly went through all my posts to find the right one to send her.  Except…..it is NOT there.

uh oh

So here goes..it is actually quite simple.  An opportunity came up for Paul for the “almost” perfect job.  It was with the same company, a promotion ( no raise but a promotion) and it was exactly what he wanted to do.  The “almost” perfect part is that it is not where we live. Not even close.

So I gave him my blessing to take the job while I kept the home fires burning.  Was I crazy?  A little.  However I am also a seasoned hair loss military wife, pretty independent and admittedly addicted to my incredibly adorable grandkids ( of course they are adorable) so it made sense for me to stay here.  There were other practical reasons.  Some financial, some because this is where we want to retire and just other reasons unique to us.

So there you have it.   We are almost two years into it and I can say that its not been the easiest thing I’ve done but not the hardest.  I have learned so much (who knew I could run a power washer?) and come to appreciate all the things Paul usually does without me noticing.  Replacing  burned out light bulbs has been an interesting one.  Turns out there is no “light bulb fairy” who magically replaces all the light bulbs.  Who knew?

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I’m a little behind in my posts about this.  I need to catch everyone up so please be patient.  At least now you know “why” we are living single while very married.  I have lots of adventures to share with you so hang on.

And as always..keep triing!

 

Back to reality “Living Single While Very Married”

After a week of a little bit of normal (if you missed our little bit of normal read it here) we are back to reality.  Well almost back. It will take a few days to get use to the quiet house and to get back into my regular routine.

One thing that never changes. Saying “goodbye” sucks and it just seems to be getting worse. Yesterday as I was preparing the “last supper” I texted my best friend this:IMG_3114

So a few clarifications about this “screen shot”  My skills at this are not great, I couldn’t figure out how to edit it and even I have my limits as to when “happy hour” starts and it is NOT at 10:35 am..omg.( That is when I took the screen shot NOT when I sent the text!) Although my grandfather would argue you that point. He died at 92 yrs young so maybe he does have a point about when happy hour starts. 🙂 By the way “swill” is what my BFF claims is the kind of wine I drink. I am in no way a wine connoisseur and what can I say, I like cheap wine because cheap or expensive it all tastes the same to me!

Obviously Paul and I were both dreading the goodbye but we managed as we always do. Although we have an awesome airport that makes it easy to park and say goodbye in the airport it usually blood pressure works better for us if we do it curb side. It’s a little quicker and just a tad less painful..maybe.

Retail therapy might have been on the agenda if the stores were open at that hour but no such luck.

And just like that old phrase “don’t kiss and tell”  I don’t “Donut splurge and tell”  If one or two donuts jumped into my car as I passed the amazing donut place on the way home..well those are the only hitchhikers I am even tempted to pick up. Not that it happened. 🙂

My big “WIN” for this trip home is Paul realized it really was worthwhile to pay someone else to power wash the house. We both come from a long line of Do it Yourselfers (if that is even a word) but sometimes it just is smarter to get someone else to climb on the roof!

My other confirmation is that my guardian angel is alive and well and keeping me safe..more about that in another post.

In the meantime Max (the endless shedding dog) and I have some deer and rabbits to chase on our daily walk.

I will leave you with my new favorite saying from a print from Curly Girl Designs :

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and a photo from our quick trip to the beach!FullSizeRender (4)

Keep triing…it’s what makes life interesting!

Living Single While Very Married..a little bit of normal

Since  I have been writing this series of blog posts it has not been written in real time for many reasons.  I have decided that this has  gotten a little too confusing for me and it would more fun to write it as it happens.  I have a bit of catching up to do to get everyone up to date but for now here is what is happening in “real time”.

Paul is home for a bit.  While we see each other every 6 – 8 weeks its not always here at home. So as things worked out this is his first visit home since January.

Six months since he has been here.  Six months since it hasn’t solely been my responsibility to lock up at night, walk the dog, fix things, or vacuum ( our dog sheds his entire coat once a day or so it seems)

Six months since “Hey what do you want for dinner”, “Want to take a walk?”, “Should we make it “Donut Sunday”? (Yum) “Need anything from the store while I am out?”

Believe it or not I even smiled when I saw his smelly workout clothes piled in the bathroom ( actually I smelled them before I saw them). I’m not going to lie, I smiled but that is one thing I really don’t miss.

Six months since my week-end didn’t really suck (not all of them suck but we find week-ends are especially hard when we are apart). The week-end didn’t suck not because we did anything special but just because we were together.

Nothing here is earth shattering or huge but it is all a little bit of normal, our normal.

I’ve learned so much through this experience and yet appreciating the things that often go unnoticed and yet are so valuable is the best gift ever.

So while he is here I’ll take a little bit of normal with a side of just being together all day everyday.

Of course watching him get “loved” by the grandkids never gets old. That doesn’t happen everyday so it’s always fun.
FullSizeRender (2)As always, keep triing..its what keeps me going!

Living Single While Very Married…. Who are these people?

Before I get into our story I thought a little info about who we are might be in order.

My name is Jennifer. I was named Jennifer long before it was the most popular name on earth..well it used to be.  I would like to believe my parents were ahead of their time, a little edgy and cool.

Truth is they found my name in a dictionary. So much for edgy and cool.

As an afterthought they said I was named after my Aunt Jenny who I never met and don’t know much about.  What I do know is that I am not nor have I ever been a Jenny. Perfectly nice name but it is not mine. I have been Jennifer most of my life, Jenn to some and even J-RO ( a parody on J-LO that stuck) but never Jenny.

This is the story of how my husband and I fell into a marriage sabbatical.

We never intended for it to happen, it just did and we learned quite a bit along the way. Will try to leave out the boring stuff. Won’t leave out the hard stuff and sorry but I have to include the mushy stuff because that is part of the story.

Most of all it is a story of love, gratitude, appreciation, frustration, depression and celebration. It is story of a small part of our life.

 Our story.

Everyone has a story…believe me everyone has a story. Just strike up a conversation and you will hear some incredible stuff.

Paul is the other half of this dynamic duo.

If you had him write about himself it would consist of

“Hi, I’m Paul “

How did Miss Social, Miss run at the mouth get married to a man of few words? Who knows but it works for us. Took me years of dragging him to large  social events to learn that he really prefers smaller gatherings. Once he gets to know the group he is fine but I  literally dragged him to neighborhood events. Now he can’t wait to go. And I might add he is very popular. Go figure

As for names, his parents like mine, were not really edgy or cool in choosing his name. He is a Junior.  Named after his father. If the “junior” part of this story remains after editing it will be a coup for me because he never uses it and really doesn’t care for it.

Ironically our son in law goes by Junior as his first provigil name…it fits him. It does not fit Paul.

A few other things you should know. Paul leans towards being type A (organized, gets things done in a timely fashion, detail oriented).

I am not sure what type I am but it for sure is not type A. I am the type that leaves every door (car door, cabinet door or front door) open (self closing doors would be good for me), I have  unique organization system ( I sometimes don’t understand it) I have raised procrastination to an art and I love adventures…big and small. I don’t think there is a “type” label for me. I’m fine with that…not really into labels.

Before I met Paul I was a little concerned about the kind of guys I was attracting.

The ones I wanted to date had no interest in me and the ones who wanted to date me were not even close to what I found attractive. The top of that list being a sense of humor and at least as tall as me. I admit that is a little shallow but I am only 5″ 5″ so I wasn’t really asking for much. It seemed all the short humorless guys were beating a path to my doorway.

I really wondered if this was what was in store for me for the rest of my life.

I was all of 20 years old.

I later learned, long after we married that Paul often wondered if there was anyone out there that would love him just for him. This puzzled me since I have always thought he was really handsome, tall (6’2″), funny, and intelligent…I mean really…what’s not to love?

Honestly when we got married I wondered if someone was going to break out in that song from the movie “Funny Girl” when Barbra Streisand marries Omar Sharif:

“To tell the truth it hurt my pride, the groom was prettier than the bride…”

Which just proves that we are all vulnerable in the love category.

After 7 short months of dating we got engaged. He graduated from the Naval Academy and went to flight school and I went back to college to finish my last year.

That was our first clue that time apart would become a big part of our relationship. We just didn’t know how big. Stay tuned.

me and paul