Category Archives: Marriage

What is “pre-tirement,” you say?

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I make up words pretty often. My boss keeps a list.

This evening I was reading about a fellow blogger who is challenging the norm. She quit her job and decided that she did not want to wait 40 years for retirement.

So she left it all behind and moved to Bali. What?! I am impressed. Truly.

I thought I was brave but I am Not THAT brave.

This triggered a series of thoughts.

1. People wonder why hubby and I travel so much. It’s simply because we are doing it while we can. We enjoy each other. And we enjoy traveling and doing things together.
2. Hubby will be able to retire before the age of 55…as long as they don’t keep stripping the benefits for high-risk folks like firefighters. Unless I find a long lost rich uncle, I will not be retiring at that time…if ever. Isn’t that sick? So why not enjoy each other and our adventures now??
3. I need to do the things I want to do before I can be content with having children…if ever we decide on that. Don’t give me the crap about how you can still travel with kids. When we are traveling I am keenly aware of those who are traveling with kids and they seem absolutely miserable.

Although we won’t be quitting our jobs and moving to Bali, I made up a term for our lifestyle.

I am officially dubbing this time in our lives as pre-tirement.

Get it? It’s retirement…but it’s pre…before we are old and unable to enjoy life like we do now since I will never be able to retire…ah you get it…

Read The Four Hour Work Week for more about different ways thinking differently about retirement.

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Ahhh…Valentine’s Day

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And so it’s almost time once again for Valentine’s Day.  In fact, this fake holiday will be upon us  just a month from yesterday.

I am not your typical girl for many reasons, but not the least of which is that I truly dislike Valentine’s Day.  This isn’t something new for me.  I have always disliked it, so don’t go drawing assumptions that I’m fighting with hubby or that I’m damaged.

In high school, I would sit back and observe the various acts of pressured kindness…but I also observed many unnecessary fights and breakups.  A couple girlfriends and I would roll our eyes at the drama that unfolded, and that night we rented horror films like Carrie, The Craft, and Heathers.  You know, movies with chicks who just don’t care…some with a lot of chicks dying.  It’s just what we did.

People always thought I didn’t like V-day because I was single, and you might be wondering why I don’t like it when I have a husband to celebrate with (by the way, WHAT exactly do you celebrate??).  The assumptions about my being single and bitter couldn’t have been more wrong.  In fact, I was a serial dater for awhile and…I have always asked boyfriends that they not observe the day.  At least not with me.  I don’t care what they buy their moms and sisters…but leave me out of it.  Here’s why…

I believe if you love someone you should tell/show them everyday of the year. And really…how is it “special” if everyone else on Earth is going to dinner and movies for the exact same reason on the exact same day? If you want to wait in lines and deal with crowds…go to Disney World in July.

So, ladies, don’t get all dramatic and start fights. If you have expectations for V-day then tell your guy.  TODAY.  Don’t expect him to read your mind and then get all mad when he “fails” to do so.   Communication works wonders.  And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you if he doesn’t shower you with gifts now or any other time of the year.

And it isn’t a competition of love.  If your girlfriend gets something better from her guy it doesn’t mean she’s loved more than you are.  You want roses?  They’re expensive!  And they cost three times more to get them on V-day.  What a racket.  Way, WAY too much pressure on guys (and their wallets) this time of year.  Keep it simple.

Why not pick a different day and  make it special?  Why not create a special day that doesn’t involve crowds at restaurants, lines at movie theaters, and price-gouged candy?  My parents, for example, celebrate Friday the 13th.  It’s special because it’s unusual and it doesn’t happen very often.  There’s no pressure to measure up to what others are doing or rush for reservations.  The simplicity of it is awesome.

You want to know what the best part of Valentine’s Day is?  The day afterwards!  Duh…super sales on candy!

I have had two cards like this for as long as I can remember. Even when I bought them I didn't know what I would do with them. But I love them. The V-day heart is actually a button that you can wear. lol!

FAQ: Why did you get married in NYC?

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When hubby and I told people we were (did) getting (get) married in NYC the first question always was/is “Why NY?” Followed by “Do you have family there?”

The answer to the first question is that the idea of NYC came out of a complete emotional breakdown on my part.  And, you know how guys like to be problem solvers, right?  Well, my husband (fiance at the time) was doing everything he could to make me feel better.  “What was wrong?” you ask “Why were you having a breakdown?”  (Have you ever planned a wedding?!?  Just kidding…kinda.)  I had had it, frankly.  My mother and I had visited/called/considered over 50 locations nationwide (and some in The Bahamas) to find “the perfect wedding venue.” 

The problem was that it was seemingly impossible to find a venue that met my criteria, which I didn’t think was too much to ask for (i.e. did not want expensive white-gloved reception, wanted outdoor ceremony, did not want beige room that required gobs of decor, etc.).  As I have said before, I did not want to finance our future and have a lavish event meant to impress everyone.  And it took me a full year to come full-circle to realize that I didn’t HAVE to do please or impress ANYONE!  Newsflash, brides-to-be….it’s true.  You don’t have to get married to make an impression.  Remember: The whole “Wedding” thing is about a marriage…not a performance.

So, because I couldn’t find a venue that was reasonably priced and met other various criteria, I finally broke down.  Mind you, it took nearly a full year for this to happen.  During the course of this year of engagement, I had discovered the opinions of many people (amazing how much unsolicited advice and opinions you get when you plan a wedding) and I had realized that the wedding industry is filled with zombies who just want your emotional attachment to their product…and lots of your money. 

Back to my breakdown.  I remember laying in bed in a fetal position, eyes swollen, with hubby next to me with his arm around me.  As I sobbed, he listened (“Why didn’t we just elope and ask my parents for forgiveness?”  “Why is this so hard?!?”)  and then he began to try to give me some more ideas.  At first I was annoyed.  As if he would be able to come up with a great idea for a wedding.  Psh.

He named a few places that I immediately scoffed at, and then he said New York City.  My reaction was very sarcastic and caustic: “Oh yea, because things are SO affordable in NYC!!!: ~sob, sob, sob~  He knew I love NYC and how much that city means to me, so I almost resented him for saying it because of COURSE I would love to get married there!!  Things are just so damn expensive there!  Emotions were fleeting, so I entered anger, rolled my eyes, grabbed a tissue, and continued my pity party.  What a tease, I thought…NYC…yeah, right.

I can’t remember how the conversation went after that, but I woke up the next morning – on a weekday morning before work – and began Googling “elope in New York City.”  Yep, I looked up elopements.  You see, I had read a great book that night that had sparked my breakdown causing me to wish we had eloped immediately after his proposal in Vegas.  The book is called “Let’s Elope” and it’s a fantastic read even if you have zero desire to elope.

During my Google search, the first link to come up was a link to an officiant and photographer package from Offbeat Bride.  Fantastic price!  And the photographer seemed talented! Finally, things seemed a little brighter.  But I knew better than to get my hopes up.

Then, because I wanted an outdoor venue, I naturally started looking up what it required to get married in Central Park.  And that’s when things became crystal clear.  It’s typical of me to have a hard time making a decision concerning my own life (I’m good helping others decide), but when make up my mind that’s it.  And that’s exactly what I did that morning.  I made up my mind to get married in Central Park, NYC. 

I went to work that morning and told my closest colleague that I had made up my mind.  And do you know what?  For the first time in a year, I was totally excited about getting married.  I was so excited that I didn’t even care the least bit whether people would attend our wedding.  I absolutely love my huge, Cajun family, but it wasn’t about them…and they understood that.  I was so ok with it that I even wanted the invites to say “We will be in Central Park on (this date) at (this time) getting married.  If you can join us, GREAT!  If not, it’s cool.”  But, my mom objected..and the invites are a whole different story.  🙂

Up until that day, I was only just luke warm to my favorite location of the ones my mom and I explored.  But, just as I did when I met my husband, I knew it when it was exactly what I wanted.  I just knew. 

I called my mom and told her in a very matter-of-fact way that this was what we were going to do.  Then, I told her we would buy their plane tickets and we would meet them there.  That’s how sure I was.  Her head was spinning because the last conversation we had was just before my breakdown and I was kinda pissed off at the blood-suckers that make up the wedding industry.  So, here I was calling her with a bright, new mentality and I completely had my mind made up after waffling for a year.  She was shocked and, like a mom, wanted me to think things through with her.  “Where will you get flowers?” she said.  “I don’t know, maybe Chelsea Market the day of the wedding?” I said.  She didn’t like that plan, but I assured her NYC was exactly what I wanted to do.  I had made up my mind.

No, we didn’t have family there.  And, no, neither of us grew up there.  I still wonder why those things are criteria for selecting a wedding venue..?  Well, I still wonder about a lot of things about weddings in general, but I digress.

Day 1 of Marriage: It begins with an adventure and a test

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Sometimes there are things in life that you want to write down so you don’t forget the details of them.  Our first day of marriage is one such occasion. 

We left NYC for a brief honeymoon (what we refer to as a minimoon) in Vegas.  Correction: I should say we attempted to leave NYC for our honeymoon in Vegas.  Here’s how this lil adventure unfolded…

We woke up early for our 11am flight, finished packing, and went down to the lobby with bags in hand.  I checked us out of the hotel while hubby got a car for us.  We are the kind of people who like to be early to the airport so things are less stressful with security, etc.  So, we got in the cab and were on our way to the airport.  “Good bye New York City…until next time!”  We got to the airport, checked bags, and got in the security line.  And it was a loooong line. 

The is usually the point where I think most people begin to think maybe they forgot something.  We were relieved to know we made it and we were on time…a little early in fact.  So, I’m standing there trying to convince myself that all was good and that I hadn’t forgotten anything…because I always go through this when I travel.  It was then that I had a rush of panic come over me.  Do you know that feeling where it feels like your blood runs cold?  I began to sweat, got a little dizzy, and put my hands over my face trying to hold back panicked tears.  “Oh [cuss]! My dress!!  Where is my dress??!”  as I look around after I realize it’s not lapped over my arm like it should be.

Hubby: “Are you kidding me?  Where is it?”

Me: [holding back tears, shaking] “I don’t know.  I have no idea.”

That’s right.  I had no idea where my wedding dress was, but it was not with me at that moment.  Not a clue.  I looked all around, glanced back to see if I had dropped it.

“Oh my god, did I leave it in the cab??  No, I don’t think I did.”

We got out of the loooong security line and began to walk back outside to where we had been dropped off just a few minutes earlier.  And that’s when it dawned on me.

“Oh [cus]! I left it at the HOTEL! My dress is at the hotel!  I left my dress at the hotel!”

Side note: My hubby is the calm in my storm.  He is always very calm and collected under pressure, and when I’m freaking out he’s cool as a cucumber.  And not even in the kind of way that pisses me off worse.  He always knows what to say or do to bring me back down to Earth.  And that’s why I love him.  (it’s also why he makes a good firemedic;))

So, as I’m freaking out, shaking, and pacing with my head in my hands he tells me to call the hotel while he goes to see if he can get our bags back from security.  We’re obviously going to miss our flight.  So, I get out my cell phone and I looked up the number to the hotel.  I had to Google it because I didn’t have it in my phone.  (ever try to use a cell phone with your hands trembling?)  And it felt like the browser took FOREVER to load!

Meanwhile, I have a wrench in my stomach thinking my dress is gone forever.  Oh, and by the way…we were on our way to Vegas for a trash the dress photoshoot.  That’s right…the dress was a necessary component of that!  All I could think was that I was going to have to call the photographer and tell her she was just going to have to take pics of a different kind of trashed bride…a very intoxicated one after losing her wedding dress due to absent mindedness.

So, I dial the hotel and the front desk answers.  And I say “Hi, I just checked out and I forgot something in my room…”

Honestly, I don’t know if it was a guy or girl on the phone.  I absolutely cannot recall.  But they cut me off and said that they would have to transfer me to lost and found. 

“Oh great. I know how that’s going to turn out.”

So, I’m transferred and I begin to explain to the lady.  “I just checked out of room #505…”

And she says “YES! You left a beautiful wedding dress!”

Relief.

My heart begins to beat again, my blood begins to warm after running cold, and I feel elated.

“Yes!  Oh my gosh thank you SO much!!  Can I come pick it up??”

She says yes.

I hang up just as hubby is coming over from trying to get our bags back.  No luck there…they had already passed the checkpoint and were on their way to the plane – with or without us.  Oh well.  I had to go get my dress.  Now.

I see a cab pull up and drop some ladies off, so I go over there and ask if he could please (begging) please help me out.  Hubby and I explain what is going on and then tell him we need to be back within a half hour.  A look of shock comes over his face.  I know he must’ve thought we were joking.

A normal trip from our hotel to the airport takes about a half hour…one way.  We were asking for a half hour round trip.  Yep.  I told him that we would tip him handsomly if he would just try his best because it was very very important.  Suddenly, I felt like we were on The Amazing Race.  (I always wanted to be on that show.)  And a whirlwind began.

It was at this point that my mom started texting me wondering where we were.  Their gate was right next to ours.  I couldn’t tell her I forgot my dress, so I just told her we were in the security line.  I knew she would get on her flight before I knew the conclusion to our lil adventure, so I had to avoid telling her.

I got on the phone with the Delta to see about getting on the next flight as standby while we took the ride of a lifetime.

Ever see taxis in the movies?  The wild taxi driver who takes turns on two wheels?  Yea, that’s the kind of ride we had.  And, I will say, it was pretty fun.  Only in hindsight though. 

We got to the hotel, and hubby jumped out to see about getting the dress while I held off the bellman who was trying to keep traffic moving.  Sure, he has a job to do but, damnit, I’m going to get my dress.  It felt like an eternity as we sat there waiting for hubby to come back out with the dress…but he finally came running out with it.

I was thrilled.  And then right back to stressed.  Still on hold with the airline and now losing signal as we dart between buildings on our way back to the airport. 

Mom still texting me.  They saw some wedding guests in the airport.  Also in a nearby gate.  Awesome.  “We’re still in looong security line.”

We made it to the airport with about 15-20 mins to spare.  They begin boarding planes about 20 minutes before departure.  So, we got into the security line (again) knowing our flight was boarding. 

Guess what?

We made our flight.  And I said to hubby “We have most definitely run out of luck.  No chance of a jackpot in Vegas.”

I didn’t get to tell my mom the story of what happened until we were boarding our connecting flight a few hours later.  It was better telling her now that we could laugh about it.

And so our minimoon began.  With one precious adventure that we will never forget.

Why we opted for a marriage

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If you read the “About” page of this blog (and if you haven’t please pause and do so before continuing) you saw the part where I said we opted for a marriage rather than a wedding.  While it is true that we got both (we had a wedding which resulted in our marriage), we did not want a big, fancy pants wedding.

Translated: I did not want a circus production and I did not want to be a performer on a stage doing the things everyone but the two of us wanted to do.  I did not want to be a puppet.  I also didn’t want to finance our future for the sake of a 4-5 hour event.  Hubby was ready to elope the day after he proposed in Vegas.  But, unless they have wedding chapels with funeral homes in them that wasn’t going to happen.  (my mom would have killed me)

As I got older, I realized that a wedding to me wasn’t really about having a lavish affair or spending gobs of money on an open bar and a DJ…to entertain everyone else.  And, it took me a year of being engaged to come full-circle and to realize that I really, really did not want that.

Why did it take me a year to realize that?  Well, have you seen what magazines and websites like The Knot.com promote?  Everything with their pages (both physical and virtual) is unrealistic, impractical, and ungodly expensive.  And, I came to the conclusion that even if I had a million dollars to plan a wedding I was not going to give it to the bloodsucking industry that is wedding planning.  They are evil.  They latch on to your emotions and they make you want things that you cannot afford.  They lure you (and your PARENTS!) into unreasonable debt.  Debt for which you have nothing to show for…and chances are you won’t remember much from this lavish event.  Except for what pictures you get…and you better hope those pictures are good!  (that’s the one thing I wasn’t willing to sacrifice…i really wanted good pictures…i wanted memories)

Because my mom preferred that we actually have a wedding event, I am the only girl after all, I had to think about what I wanted in a wedding.  What was important to me was that we had the people who wanted to be there…there.  I wanted it to be something memorable for everyone, but especially for us.  I also insisted that it was outdoors.  (Why people choose to rent beige rooms and spend $10k decorating them is beyond my comprehension.)  I knew I wanted orange flowers – regardless of what season we got married.  I wanted good pictures.  Candid pictures.  Memories.  People who were closest to use to share our special day.  And pizza.  I wanted pizza for dinner.  None of that stuffy, white-gloved cold, awful food that NO ONE eats at weddings.

My mother and I looked at over 50 places/venues.  I’m not kidding.  We looked coast to coast, near and far.  And I felt like Goldilocks: “this one is too bland, this one is too expensive, this one is too far removed…”  And then one day, as I was having a breakdown wishing we had just eloped and begged for forgiveness from my mom, hubby was helping me brainstorm some new ideas.  Then he said “what about New York City?”  At first, I rejected the idea (too far, too expensive).  But then I woke up the next day and did some research to find out it was EXACTLY what I wanted.  And I love, love, love NYC.  It was perfect.  And you know what?  I didn’t care that it was far and that it might cost some money.  As far as the expense of it, I knew it would cost far less than the circus production my mom wanted.  And as far it beign too far, I decided tha if people wanted to be there then they would be there.  And my mind was made up.  That was it.  And was SO, so excited.

It was outdoors in an amazing city that we both love.  It was green, it was on the water, it was surrounded by a magnificent skyline.  And we will never forget it.  It wasn’t just an event for the sake of an event.  It was our wedding…and it was very special to US.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought because it was all about us.  And that’s why we loved it.  And I think that’s what makes our marriage special.  And our vows reflected it…

Our officiant, Judie, wrote this about marriage in our vows:

“Weddings are a relentless propagation of the idea of marriage; they arouse in us an impulse to become glamorous.  But a marriage has more substance…”

What’s in a name?

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Two weeks ago, I was at the Social Security Administration changing my last name.  It’s legal immediately after the marriage license, but there is much to do to make it official.  The SS Admin office was the first of many steps involved. 

Today I went to the DMV (oh joy) to change my license.  Got a new picture and everything.  Then, I went to the bank to change my name on our accounts.  And the highlight was that neither of these lil adventures was stressful or took very long.  Nope, not even the DMV.  I also called the property appraiser and left a voice mail…and who knows if the mailbox was even for the right person.  I want my new name associated with our home.  Not sure what this will require.  We’ll see!

While we’re on the topic of names I thought I might explain the name of the blog.  Our ceremony and our vows were customized by our officiant, who has an amazing gift for words I might add.  With the exception of the few things my mother requested, our wedding was completely non-traditional.  I requested that we incorporate my engagement ring into the vows because I see it as a symbol of all of the reason we decided to enter into marriage in the first place.  To me, too many people forget about life and love before marriage.  My engagement ring serves as a reminder of life, love, and (as our officiant put it) our precious adventures that paved the way to our wedding day.  Here’s to many precious adventures as we begin our life as a married couple.