Just… ring… the doorbell…

I haven’t forgotten all my readers, I promise! The Mister and I are working on a few big projects around the house, and everything has unconsciously taken a backseat until those are done. But I’m here, I’m alive, and this morning, I was locked out of my house.

When I grabbed my lunchbox and headed out to the car (because my priorities are obviously in order), I briefly thought my arms should be heavier. Then the door clicked shut, and I knew.

You know that feeling when you suddenly become aware that something very bad has happened, and you know there is nothing you can do about it, but your brain is still in denial?

Yeah, that feeling.

When the door clicked shut behind me, my first words were, “No… no no no no no!”

Sure enough, my purse, with my house keys, car keys, cell phone, wallet and everything else essential to my day, was sitting at the kitchen table, three feet from the locked door I was standing behind.

I knew this day would come. I knew it. From the first day we moved into this house I knew the moment would arrive where I would stand in the garage and stare at my keys through the back window. And here it was at last. Had I prepared for it by putting a spare key somewhere? No. Of course not. That’s what a smart person would do. And you’re about to see I’m not exactly a smart person.

I wanted to avoid having the Mister come home from work to let me in, so my first impulse was to shake and rattle the back door to convince myself that I had, in fact, actually locked it behind me. (Yes, people, I do have a college degree.) Then I tried the front and back doors, hating myself for being a responsible home owner and locking the house up tight before I left.

Then I spent 10 minutes trying to open the back windows from the outside. (It cannot be done, which is both reassuring and incredibly frustrating at the same time.)

Then I walked a few houses down the main road to where some friends of ours live, not sure if they would even be home. All three cars were in the driveway, all signs pointed to yes, so I knocked on the door.

And I knocked. And knocked a few more times. And called their names and told them it was me. And briefly considered trying to set off one of their car alarms.

Nobody answered, so I walked back to my house and woke up another neighbor who was nice enough to let me call the Mister to come to my rescue. He came, he laughed, he went back to work. An hour after I left for work, I finally arrived at my office.

The first thing I did was send a message to my friends who didn’t answer the door.

“What good is it knowing people who live down the street if they won’t let you in when you lock yourself out of the house?” (half kidding. mostly kidding. I think.)

Response: “We didn’t hear you. You should have used the doorbell.”

THE DOORBELL!!

Why in the world did I not just ring the doorbell???????!!!!!

What in the world is wrong with me!??

I had actually, very briefly, noticed the doorbell when I first walked up, but I made the decision to knock instead. Maybe the brain cells that were awake thought that would be less rude, somehow? At any rate, I didn’t encode the information or go back to it when the knocking didn’t work.

Just. Ring. The doorbell.

Good grief.

 

Weeks ago, my husband nudged me awake.

“Babe, your alarm is going off.”

Wait… what…?

I sat up and listened. Hard.

“I don’t hear anything.”

He pushed me again.

“Trust me. Your alarm is going off.”

So I rolled to the edge of the bed and, sure enough, my iPad screen was on and a still, small sound was barely audible. I’d left the volume turned down to the lowest possible setting from the night before. I pushed the button and rolled back over.

“How can you hear that but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you?”

“What? I dunno.”

[flash forward a few days]

“Honey, I still don’t know how you could hear my alarm the other day, but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. I was right next to it, and I couldn’t hear it ringing.”

“Well, I spend all day, every day, listening for small sound changes. Heart murmurs, valves closing, that sort of thing. So big sounds just get tuned out. You talk all the time. You’re a big sound. I don’t even hear those anymore.”

…….

…….

…….

Well, there you have it.

😉

It’s really not about you.

As the official start of “wedding season” approaches, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share a few thoughts I’ve been carrying around since the Mister and I tied the knot almost four years ago.

(Four years?? Wait a minute, that can’t be right…)

I saw this article on Facebook today and thought it hit the nail on the head. I wish we had registered for fun things we would actually use. I wish my dress had had a Scarlett O’Hara-esque skirt. I wish we had done photos together BEFORE the wedding, tradition or not, so that the Mister and I could have spent the majority of our day together instead of him spending it in a bathroom while I walked from place to place.

Those things are important, and I would suggest them to anyone I know who’s getting married, but there is one more important thing that still nags me to this day.

I don’t know who was there.

Wait… what? What do you mean? How could you not know who was there?

I mean, I was so wrapped up in May 19th being MY day – a day where the Mister and I could do whatever we wanted and ONLY what we wanted and ONLY with the people we thought mattered the most.

We were selfish. (And by “we” I mainly mean myself.) Looking back I can see that now, and it is definitely my biggest regret.

We have all kinds of pictures with our family and our wedding party, but we don’t have any photos with our guests. Those people who weren’t chosen to stand up with us, but who made the trip to see us anyway – sometimes from 12+ hours away.

Three groups still haunt me today.

An old high school friend and her sister that I hadn’t seen in more than six years came. I didn’t expect them to care that much, but they came all the way from Knoxville to see me get married. They pulled me aside and congratulated me and probably wanted a picture, but I greeted them quickly and moved on. I haven’t seen them since and don’t expect to ever see them again. I could have gotten a picture.

A group of the Mister’s friends from the university judging team where there too. They stood in a huddle in the lobby for most of the reception, waiting to catch us for a photo. I was so busy hurrying back and forth, checking off the list of must-do things, that I didn’t even realize that’s what they wanted. We have pictures of the whole group at other weddings, but not at ours. I had other things to do.

Third, and worst, I feel, were an aunt and uncle who traveled from out-of-state to be there. I saw them waiting in the hall as we left for photos and, to be honest, I didn’t recognize them at first. We don’t see that branch of the family much, so I didn’t know who they were until I had passed by. I waved when they did, but I didn’t stop. I figured they would wait until we returned. After all, it was all about us.

I didn’t know they had started their 12+ hour drive in the middle of the night, arrived just in time for the ceremony and were leaving as soon as I passed them to head home. They weren’t there when we came back from taking photos. I haven’t seen them since. All I can think about when that moment passes through my mind is that they made a mind-numbing 12-hour drive through the mountains, and I didn’t even stop to acknowledge them. I don’t know that that horrible feeling will ever go away.

So I say all of that to say this to all the brides and grooms and hopefuls out there: your wedding day is not really about you.

Let me say that again.

Your wedding day is not really about you.

Sure, it’s the day you start a new life joined to your husband or wife, and it’s a huge commitment. You should put effort into making the festivities reflect who you are and who your spouse is and who you will be together. But really, when it comes down to it, you will be just as married at the end of the day as you would have been if you’d gone to the county courthouse in your pajamas.

What it’s really about is the people who love you and who have made an effort to be there and witness such a happy occasion in your life. It’s about those people who have had your wedding invitation on the refrigerator for months; those people who spent weeks making handmade gifts that you’ll probably never use, but that you appreciate anyway; it’s about the people who fill all those delicate matchstick chairs and sit in the uncomfortable sunshine to see your smiling face and hear your “I do’s.”

Because without them, you would be standing in an empty room (probably not even decorated, since I’m sure they helped with that too).

So don’t get wrapped up in the check list. Stop to take pictures with the people who are there. Make them part of the memory and let them share in your joy. They want pictures to remember the day you got married just as much as you do. Don’t take that away from them.

Thank them, not just for coming but for being a presence in your lives. Even if you don’t know all the guests from your spouse’s side of the hall – take pictures with them too. They might not be important to you, but you are important to them or else they wouldn’t be there.

If you look through your guestbook years down the road and didn’t even know most of those people were there, you did something wrong.

But if the cake cutting was a little off schedule, and maybe you didn’t throw the garter or blow the bubbles, but you have an album full of photos with the people who loved you most on the happiest day of your life, that is something you won’t ever regret.

Who’s talking to you?

Our home congregation here just finished a short gospel meeting with Mr. Sidney White from Florida. His lessons each night were well-presented, however there was one statement in particular that really stuck in my head.

I forget the exact context of this example, but he gave the example of a young college girl that once came to their house in tears over a break-up. She told him and his wife that she had dated several young men and nothing had worked out. She felt that “maybe God was trying to tell her something.”

In response, he asked her,

“Have you ever thought maybe Satan is trying to tell you something?”

He went on to wonder if maybe Satan weren’t trying to tell this young girl – and all young people like her – to lower her standards, settle for less than the best, and look for a mate who might not have the Christian values she was looking for.

Mr. White said, “Sometimes we give God credit for things He doesn’t do.” God wants us to hold on and wait for the good things He has promised for those who obey Him. Satan wants you to give up early and settle for being just short of the goal.

So I know I’m still very young and relatively newly-married, but I would like to say this to those out there who are still looking (and yes, that includes those who might be engaged, because engagements can be broken but marriage is forever):

Hold on to the picture of a Godly spouse found in the Bible and have the strength to wait for him or her. Don’t settle for less because you fear being alone longer than society says is acceptable. It is better to wait than to find yourself yolked to a spouse who will not help you get to Heaven. That voice you hear sometimes, telling you that your standards are too high and you need to relax a little, or that no one else will ever love you if you give this person up, or that you’re getting too old to wait any longer and might as well go for it… that is not the voice of God. That is the voice of Satan, and he wants you to miss out on the joys of a strong Christian marriage and the help of a Godly spouse to get you and your children to Heaven. That is not to say that marriages to non-Christians never work; there are too many examples to the contrary to say that. But you do enter into what could be years of struggle and heartache and hurt until that conversion occurs, and even those who are strong going in run the risk of losing themselves along the way. Be careful, singles. Marriage is not just a pretty ring and social media congratulations and pinterest decorations and professional photos. It’s forever, and that’s a really long time to settle for less than what God has intended for you – which, by the way, is more and different from what you have intended for yourself.

And to those who aren’t looking for spouses anymore, but hear that voice in your head about other things – to accept that job, even though it will take you away from your family and from church services; to sleep in this Sunday morning because you don’t want to wake the kids; to skip church tonight because it’s too cold outside; to lower your standards of integrity and honesty to make a few extra dollars that “won’t hurt anybody”… that is not the voice of God. We must all learn to recognize that voice for who it really is, and for what he is really trying to do. Don’t give credit where credit isn’t due.

Two Years and Counting

Well, yesterday officially makes two years that the Mister and I have been married. Part of me can’t believe it’s been that long already and part of me feels like it’s been longer than that. Even in two years I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually been called “Mrs. Chesnut,” and even though I introduce myself as a Chesnut every day, the title still catches me off guard every time. The first time was an insurance person who called to give me a quote I had asked for, and when he asked for Mrs. Chesnut I told him he had the wrong number. (I caught my mistake and we both laughed, but still.)

We’re definitely not where we thought we would be two years in, but hey – at least we got a tropical island anniversary one way or another.

We went to dinner at a place called Spice Mill out on the tip of the island’s peninsula and enjoyed a beautiful view of Nevis as the clouds turned pink overhead. The service was good, the food was impressive and the drive back under a thousand stars was beautiful. A very good night indeed.

I know that in the grand scheme of things two years isn’t much to brag about – and I pray we are blessed with many, many more – but at the same time, I also know a handful of young couples who married shortly after we did and are already divorced. It blows my mind to think it can happen that fast. How do you choose to marry someone and dedicate the rest of your life to him/her, and then four months later suddenly decide you made a mistake? What kind of unrealistic expectations do you have to have for a marriage to get three months in and decide it’s not as wonderful as you thought it would be? I have no idea. I believe that divorce is hated by God and only allowable in instances of unfaithfulness, so the Mister and I already know that is never an option. I’m stuck with him and he’s stuck with me, no matter how many times he may leave his stinky gym clothes in the bathroom floor. (And we did not live together before our wedding either, so we didn’t completely know about all the other one’s household habits beforehand.)

I also believe that love changes over time. There’s the initial fluttery feeling and the I-need-to-be-with-you-all-the-time feeling, but that goes away after a while and is (or should be) replaced by something more mellow – something that doesn’t have to be together every second and allows for two individual lives, but still feels a deep, glowing pride when you overhear someone say that your husband is the best man they’ve ever met. A “he’s mine” sort of feeling that has gotten over being possessive and clingy and crazy. Sometimes the transition from the first form to the second can cause doubts and make you wonder if you’re still even in love at all, but it’s navigating that transition that I think can make or break so many young relationships. Thankfully we got through ours pretty well and are moving on into a more adult phase of our marriage.

We are definitely through the “honeymoon period” and no longer consider ourselves to be newlyweds. I know this because we no longer try to conceal farts, and sometimes we’re just trying to gross each other out. Yeah. Definitely not newlyweds anymore.

We don’t fight, though. We get irritated and frustrated with each other over little things, but I think I can count on less than one hand the number of times I would actually define as a “fight.” I don’t know exactly why that is; it’s not like we have any secret formulas or anything. I guess we just work together well. (Now that’s not to say we won’t ever fight in the future – I’m sure we will. But up to this point it’s been fairly smooth sailing.) I know couples though that fight almost constantly. I know wives that put their husbands down, in public, in front of his friends, purely to let everyone in the room know that she is right and smart and her husband is wrong and stupid. It makes my skin crawl every time it happens and I have to force myself not to go over and give the beaten husband a hug. Oftentimes – at least in the situation I’m thinking of – he didn’t even do or say anything to warrant such a reaction. That’s just the way his wife is. I can’t imagine living that way, and I’m glad the Mister is such a patient personality. (Although keep in mind that patient personalities tend to explode behind closed doors, and the results can be pretty scary. The Mister knocked a clock off the kitchen wall one time with how hard he slammed our front door.)

I guess I say all that to say this —

To all you newlywed, almost-wed and wishing-you-hadn’t-wed couples out there, whether I know you personally or not:

Be excited about your wedding, your marriage and the rest of your lives together – dream big dreams and make big plans – but also realize there will be stinky clothes in the bathroom floor. There will be dishes piling up in the sink; there will be slammed doors and hasty words and days when you wonder if you made the right choice. There will come a time when you look back on the sparkle and butterflies of your dating days and wonder if there’s something wrong with your marriage because that is gone. But don’t let that moment of doubt ruin a relationship that God intends to last for the rest of your lives. You chose the person you are with for a reason, and for better or for worse the two of you have to figure out how to get through whatever obstacles may come. Whether you have to spend a night apart or even seek professional counseling, do what you have to do to make sure that one day doesn’t determine the path of the rest of your lives. Love takes work. It isn’t always sparkle and giggles and romance – as the Mister says, “it’s not all sunshine and daisies” – but it is a choice you make when you wake up every morning. Some days that choice will be harder to make than on other days, but you have to keep making it. Choose your love and love your choice. All my best wishes for you always.

-the Mrs.

wedding picture

wedding picture

bridal portrait

wedding picture

Throwback Thursday – Rubber Ducky, You’re The One!

I think Throwback Thursdays and Top Ten Thursdays may become an alternating week thing, since I have so many hilarious early posts that I want my new readers to see.

So this week I’m taking the opportunity to embarrass my husband to all his new vet school friends, because that’s what loving wives do, right? At any rate, this story has already been on the internet since July 17, 2012, so it’s not like he doesn’t know it exists. (And yes, he did read it before it was originally posted and said it was ok to share.)

Rubber Ducky, You’re The One!

My husband can stand in the sun for ten minutes and come back inside looking like an Indian. Every woman in the country is jealous. But a few weeks ago, he spent two days working out on Kentucky Lake and came home with a terrible sunburn.

And by that I mean he looked like he’d been dipped in red paint from his waist to his chin.

About a week of aloe cream later (which his wonderful wife had to apply, I might add) he’d started to revert to his normal golden brown. But now he is peeling (Gross!). Peeling also means itchy, and there’s no way in the world I’m scratching his back and getting that stuff all over my hands. So last night I had him soak in a warm bath, expecting this would bring some relief. It did help, but what I had not anticipated was the effect taking a bath would have on a young twenty-something.

“Can I have my rubber ducky?” a small voice asked me from the tub. (We have bride and groom ducks someone gave us at the wedding.)

“Sure honey,” I replied, tossing both ducks into the tub with my now-splashing husband.

I had forgotten how rubber ducks make gassy noises when you squeeze them underwater, and our bathroom was soon filled with the giggles of a typical boy. I, sitting on the toilet seat watching his antics, heard something smack into the trashcan.

“What was that?” I asked, turning around.

Bad idea.

Warm water hit me hard on the leg, creating the feeling of having wet myself.

I had also forgotten that rubber ducks squirt water out their beaks.

After about five minutes of “practicing” his aim, the mister had successfully gotten water all over the towels, rug, ceiling and me. He says his aim wasn’t getting any better, but I’d wager he was right on target every time.

But water doesn’t just come out the duck’s beak. It also leaks out the bottom.

“Duck pee!” a delighted boy shouted as he put the rubber animal on my jeans and watched the water spread. . .

Right before I turned the cold shower nozzle on him.

I really should have left the bathroom long before this, but it was all too much fun. And I would have missed the rubber ducky song, which was beyond priceless. I’m sure our neighbors upstairs enjoyed the serenade.

This all just goes to show that no matter how mature a man may seem for his age, all he needs is a rubber bath toy and it’s all downhill from there.

Top Ten Thursday – 10 Things to Know Before Going Grocery Shopping in St. Kitts

1. Be prepared for the sticker shock. A package of Charmin toilet paper can be $32EC.

2. Check all expiration dates and examine food through plastic windows whenever possible. If you buy cereal, ask at the register if you can open the box and inspect the bag.

3. Be familiar with the three major grocery stores and their standard prices so you know what items are cheapest where. Rams sells many items in Bulk; Best Buy carries more name-brand things; IGA has weekly sales and is sometimes cheaper.

4. Know that the stores generally restock on Wednesdays. This means go on Thursday mornings whenever you can.

5. Get produce at the markets first, then at the grocery stores. The campus market is small and on Wednesdays; the city market is much larger and on Saturdays.

6. Do not trust the shelf stickers. Compare the sticker item numbers to the bar code numbers on the box/can before trusting that it’s the right sticker. Also, when things don’t have stickers, it’s a gamble. You can’t just estimate based on the prices of similar items on the same shelf.

7. Try not to buy things out of the freezer section if you can help it. First of all, the freezers are never cold enough to actually keep things frozen, which brings the safety of the food into question. And secondly, if it has to be frozen there’s a reason for it, and it will be thawed by the time you get home anyway so there isn’t much point.

8. Sign up for all the shoppers’ numbers and cards, since they do sometimes get you discounts. However, they only process the applications once they have a full “batch” (however many that may be), so you might go shopping for the next three weeks and not be able to benefit from the number. Also, you collect “points” when you shop with your card or use your shoppers’ number, but it’s not like at home where you can redeem them for things. Here, at certain times of the year (I’m told in December), the points will suddenly become redeemable and you can use them on certain products.

9. Put your groceries on the belt in the order you want them bagged, because the cashiers and baggers don’t care how they are sorted. A package of frozen bagels will go right into the bag with bathroom cleaner and hamburger helper if you’re not careful.

10. Call your taxi when you get into the checkout line. It will take the taxi 10 minutes to get back to the store (at least) and you’ll be in line at least that long anyway while the cashier ignores you and talks to her friends at the other register.

(10b. If you’re riding in a taxi, don’t buy more than 3-4 bags of groceries and make sure the tops can be tied. You’ll want to tie them closed and tie them together before putting them in the taxi so you know they are yours and so they won’t roll everywhere. If you’re riding in a bus – good luck with that.)