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

And Now We Wait Some More…

Well last week was the Mister’s interview for Ross Vet School. After an eight-hour trip to Columbus, Ohio, a thirty-minute meeting and a horrendous eleven-hour trip back in the driving rain, we’re finally in the official waiting phase. His interviewer was very nice and estimated five weeks until we know the board’s decision.

Assuming the Mister is accepted for the upcoming May term, we’ll have about five weeks (after we find out in five weeks) to sell what we can, pack and store what we can’t and make our way to the island. For those who may not have been around when I first explained this situation, I’ll give a brief overview:

Ross Vet School is an American-accredited veterinary school located on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, just south of Puerto Rico. It’s a year-round program, so the Mister would take classes there for two and a half years and then return to the states for his last clinical year.

St. Kitts is the smallest island federation in the Caribbean, everyone drives on the left side of the road and the monkeys are known for sneaking up on you and stealing your drinks. So yeah, it’ll be different. At first I was very nervous about the idea, but I’ve finally gotten excited about the adventure. We’ll have some awesome stories to tell our children one day, that’s for sure.

The island of St. Kitts is located in the mid-Caribbean region south of Puerto Rico.

This is where we could be living!

But in other news, while we’re waiting for those results to come in, here are a few things the Mister and I learned during our trip to The Great White North.

1. Parking spaces are much narrower in Ohio than they are out here in rural Tennessee, even for my tiny Honda Civic. There’s no way a good ole’ southern boy’s pickup truck would have fit anywhere!

2. Drivers in Ohio are not afraid to change lanes, even if that means wedging themselves between other cars at the last minute.

3. Nothing is connected directly to the main road; everything has to be reached via an access road running parallel to the main road, which creates a series of intersections-from-Hades.

4. Just because a sign hangs over a particular lane on the interstate does not mean it necessarily applies to that lane. This causes much turning around.

5. In fact, there are very few visible road signs at all until the last possible moment, at which point you still have to turn around in the next parking lot.

6. Just because you don’t see anything in the road doesn’t mean you won’t hit it hard enough to bulge a tire.

6. The people at the GoodYear Tire Repair Shop in Louisville, Ky., are very nice, even when you come in tired, frustrated and trying to outrun a snow storm.

7. It really does snow a lot farther north. I’m not sure if it’s because of the Great Lakes or just because of this particular storm system, but the flakes were HUGE! However, they do know how to prepare their roads up there, as opposed to our poor Tennessee salt trucks who get very confused by snow.

9. You can go to Jack Hanna’s Columbus Zoo in 18 degrees, although you’ll be pretty much the only ones there. There are indoor areas, though, like the aquarium and the nocturnal house.

10. Speaking of which, did you know there is a species of kangaroo that lives in trees? YES! It blew my mind too. It’s really cute.

A tree kangaroo

…in a giant rat sort of way…

So have you traveled anywhere new lately? Did you see anything there that is different from home?

Job Description

Growing up, whenever my brother and I would say something about my mom not having a “real job,” we would immediately get a laundry list lecture on all the jobs a mom actually has.

Chauffeur, coach, cheerleader, psychiatrist, pharmacist, nurse, doctor, chef, principal, teacher, maid, waitress, babysitter… you get the picture.

I’ve come to a better understanding of this concept since I got married, but the Mister and I have discovered something that should definitely NOT be in my job description.

Hairdresser.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely useless; I’m just useless where it really matters. I can trim over his ears and shorten his sideburns. I can make sure the line at the nape of his neck is straight. But I am not allowed to cut his bangs.

We discovered this a few short months after the wedding, when the Mister’s hair had gotten so long I was starting to mistake him for a sheepdog. I’d never done major cutting on a man’s hair before, but I’d had enough haircuts of my own to think I could do it myself. I dampened his hair, brushed it down straight and cut. Now this all sounds well and good, except that I had forgotten two very important things: one, hair looks shorter when it dries, and two, just because adjacent sections line up does not mean they are straight.

After several minutes and lots of hair in the bathroom floor, I began to realize I had made a horrible mistake. A mistake which only got worse the more I tried to fix it. I distinctly remember the Mister asking, “So, can I see it?” and me responding, “Why do you want to do that? You don’t have to look in a mirror, do you?”

I was crying before he even got to the sink.

But I have to congratulate him on the way the handled the situation. He stood at the mirror for several moments while I asked, “Are you mad?” over and over, and then tried to assure me everything was ok and it wasn’t that bad. But trust me, it was.

Despite the very odd angle of his bangs, I never heard him speak badly of his new style. He never once complained about how much of his forehead was showing or joked that his friends would never let him live it down. And he’s never brought it up to tease me since then. I really, truly appreciate that.

However, the issue resurfaced this past weekend when the Mister once again needed a haircut. Except this is no ordinary haircut; it’s the haircut to prepare for his Ross Vet school interview this coming Wednesday.

So, Saturday night, I found myself standing in front of the Mister, scissors in hand, hoping against all hope that I don’t screw this up. The Mister looked on with an amused expression, clearly reading my mind.

But it actually turned out alright this time. I didn’t wet his hair (on the Mister’s orders) and I used a tiny comb to make sure all the sections lined up straight across (also on the Mister’s orders). He’s not tossing hair out of his eyes anymore and he doesn’t look like one of my massacred Barbie dolls, so I consider the operation a success.

However, there will definitely not be any little Nuts in highchairs sitting above a floor of newspapers while Mommy cuts their hair. I don’t think they would handle it quite as well as their father.

The Cold Bat Solution

I will go ahead and admit that I, like the majority of women, have moments where I can be very hard to live with. I can be irrational, unreasonable and over-dramatic (imagine that, right?)

This past Friday was one of those nights.

Now my resume says I’m an accomplished multitasker, and it’s true. However, recently it only seems to be true at work. When it comes to housework – remembering to get the laundry from the dryer, remembering to take meat out of the freezer in the morning to thaw, forgetting small details in recipes, etc. – that seems to go out the window.

I’ve been trying to expand my cooking repertoire lately, and Friday night, for example, I was excited about marinated, grilled chicken tenders and cheesy broccoli and rice casserole from a recipe I’d found online.

I had worked hard to figure out how to substitute for ingredients I didn’t have and how to time everything so both dishes would be ready at once. I got home from work so excited to cook. I got the casserole in the oven and realized I had forgotten to marinate the chicken overnight.

Not to mention thaw it.

I’m not completely sure why – maybe it was the overwhelming frustration with myself – but this sequence of events somehow caused a downward emotional spiral. That’s when the Mister, dismayed when a hug and comforting words failed to stop my tears, got out his bat.

“This would look really bad if a policeman walked in right now,” he said, as he pinned me down on our bed and waved his old baseball bat over my head.

The metal bat was COLD, and the Mister had somehow gotten it into his head that if he could press it against my stomach I would stop crying. It sort of worked, since I had to stop focusing on the forgotten chicken long enough to fend him off.

In the end, he was successful – both in pressing the cold metal to my skin and in making me laugh – but only after I insisted on crying “because I wanted to” for another ten minutes.

The need just to cry because I want to is just one of those things I suppose the Mister will never really understand. But at least he was able to come up with a way to take my mind off it, even if it was a bit unconventional (and COLD!)

He was also able to think of a way to save dinner, convincing me that the tenders, thrown in the oven covered in cheese sauce, were good. (And I have to admit, I suppose it did turn out alright.)

Husband: 1; PMS: 0

Congratulations.

Do you men out there have any other creative suggestions to stop the waterworks? Do you women have any laugh-at-yourself stories?

Join the conversation! Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page, or tweet to @chesnuthouse.

Welcome to the Nut House

I am a student and a brand-new bride. But I am also a journalist — hence, this blog.

This will be where I post my columns, which I hope will come out weekly, on new married life as a student and full-time campus worker. I’m learning a lot — including how to laugh at myself — and I hope you’ll follow me and my husband through the first few miles of our journey together.

Thanks for visiting! We enjoy the company. 🙂

-the missus