Ask a couple who’ve been married 24 years today

Who has four thumbs, has been married for almost a quarter of a century, and absolutely adores haunted houses?

I have no idea. Definitely not me and my husband. We have the thumb part covered, and it will be our 24th anniversary in a few weeks, but we’re ambivalent at best about haunted houses.

You may wonder then, why we’re currently packing our bags to spend a long anniversary weekend at something called “Screeemfest,” which takes place inside an amusement park, which we also don’t especially care for, and which features no fewer than five on-premises haunted houses. Yes, that’s Screeemfest with three “e’s,” just like in Eastern equine encephalitis. Eee!

The thinking, see, is that our expectations will be so incredibly low, there’s nowhere to go but up. We do like each other, and we definitely like getting away from our kids, I mean the workaday responsibilities of everyday life, I mean our kids; so, I don’t know, this is what we’re doing. Chances are good we’ll have a good time one way or another, and after 24 years, we’re just leaning into the fact that we got married in late October, that’s all.

This strikes me as a much safer strategy than what we’ve done for our anniversary in the past, which was to try and sneak away for a super ultra romantic absolutely perfect dream getaway — a perilous endeavor which included getting lost on the highway, and then the fireplace not lighting properly, being embarrassed because I didn’t know how to pronounce the name of the fancy cheese I wanted to order, being too tired for champagne, etc. etc. The heck with all of that. A romantic weekend is where you find it. Happy anniversary, BOO! Eee!

As a little present to myself, I asked my social media friends for help writing this post. I solicited questions for a couple who’ve been married more or less happily for almost a quarter of a century. Here’s what we came up with:

What’s the preferred term: “The marital act” or “The Obligations”?

Like so many things in a strong marriage, it’s mainly about making other people feel uncomfortable. But what long-married couples don’t want you to know is that their secret word for “sex” is actually inaudible. They’re probably saying it right now, and you don’t even know it. Boo!

Did you ever switch sides of the bed?

Several people asked some form of this apparently burning question, and one person volunteered the information that she once did switch sides, and her husband got up in the middle of the night in his sleep and peed in the closet. Just if you were wondering whether there are less romantic things than going to a haunted house for your anniversary. In our case, it doesn’t matter which side of the bed I’m on, because I never sleep. I used to be up with the baby all the time. Now I don’t have a baby, and all I do is put on my pajamas and spend all night getting up and getting some ibuprofen, all night long. It’s called aging gracefully, look it up.

What’s the stupidest, funniest thing you’ve seriously argued about in those 24 years?

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

Image: Pxfuel 


My least favorite part about spring

Changing over the winter clothes.

It’s not just a matter of scooping up the cold-weather clothes out of their drawers and replacing them with hot-weather clothes, or even a matter of making a million little emotional decisions, like, “Do I throw away this ratty but beloved shirt while no one’s looking?” or “Do I pack away this baby sweater in case there is ever another baby?”

It’s a matter of going up into the little girls’ room, which is unaffectionately known as “Tinkle Town,” and facing the horrors that have been allowed to propagate over the last few, dark months. And it’s not just a matter of clean laundry not put away, or dirty laundry on the floor, or people who have guilted me into buying them pants because they don’t own any pants except those awful itchy gray ones, but it turns out that they have pants — LOTS of pants — but which they have been dropping on the floor, mashing elderly Easter eggs into, and then packing into old gift bags — GIFT BAGS! — and stuffing into the closet.  That’s all true, and dreadful enough.

But there’s more. Let’s just say that what sounded like wild, coke-fueled parties after bedtime was actually wild, Coke-fueled parties after bedtime. 36 cans of Coke. Also a bowl of sugar. Bad children! Bad! So bad!!!

Anyway, with a job as big as this, there is no such thing as a system. The only system is to dive in head first and resign myself to sheer misery and a marathon workout for the washing machine and dryer for the next 72 hours.  Pray for me. And the first person to say “First World Problems” is gonna get a gift bag from me.