Sometimes a Stapler Can Be a Hammer… but it shouldn’t be

I’m reading this book, Adulting: How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(wish) steps. I love it because (a) it’s kind of funny the things that we overlook when we were in our parents’ houses and (b) it’s full of useful information.

One of the tips was to buy a toolkit with at least 4 tools, including a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, tape measure and drill. What’s really funny? I made it through 4 years of living on my own without any of those.

For Christmas one year, my parents bought me this electric fireplace that I love to this day. And of course, you needed tools to put it together. So when my uncle delivered the really heavy box to my apartment to help put it together… He asked where’s your toolkit? To which I replied, uhm…. He had to use the toolkit he had back down the 3 flights of stairs in his truck. How can you have your own apartment and not have a toolkit?

When asked how I hung up my pictures, I replied command strips and a stapler. Yes, I used a heavy duty stapler to hammer nails into the walls of my college apartment. I thought he was going to kill me. But it worked at the time and I wasn’t exactly hanging art.

Don’t get me wrong. I know how to use tools. I’m actually pretty handy… I just never needed my own toolkit because I would steal my dad’s. Heck, me and mom used his tools more than he did most of the time.

So I guess my point is, you should buy a tool kit and know how to use it. Because you don’t want to miss out on a super cool electric fireplace because you can’t put it together.

 

I now have a tool kit (and even a drill)! But Joel doesn’t like me putting holes in the walls so I’m still where I started with command strips but at least I have a toolkit just in case.

Dreaming over Gelato

As we sit in Atlanta trying to figure out what the heck we’re doing, how to be decent dog parents and how to keep the laundry from spilling off the couch onto the floor (we’re not total slobs), we dream a lot. One of my favorite things about marriage is being able to have dreams with another human being.

I feel like we are both very free people. If something were to pop up, I don’t think we would be afraid to go for it or try. I mean, we skied down the backside of an Olympic ski-run in 55 mph winds where no one else was on the trail… and survived. We can do anything.

We often talk about what would be crazy. What would happen if we did X, Y or Z. And sometimes in the middle of these insane conversations, we come up with something that we would both really like and enjoy.

I talk a lot about a dream home. One of my clients is a home builder that designs beautiful homes, so it’s on my mind a lot. I think one day we’ll eventually build a house and it’s going to be the most symmetrical home you have ever seen. No fireplaces that aren’t centered on the wall. Haha! I can’t wait. But two things that are absolutely necessary in that home are (1) build-in book shelves for our massive collection of books and albums, and (2) a sunroom.

When it comes to my Saturday and Sunday mornings, I prefer a book in my sunroom in a comfy chair with a big cup of coffee. When the weather is good, I open all the windows and doors. It’s magical.

Currently, my big comfy chair is missing, because the one I picked out can’t fit (Haha! Leave it to me to find a coffee chair that literally cannot fit in a room and I refuse to look for another one because I’m already in love). We went to a restaurant for our one-month anniversary, and we were seating in their indoor/outdoor area where it is literally a room with french doors instead of windows. And they were all open. The tile floor extended to the exterior sidewalk. It was open and airy and beautiful.

So during our dinner over homemade pasta and gelato, we planned out our sunroom. I’ve got a sketch and everything. I should go back to school to be an architect…

The Stainless Steel Trashcan

What’s really funny about marriage – at least for me and Joel – is that it’s exactly like the last several years we’ve been together. We do stupid stuff. Joel says something funny. I laugh in public to the point of tears. And people look at us like what the heck are the two humans doing. Oh, and we get to go shopping together which results in more laughing until the point of tears and us purchasing an outrageously priced trashcan…

Last week, we had our “end event” at Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s where they set you free in BB&B with all the gift cards you received and you get 20% off everything. No exclusions.

This would normally be a dream except we got almost everything on our registry. I’m not joking. I think BB&B had maybe 5 items left and Belk was completely shopped out. Target had our towels left. Everything else, purchased by our lovely friends and family.

We had several hundred dollars in gift cards, and a practically full kitchen and house. Honestly, we need 3 things: a blender, oil and vinegar bottles, and another laundry basket. We decided that we would also replace our white, plastic trashcan with something a little nicer.

Ha! We’re talking about a trashcan! My parents outfitted my apartment last summer with a trashcan… back then I believe mom was confused why a plastic trashcan would cost $60, but there she was in Home Depot… Fast forward to last week, when I texted her to ask me what the most expensive item we bought at BB&B was…

First, I would like to apologize to every patron in BB&B for the hour we were there for blocking the exit. The trashcans are located at the exit where the aisle is barely large enough for a cart… Much less 2 humans trying out trashcans and the patrons leaving the store with handfuls of bags.

We held up the exit testing out each and every trashcan. I sound crazy, right? Purchasing a trashcan is much more in depth than anticipated (and all the sizes are in liters and we buy trash bags in gallon sizes… come on). We wanted a stainless steel one that could hold a lot of trash. We have two puppies who destroy precisely 3.67 toys per day and stuffing takes up a lot of room in the can. I was tired of the smell of a plastic trashcan and stainless steel sounded like the best option. Joel also wanted one with a lid that wouldn’t break 10 minutes after we bought it.

There were tons of options… all over $100. Spending $100 on a trashcan is ridiculous… then you get married and apparently lose all your senses 🙂

They had some that separated the inside by trash and recyclables, making both sides about the size of a gallon of milk… We are horrible people who don’t recycle (we also don’t drink canned drinks or bottled water so get off our back). We opted for the largest, single barrel stainless steel trashcan they offered. And we ponied up 2 of our largest gift cards for it.

I love it.

-KJ

 

Week Two of Wedded Bliss

We had created a wedding website, but I eventually chose not to publish it. But, we had already filled out a few of the fields including our point of views from when we met, when we knew each other was the one, and the engagement. We are keeping somewhat of a diary of our first year of marriage. On our honeymoon, we found this book where you recorded short snippets of everyday for 5 years – so you could reflect on what you were doing on that day each year.

Knowing we’re way too busy to document everyday, we are choosing to document thoughts a week at a time. And since we’re officially officially married – aka Joel turned in our wedding license today, I’m going to share what would have been on these pages had we documented each of these events leading up to us actually getting married (to the best of our memory… it’s been 7 years since we first started dating)!

How We Met:

Kaitlin’s POV: I met Joel when I was in diapers. He and my brother were best friends growing up, and I tagged along to most of their playdates (little sisters, am I right?). Little did I know that one time I snuck him in the back of my mom’s green van after school (his parents didn’t know for 30 more minutes when he was missing and hiding in our backyard) that the rebel only child would one day become my husband. One random day, he and Kyler had to jump start my Mustang after I left the lights on to get to a basketball game. I stole his sunglasses for a cheerleading routine, we jammed to some 2000s music on the way home, and then suddenly Joel wasn’t Kyler’s best friend. He was mine. I’m so lucky to call him mine, and I’m so grateful to have been able to experience watching the boy that was my brother’s best friend turn into the teenager that would drive my parents absolutely crazy into the man that God selected for just for me. We still laugh recalling some of the things we did at 3, 6, 10 and X years old. From first bikes to first cars to first car wrecks (and almost wrecks), he’s been in a lot of my memories. To have 23 years of stories to recall at the beginning of our marriage is priceless.

Joel’s POV: Kaitlin’s brother was my best friend growing up… but Kaitlin was always in the background in my memories. She ran around in big t-shirts and no pants, laughed at Kyler when my mom had to put mayonnaise in his hair to get rid of lice, and always got the “special” lunch because she didn’t like sandwiches. She was the annoying little sister in every sitcom ever. In high school I beat her in foursquare at church (and she’ll dispute it until the day she dies) and Kyler left her, so I gave her a ride home. Kyler started dating her best friend, so she had a lot more time to talk to me. We’d be texting into the early hours of the morning. Every time I gave her a reason to leave, she gave me reasons why she would stay. Instead of her being the background of my memories, she moved to the foreground.

When We Knew:

Kaitlin’s POV: Joel was a strange one. I’d loved him far before I knew what that even meant. He had always been family. I knew he’d always be in my life, but I didn’t know that I was going to marry him until my sophomore year of college. I’d introduced him to my extended family at that point, and he was embraced just like family – for better or worse. He would come and sit with my grandfather while I would visit my Mimi when she was sick. One day, my grandfather came back to help with her medicine. Joel left the room for her privacy. Once we were done taking care of her, she looked at my grandfather and said she’d found a good one. We all laughed and he walked back to the living room. Joel peeked in for a minute then went to talk with my grandfather. When he left the room, Mimi asked if it was serious. I of course said it was. She replied “in sickness and in health, but I like him.” She’d mentioned over the years she was praying for my future husband, and she met him (and approved)!

Joel’s POV: We were in her dorm room her freshman year. At that point, we’d been dating on and off for nearly three years. She had fallen asleep (as she does any time a movie turns on for more than 5 minutes). I knew I was going to marry her, and I told her in her sleep. She talks in her sleep and sometimes responds to questions, but she didn’t respond that time. 

Our Engagement:

Kaitlin’s POV: We were in Birmingham. Joel woke up really early – like 3 a.m. early – even though he’d worked late that night. I had friends scheduled to come to town the next weekend, and the apartment was a wreck. We had plans for brunch then to go fly kites, but needed to run to Walmart for groceries. He told me the shirt I was wearing was not attractive and suggested I change (how rude!). After Walmart, I was hungry and too stubborn to wait until Five Bar opened, so we went to Taco Casa instead. When we got back to the apartment, Joel was stalling big time. I didn’t understand. I wanted to fly kites then come back home. He was putting kites off as long as possible. I would have suspected something was up – I already knew he had the ring – but mom was texting me about taxes, and I knew he wouldn’t propose without my parents being there. He managed to convince me to get popsicles (in February) and to roam around until we finally headed to Railroad Park to fly kites. Then we got there and a million people were at the park – no room to fly kites – AND the wind wasn’t blowing at all. We walked around but there was no way I was running around like a fool trying to get a kite to fly when there was no wind. Joel tried and tried to convince me otherwise – but that didn’t work. So we went back to the car to get rid of the kites, which is when I finally started suspecting something was up. He took forever putting the kites in the car. Turns out, he had the ring tied to the tail of one of the kites! We turned the corner and there our parents were… sneaking around trying to hide. He showed me the bottom of the ring tied to the kite and said something – I was still trying to put the pieces together… Mom was doing my taxes?!? He walked me up to the top of a bridge where he finally proposed. One knee… beautiful ring… planned photography… and the perfect speech. And I wasn’t wearing that ugly shirt!

Joels POV: CHAOS. First I had to ask her dad. Problem was, she was always there. I slipped him away, acting like something was wrong with her car to get Ray by himself. So he (engineeringly) explained, he was running back into the house, and I had to ask before he got away. I say something to the effect of “So I bought this ring, and I’m going to ask Kaitlin to marry me… if you are ok with that.” His response was “OK.” Then I asked if he could take pictures the day of (he was more excited about that part), but he couldn’t figure out if Kaitlin had the camera or where it was.  Then the day of the proposal was just as much chaos as the days leading up to it. I had to come up with some excuse to dress fancy, otherwise she would have showed up in leggings and a sweatshirt and probably would’ve said no if there was a camera there. We were going to go to brunch but Kaitlin was hungry and when Kaitlin is hungry… we eat now. So we went to the glorious Taco Casa. So now I had several hours to kill because I had planned for both our parents to be there to take pictures and celebrate. So we went to Steel City Pops, and I ate it really really slow – trying to procrastinate as much as possible. Kaitlin is quite efficient with her time and had to be getting suspicious at this point. I had told her to change shirts (she would’ve hated the other one in pictures). I had engineered the ring to be on the tail of a kite but when we got to the park there was no wind. Kaitlin suggested we just walk around and spend a day at the park, with no kites…  On the way back to the car, I spotted our parents and had to hide them from view. When trying to get the ring off the kite, it took a lot longer. Kaitlin kept asking what I was doing, and I couldn’t hold it together much longer. So I flashed her the ring and said “if you play it cool, we’ll get through this.” We walked around for a minute, stopping at a couple different spots in the park. Then, I grabbed her right hand, said some sweet stuff, (then she corrected the hand) and I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. I slipped the ring the correct finger!

February 25, 2017

Today is January 7. It’s almost midnight and I’m soaking every minute of this day in, because in just a few minutes another day of our engagement slips away. And what an amazing engagement it has been. We are so, so blessed. I cannot fathom us having better circumstances than we do.

I am exactly 7 weeks or 49 days from marrying Joel. And I’m so excited. I’m overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and joy that I’ve been waiting on for a long time. I’m marrying Joel! 

The details have captivated every moment of this engagement. From wedding details to life details… there is so much you have to do! Add moving to a new city and starting new jobs to the mix and you’re treading water months out. But we’re getting married! We are getting married!

I’m filling out an itinerary that will have blanks. There will be grandparents without a mate and missing guests. There will be details that get overlooked. And there will be moments where I need a deep breath because the vast amount of emotions that I’m anticipating on that day will be extremely overwhelming. But we are getting married!

The past 10 months have had more emotions packed in the very short days than I’ve probably felt in my entire 23 years. I’ve laughed and cried more than I ever expected to. I’ve fallen more in love with Joel with each and every trial that comes with planning this wedding and our lives together as he steps in to calm the storm that is my brain.

You know, we’ve looked back on the start of us being “us” several times since we got engaged, and we’ve laughed so much. We’ve laughed about the people who were there with us and those that have joined our story since 2009. We’ve laughed at the dates we went on. We’ve laughed at the fact that we thought we kept “us” a secret from my brother for so long (we didn’t). We’ve laughed at his senior prom. We’ve laughed at what people said each time we broke up (and what they said when we got back together).

But you know, every time I think back… I’m so thankful that my car battery was dead in the school parking lot that cold afternoon when he and my brother had to jump start it. I’m so thankful that he came to the basketball game at Clements that night, and we both screamed the lyrics to our favorite songs on the ride home. I’m thankful for every night we stayed up late texting and talking about everything and nothing at the same time. I’m so thankful for my brother leaving me at church one Wednesday night while we were playing four square (and that Joel actually gave me a ride home instead of leaving me in the parking lot)! I’m so thankful for every Mexican restaurant, movie and home before midnight curfew date. I’m so thankful for every small moment that happened – good and bad – leading up to this moment.

So this blog really isn’t an update. There’s no real story here. This is simply me saying we are so excited and thankful for the moments leading up to right here and right now!

So until February 25…

XoXo

KG

The moment

I don’t have a specific answer for the exact moment I knew. Love stories rarely do. It’s more of a compilation of small moments that roll in your head like an old movie one day, and then you know. And oh, are they sweet memories. Since I’m all caught up in being thankful that God sent me such a loving man, I thought I’d share a few of these moments (but honestly,I’m keeping some of the best to myself). Joel and I are fairly private people, so these are stories that very few people have heard. But if one day my grandchildren are visiting me and want to know our story, I’d like to tell them myself. But if that isn’t possible, I guess my writings are the next best thing.

I’ve known for twelve years that there was one very special little girl that would have to approve of my future husband. My parents of course would have their say in the matter, but Mac would have a very influential part as well. It became very apparent to me several years ago that I was setting an example for her, and I better set a good one. Even though I’d known him my entire life, I didn’t introduce Joel to Mac until my sophomore year in college. He’d heard all my stories, seen pictures and watched me spend every dime that I could spoiling her. And when I finally introduced him to her, that’s when I knew. You expect your S.O. to pay attention to your family, get along, find mutual topics of interest to talk about. But it’s much different when the stakes are higher, and little eyes are watching. But Joel understood my investment in Mac, and he took that seriously. And he didn’t stop with his relationship with Mac. He took the stakes and planted my entire family within them. When Mac would cuddle up on the couch with me, he’d let Anna Lois curl up with him. He’d joke with Hannah about Disney movies, and be a boy with Cam. He’d teach Matt all the computer things and truly invested in the little eyes around me. He loved and still loves them. The girls have always ran and jumped to hug me when I arrive, but when they started running for him too, that’ll make the Grinch’s heart grow 20 sizes.

When I was staying visiting my grandmother on Wednesdays during my freshman and sophomore years, Joel would come with me, even if he was just sitting on the couch watching my grandfather catch a few minutes of sleep. Sometimes, he’d sit back there with me while we heehawed over Big Bang Theory or I Love Lucy re-runs or chatted about some memories. He would politely excuse himself when we needed to care for her, and one time, he left the room to go get Poppy for medicine or something, and she looked at me and asked if it was serious. I smiled and said yes. And she smiled back. Poppy came back a few minutes later, we took care of her and her medical needs. She looked as he was walking out and said, “I found a good one when I married him.” She joked and said he meant it when he said in sickness and in health (but he really did). We had a good laugh, but I’ve replayed those moments in my head a million times since her death. I think we rarely realize how much of an impact some moments are until after they happen.  I am grateful Joel got to meet her, and she him. My heart breaks when I remember that there will be an empty seat at my wedding, but wow am I grateful for that moment.

giphy (9).gifI’ve never been the type of girl to need a boyfriend. And even when I had one, it seemed more like a close friendship. It takes a while to break down the emotional walls that people like me put up. While Joel and I were separated, I made friends that have made more of an impact on my life in the year they’ve been around than some people have made in 22 years. When we got back together, my friends were skeptical. They’d seen the heartbreak and knew the story. After we’d been back together for a few months, I visited the girls, and we went out and about the city. We were laughing and having the best time of our life, and I didn’t wish Joel was there with us (he’d kill the girl vibe), but I wished he could’ve seen us and me in that moment. We were so happy and having so much fun just being us, and I loved it.

There are numerous other moments where I knew Joel would be the man I’d marry, but some of my favorites are the moments we share on a daily basis. He vacuums the carpet in the same direction on days that he knows I’m going to be anxious. He’ll make me coffee in my Kate Spade mug so that I have a cup for class or where ever I’m heading. He dances me around the living room when songs come of Spotify to see if that’s going to be our first dance (we haven’t found it yet, but honestly I hope we don’t find it until after the wedding. This is too much fun!)

giphy (8).gif

This whole story that’s probably making all the single ladies sick is: there is no one way to happiness. I can write a book about how to marry your childhood/high school/college sweetheart, but likely that’s only going to help me remember how our story rolled out. It’s not going to help the next 3 and 5-year-old that come along growing up side by side. Every single story is unique and made up of so many little moments that it’s hard to explain or even share in a small conversation. Someone may learn from one part of our story, but it’s not a road map. And even if it were, we’re only a few miles in and we don’t know how to read it anyways. #Millennials

What’s funny to me is every love story or fairy tale we heard as children stopped at the wedding. How messed up is that? I’m hoping that’s when the story gets good! I know our story has only had more adventure and fun (and honestly some scary big decisions) since the engagement, I can only imagine after we’re married.

giphy (7).gifSome of my girl friends have started a book club. We read some serious how-to- get your life together books and some celebrity humor books. One we’re reading right now is a relationship book. I jokingly sent Joel a clip of it last week where it said to remember that through all the bad dates, fights and break ups, whoever gets to lock you down is [expletive] incredibly lucky and all the crap you’ve been through to find each other will be worth it. “There is no one out there like you and you are amazing. So even if you have days/weeks/months where you’re feeling discouraged or lonely, make like Dory from that movie where she has Alzheimer’s and just keep swimming.” I sent it jokingly, and he replied “I’m pretty sure that road goes both ways.”

So that’s what I’m talking about people. That’s what this whole rant about love stories and moments is about. Your story won’t be the same as mine. And I hope you think that yours is better. I hope you love yours 100 times better than mine. And it’s OK to favor your own love story (hell, I think you should favor your own!). I’m watching so many of my friends get married or fall in love, and each story is filled with different love and different heart aches, but that doesn’t make one better than another. I’ve cried at so many wedding videos, but that doesn’t mean I want mine to be identical. I love my wedding dress a lot more than the ones all my friends have worn, but the dress they wore was unique and beautiful on them. It’s literally made to mold their body and its perfect. Mine will be perfect on me, just like my relationship and our story is perfect for me.

So, there was not single moment. But there were a whole lot of moments. And I hope there are so many more that I can’t even begin to remember them all.