Category Archives: Husband

I Have The Best Husband

I have the best husband.  He rarely watches sport on tv (maybe 4-5 times a year, tops), he cooks fabulous meals — not just barbecue.  I have to say though, he rocks the grill: succulent chicken and juicy, mouth-watering steaks.  He openly admits to not being great with cars, but will read up how to fix something online and do it perfectly.  He cleans (remember, he’s a microbiologist?  It’s really rather very handy), he doesn’t hunt (although I admit it can be handy), he offers foot rubs, back massages and warms my feet in bed; he lifts me up: spiritually and emotionally; he bathes, sings and reads to the boys when he sees I’ve had a hard day.  And from the moment I met him, he gives the best hugs.

He left late Saturday afternoon to go miles south of here for an overnight campout with the Scouts. Like most married people of the womanly persuasion out there, I don’t do very well when he is gone — even if he just pops out for 10 minutes to go pick something up quick from the local rip-off merchants convenience store past the 4-way stop: the only form of traffic control in this aptly-named village of 700.

Ever since we started dating, oh, nine years ago, I felt the luckiest woman alive.  I didn’t have to settle for a quirk or trait that made me uneasy or I showed disdain for.  He was perfect.  For me.  And with that, I have always had this underlying fear that I will lose it all.

Way back when, he used drive 2 hours from University to work every day and then an hour home.  I’d especially worry when the winter months hit.  He made it half-way to work one day, phoned his boss and came home early.  I was surprised and delighted to see him.  With that type of schedule, he’d leave at 7 a.m. and I wouldn’t see him again until 10 that night.

Then he told me what happened, and my fears were justified.

A few cars were at the side of the road, parked at the median having hit black ice.  He slowed down as a precaution and ultimately stopped to offer any assistance.  Nine years ago, it’s weird to think that mobile phones weren’t as prevalent, but it’s true.  He offered his phone to a few who needed  it.

Suddenly, there was a noise that stopped time.

He looked up to see a car barrelling towards him at highway speed and quickly vaulted over the concrete median.  Seconds later, the car spun in undulating circles and smashed into the spot where he had been standing just moments earlier.

I have had a mantra since we’re been married: Tell him you love him every day.  Tell him you love him every day like you’ve never said it before.  Appreciate each day as it comes.  Appreciate it with a warm, encompassing embrace.

When he returned home yesterday just after noon — and in theory only 20 hours later — it felt like months.  We have been separated before, the longest being 3½ weeks, almost 4 when he came to Montana to start his new job, and I stayed behind to sell the house with a 2-year-old and 20 weeks pregnant.  It was rough, but we did it.

Yesterday felt worse than that.  The house was unanchored and quiet — even with the boys, and I felt lost and sullen.  Even worse, I dreaded going to bed and going to sleep.  To spite the bed, I lay facing the window instead of the empty mattress.  It was horrid.

On his return, I embraced him and clung tight, as tight as a sea urchin.  And, in retrospect, the evening was magical.  But not like that.  OK, like that. But, he bathed the boys, did the whole night routine alone and tucked them safely in bed.  I grabbed a DVD we’ve had waiting for a few days and sneaked it into the player.  I had never seen it.  All I knew was, it was good.

Two words:  The Notebook.

I have never openly sobbed so much at a film.  It touched so many truths in my mind and spoke to my heart.  I lay nestled on his chest for its entirety.  After I retrieved it from the player, we stood and embraced each other for ever, crying.

“Promise me.  Promise me you’ll come visit me when I’m old.  Don’t leave me alone.  And if I [get Parkinson’s really bad], promise you’ll come get me.”

I have the best husband.

Photo Hunt: Blue

5 May 2001

I wasn’t kidding about the flatbed scanner death.  Prime example: here is a photo of a photo.  My ‘something blue’ were my toe nails.  And the kilt idea?  Totally his.  Of course, I backed him up 100% — how could I not?  For those interested, he wore Black Watch.

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband.  The man who…

1.  Convinced me I had been hiding behind my glasses for twenty-two years and to finally ditch them.  He saw me for who I was and convinced me that my self-esteem was battered and bruised.  I trusted him and took the leap.  People I was friends with who only knew me with glasses, don’t recognise me at all without.  I took them off for our wedding photos.

2. Washes pots and pans because he knows I hate to do it.  I was turned against them as a 16-year-old faced with congealed gravy with skin, and had to delve into it sans gloves to clean the thing.  I also knew I couldn’t have at it with the brush or the scrubby.  In my own defense, I’ll wash them if I absolutely have to.

3.  Heats my cold toes up even though they could double as a cold compress.  They get cold even if I keep shoes on.

4.  Signed up for a channel package which included BBC America seven years ago to make me feel more at home.

5.  Surprised me the first Christmas we were married with a stocking full of British goods, including Irn Bru, a Double Decker, British sausages (they were technically in the fridge), Ambrosia Custard and a few other lovelies.

6.  Puts me above all else and has foregone Scout Roundtable meetings and other things to take care of me if I’ve had a bad day.

7.  Puts the lid down, and then flushes.  Classic microbiologist trait.

8.  Loves me implicitly.

I don’t think I could quite sum it up as I did 3 years ago.  Here’s the link, go see for yourself.

War Games

I’ve always loved puzzles and games — any kind really.  I love those chunky puzzle books filled with word searches (which my Gran loved and taught me when I was little), anagrams, crosswords and number games; and I’m secretly looking forward to playing dot-to-dot games and For Age 8+ board games with Ian.  One of my all-time favourite games is Fifteen:  The slide puzzle game where you have to rearrange the numbers in succession without imploding your brain and impaling the gadgetry into the nearest wall because you can’t get the last row to read anything but 14, 13, 15 and it’s getting dark outside.

One night a few weeks ago, Bryan was perusing the game applications for the iPod Touch and blurted out, “Oh look, the slide puzzle is free…”, a little too casually, if you ask me.  I jumped from my chair and ran to visually confirm what he’d just uttered.  You see, this man is a born teaser having had four sisters to practise his brotherly manipulation and rebuttals on his entire life.  Sure enough, there it was.  My beloved Fifteen.  Admittedly, I haven’t played it in a very long time and had to sit and practise for a while before I felt comfortable showing my scores.  Great, that’s all I need:  Something to measure and tabulate success.

At first, the game playing was casual and non-committal.  You’d hear Bryan say, “How did you manage to complete it in 2 minutes 2 seconds?  That’s impossible?!”  It was then I spoke the words of no return, they slipped out and seconds later I was grappling in mid-air trying to retract my statement:

“I dunno, maybe because I am good and have some mad skills.”

For two weeks we have been erasing each others’ score from the top 5, goading each other with taunts and of course,  I have been able to hold my own.  That was, until he took the high score of 33.16 seconds.  I couldn’t believe it!  He wasn’t even utilising my new-found skill of completing the last two rows at the same time using the 13-9, 14-10 technique.  And for two weeks, I have sneered at the screen feeling defeated and out-done.  There have been no commiserating back pats, no sympathetic smiles and no encouraging words.  It has turned into an ugly battle of wits.

A few nights ago, we got the younglins into bed early (thank you dark nights!), watched some of our DVRd shows, and I sat relaxed on my chair with my elbow propped, ready to pounce.  A good twenty minutes passed, but then suddenly, out of the quiet still of the night was a single guttural snort.  I did it!


I should note that since this photo was taken, he has since knocked my name completely off spots 3 and 5.  Stinker.

He Married a Bloody Genius! (Modest Too.)

Well my friends, my suspicions have been confirmed: I’m a frickin’ creative genius! We just found out Bryan won the iPod Touch from the competition in April. Between the both of us, we rarely win anything, so as you can imagine, having just found out outside while Bryan was sitting on the lawn tractor talking to a colleague at work on the phone, I leapt in the air, punching it with both hands. (How’s that for a hyper-excited run-on sentence?)

The winning name? Big Sky Cafe. Doesn’t sound too creative does it? That is, unless you know where Bryan works. The company name is in there. I know, I’m that good.

I think I should at least get visiting rights.

He also wins 10 free meals, but…pfff…who cares about that?

Photo Hunt: Bad Hair

I’ve never participated in Photo Hunt before, but thought I’d take a squizz (a wee look, in case there was any doubt!) at the theme for this week. I had to. I just had to.

Personally, I think the Lab safety specs really complete the look.

Occasionally My Sappy Nostalgic Side Wants a Look-in

Isn’t it amazing how life gets in the way of our plans? As most of you know, I came to the States almost 8.5 years ago on the pretense that I would live, work a little then leave. I craved a change of scenery, a shift from the mundane. Wow, I got my challenge wish (just with the USCIS alone). My plans started, but didn’t end that way.

If you know Immigration much, you’ll know it’s not easy to gain willful employment here without a Social Security number, something I learned after my 6-month visitors’ visa and I stepped off the plane in broad daylight in a comfortably warm San Francisco, early December 1999. It was a far cry from the dark, 3-week long, frigidly cold rain-fest I left behind in Scotland.

Short of wishing I had been blogging back then, or at least jotting down my thoughts in some way (without fear of having them read and critised*) I can only share my sketchy memories at best. Everything was different: the concreted highway roads, the 100-foot high billboards dotting the Interstates, the amount of traffic lanes, the blinding sun.

After getting over the initial jet lag and culture shock, and perhaps even lifestyle shock (I was used to Clubbing every weekend and always being on the go, to — nothing), and even after applying for jobs, sitting filling out application forms until I couldn’t fill in anymore blanks, I resigned myself to the fact that when it came down to it, I was stuck here for at least 3 months and I had to find something, anything to do. The house was straightened, the laundry done and hung up and put away, carpets were spotless and meals were cooked. Where much is given, much is required. I refused to clean the litter tray or make her bed though. At first I was glad to do it, just to do something to fill my day. I’m not the type to just sit and do nothing, I have to be doing SOMEthing.

After a while I started getting, “Anita at work wishes she had someone like you at her place. She wants to borrow you, but I told her you were my wife and she wasn’t getting you!” Funny? Maybe. I wasn’t laughing though. It implied my busyness was almost being overlooked and horribly under appreciated and taken for granted. It also implied a dark, sick joke and I wasn’t going there.

I needed some intellectual stimulus, anything to fill the void I was feeling after working for so long. Online gaming was fun for a while, but I got lonely with no one to talk to except the two cats. Don’t get me wrong, I like cats, but there’s only so much one-sided conversation you can take before you realise there’s a thin line between interacting with them and morphing into the psycho cat lady with no life.

I soon found an online forum with some like-minded (non-cat related) sarcastic-fuelled antagonists — all in fun, of course. Soon after, Bryan joined the group and I felt drawn to him in a I’ve-known-him-for-ages kinda way. I wasn’t looking for any sort of relationship, but definitely liked the attention my uber-sarcastic persona was attracting — the good, and the bad. The bad just validated it for me and encouraged more of it.

After a week or so of chatting with Bryan, I added him to my messenger and we left the forum behind. We’d chat until it was daylight. One night we chatted right up until he had to leave for work that day. It still amazes me how everything unfolded. He was, and still is, easy to talk to. He exemplified many traits and qualities I admired and wanted in a mate, but I never really thought for a moment – at least in the early days – that anything would come from it. It’s still interesting to me how being online and getting to know someone from the words on the screen breaks down many barriers society and even social etiquette teaches us. Some of the limitations we even impose upon ourselves taken from past experiences and relationships. But when you don’t have that to complicate everything, you open up and share things you’d probably be a lot more reserved about sharing. And being British, I’m reserved by nature anyway.

As time passed and our trust grew deeper, I felt myself letting my guard down more and more which made our connection stronger and our friendship deeper. It was a surprise. It totally crept up on me; us. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, but are we ever? And just when you feel like you’ve given up on relationships and the complicated emotional headaches they can be, and you’ve reigned yourself to having to settle, settle for something less than you know you’re worthy of, you’re handed something you’ve wanted but didn’t really realise you wanted it. Until you realise you could lose it.

One night in mid-May and approximately 3 weeks before my Visa expired and I’d have to head home, I got an e-mail from Bryan saying he was sorry he couldn’t talk to me that night that he was tired from work and Uni and was heading to bed, but wanted to share something with me. He told me that he’s not the spontaneous type (and he’s totally not, he has to plan things, make lists and bloody spreadsheets and pivot graphs…) but had booked a flight to California to come meet me and spend 4 days with me over Memorial Weekend, 2000.

I was excited, scared, elated and panic-struck all in one breath.

But mainly excited.

He was just the kind, compassionate, sensitive but strong man I had grown to know and love across the 600 miles that separated us. His gentleness and spirituality mirrored each other perfectly. He was that mix of responsible but fun I’d been waiting for. He was my best friend, and still is.

It almost sounds crazy now, but just 4 months after the initial meeting, and after I went out to Yellowstone with him and his family and spent three weeks with all of them (on his dime), I moved states to be closer to him.

My love for him over the years hasn’t changed, but expanded and transformed into something greater. He remains the most amazing man I’ve ever met. The roads we’ve walked together have been rewarding and very difficult at times, but they have brought us closer together and made us stronger; and especially, have given us perspective and a respect for what we have now.

Things won’t always be easy and I know there’ll be more times in the future where we have to make difficult decisions, and sacrifice something for something better, but I feel better prepared for it having Bryan at my side.

I am so grateful God helped me find you eight years ago. I am a better person because you love me.

* I could write 6 or 7 blogs on this very subject (old room mate). I have it all written down. Maybe one day.

Seven Years…And Not an Itch in Sight

My husband: The one who eats the nasty pretzels when I pick through a bag of Chex Mix; who makes me dinner when I’ve had a rough day despite coming off a 12-hour shift; who runs me a bath in the jetted tub on a weekend morning and tells me to relax…

It’s amazing how time slips by when you’re not really paying attention. Today is our 7th wedding anniversary, we have come through many amazing and strengthening things together and have lived to tell the tale. Incidentally, seven years of marriage should traditionally be marked with a gift of wool or copper. I think I’ll stick with the beautiful flowers I got.

Anyway, I’ve decided to Pay it Forward with another Bloggy Giveaway. Can I get a resounding “ooOoo”? Up for offers this time is a Mars Bar and a wee SURPRISE.

All you have to do is post your caption to the pic below in the comments by midnight (MST) Saturday, 10th May to be entered. Good luck!

ALSO, if anyone is interested, my Pampered Chef consultant is offering 25% off everything if you place an order by 14th May. She just hit her 4th anniversary as a consultant and offered to open it up to friends of clients, not just her clients. If you’re interested, drop me an e-mail and I’ll forward hers to you. If you’re a past host from the last year, you can also add the 10% on top of that. I get no kick-back, just sharing the love.

Haiku-chee-coo Friday

It’s the little thingsHaiku Friday
That speak volumes to my soul
Flowers, [British] choc-late, card

There was something else
I can’t quite live without it
The old two died Dec.

Yes! There’s naught quite like
A new Sonicare toothbrush
To say, ‘I love you!’

I love me some Sonicare. When the two we had had for six years up and died a few months ago, I was lost without mine. We had a $25 off coupon for Costco and got a set of two for not much more than one elsewhere.

He bought me pretty flowers, a Terry’s chocolate orange, a beautiful, perfect card (words below) and then drove (the 45 miles) to ‘the big city’ and took me shopping. I love that man.

Sometimes you surprise me
by asking if I still love you,
still find you
beautiful…

And I wonder,
how could you
not know?

My love for you is so strong
that I think the whole world must see it.
The slightest thought of you
during the day
still excites me.

And when I see you,
all can think about
is that moment
when our lips will touch.

Time could never dim
my love for you,
because with every beat of my heart,
I only want you more.

The tears flowed as I read more and more, and right about there, my heart melted.

Picking Favourites

He has now been back with us a week-and-a-half, but it was a long lonely six days (but it definitely felt like weeks) without Bryan around. Despite the general goings-on, the house was somehow quiet and felt empty. The day before he returned, he phoned me from the Mall in Laval, Quebec asking my opinion on toys for the boys that I couldn’t quite imagine in my mind’s eye. I agreed anyway as I know he has good taste (he married me after all). I was also quietly gleeful that he was in fact out gift hunting and was hopeful of something profound for myself.

Shortly after he stepped through the door and Cameron laid his head on his shoulder and hugged him for an eternity, he sat down and quietly beckoned Ian over.

“I brought something for you Ian–from Canada”, he offered in a quiet, but intriguing voice.
“What is it, what is it?!” Ian said, almost bellowing from the excitement.

This:

Next it was Cameron’s turn.”Cameron, comeeeeee’re!” And with that, the tiny little feet sprinted to him.

“I couldn’t think what to get you sweetie, and everything I liked was well over $100. So I got you something I thought you’d appreciate.”

I am never without words, but this rendered me speechless. Ahh…priceless love.

Scrolling Saturdays – A Post From the Past

This post was sitting in my Drafts and I completely spaced it.

The idea behind Scrolling Saturdays is to post something from your archives, from when you perhaps had a smaller readership. My blog was just four months old at the time; this post I wrote two days after my husband’s birthday. It gleaned 24 comments at the time. Woot woot.

03 November, 2005 – “That Man”

I’m in a reflective mindset again. Whatever the reason, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that I have a wonderful husband. It was his birthday on Tuesday (tchoosday), and throughout this week, I have been reflectively contemplating him: his character, his strengths, his mannerisms. Him.

First and foremost, I’m grateful to his mother for raising him the way she did. I have a wonderful man at my side because of it.

I often wonder if most would pass by Bryan without a second glance, unaware of how remarkable he really is.

He has such strength of character and a strong resolution to always do the right thing. He’s smart. He’s funny, mostly without trying. He has been through a lot in his life, and in spite of it, has become a better person for it. He commands a quiet attention when he publicly speaks or teaches a group. He puts others’ needs first before his own and includes everyone. Despite his incessant teasing, he has a love for everyone and shows it in his actions. He is a natural-born mediator and is at his best when he is resolving concerns and situations. He has an incredible ability to draw others to him, and because of that, people confide in him a lot. He isn’t afraid to try something new, or take risks. He has a very sensitive (and kind) heart. He is by all means the definition of complete selflessness. He is always looking to improve his surroundings and is never short of a new well-thought-out idea. He was born to sell anything to anyone, and by his own admission could “sell ice cubes to Eskimos.” He loves me completely, for who I am and what I can become. He never tires to please me or make me feel wanted and appreciated. He really is the one person that understands me completely. He is my husband … and he has no idea how important he is.