Archive for January, 2013

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last night was date night. After dinner, we walked to the new downtown movie theater. It’s a bit more expensive than the other theaters in town, but the convenience of the location makes it worth it.

We started our 12 days of Christmas tradition 2 days early this year. Last year, we didn’t celebrate the 12 days. I suppose we didn’t really celebrate at all, since neither of us were sure we were going to continue on with our marriage.

Anyway, we usually start on the 13th of December because that day gives us exactly 12 days prior to Christmas for me to give gifts. I give her one thing on the first day, then 2 of something the next day, then three and so on. I’m not really sure how or when we started this, but it’s been a part of our marriage for many years.

Last year, Ceecee said I didn’t have to do the 12 days if I didn’t want to. I didn’t. I regret that now, but I can’t go back and undo the past. All I can do is love her the best way I know how from this day forward.

The gifts don’t need to be big or expensive. She doesn’t care about that. Her love language is receiving gifts and to her, getting a gift means that I am thinking of her and doing something tangible to show that she is loved. Today it was a hat from Aeropostale. Sometimes it’s candy. Sometimes it is something expensive, like jewelry. It really all depends on the budget we have and the things I find.

Oh yeah, back to the original point. We started early this year because we’re having Christmas on the 23rd this year due to travel plans. Instead of having to try to take the 11th and 12th day gifts along in the car and give them to her somewhere else, I just moved it up 2 days so that we will finish on schedule as though the 23rd is Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last night was rough on Ceecee. Taylor was allowed his first phone call and he didn’t sound good at all. I suppose going to a strange place where you don’t know anyone and you get yelled at constantly is quite a shock to everyone. That’s kind of the idea, I know. Anyway, she was pretty upset, but she talked to some of her family who are military and they assured her that it will be fine.

Monday, December 6, 2010.

Just for fun, Ceecee and I observed the German tradition of St. Nicholas day. We left our shoes by the front door last night and waited to see what St. Nicholas would bring us. Switches are for the bad kids and candy is for the good ones. Apparently, we’ve both been good.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We found out today that Taylor will be shipping out for basic training on Tuesday. He goes to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I can tell he’s nervous, but we really believe this will be good for him. He’s never been away from home, though.

Other than that, life is kind of slow right now. We’re looking forward to Christmas break from school. I’m still at Macy’s. It’s easy money and they don’t ask much of me, so I don’t’ mind staying on for now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ceecee has been cooking out of the Harry Potter cookbook. It’s been pretty good stuff! The first thing she made was bangers and mash. It turns out bangers are sausage patties and mash is mashed potatoes. Then there’s an onion gravy that goes over top of it.

She also made some amazing almond brittle! The Christmas season is under way now, and I’m sure there will be all kinds of wonderful things being cooked and baked in the loft during the next few weeks. It won’t be good for our fitness goals, I’m sure, but we usually kind of excuse ourselves during this time of year and then hit it hard when January comes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When we got back to town last night, instead of going home, we went straight to the mall and paid for the sofa. We didn’t have a way to bring it home, but we didn’t want to take a chance. We had missed a deal on a recliner earlier by not being there that day.

I called a buddy of mine and he said we could use his truck. Meanwhile, I listed our old couch on Craigslist. A guy and his son actually came and got it last night, so it was a relief in a couple of ways. It was out of the way, so we could get the new sofa in, and it got rid of another thing with bad associations from the apartment. The more we change in the loft, the better I feel about it being ours and not the place she lived without me.

It’s a big, long sofa and we live on the second floor of a loft building. It definitely wasn’t easy getting it up the stairs and into the loft, but it gave us a little reminder of the way things had changed between us. Despite struggling with it, we were patient and spoke nicely to each other. That wouldn’t have happened in the past. It’s just all part of the tour. The big things we plan for and the little unexpected things that we haven’t even thought about until they come up.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This morning, we caught the train back to St. Louis. Everything in Chicago was beautiful and we’re living the dream, literally. Although it would be hard to ever top that very first visit back in 2003, and we have so many great memories through the years that followed, I’d say this was our best trip ever. It’s like the old and familiar plus the new and exciting melded into one experience. We had the joy of “new love” in the context of all our past experiences and memories. It really defies description and will simply live in our hearts as a healing and restoring experience that we will always carry.

While we were on the train, we got a call from the furniture manager at Dillard’s, where Ceecee used to work. She had picked out a sofa for us while she was still there, but we were waiting for it to go on sale. Now that she doesn’t have an employee discount anymore, she told the manager that if it ever went on clearance to call us and we would buy it. We didn’t expect that call today, but I told him where we were and he said he’d mark it sold and we could come in tomorrow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Even though we woke up just a half a block from Chicago’s “magnificent Mile,” or Michigan Avenue, we stayed away from the black Friday shopping crowds. We really have no desire to get in the middle of that, so we ate a leisurely breakfast, then did walk up and down the avenue and visit a few stores. We found a few small things that we picked up, like the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but we don’t go to Chicago to shop.

This year, we went to Chicago for our usual visit, but also as part of the restoration tour. When we went last year, it was fun, but the truth that our marriage was unraveling was evident in a few different incidents. At navy pier, we were impatient and snappy, but we blamed it on being hungry and tired. There was some tension and coldness while we walked around, and we put it off as stress from all the activity.

The thing that haunted me, though – and it couldn’t simply be explained away – is that I blew up at my wife in a store for no apparent reason. I didn’t just get irritated; I lost it and made it a personal attack against her character. It was without provocation and my wife was both hurt and confused by it.

In the early years of our marriage, that kind of thing just didn’t happen. In the years since the tornado, it became more of a common occurrence. I never had any answer I was willing to give when she would want to know why or what she did. The truth was, I was very unhappy inside and didn’t know how to express any of it in a healthy way, so I took it out on her when I reached a certain level of frustration.

So, while the parade, the German market, the deep dish pizza, and all the things we love about Chicago are still here, there’s something very important about this visit. The restoration tour is about setting things right and repairing the damage. It’s about fixing what needs fixed and maintaining what was formerly neglected. This time around, we’re being very intentional about expressing our love and appreciation for each other and restoring the wonderful feelings of being together in a place we love.