Hey, there you are. Come keep me company while I wait to leave for the airport. Tim’s flying in tonight, arriving after 10, so I need to do something while I’m waiting.

He’s coming for our joint birthday celebration, the midway point between my birthday (10/1) and his (10/30). We’ve been celebrating this way for as long as I can remember, doing the individual cake/cards on our individual days, but something together midway. We did a trip to St. Louis once, and a Broadway show in Chicago. When we have the means to do something, we do it.

Last week, I had a trailer hitch installed on my beloved Equinox, Vern.

Yeah, I named my car. It’s Vern L. Equinox. If you get the joke, we could be friends.

Today, I picked up the teardrop camper we’ll be towing this weekend, and, if all goes well, in the future. I keep saying this is our “compromise” camping trip, the one in which I get to sleep in the forest with Tim, and Tim gets to NOT sleep on the ground. But the more I look at this storm, and change out of rain-drenched clothes (three times today; my “waterproof” jacket has lost its “waterproof”), the more I realize this camper was an excellent idea.

But Tim’s the real birthday present. I reached a breaking point today, to my surprise. All was going really well (without a hitch, you might say, except…well, never mind) in my preparations; all the stuff is together and ready to put into the car, and I even made homemade marshmallows for s’mores. Never did this when the kids were around, but Tim and I like high-quality indulgences, the theory being that the more expensive or troublesome they are to acquire, the less willing we will be to *over* indulge.

Anyway. So I’m back from picking up the camper, and we live in a beautiful apartment complex built into the side of a small mountain. It’s a dogleg something something, I don’t know, I’m a flatlander. But it’s hilly. It’s kinda Portland’s schtick, to be hilly. And here I am, on a hill, unhooking the trailer, and it starts rolling backward down the hill.

I’m hanging on as tightly as I can, and I can keep it from going any farther, but now I’m stuck. Both hands are required to hold on to this thing, but if I could just reach over, I could hook it back up and figure out a different plan. But I can’t let go. I’m in full panic. Feet planted, squatting to pull the teardrop back up the hill, standing between the car and the trailer. Shit.


I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on. Thank god I changed shoes, or I’d have no traction. My shoulders are starting to ache. I change positions.

And then I realize…I have no one to call. There is no person here I can call on the phone and ask to come and help me pull this thing to a safe place. Even if I could get my phone out…I literally have no one.

Tim’s my rock. He is always, *always* there. Always does what he promises, always there if I need him, always just a phone call away when I’m sad or lonely. He never leaves my side. My phone is my lifeline to Tim, to safety.

Today, for a few minutes, I realized that for right now, for the next few months, he’s not really by my side. Most of the time I manage really well on my own, but when there’s a 900-pount trailer dragging you down the side of a small mountain, I would have liked him here in body as well as spirit.

I eventually figured out how to manage the camper into a safe spot, letting gravity work *for* me and controlling the roll. Tim might have seen this solution sooner. Oh, who am I kidding; he would have handled the whole thing so I wouldn’t have to. He does that for all kinds of problems, like full garbage cans and spiders. I CAN handle them, but he never lets me.

I just want to bury my face in his neck and fall asleep. I just want him here. Physically. Not just for the trailer but for the reminder that I’m not alone when shit starts rolling downhill. It’s been a really good five months for me, very little downhill. I’m pretty grateful for that.

It won’t last forever, though. Eventually, something is gonna give way, some problem or issue or (god forbid) injury. I hope I can hang on until Tim returns for good in the spring.

Sure would be nice to be able to phone a friend, in the meantime.

Hey look, it’s almost time for me to leave. I’ll slowly take my aching, saved-a-camper-from-destruction body to the airport, where I’ll fall into Tim’s arms with joy and relief.

Tomorrow we’ll go to the Gorge and drive through Hood River and pick up several dozen pounds of apples and pears. Then we’ll sleep in the soft, damp forest and listen to the wind travel across our camper, warm and dry in our little camper.

Thanks for keeping me company. img_20161014_161401905_hdr

They All Laughed

Tim and I have an anniversary coming up. It’s not one of the big milestones, but as we were calculating the years we’ve been married and the years we’ve been together as a couple, we realized we’ve been together almost 20 years.

Okay, so we’re four years short of 20 years.

But I was hit hard by the realization that I have now lived my life for nearly 20 years with the man I pined over from the time I was 16.

I have now been with him longer than I spent pining for him.

The other thing that hit me was how wrong people were about us. And we had a LOT of people telling us not to get together, and not to get married. I mean, it was a shocking number of people.

Of course the people warning him about me were those who didn’t know me all that well, just like the people warning me about him didn’t know *him* all that well. I look back on these years in which we have built and rebuilt our life together and marvel at the idiocy of those warnings, and the audacity of the people issuing them.

Without attribution, allow me to share with you the ways in which we were warned not to get together.

–She’s cut from the same cloth as your ex-wife, only much worse.

–He’ll abuse your son and molest your daughter.

–He’s getting divorced, so he’s not a good mate. (I got divorced too, but that was irrelevant, apparently.)

–He’s a bad influence on you because he’s not a born-again Christian.

–He doesn’t really love you, he really only loved someone else.

–You’re only doing this because he was your first love. It will never work.

–She just wants you to save her.

–He just wants someone to rescue.

If there is a theme to this blog, it’s “why do people feel they have a right to say ANYTHING?” In all seriousness, I would like an answer to that question. Especially in matters related to relationships, and in those, stopping short of calling out abuse, why on earth do people stick their noses into other people’s business? The only thing they achieve is resentment and defiance.

Don’t get me wrong: we’ve had some really hard times. It has not been an easy decade and a half. Tim and I are complex, difficult people, and after years of focusing on the kids, we’re just starting to figure out who we are as a couple. It’s been hard work. Now that our initial terror over that prospect has subsided, it is an exciting time in our marriage.

Some of the people making comments have since recanted their views, made peace with my union with Tim, and have embraced his presence in my life. Some of them haven’t. But their opinions have never once factored into my belief in Tim, nor (I suspect) Tim’s in me.

But thoPortland-20131001-04795se who held dear to their opinions…well, they have assumed a distant place in my life, if they have stayed at all. I interact with them cautiously, keeping them at bay, distrustful of their understanding of my life and who I am. They couldn’t see me or Tim for who we really were, and they continue to view us through their distorted lens.

It was sometimes sad to know we started our life together without the full love and support of our families and friends, but it sure made us lean on each other more. And that moment in our lives made us commit to absolute, unequivocal support for each of our children and their chosen mates, no matter who they are. We are determined to be the loving, warm extended family we always longed for.

So there you have it, folks; all your warnings and misgivings about Tim and me together have been proven wrong over and over and over.

As Tim and I plan our first big Oregon anniversary, which might include whale watching or a visit to the hot springs or a moonlit dance on Council Crest, I am enjoying the spoils of our hard-fought victory. We made it this far, and from the looks of it, the hardest part is behind us.

And this is my big fat “I told you so.”






Together Whatever

Tim and I are sick.

Typically, we get sick separately, usually with him having symptoms and me following him around with a can of Lysol to ensure he doesn’t get me sick. I quarantine him as much as possible, entreating him to cover his damned mouth when he coughs, washing dishes and bedding immediately after he touches it. He languishes in bed alone, groaning in pain from every cough and sneeze, while I stay in the living room, rolling my eyes so hard I give myself a headache.

I certainly don’t let him kiss me when he’s sick. I spent so much time sick as a child, I want to avoid it now like the plague.


My aversion to colds is obviously an outgrowth of having a medically compromised child. As the person responsible for most of her transfers and hands-on care, I couldn’t risk giving her germs that might turn into pneumonia, which can be deadly for people with her disorder. By and large, I did a good job of protecting her; she had exactly one cold-like illness in her childhood.

Unfortunately, it was, in fact, pneumonia. She survived.

Whatever the reason, I am hyper-vigilant about avoiding Tim’s germs. It’s frustrating when he’s got a cough because he’s such a good kisser, and I hate to have that distance between us, but being sick puts me out of the action. Takes me out of the game. Makes me miss life.

I hate that.

But now, by some viral miracle, we started having symptoms on the same morning, and were in full-blown illness by the end of the night. We fell into bed Saturday night, passed out on Benadryl, and slept fitfully. Sunday, we languished in bed, watching Netflix and snuggling our germy bodies next to each other. We napped for a few hours in the afternoon, and just lazed around talking the rest of the day. It was heaven.

This seems to be a mild cold, passing through without serious symptoms. No fevers, no chills, just general tiredness and snotty heads. My sinuses were so congested overnight the pain in my face woke me up. But this really isn’t bad.

And I find I like being sick with Tim. Relieved of the need to fend off his invading illness, I can fall with him into sleep at 7:30 at night, have bizarre Benadryl-induced dreams (oh, I had a doozie last night!) and sleep until 8 a.m. I’m an early riser who has no need for lots of sleep typically. Right now, we can be together whenever, whatever.

So of course, I woke up with this song in my head. We both hate it.



Walking Off the Field

My mother in law doesn’t like me. Let’s just get that out of the way up front. There’s a story behind it, as there is behind every contentious relationship, and the story has two sides, as they all do, and I believe mine is right, as every person does.

The particulars don’t make a bit of difference, so I won’t go into them. Imagine the worst kind of misunderstanding occurring between two people with vastly different perspectives and attitudes about life. Now multiply that by divorce, strong wills, the minefield of a blended family, independent attitude, a dash of Irish temper, and a silenced, divisive family history working like a burr under the saddle, and the result will be unpleasant with a factor of ten. Continue reading