...The Queen and I said "I do."
Looking back, I amazed at what we have been through. We married right at the end of 2003. 2004 was pretty quiet all things considered. In 2005, The Queen lost her job taking 40% of our income with it. Just a few months later, we moved to Houston because of a better job opportunity for me which brought about half of that lost income back. At Thanksgiving that year, I came down with pneumonia, spiked a 105 degree fever, and The Queen thought I was dying (might have been for all I know...I really didn't care at that point).
2006 brought us the onset of The Queen's "mystery illness" that resulted in her moving back to Dallas without me so that her parents could help take care of her while I tried to find work back in Dallas. It took me almost two years to the day before I was able to get back to Dallas full time (that is one reason among many that my car has 345,000 miles on it). Two years of living in a friend's spare bedroom to save money. Two years of getting up at 4:00 AM Monday morning to drive to Houston and leaving Houston at 4:00 PM Friday. Two years of not knowing when the next panicked phone call would come from The Queen regarding her health and dropping everything to break every speed limit between Houston and Dallas to get home (three and half hours door to door is my best time from I-45 and Beltway 8 in Houston to I-20 and 408 in Duncanville if you ever want to give it a try).
It was no fun at all.
2008 to 2011 saw The Queen's parents and grandmother living with us. A 2200 square foot house gets to feeling a tad cramped with five adults, three dogs and two cats. Especially when one of the five is over 90 years old and in need of assistance for every need. More so when one of the other four works from home. We made it work some how.
2010 saw improvement in The Queen's health. It also saw the heart wrenching decision not to continue trying for kids of our own. No need to cry over that though because...
2011 opened with the passing of The Queen's 94 year old grandmother after a long, slow decline. It was as much a relief as anything, and she passed peacefully in her sleep. Following that, The Queen's parents took their leave of Castle Erickson and moved out to a house on my brother in law's property that they renovated while The Queen and I jumped head first into the world of foster parenting (and a brief dalliance with law school for me). Our very first placement was the little girl who would become Princess M&M. The end of the year saw me recruited in record time for what I consider to be the best job there is in my field. I ended my 9+ year (split up by an interlude at a company whose name I will not speak...[hock, spit]) relationship with my former employer on our 8TH wedding anniversary so that I could start...
...2012 with a fresh beginning at the new company. 2012 was a rocky year of ups and downs with the foster care system and the saga of M&M; however, by the end of the year, it was clear that we would be adopting her which brings us to...
2013. We started the year off right with the adoption hearing for M&M in January which still seems like it was just yesterday. The rest of this past year has been a blur. The Queen's health has taken a bit of dip again. Some of it is from the stress released after we adopted M&M and bailed out of the foster care system for good. Some of it is allergies. Some of it is a yearning for freedom from all the baggage (physical and mental) that we have accumulated over the years.
Looking ahead into 2014, I am working feverishly to declutter us from our excess physical junk while trying to get the house ready to sell. Our hope is to sell our house and downsize to a small rental for a time while we get our bearings on where we want to be and how we want to be there.
So, if you know anyone interested in a nice, 2 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage, 2 living area, 1 sunroom/office/extra bedroom, 2269 sq. ft. house on one acre with a 1600 sq. ft. workshop conveniently located to Dallas and Fort Worth, drop me a line. I'll make you a fair deal.
Truthfully, despite all we have been through, I feel blessed. Blessed to have a wonderful woman who puts up with me and my imperfections. Blessed to have had a lot of good times interspersed among the trials too. Blessed to now be a father and a husband. Blessed to be here at all to enjoy it.
So far, we've lived 10 years of our vows: for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.... We haven't gotten to "until death do you part" yet; and, God willing, that will be a long time coming (although there have been times I thought I spotted The Queen searching the backyard for a good spot to bury me). I won't say marriage is easy because it does take both people working together to keep it going, but I will say that ours has been less difficult that most simply because we spent a lot of time (six and a half years in fact) dating, getting to know each other and making sure we were on the same page.
I am scheduling this post to publish at the time we have reservations to sit down for dinner at the "scene of the crime" so to speak. We will be dining at the restaurant where we had our first date, and where I proposed to her.
Reata is in downtown Fort Worth, and it is easily in my top three favorite restaurants ever. If you ever find yourself in Fort Worth, I highly recommend it.