Love and toilets and such

As you may have read, Homère loves Valentine’s Day. Like really loves it. All the standard V-Day things that some people loathe, he embraces wholeheartedly. And I have decided I am super OK with that.

This year had roses. photo1 (1)

And a fancy, delicious dinner out.photo3

And a gift of Bananagrams.photo1

And even a gift from me!

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But mostly this year’s Valentine’s Day was special because it will be forever remembered as the Valentine’s Day of the Troubled Toilet.

You see, because we had been doing this a lot this winter…

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…we got to send each other Valentines like this:

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To make a long story short, our toilet and bathtub backed up 7 times this winter; our sewer line is full of tree roots; DCWater is currently digging a 16-foot hole in our yard; I have an especially violent dislike for the automated phone menu of a certain home warranty company; and the night before Valentine’s Day, Homère spent scooping gloppy brown water out of our bathtub, lest it overflow and make us even more sad. Please note that I am married to a man, who, on his first solo babysitting gig, decided it would be best to take off his shirt to change the baby’s diaper, as well as use an entire bath towel for protection while burping the kid. He really hates germs.

The plumber finally came a few hours before we left for our Valentine’s date. We had to clean and disinfect everything (no, really, everything. The plumber made a huge mess), but we got it all squeaky clean right before we left for Bistro Bis.

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And when we got there, Homère said to me: “This night is about you… and celebrating our bathroom.”

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Because he cleaned up our apartment nearly every time this sewer backup thing has happened, and because he just looked like he wanted to die while emptying our bathtub of who-knows-what the night before, my heart was filled with a special love for Homère this Valentine’s Day. I still really don’t get why he likes me and wants to get me roses, but even more, I am completely bewildered that he would do things like bucket out sewer water.

Marriage is fun. Marriage can be really difficult (though, let’s be real, we’re newlyweds — we’ve heard this is true but hey, I still think he smells good all the time).

But mostly so far, marriage is beautiful and so, so humbling, as it is filled with daily reminders of God’s grace that I don’t deserve.

Reminders such as roses, delicious dinners, and overflowing toilets.

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Our apartment

These pictures are long overdue, but TADA! I finally framed our Jamaica map, and voila! photos.

When we returned from our honeymoon, our apartment was a room full of boxes. It’s been really fun to turn it into a home.

apartment442In this photo, the chair Homère calls “the Dekoekkoek chair.” Thanks, Jennette, for finding it at the Women’s Commissioner Sale so long ago! The carpet is my attempt to bring color to a room that we can’t paint. And in the corner is our fireplace, which we’ve loved using this winter and is definitely one of my favorite things about this little place.

apartment439Through that door is the kitchen, not pictured here.

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Come visit us! We have a couch and an air mattress and even… a TV! It’s a recent addition; I just now managed to convince myself we weren’t returning it and it was OK to take the plastic off.apartment443

I wanted big art on this wall, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Thus, this Pinterest project. I got insulation from Home Depot and covered it with fabric.

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The entire living/dining area, made to look way bigger by panorama. Basically a map of our entire apartment.

apartment_redo437Map of Jamaica from Eastern Market. I like to look at the towns’ names. There are lots of good ones, such as “Friendship,” “Cabbage Hall,” and “Breadnut Bottom.”

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Gallery wall! A work in progress.apartment444

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The painting above is another DIY project (thanks to my friend Paige for doing the actual DIYing). apartment447

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So thankful for windows and the genius who invented duvet covers that are supposed to be wrinkly.

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The view out our living room windows. It’s better in summer, but I love those trees.

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And the best part of our little apartment: this guy. Reading his Time magazine.

New Jersey in the summer

Now that we’ve transitioned to the more wintry part of autumn, how about a good healthy flashback to summer?

A few months ago Homère and I visited his parents in New Jersey. We spent a day walking around Ocean Grove, a seaside town that definitely earns the adjective “charming.” I loved it, and Homère rediscovered it.

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Old-school shore hotels!

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oceangrove_combo2We had the best, the most delicious ice cream ever. Seriously the best I’ve ever had. From Nagle’s, a pharmacy that’s been there since…. forever.

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And of course there’s no point in going to the shore if you don’t spend some time at the beach. I love the beach; I’d been begging Homère to take me for months. Since it was windy and a little cold, I got a promise that we’ll go back next year.

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oceangrove_combo1On the upper right is the Great Auditorium — the big chapel of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which has held summer concerts and revivals and prayer meetings and whatnot there for years and years, since 1869. Homère also graduated from high school in there.

oceangrove432These are some of the tents the association rents out in the summer. And people live in them. Isn’t that interesting? I would love to live there for a summer.

And now I’m off to enjoy my autumn. Happy November!

A parasailing adventure

Sitting on the beach one day on our honeymoon in Jamaica, I saw several boats zipping across the ocean, pulling colorful parachutes behind them in the air. That looks fun, I told Homère. Yeah, he said. It’s our honeymoon, I said. Yes, he said. We should do this now or we’ll never do it again, I said. OK, he said.

It wasn’t until we were on the boat waiting for our turn to go up that I remembered that Homère gets height-induced vertigo. A flood of words: Why didn’t you remind me? We don’t have to do this! I’m a terrible wife! But he insisted: No, you want to do this, so I want to do this. Nevertheless, as he sat looking warily at the parachute in the distance, I was so sure he was going to back out. I certainly would have, in his shoes. The whole process was sketchy enough. A shady man on the beach took our money; a wrinkled old woman in a little speed boat took us to the main boat and had us quickly sign forms saying we wouldn’t sue if we died horrible mangled deaths; the speed boat sped very, very fast. Then as we waited our turn to go up in the parachute and the woman who went up ahead of us came down looking like she was going to vomit, I was ready to give up on my dream of parasailing.

But to my surprise, Homère got up and strapped himself in.

And it was so much fun!

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It felt like we were flying. I loved the views of the island and seeing the different strokes of color in the ocean, far below. The nice man on the boat took these pictures.

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As for my strong, wonderful, poor vertigo-afflicted husband… well, he closed his eyes about 99 percent of the time. But he says he liked it, and that it felt like he was in a wind tunnel. (“I like windiness,” he says. “It’s one of my top three weather conditions.”)

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So there you have it. I basically tortured my husband on our honeymoon. When we got back to the shore, he said: “Now you know I love you forever. Also, we’re not going kayaking.”

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The ugliest pie in the world

When we first tied the knot about three months ago, I thought one of the benefits of marriage would be that my attempts at domesticity would now have a high and lofty purpose: To be the most amazing, best wife ever.

Well I have yet to accomplish that, and I realized pretty quickly it was very silly to think that I ever would. Also, it really doesn’t matter. I can burn dinner and descend into tears and be really grumpy and look like a slob, and Homère somehow still says he really likes me and thinks I’m the best wife ever. So now I still try to be domestic, but it’s mostly just for fun — which helps when you create the ugliest pie in the world. And when you have a husband who has otherwise threateningly superior domestic abilities…. Homère cooks and cleans at least as well as I do, and usually better.

Homère, on his first attempt to bake ANYTHING EVER, turned out this beautiful banana bread last night for our small group. It was delicious.

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Meanwhile, the pie that I was going to make for small group but didn’t have time to finish until later… turned out to be very ugly and lumpy. The very complicated crust recipe I tried just had a lot of issues on top. And don’t be fooled by this picture: It’s more disfigured in real life.

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But it turned out that the ugly crust was flaky and delicious, and the filling was yummy. So Homère said: “At least it’s beautiful on the inside.” It’s not every day you make a pie with self esteem issues.

Anybody have a delicious but more reliably pretty pie crust recipe?

We got married!

 

We got married! And we are so, so happy. I love not having to say goodbye at night, waking up next to the man I love, cooking together, reading everything from Peter the Great to Paddington Bear together, looking up stupid puns online together, eating way too much kettle corn and ice cream together, growing closer as we learn what it means to cherish and treasure each other. We are huge fans of marriage.

And I’m back to blogging! Coming soon: behind-the-scenes wedding confessions, pictures of our apartment, adventures in cooking, travels to the far-off lands of Jamaica and New Jersey, etc. Probably interspersed with amusing things Homère says. (Why is it that once you get married you think your husband is the funniest person ever??) Sample: “If I had a cat, I’d be telling it: ‘Cat, you better find some birds and some rats. Because I don’t have any money for a cat budget.'”

You can see more of our wedding pictures here. Many, many thanks to our dear friend, TwentyTwenty Studios.

A bride

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This warm weather is getting me so excited for our wedding. Only 80 more days!

I was trying on a new piece of bridal jewelry that came in the mail today and felt so happy. It reminded me of this verse:

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, 
My soul shall be joyful in my God; 
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10