Saturday, November 27, 2010

A LOVE LETTER (sort of) - more, A LOVE TIMELINE

PREFACE
I am not someone who GUSHES about being a mother and kids and love and my husband and the perfection that is my life. It's not me. It's part that I don't always buy it when people do it on their blogs, facebook, etc.. - and it's part that those things are close to my heart and announcing it incessantly to the public somehow cheapens it to me (I have issues, I know). It's part that I am a ridiculously affectionate person, who kisses and hugs and tackles her kids and husband and nieces and nephews constantly so I don't need to gush in writing how much I love them - they know it. And finally, part that I get bored reading how perfect life and love are on other people's blogs - would rather write about how my kid asked me if you can get heat stroke in heaven, or how my 2 year old literally drank from the toilet, or how a few days ago I had to scold my 5 year old (without an explanation of course) as to why we don't walk around saying "is that a banana in your pocket?" (NO idea by the way where he heard that)! Or about how one time my husband bought me a card and gifts for our anniversary and was secretly a little pleased that I had been the one to forget our anniversary since I hadn't told him
"Happy Anniversary" alllll day - only for him to discover that evening (just about to give me my presents) that he was exactly one month early. We were married in November, NOT October. Which leads me to this... Our anniversary is November 28th. This is our 7th anniversary. A big one to me.
My husband likes when people gush.
And so I offer this out-of-the-normal LOVE LETTER!
ahem.. A LOVE LETTER (sort of) - more, A LOVE TIMELINE
First, we were friends.
Okay, that's not entirely true.
FIRST, we were acquaintances. After all, you were the painfully shy kid in the back of Sunday School Class building forts out of your suit jacket and the chairs. I was the oldest kid in class, sneaking out every chance I got to go to the older, cooler Sunday School class... You know, the one with the kids NOT building forts in the back of the class.
THEN, we were friends. We hung out sometimes with a group of friends. You took me canoeing and on adventures in the woods. We "borrowed" a paddle-boat at night once. You came to my plays. We went to different schools, but shared an after-school job (juice bars won't work themselves after all). I watched you lift weights between customers. You watched me blush when I couldn't make correct change. I gave you girl advice, (as I was a year ahead of you in school and thus infinitely wiser in the ways of love). You made me this for Valentine's Day one year, (even though I was dating someone else). I kept it forever and now it sits in our home.

Years passed by. We lived other places. Did other things. Had our own heartaches and trials and sporadically kept in touch through letters and "Hi's" from family members.
THEN, near the end of the summer we got together as FRIENDS. Because we were old buddies and no one else was around and why not hang out a few times before summer ended?Except, it wasn't a few times... and we were not apart - even for a day - after that. It went from kind of hoping we would be able to get together the next day, to needing to see each other every day. We were scared and neither was looking for love. Or marriage. We knew it though. It was done. We knew like we knew like we knew it was supposed to be this way. But even still, I was scared. So I left for school at the end of the summer. After attending a friend's wedding and trip to the SLC temple, I knew for sure. For sure. But did it have to be NOW?? I didn't want to be "that" girl. The flaky girl. The girl who leaves school to go get married. I was "President" after all... I had responsibilities and school was SO much FUN! But after 2,219 miles and starting to unpack, my perfect plan was starting to unravel. It took a Bishop telling me "I knew. I knew when i set you apart to be President that something would come to intercept you. But you needed to prepare to be President. Do you want me to tell you what to do?" "YES!" I exclaimed. I knew what he would say... "Go and pray about things. You will know what to do." But he didn't say that. He said, "Go home. Marry him. He sounds wonderful." And that was it. I needed permission from someone on the outside. Someone to say, "It's okay to be that flaky girl." So I drove 2,219 miles home. We dated. We got Engaged. We got married. We stayed for a bit in good ol' NC, and then I headed back to school. This time, with you.
Our first place was just as every couple's first place SHOULD be. Old, dusty, a light that hung from a chain. A stove that forced you to open the door even in negative temperatures so you didn't get sick from the smell. I made dinners. We went on little outdoor trips. We went on dates to school things like plays and guitar competitions. But mostly, we just stayed in. We didn't want to be entertained. We didn't want to make new friends. We just wanted to hang out.
Together.
We had it all planned out. It wasn't really all that difficult - this little life we had made. Until...

UNTIL...

THIS happened. Quite by accident. Quite unexpectedly. We were married 5 months. That's it. Just 5 little months. We were most assuredly NOT trying. We were most assuredly NOT ready. But he was. He changed our plans. Our life. Our outlook. You were in haze of shock those days. You were good with him - tender, attentive, concerned, loving, but you also flew him around the room like an airplane and slid him down the couch like he was on a slide, until I told you newborns didn't so much appreciate that kind of thing. We stayed for a awhile. In the cold. We stopped back in NC and then moved to somewhere tropical. Where we saw more than one small alligator hit by a car laying in the road. Our plans had changed and we tried to adjust. Your professors loved you. Offered you a job. But we wanted something different. Out west. "Train in your profession HERE", they said. So when classes wrapped up, and you had passed your national certification, we moved. This time to Washington. More school. More certifications. More living with other family. By this point we had spent most of our marriage living with other people. Good people, but it was still hard. Finally you were hired to "give the breath of live" I believe you called it? We moved to Spokane. Not an especially beautiful city, but we loved it. It will forever be one of the best summers of my life. We had our own little place. There were a million parks and rivers and lakes and hikes and playgrounds to choose from. I went where I wanted to go when I wanted with my little sidekick. Ian and I swam and played and explored. you applied for firefighting jobs all over. But the economy was bad. A single job opening would yield one thousand applicants or more. Literally! So you branched out...and then.......

THEN an opportunity. A real job! Not what you were trained in necessarily, but law enforcement was kind of similar... We didn't know where the town was - (most people don't know where the town is!) We scouted it out. We checked out the one grocery store in town. It closed at 7pm. A library no bigger than our apartment in Spokane. Wild-life...well, EVERYWHERE. It was an adventure. A foot in the door. So we went. You moved in and set us up while I visited NC with the boy. I was nervous. As I was flying to you, exhausted and drained and nervous and waiting... waiting... for my flight that had been delayed, you told me something you shouldn't have. The first of many times you would tell me something you shouldn't have. A cougar attacked a deer IN our yard. Not near our yard. IN our yard. And what's more, with you and your parents (who were helping you move in) sitting outside. NOT GOOD. Then you told me that the next day you had found a fawn carcass in a tree IN our yard. It was old, not from the attack the night before... OH. Good. So, I cried. In the airport. In front of strangers. Ian played on the floor and I sat there on the phone and cried. Hard. I am not a country girl. I don't like cougars. Deer aren't even that magical to me. I flew into Boise and we drove the windy, long drive through the canyon, past the rushing river to our new home. I called Fish and Game. They told me to keep my 3 yr old close to me at all times. "Don't be out at dusk or down. Cougars don't normally attack in front of people....". "DUH, Fish and Game! That's why I called!!" So I cowered in our home. I trembled (literally trembled) when I took out the trash. Made lots of noise to scare anything away before I would even walk from the car to the front door. (I admit, that makes me giggle now). Our first week there, a bear got into our trash. Twice. Punctured the lid with it's nails or teeth or something, even though you had tied the lid down to show that bear who was boss. Our neighbors excitedly told us a tiny bear cub was hanging out by our garage. You were in heaven. I was in... not heaven. But we stayed. The fires that had ushered the animals down into the valleys eventually let up and from then on, we saw cuter things. Foxes (my favorite)! Cows, (again, IN our yard). Bunnies. Horses. Elk. Raccoons. Baby skunks. We loved the beauty. We made friends that we were supposed to make. That are now a part of us. They became family in a place where we had none. In a place where you were forced to meet your neighbor. To help each other. To work together to survive a winter! We stayed almost 3 years. It was hard. Sometimes fun. Heartbreaking. But that is where we really became a family. Our little boy went from a toddler to a kid. We had another baby. Not the girl the ultrasound promised and we prepared for with a pink and brown nursery and car seat and beautiful/trendy wardrobe, but a boy. A shocking surprise during a routine c-section. Our life together has indeed been full of surprises. Two boys. Living in the place little boys are made of. Dirt roads. 4wheelers. Men who get together and talk about their trucks and hunting. Dogs with no leashes. Mud. Snow. Rivers. Stray kitties...sighhhh....!

But then, it was time to go. you got into every University in Idaho. We decided on Boise. And then, out of the clear blue sky, an opportunity for a new place. Better hospitals/dr's for our baby. An amazing school for our little Kindergartner. A city for me. A CITY. Your old stomping grounds. School somewhere else. Near some family. So we moved. And even though there were trials, lots of trials... and even though it was not easy to live there at times,

it was hard to say "goodbye". Harder than we imagined.

THEN, we came here. Counting every little apartment change and move early on, this made move #11. We will try to move again before the New Year. Out of this apartment. Move 12 in 7 years. 12.

12 moves. 5 states. 2 kids.

Remember when we first started dating? Remember how EVERYone was shocked?! LoL~ We grew up 8 minutes apart. Went to different schools, but similar schools nonetheless. And yet, and yet... we could not have been more different. "City Mouse and Country Mouse" my mom used to say. I once watched you kill a copperhead in my parent's yard. I filled you in on all the old-school SNL and Belushi references you didn't get when watching "the Office", etc.. (I do have a comedy background after all). You taught me what makes a QUALITY hunting knife and to appreciate "Man vs. Wild" for more than just his accent and 6pack - (who said that?!) I taught you the cast of "Wicked" and each of their personal bios. The words to almost every song in "Rent" (which I won't tell everyone I used to find playing on the cd player in the car when you had been the last one in it). You taught me the difference between black bear and grizzly, between "real" camping and "fake" camping (I think we know which I prefer), how to stand back and look at the "bigger picture", and that hating people who hate others is.... well, kind of the same thing (still trying to embrace that lesson though).

So here we are at 7 years. Which has always scared me a little.

"The 7 year itch", "7 year curse", "Unlucky #" you guessed it "7".

Despite our differences, despite our change of plans, despite the hardships and unexpected twists and turns, there is one thing we have always had in common. Before the kids. Before marriage. Before worrying about money and health and the future and having the answers. Before ANY of it.

YOU - MADE - ME - LAUGH.

And let's face it, I have always been able to make you laugh too. Even when things are bad. When there is loss or sickness, we can find SOMEthing to laugh about. Sometimes inappropriately. I hope we will always laugh together. The other day I listened to a bunch of messages I had saved on my phone. There was one of someone "baaa-ing". Nothing else. Just a long "BAAAAAAAAA". It made me laugh. Out loud. I got it.. A few years ago for our anniversary you wrote me a poem a la Michael Scott - entitled, "I Know the Crap Out of Women".

It was awesome.

Even when I went to kill you. Even when you want to lock me in a closet and throw away the key. Even when we are sitting in a hospital facing something potentially life-changing and scary. Even when the boys are being unbelievably naughty. Even when the "light" at the end of the tunnel seems more like a teeny, tiny flicker... We laugh.

Together.

This past week we went on a date. Our first REAL date in years.

We had a BLAST!

We had FUN!

We had... to go home at 8:30pm because our toddler was throwing up everywhere.

And yet, we shook our heads at our unbelievable misfortune, and laughed.

I love you. You make me crazy sometimes. But you also take care of me when I need it. You talk to me and listen to me. You take care of dinner when I have epically failed. You put the boys to bed (sometimes with bedtime stories I do not approve of, but whatever..)

You laugh at my awesome jokes. You feign enthusiasm for the things I care about that you do not. You help me talk things out when all I want to do is REACT.

And best of all, you make me laugh.

So, HAppy 7th Anniversary.

You make me giggle, AcS.

Almost every single day for the past 7 years we have laughed together at SOMEthing.

*Remember a few weeks ago around Halloween when everyone was dressed up a the bank and you complimented that man on his very authentic looking costume, only for him to assure you (in a most insulted manner) that he was in fact a REAL doctor? - Giggles.

*Remember when you texted me a few days ago and told me you were singing your heart out to yourself in the car and there was NOTHING you couldn't sing? - Chuckles.

*Remember your Karate Moves? - Belly Laughs.

*Your Robot? - Embarrassed Laughs

*Remember years ago when I scared you while you were taking a shower? I yelled "BOO!" You were washing your hair and you jumped SO HIGH and your arms came crashing down so hard that you took down the whole shower curtain - rod and all? - Pure. Comic. Awesomeness.

Even when you don't mean to, you make me laugh.

Happy Anniversary, Stapf
XOXO and oh yeah... XO

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

- you - me - and gwyn. p. -

just caught up on the last two episodes of GLEE. no tv. so i always have to wait until at least the next day to watch my favs on hulu.

just for the record - nay, for posterity - my current favorite show... the show that brings more LOUD-hope-i-didn't-wake-the-boys LAUGH OUT LOUDs than ANY other show that i hold close to my heart?...
MODERN FAMILY (and i've never even seen the first season).
i love "the office", "30 rock", "grey's..", "real housewives of (insert city here)" - i am only human after all. but week after week "modern family" delivers. those kids slay me. especially the boys.

but i come to you today with a quick thought about a one: gwyneth p. - i am not a gwyneth p. HATER as so many are. nor am i completely enamored of her. i actually like her more than dislike her. i think she has strong moments and there is something sort of interesting about watching her - especially in the dramatics. i like her take on "i'm scared". but the interest turns into an almost... cringe, when i see her doing comedy. and here is why...
I! DON'T! BUY IT!
maybe that's part of the appeal or irony or something. she sort of has this snotty, perfectionist, buttoned up public image that may or may not be true, but something about her doing comedy - straight comedy (i'm not talking moments here and there) - but a complete commitment to a comedic script - BUGS ME.
for anyone who watched, the whole mary todd lincoln thing actually made me blurt a laugh out. i didn't mean to, it just happened. although i attribute that mostly to the writing - she pulled it off though. well played, g.p.
it's all the other stuff. her being funny and finding the comedic timing (good editing much?...) and being "free" with her body and "in" the moment - i just don't believe it. and it bothers me. because what keeps flashing through my mind is "TRY". she is TRYING too hard. you can actually SEE her acting. please, give me an emma stone. a kristen chenowith. a lily tomlin. or you know what?? - to even it out since those are first and foremost comedic actresses, give me a juliette lewis. a zooey deschanel. a diane keaton!! SOMEone who pulls off doing both.
and so, i needed someone to know how i felt. i haven't read any reviews of her "glee" stint so i don't know what all has been said in the past week. and i don't know when gwyneth's new movie comes out. she will probably be amazing and win an oscar and i will look like a fool for calling her out on anything. but then again...when she wins "best actress" in a comedy...or even "best supporting actress" - call me.
i will eat my words.

ps great blog universe... am i alone in these feelings?
pps (friends who feel the same better leave a "comment" or we are done. DONE i say. you know who you are.) if you don't feel the same way i suppose you can leave a comment also..

Another FAV!!

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