Diaries of a Married

Introducing…a new series, here. Notes on being a Married, revelations small and big.

Lessons on laundry and personhood and socializing. Et al.

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renovation diaries: bathroom edition

“Much to my dismay, married life has NOT been all fun and games.”

^That’s my honest answer to the well-wishing people in my life who ask me how married life is going.

Just tryna be honest, you know? Because sharing about struggles honestly is way more helpful — for me and for others — than pretending like everything is gucci.

Not only have we been wedding planning/condo buying/honeymoon planning/overtime working for the past few months, we decided that wasn’t enough adulting and threw in some home renovations into the mix! We made the plans, packed up our things, and went off on our honeymoon for two weeks.

Then we came back to madness at our condo — truly, who knew renovations for that tiny bathroom would explode construction all over the house? — and housesat at JoQuy’s for a well-timed 10ish days. We thought we’d be done and ready to stop living out of suitcases, ready to move back home home after that. But the saga (and the nightly tears) only continued… Seriously, I stress-cried every night for two weeks, and Mark was REALLY confused about what he had signed up for with this whole marriage thing, waffling back and forth in his emotional welfare with my waffling back and forth between “It’s okay, it’s not that bad… This way, we get to renovate to exactly what we want!” and “EVERYTHING IS TURRIBLE AND COVERED IN DUST AND I JUST WANT TO DIE I HATE RENOVATIONS.” #renovationsPTSD

Five total weeks of living out of suitcases, a million politely worded emails back and forth with the contractors, two million crying llama giphys (and one mom who pitied yet laughed at me also), one bathroom door that wouldn’t close for a while cause the toilet was too big, a missing drill bit and dustpan and lockbox, two complaints from the condo assosh objecting to secret Saturday renovations, two weeks’ extra time, and five rounds of mopping and swiffering the floors later…we’re finally done. And it’s now a whole different season from when we began this whole saga. Yesterday, they wrapped everything up and we cleaned well into the evening, forgetting/forgoing dinner and eating gas range s’mores at 11 pm instead.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster because I hadn’t wanted to renovate in the first place; this was Mark’s idea. And because this was “SO UNFAIR TO ME,” my inner raging baby was out in full force, weeping and complaining about all the inconvenience and sorrow of this whole debacle. We’ve learned a lot about the depth of Mark’s patience and the shallowth of my capacity for discomfort.

I think yesterday’s wrap up was good timing, though, because we sort of fell to a place where I saw through the clear waters the bottom of Mark’s patience well and was afraid that I might actually hit rock bottom. And I shivered. And pulled myself together, thinking of the weaving of all the different threads of experiences that life actually is — the beautiful and the coarse.

And I wish the proportion of crying llama giphys and life lessons here were a little more balanced in this post, but it just…is not. But the thing is, despite the half-jokes about how renovations were tearing our young marriage apart, we’re still together and bonded a little stronger for it all. Truly.

Go here for photos and more angst.

life at sarlington ridge: day 10

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The internet.

We haz it.

At last!

And we eat cake (and beer) — perched atop the new furniture crush, the c table — while planning our honeymoon to faraway lands. Basil plant, courtesy of Mama Lee, peeks out from between the bookshelf and the bike. The convector hums quietly on and off, giving us the gift of in-the-background temperature control, and we sit in the glow of yellow bulbs we haven’t bothered to change from the last residents. The piles of things are shrinking; the space to breathe, growing.

One by one little thing, our [where the heart is] is getting settled into.

And I’m not taking any little thing for granted.

“Thank you for this wonderful wedding weekend.”

We have: one tiny bathroom with a counter full of two people’s bathroom things, one tiny fridge with two people’s worth kimchi and 4/5ths of a chocolate mousse cake, one address at which we’ve been living one married life for approximately 2.5 days.

Mark makes the bed and runs loads of laundry, to pick up those good hubby points, and I water the plants and go through the piles of paper that crowd the tiny breakfast bar.

Moments from the Wonderful Wedding Weekend that made all of the above little details possible. Overshare warning: This is just a memory dump so I can remember all the little bits. Feel free to skip along through to the pics, if you’re not about the words. 🙂

  • One last sinkful of dishes at JoQuy’s before heading down to Cville.

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  • Friday evening rehearsal, running through it all TWICE in an hour, aw yeah. Being crowded out at 5pm sharp by the next wedding party, which had about 50 (!) people. Asking and finding out about the FULL MASS ceremony that theirs would be, tomorrow, in the time slot at the Chapel right before us. Not freaking.
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YAWL LOOK GOOD
  • Realizing that two bridesmaids and one groomsman would not be making it to the rehearsal. Still not freaking.
  • JT’s gift of a train-flattened, railroad-tracks-rock-throwing penny.

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  • Friday night Kroger run for sundry things like spray bottles for the flower stank and index cards for maid-of-honor speech notes. Reminiscing about “late night Kroger runs” and realizing that it’s only 8:30 pm. Feeling old.
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“This is the one weekend when I will indulge all your photo-taking.”
  • Salon Isabel~ Where we all got our nails did in the comfort of our hotel room.
  • Slow Saturday morning that found me and Rebs at the fitness center of the English Inn — talking about girly things like periods and constipation, as if it were any normal day.

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  • Janelle’s crucial snack run!! She provided us with lunchtime sustenance in the form of Wheat Thins and grapes and craisins. ❤
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snackin’ schoi
  • Getting started early on the photos, thanks to Danielle’s professional 40-minutes-early arrival. Somehow blowing through those 40 minutes and being right on time for the next thing. Wondering about how she would take those hanging-dress pictures, turning around, all of a sudden seeing all those dresses hanging there like it’s no big deal. Wowie.

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  • Running out the door, somehow right on time.
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beep boop
  • First look, first exclamation: “Hey it’s not that bad!!” -Mark, referring to my dress. Nice. 😛

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  • The Vogue/GQ-worthy photos on Grounds, flowers over flowers and “Mouth slightly open but not smiling!! Just like Isabel!”
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bridesmaids! ❤
  • Waiting for our Chapel time, chillin on the Rotunda steps with bubble tea in hand.
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a fine day for bubble tea
  • Getting really really really excited as we all stood and waited and prayed in the anteroom of the Chapel, just behind the piano-playing JT.
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clutch selfie stick
  • Starting right on time cause everyone / everything was ready. What?!
  • Walking down the aisle, arm in arm in arm with mompops. Feeling surreal. Getting there, wishing I could do it again and look at the people’s faces.
  • Shoutout to the blog, once, twice, thrice: Pastor Jeff in his message to us, Markling in his vows, me in mine… Unintended self-advertisement galore.
  • Shivering a lil bit in my shoes up there as we read our vows to each other. Part nerves, part muscle tiredness.
  • Recessional-ing to Better Together together, with our wedding party close behind.
  • Sneaking around the Chapel to get to the reception and realizing that we were on track to beat most of our guests to dinner — even though we had planned so meticulously to get everyone their supper ASAP!! But loitering loitering is a natural human thing — and a sign of a good party — so we just sucked it up and hung around outside The Local while we waited for everyone else to get there.
  • Mark STEPPING ON MY DRESS and finally tearing the hem. “Well… At least we’ve taken all our pictures already!!!!!”
  • The two dads’ welcome speeches, sweet in their own ways.
  • The Local! In all its twinkly lights glory. As the sun set, the warm lights rose and made the conversations sparkle all the more.

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  • Isaac’s best man speech, in which he socially inaccurately referred to Mark trying to “get with Madison.” ROFL.
  • Isabel’s maid of honor speech, in which le blog was given YET another shoutout and in which my sister totally showed me up with her index card eloquence.

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  • So many moments during the reception where I would look up and see pairs and clusters of chatting with other people they didn’t know before. And thinking, “Oh yeah, they would have really good conversations together!”
  • Nominations for: Best Dress, Best Dessert. And compliments like “simple and gorgeous” and “you guys made it look effortless,” which is EXACTLY what we were going for!! Keep ’em coming, yawl.
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photo cred to Minsu C.
  • Realizing, at the end of the evening, that I hadn’t had ANY of the cheese on the plentiful cheese board. And having Jane overhear my offhand wistfulness-for-cheese comment and literally packing up ALL OF THE PIECES. And carting that all the way back up to Nova, stinking up the trunk. ❤ (And making our first batch-cooked meal, mac&cheese, naturally. See Married Life photos, below.)
  • LittleJohn’s and Cookout after party, reveling in post-wedding freedom from dresses and hair and the need to refrain from sugary oily food in order to keep the pimples at bay. FREEDOM.
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our peeps ❤
  • Making our Cville rounds the next morning: Bodo’s and ShenanJoe’s and reveling in the weekend that was wonderful. Feeling all aglow, all belatedly, and making dinner plans to prolong the partying just a little longer.

Aaaaand now some photos of married life thus far:

Better Together

It has happened!

Merk snapped at me — truly and fully — for the first time today.

Yeah, we’ve had our disagreements, our discussions-not-fights, our momentary crankinesses, of course… But this was something different. A line I’d waltzed all over long ago, but one that Mark hadn’t crossed yet.

We were writing up an email response — it was something about the wedding; wedding planning, appropriately, is the greatest test of pre-marriage collaboration — and I tossed Mark some sass, accusing him of not paying attention. “Did you even read this email?”

Apparently that was a trigger question. Because he has been paying attention!! Because he has been putting in a lot of effort, going above and beyond to not leave me floundering in all the planning. And I know that. But I accused anyway, because I am a scraggly human with not enough grace. And he responded, with a snappy word and real contempt in his face. [Description is vague because (…thankfully?) I already don’t remember the content of what he said. Just the feeling around the kernel.]

It didn’t become a full-fledged fight, though. Not because I’m a gracious being, but exactly the opposite. The self-pitying villain in me didn’t have any ammo to go on — everything he had done, I had already done today, ten-, twenty-, thirty-fold. And as always, he’d taken it in stride and with grace.

So the snap was short-lived, we apologized and laughed our way over the bump, and I loved him more than I had before. (For recovery makes the muscle stronger.)

But all of this does get me thinking about something I’ve been mulling over; something that’s been bubbling on the back burner because I haven’t had enough room in the front to bring it up and tend to it:

Wedding planning is indeed hard, and no matter how much I’m trying to be the cool, devil-may-care wedding-planning person, I yam stressed. And this kind of reaction under pressure — and honestly, just plain old tiredness, too — is probably a sign that we’re doing something beyond our normal capacities. Really pushing our comfort-zone limits.

Which is fair. Cause, as a couple, Mark and I are planning an event that’s bigger than any other single thing we’ve ever done in our lives so far. Not only in meaningfulness, but in guest list length and in price tag and in coordinative efforts.

Seeing Mark react like that to me, in this way that he’s never revealed before during these past three years of like and love, made me pause and take stock of what a feat we are undertaking. And how proud I am of us; how grateful I feel to be doing it with him. And how we — neither one of us, as singletons — could be doing it alone. As a together-unit, we’re bigger and stronger and more able to do more, better, things, together. And I didn’t tell him any of this in the moment because I was busy being self-conscious and slow at thinking. So hi, Mark! This is what I was thinking about.

It’s been a very long and very short nine months, a period during which time has stretched and condensed to make itself be felt slow and fast in different spans. I’m anxious to stop carrying around a million little wedding details in my head; but I’m even more excited to be married and start living normal life as a together-unit with you, not just wedding planning, but living and working and running errands and cooking dinner and maybe even throwing parties and feeling like they are no big deal, after all this is under our belt. Lava you.

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Just 8d 18h 18m 18s to go!