Friday, December 25, 2015

The Lucky One.



It's been a while, I know. 

I've been on vacation for about a week and a half at this point.  From Stavanger, Norway to Heathrow, London to Newark, New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina.  And that was just the flight pattern to get back to the States.  Next up we traveled from Charlotte to Key West, Florida.  From Key West to Pine Island, Florida. 

So.  A loooong ride. 

And it's been an interesting ride.  I've had some bad things happen- I've been called a beached whale (oh you know who you are...); I've sat in a bar with my father and my husband, listening to songs about scrotums (thank you Sloppy Joe's house band); I've put on more holiday weight than I like to admit (thank you fried food, booze, holiday cakes and bacon).  Not to mention the fact my silly-ass little puppy is in a kennel in Norway, probably freezing his wee blond tail feathers off....  But then I've also had some not-so-bad, but still a little wonky moments.  I've had a fruitless crabbing expedition; a couple of arguments; maybe a silent treatment or two; I've had to navigate places and people with whom I'm not utterly familiar.  

And still for all that bad, wonky, what-have-you... I'm lucky.  Like, I'm so lucky.  I'm lucky because the bad has happened alongside this incredible adventure with my family.  The wonky has happened while trying to find crabs in the shallow waters of the Gulf Coast alongside the aforementioned husband, his Mom, my Mom, my Father.  I got to come home to the people I love, with the person I love, to spend time with all loved ones. 

I am the lucky one.  My Christmas is spent with my most loved ones.  


The adventure continues tomorrow.  But for now... 

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In Retrospect...

I was having drinks with friends this weekend when the conversation turned to marriage and relationships- the trends, the success stories, the epic failures.  This conversation then mutated a little but remained nonetheless a somewhat personal storytelling time.

And, relating to the relative marriage rate of early twenty-somethings in the American South, I told my cohort the following tale:

Here's the thing- I didn't have my first "real" boyfriend until I was a senior in college.  I dated here and there; made out a time or two, but never had a proper boyfriend until I was 21 years old.  It was doomed to fail- not because of him, he was (and remains) an intellectually interesting, funny, kind, charming and genuinely lovely man.  No, it was doomed to fail because I was (am?) a cowgirl.  I wore (wear?) my independence like a mantle.  It was doomed to fail because what I wanted as a 21 year old was not what he wanted as a 21 year old- it was not what a lot of 21 year olds wanted.

In fact I had that conversation with my college boyfriend pretty early on...

Him:  So what do you want out of life?  What are your dreams?

Me:  I dunno.  I mean...

Him:  Come on, Kate, everyone has something they want. 

Me:  I guess...(and here's where the cowgirl starts snickering)...  You know, I really only want three things in life.  

Him: ??

Me:  I want a dog, a Jeep, and a house on the sea. 

That's it.  That's what I wanted from my life when I was just a pup on the cusp of graduation and a heartbeat away from being "outside the bubble."  I wanted a dog, a Jeep, and a house on the sea.  And a year after starting college, I bought myself a green Jeep Cherokee: one out of three ain't bad for 21. But ultimately, that's what broke us up.  I didn't want the four-bedroom, four-bath McMansion.  I didn't want the white wedding or the "security" of an engagement out of college.  I wasn't afraid of being alone on my own.  I wanted to adopt a dog.  I wanted to travel around, dog in tow, in a gas-guzzling, break-down prone Jeep.  And I wanted to go home to a small house- a cabin even- that overlooked the sea.  I was comfortable with myself.  And I was brave enough to think I could do it all.

Fast forward a decade, to me at 31, telling all of this to my friends over Guinnesses and glasses of wine.  This time, I laughed a little and said "I still have a Jeep... I mean, it's tagless and in North Carolina, but it counts, right?  And I've got a dog- two out of three ain't bad, either."  I laughed a little harder until one of my companions said-

"Hang on, Kate.  You've got a house on the sea.  I mean, it's an apartment, but it's a home on the sea."

And I'll be damned.  I have a dog.  I have a Jeep (I'm serious, it still counts).  And I have a home on the sea.  I sat back, sort of flabbergasted.  I look across the table at my husband, who winked at me (this is the first time he'd heard this story), and thought... well Hell.  That's what a decade of wandering, wondering, has gotten me... Three out of three.

And that ain't bad at all.

And until next time...
The Dog. 

The Jeep (at it's finest).

Life in the House on the Sea.