Two whole years

As if it wasn’t wonderful enough to have Mother’s Day yesterday—complete with Otto’s ceremonial announcement that the pool was officially ready for swimming, subsequent offer of a buck fifty to any child who went off the diving board into the frigid water, Monkey’s broad grin of acceptance, wild leap into the water, and then swim/scramble to the side where his swim trunks all but fell off as he hauled himself out of the pool (and what is better than a flash of your baby’s butt while he laughs hysterically about how his suit must’ve frozen right off? NOTHING)—when I mentioned that the next day was our anniversary, Chickadee corrected me with great indignation.

“No. No it isn’t.”

Yes, I told her, our wedding anniversary. May 11th.

“No, that’s not your anniversary. That’s FAMILY DAY, because it’s the day we all became a family.” Well. Okay, then. It is indeed the day we all became a family. But I’m still going to take a minute to gush about the guy I hold responsible.

I know that HARDLY ANY OF YOU harbor any fondness for Otto, but… oh, hang on. I have to stop laughing, first.

[You know, I think sometimes that if we did a poll, here, to ask why people read and what they like the most, the results would read something like:

1) Mir’s dad’s comments
2) Otto’s comments
3) Stories about Mir being embarrassed while naked at the doctor’s office.
4) Stories about Mir being embarrassed through her own stupidity (while fully clothed).
5) Stories about Mir’s kids being rotten (in which case, your kids are so much better!).
6) Stories about Mir’s kids being generally awesome in spite of her (in which case, your kids will likely be fine, too!).

Does that sound about right? I think it does.]

Anyway. Where was I? Oh! Right! Our anniversary. I’ve now known Otto for coming up on twenty years and we’ve been married for two of ’em. And there’s no one in the world I’d rather fall asleep next to, or be jolted awake by in case of imaginary emergency.

How is it even possible that it’s been two years? And he hasn’t killed me yet? Patience, thy name is Otto.

In honor of 24 months as husband and wife, I give you:

24 Things I Adore About Otto

1) He is unflappable. I have never known a calmer person in my entire life. Me, I’m so flappable, so full of anxiety-laden flaps which are then waterproofed with a slick coating of worry, it’s a wonder I haven’t flown away. He, even in times of stress, remains logical and productive without turning robotic. He loses it very rarely—just enough to assure me that he isn’t a robot—and his anger is quickly spent and soothing calm restored.

2) He can fix anything. Know what I can fix? Dinner. And maybe that button that fell off your shirt, if I can figure out where I put my sewing kit. That’s about it. Otto takes things apart and puts them back together again and then they work. That? Is HOT.

3) He takes fatherhood seriously. I’ve never been a stepparent, so I can’t even begin to understand what it must be like, taking on a couple of half-grown kids. Add in all of the particulars (including a territorial father and a mother—me—who pretty much had the single mom thing down and is, ahem, a bit of a control freak), and he could’ve easily remained detached and perfunctory in his duties. But he’s in the trenches with me, because that’s where he knows he belongs.

4) He loves the kids to pieces. This is different from the previous item because he easily could’ve taken on all of the co-parenting responsibilities without truly developing deep relationships with the kids. I once thought there was no greater tenderness than witnessing a father loving his children. Now I know there is no greater tenderness than witnessing a stepfather choosing to love his sometimes-rotten stepkids and feel they are every inch his family. The man who once told me he didn’t know if he could handle children issued noisy *smack*ful kisses to the giggling masses this morning while declaring, “HAPPY FAMILYVERSARY!”

5) He still insists that a piece of broccoli once almost killed him. Personally, I think it’s a rather lame excuse for refusing most cruciferous vegetables, but his commitment to the tale has grown on me.

6) He always opens doors for me, even when I torment him about it and/or run up ahead to get to the door first. I don’t understand how chivalry isn’t outdated and sexist, but he doesn’t care, because he likes to treat me like a lady. Which is sort of hilarious given just how ladylike I am (hint: not very), but also sort of sweet.

7) He always thinks I’m beautiful. I don’t know why. Or how. But he does, and I believe him.

8) He enjoys doing yard work. When Otto and I dated the first time ’round, he used to come visit me in New England and immediately mow the lawn for me. It was some weird compulsion of his. My friends and I took to referring to him as my lawnboy, and it was after we broke up that I had to take over (and discovered I’m allergic to wasp stings, REALLY allergic). It’s not even that he DOES the yard work, it’s that he seems to ENJOY it. It’s adorable.

9) He is completely entertaining during bad television. He watches Grey’s Anatomy with me, even though he probably wishes I didn’t watch it. And he got me hooked on Deadliest Catch. And we’ve yet to find the problem that watching repeated reruns of CSI: Miami and making fun of David Caruso can’t… well, okay, maybe not SOLVE, but at least VASTLY IMPROVE.

10) He always puts the laundry away. KEY QUALITY IN A SPOUSE, right there.

11) He is an amazing teacher. Not only do his students flourish under his tutelage, he’s willing to sit down and work with the kids and take the time to make them self-sufficient, rather than just doing it for them. Also? He can teach ME things without me wanting to claw his face off, which was a feat never accomplished in my first marriage. Whoever the student, they learn without feeling stupid. That’s a lot more unusual than I think many people realize.

12) He wears a tie to work every day. He doesn’t have to. Hardly anyone else does. It’s a little eccentric, I suppose. But it’s utterly HIM.

13) He always puts exactly the right amount of crushed ice in my water. Don’t underestimate something like this in keeping a marriage strong, people. Too much and it becomes a giant blob that crashes into your face; too little, and the water doesn’t stay cold. It’s an art. He is the master.

14) When he sets the table for dinner, he puts the plates on an angle. I don’t know how or why this started, but now the kids do it, too. Our plates are square, and they end up with a corner pointed directly into the diner’s body. Which is weird. But still makes me laugh.

15) He has great ideas for me on how to get organized, grow my business, and reach my goals. Like a lot of guys, Otto is solution-oriented. Unlike a lot of guys, he actually understands what I do and how I work and how things might get even better and still be workable for me.

16) But he never gets offended if I don’t take his suggestions. Sometimes Otto knows better than me, and sometimes he doesn’t. But he never takes it personally if I don’t utilize one of his ideas. Even if it really IS a better idea than what I’m already doing. He is perhaps the most judgment-free person in my life.

17) He’s my biggest fan. Well, I suppose he has to share the spot with my dad, but Otto GETS what I do and why I do it, and also believes in me even when I’m a gibbering pile of self-doubt. This would be a good place to insert a really sappy rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” frankly, but I’ll spare you.

18) He never protests when I announce we need to buy part of a cow or stop buying anything with high fructose corn syrup or that I’m going to plant a year’s worth of beans. I doubt any of these things matter to him the way they matter to me, but when it matters to me, he’s on board 100%.

19) Sometimes he buys pints of Ben & Jerry’s and hides them from the kids. Well, not recently, because I’m all dairy-free and whatnot for the time being, but Otto has been known to pick up a couple of my favorite flavors and stash them. And then after the kids go to bed he will lean in real close and gaze deep into my eyes and say, “I got you Cherry Garcia. Do you need some?” SWOON.

20) He’s a dedicated friend. Not only is he the best friend I’ve ever had, he’s an amazing friend to a large circle of people in his life. I can and do learn a lot from him about tolerance, forgiveness, and love by watching him with those he calls his friends. I hope to someday be half the companion he is.

21) He receives my frequent criticism with good humor. I am trying to be a kinder and gentler person, but a lifetime of being a bitch requires a bit of time from which to wean oneself down. He doesn’t take it personally. When I’m right he offers a mild “Gorgonzola!” and when I’m wrong he shrugs it off and waits for me to realize I’m being stupid.

22) He frequently grabs my ass when sneaking a kiss as we pass in the hallway or kitchen. Um, sorry, Dad. And Otto’s family. But it makes me giggle. And never fails to cheer me up.

23) He’s tone-deaf but loves music. On a very basic level, that makes no sense to me at all. On another level, it’s so very Otto—he loves what he loves, and there may not be any rhyme or reason to it from the outside looking in, but that doesn’t matter. And in the meantime, he’s brought all kinds of awesome music back into my life. And doesn’t mind when I ask him not to sing.

24) He says, “You love me, but you have no idea why,” in the face of difference of opinion (and usually while laughing at me). I love that he says that—his easy acknowledgment of and comfort with our differences—but he’s wrong. I know exactly why I love him. I love him because I don’t know how not to, and because he makes ME more lovable. He makes me want to be better than I am. And the longer I’m with him, the better I get. The better WE get.

Happy anniversary, my love. I always have. I always will.

Happy Family Day, my goofy little family. I know it hasn’t always been easy, but I still think it’s been well worth the price of admission.

We got the very best one.

53 Responses to “Two whole years”

  1. 1
    MomCat May 11, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Happy Family Day, Familyversary (I like that one!) or Love Monday. That was the sweetest!

  2. 2
    StephLove May 11, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    What a sweet post. Happy Family Day, Mir, Otto, Chickadee & Monkey!

  3. 3
    exile on mom street May 11, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Happy Anniversary/ Family Day!

    I have to take a small boy to the moonbounce place (hold me), but I will be back to read all of the things about Otto that I should be requiring of my husband.

    Have a great, romantical day!

  4. 4
    debra May 11, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Happy Anniversary! This is a beautiful post about all the important reasons we love someone. A lifetime of love and best wishes to you and your family!

  5. 5
    k May 11, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Happy familyversary!

    And even tho he wears a tie to work, he doesn’t make fun of those who can only rub two flip flops together and call it “work appropriate footware.”

    Have a great day!

  6. 6
    Jenni May 11, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    I need to remember Familyversary. Ours is in November.

    And as a step-parent myself…well, Otto is definitely one of the better step-parents to have. I wish I could be more like him.

  7. 7
    Niki May 11, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Well, you can tell Otto for me that I actually knew someone who was killed by a piece of broccoli. She choked on it, had to go to the hospital to have it removed, and it all went south from there. 2 weeks later she died – from broccoli. All that to say – Otto is totally right on this one.

    Happy Familyversary to you all!

  8. 8
    Tammy May 11, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Happy Familversary!!

  9. 9
    Lori N May 11, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Happy Family Day!

  10. 10
    dad May 11, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Happy Family Day to you all.

    Have you ever considered a side business of writing glowing testimonials? Over the past two years you have done several and they are always memorable. People should be willing to pay big bucks to be pumped up that much.

    Yes, you landed a good one.
    No, you don’t need to apologize to me for mentioning the occasional butt grab. I am prone to such weaknesses myself.

  11. 11
    Aimee May 11, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Happy Familyversary! You guys make me smile.

  12. 12
    Andrea May 11, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Happy Familyversary!! I hope that if my hubby ever wrote a list such as this about us, he would include something about crushed ice in his orange juice. I’m glad we are not the only ones who consider our ice to be of such importance! :)

    Happy Day!!!

  13. 13
    kakaty May 11, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    this is so sweet! Happy Anniversary.

    (and Otto? I totally have your back on #5. I too was once almost killed by a piece of broccoli and therefore refuse the stuff now)

  14. 14
    Half Assed Kitchen May 11, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    I want to see Otto’s comment on this one!

  15. 15
    Megan May 11, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Sitting here on the verge of maybe possibly thinking some time in the distant future about kind sorta eventually doing the create-a-new-family thing (hold on, I need to take a minute to calm the palpitations from committing myself so strongly there) it is lovely indeed to read about someone plunging in and doing it with such grace.

    And MirDad? You’re fantastic.

  16. 16
    Randi May 11, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Aww, Happy Familyversary everyone!

  17. 17
    Burgh Baby May 11, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Happy Family Day, y’all! I think that gets you something significantly better than the traditional 2 year anniversary gift, so embrace it.

  18. 18
    Tracy May 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    What a wonderful post! I can’t believe it but he sounds (in many ways)just like my Chuck. We are all so truly blessed. I can’t wait to read Otto’s response.

  19. 19
    Katie in MA May 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Awwww! Happy Familyversary! I will now have Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years playing in my head all day. Salud!

  20. 20
    annette May 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    I, too, have been reflecting on how awesome of a spouse I have been blessed with. I have been reading since before the marriage and I am just so happy that you all are so happy!

  21. 21
    Susan May 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Happy Familyversary!

  22. 22
    hollygee May 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    We are lucky in our guys. Mine,too, is a keeper, a fixer, and unflappable in the face of my idiocies. Although he “doesn’t like being waited on”, he enjoys my cooking for him and particularly likes that I bring up the first cup of coffee to him to wake him up. He takes bugs outside for me. He works all weekend on the tech side of web design and then goes back to construction on the weekdays. He is my hero.
    Otto is a great parent. That is lovely to see. I was extremely lucky in my stepmother (who is 91 now!); unfortunately, my stepbrothers were not as lucky when they got my father. I appreciate that Otto has come into the family with so much grace.
    Happy family, Otto, Mir, Chickie, and Monkey. And live long and prosper, while you’re at it.

  23. 23
    Lylah May 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Happy Family Day!

    You’re right — 3 and 4 are different. It’s hard to be in the trenches, as a stepparent. But loving the kids (and the family you’ve created with them) makes the occasional shrapnel blasts worthwhile…

  24. 24
    Crista May 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Happy Familyversary! I have loved hearing about all the “breakthroughs” that have brought you to this day–to chickie declaring “family day”. They have made me cry every time, and today was no different. Happy Family!

  25. 25
    Melissa May 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Happy Anniversary/Family day! (and Happy Birthday to me too!)
    You picked an awesome day to get married Mir! :)

  26. 26
    Flea May 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Happy Familyversary! You are ALL so blessed. I love this post more than any other, I think. Well, except for the sex party post. I laughed for DAYS over that one.

  27. 27
    Frank May 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    I have been meaning to mention this for a while, but was waiting for the right post to do so…

    When my wife and I first stumbled on you (VIA WantNot, we went back and read the entire thing. It was astounding at the time. Now, looking back, It absolutely floors me:

    – how far you have come since this Magic Carpet Ride of a blog started
    – how unbelievably fortunate you have been
    – how much of that is directly related to your reunion with Otto

    Think about it (rhetorical… I KNOW you have already)… as tough as it was before, and all the angst, and worry, and uncertainty…. now look at where you are. And what it took to get you there. Everyone’s favorite palindrome is a huge part. You both have done good.

    As someone wise once said… ‘Everything now is just gravy’.

    Happy Anniversary to the Mir and Otto show!
    Happy Familyversary to the entire main cast of characters!

  28. 28
    Sheila May 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Between Mother’s Day and Anniversary Day, the funk seems to have lifted. So happy for you.

  29. 29
    ben May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    That’s awesome! I kinda want to marry Otto now.

  30. 30
    Otto May 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Sorry to not get to this sooner, I’ve been beating the children, tossing laundry on the floor and singing loudly and ON KEY to entertain the neighbors.

    Plus, I’m a little embarrassed … and afraid there may be broccoli lurking about …

    -otto

  31. 31
    JennyM May 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Happy Familyversary!!!

    I’m with Otto — broccoli is a rat bastard.

  32. 32
    Heather May 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    You made me all melty again :P
    I hope that I find someone like Otto someday – and that I keep him the first time ;)

  33. 33
    Karen May 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Mir, you are one lucky duck (shiney & pretty, too)

  34. 34
    Headless Mom May 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Happy day to all of you. You’re awesomeness inspires!

  35. 35
    jess May 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    Otto sounds a lot like my hubby, Neal. He balances me like nothing else, the stone that polishes me. (I definitely get the being a bitch for so long issue…luckily, it appears we both have hubbies who can smooth the pricklies more and more over time, eh?)

    The main difference is that my hubby remembers to get NO ICE in my drinks. Figuring out your SO’s ice preferences is KEY to a happy marriage.

    Happy anniversary to Mir and Otto, and happy family day to your whole posse.

    jess

  36. 36
    Nicole May 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    That post was so persuasive in Otto’s favor, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a few email overtures from moms across the country who want the door held for them and have a lot of broken stuff that needs fixing.

  37. 37
    just beaux May 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Sigh… If I wasn’t already married…

    That’s funny, Lo and I celebrate are anniversary this month too. Many best wishes to you both!

  38. 38
    maureen May 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    I have a little crush on you AND Otto! Happy family to all and to all a good night!

  39. 39
    Brigitte May 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    I’m kinda crushing on your whole family – until the next crisis, anyway! ;-)

  40. 40
    Miss Elanor Ouch May 12, 2009 at 5:53 am #

    Your family and Otto is so cute. Can I have them for a day?

  41. 41
    Kelly May 12, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    Awww this was awesome.

  42. 42
    Amy-Go May 12, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    I’m just….so happy that you’re happy. *sniff* Congratulations!

  43. 43
    Greg May 12, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Congrats to you both! and thanks Mir for sharing this blog and allowing the rest of the world to understand that suffering through monogamy together is really not all that bad. The secret really is in the ass-grab.

  44. 44
    Debbi May 12, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Happy Anniversary and Family Day to all of you! You have truly figured out what love is :-)

  45. 45
    KL May 12, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    I think I mirror Jess. Mine knows I prefer no ice, then subsequently started that himself. I love showing your posts off, and this one won’t be an exception.

    Happy Anniversary/Familyversary!

  46. 46
    Stephanie May 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Belated VERY HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AND FAMILYVERSARY! You guys are VERY lucky to all have one another. And, I SWEAR…Otto sounds SO much like Jack it’s EERIE! Which means, I’m pretty lucky, too (we’ll be celebrating 25 years, this August) OMG! :-)

  47. 47
    Lady M May 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    Happy Anniversary! Love that list, especially the perfect amount of ice.

  48. 48
    crazyjane May 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    you’re right. i always scroll through the comments to see if otto or mir’s dad have commented. but i always read the post first.

  49. 49
    Alison May 12, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Happy anniversary. You and Otto are a great couple.

  50. 50
    mama speak May 13, 2009 at 4:39 am #

    Happy Anniversary & Happy Familyversary. Cute.

    Otto,
    Can you please take a moment w/my hubby on the whole “putting the laundry away” thing. He does laundry, he just doesn’t seem to understand there’s a last step he’s missing. Somehow, I’m not explaining it well. (Perhaps it’s the bitchiness that I’m conveying??? You think?) Actually, I’ve tried to explain, but it falls on deaf ears. Since I don’t want to discourage actual housework on any level, I’m living w/it, but since my back surgery (early Jan) I’m going a bit nuts from it. Any pointers from the teacher?
    Oh master, please teach me how to teach…
    Yeah, it’s late & I’m drugged up/sick…
    what made you ask?

  51. 51
    mama speak May 13, 2009 at 4:40 am #

    oh, and the butt grab? WUWT? My husband does that too, only it drives me nuts to have anyone touch my booty!!!

  52. 52
    Beth May 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    I’m very far behind in reading your blog, but Belated Familyversary to you and yours!

    About #14 on the Otto List…I’m guessing that’s a photographer thing. My husband (photographer/graphic designer) would totally do the same thing. Something about square plates lined up parallel to the edge of the table being too symmetrical…and maybe something about the rule of threes and 18% gray, but maybe not. I’m much better at being a supportive wife than at understanding photography. :)

  53. 53
    Amanda May 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Happy day to you and yours….

    And may the ass grab always make you giggle!!!

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