He’s totally That Guy

By Mir
December 4, 2012

Hey. Hey! It’s Otto’s birthday today. I made his morning extra special by forgetting to make coffee before I had to run off to physical therapy, and telling him that I would see him tonight. Rawr!

I will totally make it up to him later by… making coffee. (What did you think I was going to say? Oh, you.) Also, I’ll be taking him out to dinner. And maybe I will reprise last night’s hijinks where I totally sidled up to him and said in a husky voice, “I’m gonna go slip into something more comfortable,” and then I went and put on a t-shirt and my fleece pajama pants.

Anyway, this is the part where I’m supposed to wax nostalgic on how every year together makes us better and more in love and how I’d never want to walk through life with anyone else and he’s the wind beneath my wings. All of that is true, but in case you haven’t noticed (see: fleece pajama pants sexytime), that’s not exactly my style. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, this year has pretty much sucked hairy donkey balls for our family, so it gets a little complicated to be all grateful and stuff, just now. Nevertheless, I have a few things to say about the man who occasionally wakes me up to discuss snakes.

I’ve never talked a whole lot here about the FIRST time Otto and I dated. It was not long after my divorce and I probably had no business getting involved with anyone, but I’d known Otto half my life and knew what kind of man he is and figured it would all work out just fine. Well, it didn’t—not that first year—and I was completely crushed. But (SPOILER!) we did figure it out eventually, so that’s all fine.

I spent a long time telling myself, after our first disastrous attempt at being a couple, that Otto was Not Ready and Immature and that’s why things went south. (Notice I conveniently leave out the part where I was also Not Ready and also trying to figure out what to be when I grew up and all of the rest of that. We’re not talking about me! We’re talking about him! Shush!) I had a point here. I did, I’m sure of it. Oh! Yes! Okay, the thing was, what I did NOT allow myself to think at that time was that a large portion of my wrecked devastation over things not working out was because it was completely at odds with what I knew (know) to be true about Otto.

And that particular thing is this: Otto is loyal to a fault. TO A FAULT. I know people use that phrase all the time, but in Otto’s case, I mean quite literally to a fault; as in, he is loyal to the bitter end of people taking advantage of him or treating him like crap, sometimes. Otto is the guy who ALWAYS has your back, if he’s on your team. So when he gave up on us—or perhaps, to be fair, agreed with me when I did—a tiny voice deep in my hindbrain assumed that meant I just wasn’t important enough for him to fight for me the way I’d seen him do for so many others. THAT was what really cracked my heart.

Back to the spoiler portion of our program: During our time apart, I learned that I am good enough and smart enough and doggone it, people like me, and of course that was a necessary bit of life development for me as a human being and also for me as someone who might be a worthy partner. And Otto, I assume, learned that he is a complete glutton for punishment and wanted me back. Two years after we split, we got back together, and the rest is history, etc. And NOW, Otto has my back. Always. Because that’s the guy he is.

He’s had my back for many years, now, but as much as I adore hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration when I tell you I would not have made it through this year without him. Everything went wrong this year. We sat in the belly of the whale together for month after month, and he held my hand and loved me through it, loved my children through it. Because that’s the guy he is.

This year had its share of collateral damage beyond the obvious, too. As much as I love Otto’s unfailing capacity for compassion, I had the dubious privilege of watching him be mistreated on multiple occasions by those who are supposed to have his back in return. I watched him take it. I bit my tongue. I watched it continue. I tried to walk that fine line between encouraging him to protect his own needs and possibly discouraging his generous spirit. I tried to figure out how to shield him while desperately trying to understand and learn from his seemingly boundless ability to forgive. In the wake of a year of losses and challenges, Otto continued to love even those who’ve forsaken him, because that’s the guy he is.

It’s probably easy to give Otto short shrift if you’re not paying attention; he doesn’t ask for a lot. And he puts up with a lot. I know I’ve caught myself more than once, this year, realizing that I am simply not living up to what he deserves, because I’m so mired in everything else. And then I apologize and he says, “Don’t apologize, there’s other stuff that’s needed you more. I’m fine.” Because that’s the guy he is.

So what does all of that mean? He’s not the wind beneath my wings. He’s the mortar between my bricks (and now please insert the Minecraft joke of your choice for Monkey’s enjoyment) (alternatively, tack on “that’s what she said” if you’re ready for this metaphor to run completely off the rails). He’s all that, a bag of chips, and THREE COOKIES. He’s That Guy, in the best possible way.

I hate this whole year so much. But I do not hate the constant reminder that terrible times do not have to turn us into terrible people. I hope I regularly provide half the joy to Otto that he provides to me. And today, on his birthday, I’ll even bump that up to three-quarters. Because I’m a giver like that.

Love you, darlin’. Thanks for being born. Thanks for being here. Thanks for always being you.


  1. LizD

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

  2. Cheryl

    Okay – you did it. I am crying now.
    But….I think I married Otto’s somewhat older brother 30 years ago. I hope that I show him how much I love him and appreciate him every day, because he really deserves it. And boy, does that man have my back too.
    Now…..back to our regularly scheduled program of Christmas cookie baking – hubby’s favorite kind, of course.
    Happy Birthday, Otto!

  3. Zuska

    Awwwwww!!!! Happy Birthday, Otto!!!

  4. Chuck

    Go Otto! Happy birthday! And Mir, I bet you were totally smokin’ in those fleece pajama pants.

  5. Jen H.

    You are a lucky lucky woman. And Otto is a lucky lucky man. Mazel Tov!

  6. Brooke

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  7. Holly Gault

    Here’s looking (with arms folded across chest and a flinty glare) towards AN ENTIRELY BETTER, GOODER NEW YEAR, for the love of Pete (whomever your particular Pete is) for all of you in the Otto/Mir/Chickie/Monkey family and so many of us who also had a sucky 2012.

  8. heidi

    Happy Birthday Otto! May it be all you deserve and more!

  9. jp

    Happy Birthday Otto!! Maybe he can develop a flannel fetish…..just saying, LOL!

  10. My Kids Mom

    Awesome! The more intense of us are so happy when we find partners who are cool, calm and collected. I am also one of the fortunate.

  11. Jean

    Happy Birthday Otto!!! You are fab :)

    Wait, sexy time is not supposed to be flannel pants and a t-shirt?

  12. Melissa

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

  13. deva

    Happy Birthday Otto!

    Whenever my fiance makes a “that’s what she said” remark to something I have said, I respond “yes, she did, because I am a She and I Said That.” which gets a giggle from eavesdroppers when we are out.

  14. kapgaf

    Joyeux anniversaire, Otto!

    He is obviously Magnum Bonum and surely Sans Pareil.
    Today he is in the Limelight and I hope that you will snuggle up with him by the Fireside

    Sorry, couldn’t resist getting back into apple mode (remember? http://www.orangepippin.com) for Otto on this auspicious occasion (he’s so obviously your D’Arcy spice…)

  15. Rachel

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  16. stephanie

    yep! crying at work. thanks mir! and thanks otto! for being That Guy. :)

  17. Beth A.

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  18. Beth B.

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

  19. StephLove

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

  20. dad

    Here here.
    Or is it: Hear hear?
    Or perhaps even: Hear here.

    In any event, he is one great guy.
    Otto, you da man.
    Happy Birthday.

  21. Redneck Mommy

    Happy happy birthday Otto. May you have the best year yet. And may Mir not break anything on any edible food item, ever again.

  22. Little Bird

    Happy Birthday Otto! Don’t let Mir near the produce unsupervised!

  23. abbeyviolet

    Happy Birthday Otto! Thanks for being awesome!

  24. becky

    Happy birthday, Otto.

    I think I married an Otto, too. Very grateful.

  25. Lindsey P

    Happy Birthday to the wonderful and brilliant Otto!

  26. Liza


    Happy Birthday, Otto. Thanks for taking such good care of our friend Mir and Chickadee and Monkey.

  27. joaaanna

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  28. Jenn

    Happy Birthday Otto! Here’s hoping this year brings you joy and happiness and that it doesn’t suck hairy donkey balls. . .

  29. Alison C

    Happy Birthday Otto

  30. Erin

    Ugh, you have me ugly crying. I am also married to an Otto (well, i call him Jason) and we have had a rough run of it. My mom died when I was six months pregnant and now a year and a half later I am still not the fun loving wife I used to be. I cry almost daily and struggle with depression. Yet here is this man who asks for nothing for himself and is always there for me or anyone else who needs him. Ugh, can’t see screen through tears. Adding to to do list “Be better to Jason because he is the best and deserves it”

  31. Melinda

    YAY for Otto! Happy Birthday to your awesome husband. I’m so, so glad you had each other during this crazy year.

  32. Chris

    That was so sweet!
    A very Happy, Happy, Birthday to Otto!!! :)

  33. karen

    Happy Birthday Otto!!! I’ve been coveting Mir’s husband for years now, but it’s OK, because I tell her that often :-)

    Have a great night together –

  34. sassymonkey

    Happy birthday Otto!

  35. Kate

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

  36. Sheila

    Happy Birthday to Otto- I think I can safely speak for the WCS community when I say that you are our collective hero, and we’re so glad you are That Guy for Mir.

  37. Lisa

    Happy Birthday Otto!!!!!! I agree with Sheila, you are our collective HERO!! And we are so glad you are “That Guy” for Mir!!!

    Here’s to a happy, healthy and dare I say it peaceful year to you and your family!!!

  38. Erin

    Happiest of happy birthdays to a prince among men! Otto is truly magnificent, and I am so grateful to have one of my very own (though I call him Andrew). I don’t believe people need to have a mate in order to be happy and fulfilled, but DAMN if I’m not awfully glad I’ve got mine.

  39. Jenna

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  40. Katherine

    Happy, happy birthday to Otto! May this be the start of a super fantastic year!

  41. CuriousCat

    Have the happiest of birthdays, Otto!

    You are a man with few equals. You are shown to the world time and time again (mostly through your wife’s incredible talent for words) to be a lovely, warm, loving and strong man, with a kind heart and a generous spirit.

    I will now place you upon the pedestal you deserve (don’t worry; it’s like 3 ft tall, so if you slip, just hop back up and none’s the wiser) as an example to mankind everywhere.

    Yes, I do have a crush (it’s virtual, alas!) on Otto. And I don’t even know what he looks like! But I suspect he looks a LOT like Gerard Butler. AND speaks with a Scottish accent! (yes, he does! shut up!)

    Ahem. Anyway………Happy Birthday, Otto! May this be the beginning of a wonderful year for you and your family!

    p.s. to Mir: i bet you totally teared up when you wrote: “I would not have made it through this year without him”.

  42. Arnebya

    Happy birthday, Otto. Thank you for loving Mir. And Mir, thank you for putting Stuart Smalley’s daily affirmation into my head. No, really. Thanks.

  43. Mom2Trplts

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

  44. addy

    Happy Birthday Otto! Thanks you for helping the family through the great year of total suckage :)

  45. Jen

    Happy birthday Otto! May your next year be full of whatever the opposite of hairy donkey balls is.

  46. Genevieve

    Happy birthday to Otto!!! That Guy, The Man, and all that.

  47. Aimee

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OTTO! I am so glad that you are the mortar between Mir’s bricks. The one thing I will say for the tough times is that you do see who people really are. I’m glad Otto’s an Otto. :)

  48. RuthWells

    We love Otto. Happy birthday!

  49. Elizabeth

    Happy Birthday to Otto! Very grateful that you have him in your life. And Deeply, deeply grateful for my own Otto-type.

  50. Karen R

    Awwww. Happy birthday, Otto!

  51. mamaspeak

    Happy B-day Otto! (Dec 4 is a great day to be born; it’s my dad’s & BIL’s b-day as well. And mine’s tomorrow, if I was having one, but I’m not, bc I’m getting so old that I’m starting to lose count.)
    Hope you’re having a very happy day, and it’s the start to a much saner & safer new year for you all. ;-)

  52. Carrie On

    You guys are totally doing crossword puzzles tonight, aren’t you?

  53. Heather

    Happy birthday Otto!

  54. Heather

    PS I had someone write on my birthday card this year that they hoped 29 was 29 times better than 28. So shall we say we hope 2013 is 2013 times better than 2012? :D That’s a whole lot of exponentiality! (Spellcheck says that’s not a word, but I want it to be. So there.)

  55. Jamie

    Happy Birthday to Otto!!!

    I second Heather’s comment for 2013 to be 2013 times better than 2012!

  56. Jeanie

    Happy birthday, Dear Otto. Mir and the kids (and Licorice!) are so lucky to have you!

  57. ccr in MA

    Hope it was a great day and leads to a much better year. Happy birthday, Otto!

  58. Brenda

    For Otto’s a jolly good fellow,
    For Otto’s a jolly good fellow,
    For Otto’s a jolly good fe-heh-looooooooow,
    Which nobody can deny!

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

  59. Loth

    Happy Birthday Otto! You are the redstone to Mir’s……… cobblestone? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t pay that much attention when my offspring play Minecraft. Sorry Monkey!

  60. Leslie

    Happy Bitrhday, Otto!

  61. Pam

    Happy Birthday Otto!!!! You are an exceptional man and God bless you!!!!!

  62. Wendy

    Happy Birthday to a great guy. Happy Birthday Otto!!!

  63. amy

    Happy Birthday to Otto!

  64. Michelle

    Happy Birthday and much admiration from a loyal reader but infrequent commenter.

    P.S. May all your candle wishes come true. . .

  65. The Other Dawn

    Happy Birthday, Otto! May the next year be a far easier one. You deserve it.

  66. mandy

    Your stories about Otto, your dad, and Monkey give me hope that nice guys really do exist. Happy Birthday, Otto. You rock.

  67. Kristi S

    Happy birthday Otto! Hope you had a great day!

  68. Meri

    Happy birthday, Otto!

    My boyfriend is like glue, too. :) we are lucky women.

  69. elz

    Yay, Otto. He’s a great man & I’m glad he was born so he could be here for you.

  70. Katherine

    Thanks for the link back about snakes. My son and I just laughed ourselves silly with some of those stories!

    I hope Otto had a wonderful day for his birthday yesterday (and that he totally digs fleece pjs)!

  71. Beth in IA

    Happy belated, Otto! Hope it was swell and you enjoyed Mir’s *ahem* coffee. :-p

  72. Nina

    What a wonderful birthday post!! Happy Birthday, belated, to your Otto!

    I have an ‘Otto’ myself. His name is Tim. We grew up together and reconnected about 22 years later. He is the best! And I’ve found you can get thru anything with him by your side . . .just like you and Otto!

    Here’s hoping, wishing, and stating WITH EMPHASIS that this next year is better for all of you!!

    BTW: been lurking here for a while – since I stumbled across a certain post involve lady parts and wax . . . laughed myself silly for a good hour on that one! ;-)

    And, while I don’t sleep walk, I have added to the family laughter by rudely awakening my Tim because of my dreams.

    Yes, I dream that lights and shelves are about to crash down on us. DAMMIT we gotta MOVE!! Where?? Have NO idea – just MOVE!! . . . .and then I went back to sleep.

    Or there’s the time where I was absolutely 100% positively convinced an enormous 6-point buck mule deer (we’re from Wyoming) had taken up residence in the corner of our bedroom and decided to take a nap! He’s right THERE!! See him??!! You don’t?? Your NOT LOOKING!! *which was funny because Tim can spot deer, elk, rocky mountain sheep like nobodies business* Yeah – 15 minutes of me providing pure entertainment at 2am. I’m good that way. ;-)

  73. Jill W.

    Happy birthday, Otto!

  74. Andrea

    I suspect had you *really* needed it during your time apart, Otto would have still been the guy that had your back. He obviously was not so bitter you could not get back together.

    Otto, have a very happy birthday. I suspect Mir totally has your back, too.

  75. Andrea

    Happy late birthday Otto!
    You guys are so lucky to have each other, and to be so wonderful for each other.
    I think you can apply to yourselves my husband’s favorite saying to me, spoken with a thick southern accent:
    You and me, Forrest, we make a good partnership.
    And then I finish with: So we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud.
    :) Hope your day was wonderful, with many more to come.

  76. Em

    Happy Birthday to Otto and many many more!

  77. Lily

    Happy Birthday, Otto! Wish there were more guys like you around!

  78. TC

    Yes, indeed. Happy birthday to Otto, and may the force be with him. (It’s the only geeky thing I know to say. I’ve never even seen Minecraft.)

  79. Varda (SquashedMom)

    Happy Birthday Otto. I am so happy for you, Mir that you have an Otto, and you are so right to cherish him. (I do not have an Otto. My husband kinda sucks on most days & is a pretty terrible father, not a real partner, so I truly know hoe lucky you are.)

  80. Rocky Mountain Woman

    Happy birthday Otto!

    Next year WILL be better, I, for one, can’t wait to gwt rid of this one….

  81. Tenessa

    Well, I’m late, but I hope your birthday was great, Otto!

  82. JennyA

    Happy Birthday, Otto!! One day, I hope to find my own Otto. :)

  83. Sharon

    Belated Happy Birthday, Otto! And Mir…you are totally that gal. Yes, you are lucky to have him, and he’s just as lucky to have you.

  84. Chris

    Happy Belated birthday!!! Hope it was a good one.

  85. Kristi

    Sweet, the both of you! Happy belated, Otto!

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