Perhaps being married to our county’s Emergency Manager has skewed my perception of things, but I honestly feel like I’m living one of the “lifestyles of the rich and famous.”
It’s not that his salary is fabulous—far from it. If it weren’t for Mike’s military pension, we’d both have to find better jobs. But the fact that I do not actually have to work right now has allowed me to explore my own selfish interests, and what more could a girl want?
“But what do you mean by ‘skewed’ perception?” you ask.
Well, it struck me as comical the other day that I was excited to be cooking my oatmeal on our wood-burning stove in the living room while hanging wet clothes, also in the living room, on the most excellent new drying rack I recently purchased. And that’s where being married to the Emergency Manager comes into play.
You see, even before we married 30 years ago, I knew my husband was a special kind of guy. I joined the Judo team at West Point our senior year so I could get to know him better and it was there I learned that my mate-to-be never did anything half-assed. I fell for him, hard, over and over again, and before the end of our last semester I had a yellow belt, a kajillion multi-colored bruises, and a sparkling engagement ring.
The first seven years of our marriage were wild and childless. We were both in the Army and loved our jobs. Mike’s constant never-quit attitude brushed off on me big-time, and I grew stronger and more confident in myself through each challenging experience we shared. His self-reliance was inspiring, and I learned to push myself to do things that didn’t come naturally. With my predisposition toward life as a couch potato, I thrilled myself each time I finished an “adventure race” or triathlon.
With the arrival of two strapping sons, I was the luckiest girl in the world. Even though our salary would be halved with my resignation from the Army, Mike encouraged me to transition from “Ma’am” to “Mom” (possibly my next book title), and 23 years of new challenges have passed like whispers in a whirlwind. Our sons learned that life is often not easy, and now they laugh at me (good-heartedly, I think!) when I talk about their dad’s preparations for our upcoming “black-out” weekend, which will have nothing to do with alcohol. They have yet to ask to come home that weekend.
After teaching in the public school system for several years, another challenge I honestly hated and loved, Mike once again encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an author—which brings me back to feeling like I’m living one of those lives. Although I’m neither rich nor famous yet, I still am able to indulge my inner couch potato while writing, and I still am able to thrill myself each time I’ve climbed a mountain or lived through a frigid Leadville night with the thermostat turned down a few more degrees.
Living with a man who practices what he preaches has kept me from the eventual ennui that creeps, perhaps, into many relationships. Sure, I make fun of his parapet of books with titles like “Fear” and “Not a Good Day to Die” and his latest, “X-Events: The Collapse of Everything,” but I sleep well at night knowing that even if I’m not completely ready for the collapse of everything yet, he is.
And so I truly am a “kept woman.” I will continue to embrace each new opportunity to shirk the easy way of doing things because easy bores me, and because I can. We recently adopted a 3-year-old German Shepard from a rescue shelter because it would have been easier not to. Being married to a man who works so that I can air-dry laundry and take a dog on three long walks each day puts me in a category deserving of my own reality T.V. show.
I’m ready, world!