As of this post, Jonathan and I have been married one year, seven months, eleven days, and about 5 hours. I wish I could say I knew that off the top of my head, but that’d be a total lie. I’m not that dedicated. Sorry hon.
At the time of our wedding, I had been living in my own apartment for about a year and a half. It was awesome; that is, it was awesome if you ignored the obnoxious upstairs neighbors, the occasional flooded carpet in the living room, and the trains that thought it was an excellent idea to blow their horns at two o’clock in the morning…every morning. Really though, it wasn’t so bad. It was 900 square feet of MY OWN PLACE. Large bedroom with a walk in closet, a second bedroom-turned-office, an amply sized kitchen, a cozy (if sometimes damp) living room. What more could a 22-year-old want?
Once Jonathan moved in, it got a little more cramped. I lost half of the closet, had to figure out where to put his 3D Star Wars puzzles, and had double the laundry to do. Let me pause here to say that I hate doing laundry. It’s an irrational hate because honestly, laundry is like the easiest chore to do. You stick it in the machine, go do something else for 45 minutes, move it to another machine, do something else for about an hour, and then put the clothes away. My problem is that I usually do one of three things:
- Let my dirty clothes accumulate until I’m forced to spend an entire Saturday doing the abhorred laundry
- Buy new clothes and ignore the dirty laundry
- Do the laundry but leave it piled in the basket, picking clean clothes out of said pile every day
Laundry issues aside, I was a newlywed filled with domestic vigor. I cooked gourmet meals for my beloved, I cleaned everything in sight, and spent the evenings cuddled up in front of the TV watching Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, or Smallville. The insane cooking and cleaning bit lasted all of about two weeks, then I told him he’s gotta learn to live with my slightly messy side or else I’m gonna go nuts. I’m no Petunia Dursley, thank you very much.
Newlywed life was blissful, for the first two or three months. Then it got a bit more difficult. Jonathan had graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s in Structural Engineering, and had found it very tough to find a job in his career field. Actually, he found it very difficult to find a job at all. We were able to make it work on my salary for a couple months, but it was getting very hard to deal with our finances on such a slim budget. His school loans were a HUGE part of that problem, but things were about to get worse.
One evening I was playing with his hair, when I found a weird lump on the side of his neck. It wasn’t very big, but it was slightly spongy – definitely not a normal thing. He brushed it off, and ignored it for a few weeks. It got bigger. When it was the size of a golf ball, sticking out from behind his left ear, he finally went to the doctor.
After an MRI and a CAT scan, the doctors had no clue what was growing on his noggin. I was a stressed out wreck, whereas he wasn’t all that worried. It didn’t hurt him, so he didn’t really care. I was envisioning the worst, of course. Was it some fast growing tumor? An alien parasite? Did a spider lay eggs in his ear and the young will soon be hatching out of this giant THING on his neck?! Excuse me while I gag a little.
Finally, after a tissue sample, they declared it was “just a fluid buildup” that would go away on its own. (It eventually did, and has not returned.) What didn’t go away was the insane amount of medical bills that had accumulated during this little adventure.
I was not happy. I was the sole breadwinner, and that just wasn’t working out. We couldn’t pay rent, we couldn’t pay all of our bills…what were we going to do?
Then, an answer! Not the type of answer I was expecting, however.
Enter: My father.
My dad is an pretty cool dude. He’s the white version of “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” He’s got about 40 motorcycles down in his shop that he swears he’ll fix up one day, but will probably leave outside covered in tarps for who knows how long. He’s a total hoot – so much so that our friend Doug dressed up as him for Halloween a couple years ago.
My dad, in his spirit of generosity and desire to help his “keed”, offered to let Jonathan and I move into his house. This was a pretty good idea, I thought.
Turned out to be a pretty awesome idea.
My dad’s house is pretty big. For a single dude who’s hardly there, it’s too big. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, an ENORMOUS kitchen, and an incredible view. Only thing is, it’s not finished. He’s a perfectionist, and if he can’t do the work himself to make sure it’s acceptable, he’ll leave it until he has the time to do it. It’s been “under construction” for about 12 years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s done a lot of work to it, both before we moved in and after. It’s mostly carpeted now, and the entire upstairs section is completed. It’s just his bedroom and the downstairs hallway that needs some work. We’re slowly getting there!
I never thought I’d wind up living with a parent, be it Jonathan’s or one of mine, especially in our first years of marriage, but the setup we have really isn’t that bad. As I said before, my dad is rarely here. He’s got a pretty active social life, so if he’s not working (he’s kind of a workaholic) he’s hanging out at the local brewpub watching the baseball or football game, or spending the evening with his current lady friend.
Also – it’s gorgeous up here.
The house also came with another occupant, in the form of a fuzzy kitty.
She was normally an outdoor cat, but who can force such a sweetie to stay outside, especially when it’s snowy?
And so the outdoor cat became a lazy lap cat…
Of course, there are some hazards to living on a really steep hill with a treacherous driveway that gets super slick and icy in the winters. Biggest hazard is the possibility of careening off the side of the road and then rolling down the hill. We very nearly did this last winter, and let me tell you, it is NOT A FUN EXPERIENCE.
It’s kind of hard to tell from this pic, but the rear left tire is completely off the road. You also can’t see the extremely steep drop-off on the other side of the car, which is where I was sitting. It took about an hour and my dad’s backhoe to get the car back on the road. Thankfully, there wasn’t any noticeable damage to the car. I, on the other hand, have since been paranoid of this driveway and when it starts to freeze again, I will be parking at the bottom of the hill and walking up.
Now, as beautiful as the view is, and as nice it has been to hang out with my dad, we want to buy our own house. It will happen soon, I’m sure. Jonathan has a good job now, we’re saving a ton of money (Dad hardly charges us rent), and he’s constantly searching for an engineering job to get his long-term career started. We’re hoping that this time next year we will be celebrating our first Christmas in our own house.
If we’re still here with Dad, that’s OK too. After all, he is a pretty cool roommate.
Oh, and I know what you’re thinking…and really, it’s not that awkward. He’s hardly here, remember? ;)