Tuesday, July 23, 2013

top ten Tuesday: why I'm marrying James.

After more than a year of planning, stressing, whining, and craft-making, it’s about to pay off: on Saturday, James and I are getting married. It’s been a long road, and I’ve lost my shit more than once, but James has been the stabilizing force to either a.) calm me down and tell me that everything will turn out, or b.) get me a drink. We’re both pretty sure that if our relationship can survive the wedding planning process (especially with all the things that went wrong, which is a story for another time… after all, we’re not out of the woods yet!), we can survive anything.

James has been a champ to put up with my crazy stressed-out self for the past year, and, let’s face it, the past six years. I have to say, I’m pretty lucky to have someone like James. Just how lucky? Well, I’ll tell you! For this top ten Tuesday – the last blog story before I get married! – I’d like to present the top ten reasons I’m marrying James!

James doesn’t take any of my shit.
There’s a fine line between being cooperative and being whipped. If you recall, I spent about a year in college with a whipped boyfriend which was, on the whole, unrewarding… save for the time I bullied him into calling my dad and asking for my hand in marriage as an April Fools’ Day joke. That was the BEST. Other than that, though, it gets awfully dull when your significant other does your bidding and never seems to hold an opinion. James is as cooperative as I am stubborn, but he is by no means whipped – I could have offered him a million dollars, and he NEVER would’ve called my dad on April Fools’ Day! James is happy to do things for me, but he has his limits. He’s not afraid to tell me to get off my lazy ass and do it myself (except he’s more polite about it), which – let’s face it – is something we all need to hear every now and again.

James is a tried-and-true nice guy.
James is the guy who will pull over and help a stranger change a flat tire, and he’s the one you should call if your car is on the shop and you need a ride. He’ll save kittens from trees, and he’ll walk little old ladies across streets. I wish I had a dollar for every story that began with “I saw this guy on (whatever street) today, and his car was (insert various automotive malady), so I stopped.” James says he does this because he’s had enough cars quit on him over his lifetime, and it was awfully rare for someone to stop and help him. Oh, did I mention that he can fix cars? That’s a definite plus.

James doesn’t mind making fun of himself.
It took a little time for him to get to this point, but James has developed a pretty decent sense of self-deprecating humor. In my family, you have to be able to make fun of yourself (and others) in able to survive. I’ve had to remind James (more than once) that if my family makes fun of you, it means that they like you. If they’re nice to you, then you really have something to worry about. Anyway, James now has no problem laughing at himself like the rest of us do, especially since James gives us such good material. He once asked Dad about the priest’s wife, and James’s junky cars have always been a source of ridicule. It takes a good-natured guy to put up with the likes of us, and James is just that guy.

Gender roles mean nothing to James.
This is where I really scored big. James grew up as one of five boys, so they would spent their mornings outside with their dad, where he would have them chopping wood, building sheds, and mowing lawns. The afternoons were spent inside with their mom, where they cleaned bathrooms, did laundry, and sewed buttons. So James is magnificently well-rounded: he can landscape AND cook you dinner. Yes: James loves to cook. On more than one occasion, he’s said to me, “Get out of my kitchen!” That’s my kind of man! When we created our wedding registry, I turned James loose in the kitchen department and only requested that he ask for a red toaster. He was like a kid in a candy store. It was such a shame that James couldn’t come to the bridal shower because, let’s face it, most of the gifts were for him. He was practically vibrating with excitement when I told him about all of the kitchen gadgets we got. James is totally ok with the fact that I am not a stereotypical woman: not only do I dislike cooking, but I also despise romance novels and only hold babies if someone forces me to. James was even fine with the possibility of me keeping my last name when we get married (though I have since compromised into moving my maiden name to my middle name, but James didn’t mind either way). Gender roles, schmender rolls. James doesn’t care as long as everybody’s happy.

James is one thoughtful guy.
During this wedding planning hell, I definitely lost my cool a couple of times. It seemed that nothing was going the way it should and that we should just scrap the whole thing and elope in Vegas. (Side note: if you’re getting married, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ELOPE!) On the day after my wedding planning freak-outs, James would almost always come home with flowers. During his spring, winter, and summer breaks, he happily put together origami cranes and wedding boutonnieres. (Not only can he cook, but he’s crafty, too!) But don’t think that this thoughtfulness began with the wedding planning. James has always been that way. Even when we were poor and in college, he’d scrape up some money to bring me coffee for an 8 am class, or he’d slip a note in my saxophone locker. Now that I bring my lunch to work, I’ll sometimes find a pick-me-up note in my lunch box, or I’ll find a picture of a kitten waiting in my inbox. And I don’t think a single day has gone by without James paying me some kind of compliment. Like they say, it’s the little things that count.

James’s smile and laugh are irresistible.
Some days, I’ll come home after a particularly taxing day, and I want to just sit around and be grumpy. But still, one cannot be grumpy forever. When I need cheering up, all I have to do is get James to laugh. Wait – shouldn’t James get ME to laugh? Nope. Hearing James laugh will immediately make me happier. James has the happiest laugh of anyone you have ever heard, and the best way to get him to laugh his giddy James laugh is to poke him in the belly (reason number 395 that I’m a bad person – jabbing James in the stomach makes me cheery). Also? It’s IMPOSSIBLE to be cranky when James is there smiling at you. He’s got a fantastic smile: it’s 100% genuine, and it makes his eyes crinkle. I’m pretty sure James is a young Santa Claus.

James puts up with my quirks.
Earlier I mentioned that James doesn’t put up with my shit, which is true. But he does put up with some of my quirks. Let’s face it, we’re all pretty quirky. For example, I am not a fan of making phone calls. It’s weird and dumb, I know, but that’s how it is. When I lived in Minneapolis, I had the WORST internet service. James came to visit me during the summer, and the internet promptly quit altogether. He called them right away, found out why the signal was so bad (the router was blocked by a BUILDING – thanks a lot, internet service!), and managed to get me five months of free internet. Another (less weird and dumb) example: I spend an awful lot of time taking pictures. No matter what we’re doing, I’ve usually got an eye open for a good photo opportunity. Whether we’re on a bike ride or in a car, if I yell, “STOP!”, James will dutifully pull over/turn the car around so I can get my shot. Have I mentioned that he’s patient?

James is willing to try anything once.
James and I love road trips, and we love stopping at little greasy hole-in-the-walls along the way. We love exploring cities, and we love new experiences. James is remarkably easy going and is almost always happy to do what you want to do. Every once in a while, there’s something that he’s really insistent about, but mostly, James is happy to do anything you throw at him. His laid-back-ness (is that a word?) extends into TV shows: I cajoled James into watching Arrested Development (the greatest show of all time ever) with me, even after he had convinced himself that he didn’t like it. Lo and behold, it only took a few episodes for James to begin telling me that there’s always money in the banana stand. From alpine slides to haunted cemetery tours to figuring out how to eat crab legs to climbing hills to see giant dinosaur sculptures, we’ve done a lot of goofy stuff together, and I am very happy to spend the rest of my life doing more.

James does not believe in bad moods.
Everyone gets a little moody now and again, and bad moods are – obviously – no fun for anyone. James has a pretty good tolerance for my bad moods (especially since he can evaporate them by laughing his James laugh), but almost zero tolerance for his own bad moods. He’s a water-off-a-duck kind of guy: for example, I was with him when his little Nissan was backed into and completely totaled. I would’ve cursed a blue streak and since we’re being honest, there probably would’ve been tears. But James’s reaction? A shoulder shrug and a “hey, this means I get a new car!” James has been known to come home after a frustrating day and, after a few well-earned minutes of bitching, take a deep breath and say, “Ok, I’m over it.” And he is. And that’s it. I wish I could do that.

James knows me better than anyone and still wants to marry me.
This reason is the most important of all. James and I have been a couple for nearly six years, and we were friends for two years before that. James has seen me through my highs and lows, my bitch-fests and my bouts of self-indulgent whining. Through all that, he’s stuck by my side – not always an easy feat. James understands my strange brand of humor – he not only understands it, but he even thinks I’m funny! (Sometimes.) I can always count on him for encouragement when it comes to my career, my blog, my photography, and anything else that life can throw at me. After eight years of knowing me and six years of dating me, James STILL wants to spend the rest of his life with me. It takes one hell of a guy to step up to that challenge, and James is up for it!

Of course, there are about a zillion more reasons for me to marry James, but these ten are the most important/most awesome. Because seriously: how hard is it to find a guy who loves cooking, can fix cars, and is willing to help you out with wedding crafts? Answer: super hard. James just may be the holy grail of the male population. So that, dear, friends, is why I’m marrying James on Saturday. I’m geared up for a long and happy life with James, and I know I won’t be disappointed!

1 comment:

  1. Well written Calla! You two are a delightful couple. I am really looking forward to the wedding! See you soon, very soon!