Marriage the Continued Saga

A while after I got engaged I was driving across a bridge, I remember exactly where I was (and I have almost written this exact sentence some time ago, I know it), and I remember that it suddenly hit me: I am not at all any happier being engaged than I was not being engaged.

We are almost 3 years married. It’s like a blip on the marriage-time continuum. But even so, it absolutely boggles me that I spent so much time and mental energy chasing this existence. I don’t even mean I was out to get an MRS degree, I don’t mean I was searching searching searching for a husband all of the time. I had long periods of being single and long periods of being not single and short periods of staccato dating. But ultimately I was always searching for that partner whether or not I knew it.

I think even the coolest among us has a small shred of expectation of what being married will be like, and that expectation is probably (not absolutely, but most likely) wrong.

I don’t even remember what I thought it would be, I just remember seeing it with a big sigh of relief. The finish line. I made it. Check it off the list. Once I get there, won’t that be grand?

And it wasn’t not grand. It was great! Yay engagement! Someone wanted me forever and ever! ME! Of all people! And I wanted him back, thank goodness… otherwise, awk-ward.

On Monday our stroller was stolen from our car. Our car was parked in our spot in a secure garage. Our car was parked in our spot in a secure garage and it just so happened to be unlocked.

The car I had before this car, the car I had for almost 10 years didn’t have automatic locks. You had to push down every single little nubbin before closing the doors. It was easy to lock your keys in it. I got good at reminding my friends to lock their doors behind them, I got good at doing a quick scan to see if any of the nubbins were still sticking up. My car was broken into once. Someone bashed in one of the tiny side windows. Even when I had it detailed they missed some of the glass wedged between the floor mat and the door.

Kamel left the car doors unlocked because he was relying on the auto-lock feature. It was a frustrating mistake as I am religious about locking the doors and this has been an annoying small argument Kamel and I have. Did you lock the doors? They auto lock. I don’t care, all you have to do is push the button, just push the button.

And so on.

Kamel felt really bad. He knew he had fucked up. He said he would fix it, replace the stroller, make sure to lock the car doors every time. No matter what.

And that’s great. I mean, it was a mistake and we all make them and we all learn from them (And, as a bonus, I got to say I told you so…. so win for everyone?) but the problem is that when you’re married it’s not like he can really “fix” a mistake that costs us money. It’s not like either of us can really say, “oh, don’t worry, I’ll handle it and it will be like it never happened [insert hypnotism voice here].” It means we won’t be able to make a household purchase we needed to make, it means the constant tug-a-war of marriage where one of our choices ripple effects the other, it means if one of us makes a mistake we’re both paying for it.

This is a very small thing. It is a 3 year thing. It is a blip in the marriage-time continuum. But it’s an example of how marriage doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. It means something way more complicated than can ever be expressed, not even when you ask a person to spend forever with you, not even when you say your vows.

Marriage keeps asking me to be a better person than I was before. To be patient, to be kind, to be selfless. It also pushes me to be strong, to be firm, and challenges me to not lose myself. Marriage has granted me stability and that buddy I was always looking for. But it is also so much work.

Engagement was hard, but it was like an uphill sprint that lead you to a beautiful vista. It sucked and there were tears and massive fatigue. After surviving that, I thought, marriage was a cake walk! Marriage is the marathon. It’s 100 thousand marathons. I think there are probably 100 thousand finish lines and victories. There are also the really wonderful times where I think, “I got this. We got this. We are the greatest people alive!” and then there are the times where it’s, “Who told us to do this?! This was the worst idea ever!”

It’s not that it isn’t awesome. It is awesome. There is an intimacy with sharing your entire life with someone that cannot be correctly expressed. But being attached to someone forever and ever with the million jillion nooks and crannies of what that entails – it melts my brain thinking that so many people are racing towards that. It’s lovely in its beautiful simplicity of happily ever after, the white dress, the cake, the toasts. But it’s when you really truly would like to shove your partner down the stairs, and you don’t, and then you end up maybe loving them even more (though it may take a few days/months/years) for their annoying faults when the magic actually happens. It’s just a marathon of work to get there.

We are officially, legally, changing our names this week. We both had to pay court fees and have it changed by a judge because I waited too long and, for Kamel, that’s just how it works when a man changes his name. I eased into my married name like gradually slipping into a hot tub. It overwhelmed me at first, but then it was kind of thrilling, and then we had Gabe and he officially became the first Dupuis-Perez, and then a year after filling out his name on a million forms it’s finally our turn. In some ways it feels like a renewal of vows. We’re doing this whole legal thing all over again, the part where we say, “Yes. We are family and we are stickin’ to it.” I like it. It’s obnoxiously non-sentimental but it makes me want to dance around in my underpants chanting,”We changed our names, we changed our names, we changed our names.” Marriage, man… what a trip.


Calling Millennials

Yesterday I was reading a NYT Op-Ed that I found via Margaret’s tmblr (where I get the bulk of my interesting factoids, let’s be honest) and I posted about it on facebook. The article is about the different benefits that Gen X-ers have received vs the unfortunate timing of the recession for the emerging millennials. It talks about things I’ve heard before, the struggling job market for those graduating college between 2007-2009 (I graduated from college in December 2006 and then again in the fall of 2009 so yup, that’s me), how the jobs have not rebounded for millennials like they have for Gen X because we now lack...


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The Year I Was 28

This is a yearly tradition started when I was 21. Some of those posts have been lost, but if you would like to catch up, please check out 27, 26, 25, and 24 (with photos missing, unfortunately).    And here we are again. Another year older, another year of wackyness and can-you-believe-it. Another post about all the stuff I (we) managed to cram in. And I’ll say it again and again and again: It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. It’s amazing what can happen from one moment to the next, you just never know. So let’s check out the recap. A year ago today we were on our way to wine country with our 5 WEEK old....


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So a few weeks ago I was sitting in the pedicure chair (as one does, on very lucky “oh please never stop rubbing my feet” days) reading the latest Lena Dunham interview. She is generally very clever and I enjoy how she views her fame and how he chooses to live her life and her art. Although she isn’t one of those famous people who I imagine I could be friends with – I really do like 99.9% of what she says. And this 1 little paragraph jumped out at me as something I have always thought 100x over and never could fully express myself. When speaking about how she cast “Girls” Lena says, I wanted us to be...


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Things: April

The sky in Seattle right now is incredible. I can’t stop taking photos of it. My instagram is like, babies + my pedicures + the roofs of the houses outside my window and the sky above them. It’s a sickness. So if you follow me, I’m sorry. I can’t stop. MORE SKY, MORE CLOUDS. Hashtag: Obnoxious. Hashtag: SoPretty. I’m also obsessing over tea. I spend too much money on it and I drink it all day. There was about 5 days where we were totally sans tea in this house and every single day Kamel heard me whine, “But… I have no tea.” I am anti the caffeine tea. I do enjoy a good earl grey or british...


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Holding Pattern

November until January was a period in time when the world was on fast forward for me. Bambam family trip to Mexico city, bambam no more job for me, bambam organizing several vendors who would be moving us to Seattle, bambam apartment hunting, apartment getting, backing everything up, shipping off our car, boarding a 1-way flight, bambambam Christmas, New Years, moving into our current place. And then … the pause button. It hasn’t totally felt like pause, not the boring kind. We had unpacking to do, figuring out Gabe’s daycare, job applications, new routines to manage, an interview here and there, Gabe’s Birthday,...


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Who the hell is she?


I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.