It was not a splashy day of exchanged cards and gifts. I was up at 0500, letting some of the dogs out, and watching the sun come up. I like to see the moments when the corona first peers over the mountaintops (the Manzanos), as if it's checking that the world's ready for the sun to leap out onto the stage.
Barb came out at 0730 or so, looking a bit worn; she'd had a restless night. Something called 'hot flashes', or, as she prefers, 'power surges'. (We can't share a bedroom; for one thing, I don't sleep much, and for another, if I am asleep, it's dangerous to wake me...when startled, I tend to leap toward what caused it.)
So I gave her kind of a side-hug and a kiss - I can't really hug properly any more, because there's too much pain and pressure in the upper abdomen, right side especially. So it's an A-frame side hug...and Barb can pack a lot of love into that.
When she got her breakfast and the dog duties were done, we watched Mel Gibson in The Patriot. It's a haunting tale, and while it has some historical inaccuracies (the British did NOT incinerate women and children locked in churches...the Nazis did that) it still gets to the meaning of patriotism, and of what people find, to their own surprise, what they are willing to sacrifice to win their freedom.
After that, I cleaned the filters for the tank in which Barb's snapping turtle (named "Mr. Turtle") lives. I hate cleaning the filters just enough to make sure that Barb never has to do it, but I do like Mr. Turtle...he's playful. When you feed him, if you hold your fingertip above the water he'll jump up, grab it - not painfully - and hang on. And he watches for me, and has some sense of when feeding time is.
And then Barbara bathed Bella The Miracle Dog. Bella is a ten-pound terrier whom we found struggling in a water-filled ditch, her back broken. With a lot of PT, she has learned to stand, and is learning to walk again, even though her spine was not only fractured but displaced.
But Bella has longish hair, and easily gets dreadlocks...so bathing is required frequently. She's pretty cooperative, for a feisty little terrier who exercises effortless control over 80-pound pitbulls and a 150-pound Rottweiler.
And then Barb went to the gym and ran some errands, and I had a cigar (which helps in the absorption of pain meds) and, with a couple of the dogs, watched part of Die Hard.
Bruce Willis once had HAIR!
Barb brought home a couple of milk shakes from Sonic (mine was root-beer-vanilla, a great taste!), which we drank while watching a bit of the old classic The Best Years Of Our Lives. I say 'a bit of'; because the schedule is run on Canine Stomach Time, and feed me! is an unmistakable message. Can't ignore it, either.
Dinner was a slice of gluten-free pizza, which Barb grilled to real perfection. She does the outdoor grill thing, not me!
And so to this moment. Barb has gone to bed, after saying (pardon the language, but I want to be accurate), "You're a pain in the ass but I love you anyway."
I allowed that, yeah, I am, sometimes, and she said she was only teasing.
But she has had the harder road. She's dealing with this illness (which was caused by a botched surgery in 2002, a couple of months before we were married). She's dealt with PTSD, and feeling like she always had to be hypervigilant when we were out together.
Like the time when we were at church, and our next-door-neighbor tapped me on the shoulder. I spun and would have decked him had Barb not knocked me off balance...good thing, because he's a lieutenant in the local police force.
And the current days...I can no longer work, obviously, and leaving the house is impossible except for absolute necessity. It hurts too much to ride in a car, and when I get home I'm wrecked for the day.
So she's got to do almost everything. And she does it with love and compassion, and without complaint.
And that, dear readers, is why I wanted to invite you to this very special, and very ordinary day. There were no grand romantic gestures, no adventures, no candlelight, no passionate sex (I'm far too ill for that).
Just an ordinary day, with the acknowledgement of its specialness, spent together by two people who happened to fall in love in 2001, marry in 2002, and who still love each other very much.
It's far more than I could have hoped for, or dreamed.
We're linked to Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday, a wonderful gathering place in which you can find untold riches to benefit your marriage.
And no, I'm not exaggerating. The stuff there is really good...if you are willing to use it.