I know that my excitement for these 20 years of being MRS travelling husband might sound a bit over the top, especially considering there are couples out there who are married for 50/60 years and more, but if we add the two years we were already living together and the total 34 years we have been known each other, does a total of 56 years together. Yessss, I am fully aware that the math is wrong here, but I just want to give you the idea of this being a very special wedding anniversary and a frecking huge achievement. 20 years of sharing domestic spaces, bills, kids, dogs and in-laws ( and believe me, none of us was lucky with their in-laws!). And if that was not enough, we also managed to survive the so-called middle age crisis without HIM running away with some random bimbo met during one of his business trips, or Me following my crazy hormones and planning a murder after finding the umpteenth empty mug on top of the dishwasher instead of inside it.
Back to the anniversary celebrations, I had to choose the venue, or to be precise the food and the wine, because it is essential to get your priorities straight in life, right? I looked up some nice restaurants in Dublin where to go for dinner, checked availability, carefully went through the perfect outfit to wear and just when I was all set to book, daughter number one announced she was leaving for her three days school trip on the day of our anniversary. That meant we had to leave daughter number two on her own, on a school night and while reasonably out of reach. There wasn’t gonna be any date night in town.
“We can go out for lunch.” The travelling husband suggested as we both agreed that dragging our kid along on a date night was not an option. Unfortunately not even going out for lunch was an option because that Wednesday we were both due in the office.
“Let’s go out on Thursday instead”, he suggested then and since it was now obvious that I was the only one to look at this anniversary as something magical, I gave up and accepted. After all, a late date was better than no date.
Once sorted the venue and time, here comes the hardest part: the present. The ones of you who have been reading the blog for a while know that the travelling husband can be a quite peculiar character. But if only it was that, he is a peculiar character who has everything. To be safe, when it comes to his presents, I normally go for hunting or tennis equipment but after I spent three days browsing around the internet looking for accessorises he still doesn’t have, I realised that if he still doesn’t have them, there is a reason: they are shitty and useless. Plus I wanted something special to mark the day. Then I remembered that a few times he mentioned how he would have liked a bench to place beside the BBQ. “A proper man bench. A big comfortable traditional solid wood bench.” I think he said looking at my lovely two seats cast iron bench. After a few days of surfing the web looking for a 5/6 foot wooden bench weather resistant and rainproof that wouldn’t require any maintenance or be covered for winter ( and believe me it was not an easy task), I found the perfect one. Unfortunately, the timing of the delivery was not as perfect. At least it was early and not late and we both did a pretty good damn job trying to ignore the massive package sitting for days in the hallway saying BENCH on his front side. It was not exactly a surprise but he loved it.
If you are now wondering about my present, so was I and because I am a curious monkey I sneakily went to see what he got me…..and I really shouldn’t have to!
In fairness, when he told me that he went shopping with daughter number one I should have known nothing good could come out of it. Not to be mean but the last time she went shopping on her own she came back with a second-hand jacket part of an eighties tracksuit set that every time there is a bit of wind it inflates in the back making her look like a pigeon. And yes the jacket is a kind of stripy pigeon colour. Anyway back to my present, I regretted my curiosity but it was too late and I couldn’t unsee what I had just seen. What I could do, instead, was to use the time that I left before the anniversary to practise my acting skills and look pleasantly surprised when opening my fancy jar of orange and whiskey marmalade.
For the first time in many years, the travelling husband had disappointed me with a present and our special day was not going to be that special at all. I suddenly and depressingly went from looking forward to my 20th anniversary to looking forward to being done and over with it. Except depressing is not my thing and I like celebrations!!! Nobody was taking this anniversary away from me, despite my crap present, and I was not going to celebrate on a day that was not my anniversary!
” I don’t want to go into town on Thursday, it’s not the same, I want to celebrate on the day of our actual anniversary even if it means staying at home with a takeaway curry!” I stormed out. ” And I have the right equipment for a perfect date night.” The travelling husband responded with a big proud smile.
Ok, now I was lost, and my mind maliciously wondered about what he meant. Obviously, he referred to my present sooo….Did he want to cover me in marmalade? Or did he want to surprise me by showing up covered in marmalade himself? I pictured the two options in my head and it didn’t look good! We are far too old and curvy to play 9 1/2 weeks.
Eventually, it was the anniversary day. I got up first went down, fed the dogs, made breakfast and blew some love heart shape balloons. Then, when I heard the husband was coming down, I barely dare to look at the kitchen door fearing to see him showing up wearing nothing but a layer of marmalade. I won’t hide my huge relief when he entered the room fully dressed and holding two presents.
The marmalade jar turned out to be just a distraction, he knew I was going to look for my present. My real present was something else and it was a very special present. Curious to know what it was? It was a waterproof music speaker. I know you might wonder what’s so special about it, but you will agree with me that coming from a man who hates music, turns off the radio when he gets in the car and proudly got to his fifties without ever being at a concert, it is indeed something special. The poor man must have gone through a hell of an ordeal to pick that speaker and make his instead music fanatic wife happy.
Unfortunately for him while his gesture filled my heart with love and gratitude, his present filled our house (no room excluded) with the Iron Maiden, so the question now is: will this marriage survive another 20 years? Well, they say happy wife happy life so we might have some really good chance here, but if it won’t, surely we won’t fight over who is gonna keep the music speaker.