[Edit: actually, after writing some things down…it’s got some humor…read at your own discretion; it’s a big’n]
Today is the 10 year anniversary of being married to my wife, Kate.
10 whole years; some people might call that a decade or 3,650 days. Honestly, that doesn’t seem like that long…10 years sounds longer than 3,650 days, doesn’t it? Anyways, here is the story of two people that ran in different circles who ended up gettin’ hitched.
Kate and I were a year apart in high school, which of course means that one of us is older than the other. I won’t tell you which one is older (she wouldn’t appreciate me telling you that). I was a band nerd and between 25% to 75% of a football player (percentage was determined by how much we were winning or losing). Kate was a big-time athlete in basketball and softball, and probably would have excelled in things like Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Kickball, Ker-Plunk, cribbage, water-skiing, Go-Fish, para-sailing, Tic-Tac-Toe, stock car racing, 5000 piece puzzles, and knitting. I played “Celebration”, “Louie, Louie”, and “You Can Call Me Al” on saxophone while she was the star on the basketball court. I knew who she was, she probably had heard of me.
The first encounter that I ever had with her was in the “Senior Hallway” in high school. It was during class, so we were the only two people in the hallway. I remember walking towards her and thinking “Holy balls, that’s the world famous Kate Br*****!” I worked up the courage to say “hi” to her, the closest thing that I ever came to meeting a celebrity to that point in my life. You know what she said back to me?
She looked the other direction! Now, I have had that effect on many different girls in my lifetime, but never when it has just been the two of us! Kate claims she doesn’t remember this incident and says that she was probably “deep in thought over something”.
Yeah, probably “How do I avoid this guy?!”
She probably thought I was on drugs.
I’m serious. Kate has told me numerous times over the years that she knew who I was and thought that I was either on drugs or a drug dealer because I had bleached blonde hair and wore a leather jacket (jeez-stereotype much?). I smoked a cigarette once or twice and tried ‘chew’ a couple times (sorry Mom).
That’s the extent of my drug use. (you’re welcome, Mom)
I got to know Kate through a mutual friend and we started hanging out when I was a junior in high school. We clicked immediately as friends–we’re both super sarcastic and funny (self-proclaimed). Kate and I used to drive around Granite Falls until the wee hours of the morning and just talk. We would burn up an entire tank of gas just driving around Granite! That’s right, I had a girl in my car for 3-4 hours and all we ever did was talk. Sorry ladies-I’m taken. #Stud
We became really close friends and were never bored with each other. One time, we were at my house and started getting bored, so we looked up “things to do when you’re bored” on Google. One of the first things that came up was “the poop list”. Obviously this caught our attention and we started reading through it–laughing our asses off. We would do things like that all the time. (find random things to do, not read ‘the poop list’). One time, she wanted to drive every vehicle on my farm; so I taught her the basics of everything from the riding lawn mower and go-kart, to the bucket tractor. She would drive each vehicle up and down the driveway and hop into the next one. Watching her drive down the driveway with both feet extended about 3″ above the ground while driving the dirt bike in 1st gear was pretty funny.
After Kate went to college (cat’s out of the bag–she’s older than me), we still kept in contact. I would go to St. Paul to watch her play basketball and we would talk on MSN MESSENGER. Seriously-does anyone remember using that? We kept in close contact for several months of my senior year in high school. We eventually explored the idea of actually ‘dating’, ‘going steady’, or ‘courting’. The kids probably call it something stupid that doesn’t even make sense now days…like ‘camping’ or something.
Kate and I started ‘dating’ towards the end of my senior year in high school when I was heading off to Augustana College in Sioux Falls. The exact opposite geographical location from where Kate was at. Great planning on my part. I spent many weekends making a 4 hour drive to watch her play basketball. At the end of my freshman year (her sophomore), we decided to both transfer to Bemidji State University. #BestDecisionEver
Fast forward to 2007 when I decided to propose to Kate. I had been doing an internship with my High School Athletic Director and she was interviewing for jobs while still living in Bemidji. One morning, I drove to my internship and said “I’m going to go propose to Kate today” and he looked around his desk and deadpanned “yeah, that should be fine–doesn’t look like there is anything important going on here”. During the 4 hour drive, I was planning on how to actually propose to her. I decided I was going to sneak into her room while she was at a job interview, wait there until she got home and surprise her. It was a bulletproof plan, right? I got to her house and walked right in. Right past her roommates who didn’t even notice me breaking into their house. There I waited…and waited…and waited. Finally, I heard her come home, it was show time.
Except she didn’t come downstairs…and was showing no signs of heading that direction any time soon.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, “Go check out the present that I got for you in the basement”, I texted her–thinking this was the best idea of all time. Until I could hear both her and Amber, her roommate, coming downstairs.
When they opened the door, Kate and Amber figured out pretty much right away why I was there and the surprise was fairly anti-climactic. Later that day, I remember Kate saying “I had so much stuff that I was going to do today!”.
Sorry for ruining the day, Kate. . . (Little did she know, that I would be ruining so many more days over the next 10+ years)
Oh–she said yes, FYI.
We got married November 15th, 2008 (if you couldn’t do that math) in front of a ton of friends and family. We had a hell of a party for a reception, it was awesome! At one point, the ‘Conga line’ went past the bar and everyone grabbed a beer!
We moved into a dumpy apartment in Eden Prairie in our first year of marriage. It was during this first year that we learned each other’s ‘quirks’. I think the biggest thing that we had to learn about each other in that first year was that if one of us was cooking–the other one should not be in the kitchen-maybe not even in the same house. I would say that I’m probably the biggest culprit here. I’m kind of a ‘backseat cook’; for example: if Kate is making macaroni and cheese and the water is barely boiling, I’ll say something like “when are you going to put the noodles in?”, or I’ll critique how long she boils them, etc. Maybe I’m the problem… #SelfReflectionMoment
While living in the Eden Prairie apartment, we were basically living at poverty level. That’s not a joke or a shot, I promise. Kate decided to go back to school for massage therapy and I was making about $14/hour at C.H. Robinson while trying to live and pay back student loans. Honest to God, at one point we were on a budget of $5 a week per person for ‘spending money’ and we would only shop for the “10 for $10” deals at Rainbow foods for groceries. We had a lot of spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and Rice-a-Roni packages. During this time, our rent went up to the point of basically a mortgage. So I brought up the idea of buying a house and ‘figuring it out’. Generally, when I say “we can figure it out”, it means that Kate figures it out and I move on to the next thing; I’m not good with money. Against what basically everyone in our familes told us to do, we bought a foreclosed house in Chaska. This house had major issues, the inspection report was basically 96 pages of things that said “Do not buy this house, ever”. So, we bought the house and spent exactly 6 years and about $40,000 of our own money to renovate literally every square inch of the property, inside and out. A lot of our friends were taking vacations and going on trips; we were buying new windows. Thank you to Ryan Bremmer Construction for the help over the years, as well!
Well, to make this long blog post a little shorter; we ended up flipping the Chaska house for a big, fat profit and moved to Waconia. Only now, it wasn’t just us two anymore. We decided to bring our 6 month old daughter Grace with to Waconia. After living with one child for about 18 months, Kate thought another challenge would be fun, so we had Lettie, our second daughter in May of 2017.
So, after 10 years, we have had a cumulative total of 7 different jobs, 6 vehicles, 1 apartment, 2 houses, and 2 kids. Not a bad run!
To wrap this up, I won the ‘wife lottery’ with Kate. She keeps my life heading the right direction in both my career and my family. As my wife, she understands my life goals and supports me in every aspect that she can. As a mother to my kiddos, I’m honestly not even sure what I can say. Kate has a gift of extreme patience with kids. Before watching our children; Kate was a nanny for an amazing family with 6 kids (not a typo; S-I-X kids!), so I feel like 2 is a walk in the park….kidding! Truthfully, I couldn’t do it. I love my kids more than anything, but I know that I couldn’t stay home with them all day every day. Kate is great with the kids and teaches them so many things each day as well as play dates with friends. Somehow she manages to maintain the house and her sanity. Kudos to stay at home Moms!
Kate, Thank you for being you and everything that you do for our family. You are the cornerstone of my life and the girls and I are lucky to have you. We all love you very much!
Happy 10 Year Anniversary!
(Wouldn’t it be funny if Kate never even read this post? I’m convinced that there are some that she has not and will never read. I think she’s tired of my sense of humor and doesn’t need to read 1,880 words of it)