Life now

Other random life things… So we started having family night Monday pretty soon after marriage, seems like a good habit to set from the get go. Usually it just consists of reading an Ensign article or two. We first started with the Eternal Family and Marriage manual lessons. Mostly it seemed like pretty obvious stuff. Communicate, show love, show gratitude, manage finances, etc… an interesting memory was a chapter about anger. It said something to the effect of “right after getting married you’ll learn a lot of things about your spouse you didn’t know, and some of them will really irk you” and we paused and asked essentially “irking aside, have you learned anything new about me since we got married?” and neither of us could think of anything. We did date for 2.5 years, so I guess we knew each other pretty well. This isn’t to say we haven’t changed a bit since marriage, but there was nothing like “I had no idea you took such long showers” or “I hate how you gargle mouthwash in the mornings” or anything, it seems like we knew each other pretty well.

That being said, our lives have of course shifted a lot. For example, Tess used to regularly go to bed around 2AM, and I’d get in bed at 9PM. She’s not a morning person, and the late late evenings were the only time she could get productive peace and quiet at her home. However, in our home, I’m gone by 7:00AM, and the most disturbing thing in the house is possibly the neighbor kids running around upstairs, but even that isn’t terribly loud, and it’s easy to tune out and work since said upstairs kids will never need your attention. So it’s not necessary for Tess to stay up late in order to find productive time anymore. I have the angels that come help me with bedtime come at 9:30 PM so it’s a little later, and I have them start me laying on my side. This is important because I sit on my butt all day, and lay on my back most of the night, so if I didn’t have this time on my side my butt would almost never get a breather. I like to lay on my side for at least an hour, but can usually go for a few before my shoulder starts to hurt. So Tess usually comes back and lays with me after whoever gets me in bed. Her and I will chat for a bit, say prayer together, and then she’ll go back out and have some late night productivity. Sometimes she comes back in an hour, sometimes in three, it just depends on what she’s doing. But whenever she comes she rolls me on my back, and we cuddle to sleep. It’s wonderful.

Other minor shifts are I watch less movies in theaters, which is not a big deal because it’s just entertainment, and the time has been upgraded to time with my wife. Tess finishes crafts slower because we usually play together when we’re both home rather than be productive. I eat less Mexican food, Tess makes more meals.

We do a lot of different things together, but rarely does either of us like to pick what we will do haha. But we frequently play board games, work on our Minecraft world, watch Doctor Who or documentaries, watch movies (usually mine so far…), play other video games like Heroes of the Storm, Terraria, rollercoaster Tycoon, Pacman 256, etc. A recent discovery is I can actually give her a good back rub in bed if we sit my bed up, so we’ll do that and play a game where one comes up with a verb, replacing the chosen verb with the word smurf, and the other asks yes or no questions till they figure out what smurfing is. We love building Legos when the budget allows, and all of this still feels just like a glimpse into our time together.

Now for a deeper dive into board games. One of my favorite things about my wife that I didn’t think I’d find in my someday spouse is that she enjoys strategic board games almost as much as I do. The main difference is I love three and four player matches, and she prefers two player, but two player has really grown on me! I used to dislike two because it always seemed so obvious who was winning, and it wasn’t fun to be obviously losing OR obviously winning, but Tess and I are so evenly matched that probably only 15-20% of our games have an obvious winner for most of it. And that obvious winner still shifts between the two of us. The rest are intense duels and super fun. Also, with no distractions, we can play a full game in 30-45 minutes, and get 2-3 in a row in before bed. I love telling people “yeah, my wife beats me” and when they look confused I add “at board games”.

So I’m a little old, and a sociable fellow. As result, I tend to know a good handful of people, and most the time when Tess and I go to a public area we’ll run into someone I know. My favorite example of this is our honeymoon. We were in Cedar city, hours away from home, but we still ran into 4 people I knew, like a friend from theater in a high school, or a friend from Ventana days. The best was at the Tuacahn Tess and I were moving through the crowd and some older gentlemen steps out in front of us with a big smile, clearly expecting us to recognize him, but sadly we didn’t. He asked Tess to identify him, but she couldn’t, so he turned to me and said “you tell her” and I was like “uhhhh...” so he says “I sealed you guys like 3 days ago!”. Tess and I both were surprised and a little embarrassed haha. He took our ignorance with good grace though. But he didn’t even give us a long speech at our sealing, he just invited our parents up and dove straight into the ordinance! So there wasn’t a lot for us to remember haha.

The temple is another example of familiar people, I average about 3 different sets of people I know (and anyone who’s a regular doesn’t count). Also I like to point out when I run into a girl I did date or used to date, always followed with how happy I am I got Tess instead of them, as another means of telling Tess how much I love her. But I think she’s mostly a little… annoyed? Not quite the right word… something along those lines… anyway the point is I don’t think she likes to hear how many girls I dated before her haha.  (Tess has read this now, and she says the right word is “skeptical”, she doesn’t believe I dated this many people I guess haha)

So shortly before marriage we went furniture shopping together to furnish the empty house. Since Tess never lived outside her house, and I always lived at a pre-furnished apartment, or home, neither of us had anything in the vein of furniture or kitchen supplies. So we went around on Memorial day (sales!) shopping for a couch and a table. But it took a long while haha. I’m kind of excited for the next time we go furniture shopping. Neither of us are super decisive with stuff like this. Tess is crafty, and cares more how things look, but the problem was we couldn’t think in terms of “what would look good in the living room?” because the answer was “depends on all the other decisions we also haven’t finalized on yet”. We eventually found a great couch and counter height table. But NEXT time we shop, even if it’s because we’re moving to a new house, we’ll be able to say things like “this would go well with our table” so I expect it’ll go a little easier, but probably not tons easier.

Counter height table! This is the greatest thing! I originally discovered how nice it was when living with Bryla, but even more so now. What’s magical is my chair actually fits under the table (for reference most tables are more like the height of my knees. My joystick apparatus is like 3 inches taller than my knees though, and as result I don’t fit under most tables). This makes tons of thing easier like eating noodles and soup way, building Legos or puzzles, or the best one, playing board games. Rarely do I have to say “I’ll go there. No there. Left of that. Your other left of that. Yes there.” anymore, now I can reach to pick up and place my own pieces, and collect my own currency. I’m sure my occupational therapists from a decade ago would be proud :D

So Tess consistently told me how much she hated cooking, but also anytime someone made it sound like she couldn’t cook she defended herself and pointed out all the holiday meals she made at her grandma’s and such. She also used to talk about how when she moved out she planned to make soups or other easy meals to make in bulk and then use for the next 5 meals in a row. So getting married I didn’t really know what to expect from her. Gratefully, she hates the idea of spending money on pre-made food every night more than the idea of cooking so she started making meals almost right out of the marriage gate. And she’s a fantastic cook! It’s still not her favorite thing, but she doesn’t HATE it anymore. I’ve loved it though haha. Her biggest hang up was that her mom’s recipes are too much food, often even we cut them down to 25%.

I had a few month phase at the turn of the year where I was working late a lot, this is less directly marriage related, but work was rough. I’ve worked for Vivint since April 1st 2014 (yeah I started on April Fools. I was a little worried I’d show up and not really have a job haha) and while software isn’t Vivint’s export directly, they’re definitely a company that understands the important role of Software in modern business success. They had a pretty good understanding of a healthy software development environment. Somehow starting back in December though it seems like they forgot a major axiom, “if you need to pull a new item of work into the sprint, you have to push something of equal size out”. Somehow stuff kept getting pulled in and nothing got pushed out, and we were just expected to deliver all of it. With the exception of Christmas and the Mexico trip, I worked 8AM-9PM pretty almost every workday (luckily weekends were still mostly sacred :P) from early December all the way through late January, and from there we started slowly tapering off to less and less late days. By the end of March I probably averaged one 8-9 workday a sprint, and it by April we finally got approval to slow down enough to make things robust rather than frantically adding features in and abandoning them to work on the next feature even though the alpha version we shipped needs work still. So slowing was great news! But it was really hard. Even through March when I only worked a handful of late nights, it still felt like any night MIGHT need to be a late night, I never really knew until like 4:30. Made it hard to tell Tess I’d be home, or make dinner plans with friends. I’ve learned a lot about what processes I can help support to prevent us from getting that deep though. And I’ve definitely re-affirmed from this that I am NOT a workaholic. I need to go home. However work did pay me a meaningful amount in bonuses and gave me an unexpectedly large raise! So it’s paid off monetarily, and hasn’t seemed to permanently alienate my wife. But it was rough, ugh.

So I’ve wanted to work in the temple for like four years. I don’t have a strong testimony of the temple, and serving there seems like a good thing to do regardless. So I first tried to do so four years ago, but the Bishop turned me down because he was about to call me as the Elders Quorum President and they didn’t want me to be overloaded. So that delayed it 18 or so months until I moved in with Bryla. First thing in my new ward there I tried to work in the temple too, but the new Provo City Center temple was almost built and they wanted to save temple workers for that, so I couldn’t start then either. Before it opened I ended up moving home, at which point I was far enough along dating Tess that I thought marriage soon might be possible, and didn’t look into being a temple worker. Finally after Tess and I were married, we talked about it and she agreed to join me, and we started working in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in September, and we’ve worked there every Saturday it’s open from 1:45PM-6PM since. It’s been a great experience.

I love seeing different people I know every week. The job we’re doing rotates every 45 minutes so you never get super bored. I can help with basically everything but initiatory and endowments. I do baptism confirmations with one hand. When I’m doing the reception desk every once in a while when someone pulls out their wallet I kindly tell them we don’t accept bribes. I can’t effectively tell stories right now apparently. It has definitely been a sacrifice, and I’m not sure either of us feel like our testimony has been strengthened (as much as i’d like to claim it has). But I’m sure we’re being blessed by our service, and I always am in a good mood in there and come out in a good mood, and we can still sleep in on Saturdays.

So I distinctly remember once a time being excited to be married because people in my life were drama at that time, and I felt like my family were the only friends I needed, so if I found a wife I wouldn’t need to keep socializing with other people. This was of course silly, no question I’d miss Micah and Bryla and Neal and other people who I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like (I know this with certainty now based on empirical evidence), but the weird part is that my family is actually kinda boring now! *gasp!* I’ve got to clarify, I still love my siblings, and my siblings in isolation are still fun to be around. But now that my parents are up to 15 grandkids, family parties are pretty crazy, and no one can play with us anymore, and for the most part everyone just wants to hear about how we’re doing and then talk about kids. The kids can be fun, if we bust out a jackbox game or something we can have a jolly ol’ time. And the grandkids are of course super cute, so going to the second Sunday family dinner is generally worth it (seeing as fun isn’t the only reason to go). But what’s MORE fun is going to Tessa’s family every Sunday (except the 2nd Sunday Campbell dinner). Tessa’s siblings are 8F 14M 16M 18F and 21F, and we can even coax her mom and/or dad into playing certain games with us sometimes. The boys are getting into strategic games, so we can play things like Thunderstone with them (usually co-op). And while playing jackbox games with all the Campbell grandkids can be fun in a silly way, Tessa’s family is old enough for it to be witty, and more of a competition. So, Tess and I have had a tradition of going over there basically any Sunday night we don’t have plans for months (which usually means every Sunday except the 2nd Sunday) and it’s been great. Maybe once we get pregnant the Campbell family dinner will light up a bit again. But that’s not in the near term plans.

Well, there's a bunch of random stuff for ya. Actually I wrote most of this months ago and never got around to posting it, so some of it even feels outdated already (ie: work has changed like 30 times, but it's in a great place, and I don't feel like writing details now :P), but I figured I'd post it anyway. If you're reading this and your curious about any specific aspect of our lives, feel free to comment or ping me somehow, and I'll be more likely to blog about it knowing someone is interested :)

In conclusion of this post though, basically this only touches on 1% of all the stories I've shared with Tess, and being married is my favorite! I feel like we're really spoiled with how often we get to play together, and how healthy we usually are, and how we have so many awesome people in our life that we can't make time to see them all, and how financially stable we feel, and so on. It's probably a blessing of serving in 3 callings (ward, stake, temple).

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