I love Christmas.

I do. I love the trappings of Christmas, too. The green and red. The sparkly snowflakes and stripey wrapping paper. I love ornaments for my tree, and up until last year I didn’t really have a home where I could put my tree up. I had no idea what I had for ornaments.

I have balls. Lots and lots of balls. The plain kind from when I was a kid (and they are truly from when I was a kid – I think the boxes had Bradlees and Ames price stickers on them) that are glass and one solid color – red, green, silver, blue, or gold.

This year is my first married Christmas. Mr. Thor and I thought that it would be a good time to start building up our Christmas collection, so that we don’t have to hang these depressing, chipped balls year after year. Well, that’s my reasoning, anyway. I think Mr. Thor just kind of goes along with my whims when it comes to stuff like this.

On Black Friday, I took advantage of the sales at the Corning Museum of Glass and picked up a couple of ornaments that looked just like ornaments I grew up with, only safer:

the one i grew up with involved pins and beads.
the one i grew up with was perched on a VERY pinchy clip.

Then, Mr. Thor’s mom showed up at our house a couple of weeks ago with these two additions:

for the person who has everything.
for the person who is obsessed with cigars.

We were so inspired, and decided that we loved the personality that was starting to take shape on our tree! We decided to buy one more each, that we went to a store and picked out ourselves.

Mr. Thor's pick. I had to wedge him unceremoniously in the tree so that you could see his body.
My pick. He reminds me of a parade float!

The one thing that strikes me as I look through all of these is: BALLS. they are all over the place. I tried to take the pictures around them, but they are everywhere. I think I will keep one box for nostalgia, but the rest have to get permanently phased out.

Did I  mention that I love Christmas and the trappings of Christmas?

The Story of Us: What I didn’t mention

What I didn’t mention was my state of affairs when I stumbled upon Mr. Thor, and how hard I tried to NOT fall for him.

How I literally cried and prayed to God to remove this man from my life.

Imagine it: I had just moved to New York (NOT the city. Not even close.) from Nashville, TN. In Nashville, I had a decent, if uninspiring, office job. I had enough extra money to go to several concerts and go out to dinner often. I lived in a great apartment in the city. With my own bathroom.

In NewYork, I had nothing. I was staying out in the true boonies with an old friend who already had a house established, so all I brought in was my bed and a teeny desk.

I had a job making barely over minimum wage. Which meant I had no money. In fact, I had rapidly growing credit card debt due to my underemployment. My bank account was negative, often.

In Nashville, there was a lot of talk about getting yourself “prepared” for your spouse. Men need to get better jobs, get their style together, and buy homes and nicer cars. Women need to lose weight and get their finances in order, as well as work on honing their feminine traits. At least, that’s how interpreted the messages I was seeing around me.

Taking all of this into account as I was slinging coffee and dirty magazines with a -$67.00 bank account balance and living largely off candy bars and muffins and free coffee, I came to one conclusion: I was NOT ready. I was my heaviest in several years. My clothes had holes and stains. My debt was skyrocketing.

I considered my great-aunt Ellen. She never married and lived a wonderful and inspiring life. She has a school named after her. I set my sights on lifelong spinsterhood. I declared my singlehood and decided that I was not going to take on one more crush.

And, besides. The guy liked death metal. Automatic out!

But, almost the moment I decided this, Mr. Thor and I got much closer. I cried, I prayed, I thought about other things, I begged and begged God to remove this man from my line of sight so that I could stop thinking about him. “If you get me a better job, I will move on and prepare for my husband” sounds like some bargaining I might have tried at the time.

But the rejection letters just kept coming, and Mr. Thor never went away.

As a matter of fact, without Mr. Thor I probably wouldn’t be out of credit card debt. I wouldn’t be 50 pounds down in my weight loss journey.

The thing about me not being ready? Neither was he. We met each other during rough, tough times. We grew together. We held hands and talked. We held each other up and took turns encouraging each other. We have become the very best of friends, and I don’t know if that could have happened if things didn’t pan out exactly the way they did.

My mom likes to say something to me, because I always worry about what I’m doing, what decisions I’m making, how successful I am:

“Trust the plan.” 

Although I will probably never stop obsessing over my choices, I know she’s right. Things always work out, even when they dont (that’s my saying.). It’s part of the plan. It makes us who and how we are.

The Story of Us: Part 6

Well, I found out through the Mrs. Thor facebook page that my cute little play on suspense wasn’t sitting too well with at least one person. For that reason, I am hammering out Part 6 without delay.

Having just sent the man of my dreams a somewhat confessatory e-mail, and not really knowing for sure what I would hear back in reply, I did what any mature, self-possessed 30-year-old woman would do: I hid under the covers. I went back to bed to keep myself from hitting the refresh button on my gmail for three hours.

When I woke up, it was after 11 pm. Sure enough, there was an e-mail from Mr. Thor.

I was nervous, but only a little bit. I trusted him enough that I knew this: even a letdown would be fine. He would not let me fall, he would not insult me, and he would not be mean about anything in the least if he didn’t feel the same way about me.

In the e-mail, he said that he was surprised that people at work had noticed something between us. He said that it had been most of his life since a girl came along that he felt a connection with. He said that, if he made a list of all the characteristics he was looking for in a woman – he would get me. He said that he never had so much fun being around a girl, and that he could write a list of 100 things that he loved about me. He then proceeded to send me a mini-list that included “She is smart in a megazabillion ways” and “She is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known” – And then he estimated that it would probably take him 1000 years to find someone like me on eHarmony.

If you know me, you know how much this all meant. He liked me back. Actually, it seemed that he loved me back! I loved him before I knew what had hit me, and here it was, all coming out. He loved me, and I knew it.

Also, if you know me, you know that I need structure, and rules, and I need things categorized.

So, I sent my own mini list back… And then I asked, “What do we do? Are we supposed to be boyfriend and girlfriend?”

And he replied: “You can call it whatever you want – “going out” or “boyfriend and girlfriend” etc. but I have been wishing for something like this for years and years, all the while being extremely doubtful I would find it…Now that I know what I want it just seems like it’s so rare to find, like where would I find it if not for you?”

That e-mail was sent at 2:04 AM on February 5, 2008.

I had a boyfriend. A real boyfriend, who really appreciated key things about me. Someone who thought I was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Someone with a heart of gold, who shared his feelings and appreciated me for exactly who I was.

I didn’t really sleep that night.

The Story of Us: Part 5

So, by the end of Part 4, I was pretty, kinda, mostly sure that Mr. Thor liked me at least a little bit. This was the middle of January. When we both worked at The Dirty Store, I usually worked until 4. He usually worked until 9.

Did I mention the part where I had never had a boyfriend before? Because I had never had a boyfriend before Mr. Thor (other than the handful in 6th grade, but, c’mon.) and I had no idea how we were going to get from where we were to where we should be.

So, I loitered. I stayed after work and kept Mr. Thor company while he wiped up coffee spills and lottery ticket shavings and sold dirty magazines and cigarettes. We talked, and talked, and talked some more. And when we got home, we e-mailed. We were in communication, a lot. We e-mailed on our days off, on our days on. We talked about our families, about our coworkers, about our interests and fears.

In our e-mails, we talked about how lucky we felt to know each other. I called him my favorite.

And then, something happened to me one Saturday. February 2, 2008. A realization hit me: if things didn’t move forward, they would move nowhere. And Mr. Thor would fade off the end of the page into the pile of other guys I have liked too much to be just friends.

Except… wait. Panic! I felt total panic at the thought of losing him. That afternoon, I took his picture. That night, I stayed overnight with my friend Jax – we were planning to watch the Giants play the Patriots in the Superbowl. Tom Petty was playing the halftime show. Mr. Thor and I were both rooting for the Giants, because the Patriots had, up til the Superbowl, had a perfect season and we were going to be rooting for the underdogs, who also happened to be “his” team.

(shut up, I know, I know! I got into football for a guy and I actually love it!)

The Giants upset the Patriots in that game, and Mr. Thor and I sent a flurry of e-mails back and forth throughout the game.

The next day, we kept the string going. I had a job interview and he sent me an encouraging e-mail.

Then, we got into a conversation about work, and how he thought our manager had busted us for having so much fun, because we hardly seemed to work together anymore.

And then, I wrote:

“i think you’re right, PJ has busted us.

well, that, and it might have something to do with the fact that she thinks you have a crush on me. she informed me of her conclusion last week sometime by saying: “Mr. Thor has a crush on you.”

i said, “he does?”

she said, “you didn’t notice?”

(i have no clue about these kind of things.)

she is actually the second person at work to bring this to my attention.

what say you to these allegations? do you have a crush on me?

i hope so,
amelia
xoxo”

I totally put it all out there!

The only problem with my timing was that Mr. Thor was at work when I sent that e-mail.

…for another 2 hours.

Recap.

The table is set.
The "buffet" is ready to be stacked with food.

And then I forgot that I owned a camera. Imagine: Me carving the turkey (and only swearing at Alton Brown a little bit for making it look deceptively easy), making the gravy, mashing potatoes, and Mr. Thor carrying all of the dishes out here.

And then.

And then, we feast.

Giving Thanks.

thankful.

What are you most thankful for this year?

I am thankful that I have a place of my own, where I can make blueberry muffins whenever the mood strikes and wander around in my pajamas at all hours of the day and night.

I am thankful for my wonderful, hilarious, supportive husband, who makes every day better.

I am thankful for my friends, who have encouraged me and stuck with me when it seems that, in reality, maybe I do have the thickest skull of any human, ever.

Thank you for the part you play in my life. You have helped me along, even if you don’t know it.

The Story of Us: Part 4

So, at the end of Part 3, we were left with our heroine in a car on a cold night with a handsome man. They looked into each others’ eyes… they embraced… she gave him… her e-mail address.

I think that night was some time in December.  After that night, there were no e-mails from Mr. Thor. Nothing at all, except the occasional shift together at work.

Mr. Thor and I worked with relatively few people at the Dirty Store – maybe 5 other people? So there were many, many opportunities for our co-workers to observe as our friendship developed. Two people told me that Mr. Thor had a crush on me, and I pulled off what I thought were the best performances of my life as I scoffed them away. “What? no… we’re just friends!”

I was smitten with this man. Totally undone. I could talk to him about things I could never talk to men about before. I could be completely honest with him. He listened to my stories and remembered the cast of characters. He was interesting, intelligent, clever, funny, and kind. He had a heart of gold.

And then, on January 14, 2008, I received an e-mail with the following subject line: “The Day You Never Thought Would Come!”

It was from him. Finally. Almost a month later.

He had a day off, and he was telling me all about what he did.

Read a book, sat outside, enjoyed the sun.

He sent me a link to a cool NASA website.

And then he said this.

“I’ll see you sometime this week I hope. By the time you read this you should be at
home and done with work, so enjoy your evening, have fun!

Hugs and Kisses,

Mr. Thor”

 

Now.

I am as clueless as they come. Before Mr. Thor, I had never really even had one boyfriend. But, even I. Even I, who thought no guy would like her, ever, who thought love was for other people – even I realized that straight dudes do NOT SIGN E-MAILS LIKE THAT. Not if they are just writing to a co-worker/friend type person.

I forwarded this e-mail to my best friend from high school and said, “I’m gonna date him.”

And then I did. The end.

Just kidding. It’s a little bit more interesting than that.

Married life: Billy Mays

Mr.: I just saw an Oxi-Clean commercial with someone else doing it.

Mrs.: Well, yeah, Billy Mays is dead. Did it suck?

Mr.: I just watched it for a second. It didn’t do anything for me.

Mrs.: Did Billy Mays do anything for you?

Mr.: HE WAS AWESOME!

The Story of Us: Blooper reel

I should mention that our journey from co-workers at “the dirty store” to Mr. and Mrs. Thor wasn’t all smooth sailing.

When I first moved back to New York, I was staying with an old friend – a friend I’d known since high school. A friend who tended to act impulsively at times.

I think that this friend (can we call him Jimmy? Let’s call him Jimmy.) got sick of hearing about my crush on Mr. Thor, and one day Jimmy stopped in the Dirty Store and invited Mr. Thor over to the house for dinner, and Mr. Thor accepted. I was horrified, terrified, and delighted. I lived with a gay man, a lesbian, and three Chihuahuas. Nothing to be nervous about at all, right? I knew very little about Mr. Thor at the time, and I certainly didn’t know enough about him to know where he stood on the important issues, such as: Chihuahuas – are they born that way or do they choose to be all weird and trembly?

The day of the dinner finally came. Dinner went smoothly. All of the people around the dinner table seemed to really be enjoying themselves. The one and only “person” who seemed to feel awkward was Jimmy’s Chihuahua puppy, NoNa. She shook whenever she looked at Mr. Thor, and she growled and hunched down low whenever he spoke. Jimmy held NoNa in his lap as we all sat around the cleared-off table and talked and laughed.

And then Jimmy did something that I still don’t understand. In an effort to help NoNa “get over” her fear of Mr. Thor, he kind of tossed her across the table in Mr. Thor’s direction. Unfortunately, in mid-air, she realized where she was headed, and rather than land on Mr. Thor, she kind of stopped her own flight and landed on the table. But then, the table was kind of slippery, and she, as I put it, “Bambied out.” Her legs went out and she went down. And this dog was officially in a full-on panic.

Mr. Thor took pity on the pathetic creature before him and he picked up NoNa with the goal of setting her on the floor. She did not, I repeat, she did NOT approve. She contorted, she snarled, she snapped, and Mr. Thor only got her to about a foot from the floor before she just shot out of his arms and sprinted out of sight.

And then we all smelled it. It smelled like poop. Fresh poop. Everyone started looking on the floor for the offending pile, but not me. I already knew what had happened. I looked at the object of my as-yet-unrequited love and saw, almost as in slow motion, that his khakis were covered in what looked like little droplets. Like someone had flicked water on him, almost.

I had to tell him. “That smell is coming from…you. She expressed her anal glands on you.” I pointed at the drops on his pants, and I braced myself. I just knew he was going to cuss out the “stupid bleeping dog” and go off on a tirade, and then everything would be over.

Mr. Thor just kind of shrugged. “Well, that’s understandable. She felt threatened. Anyway, they’re just pants.”

That is the precise moment I knew I would marry Mr. Thor.

Sunday: Happy Snaps

Rocky.

 

Eggs in a basket. From chickens I saw with my own eyes.

 

Once upon a time, I bought a cabbage bigger than my head for $2. I didn't know what to do with it. My dad saved me, and turned it into sauerkraut.

 

Sunny day walk with Mr. Thor.

 

New journeys.