Sick, yet Satisfied: Appreciating the Little Things

(Suggested song to listen to while reading [mentioned later on]: Brandy Alexander -Feist)

There’s a bad cold going around right now and it seems that I’ve caught it.

This past Sunday, I woke to the two glands below either side of my jawline being swollen and my throat hurting quite badly. I had that taste in my mouth, the taste that was less ‘last night’s dinner party wine’ and more ‘uh-oh a cold is developing.’

I soldiered through Sunday’s baby shower festivities and Monday’s hours of working on a commissioned painting that I still need to finish. Chris and I ran errands on Tuesday and the whole day slipped by.

This morning, Wednesday October 19th, I opened my eyes and realized that I actually felt much worse than the first few days even though I’ve been taking medicine regularly since it started. I took some daytime cold and sinus pills and crawled back into bed with a still sleeping Christopher. Unlike most days, I fell back to sleep quickly with heavy eyes, a stuffed nose, and my face feeling the fiery heat of what might’ve been a mild fever.

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Battlefield 1’s female protagonist (there are multiple protagonists that you play as) is actually really cool!

I woke at 11:49am. This was a very late morning for me, but my body obviously needed it. I told myself that today was a mandatory rest day, which worked perfectly in terms of timing because Chris had just gotten a new videogame that he was dying to play called Battlefield 1.

I remind you that yes, we are married adults, but that we have an odd schedule right now. You see Chris’ job as a commercial pilot for the mineral surveying industry keeps him out of the country for a month at a time. He has been home for almost two weeks now and when he’s home, he’s really home. We get approximately a month to spend as much time together as possible. This has been made ‘easier’ this fall by me not having to go back to school, but also currently remaining unemployed.

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Editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel.

I graduated this past spring and have been applying to jobs like mad. A handful of interviews have come and gone to some dream jobs. I pick myself up after each kindly written rejection to keep moving forward, reminding myself that something else will come up (I’m currently hopeful about a promising prospect).

The constant frustration with unemployment and the full-time job of applying to full-time-jobs occasionally lifts and I appreciate what I do have. I try to really focus on these positive moments to make up for the negative thinking that comes with new-grad-stresses.

This unplanned time off in my life allowed me to spend valuable time with Daq before I had to put her down. I would not have been able to take care of her the way that I did and spend whole days by her side if I had a full time job. This time off also gave me room to grieve for her, a family member to myself and many others.

I was struck by the luck of my unlucky unemployment once again this morning. Thankful that I got this bad cold/flu before getting a new job so that I can take a rest day without worrying about who I might be letting down somewhere else.

After I slept in, I didn’t have to rush out of bed. I took in the beauty of the way that the light from the bedroom window danced on the wall that I lay facing. My sweet husband had gotten up, let me sleep, and closed our bedroom doors so that his videogame didn’t wake me. I brought my bedroom pillow to our only couch on the main floor to spend some time with my guy. How many grownups get to have their spouses take care of them when they’re off sick?

I laid next to him while he cheered about not being the worst player on his online team (a victory for him) and I read a good book all day. I drifted off for a couple minutes at a time, waking here and there to the sound of Battlefield 1 machine guns. Being sick when he was home with me was so much better than when I’ve had to take care of myself in an empty house.

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Our receiver, globe, and a wedding photo.

When Chris made his afternoon coffee he also made a ginger-mint tea with some honey for his sick wife. We had a wonderful lazy day together where he enjoyed something that he doesn’t play nearly as often as some people I know and I was able to rest properly.

We were happy to have our leftovers for dinner, an easy dinner for an easy day. I slouched comfortably in my chair and we talked while sipping red wine. I admitted to him how content I felt even though my nose was on fire and my right ear popped whenever I swallowed. I explained that sometimes I experience these moments of recognized bliss that I never could have imagined earlier in my life.

What sparked one of these moments this evening?

Sitting at our vintage walnut mid-century dining table, sipping wine, and talking with my best friend.

The sounds of Feist’s soothing voice singing Brandy Alexander on vinyl while the taste of red wine still lingered on my bottom lip.

The vibrancy and beauty of the red leaves covering our back fence that I could see out of our dining room window – leaves that so often annoy me because they are the result of our backing neighbour’s creeping vines that we involuntarily maintain in our yard. Today they make me happy.

The dim light of the sun already having gone down and few lights being on in the room.

Chris’s smile as he agreed that he was also happy.

That we love each other very much.

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Our vibrant coloured backyard after some rainfall this autumn.

So although things might not be perfect in terms of: me still looking for a job six months after graduating at the top of my class in university; recently losing a best friend who Chris and I consistently miss in the house; a cold that has my body in a lot of pain; and that god awful arrival of the first of many student loan collection notices – it’s important to remind myself that I have a really great life.

Try to think of some things in your life right now that make you happy (as small as they may be). Here are some helpful questions and tips to get you started:

  1. Do you have a loved one or a close friend that makes you smile?
  2. Put on a favourite song and try to enjoy your surroundings with your own personal movie soundtrack.
  3. Tell someone that you appreciate them (this makes you feel good for making someone else feel good and everyone wins there).
  4. Watch the show “Life in Pieces” (It is currently a Netflix favourite and it makes me laugh.
  5. Did you see a dog today (if so I’m jealous, but also happy for you)?
  6. If you feel all alone, think of one nice thing about yourself and try to believe it (I’ll help you and tell you that you have good taste in blogs because you’re reading mine [yes I think I’m funny])

Let me know some positive things going on for you, leave a comment.

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Our Meet-Cute and Our Partially Chaperoned First Date

(Featured image is December 2012, the first Christmas after we had met)

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Photo by Caitlin Currie.

I married my best friend August 13th 2016, but we’ve been living together for a couple of years now so the newlywed stage doesn’t feel relevant. I tend to believe that I live the life of a Rom-Com as my life is never boring and I sometimes get myself into silly situations.

 

Here is the story of how Chris and I met as well as our first date:
(Chris added his perspective and those comments are featured in bold/green)

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One of my best friends, Lori Anne and I from the wedding. Photo by Caitlin Currie.
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Lori Anne and I singing as our folk duo Darling and the Fox at our local art gallery in 2015.

Chris and I met through friends just over four years ago. I had just gotten out of a two-year relationship and went out to a local open mic that I had once frequented at a pub called The Thirsty Monk. Lori Anne told me that her friend Alex was meeting us there with his friend Tanya, and we had planned on singing that night. As soon as we had arrived and I’d been introduced to Alex and Tanya, I was asked if my friend Mike was my boyfriend (he’d come to hang out too). I told Tanya that he was not and that I’d actually just gotten out of a relationship, she immediately responded with “Good because you’re perfect for my friend Bowman!”

 

 

I hadn’t even had a conversation with this barely made acquaintance yet she thought that she knew I was perfect for some random guy who wasn’t even at the bar? I nodded my head politely and smiled, “Oh yeah?” Throughout the night she continued to rant about him, she showed me pictures from Facebook, and told me stories. She told me that he was a pilot (admittedly a very sexy career) who goes away for a month at a time, but he’d be getting home anytime now. I admit that I was listening, but not taking her too seriously as I wasn’t sure if I’d see Tanya again let alone meet the mystery man “Bowman” (almost everyone calls him Bowman, but I call him Christopher or Chris).

When the next week’s open mic night arrived, Lori Anne and I headed to the pub. Her friend Will was supposed to meet us there, but when we got to the backroom I was surprised to also see the familiar face of a stranger – the Bowman to which I had heard all about one week previous. I remember that he had a big smile when he saw me, he had obviously heard about me too.

I was intrigued by what Tanya had said about Cassy, as she had mentioned that I had to meet her.  I was happy that I went. She had a great smile and was talkative, which helped because I am a quieter person. It made for no awkward pauses.

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Chris with a penguin in Antarctica B.C. (Before Cassy).

Chris is the kind of guy who doesn’t use social media all that much and had a lot less photos online B.C. (Before Cassy), (a good 98% of the photos of me on FB are posted by Cassy and other people) this led to me seeing some distant shots of him in Antarctica wearing a large winter coat, sunglasses, and standing next to some penguins. Impressive, but not a good indicator of what he looked like. When I first saw Chris in person I remember thinking that he was so handsome and I was immediately attached to his gaze.  We didn’t leave each other’s sides much that night as he bought me drinks and I talked his ear off while getting to know him. I likely sang poorly as I was a bit tipsy, but he smiled the whole way through my songs so I felt pretty okay about things. Chris got my number and we had plans to ‘hang out’ the upcoming Monday night.

She thought she sang poorly, but I thought she sang quite well. It also helped that she was really cute. Maybe that skewed my perception of her singing, haha.


Our first date, was a memorable one.

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What I looked like at 21 in 2012 when we met.
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What Chris looked like at 27 in 2012 when we met (in Malaysia).

We met halfway between our cities to go for a walk along the shoreline and I didn’t really know what to expect. I was 21 at the time and my last boyfriend had been a year younger than me. Chris is six years older than I am and at the time, a 27-year-old man (emphasis on man) sounded refreshing. I was absolutely not looking for a boyfriend, but he had something about him that made me want to get to know him more.

We walked up and down a Lake Ontario pathway, talking and flirting, when he got an important phone call that he needed to take. He then explained to me that in the five days since we had met, he had seen a house, put an offer in, and that he was sorry, but he needed to meet his real estate agent tonight! I was so impressed – I later joked that it was a ploy to make him look good on the first date. I tagged along to meet the agent.

I swear it wasn’t a ploy to get her to like me more. I had actually felt bad about having to make this detour mid date, and was hoping that it wasn’t taking away from it too much.

It turned out that we needed to wait longer than expected on something from the homeowners so his agent took us to a nearby Tim Hortons for 40 minutes or so. We had found ourselves unintentionally on a bit of an oddly chaperoned date and Chris’ agent/friend likely felt like a third wheel.

(FUN FACT) Although I’ve been a barista twice in my lifetime, I don’t like coffee, which is why I ordered hot chocolate. To not look even more like a child on my date with an older guy, I decided against using a straw. This attempt at not seeming too young led to my clumsy demise of spilling my hot chocolate all over the crotch of my jeans (I have been known to spill hot chocolate often in my life and struggle to drink it without a straw still to this day). I was so embarrassed that this happened not only on my first date with this guy, but there was a witness – his real estate agent!

For some reason he didn’t call the date off and we went to a pool hall after leaving his real estate endeavors behind for the night. I confidently ignored my hot chocolate-stained denim and actually won the first game of pool, I am still unsure as to if he let me win or not because I have never won another game since. Even after seeing me spill on myself, how overly competitive I am, and how sore of a loser I can be, he stuck around. We parted ways without a goodnight kiss and I wondered if there would be a second date.

Certainly a memorable and unusual first date.

Fun facts:
1. I met his mom on our third date
2. I met his ex-girlfriend of six years on our third date (accident, he hadn’t run into her in 2 years) (This was definitely not part of the plan)
3. The third date was a lot to take in
4. I was just starting university when he asked me to be exclusive
5. He had to ask me to be his exclusive girlfriend about 3 times
6. My mom gave me advice: you can’t control when you meet the right person, if he’s special you’ll give it a shot
7. We dated for 4 weeks and then he was away for work for 5 weeks
8. Dating and being married to a pilot can be hard, but Chris is worth it
9. We’re best friends

Life Lesson: you never know where or when you’re going to meet the right person and if things don’t go perfectly you’re probably just living out one of the most interesting stories you’ll tell in your life!

A collection of photos of us throughout the last four years: