Well, we did it. A week and a half ago, Kellan and I picked up the keys to our new house and said goodbye to apartment 1304. Closing the front door on the first eleven months of our marriage was bittersweet.
The morning after Ian’s funeral, we packed up a Penske truck with a couple of duffel bags and SO MANY BOXES of sweet wedding gifts, and started the fourteen hour trek towards New York. Or as I like to call it, the Trail of Tears because WHY AM I MOVING TO NEW YORK. My Mama ran out to the truck wildly waving my Grandma’s red-handled rolling pin in the air as we were pulling away, and thrust it through the passenger side window. Here, take this! You’ll need it for pie.
A cancer diagnosis a month after our engagement had left precious little time for premarital counseling. [Read: WE HAD ZERO CLUE WHAT WE WERE GETTING INTO.] I remember after we crossed the New York state line, Kellan glanced over at me and hesitantly offered, “…well, I guess we should talk about chores?”
Given that we were a mere four hours away from the 1,000 square feet that we were about to call ours, I graciously acquiesced. Yeah, how were you thinking we’d divide things?
Kellan paused, looking for all the world like he was mentally composing a peace plan for the middle east instead of attempting to determine the best way to tell me that he had absolutely no intention of ever picking up a mop. Well babe, I was thinking I would take care of outside stuff, and you could take care of inside stuff.
Yes, because our apartment complex is going to need a lot of mowing and hedge-trimming. Good heavens, I do hope you can find time to sleep.
As we journeyed on in our chores discussion, my newly-minted husband casually mentioned that he had NEVER CLEANED A BATHROOM. Color drained from my newly-tanned face into my pedicured toes, and my hands grew clammy. I willed myself not to dry heave while contemplating throwing myself out of the truck and tucking and rolling onto the highway because ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
[Kellan says in the spirit of fairness, I need to inform you that I have never mowed a lawn. In my defense, that is mainly because I don’t want to.]
It was raining when we pulled up to our new apartment building. Kellan carried me over the threshold into our freshly-painted apartment, and just like that, I lived with a man. I proceeded to spend the next several days unpacking a veritable mountain of boxes while he went to work, and every spoon unwrapped and dish carefully placed in a cabinet was a sweet reminder that we were deeply loved by the friends and family we had just said goodbye to.
Our first night in the apartment, we collapsed into an exhausted heap onto Kellan’s suede brown couch [I know. Commence dry heaving: round two.] to watch tv, and several minutes later I began to itch. We leapt off the hideous monstrosity masquerading as seating only to make the rather startling discovery that tiny little bugs were biting us.
Try not to be intimidated by our glamorous lifestyle.
[The bug-infested couch was gone the next day.]
We ate our meals on the tile kitchen floor for the first month when we didn’t own a table. Or chairs. Or really, anything except for one black recliner with a glaring rip in the faux-leather arm, and even that was the benevolence of parents. Our existence was very Little House on the Prairie, with fewer Indian raids and the welcome addition of indoor plumbing.
That little apartment taught us a lot. It’s where we learned that high heats will shrink oxford button-ups and make your husband look like Spanky from the Little Rascals, and turning off the heat in the dead of a New York winter while you’re away will make your pipes freeze. We learned to fight without entirely dissolving, and when all else fails, to dance in the kitchen. We learned to meet in the middle and buy “some pulp” orange juice. And I think more than anything, we learned that marriage is a whole lot of hard, unglamorous work that nobody but Jesus will ever see or applaud you for—but goodness, is it worthwhile.
Even if your spouse doesn’t clean the bathrooms. ;)
[FINE, or mow the lawn.]