We finished our anniversary in the negative

Yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary.

I couldn’t imagine a better day.

Best of all, we ended the day in the negative.

My anniversary officially kicked off the night before when I arrived home around 11:00 PM from a wedding and discovered that my lawn had been mowed while I was working at a wedding. I had lamented my bad timing on Facebook earlier that day after noticing that I would probably be spending a portion of my anniversary mowing the lawn, so my friend, Tom (who owns a landscaping business), came over around 9:00 PM and cut it for me.

I have made Tom the villain in the golfing memoir that I;’m in the midst of writing. He’s the villain for good reason, but it’s moments like this that make it difficult for me to be mean to him.

He actually helped to save my marriage immediately following our wedding.

Off the golf course, you won’t meet a better guy.

On the golf course, he is a villain of the greatest order. At least that’s what I want my readers to believe. 

On the morning of our anniversary, my wife and I exchanged gifts, although we had nothing to actually hand to each other.

My wife informed me that she was taking me horseback riding for our anniversary. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I grew up on a horse farm until my parents divorced when I was about nine years old, and so I spent the majority of my early years on the back of a horse.

Since the divorce, however, I had never had a chance to ride again. It’s one of my deepest regrets from my childhood. Climbing on the back of a horse flooded me with memories of my youth. We had a great time riding through the forests and fields behind the farm where she had brought me, and it made me want to start riding again.

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I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend the afternoon.

My gift to Elysha was cooking lessons at Sur La Table. I’ve arranged for her to take one class with her mother and another with a close friend later in the month. She was equally excited. 

One of my favorite moments from the entire day was when Elysha said, “We both managed to find gifts that didn’t bring any more stuff into our house.”

I loved that.

I recently noted that there are only three types of gift that I want to receive in the future:

  1. The gift of time
  2. The gift of cash
  3. The gift of experience, including learning something new that I can’t currently do

I later added the gift of spiteful yet meaningful charity to the list as well, but this is a gift better suited for a particular breed of human being.

My gifting criteria seeks to eliminate the gift of things in favor of a means of living a more meaningful and full life. I don’t want any more stuff. Instead, I want to be able to do more stuff.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

Elysha gave me a signed first edition of a Kurt Vonnegut novel years ago that I cherish to this day.

Her Christmas-time stocking stuffers are always amazing.

The occasional clothing item, golfing gizmo or new fangled electronic, especially when it is truly needed, is always appreciated.

But as a general rule, I would prefer that items be removed from my home in a gifting situation rather than added to it. 

Our gifts to each other, as well as Tom’s gift to me, matched my criteria perfectly.

And the day wasn’t over.

Elysha and I went to dinner that evening and were surprised to learn at the end of the evening that her parents had called the restaurant and picked up the check.

It was a wonderful surprise.

Our final anniversary gift was given to us by our babysitter and friend, Allison, who refused payment (after much protestation on our part) for her babysitting duties. 

It was an ideal anniversary. I spent it in the company of my beautiful wife, and at the end of the day, we had added nothing to our home in terms of stuff.

Actually, the garbage and recycling were picked up yesterday. We actually subtracted a considerable amount from the home yesterday.

We ended the day in the red. I couldn’t be happier.

99 reasons that I love Elysha Dicks

Today is our seventh anniversary. Please forgive me this indulgence.

Here are just some of the many reasons that I love my wife as much as I do.


1. The way she sleeps on folded hands

2. She once yelled at a 90 year-old woman who was cheating in Scrabble

3. The way she is like a mother and a sister at the same time to Clara

4. She once skipped school to play The Legend of Zelda

5. Many of my friends consider her to be the ideal wife

6. She is one of the finest teachers I have ever known

7. She asked to stop talking to watch The Simpsons on our first date

8. She makes me a better storyteller

9. She loves Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Paul Simon and Patsy Cline

10. She feels bad about the spiders she kills 

11. She tells me what to put me on my plate in a buffet line

12. She asks me when Hard Knocks is starting again

13. She can navigate any mall flawlessly but almost nothing else 

14. The way she disappears for two days when she reads a book

15. Her senseless fear of aliens

16. Holding her hand

17. Listening to an audiobook with her on a long drive

18. The new set of parents that she has brought into my life

19. She looks beautiful in a baseball cap

20. She way she puts her hand on my shoulder after a nightmare

21. She knows me better than I know myself

22. The way she plays with infants in her lap

23. The way she runs her hands through my hair while I'm driving  

24. Her aggressive response to people who cut in line

25. The way that my friends have become her friends

26. Her infinitesimal lisp

27. The way she reads her childhood stories to our children

28. Her undercover streak of unrelenting nonconformity

29. Watching her dance

30. The way I knew she was pregnant with Clara before she did

31. Her complete and total lack of jealousy

32. The way she has never told me what to wear

33. The degree to which she hates people who hate me

34. Her love for Battlestar Galactica

35. The way she fills our home with music every evening

36. Her ability to react quickly and without panic in an emergency

37. The partnership we share in writing, storytelling and creativity

38. The way she looks in her green Smith tee-shirt

39. Her lack of concern over what others think of her

40. Her inability to watch any scary movie

41. The way she wraps gifts in magazine photographs

42. Her Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, including the soundtrack

43. The way she looks while wearing a headband

44. Her astounding patience

45. Her “good rice and chicken” dinner

46. Her fierce love of her grandmother

47. Her ability to name almost any song on the radio within three seconds

48. The way she cried when I asked her to marry me

49. Her harsh but frequently necessary criticism of my writing

50. The way she said Charlie’s name for the first time in the delivery room

51. Her timeless beauty on our wedding day

52. Our “South Park is better than The Simpsons” talk

53. The way she looks in a knit cap

54. The extreme diversity of her friends

55. The way is takes about 15 minutes to become her lifelong friend

56. The fact she has not poisoned our dog or cat yet

57. Her untapped, underutilized and yet remarkable design aesthetic

58. Her camera-ready-but-still-natural-looking smile

59. The way she sneezes multiple times, every time

60. Her willingness to eat ice cream for dinner

61. Any cookie or cake that she has ever baked

62. Watching her dance. I repeat because it is my favorite thing

63. She is in the black in career winnings in poker

64. The way she wept when upon receiving news of my first book deal

65. Her love for a Patriots game on a fall afternoon

66. The way she weeps uncontrollably during year-end school speeches

67. The way everyone seems to love her almost as much as I do

68. Her universal and unfailing support of me

69. The way she has never made me feel guilty about being away from home

70. Those moments in life when she is uncommonly proud of me

71. Falling asleep on my shoulder at the drive-in

72. Her unwarranted confidence in almost everything I do

73. Her love and attachment to yet independence from her parents

74. Her rejection of senseless tradition

75. Her tears on our wedding day

76. The way she stretches in the morning as she wakes up

77. The way she looked on the beaches of Bermuda

78. Her lack of investment in trends and name brands

79. Her embrace and love of Christmas

80. The way her former students still love her years later

81. The way she sings to our children at night

82. The way she barely grips the toothbrush while brushing her teeth

83. The way she speaks to our children the same way she speaks to adults

84. Her unwavering defense of my quirks and eccentricities

85. Her genuinely violent yet laughter-filled response to tickling

86. The way she walks when she is tipsy

87. Her grudging acceptance of my last name

88. The way every wedding I attend makes we want to marry her again

89. Her unparalleled, unjustified acceptance of me in every way

90. The inexplicable pleasure she feels in bathing our children

91. The fact that we have never had an actual fight

92. Her talent for filling stockings with perfect presents at Christmastime

93. The way she dances with our children in the kitchen

94. The affection she feels for her own childhood

95. The way she folds a shirt

96. Her reference to me as a “manly hunk of man meat”

97. The frequency at which she changes her order in a restaurant

98. Her rejection and abhorrence of snobbery in every way

99. Agreeing to marry me on the steps of Grand Central Terminal

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