22 Years

Twenty-two years ago today, I married the most patient man in the world.

At least, he was, until I got ahold of him.

To give you an example of the kind of insanity I regularly provide, let me regale you with The Tale of the Bunk Beds.

One of Hubby’s friends gave us a set of wooden bunk beds a while back – older, massive things made of knotty pine. Our boys have been using them as single beds, in their separate rooms.

Right after we got back from vacation last month, we decided to move our boys (who are two and five) into the same bedroom. Our house is very small, so we were stoked about reclaiming our guest room, which has been a baby nursery since the oldest was born.

The only logical choice, space-wise, was to put the bunk beds together. In preparation for the big event, Hubby stained the bunk beds and added a rail to the bottom one, for the two-year-old.

Oh, if only his work had ended there. If only I were not such a monumentally neurotic cautious person.



We move dressers and buckets of toys around, to clear space, and Hubby dismantles one of the beds completely, to get it through the doors. He then lines the bottoms of both beds with plywood, so they don’t creak, and reinforces them with perpendicular beams.

“There. Now those’re strong enough to hold a semi,” Hubby says, patting them proudly.

I consider this. I’m already nervous. “Yes,” I say. “But now there’s even more weight to fall on the kid in the bottom bunk, if it falls.”

Hubby stares at me.

“It’s not going to fall, Cathy,” he says.

“Yes…but what if it does? And,” I say, casting a wider net, “what if the top bunk slides off the bottom one?”

Hubby stares at me incredulously. (He spends entirely too much of his spare time doing this, if you ask me.)

“That’s not gonna happen, Cathy,” he says. “There are wooden dowels inside each of the legs.” He shows them to me. They look awfully small.

“Those are pencils!” I exclaim. “You expect the bunks to hold up with pencils?”

Hubby sighs. “I will make something better, Cathy.” And off he trudges to the garage.

I busy myself moving furniture and toys around. And possibly, I also start walking off the footage in the room, to see if there would be enough room to put the beds side by side, instead of stacked.

You know, just in case.

Hubby comes back with new dowels (which don’t look much different than the old dowels, frankly), and with much huffing and puffing, we lift the beds into place. I look at them.

“I can’t believe they’re just sitting on each other,” I say. “We’re going to need to put brackets on those legs.”

In serene silence, Hubby makes another trip to the garage. But he only finds enough brackets for two of the legs. “I’ll buy more tomorrow,” he says, cutting me off at the pass.

That night I lie in bed and try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy. I do yoga breathing. I even try to tell myself that the outside rail on his bed would (maybe) catch the upper bed if it fell, creating a small pocket of space from which he could escape.

This is not a huge comfort.


(I snapped this picture of them sleeping the next morning. Cute, I know. But I ask you, does this death-trap look safe? I certainly wouldn’t say so. Look at those spindly legs.)

 Hubby goes back to the hardware store and buys brackets, which he drills into the legs of the beds. At this point, not even I can worry about the top bunk breaking off.

Which still leaves us with the possibility of the top bunk collapsing. And there are other problems, as well. I start Googling “bunk beds safety,” and discover all sorts of potential hazards. I start cataloguing the ways in which our beds do not measure up to “code.”

And there’s another issue, with the beams Hubby fastened across the bottom of the top bunk. These beams hang down into the bottom space – so much so that, when our youngest scoots to the foot of the bed to climb out, he keeps bonking his head on the hard wood.

After we put the boys to bed, a thought crosses my mind. “You know the way you reinforced that bed?” I ask Hubby. “Isn’t that the same way our floors are constructed?”

“Yes!” he says. “Exactly.”

“And our floors haven’t collapsed,” I say. Hubby nods, enthusiastically. We both think this knowledge will help my frame of mind.

It doesn’t.

That night I lie in bed and try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy.


I go to Target and purchase bubble wrap and double-sided tape. I then spend nearly an hour lying on the bottom bunk, taping bubble wrap around every square inch of the crosswise beams.

I realize, while lying there, sweaty and crabby (because the boys will not stay out of the small space, and my claustrophobia is kicking in), that lying there is rather like being trapped in a tomb.

“You know,” I tell Hubby casually, when he gets home from work, “we’ll only be able to have these bunk beds set up until Connor gets a little taller. As soon as he gets too tall to sit up in the bottom, we’ll have to separate them.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Hubby says.

“But that’s okay!” I prattle on. “I’ve already measured everything out, and if we move the smaller dresser from the other room into this room, there will be room to put the beds along the far wall, with the dresser between them. It’ll be really cute!”


I forge ahead. “So…it’ll be fine! The boys will like that too. That’ll be fun. And then I can just breathe easier. So we’ll just have them up a little while, then.”


Before I drift off to sleep that night, I try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy. And I realize that this entire thing is a lost cause.



Hubby didn’t even complain (much) when he had to take the bunk beds apart, three days and several hardware-store trips after he put them together. I think that he honestly appreciated my efforts, because he knows that I tried really, really hard to make this work, in my head.

Hubby’s had 22 years to get used to this. That’s an awfully long time.

This post isn’t the floweriest of valentines, I know – but I can promise you, he appreciates my acknowledgment of his sainthood, here.

And seriously? There’s no one I’d rather do life with, or have as Daddy to my babies.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. And thanks – for the patience, for the hard work, for the love…

For everything.


31 thoughts on “22 Years

  1. Now that’s the Cathy I know….always, always going right to the edge of the worst possible scenario. Oddly enough, I think I could live with you; my husband is the same way!! haha.
    Happy Anniversary my friends!! You and Dan are a real testament to love in action. Oh and then there is the patience.
    Love you!

  2. Dan, you are a saint. I would have killed her in and threw her in the fishing pond 🙂 Maybe that will happen the next time you go fishing with Karen 🙂

  3. wow–what a story–and that is only one of many! I love your wedding picture–you look so oung and innocent–and I was there. Congrats on 22 years–time does surely fly! Have a wonderful anniversary!

  4. Knowing the both of you makes this story even better! I can see the look on both of your faces through these conversations. I think i have even seen Dan’s “stare” a couple of times…although it was directed at Kevin! LOL

    Happy Anniversary to two of the best people I know! Cam and Connor are very lucky! 🙂 God Bless!

    • Yes…poor Dan…he gives the stare a lot.

      I was just thinking…one of our last dinner dates was when you watched the boys for our last anniversary! I think we’ve had just a couple more since then. Tami is watching them tonight…we’re going to dinner and a movie (hopefully.) 🙂

  5. Ah Cathy, I love you:-) And I’m with Karen: Dan you are a saint! Mostly though, I LOVE your wedding picture. What were you, like, 12? You are children!!!!

    Happy anniversary to my friends who have been married the longest:-) You win!

  6. Yes, you are absolutely psychotic. For a person who understands physics so well, you should have at least a cursory understanding of structural integrity, which should lead you to trust a reinforced wood frame to hold up a small child. Sorry. I’m with your husband on this one.

    • As someone who likes to plumb the human psyche, you should know that neurosis trumps intelligence. Every time.

      Make sure you don’t read the future posts, “My Neurosis Has a First Name…” or “Sleep Or Something Like It”…

  7. great story (and telling)!

    also, i feel like you’ve been hiding some of your crazy from me. we clearly need to hang out more.

  8. What a wonderful narrative and humbling appreciation for your husband. I am glad your neurosis stops at bunk beds and does not include meteor showers. I can just see you drilling stainless steel plates to their ceiling now. You probably should tell them now that cell phones will not be distributed to them until they are old enough to purchase them. I guarantee that there will be enough evidence of the harmful nature of those devices to convince even slightly neurotic people to discontinue use. Lastly, aren’t you pleased that the “big shoulder” fashion is over? I could never understand it, even when it was the rage.

    Be blessed friend, and thank you for giving an example that marriage can and does work!

    • I am dying laughing. I was totally Dynasty, with my gigantic football shoulders! Ha!!

      And you’re totally right….I could be much worse. (I think that’s where you were going.)

      Thanks…and you guys are right around the same time as us, right? 🙂 Appreciate you so.

  9. Thank you to all for the support and kind words from our friends and those that enjoy the brilliant writings from my dearest one.
    I have yet to post any responses to my wife’s awesome and beautifully written blogs, mostly because I seldom have time to read them at work, not to mention I’m really not a fan of reading, (sad but true) as I’m sure you all may remember from a post a few blogs back. However, today and for good reason, this blog caught my attention.
    It was commented to me today from a co-worker after reading this post, “I don’t know how you live with her” I replied…Tell me about it! But honestly, I don’t know how I could live without her. The boys have the best mother in the world! They won the mommy lottery. She is the most caring, honest, loving and understanding person I know.
    Cat, it has been a joy to be by your side these 22 years. Happy Anniversary my sweet.


  10. My neurotic stage of life is (almost) over. The kids and grandkids are grown. Now if I could just get over worrying that the great grands might be pushing beans up their little noses, or putting earrings on the dog, I could finally relax….or not.

  11. okay, so yeah dan’s response made me cry! i love you two!! i was there from the beginning – i know how much you two love each other and it’s a beautiful thing!! happy anniversary to two amazing people!! love, robin

  12. […] Windows and Paper Walls – Cathy is smarter than you, but she’s nice about it. We share an insatiable curiousity regarding almost anything, and she hooked me with her post about giant maps and prehistoric people. She writes about everything that interests her – which is pretty much everything – science, history, faith, literature, family, etc – and she manages to make normally dry subjects engaging, like her post on Isaac Newton. She also happens to be mildly neurotic. […]

  13. I had to read this out loud to Travis…I was almost in tears laughing! The minute I read the words “bubble wrap” I knew exactly where you were going with it! I love you friend! Happy anniversary!

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