Being There

Our youngest on the Shelby Street Bridge in our hometown, Nashville TN

Our youngest on the Shelby Street Bridge in our hometown, Nashville TN

If I could paraphrase the goal in one phrase it would be this: to get where we are going together.

We had a succinct beginning on December 16, 1989, but nothing since then was predicted.  We couldn’t see Columbia, SC via Williamsburg, KY through Crawford, TX from the altar in Nashville, TN.  We couldn’t see emergency c-sections and umbilical cords knotted and wrapped around baby’s neck.  Couldn’t see graduate schools and career disappointments.  Couldn’t see arguments epic. Couldn’t see a hole in a neck cut open to save life.  Couldn’t’ see dehydrated faith and long stares into nothingness.  Couldn’t see a borrowed house. Couldn’t see old friends leaving and new friends arriving.  Couldn’t see Anglican.  Couldn’t see trying this hard.

And we couldn’t see how satisfying the view would be when all the hard mixes with all the good and we notice ourselves lovingly paying attention to each other because it would suck to be alone on this veranda.

“Will you keep blogging now that the year of Tired Dating is over?”

Probably.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

But, this blog was never the goal.  Alykev.com was merely a delivery system.  “Tired Dating” was an artistic label we attached to our married life entering our 23rd year together.

We captured our domain, set up the blog and managed the process. Amazed by clicks, views and visitors in the thousands, we originally thought only stray family members would happen by.  This has been fun, a good outlet, and an opportunity to communicate some marital authenticity that is evidently needed in a world with scarcely little.

But, this blog was never the goal.

The goal was, and is, something that cannot be tracked by WordPress analytics.

On many days I absolutely don’t understand why Aly thinks what she thinks.  And she says the same about me.  We aren’t trying to figure each other out.  Anymore.  Maybe we are trying to accept who the other is and just keep moving, not knowing where, but doing so together.

That’s what we said we would do.  Get there together.

Wherever that may be.

Congaree National Park, 20 minutes from our front door, Columbia SC

Congaree National Park, 20 minutes from our front door, Columbia SC

Eternity Reality or “Where’s the freakin plunger?”

Just Normal Livin'


Ordinary Normal

In the archives of this blog you will see pictures of romance and happiness and friendship and love and a general sense that we are a part of the beautiful people clan.  We eat strawberries dipped in chocolate and drink champagne from flutes and eat at restaurants like Garibaldi’s dining on corn meal encrusted fried oysters served over green tomatoes drizzled with a roasted pepper remoulade.  We attend art museum functions, even walking off with the sculpture from the winning bid.

Yeah, it’s really as good as it sounds. But authenticity begs a less pretty revelation.

If we have endeavored to show ourselves as a real couple tripping the life fantastic on a monthly basis amidst these tired dates, we must adhere to truth in advertising standards and showcase our lower, less romantic, attributes.  And who could doubt we’ve had them this year, our low points? Or, maybe there are those who read Tired Dating as a kind of fantasy trip all their own, trading daily blahs for our easy life.  If we can be of fantasy material for some other tired soul(s) then so be it.  But at this point they should probably digress.  If anyone is going to live vicariously through our tired dates they should have the stones to see how the sausage is made.

You betcha.

There are days when the laundry piles so high it looks like we are constructing a personal WIPEOUT course from the rec room to the attic.  “Goodnight, and, big balls.”

One of us, I won’t name who, has on regular occasions been heard to scream “where’s the freakin’ plunger” to the obvious and just as motivated response “where do YOU think it is you jackwagon?”

Having never been able to successfully subscribe to the “never go to bed mad” philosophy, there have been a few nights this year when we have slept beneath the same roof, but in different beds.  Not proud of that, but we are making sausage here, remember.

Every other fortnight one of us buys a plug-in scent bomb to thin out the odor de canine while the other comes behind and clandestinely unplugs that sucker for being unwillingly intoxicated by the aroma of old lady powder.  It’s Clouseau and Cato all over again, minus the Asian and French Connection.

And last night we argued about the proper usage, or rather non-usage, of couch pillows.  Are they for show?  Are they for comfort?  These are questions for the ages.  Evidently.

And eternity is all about us.


A Good Day in the Mountains…is a Good Day.

Relational moments good and bad will last forever, in our memories, in our actions and reactions based upon years of doing life together.  So, make the most of these moments, not because they are fleeting, but rather because they are eternal.

And that brings us to a revelation we have surprisingly considered each of the past ten months: the further a marriage gets from reality, in practice or in theory, the harder it is for that marriage to thrive within the ritualized confines of typical, ordinary living.

We have three more dates to record in the balance of our year.  We will probably spend more on a dinner than we should.  We will wear clothes that make us feel pretty, as if our beauty merely comes from the surface.  But know this; these dates, while appearing perhaps showy and grandiose, have helped make for us one of the best years we have ever had.

Eternity within the ordinary.

(There is a reason sausage taste so good.  It takes effort to get it right.)

Makin’ Bacon…or not.

It used to be a bakery...got nothing for that one.

Hey, it was a bakery a long time ago. I love bread.

[POSTSCRIPT:  several have inquired, a few at church this morning, with the question, “so how was…breakfast?”  Because he has “an acute sense of propriety,” a True Gentleman never tells.  He will say, however,  the best part was the laughter.  And after 23 years, he’ll take that all day long.]

A few weeks ago unbeknownst to me Alyson purchased a “romance package” from a local boutique hotel.  The deal includes dinner at Garibaldi’s, the restaurant where Tired Dating began six long months ago, and one overnight stay in above average environs at the boutique hotel conveniently located half a block from the restaurant.   Our date is tomorrow night, so you know what I am thinking? Riiight.

Its not one of those “Pink Neon” places.

I couldn’t be happier.  Any man reading this is happy too, whether he admits it or not to his spouse or girlfriend.  Although probably afraid to cop to his smirk, upon reading this entry he may explain the grin as the byproduct of how much trouble he imagines I will incur for writing this entry, let alone posting it.  But if tortured to truthfulness, he will admit it. He will scream it… “I am smiling for Kevin, because he is going on a date at a hotel, which means he gets Hotel Breakfast! Aaaaahahahahaha!”

Perhaps it’s a fraternal thing, but common to most men is a healthy and pervasive expectation for Hotel Breakfast.  And we don’t care how we get it.  Gourmet Buffet with waffle and omelet station.  Sit down order from the menu.  Quick and free dash to yesterday’s donuts and egg substitute sterno tray.  Or the bag of almonds from the mini-bar.  Doesn’t matter.  There’s hopefulness, an excitement.  Hotel Breakfast, in varied and surprising form, will be different from what we consume at home.

The ice sculpture has no nutritional value whatsoever.


The ice sculpture has no nutritional value whatsoever.

Imagining hotel breakfast triggers a miniscule particle in our brain which then alerts chemicals and nerves and natural occurring narcotics to direct the limbic, circulatory, musculature, skeletal and hydraulic systems to contemplate the meal ahead.  I think it might even border on obsession.  We wonder in delirious thought: “Bacon…will it be maple cured, or perfectly crisp?  Will there be an obnoxious cornucopia at a big table inviting me towards breads and rolls and danish and loaves I haven’t seen since the last hotel date?  Will the fruit be carved into unknown geometric shapes?  Can I pour my milk into my junior box of Frosted Flakes like I did when I was a kid?” No, wait; retract that one, wrong memory bank.  But you get my drift.  And I almost forgot the most important one, “Will I be allowed seconds?”

Given the full disclosure already offered in the above paragraphs on behalf of truthful men everywhere I guess I should admit to times when our buddies, co-workers, and the occasional homeless man selling newspaper at the corner might happen to find out about an upcoming hotel date.  It’s like a relay team sharing the Gold medal, high fives for everyone.  The lone caveat is the guy who has become accustomed to skipping breakfast or going without for one reason or another, bless his heart.  He really doesn’t know how to process the option of chopped pecans on a waffle, much less a cold cup of yogurt with homemade granola.  Mostly he’s just bitter, and no one really likes to be around him anyway. I know, I know, it’s sophomoric, but breakfast at a hotel?  In the words of Brother Dave, “the worst I had was wonderful.”

But a myopic view of Hotel Breakfast is discouraged. It’s not the most important thing on the date.  And it never will be.  One focuses solely on breakfast at ones peril.  Maybe the kitchen is closed, or the doughnut delivery is late, or there is an early checkout mandated by circumstance.  It happens.  And when it does, the important thing to realize in a relationship is this: neither man nor woman can live by Hotel Breakfast alone.

(There’s always lunch.)

Because…

While pondering our March date, which has yet to be determined, I asked myself this question:   Why am I dating my wife, especially when she is soooo tired all the time?

Because if I dated another woman it would be extremely hard to explain.

Because dating her allows for minimal rejection – she won’t tell me she has other plans.

Because there is no other woman on the planet who deserves my full attention. Period.

Because it feels good to get in our car and back out of the driveway knowing wherever we go there will be no arguments erupting from the backseat about the ipad/pod.  (there’s a thought…maybe for our March date we should just drive around peacefully for hours.)

Because if, and when, our children get married, I want to have earned the privilege of sitting on the second row of the church while holding her hand during the wedding.

Because Family Systems is more than a Theory, and most likely, how Aly and I treat one another will be a key ingredient to the interaction between our children and their spouses.

Because when her eyes smile at me some of my insecurity is defeated.

Because she is curvy and smells nice.

Because “quality versus quantity” is bologna, and hours invested with each other make more difference than minutes.

Because when it came time to say “I do” twenty three years ago, I did.  And the vows said nothing conditional about receding hair or expanding waist (mine.  all mine.)

Because she tolerates my jokes.  And laughs every now and then.

Because everyone we know who has an empty nest tells us the view from the top of that mountain is worth the climb together.  Dating each other is part of that climb.

Because sitting in church on the same pew the Sunday morning after a Saturday night date is better than sex.  (In one sense.)

Because Merlot, cornmeal encrusted oysters on fried green tomatoes, and Crab stuffed Sea Bass are pre-requisites to conversations that CANNOT be had at home.

Because God said I should. Well, maybe not explicitly, but The Song of Solomon said something about walking across the Hills of Bether, and I think that is kinda about dating my wife.

Because sometimes there are problems in life that CAN be solved by dinner and a movie.

Because staying in love means playing the part, not just assuming the character.

Because our lives are too stressful to have no rewards.