Song Of The Day 3/23/2017: Jens Lekman – “And I Remember Every Kiss”
The Final 7
Reclamations R UsIn late summer of 2007 we found out we were having a boy, due next winter. This filled me with a temporary sense of dread. I was thus far happy with the girl. I didn’t see the immediate need to take on the alternative for the second baby. After being informed there wasn’t anything I could really do about it, I gave in. I was reminded that all I really needed to do was make sure he didn’t jump in front of moving trains or leave the childproof caps unscrewed, and the rest would take care of itself.
The apartment in Fremont wasn’t going to do though, not for too long. We figured we could make it another year in the two-bedroom flat after the boy came, but then we’d have to move up. At the time I was in negotiations to start full-time at The Company (yup, you’re gonna have to wait at least another day for that story, sorry), so it was looking like we’d save what we could from the first year and look into actually buying a house the next. Becoming a homeowner was not something I ever considered possible. Now it looked like it was going to be part of the long-term plan.
But that plan shortened up pretty quick.
Because I forget almost everything related to personal finances, I had forgotten that I held stock options in eCRUSH, which had been snapped up by Hearst Media at the very end of 2006. I was informed I’d be getting a dividend from that sale that cashed in my stock.
The check came in late summer of 2007. It was substantial. Enough for a down payment on, say, a house. If it had come four years earlier who knows what sinkhole it would have gone into. A house seemed like a wise investment, especially as the market was in the process of tumbling.
We were probably not going to be able to swing one of the more in-demand Seattle neighborhoods, so we concentrated on West and South Seattle. Our realtor Michelle took us to a lot of different places. There was one in West Seattle that I really loved, but Kate had an issue with the laundry room, and it wasn’t really conveniently located to transit. (Kate doesn’t drive, and I don’t like to drive downtown.)
The last one she took us to was a rental on the outskirts of Columbia City. It was a three-bedroom place, with a garage that had been converted into a living room.
We’d visited Columbia City earlier in the year and found it very likable. They were also building a light-rail stop that would be open in a couple of years, which would make it easy for me to commute to work downtown. At that time I was under the impression that The Company would be moving us to Pioneer Square. It would also get us to Seahawks games without having to shell out $50 for parking.
The tenants were still there when we saw the house. They were not what you’d call clean people. They were sullen, joyless kids, and the house looked like the flat in Trainspotting without the kid-friendliness.
Lucie, two at the time, took a look around the house and quite gleefully said, “Wow, what a mess!” With the tenants there. They didn’t appear to hear her or be too concerned.
The kitchen smelled like years of lovingly scalded Top Ramen. The bathroom was completely unusable, with a buckled floor, a broken toilet and a rusty sink.
Kate saw potential in the house. She had to talk me into it a bit, but she saw what the folks call a “unique fixer-upper opportunity,” and aside from the bathroom and a paint job, she didn’t think it would be as extensive as Michelle and I thought.
And the pending light-rail stop was not even a quarter-mile away.
Now That's What I Call an OrientationI started working at The Company the first week in September. The first day, of course, I was in orientation with everybody else who’d been hired that spell. Something like 100 people.
They told us all about the benefits. One innovative feature, at the time, was that same-sex domestic couples were eligible for coverage under their plan. They didn’t say anything about opposite-sex, unmarried domestic couples. So at the break I went to one of the advisor stations and asked the rep if coverage was extended to that group of people. She apologetically said they weren’t.
It was kind of a bummer, although one that I completely supported. I had a lot of friends who could have benefitted from that kind of arrangement. But I had to break the news to Kate, so I called her.
“Hey,” I said. “Uh, some not-so-great news.”
“Well, they don’t cover unmarried, opposite-sex domestic couples. They’ll cover the kids and me, but now you.”
“I don’t want you to lose coverage, though.”
There was a pause at some point, it was probably here.
“We could get married,” I said.
“Yeah,” Kate said. “That would solve the problem.”
“But I think we’d have to do it within a certain time frame. Like two weeks.”
I think there was a second pause here.
“What are we doing next weekend?”
“Nothing. Seahawks game on TV on Sunday.”
“Okay. Why don’t we get married then?”
“All right. I’ll make some calls.”
“Okay. I gotta go, they’re going to give us our card keys.”
“See you later!”
That was my marriage proposal. I hadn’t seen nearly enough Matthew McConaughey romcoms to do it properly, but it got the job done.
We Gather for Kidney-Shaped Pizzas and Lifelong CommitmentThe next weekend we went to Kate’s parents house. Her parents were off on a camping trip. We had the place to ourselves. We asked our friend Jen Gulbin, a Universal Life Church pastor, to marry us. JEN, WE LOVE YOU AND YOU DID A GREAT JOB. (I, also a Universal Life Church pastor, did the ceremony for Jen and her husband Mat. I wrote the whole thing out because I had a few months to get ready for it. Jen has always felt bad about how she performed our ceremony because she felt it sounded like she just threw the whole thing together at the last minute. However, what Jen forgets that we threw the whole wedding together at the last minute. Shut up, Jen, you did great.)
On Sunday we had some of our best friends from the Olympia area come by, along with Ian from the Lou Reed signing and Kristen, who I believe were on their way to Southern California.
We started the ceremony in the side yard around noon, I think. We had to be snappy about it because the Seahawks game was on at 1pm. Kate and I stood opposite each other and Jen started the ceremony. Jonny was my best man, and Chase was Kate’s man of honor. Lucie ran up and stood between the two of us, looking very serious. She didn’t want to be too far away in case she had to be responsible for something. We did not exchange rings. We still don’t have rings. We’re pretty functional, no-frills people over here.
At some point Jen signed off on the whole thing and said, “Yeah, go forth, you guys.” And we were married.
Then I had to go and make the pizzas, so we could all watch the Seahawks game and drink from the 24-pack of PBR that Josh Bomb had brought. I messed up on one of the pizzas. It turned out kidney-shaped. It tasted great, but slicing out portions was tricky.
The Seahawks lost 23-20, but it was still a good day. Someone else at Field Gulls did the writeup.