The First 33

A look back at a certain married couple's early years.

Last weekend, Cupcake and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. ”Celebrated” might be too strong a word but we did do all the traditional things; a special supper (pizza), cards (to pay for the pizza) and announcing it on Facebook.

I mentioned on my “news feed”, I was excited about it being number 33 because in four months, we will be at 33-1/3 which is a record. I am certain only those of a certain age got the joke but some that did carried it further. As one wag put it, 25 years is silver, 50 is gold but 33 is vinyl. I have been waiting 33 years to use that gag, according to another. Many expressed amazement at our lengthy tenure. I temper my reaction knowing we’re slackers compared to my parents, who were married for twice that long. (Their secret: a huge head start.) The thought that Cupcake and I are only at the halfway mark was sobering despite the tequila. Still, beating Mom and Dad’s score is one of my nobler bucket list items. Most are like, “mooning a head of state”.

Reflecting on our early years together brought to mind our first apartment we shared in Edmonton. This was back when we were living in sin, although not nearly as much sin as I’d hoped. The apartment was small but well-furnished thanks to Cupcake’s frugal ways. She’d had her own place for a long while and had conveniently already collected the furniture we’d need. (She fumed when I described all her stuff as her dowry.)

All I brought into the relationship was clothing, a bicycle and my encyclopedic memory for jokes; none of which Cupcake had any use for.

That little love nest was so long ago, we still had two different last names, two different social circles and two different bank accounts. Mind you, we still have two bank accounts; Cupcake’s personal account and our joint account. (Joint account; whoever gets to the ATM first is the winner.) What Cupcake does with the money in her account remains unclear but I notice our utilities have rarely been cut off.

Recollections of our first cohabitation were reinforced when visiting our son in Edmonton who wanted to show off his new apartment he and his significant sweetie, Sasha, had moved to. Unfortunately, to be close to Grant MacEwan University, their apartment is an older part of downtown where the streets gain a labyrinth-like quality.  Although Cupcake and I had also lived in Edmonton, we’d moved to Calmar before we married in ’82 and became thoroughly inculcated into townie society. We discovered we’d lost, along with our urbane sophistication, our confidence in negotiating the downtown.

Somehow, it was decided Cupcake should drive while I navigate since she has driven downtown a lifetime total of once. (I didn’t get her logic, either, but seldom do.) She didn’t drive when we had the apartment. I didn’t teach her how until we’d lived in Calmar at least six years. (If you really want to test the bonds of matrimony, I highly recommend teaching your life’s love to drive on a vehicle with a standard.)

Despite some tense times negotiating all the construction detours (we’re not used to roads getting fixed, I guess) we finally found the place we were looking for. A little bit of crowbar work to free Cupcake’s fingers from the steering wheel and we were out of the vehicle, making our way through a dingy, scary parkade to a slightly less dingy lobby. The elevator made odd rumbling sounds and I wasn’t sure if it was a mechanical issue or the fact that I’d had a huge breakfast that day.

Entering the apartment, I had the strangest feeling I had suddenly grown into a giant. Everywhere one looked there were regular house things; a stove, a fridge, a bathroom sink, a toilet and all were significantly smaller than I am used to.

The furniture pieces were all Kijiji specials. The bookcases were full of neatly ordered video games and even some books. The psychedelic tapestry on their feature wall would have been at home in an acid-rock video but was it admittedly colourful, intricate and not devoid of artistic merit. They wanted to impress us so badly, and they did, but mostly it impressed on me how much I would love to be back there once again just starting out with Cupcake on our 33-year adventure. I guess, one could say, if this halfway, we are.

 

 

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