The final crush?

What's sexier than a man who loves cats?

What’s sexier than a man who loves cats?

Following the theme of the last two posts, I had a huge spark and crush on my husband when I met him. I was 21 and he took me by surprise. Given my previous experience of geologists, I was expecting a woolly sweater geek. He does have woolly sweaters and is a geek but has an amazingly sharp sense of humor and is good looking, too. Our romance was very speedy, causing anxious relatives to think that it was a shotgun wedding. (No, we still have no spawn apart from ungrateful Egyptian cats.) We met in August 1981 and married in July 1982. We worked in different countries during this period so only really were together for about four months. At various point in our courtship and marriage, I have thought that I made a mistake and I am sure that he has too.

I had a crush on another librarian in my late twenties, at least eight years after I was married and since Teddy still refers to him, this one made him anxious. I was going through a really difficult period in my life. My father had died in his 50s and my mother had a heart attack leading onto a heart bypass operation. We lived in a rurally isolated village and the most excitement I got was when the mobile library came to us, every two weeks. The librarian was about my age, handsome and he had books. Even better, he could choose books for me from my likes and dislikes. He was remarkably good at that so the crush was inevitable.

My husband was currently having a crush on someone at work, so I guess mine was a revenge crush. Again it was just innocent fun but the librarian thought that I was losing weight to please him but I was just worried about an early death like my parents. He told me a little too much about his personal life and that was enough to dissipate the crush. Once my husband’s crush saw the new slim Kerry, I was satisfied.

We have been married for 33 years so our love and desire for each other has waxed and waned. I remember a wonderful vacation to the east coast of the United States in the late 90s when we were totally in synch. Lovemaking in Pennsylvania to the sound of cicadas will always stay with me. Teddy looked particularly handsome then and I remember thinking how handsome he looked tall, slim with a tan.

Teddy and Bunny in their 40s - married 20 years then

Teddy and Bunny in their 40s – married 20 years then

I am fascinated by our memories being different. We both remember that night in Pennsylvania but then I will remember Madrid and he, Lisbon. We have always loved each other but had some significant ups and downs until recently. We have traveled the world together over the last few years and have been embarrassingly noisy in hotel rooms, particularly Istanbul.

We went to Palm Springs during Christmas break a couple of years ago. I had my usual itinerary of National Parks to visit, restaurants to eat at but suddenly became ill. I told him to go to Joshua National Park without me and then realized that I was ‘ER ill’. I got a taxi to take me to ER for breathing problems, was nebulized after some hours and given antibiotics. I tried to contact him but he was out with cell phone reach. By the time he came to ER he was in such a panic. Despite all that, after a day on strong antibiotics, I was in the mood and since we were staying the Hard Rock Hotel we had the most amazing night together. The whole room was mirrored, our room was named after the Grateful Dead (which seemed particularly appropriate), and we had a sex kit in our bedroom full of toys and condoms. My vulnerability and the mirrors turned Teddy into a sex god. I taught him a few acrobatic positions that night.

I am assuming Teddy will be the final real crush but am too pragmatic to create a Hollywood ending. Nobody can tell what’s in the future and if he died suddenly, I think I would marry again because it was such a wonderful experience. He feels the opposite – no one could compare to his Bunny. In the meantime, I will keep having crushes on movie stars, doctors and anyone else I meet in life. He will too, and I am optimistic that we will live happily ever after until the next time he drives too fast, doesn’t empty the trash or snores. On a final funny note, he queried why I was all dressed up the other day and I told him I was going to see one of my doctors (i.e. crush). In bed that night, after a bottle of wine or so, he snuggled up to me, grabbed my boobs and said, “You have the most beautiful breasts”. I waited with anticipation but the next sound was very loud snoring. I slept in the front room…

A bad day

bun and ted baja

Bunny and Teddy in Baja

My husband called me today, “How has your day been?” Immediately, I knew that he had bad news. He works in oil and we knew that there was a possibility of redundancy. He had been laid off and I felt a sinking of my stomach. I wasn’t quite sure what to say but told him to drive carefully on the way home. We have been preparing for this since the dramatic drop in oil price. I could tell that he was worried that I might fall apart but I didn’t.

He is a geologist with specific skills. When we first married in 1982, he had a job with a small consultancy. He had been working in Kuwait and things looked good but then…he was made redundant. It was devastating for him and he drove around all afternoon taking photographs before telling me. I was stiff with shock – I had a part-time job and we were already struggling to pay the mortgage and utility bills. Almost immediately he was offered a job with lesser status but the same salary for the sister company. His pride took a knock but at least we could pay the mortgage.

From that moment on we were careful with money, paid off our mortgage in our 40s and saved relentlessly. It was a valuable life lesson but harsh, nonetheless. We are fortunate, compared to most. We still have no mortgage, no debt, two cars paid for but what next? There are half made plans; opportunities with small oil companies; possible contracts in the Middle East but still nothing concrete.

I feel guilty that my mental illness makes it difficult if not impossible for me to be the sole wage earner. That said, I could probably get a job in the short term. His company has given him a generous pay off so we can relax over Christmas and then make definitive plans. Strangely, my thoughts today were with the people who jingle the bells for the Salvation Army. They have reached rock bottom and yet still have a sense of optimism. They seem grateful for every donation and cup of coffee offered.

We have drunk too much cheap Trader Joe wine today but know that life will improve. I was concerned for him because he was unhappy at work but couldn’t afford to move in case we lost essential benefits. Thank goodness we have lived in a third world country and are able to put life in perspective. He will get excellent references because he followed the rule: “Be good to everyone on the way up because you never know when you will be on the way down”. He is a good husband, provider and the love of my life.

The Peterhead Situation

Andy Norway 001

Many years ago my husband and I were shopping in our nearest large town, Peterhead. We lived in a rural agricultural area – the nearest large city was Aberdeen, 30 miles away. Some of my husband’s family is from Peterhead which is the largest fishing port in Europe. We must have been bored because there were few shops or decent restaurants. It was in the middle of the day, we were walking along the main shopping street when my husband grabbed my arm with a panicked look. “What is it,” I asked with concern. “I really need to go to the bathroom”. “Okay, we can go get some lunch and use their bathroom”. “No, I need to go to the bathroom right now and it’s a poo!” I quickly located the public restrooms (that should never be used by humans) and pointed him in the right direction. My laughter had remained inside, but as I watched him waddle off trying to keep his sphincter under control, I just collapsed laughing. When he came out I asked if he had a tummy problem but it was apparently just a gigantic poo that had to come out instantly. Using those bathrooms must have been just as scary as the problem. He just needs to mention The Peterhead Situation for me to fall apart laughing but also look concerned.

There is now spit all over my lap top as I am laughing so hard with these romantic memories. Around about the same time, we had a small inheritance and bought ourselves a Superking bed. They were very uncommon in Scotland and we paid almost as much for the bedding. My worse half had been out at a business meal and I think I was already in bed, almost asleep when he came home. In the middle of the night, he shook me and said, “I have had an accident in the bed, we need to change it!” Still sleepy, I asked precisely what happened and he had pooed his pants after eating bad mussels. I really didn’t want to get up so just suggested that he take his pants off and move to my side of the bed – it’s 6ft wide, after all. Then he really got upset, disgusted at himself and at his slothful, sleepy wife. He made so much fuss that I changed the bed with very bad grace, all the while berating him for eating something as stupid as reheated mussels. Nag, nag and harrumph!

He has mostly learned to eat sensible food except the time he ate nuts at the airport bar in Cairo. Really?? Apart from hepatitis, there are so many illnesses you can get from shared nuts in a third world country. He threw up for 5 hours on the plane – he is such an ass. We have been married so long (33 years) that he now looks at me before he makes his choice at the restaurant. The wait staff look amazed that my shake of the head can change his mind – but they have never cleaned mussel poo out of a Superking bedding!!! He is going to love me for this post… 🙂

PS This is what he looked like at the time of the incidents which is why I didn’t divorce him for lack of sphincter control…

Kerry and the Missionary

Kerry aged 18 snuggling with the beleaguered boyfriend

Kerry aged 18 snuggling with the beleaguered boyfriend

The title of this anecdote is suggestive, as is the tale… When I was 19, I was very annoyed with my first serious boyfriend. He had asked me to marry him and I accepted but I am not sure we were really engaged; just young and in love. It was a tumultuous relationship, mostly because of my bad behavior. On this occasion, he had to study for his architecture exams and he suggested that if I stay at home all weekend he would visit if he got an opportunity (we had no telephone). I was incensed at the idea that I was at his beck and call, so packed my rucksack and went off alone for the weekend, youth hostelling at Loch Lomond. My mother was given instructions to tell him exactly where I was. We had recently got back together and one of the conditions was that I remain faithful. As soon as he said it and I agreed, I knew that it was a lie.

I got on the train to Balloch and hiked the 5 miles along the loch side to get to the youth hostel. It was spring so it was almost full. Girls and boys had separate dormitories and I was sharing my room with a group of people who had Down’s syndrome, including the little girl in the bunk above mine. She was a Chatty Cathy and I had great fun with her. In the kitchen area I spotted a group of young men and women and heard their American accents. I got chatting to them and the leader of the group was a handsome young man in his early 20s. They were a Protestant Missionary group traveling through the UK. I was a little perplexed because I had been brought up in a strict Roman Catholic family and two cousins were missionaries with the White Fathers in Africa. Were they trying to convert us? The Leader, let’s call him Joel, because I can’t remember his name, was fascinated by my history (an American brought up in Scotland) and frankly, obviously fancied me.

Perhaps sensing the predatory danger of a young cougar, he told me that the all the members of the group remained celibate until they married (and that included kissing). Surely he noticed my pupils dilate with the anticipation of the hunt? He asked me what I was going to do that evening and I told him I was going to walk a mile or two to the lovely bar/restaurant/dance hall on the shores of the loch. Despite the narrowed eyes of the female members of his group, he insisted that he should accompany me because it was pitch dark and potentially dangerous for me to go alone. Who is the cougar in this tale? I politely acquiesced, so I didn’t embarrass my chivalrous Lancelot. As we walked to the bar, he told me that he didn’t drink alcohol either. When we got there, I ordered a whiskey and he asked if he could taste it, “Sure”, said I. Several whiskies later we were up dancing various Scottish dances. I should have felt guilty about leading him astray but he was having a wonderful time. Finally, we had to head up to the hostel before they locked the doors.

It was a beautiful, moonlit night and you could see the Orion constellation above us. Suddenly, he grabbed me and kissed me very passionately. He kept saying that he shouldn’t be doing this but that didn’t stop him. We stumbled and laughed all the way up to the door where the Warden was waiting to lock up. Halfway up the baronial stairs (the hostel had previously been a stately home), he kissed me again before he went to the boy’s dormitory. Lights were out in the girl’s dormitory but the little girl with Down’s syndrome must have been out in the hallway as we came up the stairs. She asked, “Is he your boyfriend?” “No, go to sleep”, I replied. “Why were you kissing him, then?” Fortunately, one of her group leaders told us all to be quiet and the inquisition stopped.

The next morning I woke up with a whiskey hangover, feeling guilty about seducing the missionary and being unfaithful, yet again. Sheepishly, I went down to breakfast and bid good morning to my lover and his missionary group. The girls glared at me and he looked guilty. Only he and I knew what had happened, however, so it was going to stay a secret. Until, that is…my little bunkmate came down for breakfast and announced to the whole room that she saw Joel and I kissing on the stairs last night. I blushed furiously, as did he, and I made a very swift exit. In those days you had to share the chores of cleaning the hostel so I did something suitably penitential like cleaning the toilets before hiking down the road home.

I shared all my stories with my hip, single mum and she was delighted with how naughty I had been. She was suffering from Schadenfreude because she didn’t like my architect boyfriend. Inevitably, our relationship fizzled out some months later and he never knew about my American Missionary (unless he is reading this now and will realize what a lucky escape he had). Every so often I think about Joel the Missionary and I hope he enjoyed his fun dalliance in the moonlight before he married a much more suitable lady. Just in case the Missionary is reading this, “Hey Joel, if you have a Mega Church now and are really rich, click the follow button”.