Such a thing as too much to­geth­er­ness

The Covington News - - Newton at Play - Kari Apted Kari Apted may be reached at kari@kari­apted.com.

Please ac­cept my apolo­gies for missing my dead­line last week. In ad­di­tion to be­ing snowed-in, my home com­puter was hav­ing is­sues. Which means I did what I would’ve pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered im­pos­si­ble: I sur­vived Storma-Palooza 2011 with­out be­ing on­line. My only fix came in the form of quick, out­ra­geously ex­pen­sive In­ter­net checks on my iPhone.

Oh how I dread the ar­rival of that cell phone bill.

It was five long, frozen days cooped up with four males suf­fer­ing from cabin fever. By Thurs­day, we had to get out of the house, so we ig­nored the weath­er­man’s warn­ings to stay home, bun­dled up the young ‘ uns and went out for some din­ner and shop­ping.

When we got home, my two old­est sons to­tally wiped out on the icy drive­way. Zach fell flat on his face and Eli, flat on his back. Thank­fully, noth­ing was bro­ken or bleed­ing and no one re­quired a trip to the ER.

I should’ve seen their falls as a warn­ing to be cau­tious the fol­low­ing day, but no. I awoke in the mood to clean, and be­gan by tak­ing the dog’s bedding out­side while my cof­fee brewed. A quick glance out the win­dow showed an ice-free path. But the moment my foot hit the stair­case lead­ing to the back yard, I slipped and tum­bled down six ice-cov­ered brick stairs, land­ing in the slushy mud at the bot­tom.

The first thing I thought was, “ That hurt!” The sec­ond thought was, “ I don’t care if I broke some­thing, I will haul my­self back up these steps be­cause I can’t let any­one see me ly­ing here in my night­shirt!” With bed-head and morn­ing breath to boot. So, bleed­ing and bruised, I dragged my­self back in­side and nursed my wounds.

I saw the doc­tor that af­ter­noon, and he said I was lucky I didn’t have a con­cus­sion like the pa­tient be­fore me, who’d fallen, too. We South­ern­ers clearly aren’t cut out for nav­i­gat­ing our way through arc­tic con­di­tions.

Over a week later, I’m still limp­ing around, and the shady parts of my yard still show­case lit­tle piles of dirty snow and ice. Who­ever heard of the frozen stuff lin­ger­ing that long in the metro area? I heard Jay Leno com­ment that our storm sparked a new TV show: Sarah Palin’s At­lanta.

I had a few names for it, too. The Week of Home­school­ing in Our Jam­mies, or the story of The Mommy Grinch That Stole the Snow Days. It was also The Week That Fam­ily To­geth­er­ness Be­came a Lit­tle Too Much, also known as The Very Cold Day Mom Sent Dad Out in the Ice to Fetch Her Zoloft Re­fill. And last, but cer­tainly not least, it was The Week I Cel­e­brated My 20th An­niver­sary.

Yep. I have been mar­ried for 20 whole years now. In­sane, isn’t it? I don’t feel like Don­nie and I are old enough to have been mar­ried for 20 years. But I guess we are old enough.

I def­i­nitely see it when I look at our wed­ding video. Don­nie looks like a 12-year-old I robbed from the cra­dle, all lean and dash­ing in his black tuxedo. My com­plex­ion is flaw­less, like a smooth, per­fect peach and I ac­tu­ally have a waist­line in my lacy wed­ding dress. When my kids watch the video, the first thing they no­tice is that dad still had all his hair. And when they hear me speak, they’re like, “ Whose voice is that?” be­cause I sound like a silly lit­tle teenager.

Now, af­ter 20 years of yelling at my hus­band and kids, my voice is deep and gravely, not un­like some­one who reg­u­larly smokes a pack of cig­a­rettes a day. I’ve never smoked, so it must have been the yelling. Even I can barely be­lieve that young, fresh voice once be­longed to me.

But the slightly wrin­kled, slightly bald­ing, deep-voiced, over­weight cou­ple that we are now had a great time cel­e­brat­ing our 20th. My sis­ter watched the kids and we went out for Chi­nese food. Be­fore the Mon­go­lian beef ar­rived, Don­nie pre­sented me with a gor­geous charm bracelet fea­tur­ing a lit­tle heart with a teensy key dan­gling from it. It was a to­tally un­ex­pected gift that truly de­lighted me.

It wasn’t an ex­trav­a­gant cel­e­bra­tion, but af­ter a whole week to­gether, we didn’t need much. You’d think the last thing we’d have wanted was more to­geth­er­ness, but that’s not the case. We talked about how we’d love to re­turn to Scot­land for our 25th an­niver­sary, and imag­ined what life might be like when we’re cel­e­brat­ing our mar­riage an­other twenty years from now.

This week proved that to­geth­er­ness can be a bless­ing or a curse. I’m thank­ful that we had a spe­cial time to reaf­firm that stay­ing to­gether is a prom­ise we in­tend to keep — for bet­ter or for worse.

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