A Suburban Dad's Guest Blog: 20 Years of Marriage

By Rick Kaempfer

Twenty years ago today I married my lovely bride, Bridget. This is a recent picture of the two of us in Italy, celebrating that anniversary a little bit early.

When you say the number "20" it sounds like a very long time ago, and I suppose it is, but I have no complaints. I'm really enjoying the process of growing older together.

At this point, we know virtually everything about each other. For instance, here are 20 things I know with certainty about my wife.

#1: It doesn't do any good to ask her how far away something is. She only has two answers: "5 minutes" (anything under an hour) or "20 minutes" (anything over an hour).

#2: When she asks my opinion about something she wants to buy, and I say "I don't care", she knows I mean it, and isn't offended by it. In fact, she sees it as an opportunity.

#3: More than anything in the world, she wants to be the parenting good cop, but she's an absolute natural at being the bad cop.

#4: Even though I'm the one that was born of German parents and grew up in Germany, she's more German than I am in temperament. She's efficient, industrious, and dependable. If she was also punctual, she'd have to change her name to something like Heidi or Gretchen.

#5: In social situations, she is a dream wife. She will never, and I mean never, roll her eyes when I launch into one of my power rotation stories. I really do love that about her.

#6: Even though she's looking at me, and I'm the only person in the room, and she happens to be screaming, she's not screaming AT me. She's just screaming NEAR me. (That one took me 19 years to figure out)

#7: She is an advertiser's dream. She has no problem talking to you during a television show, but cannot be disturbed during the commercials.

#8: Her sleeping abilities should be studied and cloned. She falls asleep in seconds, and can sleep through absolutely anything.

#9: She claims that she doesn't have any obvious talents, but I've never seen a more natural pediatric nurse. She always knows what to do when the kids get sick, and does it with tender loving care.

#10: She's courteous enough to swallow the "dumbass" at the end of her sentences. For instance, if I ask "Have you seen the keys?", her tone of voice will say: "They're in your hands, dumbass," but the word dumbass is never said out loud.

11. We're temperature and TV-show incompatible, but she's the one that figured out we needed a multi-story house with two televisions (cold basement with one television and warm ground floor with another television) and we've never fought about either issue since.

12. She really doesn't like to flaunt it. She was taught and raised not to flaunt it. But when she does, she's really got something to flaunt.

13. Her world stops when the song "Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant comes on the radio. It can resume in about three minutes. Bruce Springsteen has the same effect...but that can last up to nine minutes, depending on the song.

14. She understands that people have gone to great lengths to create languages to communicate, and doesn't expect me to read her mind when there are words that can directly explain what she's thinking. I've discovered that's a pretty rare trait.

15. Between the two of us we have 1 1/2 asses, because she is completely incapable of half-assing anything, and well...that's sort of what I do.

16. She is a brutally honest critic of my writing--and I've learned to trust her absolutely when she tells me that something isn't quite right.

17. She's really bad at ordering food at restaurants. "This steak at Shaw's Crab House isn't that good." So true. It's a seafood restaurant.

18. She still enjoys to be liquored up occasionally. I like that in a woman.

19. She understands the concept of story telling, and won't interrupt the flow of a story to correct meaningless details. It doesn't matter if it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday, or if we were on Western Avenue or Diversey...she has a natural gist-of-the-story awareness. Again, a rare trait.

20. She still makes me smile every time she walks through the door. I may not be wiggling my booty, wagging my tail, jumping up and down, and humping her leg, but I'm just as excited to see her as my spastic dog.

Even after twenty years.

Happy anniversary, Bridget. And thank you for twenty wonderful years.

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