Our Marriage Needs a Prefix.

IMG_1276

Last night I told my husband that I miss him. He nodded in agreement as he sat beside me.

We are together a lot, but our moments of non-distracted, non-exhausted, non-sick, non-stressed, non-necessary, non-rushed, non-interrupted communication are slim. We’d like to add those little nons into our relationship, but they’re elusive little prefixes.

We strive to have non-distracted conversations, but texts, and emails, and demands keep breaking our concentration. Not to mention our kids.

We desire to talk about non-necessary topics, but there are fires to be put out before we can intentionally try to fan into flame our love for one another.

We want to give each other our non-exhausted selves. But, we can’t seem to find them.

We need the nons in our marriage.

But adding that prefix takes work.

And it should. Life moves forward after the wedding day and so should our relationship. It should grow and blossom instead of wilting. But it takes effort to remember to care for it in the midst of dizzying schedules and bursting calendars.

The daily, “What time should I plan dinner?” and,  “Did you remember we have that thing tomorrow evening? Did you find a sitter?” questions cause us to put a finger in the leaking dam and leave us in a bind the next time we hear, “Babe, can you give me a hand here?”

The days of long uninterrupted dinners and fun filled dates are taken over by quick, “How was your day?” volleys and conversations squeezed in while sitting in the bleachers.

You have to make an effort to add those nons. But how? What does that look like?

I think it takes many different forms.

Some days you make your kids gag as you kiss in the kitchen. Other days you put a movie in for them and you finish that difficult conversation that’s been driving a wedge between you. Some days you splurge on a nice dinner for two after they’re all in bed, and you tuck your phones away in another room too. Some days you go out to a movie neither of you really care to see just so that you can sit beside each other and hold hands.

And some days you simply acknowledge to each other that you miss the nons. Both of you do. That you’re striving to find them and you believe in each other and miss each other in the meantime. That the effort to find the nons is a small price to pay for the love of your life. You’re a team in this daily work.

Marriage. It sometimes needs a prefix.

And together, we’re going to work to add it.

Non-stop.


 

This post has been re-shared from its original publish date of September 21, 2016

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

Today, after three years of labor, my book has been born! (Phew!)

I’m so excited to announce that my first book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, is now available on Amazon in paperback, and for the Kindle.

You can find it here:

 

Also, I had a book trailer made to give everyone a short glimpse of what the book is about – much like you’d discover from reading the back cover. If you’d like to see it, it is here:

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to follow my writing page on Facebook, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/christycabewriter/

Thanks for your support, reader!

Happy Birthday, Book!

Christy

Our Marriage Needs A Prefix.

 

IMG_1276

Last night I told my husband that I miss him. And he nodded in agreement as he sat beside me.

We are together a lot. But our moments of non-distracted, non-exhausted, non-sick, non-stressed, non-necessary, non-rushed, non-interrupted communication are slim. We need those little nons in our marriage. But they’re elusive little prefixes.

We strive to have non-distracted conversations, but the texts and the emails and the demands keep breaking our concentration. Not to mention our kids.

We desire to talk about non-necessary topics, but there are needs and fires to be put out before we can intentionally try to fan into flame our love for one another.

We want to give each other our non-exhausted selves. But, we can’t seem to find them.

We need the nons in our marriage.

But adding that prefix takes work.

And it should. Life moves forward after the wedding day and so should our relationship. It should grow and blossom instead of wilting. But it takes effort to remember to care for it in the midst of dizzying schedules and bursting calendars.

The daily, “What time should I plan dinner?”,and, “Did you remember we have that thing tomorrow evening? Did you find a sitter?” questions cause us to put a finger in the leaking dam and leave us in a bind the next time we hear, “Babe, can you give me a hand here?”

The days of long uninterrupted dinners and fun filled dates are taken over by quick, “How was your day?” volleys and conversations squeezed in while sitting in the bleachers.

You have to make an effort to add those nons. And that looks like many different things.

Some days you make your kids gag as you kiss in the kitchen. Other days you put a movie in for them and you finish that difficult conversation that’s been driving a wedge between you. Some days you splurge on a nice dinner for two after they’re all in bed, and you tuck your phones away in another room too. Some days you go out to a movie neither of you really care to see just so that you can sit beside each other and hold hands.

And some days you simply acknowledge to each other that you miss the nons. Both of you do. That you’re striving to find them and you believe in each other and miss each other in the meantime. That the effort to find the nons is a small price to pay for the love of your life. You’re a team in the hunt.

Marriage. It sometimes needs a prefix.

And together, we’re going to work to add it.

Non-stop.

In Plenty And In Want.

It was a few tissues and an empty Starbucks cup that tipped me over the edge. They were strewn on the floor around the empty trash can instead of being out by the curb with the rest of the trash that my husband had collected. Didn’t he see he’d dropped it and he really hadn’t completed his task of taking the trash out? I would be sure to mention this to him.

And I did.

“You left a mess of trash on the floor out there and you forgot to put a trash bag in the upstairs trash can. Basically, you completed half of your job.” I said in a huff later that afternoon.

I wanted him to get it right. I wanted him to do his whole job with no mistakes and no delay. I wanted him to make me happy and not leave extra work for me. I wanted him to be perfect.

Somewhere along the way in marriage the “wants” change.

IMG_5301When we were dating I wanted him to sit by me. To take me out to dinner. To kiss me. To propose. I wanted him to want me and choose me to be his forever.

When we said our vows we said we’d love each other “in plenty and in want,” and we meant it. Of course, that meaning of the word “want” in that context is to be in a struggle or need of material possessions or money. And that is a “want” that we, middle class Americans, have never truly known.

Somewhere along the way in marriage the “wants” change.

The focus changed. It went from me wanting him to choose me, to me wanting him to do things for me.

My focus used to be on him, and now it is more often on myself.

I want him to provide and protect.

I want him to help with the kids.

I want him to help me keep the house in order.

I want him to take all the trash out.

Somewhere along the way in marriage the “wants” change.

And each day I need the reminder to strive to change them back.

To ask myself how he’d want me to serve him. And to faithfully put him above myself.

To love and cherish the wonderful man I married. In sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

In plenty and in want.

———-

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers write about a topic, based on a one-word prompt, for about five minutes. To join us, check it out here: http://katemotaung.com/2016/06/09/five-minute-friday-want/

This week’s prompt: WANT

Did You See That?

Here I am again trying another Five Minute Friday. This is where I link up at this site with other bloggers and we all write about the same topic for 5 minutes (or so…this one was closer to 10 minutes for me) and then we link up with each other for fun. We are all given the same one-word prompt and it’s interesting to see what direction we each take it as we write. I’ve enjoyed giving this a try for several Fridays. It’s a fun challenge! Anyway, here’s my latest FMF post. 

This week’s word: NOTICE 

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Did You See That? 

There are those who see the world through rose-colored glasses, and those who have to squint a little to see much of anything at all.

There are some who astutely observe the smallest of details in the colorful and bustling world around them.

And then there’s my husband.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore the man. He’s wise, handsome, kind, witty… but one thing he ain’t is observant.

When we were dating, Kraig couldn’t believe how observant my mom is. She has a keen eye for decorating, and ascetics in general, and Kraig was intrigued. He couldn’t quite understand how she decorated her home with such precision and he wanted to test her once and for all to see if she was truly as observant as he thought she was.

So one evening, Kraig placed a plastic travel coffee mug amongst all of the beautiful paraphernalia that was covering my mom’s decorated mantel. The mug was nicely hidden amongst the pretty decor with only a small part of it being visible. Kraig smiled smugly at me and said, “Let’s see how long it takes her to notice that!”

A few minutes later, Kraig and I watched from our seats on the couch as mom walked into the room, stopped suddenly in her tracks, and stared at the mantel. “What’s that doing there?” she said puzzled as she walked over and removed the plastic coffee mug.

Suspicion confirmed. She’s pretty darn observant.

Kraig, on the other hand, doesn’t notice things. We’ve been married for about 12 years and I still find myself in a state of shock when I make a major change in our home and he’s none the wiser. There are the small things, like changing some wall decor, that I don’t really expect him to see. But there are some other times when I’ll move furniture or change something rather drastically and he will just not see it. Well, he sees it, he just doesn’t SEE it.

I wonder if I painted the kitchen hot pink with zebra stripes if he’d sense a change?

Sometimes Kraig’s lack of observational skills bugs me. I mean, I do ALL this work to clean up our storage room or sort and organize three billion plastic toys into various containers and he barely remembers what it looked like before I started.

Come on, man. I want you to notice all I’ve done so you’ll appreciate me.

But, just this week I was encouraged that maybe he’s noticing things after all. I overheard Kraig telling one of our children how much he loves being home because our house is such a peaceful place to be.

So maybe he doesn’t notice all of the pieces, parts, elbow grease and art that go into making our house a home, but apparently the sum of all of those parts equals peace.

And I’ll raise my empty plastic travel mug to that!

A Pain Around the Neck

DSC_0703Almost every Spring for the majority of our marriage my husband has hosted a fundraising banquet for his local ministry, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And, being the good wife that I am, I buy him a new tie every year for the event.

I know, I’m pretty sweet.

What’s more, I don’t just buy any tie, I buy him a tie that is color coordinated to match the keynote speaker for the event. For example, if we have a former Indianapolis Colts coach speaking I find a tie with a blue and white motif. If it’s a coach from Butler University, I go for “butler blue.” A Detroit Lion, you say? How about light blue and silver? How do I know what color each of these teams are, you wonder? That’s what Google is for, friends.

So anyway, I’ve been on a roll for years with these ties and quite pleased with myself and my husband’s neckline. But, as they say, pride goeth before the fashion blunder and this year proved that to be true.

This year we had a sports commentator as a speaker and this gave me such freedom in my choice of colors, since he’s not currently tied to one specific team, that I got a little carried away.

I decided to go with a pretty light green for the occasion.

I bought Kraig the tie and actually gave it to him for Christmas. This was fine, but since the banquet was not until April Kraig did not try it on until the day of the banquet when he stopped home to put his suit on and head up early to the venue.

Only I accidently bought him a kids’ tie.

Yep. When Kraig put the tie around his neck it only came down to about mid-chest.

The green was really a nice color on him though.

And so Kraig had to digress back to a tie from the 2010 banquet. I’m sorry to those of you who attended this year’s banquet and noticed we repeated a tie. We’ll try not to let it happen again.

I just needed to get that off my chest.

And Kraig’s.

 

GPS is bad for your marriage.

I am not exaggerating to say that my husband and I have a harmonious relationship. We rarely get to the point of raising our voices with one another or driving each other insane. We are pretty laid back and get along great.

However, there is a formula that we’ve discovered in our thirteen years of marriage that sets us up for spousal frustration. It’s not complicated. But it is somewhat dangerous.

 Kraig driving + Christy using iPhone GPS = Uh oh.

And I’m telling you, it’s not all my fault. Sometimes I think the GPS lady and Kraig have schemed against me to set us all up for failure, but no one else is buying it.

I will admit, that I am directionally challenged. When receiving directions from someone I don’t like to hear terms such as; “head east,” or “It’s on the southwest corner,” or “go north on the highway,” etc. These terms are confusing to me. If instead the GPS lady would say things like, “Turn right when you are beside Wal-Mart,” or “Do you see that Applebee’s up there? Great! You’re going to want to slow down and make a left there,” I’d be all over it. But the GPS lady never uses landmarks.

What’s her deal?

But anyway, I want to help Kraig out, and more importantly, I want to live and not have him get us all killed while looking at his iPhone while driving. So I take it from him and then I pass on to him what the GPS lady tells me.

And somewhere in this step of the process is where things begin to break down. Sometimes that thing is me. But most the time I don’t cry. I just get us lost.

For example, we recently drove to visit my cousin who lives out of state. We had never been to her home before and so I put her address into the phone and we happily followed the little voice until it told us we had arrived at our destination. However, since my cousin doesn’t live in a tanning bed called, Sun Your Buns we were actually not at our destination.

The GPS people are out to get me.

Kraig says that I didn’t put the correct address into the phone, but I think I did.

Maybe you’re beginning to see our problem.

The Sun Your Buns debacle is unfortunately not the only time my skin’s gotten hot with embarrassment and frustration. In fact, it was in the beautiful, sunny state of Florida where our Spousal Frustration Formula was really in full swing while on a family vacation.

We were headed from Orlando to Daytona Beach. It was a nice day. Kraig could sit back, relax and just drive. I had the phone in my hand and I had the address of our destination correctly entered into the phone. All was well.

I began to tell Kraig each and every turn he was to make on our 90-minute trip to Daytona Beach.

And we made a lot of turns.

We turned into a mall parking lot and followed it around the perimeter of the mall where we came out and then entered a subdivision. We made several turns in the subdivision before entering another parking lot… and another subdivision.

Kraig was beginning to sweat.

He was trying not to rip the phone out of my hand because I kept telling him that I was watching the GPS and this was EXACTLY what the lady was telling us to do. AND I had the address inputted correctly. SO JUST FOLLOW MY DIRECTIONS!

Kraig was really getting antsy now and telling me that he understood I was following the directions, but when did we get on the highway that connected Orlando and Daytona Beach? “There is a highway!” he stated. “I can see the highway over there!!” “When do we get on it?!” “Pleeeeeassse tell me we get on the highway!!!!”

So I checked the phone.

“Nope. We never get on the highway.”

“WHAT??!! How can we not get on the highway?! This is going to take us forever to get there on back roads! Why is it taking us on back roads? How long does it say this is going to take?!”

This is when I knew we might have a problem.

I looked at the estimated time of arrival and it said we’d be in Daytona Beach in a mere 2 days and 14 hours.

Maybe we should get on the highway.

Suddenly I realized the GPS was giving me walking directions from Orlando to Daytona Beach. Therefore, the GPS lady with the monotone voice was apparently kindly keeping us far away from dangerous highways to walk beside and busy roads where we could get hit and instead was directing us around mall parking lot perimeters where we’d have a nice cozy sidewalk.

Uh oh.

And so I switched it over to driving directions and told Kraig to get on the highway.

I hate GPS.

But, I love my husband, and he loves me and he even still lets me ride shotgun in the car. And sometimes he even lets me hold the iPhone.

We have a pretty harmonious relationship, Kraig and me.

If only the GPS lady would stay out of it.

 

 

 

The Dash

April, 2016
This month I will receive my first paycheck in almost 12 years. I started working part-time as a grant writer for a non-profit (FCA.) I’m excited to be able to use writing to help raise money for a ministry that I care about, all while working mostly from home.
 
The decision for me to start working again was not one Kraig and I made lightly. For a dozen years we’ve intentionally chosen for me to stay home full-time with our three kids. Now our youngest will begin Kindergarten this fall and the timing seems good for me to start this job as well as pursue some other opportunities as/if they arise.
 
A few years ago I wrote a blog post called “The Dash” about my thoughts on being a stay-at-home mom and how when a financial planner summarized my contributions to our family with a little black line (meaning I didn’t earn any money) I struggled to see what value I added to our home. After confessing my feelings to my husband, he started to say “There’s your dash,” to encourage me each time he saw a way my life had impacted our home, family, or others.
 
There’s Your Dash.
 
We moms have an impact on our homes that goes well beyond an amount of money brought home on a paycheck, if there even is a paycheck, and whether the amount be zero or six-figures. In fact, my amazing friends who have juggled working and having little children tell me they often feel as if they’re failing in at least one area (home or work). So apparently, even if your “dash” is a dollar amount, it doesn’t automatically make you feel like you’ve succeeded in being a “good mom.” I had to be reminded of all of this, and today I repost “The Dash” and hope more than anything it will encourage and remind someone else – what you do matters.
 
There’s Your Dash.
———————
July, 2013

The three of us sat at our kitchen table for the second time in a matter of months. My husband and I were on one side and a trusted financial advisor was on the other. Our first meeting had included the collection of our personal financial information as well as some survey-type questions about our goals, plans, dreams, and risk tolerance.

Now we sat at this second meeting to discuss what all of this amounted to. Our financial advisor had our life neatly arranged into a nifty blue three-ring binder, complete with fancy dividers and witty quotes.

And if I’m going to be honest here (which I am) I have to tell you that I thought it was all pretty boring. I’m not much for statistics or finances… or even numbers for that matter. I like words and creativity and things that don’t require long division or carrying numbers. But, I was a good girl and I paid close attention at both of the meetings. I do like to be organized, so I didn’t want to miss the point, which was for my husband and I to have a plan for how we want to steward our money for the rest of our lives.

So, as a good student and wife, I was watching intently as the advisor opened to a page in the blue binder that gave an overall summary of the information he’d collected at our first meeting. The page was neatly divided into boxes so that anyone (even non-number people like me) could see where all our money came from and where it was being spent. I actually understood the numbers on the page.

Surprisingly, one thing in particular really caught my attention. I didn’t expect to care. But I did. Maybe a little too much.

On that page listing an overview of our finances, there was a little box labeled “Income.” In the box was my husband’s name and my name. Beside my husband’s name it listed an amount of money indicating how much he brings home each year. Then, under that was my name.  As I moved my eyes to the right, I saw what I contribute financially to the family in one year.

Yeah. A dash.

It signified that I contribute Zip. Zero. Nada. Nothin’.DSC_0263

We moved on with our meeting and with our week. I didn’t mention my thoughts or feelings about the dash to my husband for several days. I guess I needed time to think about my own reaction. I was surprised that I felt such a disdain toward that little black line.

The thing is, I know I don’t get paid for being a full time stay-at-home mom. I have never once received payment for anything. Well, that’s not true. I’ve been given many “gifts in kind” and several have been pieces of paper, but they’ve mostly been adorned with glitter glue, stickers and crayon. I treasure each of these, but my banker does not see any value in them.

I also know that this stay-at-home mom gig wasn’t thrown at me as a surprise. I chose this job. It’s actually my dream job. I’ve wanted this position since I can remember. I LOVE what I do and my husband and I planned for me to stay home even before we had actual children. For the first two years of our marriage I worked full time but we “practiced” by trying to live off of my husband’s income in preparation for me to stay at home once we had our first baby. And, three weeks before our little guy entered the world, I resigned and I’ve been home ever since.

Basically, I’m livin’ the dream.

So why did that crazy little dash bother me so much?

After about a week of mulling it over, I finally brought it up with my husband. I told him how much that dash was bothering me. I explained that I felt like it was just signifying that I contribute nothing to our household. All I feel like I actually do is spend our money because no matter how many times I feed our three kids they still want to eat again. And I can’t let us walk around naked, so I have to buy clothes and do laundry too. LOTS of laundry. And dishes. And cleaning. And none of these jobs are ever done. They just need to be repeated in a few minutes or hours or days. I feel like I am always working to keep our home running and fed and clean and happy.

And yet, all I was given is a dash.

My husband listened to me lament that little black line and he put up with my sobs and pity party for awhile. Then he did that thing he does where he starts to help me put everything back into perspective. Honestly, it kind of irks me at first, but once I give in and realize he’s right, things do seem a bit rosier.

Do you want to go get a job right now? No.

Do you like being a stay-at-home Mom? Love it.

Do we have enough to live comfortably with the money that I make? We are blessed beyond measure.

Then the dash is perfect. You contribute to this family exactly what we need.

In the weeks that followed, when one of our children would make a good decision my husband would look at me and say, “There’s your dash.”

When he’d come home from work to a home-cooked meal and joyful children laughing around the table my husband would say, “There’s your dash.”

When we’d talk about a Bible story or lesson that our children were learning and they’d say, “Mommy told me that…” Yes, you guessed it, he’d say, “There’s your dash.”

There’s no monetary value after my name in that blue three-ringed binder. Maybe someday there will be if I do get a job after our little ones are all in school. Maybe not. We haven’t set that in stone in our financial plan as of yet. But, although it took me an embarrassing pity party and sob fest to be reminded, I do know that there IS much value in that dash.

The financial advisor may never allow me to roll my dash over into our 401K. That’s all right. I think I’ve come to like that little dash now. I think I’ll keep it. Own it even.

The dash is a short and sweet reminder that the return on my investments are far greater than anything my financial planner could ever offer.

100% Polyester Love

Ten years ago this week I was a glowing bride-to-be. We were caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing for our December 7th wedding. It was a whirlwind three-month engagement and I was head over heels with it all. I enjoyed just about every second of the planning and preparing. Our wedding, complete with its sparkling Christmas touches, was a dream. My favorite moment was when I was on my Dad’s arm and the doors to the sanctuary opened and I could see Kraig’s face as I walked toward him down the aisle. His eyes never left mine and he wore a huge smile above that rented tuxedo. There was no doubt he was in love with me. And I was so in love with him.

This week we’ve been in a hustle and bustle of a different sort as we’ve led up to our 10th anniversary. The term whirlwind can now be used to describe our three little tornadoes who breeze through the house and who have swept us off of our feet. We plan and prepare now for their Christmas activities and gifts as well as extended family parties, work get-togethers and 2nd grade holiday shops.

It’s been a busy time, but Kraig has done something to make the week leading up to our anniversary extra special. Starting last week, ten days before our actual anniversary, he gave me a gift. He gave me a note as well that explained that for the following ten days I’d be receiving one gift a day leading up to our 10th anniversary. Even more, these gifts would be themed based on the traditional symbol of each year’s anniversary. So for example, the first anniversary is paper, the fourth flowers, the tenth tin, etc.

Each day I’ve been enjoying the anticipation of receiving my note and gift from Kraig. But so far, the second day has been my favorite.

The second anniversary’s traditional symbol is cotton. Kraig gave me a pair of pink pajama pants. I really like pink and comfy pajama pants are great… but that’s not the best part.

As he clearly explained that these pants were for our “Cotton Anniversary” I read the label largely displayed on the tag. 100% Polyester.

Yep. Not a fiber of cotton in them.

I looked up and saw Kraig’s face. That same smile I saw 10 years ago as I walked down the aisle was there. We may both look a little older and weathered a bit, but those eyes and that smile still tell me that no matter the fiber in the pants, that man loves me with every fiber of his being.

I can’t wait to see what else I get this week. But cotton, polyester, tin or diamonds it doesn’t really matter. I’ve already got the real treasure.

The Popcorn Bowl.

What do I think of when I think of true love, commitment, and romance? You’ll probably never guess. Ok, maybe if you read the title of this post you’ve got a good idea. Otherwise, would you believe our popcorn bowl is what triggers reminders for me of how much I love my husband?

Yeah, it sounds crazy. But I’m going to let you in on an intimate detail of our marriage. Here goes. My husband loves to eat popcorn in the evenings. When he’s done with his snack, he leaves the popcorn bowl, full of kernels, on the counter. This irks me. …Yep, that’s the intimate detail.

This has been going on for years now. Can he not just throw the kernels away and wash the crazy bowl by himself. Yes, he very well could. But he doesn’t.

Now, we have a pretty traditional marriage where I do almost all of the cooking and cleaning. I’m good with this and enjoy it, for the most part. But the difference has been that I don’t usually actually use the popcorn bowl myself as opposed to when I make dinner and use the dishes for all of our family. So for some reason, the popcorn bowl feels different. Like it’s sitting there…just one more thing I’m expected to do before I head to bed.

This has gotten me a little steamed inside… and eventually my inner kernel popped! I finally voiced my displeasure one night asking why he expects this bowl to magically become clean and appear in the cupboard for his next salty rendezvous.

His response? He hadn’t even thought about it. He wasn’t intentionally leaving more work for me to do. To him it wasn’t any different from any other dish we used in our home.

Really?! Did he not realize I didn’t use the bowl and I instead felt used myself because he just expected me to put it away. This was news to him…

So how does this story end? Has something changed? Does Kraig now wash the bowl every time and return it to its rightful place in the cupboard? Yes, something has changed… but it’s not anything Kraig does. What’s changed? My perspective. When I realized he wasn’t intentionally trying to get my proverbial goat, I decided to change how I viewed the popcorn bowl. Now I see it as a round, shiny, salty, and silly little labor of love. I know, it’s weird. But, it’s a regular reminder to me now of how much I love this man.

I know he could easily wash it himself, and he’s even offered. But now for me it’s a tangible way to remind ME of how much I love him. And I’ve realized this doesn’t work if I do it with a bad attitude. But if I think of washing that bowl as a way to express how much I love Kraig, I even sometimes smile while scrubbing that thing clean.

We’ve got wedding rings and three kids to remind us of our commitment and history together. They are great reminders too. But on a regular basis, I’ve got a popcorn bowl to help me with this kernel of wisdom: I love the man who eats the popcorn. And when I think of all he does for me and for our children, I can season the menial tasks of my day with a proper perspective. And, that has made the popcorn bowl a savory symbol of romance in my eyes.

Now, if I could only do the same with the clothes hamper.