THINGS I LOVE ABOUT CHAD AND OUR TWO YEARS...

  1. He's such a great cook/ baker. From sweet to savory, from steak topped with a blue cheese sauce to day old biscuits from a can filled with leftover chocolate buttercream. Always amazing. Eye-closed while chewing amazing.
  2. Chameleon eyes: Sometimes so ice clear and cold, like I dragged him up from the bottom of the sea, yet sometimes so green and sparkling, a jewel raging with fire.
  3. The way he calls me baby.
  4. Minneapolis: He went on the crazy 30 hour each way Greyhound trip with me and didn't go crazy, didn't curse me, didn't cuss me out, just grumbled about a sore butt and enjoyed the hell out of the city, with me.
  5. Peanut butter pretzels with Moxie.
  6. Reading to him those nights: Swamplandia. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Etc.
  7. How much he loves and cares for my son. Homework, chores, common core, walks to the gas station, video games, long conversations about rocks, sea-life, cartoons. For-no-reason treats, tickles, and mild harrassments. A manta ray cake and baked Alaska. Alex and I are so lucky.
  8. Owl pillow.
  9. Root beer and roses.
  10. Bob Dylan and The Doors, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, but mostly Bob Dylan.
  11. The look on his face when he uses his torch, even on a microwaved hot dog. Especially on a microwaved hot dog.
  12. Pooh goes visiting and gets into a tight place.
  13. Boys For Pele.
  14. His love of 70's fashion and style. Just my groove man. Just my thing. Brown and orange and olive green. Crazy patterns. That thrift store smell.
  15. Hanging in the kitchen together and a Beatles love song comes on, and we're both feeling it, and happy, and perfect.
  16. He takes me seriously, believes in me and supports me as a person, and as a writer, and will do whatever he can, whatever I need, whether it's reading a story of mine or letting me lock myself in a room for the day.
  17. He loves being around me but understands when I need my solitude, because he needs it too. Space, independence, room, and air. So we can come together, refreshed, and with something new to say.
  18. Our vicarious trips to flavor town with Guy Fieri. Without Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, we wouldn't have had half the fried food. Wouldn't that be a shame? I still want waffled Thanksgiving stuffing.
  19. Beating off Bobby Flay.
  20. Just watching television with him and being taken along to ride his current obsession, whether Dick Van Dyke, The Newhart Show, The Golden Girls, King of the Hill or the Ricky Gervais Show.
  21. Dreams of a life. Portland. Hawaii. Dream house. European Vacations. Pillaging New York City's restaurants.
  22. Garlic kettle corn.
  23. The unexpected little things everyday: a sandwich before work, spraying suede protector on my boots, mending the pocket of my work pants...
  24. The way he approaches the world open-minded, and people with kindness, empathy, compassion, understanding*.
  25. He is funny all the time. The second funniest person in this relationship. Hilarious funny, even when he takes the joke too far, even when he's only making himself laugh. I love how his sense of humor can be gross or tasteless, sometimes offensive, but just as easily clever and sophisticated.
  26. His teddy bear hat and his disappointment when the Chewbacca suit didn't fit.
  27. Holding hands in the car.
  28. His mostly awesome taste in music, movies, comedians, and writers. A Hunter S. Thompson man. A Vonnegut kind of guy.
  29. How much he enjoys showing me movies I've never seen, even if he sometimes gets nervous if I'll like them. I'd never seen The Graduate, would never have watched Kill Bill.
  30. He's willing and often eager to watch my things too. Stranger Than Fiction, Orange is the New Black, Midnight in Paris, The Riches.
  31. How quickly, easily, and completely I fell in love with him.
  32. Bluegrass gospel.
  33. How he'll make anything work. His resilience and flexibility and how well he's handled the stresses of this past year, even if he doesn't think of it like that.
  34. How absorbed and gleeful he gets in video games and how he wants me to find a game I like. He wants to watch me play and be dorky and gleeful too.
  35. A feminist who never be-littles my short comings by calling me "a girl."
  36. Random smiles and asking for kisses. I can tell how much he loves me too.
  37. He has such a talent for drawing, painting, visual art, but he's also creative in all things, all the time.
  38. His paintings on the walls.
  39. How he's decorated the house. Quirk and unconventional beauty.
  40. We'll often have in-depth conversations about art, music, books, comedy, the creative process. Conversations fueled by knowledge, experience and the love of art and artistic talent.
  41. His smell.
  42. The way he giggles to himself.
  43. When he loves and is vocal about something I baked, or something I've accomplished.
  44. How we'll sometimes say the same things at the same time.
  45. Corned beef hash from a can and pork rinds.
  46. How he always lets me drive the shopping cart because he knows I need to.
  47. The way he kisses me, the way he makes me feel...
  48. How this list only scratches the surface of our good times together, only brushes against all the reasons I love him.
  49. I could be having the longest, most stressful day of my life, yet when I slip into bed and snuggle up against his chest, all the crappy-ness slips away. I am calm. Happy. Finally home.
  50. Whale shoes.