Our 10 year wedding anniversary

About this time last year, Katie and I decided that for our 10yr wedding anniversary we would offload the kids onto the grandparents, and head off for a week in Byron Bay, staying at the same place we did for our honeymoon. We would get massages, eat dinner at a civilised hour, do things at our own pace, and most of all remember all the reasons that we got married in the first place.
Then reality clotheslined us with all the force and subtlety of a 70’s VFL player, and suddenly we are spending 3 days with the kids down at Sandy Point instead. Where we will not have massages, we will eat at hours normally reserved for old people’s homes, we will try to work at the various paces of three people whose moods are in a constant state of flux between happiness and hangry (that’s hungry angry for those not in the know), and at no time will we think about the reasons we got married in the first place or reflect on what 10 years of marriage means. So I’ll make a preemptive strike with this blog.

Congratulations you’ve been married 10 years…here’s your tin.
OK, so I wasn’t expecting the 10 year anniversary to yield a really precious metal like gold, silver or adamantium…but tin?! Come on. A tinny is a small boat that people in the Northern Territory and far North Queensland tip themselves out of to feed crocodiles. A tinny is something that people who have ‘I shoot and I vote’ stickers on their utes drink beer from. When speakers are crap they sound tinny. Tin Tin is about the only thing with tin that I like…and that’s only because you get a double dose. My theory is that as they were sitting around trying to decide which metals go with which anniversary they got to 10, and a Kiwi (if you’re from New Zealand just swap ‘Kiwi’ for South African) said ‘Wow, ten!’…but unfortunately with the horrifically  exaggerated accent I like to give other people in my stories, everyone else heard it as ‘Wow, tin!’. And seeing as no-one wanted to argue with him, suddenly 10 years of marriage was equated with a metal best used as a cup to hold Coke in at Christmas when you’re 6! It’s not fair.
While I’m on my high horse, for years your long service leave kicked in once you’d been at one work place for 10 years. Then everyone realised that no-one stays in the one job for that long, and so they said ‘if you’ve been in a job for 7 years you can start accessing the leave’. Society’s expectations had changed and so the system changed accordingly. Well I think that society’s expectations of marriage have changed as well, staying together for 50 years is obviously an amazing achievement, but nowadays we are marrying so late and having so many affairs…how can we be expected to meet this lofty goal? I think we should bring everything back 10 years so that at 10 years I’m staring at platinum…and 20 years I’m staring at diamonds…and at 30 years…ah who cares…I’ll just be staring.

A big thanks to the Essendon football club
Ten years ago, in the interests of fiscal responsibility, we got married on the day after Grand Final day. At the time I remember thinking, that with our anniversary invariably falling on the weekend of the Grand Final (if not the actual day, as it is this year), what would I do if my team was in the Grand Final, but Katie wanted to do something else?
Well thankfully my generous Bombers have spent the last decade ensuring that I don’t have to worry about that.

So how do you stay married for 10 years?
That’s a very good question…and seeing as every relationship is different, I’m not about to tell you what will work for you…but I will make some vague statements that I will later claim was sage advice.
Vive le difference
When I was growing up, one of my best friends was Marcus. Where Marcus was a risk taker and always up for trying something new, I was more the person saying ‘I don’t know if that’s such a good idea’ and ‘I’m pretty sure there’s a Rottweiler in that backyard’ and ‘Yes Marcus’s Mum of course Marcus is here at my place…he just can’t come to the phone right now…because he’s…on the toilet’. But we worked really well as a team. He got me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and to push the boundaries beyond what I was comfortable with, and as a result I learnt a lot and had some life changing experiences. At the same time, I kept us both out of fights with Asian gangs and prison.
I think that a marriage has to be the same, you can’t survive if you differ on every point…but if you’re both exactly the same, then you’ll never grow as people.
You each need to do things by yourselves
When you met you both had things that you loved to do, and some of these things became things that you both loved doing, and so they tended to take up most of your time. But you have to make sure you still have things that you like doing by yourself…and equally you have to let the other person do the things that you don’t like, but that you know they love.
But at the same time, you have to ensure that every time you let them do something they like, they are aware of just how disappointed in them you are for being so selfish. This is usually best done via passive aggressive terms like, ‘Oh are you heading out again?…I thought we were doing something together tonight’ or ‘Wow you must be getting really good at that…seeing as you are spending so much time away from your family to do it!’*
Say you love each other every day
Nah just kidding…once every 4-5 years should be fine.
Distract them
If you’re a man and you marry someone out of your league (as I did), then you know that every time your wife has a second to think, is time when she could suddenly realise ‘Wait a second…I can do much better than him!’ What you need is something so overwhelming and exhausting that they have no chance of ever actually gathering their thoughts, let along acting on them.
Having kids is great for this. You may find you have to repeat the process a couple of times…but once you’ve got two or three kids your wife’s only thoughts will be ‘sleep, sleep, coffee, sleep’, so as long as you can make a decent coffee…you’re pretty much in the clear.
You’ve got to choose well
What you need is someone fun and exciting, someone who is good at things that you’re not, someone who laughs at your jokes, likes your cooking, challenges you, celebrates your victories and knows what to do when the black dog starts circling. When  you find that person, you have to love them with all your heart through everything that 10 years of life throws at you. I know I have.



*In order to ensure another 10 years of marriage, it’s worth mentioning that Katie has never said either of these things.



Moving out

I’ve always been deeply suspicious of people who complain about how hard moving house is. I mean I once sat through an entire ‘Twilight’ movie, so I think I know a little about suffering and enduring hardship…and unless Hollywood has lied to me, moving house involves a rough 2 minute montage of people packing boxes, moving boxes and occasionally bumping into each other and then laughing about it, before heading off to watch some ‘salt of the Earth’ workers load all of your stuff into your new home. Doesn’t sound so hard.
Well Hollywood has lied to me…again! Because moving house does indeed suck…so Now I‘m No Expert But here is my advice to anyone considering moving.

Do you have small children?
If yes, then there’s your first big problem. Nothing impedes the process of emptying a house quite like having to regularly rush into another room to stop a child from; pulling something onto themselves, or wanting to play the game where they hide inside a box and you have to be surprised for the 800th time when they pop out, or trying to eat whatever has just been uncovered by moving the couch.
Also, if you’ve ever looked around your house and thought ‘man we have a lot of stuff!’…let me assure you that a very small proportion of that is actually yours…the rest belongs to your kids…and you are in for some incredibly guilt inducing looks/tears if you try to get rid of any of it.

Have you hired removalists?
If yes, well la-di-dah…it must be nice to have your disposable income!
I’m sorry, that wasn’t about you…that was about me and my issues. We did not get removalists in…and in hindsight getting some people who actually know what they’re doing and have to pay their own chiropractic bills…does have quite a bit going for it.
If you don’t have removalists, then you had better have some friends/family who are willing to help out. We were very lucky enough to have some great people who came over and helped with moving things, cooking things and stopping small things from crying the whole time. This was invaluable!

Have you hired a truck?
If you haven’t got removalists, then you will need a truck. If you have already hired a truck, then you will need a bigger one…seriously, you have a lot of stuff in your house and no-one wants to spend a day carting around small amounts of it, when you could get all the transporting done in one hit.
And speaking of hits, if you’re driving a truck along Murray Rd in Preston, there is a pole outside the Supermarket that sits out further than all the other poles…it costs about $100 to replace the side mirror…you will swear quite a bit.

If you think you’re 80% done…you’re actually only about 60%.
Every time you empty a room you will move out all the big things and feel as though you’re making swift progress…but it’s the litany of small things that will see you at 11.30pm surreptitiously dumping stuff into garbage bags.

Do you really need that?
If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last 12 months…then no you don’t. We are currently house sitting at a friend’s house for 6 weeks, and so I packed everything I could into a backpack and left the rest of my stuff at my parent’s house. It’s becoming pretty apparent that all I actually need is a back pack full of stuff. The rest is like local government elections…occasionally necessary, but you really could do without them.
However, there are a few exceptions to the ‘backpack rule’. The first is the coffee machine and grinder. If I had come down to choosing between packing the coffee machine & grinder or pants…let’s just say I would have been arriving at work pantsless…but highly caffeinated.
As the picture below shows, you can question my parenting…but never my dedication to coffee.

The second is the Thermomix…because you know…it’s good for making porridge for breakfast and cutting things up and stuff. But most importantly it means that your insistence on bringing the coffee machine suddenly doesn’t look so crazy.
Finally, a good set of knives. We have been lucky enough to stay in two houses so far with good knives…but you should never risk staying somewhere with crap knives. If you prepare food using crap knives it will eventually make you want to stab yourself…the only upside being, crap knives won’t pierce your skin.

Cut the kids some slack
If you do have young kids, there is every chance that this move is away from the only home they have ever known. So while you may be annoyed by the fact that the weather’s warming up and you can’t for the life of you find where your shorts have been packed, they are going to be going through an emotional upheaval equivalent to your first break-up. So ready yourself for some interrupted sleep, the occasional emotional outburst and a feeling of helplessness on your part…actually, come to think of it, this is EXACTLY like your first break up!

But, unless you’ve been evicted by your landlord (or an audience on Big Brother), you are probably moving out of your house for a good reason. You might be moving closer to the city, or further from the city, or renovating, or downsizing…whatever the case may be, you are following a dream of a better life, and moving out of your home is just the first step in this  journey.
It’s just a pity that this first step is straight onto a rake…which flicks up and smashes into both your head and genitals, leaving you dazed, in pain and wishing you’d never started this journey in the first place.