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Thankful Thursdays #55: true romance

Last week, I embarked on a new adventure in my Thankful Thursdays feature by taking the first of my top ten thanksgivings, and fleshing it out a little by sharing my testimony.  Continuing the adventure, I’m now moving on to the second thanksgiving on my list:

2. My wonderful, most perfect husband. I always tell him he is perfect to me, because although he’s obviously not literally perfect, he is everything I need him to be and honestly, I don’t think there is anyone in the world I could love as much. I feel that I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve, and I’m so thankful for it. He completes me.

I was corrupted by romance novels at the tender age of twelve.  (Is that a funny way to start telling you why I’m so thankful for Dennis?  Bear with me! lol)  My Dad has always had a hobby of buying and selling, well, pretty much everything, and I found a bookshelf lined with romance novels in our basement that he had been selling at the flea market.  I snuck them away one at a time, devouring them and wondering if I’d ever find a man as wonderful as the ones in the novels.  (I was corrupted, I tell you!)  They captivated me because they depicted such colorful and passionate people, and relationships (and details I really didn’t need to be reading!) that were so much different than the ones I observed in real life.

The men and women were gorgeous, of course.  Physically perfect.  The men were tall and strong, bold, brave, always stepping forward to defend or rescue their woman when necessary (which was alarmingly often), serious, brooding, forceful in a take-charge sort of way, and passionate.  Without realizing it, I came to believe that these men and these relationships were normal and what everyone had (except my parents, who I always knew weren’t normal-lol).  I decided I had to have this too.

Dennis with his cousin Mike and friend Coz

The first time I laid eye on Dennis, I was seventeen years old (he was 30, total cradle-robber! haha) and had just started taking a class called “Personal Efficiency” at the Church of Scientology.  Dennis was on staff as the Promotions I/C (in-charge) at the time, and we passed each other one day while I was exiting the church to go to the classroom behind it, and he was passing me to go into the door I had exited.  I smiled at him as I walked down the stairs to go to the classroom, trying not to let my eyes devour him and reveal how cute I thought he was, and then looked back over my shoulder to check out his butt as he ascended the stairs and I remember being impressed with what I saw.  It was pretty much lust at first sight for me! LOL!

Dennis and his friend Jack, the one who just got baptized!

At this point, I had never had a boyfriend, never been kissed by anyone other than my cousin when we were six years old, and was utterly convinced that I was going to die an old maid.  I was desperate, and thus began a relationship with someone who was very ill-suited to me (picture a gothic emo dude that cries to Phantom of the Opera while screaming his ex-girlfriend’s name), simply because he asked me on a date.  I was absolutely miserable in the relationship but was unsuccessful in my feeble attempts at breaking up.

Dennis, front left, with his band, Zencraft in 1992

Dennis worked with my boyfriend, let’s call him Dragon, and he started coming over for Dragon’s “Mage” fests.  Mage is a role-playing game like Dungeons and Dragons, and neither Dennis nor I was very much into it (OK, so I wasn’t into it AT ALL), so we very innocently started hanging out together instead of at the Mage parties, with no ulterior motive other than escaping Dragon’s crowd.  Dragon trusted Dennis and thought nothing of it when Dennis whisked me off to the movies every week.

Although the only time we had to talk was during the ride to and from the theater, I was absolutely thrilled and astounded that communication between a man and a woman could be so easy.  So relaxed and comfortable.  Dennis didn’t make me feel like I was an idiot, he actually considered what I said, and didn’t judge me.  I found myself able to speak my mind rather than keeping quiet for fear of sounding stupid, as I did with Dragon.  The exchange of ideas and thoughts was free and effortless, and just so…wonderful.

Dennis and I doing target practice (at my foot, apparently) in his parents' backyard, 1998. I want to make lots of excuses for this horrible photo, but I'll let it be. :)

After only a few weeks, my growing affection for Dennis, and the realization of how lacking my current relationship was, gave me the the strength I needed to end things with Dragon for good.  But what I got with Dennis wasn’t exactly the story-book romance I had always thought I wanted.

Dennis took me to my senior prom, 1999

Let me tell you, if you have been corrupted by romance novels like I was, please do not let the men in them be your standard for potential suitors!  If I had done that, I would never have married the most wonderful man I’ve ever known.  Dennis is strong, sure.  He has practiced martial arts since high school (check out his fab nunchuk skills–promise I didn’t speed it up–and part of his staff form in this video).  He also plays the guitar, so he’s got the sexy musician thing going for him too.  :)  He’s intelligent, witty, and kind.  But Dennis isn’t particularly tall, and although I find him very attractive, he’s not one of the tall-dark-and-handsome super-studs that parade through romance novels.  He’s easy-going and probably wouldn’t recognize if I ever needed to be defended or rescued until I’d already been slaughtered.  He’s a complete and utter goofball (you’ll also see evidence of that in the video), he snores to beat the band, is missing a tooth, tries to kill us every time he gets behind the wheel (or so I’m convinced), he lifts his pinky off his spoon when he eats soup, looks like Shrek when he wakes up in the morning, and his hair is thinning and going gray.  Where was that in my romance novels?

What I found instead was something real, and with time I’ve come to realize it’s so much better than fiction.  You won’t find any man in the romance novels suffering from food poisoning and curled around a toilet when his woman calls him and asks if he can bring her insulin to work because she forgot it.  And him have to change his pants twice before leaving the house to bring it to her, because, well, you know, accidents happen when you’re suffering from food poisoning.  (For the record, I did not know he had food poisoning when I called him!  I would never have asked him if I had known.  But he came anyway!)  No man in the romance novels ever whined like a baby at the suggestion that he try a new food, or threw back the shower curtain and started doing kickboxing while wet to air dry, or tried to pee without using his hands so he wouldn’t have to wash them afterward, and ended up making a huge mess instead (that he most definitely cleaned up himself, thank you very much).  I had no warning for what I got with Dennis, but my journey with him has been a complete joy.

Sometimes, as in the case of the Pioneer Woman (if you haven’t read her book, From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, I recommend it highly!), real-life romance does live up to the novel and you get your beefy hunk that is so masculine that testosterone oozes from  his pores and your knees go weak if you even sense he might be within 500 miles.  Dennis and I did, and do even more so now, have a strong physical passion for each other, but it was never the driving force behind our love, like it seems to be in the romance novels.  It’s more like our souls are linked together and I need him in my life to be complete.  I crave him and relish our time together, no matter how it is spent.

What I got with Dennis is true romance.  I really feel I took the most perfect man alive away from every other more eligible woman, but I don’t regret it one bit!  He’s all mine, and I’m keeping him!  :)  And I really hope that every person reading this feels the same way about their partner.  Or that, if not, you will follow Jesus’ advice that I have to repeat to myself when Dennis is about to push me over the edge with his antics (believe me, they’re not all funny or adorable): take the log out of my own eye so I can see the speck in his better to help remove it.  (Matthew 7:1-5)  So far, I’ve kept myself so busy pulling logs out of my eyes that I haven’t had much time to try to remove any specks from his, and I’m pretty sure those specks I’m seeing are just splinters left behind from the logs in my own eyes!

So there you have it, the concise “story of us,” and why I feel such gratitude for the man in my life.  He proved to me that reality can be stranger (we’re an odd couple, all right!), and much better than fiction.  I thank God every day for him.

Dennis putting the finishing touches on a coconut cake he made for me. :)

At The Flying Pig before this back room was turned into the massage room.

Paddle boating on the Arkansas river

Dennis was doing some Kung Fu moves with this bat'leth (Clingon weapon for you non-Trekkies like me) before I snapped the shot.

Us today! :)


Life with Dennis Miller

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Yes, it’s true.  I live with THE Dennis Miller.  No, not the famous comedian.  My husband!  He’s the only Dennis Miller that matters…at least to me.  He’s not famous, but he’s a comedian in his own right, and though I’m not familiar with the other Dennis Miller, I have to say I’m pretty partial to my husband’s brand of humor.

Last month I started writing down some of our exchanges and collecting pictures, etc., so I could compile them into a post for you guys, to give you a peek into what everyday life with Dennis is like (with his permission, of course).  I hope you enjoy and grow to love my man as much as I do.


Scene: Me holding a cake I just finished decorating in front of the open refrigerator, realizing there’s nowhere to set it.
Me: “Can you make some room in the fridge for me?”
Dennis: “No matter how much room I make, I don’t think you’re going to fit in there.”

When I was studying for the test that determined my future with the post office, I asked Dennis to help me by coming up with some math problems I could practice with.  Five minutes later, he handed me this:

It helped more than real math problems would have, because it was a stressful time and the five-minute laugh session I got out of this paper was cathartic. :)

A friend called to tell Dennis he was moving his family to Wichita and asked where a good area was to buy a home. From my end, I heard Dennis say, “I don’t know…the east side has like…things. And the west side, has like, I don’t know, Mexicans I guess.” I nearly suffocated because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t take in air. He’s so crazy!

Background: I have a bad habit of throwing clothes on the floor or laying them on top of my dresser.
Scene: Me in the bedroom, calling into the nearby office.
Me: “I’m hanging up my clothes, Dennis! Aren’t you proud of me for putting my things away?”
Dennis: “Yes. Behold, this is my wife, with whom I am well pleased.”

Background: I’m always trying to get Dennis to try things he thinks he hates. He thinks he hates guacamole.
Scene: In the kitchen, sampling the guacamole I just made.
Me: “This is delicious! Do you want to try?”
Dennis (in a whiny voice): “But look, it’s all green, and I hate green things. Besides, I just filled up on lettuce.”

I asked Dennis to take a “before” picture of me for my henna post.  I told him “I only need my hair,” meaning he didn’t have to do a full-body shot.  This is what he took:

Scene: I’m making popcorn on the stove and Dennis is singing “Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care,” while washing dishes, when suddenly he stops and turns to me.
Dennis: “If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, then why is there a song about it?”

Dennis and I have a late night tradition where he will chop up half a head of iceburg lettuce into a big bowl and drown it with homemade Italian dressing and we’ll share it in the office.  As we were devouring our shared salad one night, I speared a piece of lettuce that had no end.  I am the perfectionist and Dennis is the laid-back one.  When I chop lettuce, each piece is bite-sized.  When Dennis chops lettuce, some pieces are bite sized, and others, well….

Background: We dropped off my car at the shop earlier, just before they closed, knowing they wouldn’t get to it until after the July 4th holiday weekend.
Scene: In Den’s truck with him at the wheel, coming home from grocery shopping. It starts to rain.
Me: “Oh no! I can’t believe I left my windows down. What if they didn’t roll them up before closing the shop? I think we should go see if we need to roll them up.”
Dennis: “OK, but if they’ve already moved your car into the garage, I’m not breaking in so you can roll your windows up.”

Me: “I can’t believe it’s already 10:00! How did that happen?”
Dennis: “Well, it was 9:00. Then an hour passed.”

Background: I can’t stand long socks unless they are covered by long pants.  Therefore, I’ve bought Dennis numerous pairs of ankle socks for shorts weather.
Scene: Getting ready to go grocery shopping, headed to the door when I look down at Dennis’ feet. He is wearing shorts, tennis shoes, and his favorite kind of socks—the kind that go up to his knees.
Me: “Dennis! Look at your feet! I don’t think so, not happening.”
Dennis: (laughing): “I was going to roll them down.”
Oy!  Happens every time.

Me: “There’s something on your forehead.”  Dennis swipes at it ineffectually. I take over and then stare down in horror.  “It’s a booger!”

I may as well have kids.

We have a magnetic pad on the refrigerator (Thanks, Tina, for the fabulous cake pad!), and as we run out of things or realize we need something, we write it down so that I can include it on next week’s shopping list.  When I ask Dennis to add things, well, you can see some of the things I find on a regular basis:

Peanut butter really is our life source-we go through about a pound a week!

While taking a walk, Dennis and I were discussing how we, as a nation, sit too much. Then he went off on a typical-Dennis expostulation.

“The real problem with America is there are too many people that don’t sit,” he began. “A nation divided will fall. If there’s a disproportionate ratio of people exercising to people sitting all day, we will weaken as a nation. If I ever run for office, I’ll propose huge tax breaks for Americans who sit for at least twelve hours of each day. Then more people will sit to claim the tax breaks, and it will strengthen us as we become united. My slogan will be, ‘Sit, and be strong!’”

*sigh*  How can you not love someone this ridiculous?  Resistance is futile.

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