I’m not wildly proud of this, but moving to the Arctic without lots of social commitments yet means the TV has been on quite a bit more than usual.
Aaron won a huge plasma television in a drawing a few years ago. He was hyperventilating when he called me with the news, and the voicemail he left me about it was so scattered that I honestly thought he had been in an accident. I was eating lunch with a friend and we stopped to pray for his safety. After planning to sell it for a few hours… we caved and kept it with no regrets, immediately surrendering the old clunker we inherited from my parents. (This was the one they bought when I was 7 and we went from a no-television house to having one so we could watch VHS tapes for educational and religious purposes. In the years since I moved out, they built a special theater room in their basement with a huge flat-screen tv and zillions of channels. Of course.)
This story gets shared because I feel like I need to apologize for having a nice TV. It seems silly to have it when we are so thrifty about most things and we would both like to say we are not “TV sort of people.” In our minds, we read books, listen to music, enjoy a drink, and speak of the Higher Things in the evenings. Aaron has insisted that we will start doing Shakespeare nights sometime. I don’t think either one of us has read a line of Shakespeare since college. With time, this glorified vision is slipping away and we’re slowly accepting our old married, frugal, suburban reality, so we were excited to see that our makeshift antenna picks up more than three broadcast stations.
Mostly, this means when Aaron was gone for a weekend, I snuggled up on the couch and turned on my old guilty pleasure, The Bachelor, for “Sean and Catherine’s Wedding.” I really bristle against sentimentality — I had to tell Aaron being cutesy with the notes and flowers and nicknames when we were dating was just too much for me — but I loved watching this couple get ready for their wedding and share about their faith openly. I thought the ceremony was beautiful and appropriately touching until it got to the vows. I almost lost the will to live. She said being in love with him made her feel like she was overflowing with love sprinkles. I had just been reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and tried to imagine how he would have delivered their wedding sermon.
“It is not your love sprinkles that maintain the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that maintains your love sprinkles.” (Adapted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s wedding sermon in Letters and Papers from Prison.)
As I cannot yet get my dog to carry on a conversation, my daily company comes, primarily, from Minnesota Classical Public Radio. Public Radio is known for it’s deadpan reporting, which is fine until they get to the weather. I have a really hard time with the fact that there is no emotion detected when someone mentions we’re under windchill advisory until noon for the FIFTY-BILLIONTH TIME THIS YEAR.
This our second Winter Olympics as a married couple, watched with enthusiasm from the comfort of our white couch. We do our part to match the athletic vigor in snacking. Yes, we plan to sit and watch all sorts of sporting events while shoveling snacks into our mouths with record speed and agility. It’s our tradition. This is also a great time to talk about what you would call any future kids, because you can try to figure out if they seem like “Gold Medal” quality names. Or maybe you decide against one because it sounds a little too “figure skate-y” or “bobsled-ish” and you’d rather evoke a curling or downhill ski slalom vibe. (We might be the only people who do this.)
For me, the Olympics is a great combination of pride in Team USA and celebration of sportsmanship in general. A favorite Olympic moment so far? Men’s downhill mogul last night. Just watching the moguls makes my obliques hurt! Though I have never skiied downhill in any way, I have watched enough Winter Olympics to feel like I can recognize skill and excellence in some of these events. We rooted for the American while he competed, of course, but watching Alex Bilodeau (Canada) nail every aspect of his run was breathtaking. I probably shed a tear when he told reporters he competes in honor of his brother who has Cerebral Palsy. I was happy to see him win the gold medal for the excellent skiing alone, but his words made it even sweeter to cheer him on.
A long winter and watching the Olympics are making me really excited for the coming days when I can enjoy walking Max for the sake of moving and being outside and not just braving the wind in hopes that he might calm down for a while afterwards!