Ten

I’ve written this post in advance, so think of me today as a kind of ghostly voice from the past, if you will. (Aside: every time I schedule posts in advance for this site, I always worry about what will happen if I somehow manage to die between the time of writing and the time of publication, and my grieving friends are subjected to seeing me pop up on the Internets and start babbling about some random crap. I guess that would make it seem like even more of a ghostly voice from the past, hmm?)

Today is the 10th anniversary of my first “date” with Terry. I’ve put that word in quotations because… let’s just say it was an office Christmas party and I’ll let your minds fill in the blanks. We’ve been together ever since, however, and while we’re off celebrating in the sun, hopefully with champagne and extravagant gifts, I thought I’d leave you all with a quick retrospective of our previous anniversaries: the Ghost Of Anniversaries Past, you could say. So, I get the champagne, you get this blog post. Yeah, you kinda drew the short straw there, didn’t you?

Here goes:

The first year of our relationship was also the year of our first holiday. We got a cheap last minute deal to Majorca, and left on September 1st, 2001. I remember the date exactly, because just 10 days later… well, you all know what happened on that day. My abiding memory of it is the sheer panic I felt, and the feeling that the world was about to end. A few days later I endured the most frightening flight home of my entire life (it was actually completely uneventful, but they wouldn’t allow us to take anything AT ALL into the cabin, so I didn’t have anything to distract myself with, and spent the entire flight replaying the footage we’d just spent the last three days watching over and over in my head). After that I swore I’d never fly again, but I was obviously delusional about that, because just a few months later we celebrated our first anniversary in the Canary Islands, little realising that nine years later we’d STILL be doing that, because you STILL can’t fly to anywhere really hot from Scotland in the winter.

I don’t have any actual photos from that trip on my computer, but I did manage to unearth this:

Well, would you lookit THAT! It’s like it was drawn by the hand of GOD, no? Actually, it was drawn by one of those crappy photo booth things that take your photo and then “sketch” it. Apparently we were so tickled by this (well, it WAS 2001. We were all, “Durr, this newfangled techno-whatsits just the darnedest thing!”) that we got three of these done. Yes.

In 2002 I decided it was high time Terry started loving the state of Florida as much as I do, so we went there with my parents, and then in December we went to … the Canary Islands! Are you starting to see a pattern developing here folks? Are you? Again, no photos from those kerrazy times, but this one was labelled “December 2002″, so here’s the photographic evidence of our second anniversary-ish:

In 2003, we moved into our first (and indeed only) house together, and got Rubin:

His cuteness belied the fact that later that year, he would go on to eat three pairs of my favourite shoes, and pee on every surface in the house, including the bed sheet I was in the process of ironing, and one of Terry’s shirts. But we love him.

That summer, we went on holiday to Greece. Yes, THAT surprised you, didn’t it? We continued to buck the trend in December, choosing to celebrate our third anniversary in Las Vegas:

On December 15th 2003, during that trip to Vegas, we drove to the Grand Canyon :

The Grand Canyon State welcomed us. Also, there was road work ahead, which you could take as some kind of metaphor for the fact that Terry ended up in hospital a few days after we got back, suffering from end stage renal failure, or which you could just take to mean that, well, there was road work ahead.

There was also this ahead:

This is the actual spot where Terry asked me to marry him. The photo, obviously, was a re-enactment for the benefit of my parents, who had been made aware of the imminent proposal the night before, and who had spent the entire day in a state of near-hysterical excitement. They insisted on “surreptitiously” videoing the entire proposal from behind a tree a few feet away, as if we couldn’t see them. To this day, I have refused to watch that footage, which is OK, because my parents have probably taped over it with “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” or something by now.

Here is a better photo of the spot we got engaged in:

(It’s better because we’re not in it…)

After that, we went home and the world more or less ended. I’m going to be writing more about Terry’s illness and the fun times that it heralded in for us later (so don’t say I haven’t warned you about that), but suffice it to say that our 4th anniversary was a low-key affair, in that I don’t have any recollection of it AT ALL, and suspect we probably only remembered about it a few days/weeks later. Terry was on dialysis, I was out of my mind crazy, and, yeah… not a whole lot to celebrate.

Our fifth anniversary, however, was a little different. It was the date on which Terry’s transplant had originally been scheduled to happen, and I had chosen to take this fact as a Harbinger of Doom. No one likes a Harbinger, do they? He and his brother, John, who would be donating the kidney, had gone into hospital a couple of days before the operation, and I’d taken myself and Rubin to my parents’ house, so they could comfort me during the next few weeks. They did this mostly through the medium of WINE, and I will forever be grateful to them for it. (And also for their words of support and love, obviously. But mostly for the wine.)

On the night before the operation/our anniversary, however, I got a phonecall from John. Apparently an emergency transplant was happening that night, so Terry’s operation had been postponed to December 15th, which those of you who were paying attention and not just skimming through this for the photos (yes, I know you were doing it. I am watching you.) will remember was none other than the anniversary of the day we’d gotten engaged. Holy Harbinger, Batman!

I don’t know why I chose to view this series of events as Bad Omens. I just remember sitting in my parents’ conservatory, wine glass in hand, weeping about how Fate had decided to ruin a SPECHUL day by having something BAD happen on it, and OMG, we should totes ask the hospital to just move the transplant to another, more auspicious date! Like I say, I have no idea what was going through my head. (Wine, probably). I have never been a superstitious person, and I’m not one now. I am someone who has an absolute terror of hospitals, and of any kind of medical procedure, however, and the past two years had been so fraught with mishaps on the part of the medical profession handling Terry’s case that I think I had just convinced myself that the operation could not POSSIBLY go well.

I was wrong.

I am so grateful.

*   *   *

So, our 2005 anniversary was a doozy. By 2006, we’d started planning our wedding and were saving money, so again, I have no idea how we celebrated. In 2007, we finally got married:

Yay! We apparently didn’t celebrate our “1st date” anniversary that December either. It’s all downhill after the wedding, isn’t it? In 2008, though, we got back on track, and you’re pretty much all caught up:

December 12, 2008

On the balcony in Tenerife, drinking champagne out of tumblers, because they were the only glasses in the apartment. Does it even GET any classier that that?

And December 2009, in Gran Canaria:

I don’t know where we’ll be celebrating tonight, but I’ll be sure to take a blurry and/or dark photo of us looking slightly drunk to commemorate it.

Ten years. Wow. That’s a long time.

Happy anniversary, Terry. Here’s to ten more…