When Paul and I first moved in together in August 2007, he had already lived in an apartment for five years. Four years with friends when he lived in Berkeley, and one on this own - his first year of med school. I came almost straight from the sorority house. We each brought a bag of tricks into the relationship.
He could cook. I could bake.
He could mix fun cocktails and pick out red wines. I could drink.
He could parallel park. I had mastered the art of circling until a bigger spot you could pull right into had opened up.
He could make piles (and piles and piles). I could sort, organize & throw away.
He could fix the Internet whenever it went out. I could do anything in Excel.
He could put together Ikea furniture without crying. I could figure out how to decorate.
He could memorize maps and directions. I knew how to leave early so there was time to get lost.
He loved a deal. I could find them.
He could put air in the car tires. I could find the least expensive gas station in town.
He could keep the dishes clean. I could keep the apartment clean.
He dealt with the bills and insurance. I made flights and hotel reservations.
He could fix anything. I could make anything.
He sent cliff-noted emails because he knew I hate excess text. I kept us up to date on thank you notes.
He did research for big expensive purchases. I did "research" for all the little ones.
He could grocery shop. I could navigate any Target with my eyes closed.
He was busy. I kept to-do lists.
We were - we are - such a good team.
I am realizing this more and more as I prep for this move by myself.
All of the things - canceling utilities, arranging the movers, transferring insurance, adjusting our billing address, setting up new utilities, getting the internet to work, getting the TV to work, buying appliances, worrying about the car getting a flat tire, worrying about the appliances being good enough, directing the movers, signing off on big purchases, sealing the deal on a new place, reading the lease - are honestly, probably things Paul would have taken care of (except, he wouldn't worry).
My role would have been more subtle. I would have been the list-maker, the question-asker, the i-dotter and the t-crosser.
Without him, I'm taking care of all this. I've been calling and making adjustments to things and they always ask to speak to the primary account holder. I always respond super upbeat, "No problem, but he's deployed in Afghanistan. Can I get a direct number for him to call you at to avoid the voicemail jail I just sat through?" And they usually respond with, "Ahh, well, um, Mrs. Cripe, let me just take care of this for you."
My bag of tricks has grown ten-fold since I moved in with Paul. And then, because of this deployment, it's expanded greater than it ever would have.
*ps. photo by our friend katy from new year's eve 2007. I was 21 and he had just turned 24. we were babies! but already in love! aww!