17 years ago in the basement of a jail…

subtitle: this is such a life-minutiae post there isnt disclaimer large or verbose enough. you’ll have that.

I never really thought Id get married.

Actually strike that.

I had such a poor track-record of not wanting to hurt people’s feelings I always envisioned myself proposed to, saying YES! (while never intending to follow through), and ending up stuck. 

And married.

I wasnt the girl who dreamed of her wedding day (like the Tornado. hold me.).

I love being alone.

I knew it would take meeting someone worth relinquishing that for me to settle down.

To cohabitate.

Enter this guy:


Well enter him and also the fact I picked *him* up.

On a crowed bus (ahhh Pittsburgh public transportation I shall forever heart ye).

It was right about HERE...

It was right about this intersection…

It was the day after Halloween and ever the obsessed healthy-eater I was snacking on candy for breakfast.

I spotted him standing, offered him a piece & then immediately turned to the friend next to me and joked he could sit on my lap if he wanted.

Lots of chasing, moving and myriad awkward romantic entanglements later we were married.

  • Kind of spur of the moment (we decided the day before).
  • Definitely the way we wanted (justice of the peace. best 10.00 we’ve spent).
  • And we havent looked back since.


I mean, I know I have & Im confident he has as well.

As with weight-loss maintaining, people dont talk *enough* about how marriage is a choice we must recommit to daily.

Precisely like fitness.

But we’re still here 17 years later.

Please excuse the quality of the photos below.

Id blame the fact it was 1997, but we all know digital cameras existed back then.

He & I apparently neither owned one nor cared.

I was married in running tights/a sweatshirt and, if it’s possible, I ran less then than I do now.

The sweatshirt is from my training studio.

The quote reads: The abdomen is the reason why man does not easily take himself for a God.

Apparently I decided this constituted appropriate wedding attire?

You know me—I didnt give it a thought until about five minutes before.

I love the husband’s face in the picture below.

It’s hard to see, but to my eyes he looks nervouscited (as the child still says).

Oh and please to let me know if you’d like to discuss what was happening with my hair.  It was in the process of a dredlocked then shaved then blonde then red then… carnival-ride.

All too quickly it was all done. 

We were misfit and husband:


This diner (below) is where we held our (finger quote) reception (unFQ) .

We did not plan this ahead of time and ended up all squeezed into a booth.

I was happy to discover it’s still there! We need to return and bring the Tornado.

This is a picture of my training studio.

Our spontaneous-marriage happened the same day it opened as we’d already planned a party for that night and both sets of parents were in town so it seemed perfect.

Actual conversation from that day.

Then-boyfriend’s Mom: What are we doing this afternoon?

Then-boyfriend: Oh, um, we were thinking we’d get married?

This is not from that day.

Im just foisting it upon you anyway.

The lack of ink. The ever-present bandanna. The wacky-hairedness of youth.

It all makes me smile…

The photo was taken immediately post-marriage bomb-dropping conversation above & after we foisted training studio sweatshirts upon everyone.

It was snapped prior to letting them know the wedding would take place in the basement of a local jail.




This last picture is fairly recent and the current culmination of our little story.

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 3.42.56 PM

We joke a lot about what a handful I am.

We kid about the fact it looks a whole lot more fun to be married to me than it actually is.

*I* know life with me is a creative-roller coaster and it’s not changing any time soon.

I showed up to this marriage with no piriformis pain, a wrinkle-free countenance & plans to work as a counselor.

17 years and so many adventures later Im way off that path and he’s still ambling beside me.

And 17 years later that’s more than enough.



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  1. says

    Pretty awesome post Miz! I totally get it. My husband and I got married sort of the same way. Dated 6 months and justice of the peace. We are still together after almost 26 years of marriage. Not to say there weren’t bumps but we are still here.

  2. says

    Love it Miz, definitely get you on loving my own time and not wanting to relinquish it. I was the same until the right guy happened to come along, and here we are 12 years later.

  3. says

    Happy anniversary! What a great story. You know what? I got married really young and wanted the big wedding. But if I were to do it again, I’d skip the big ole ceremony and just make it the two of us. You had the wisdom for that way ahead of time!

  4. says

    We would have gone to a basement, but our families protested. Engaged, prego and married in 7 months. It’s a DAILY commitment to show up, to be present, to listen, to support. I enjoy it and I’m learning what I need, what I can give and how to support.

  5. says

    Happy Anniversary! I bet Tornado would FLIP if you took her to that diner. I like the reminder that marriage is a choice you have to recommit to. Even in our lowest times I’ve never wavered from that choice.

  6. says

    this made me SMILE so big! you know i love sappy marriage talk and the celebrating them! the ups and the downs, the stories, and the crazy hair. LOL!
    happy 17!!

  7. says

    Shout out for a courthouse wedding! Best decision I ever made. After 10 years when we finally decided to do it (I too never thought I would marry) we did it for us and no one else. 15 year anniversary next month. Congrats to you on 17 years together!

  8. says

    Happy 17 years! I agree…you must wake up every morning and recommit yourself to marriage. Some days that’s easy; some days not so much. You two seem like an example of a good marriage. :)

  9. says

    I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this post! (And hope you don’t mind that I just linked to it).

    And yeah, like a healthy lifestyle, marriage is complex and ever-changing and challenges us to be our best selves even when it ain’t easy, but the payoff is so much richer than a tiny waist size or even a kick-ass cholesterol count.

    Happy Anniversary!

  10. says

    You’re right. We don’t talk enough about how it’s a commitment, a daily choice. I think some get the impression that if it’s not all rainbows and roses they’re doing it wrong.

  11. says

    Hubs and I just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary on January 3. We got married at the Sedgewick county courthouse in Wichita, Kansas.

    I love this story and I love the pictures!

  12. says

    LOVE this! I firmly believe that some of the best marriages happen when the start is less planned. I mean (in our case), there are no pretenses of rainbows and unicorns when your then boyfriend proposes randomly in front of the 7-11. ;o)

    Happy Anniversary!

  13. says

    We, too, were engaged and married in less than six months. And on February 14th we’ll be celebrating 18 crazy years. Not a basement, but a little park behind our apartment complex, scheduled quickly because my parents were in town for a funeral.

    Life happens.

  14. Marste says

    What a great story! And a shout-out to all the parents for rolling with the punches!!! I’m sure that was a surprise! Happy Anniversary!!

  15. says

    I love this post in so many ways!! Marriage absolutely is a daily choice! I know the path hasn’t been the one I envisioned as I stood in my gown but it is perfect for us and making us!! Happy 17 years….and to many more!!

  16. says

    I LOVE THiS! Now, when I got married, I wanted to be married on the beach. Right in front of the bench where my love first kissed me- and where we got engaged (I bought that bench when they replaced them, and I have it in my backyard!)
    Enter my mother in law, who her WHOLE LIFE dreamed of planning a big wedding. Except she had no daughters. The whole big thing was important to her. Not to me. She tearfully asked, and I let her. Plan the WHOLE thing, Except our vows, my dress, the music and the flowers.
    It was an Italian explosion of food and people and crazy embossed napkins and this simple Irish girl was overwhelmed until my love offered to elope and save me from the insanity. Then I was grounded,and let her do her thing. He and I? We laughed and loved the day. She was happy, we were married, and that was that. I made a friend for life, no, another mother- and I got the husband.

    Man, I went off. What I meant to say is “Happy Anniversary”
    (and I’m going to Vegas next year to be remarried by Elvis in a sequined gown)

  17. says

    Quickie here too! Met in March, engaged in May, pregnant in June (oops), and married in July. Still going strong 17 years later – it’s been a lot of work, but so worth it. Happy Anniversary to you and Ren Man and here’s wishing for another happy 17 years! :)

  18. says

    I so totally love this. It’s the perfect wedding. Story. Honestly. Truthfully. True to you and yours :)
    Happy Anniversary!
    Oh and yes, question away! I love a good doodle talk! hehe 😉

  19. says

    I love reading your contentedly real love and commitment…real life the way it should be. Happy anniversary!
    J and i have been together nearly 18 years (scary when I write that down…) and feel the very same way…hearing how we feel and look at our marriage echoed in your words makes me grin from ear to ear.

  20. says

    I LOVE THIS. it’s perfect. and in that awesome, supportive, do anything for each other nothing is at all perfect but it is GOOD and it is US kinda way.

    After NINE years, Jason and I are getting married and having a wedding. I say it like that because we are having both. Two. Separately. :) We want the meaningful small just us, then we want the big celebration with our friends. These things won’t even be on the same day, or in the same month. It’s us.

  21. says

    Happy Anniversary! Love hearing your story. Interestingly, it was my husband who wanted a “real” wedding (not that there’s any other kind),. I would have been happy at the courthouse. Of course our version of “real” was after running up a mountainside together.

  22. says

    Love this post. Love you and love the life you’re making with Tornado and the husband. Can’t wait to see what the photos will look like in 17 more!

  23. says

    Happy Anniversary #17!!! I love this recap of such a special day and the beginning of an incredible journey!!!
    (and I’m happy that it is one more thing we have in common – we are both the same age and have been married the same # of years – and we both love Texas, right?!)

  24. says

    Happy Anniversary!!! We got married at the courthouse too and it was the best ever. I actually think it was out “good luck charm”.

  25. cheryl says

    Didn’t you post this year ago? It has a deja-vu feeling about it…
    Happy Anniversary!
    I got married in my backyard.

  26. says

    It’s the connection and the commitment that counts, not the piece of paper and it’s seems that the connection and commitment are both there for you and the husband!

    Many congrats on 17 years!

  27. says

    AWWWWW! I am such a sap; you actually made me teary. This is adorable. Hugs to you from across the interweb!

    I especially like this “I love being alone. I knew it would take meeting someone worth relinquishing that for me to settle down. To cohabitate.” and this “Oh, um, we were thinking we’d get married?” and ESPECIALLY especially this “As with weight-loss maintaining, people dont talk *enough* about how marriage is a choice we must recommit to daily.”

  28. says

    “marriage is a choice we must to recommit to daily”, I needed to read this today. That is all I will say. Happy Anniversary!