I love my wife. God, do I love her. Talk about the greatest gift to a man. Seriously. Oh sure, she can drive me absolutely nuts at times, but I'm sure I'm a handful to her, too. I know in the end she's the best wife a man could ask for. And just to get all Hallmark and risk looking super feminine, I'm going to actually sit down and think of some reasons to prove how great she is. In no particular order, here they are. I love you, Kathy...
1. Kathys's a great cook. Not a good cook. Not a passable cook. She's a Paula Dean with Rachel Ray looks. Even on a tiny budget she can whip up the tastiest home-made meals a man could ask for. Seafood, pasta, casseroles, roasts, salads, stews, desserts… she does it all. She can cook anything and most times doesn't need a cookbook. When I come home from a long day at work, there's always a nice smell greeting me at the door and we sit down to a meal every night. The meal becomes an event and lifts everyone's spirits. I'm never going to go hungry (or skinny) again.
2. Kathy can handle a home improvement job. No, she doesn't prefer to do the fixer-upper jobs around the house - she let's me do it and let's me know she appreciates it. But if she has to, she can handle simple repairs and is proud when she accomplishes something. She can handle a tough job and not complain about it. Give her a hammer, a drill, a saw… you'll see her study the job and put everything into it.
3. Kathy can sew. And not just repairing socks. Like custom costumes, children's wear, dresses. She's made pillowcase dresses that are so cute on the babies. Kathy learned how to sew from her Abuela, on an old-style foot-operated sewing machine. What that gave her was a practical grasp of how cloth works and how to get it to do what she wants. She can go from a simple pattern (or no pattern at all) and work the project out in her head, then jump into the work and perfect it she gets it looking just right. The kitchen's a mess for a few days when she's working, but it's always a big surprise when she's done. Time for her own sewing room!
4. Kathy knows a bargain. She can clip coupons, then take a buck and stretch it til it screams. Even when our bank account cuts into her food budget she can find bargains and make the most out of them. Some of her finest meals have been inexpensive ones without a clue that it was on the cheap. She even knows to take the babies with her to the grocery store and has them charm the staff til she's on a first-name basis and they hold product for her. Recently we remodeled the pantry just to store all the goods she's stocked up on. Make your own 'Holly Homemaker' cracks, she makes it happen for her family.
5. Kathy can dance. I first met Kathy when she was wearing a belly dancer costume. I'd never seen a woman that exotically beautiful inside the U.S. The way she danced in that thing I wanted to marry her right there and then. But it was later on a dance floor she showed off her hip-pounding rhythmic style of dance. The girl is not shy about putting on the moves, and she can entice with her sultry eyes as she's working her feet. The second time I ever saw here we slow danced and that did it for me. Always marry a good dancer!
6. Kathy does not know a stranger. The girl can make a friend anywhere she goes - she is not at all shy about breaking the ice with a joke and instantly jumping into a conversation where she feels she has something to contribute. Inside ten minutes she's found something in common with a stranger and has them opening up. Any time she enters the room she lights it up. After a year of living in South Carolina she'd made more friends at my church than I had in twelve years of going there. Now she's got everyone in the community putting her on speed dial.
7. Kathy loves kids. She really loves them, they recharge her batteries and she's completely at home taking care of everything from dirty diapers to throw-up to helping prep our teenager for a date. Growing up in a large family with lots and lots of kids, Kathy has been taking care of little ones her entire life. She has a maternal aura that emanates from her and kids can pick it up. If she doesn't have a strangers' baby reaching for her, she's carrying one of our kids downstairs to sleep with her at night just to make the child feel safe. Every kid deserves a mom as wonderful as Kathy.
8. Kathy can kiss. Any woman can smooch her man. Some of them don't. Some of them peck you like a bird and leave a bruise. But Kathy has pouting lips that give Angelina Jolie a run for her money and they're as soft as they look. Some days she'll attack me like I'm living in an Axe commercial. She'll work me over with a kiss that says "You should leave your woman for me" and I have to smile and remember "Hey! That IS my woman!"
9. Kathy loves football. At a young age her dad sat her down and taught her the game, and pointed out she'd have a better chance keeping a boy's interest if she could get into the game with him. Score one for dad. Kathy now wears her New York Giants Jersey almost every Sunday afternoon and cheers like a maniac at the big-screen t.v. She'll even root for my Panthers when it doesn't work against her beloved team. Check us out on a game day and you'll see Kathy pacing the floor, yelling at the referee's, and leaving the room whenever it starts looking too close to watch. She knows the rules, she knows the players, she knows all the tricks and tactics and factoids. She is every sports-lover's dream woman.
10. Kathy has huge tracts of land. (Anyone who doesn't get that needs to get educated on modern cinema.) Oh she'll complain they're too big and more trouble than they're worth, but trust me the circus is a lot of work to move around and set up but definitely worth a ticket to the show. She can make a dress look like an instant reason to give her a raise. She can wear a bathing suit and it turns heads. Most men would list this as a great thing to have in a wife, but settle for less. I didn't settle! Jim Carrey said it all in this clip...
11. Kathy's Stupid Human Tricks - Kathy can sing you the lyrics to the t.v. show Fresh Prince of Bel Air, show off her double-jointed thumbs, and talk to you in a weird language she invented with her friends as teenagers to confuse their parents. Talk to her long enough and you'll discover more. I have.
12. Kathy's family. Kathy's family is huge, and they welcome everyone. I've never known a moment in her house as a stranger, they accepted me and my girls right away. Her sisters tease me like I grew up with them, their brother acts like he could have been raised with me and my brothers, her mom and dad adore my kids as their own grandchildren, and there's always food and big gatherings at the house on State Island. Get enough of them together and the laugh and drink and talk about family gossip and old memories of Kathy's Abuella coming from Cuba and all the family's antics since coming here. It's a rich history and somehow I'm a part of it now, thanks to Kathy.
13. Kathy's the cheerleader. And the tomboy. And the band geek. It's true - she was all three in high school: she was a cheerleader for one season, was the kicker for her high school football team, and not only was she a band geek but she was the drum major one year. On top of that she was a stage crew member, a whole other subset of geeks no one ever talks about. Ever wonder which member of the Breakfast Club you'd be attracted to? She turned out to be all of them at one point or another. I just happened to be attracted to the Ally Sheady side of her, what can I say?
14. Kathy's a DDR Queen. When we first started dating Kathy would play Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades anytime she saw one. Man could she stomp her way through that game! She and her buddy Rich would go head-to-head on the challenge stages together and it was something else to watch. Me, I can't move my feet (or is it foot, in my case?) to save my life. But you can tell the girl is having fun and she's not afraid to show it.
15. Kathy's smoking. Okay, it's an unhealthy and disgusting habit that no one should pick up. So why is it still so sexy? When I first met Kathy she smoked a pack a day and damn if she didn't know exactly how to hold a cigarette _just_ right. When she'd come down for a visit to my house she'd pop open a window and sit in the open frame smoking like Lauren Bacall, completely casual and smoldering right along with that cigarette. I grew up around smokers, so it never bothered me. In fact, I came to savor the smell of the smoke, which wafted around her like a picture frame and gave her exhalations extra emphasis. When she had something to say she would exhale long and slow, making you wait for her reply and leaving you wondering what she's thinking of in the interim. Damn sexy.
16. Kathy's a quitter... in a good way! Three years ago Kathy gave up smoking cold turkey and never had one relapse. She did the Nicorette gum and it really worked for her. I was so proud of her for taking that step and sticking with it with barely any complaints about craving. Not only was she doing it for her kids (especially since this was leading up to our having the twins) but she did it for me, because she knew I worried about her and wanted her around for as long as possible. Nowadays you'll only see her smoking at parties or conventions, and for a brief time you'll see the sexy flirt with the cigarette playfully dangling from her fingers. Nice to see, once in a while. But she's able to do the right thing even when it's tough.
17. Kathy as Wonder Woman. Dark hair, olive skin, a bright smile and plenty to fill out the upper part of the costume - she's got the look. Kathy did Wonder Woman as a costume at a convention even before I met her and she had every guy there ready to tell her whatever she wanted to know, magic lasso or no. When we first met I bought her all kinds of gifts inspired by Wonder Woman, including the first piece of jewelry I gave her, a chevron-shaped gold ring with channel-set diamonds, just similar enough to the famous 'double-W' logo Wonder Woman made famous. While we were first thinking of dating there was a guy up in New York who actually made a play for her, knowing I was in the picture. She joked with him that the only way he'd have a shot at a date was to get her a rare Wonder Woman figurine she'd seen online. I heard about it, jumped onto a computer, and had the figurine delivered to her the next day. Some people might think that was pretty childish. Me, I just enjoyed sending a message. If anyone was going to score Wonder Woman it was me.
18. Kathy's kangaroo legs. Kathy has gorgeous legs. Not really really long ones, mind you - she's only 5'4". But it doesn't matter - her legs are muscled and proportioned just right to give her a beautiful shape. Besides that, they're STRONG! I learned that when she and I were wrestling with the girls on the floor one time and when I went in to tickle her WHAM! she let loose with her folded-up legs, extending them with such force it knocked me across the room! Considering how well she dances it shouldn't come as a surprise, but it did for me. I learned early on not to tease her too much if she could draw a bead on me with those legs! And nevermind what it means for me staying out of trouble - I certainly wouldn't want her putting a boot up my ass with those guns!
19. Kathy respects the checklist. Every guy has one, the women they've always fantastized being with. They can be celebrities or just fictional characters, but every guy has his list and for the most part it's harmless fun. And if a guy's lucky, he's with a woman who's willing to spice things up and give him a chance to live out some of his list. I'm one of the lucky ones. Slave Leia, Batgirl, Black Cat, not a problem. With a wife who's a seamstress and an avid costumer and a geek the sky's the limit. Here's to us, the lucky geeks who finally found the perfect women!
20. Kathy's sultry dark eyes. Audrey Hepburn, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman... all of them dark-eyed beauties. Like them, Kathy expresses volumes with just a look. Her dark hair and olive skin frame her eyes and give her a soulful intensity. This can add to just about any expression she's hitting me with at the time - baleful puppy-dog eyes when she wants something, piercing smoldering look when she's flirty, or look-of-death stare when she's pissed. Her other assetts would normally make it hard to maintain eye contact, but one look from her and she's got her hooks in me good.
21. Kathy's stint on the U.S.S. Renstar. Kathy's circle of friends in New York were huge Star Trek fans and they even formed their own 'starship' called the Renstar. There were regular meetings which were drinking parties as much as geek fests, they kept a scrapbook of their exploits, they even had a model of the ship made by her brother-in-law Ken. It was a tight little group of sci-fi fans socializing and just having fun, which is the whole point of the thing I think. Completely like my idea with the 501st, which probably was similar enough it was what brought us together ultimately. Ah, geek love!
22. Kathy loves cold egg rolls. There are some qualities in a person that you like that are hard to nail down but you know they have something to do with the core essence of what makes them so appealing. When I used to fly up to New York to visit Kathy we'd order in Chinese food all the time. She'd always insist on saving the egg roll for breakfast the next morning. I thought that was the weirdest thing, until I tried it. Now it's one of our things. Whenever it's the weekend and there's Chinese leftovers from the night before, one of us will bring the cold egg rolls into the bed for a breakfast-in-bed on-the-cheap. It's dumb, but it's ours.
23. Kathy's tiny fingers. I love how Kathy has the daintiest hands. Her nimble little fingers are interesting to watch when she's cooking, sewing, typing - she's so meticulous and so carefree at the same time. Holding her hand is the best. I know it sounds corny but her hand fits perfectly into mine. And for such small hand they're pretty strong, I'm always amazed when she can move furniture as well as my brothers.
24. Kathy gets comics. Hey it may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Kathy gets why I dig comics and all that super hero stuff. She may not dig it as much as I do, but she speaks the language, she knows the stories, she gets it. We can hit a comic shop and she knows what I'll be looking for. We can watch the movies and she'll actually watch and get into it with me. She has her own fantasies about Rogue and Gambit. And while she may not understand my idea of hitting Lotto and having to build a fully-functional Batcave, at the very least she'll let me retreat to the garage for a while. Most of all when she saw the scene from Charlie's Angels where Cameron Diaz was dancing in the Spider-man underoos, she went out and got a pair to surprise me. Excelsior!
25. Kathy is an organizer. She's not the first to volunteer to run something, but if anyone asks her to handle a job involving people she is on it. Hosting a party, running a droid hunt, handling women's events at our church - she's got it covered. I'll never forget the time at Celebration II in Indiana when over two hundred members of the 501st showed up for a photo shoot and Lucasfilm had zero preparation for it. I left to get the parade route confirmed and put Kathy in charge of lining up the troops. Wow, was I surprised when I came back ten minutes later and she was running up and down the line, moving people around, shouting orders, and getting stuff straight. Years later in England she would be doing it again at Celebration Europe, this time putting the celebrities in their place when they didn't play along. The girl can lead. It's good to know you can rely on someone.
26. Kathy's gorgeous hair. Oh man I could talk about this for a while. I've never dated a brunette like Kathy. Her hair is so healthy, sumptuous, and lush that she regularly enjoys long scalp massages she'd otherwise not get. The first time I brought her by to meet my parents my mom was overjoyed to see a brunette with me - mom's always thought blondes get too much attention anyways and more people should look like Elizabeth Taylor. So even though Kathy would probably prefer shorter hair out of convenience, she occasionally grows it out for me. Set that hair against her eyes and you get the whole effect, the dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty. Definitely worth the fuss, baby.
27. Kathy loves dessert. You show me a woman who can't appreciate a good dessert and I'll show you a woman who can't enjoy life. Kathy knows what she likes, and she relishes a good dessert. Not that she doesn't earn it, she's running after twin toddlers and doing a mountain of housework every day. So I'm sure to reward her as often as I can with a treat. And there's nothing sexier than a woman enjoying a Popsicle in ways that leave no doubt she's thinking of you. Kathy can tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue. If that's not reason to be thankful for a woman who likes dessert, I don't know what is.
28. Kathy loves the Girls Next Door. Tell me a guy wouldn't love his wife for forcing him to watch Playboy bunnies frolicking around Hugh Hefner's mansion? My wife loves reality shows, so I'll admit it's not all a picnic. But at least that includes the bunny-fest that airs almost nightly in syndication. Holly, Bridgett, and Kendra five nights a week - forced by my wife to watch their fuzzed-out naughty-bits shaking onscreen while in bed. Not… too… shabby.
29. Kathy gets along with other girls. Now that's good on two levels. Firstly, Kathy's not one to get into catty gossip circles or wage sniping wars with other women. She says it like it is, which clears the air before the trouble starts. I like that. On another level, she's a lot of fun at parties when other girls are around. A LOT of fun. There's nothing like some good-spirited girl-wrestling to make the boys happy. Kathy can inspire girls to let their hair down and relax, she'll help girls vamp it up a little to make the scene at conventions, and she's got a great head on her shoulders for how women can have fun responsibly. Let me tell you, it's hard to put a value on a woman that not only gets along well with other women, but can actually get them to have fun too. Cheers to that.
30. Kathy loves Star Wars. For those who know me through the 501st it's obvious that would be a perk. Ever since I was seven years old and saw A New Hope in the theaters during its original release I've loved Star Wars and everything in it. I wouldn't require a wife to love Star Wars, mind you, but it doesn't hurt to have that to share with her. Kathy can appreciate most sci-fi/superhero/fantasy material, and that is more than I thought I could hope for in a woman. But if it weren't for Star Wars and the 501st, we'd probably have never met. I'll never forget the second time I ever saw her she was dressed up in stormtrooper armor. My heart was officially taken. She made it look beautiful. So of course I had to give her my original Star Wars metal lunchbox. The fact that she flipped out over getting it just sealed the deal for me. Now we have friends from around the world who are Star Wars fans and she is an ambassador of goodwill to them all. She's amazing.
31. Kathy has a great butt. Okay, it has to be said. If this list is going to show what I love about Kathy, then this HAS to be on here and frankly would be higher on the list if it was in order. I mean the girl has a BE-autiful derriere. I won't get into a detailed description of it, but the girl's got back in the best sort of way. And she can shake it. I've always been an A-man and Kathy's got enough in both departments to make me switch sides constantly. So yes, I love Kathy's ass and I cannot lie.
32. Kathy will sing. Get her to a karaoke bar and watch the girl go. She's great at belting out Gretchen Wilson and Shania Twain songs, and sings 'em like she means 'em. Karaoke as we all know is not intended to find the next American Idol, it's for fun. And Kathy knows how to have fun when she sings. She'll tear up that mic and work the stage and get the crowd behind her. I love that about her. I hope she'll always sing for me.
33. Kathy knows how to drink. The first time I met Kathy was in a bar. That should have told me something. The woman likes a good drink and is completely at home in a bar. Score!!! How could a man not like that? Of course when we're busy playing house there are rarely chances to meet friends at a bar anymore, but we try to get out once in a while or host a party. And that's when Kathy shines. She knows how to mix almost any drink, she's savvy to girl-drinking protocol (never accept an open container from a stranger, always keep an eye on your drink, know how to score free drinks hassle-free), she's always making instant friends with the bar staff, and she's the life of the party. I'll never forget our early dates, when I'd go to the bar to get her a drink and stand there for what seemed like an hour holding up my money, only to have her walk up, utter the bartender's name, and the dude would literally hand her an already-prepared drink without even looking at her. How does she do that? And then there's the time we were dating and I put her on my tab at a 501st party, after which I watched her knock back more drinks than I could count in an evening. When I was ready to pay the bill, the bartender tells me 'You only owe me $6. Apparently your girlfriend was on everyone else's tab tonight, too!' Amazing. Scary, but amazing.
34. Kathy can knit. I think it's a dying art, women passing down the craft to their daughters. I don't know how Kathy picked it up, probably from her Abuella, but she can knit anything and does so with casual ease while watching t.v. Give her a pattern and she'll thoughtfully work it out and then set to working on a project without a problem. Before you know it she's knitted a baby blanket or a cap or anything else you can imagine. It's pretty neat having a wife so handy and so good at something working with her hands.
35. Kathy bonded with my daughters instantly. Soon after we started dating, I invited Kathy to come down and visit my girls. I was a single dad and she was a single mom - it was obvious we'd have to make the parenting thing work if we were going to work. Allie broke the ice early by asking Kathy to come for her birthday part, even offering to pay for her plane ticket with her $20 of birthday money. Kathy was so touched by this she couldn't say no, so she let me fly her down. No sooner did she hit the house than she was on the floor letting Allie and Katie show her their dolls and tell her all their goofy stories. Not once did Kathy seem out of place or uncomfortable, she just jumped in and loved my daughters instantly. Above and beyond all of the personal relationship bonuses we have, I thank God Kathy loves my girls like any mom should. Thank you, babe.
36. Kathy speaks 'bitch' as a language. I don't mean that as an insult, and she knows it. Speaking 'bitch' is actually an art women must hone to assert themselves without being complete jerks about it. Kathy can switch from 'sweet' to 'bitch' faster than a cesium clock can measure, and I've learned the triggers to stay alive. But it's a beautiful thing to see her apply the right amount of pressure at just the right time towards people who wouldn't expect it from such a diminutive and attractive girl. I've seen moods change, policies revised, and parking spaces become available when the girl talks. To any man who wants a retiring and mousy woman for a wife, I say this - a real man can handle a spicy woman and enjoy the spice when he learns how to live with it. I'm glad my daughters have a role model of a strong woman in their lives.
37. Kathy likes her PJ days. You know the days where you just don't want to get dressed? You know the days where it's rainy outside and there's no real reason to leave the house? You know the comfort of wearing your sweats or PJ's all day like it's a sleepover or Christmas morning? Kathy does. She and the twins will have PJ days all the time and I love it when I can join them. When she's not busting her butt getting housework done, the girl knows the need for down-time in style and she knows how to pull off the look like it's the morning after. Oh, yeah!
38. Kathy knows New York. New York fascinates and terrifies me. It's so friggin' huge and there's so much going on. But Kathy's a seasoned resident of the Big Apple, a former regular on Park Avenue, and an amazing tour guide. Just the few times we've been in Manhattan Kathy's New Yorker brain kicks in, her eyes are darting everywhere and reading the trail of where to go and what to do, she's picking up the signals of the city and adjusting to get somewhere faster, see something cool, take advantage of some secret only New Yorkers know. I'd be totally lost by myself, but she's in her element and it just impresses the hell out of me to watch her work. I love my New York girl.
39. Kathy loves to read. Kathy is a speed-reader and it makes me sick how slow I look next to her. I can spend a month getting through a book and in that time she'll knock out six books, some of which she's reading simultaneously. She has a voracious appetite for reading that inspires the kids and gives her something to share with them when she reads the same books they do (which is quite often). I love coming into the bedroom to find her snuggled up with a good book. And yes, dudes do make passes at girls that wear glasses.
40. Kathy lets me go. What does that mean, exactly? Any guy can tell you. It means Kathy gives me space, she lets me out of the house, she trusts me enough to go out and do my thing knowing full well I'm coming back to her a well-rested and better man. Let me be clear, though - I need a woman to need me, so her wanting me around is exactly what I like. I'm clingy to her, too. But any healthy relationship requires some time alone for both people and Kathy recognizes that. Whether it's an hour out in the garage just fiddling around or a night out with the boys, I'm free to get some fresh air and get centered again. And so is she. That's where trust pays off. Kathy makes being married easy that way.
41. Kathy loves mommy stuff. It's one thing to be a good mom, but Kathy really eats this stuff up. It's her passion. I wish all moms had the same level of passion Kathy feels about the job of being a mom - we'd have a much better world if they did. If she's not shopping for bargains on baby clothing or reading consumer reviews of baby slings, then she's pouring through forums and blogs from other moms. It's great watching her get into all this stuff, knowing she's got it all under control. Parenting can be a scary thing, I got really lucky having a partner as informed and as attentive as her.
42. Kathy purrs like a kitten. Most of the time it's because I'm rubbing her back, or her shoulders, or her hands, or feet, or neck, or any other of a thousand muscle groups where she says she's aching. But it's worth it when the woman gives you the kind of auditory feedback like I'm getting. Long slow moans, gasps of ecstasy, and exhalations of delight - you'd think we were making an amateur adult film. And it has all the passion of one, if you ask her. She's so grateful for someone taking the time to rub her that she's not afraid to show it. And that's cool. So many people are so self-conscious and overly polite they wouldn't think to just let you know how they feel. Not her. I can know exactly when I'm making her feel better and it's a nice show to boot.
43. Kathy knows how to be elegant when she wants to be. I love the fact that Kathy is down-to-earth, has simple pleasures, and can be as low-maintenance as any man could hope for. But I truly appreciate how she can turn on the class any time she damn well feels, and when she does the results are beautiful. Elegantly styled hair, perfect bright lips, enticing eye liner, immaculate nails, and dresses worn like they were designed for her beautiful curves. I'm left speechless. It's akin to any of the corny movies where the unpopular girl turns into a stunning model after only a few alterations. Hands that were preparing food, wiping kids' noses, and cleaning the house only hours before can suddenly be graceful and elegant and poised. I don't know how she does it, but Kathy can turn on the princess and everyone takes notice.
44. Kathy is cool under pressure. Any of you who know her are probably laughing at this comment - you and I both know she's got a strong personality and isn't afraid to show it. But there's a difference between expressing a strong opinion and panicking. Kathy will 'freak-out' to get things done, but she won't lose focus on the problem. I don't know what from her upbringing prepared her for life's unexpected pressures, but the girl is definitely a seasoned pro at handling disaster. If calamity happens, you can be sure Kathy will be upset like anyone else - but she's got the good sense to put her freak-out on the back burner til the crisis is contained first.
45. Kathy accepted my handicap. It's not small thing to go into the dating game with a missing limb. People are body conscious, especially when courting. A missing limb can make a person feel like they're in the bargain bin when it comes to dating. Kathy never made me feel that way. Her first words to me when we met were "So what's the deal with your leg?". We joked about it and I knew right away she was cool and felt comfortable around her. One of our early dating experiences was visiting Universal Studios in Orlando. After two days of walking my leg was a mess. Kathy noticed something was wrong and ordered me to sit down and let her tend to it. Not the first thing one would expect from a prospective girlfriend. She showed compassion and a willingness to help and never let it bother her. How many girls would do that?
46. Kathy loves country music. I've grown up in the South all my life so I've never made a big deal out of it. But Kathy loves country and for a New Yorker I sometimes think she's more country than I am. She's a mix of Gretchen Wilson's hardcore qualities and Shania Twain's gentility. And Garth Brooks is her man. She was there during his live concert in Central Park and she's always thought the world of him. When we're driving down the road Kathy has been known to throw off her shoes and stick her feet out the window with 'Redneck Woman' blaring. Her theme song for her drinking buddies back in New York has always been 'Friends in Low Places'. For an Ozark boy like me it's quite a find to have a Yankee wife who can love country.
47. Kathy knows men. Which is good, because I haven't a clue about women. Kathy understands the maxim that men really only operate in two modes: horny or hungry, so if a man doesn't have an erection just give him a sandwich. She knows men's movies boil down to three themes: explosions, robots, and hookers. Kathy knows what attracts a man, but more importantly she knows what it takes to keep one happy. She works hard to keep the house picked up, she makes sure there's dinner waiting when I get home, and she's quick to get the babies down so we can have some alone time. Jerry Hall once said "Men want a lady in the living room, a chef in the kitchen, and a hooker in the bedroom." I'm not sure what the converse is about what women want, but Kathy gets men and I love her for that.
48. Kathy isn't impressed by people putting on airs. This is something I had to learn when I first met her. Dating a girl from New York, I figured she was accustomed to the upscale things that men from a big city can offer. I wasn't sure I could bring that kind of game. But I soon learned that an expensive car, five-star dining, and $300 shoes weren't the ways to her heart. Boy was I relieved. To boot, she was so used to the kind of people who clung to that kind of affirmation and it was already passé to her. People sporting status symbols don't affect her one way or the other. If they're cool people, she'll befriend them on their own merits without judging them. Kathy can critique designer bags and clothes and shoes. She just chose a long time ago what was really important to her, and for that she is her own woman.
49. Kathy has a radiant smile. Pair it with her eyes and it's a one-two punch when you first meet her. BAM! Here comes that 10,000-watt smile. And Kathy's quick to smile, she's fun and has a good sense of humor. I wanted to surprise her with my marriage proposal, just to see her smile and of course she ended up crying instead. But on most days you'll be hard pressed to find her not smiling - she keeps her spirits up even on a rainy day, she loves a good joke, and loves to laugh. I love to see my baby smile. It's a good litmus test for whether or not I'm doing my job right.
50. Kathy is ticklish. Enormously ticklish. Ticklish to the point of being a condition. Ribs, back, knees, she squeals like a schoolgirl if you give her a good tweak. But it has to be in moderation - because she's so frightfully sensitive to tickling that she quotes her mom that it's a form of torture. She's probably right, otherwise it wouldn't be so much fun.
51. Kathy speaks fluent Spanish. Growing up with her abuella, she learned it as her first language for the early part of her life. She complains she's rusty and has an accent, but anyone she speaks to seems not to notice and is just grateful for her skill. It never fails to impress me when we're caught in a situation where speaking Spanish suddenly just breaks down a wall. I've seen her chat up little old ladies at our church who were feeling isolated by the language barrier. I've seen her jump into ambassadorial role with the Spanish Garrison members in my club. I've even watched as she embarrassed some chatty waiters who didn't realize that not all the patrons were clueless as to what they were saying. I love my mamacita.
52. Kathy loves watching "Dancing with the Stars" Okay, this one deserves more nostalgic points than actual aesthetic points. I don't dig the show, but I love watching how excited Kathy gets when she and Allie curl up to watch the show. They really get into the dancing and trash-talking the outfits. Mostly I'm grateful that Kathy will call me in from the other room when a hottie is on the floor. My baby loves me!
53. Kathy is quick to admit her mistakes. No, I mean it. This isn't just being nice. We argue just like anyone else (gasp! I know, hard to believe). But I'm always surprised when the dust settles and Kathy owns up to her share of the problem almost immediately. It really kills any momentum the argument had and it makes me own up to my share, too. Just that lack of ego, the willingness to own part of the problem, to show all her cards and drop her guard completely - that's impressive. I try to be careful to appreciate that so I can follow suit. I learn a lot from Kathy.
54. Kathy is good with the elderly. As I've pointed out before, Kathy was raised at an early age by her abuella (Spanish for grandmother). Kathy was very close to abuella and enjoys fond memories of taking care of her, even when her health was in steep decline. For this reason Kathy understands the needs of the elderly and is good about talking to them genuinely, not in a patronizing tone but really getting to know them and trying to relate to them. When I first brought her around to my parents she was a big hit. My dad loved to flirt and Kathy wasn't at all put out by him. My mom gets a visit every week when Kathy takes the babies over to see her. On occasion my mom stays with us and it's Kathy who knows her meds and takes her shopping and makes sure she's happy.
55. Kathy loves Christmas. REALLY loves Christmas. It's really cute - she's totally taken away by the Christmas spirit - it's like of like watching Will Ferrel's 'Elf' character waxing on and on about Christmas. And it's inspiring after watching the season become so commercial and tacky. But Kathy won't have any of that - she has me hunting for a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, hanging lights that weekend, and shopping for presents as early as October. Christmas is more than just a 2-month sojourn for her, she has ceramic Christmas tree figurines she puts up year-round just to keep the spirit alive. So this is one Scrooge who's been converted, thanks to some holiday cheer someone decided to carry around inside her full-time.
56. Kathy loves to laugh. She has a terrific sense of humor, sometimes sophisticated and sometimes on the level of a 10-year-old. All of it's good. She can find the humor in almost anything. Life can be rough, so it's a handy trait. Her whole family is the same way. It came in really handy for us when we first got married and eight weeks later Katie was diagnosed with brain cancer. If we hadn't had the ability to find things to laugh about, we would have been in big trouble. Today with twin toddlers you have to have the same levity or else life is pure drudgery. I love laughing with Kathy, and so do her friends. She's a lot of fun to be around. Even when the thing she finds to laugh about is me!
57. Kathy has a tattoo. C'mon admit it - it's damn sexy. Some folks call it a 'tramp stamp'. Okay, whatever, those are just guys who get shot down by tattooed girls. Tattoos are everywhere. Even I have one, no big deal. I see it as a sign of independence in an age where women have unprecedented freedom of expression. And it's just damn sexy.
58. Kathy took care of my dying daughter. Nothing says more to me about my wife than the fact that when Katie was diagnosed with cancer only eight weeks after we got married, Kathy gave up her job hunt and committed herself to caring for Katie fulltime. Tell me that isn't the most hardcore expression of love and selflessness. Every day Katie would cry for her mom and every day Kathy sat patiently and rubbed her back and kept her on her treatment schedule, driving her to radiation treatments and picking up meds. It was an ugly job in some ways, beautiful in others - Kathy still to this day treasures her memories of spending time with Katie while she was sick. The important thing is she stood up and was counted when it was most important. For that alone I'll never do anything less than my best for her as my wife.
59. Kathy said 'yes'. I still can't believe I landed Kathy as my wife. There's nothing more cool than upgrading wives to someone young, pretty, and full of life. I remember the trip down to Disney with our kids, I was thinking the whole time I wanted to pop the question to her. I'd bought the ring weeks before but I had no plan on how to make it happen. The Disney people were pretty cool about it, I just told them "I want to propose to my girlfriend and I have no plan!" and before you know it they'd mobilized an entire program around my visit. They wanted me in Cinderella's castle at a certain time, right after the Princess review. Kathy thought I was crazy insisting on a specific show at a specific time, but when they ushered us backstage and a zillion characters were there to witness the event the moment was a perfect set-up. Fairy Godmother had me go to one knee while the other characters distracted Kathy - then they parted at a given signal and Kathy saw me. And promptly asked me what I was doing. She thought I was getting ready for a picture or something. Fairy Godmother had to actually point out the ring in my hand. And then it happened… Kathy was actually speechless for a whole minute! I know, hard to imagine. But her next word was 'yes' so it was all good.
60. Kathy is faithful. Anyone who knows what I've been through knows why this is important. A lot of people take monogamy for granted, but go through the alternative and you'll appreciate a spouse who is one-hundred-percent trustworthy. There are a thousand songs about betrayal of love - once you've dealt with it in a marriage involving kids you're never the same. I tried to walk the straight and narrow during one of the worst times in my life. God rewarded me with a wife I know I can count on. And she can count on me. There is nothing more precious in a partner than trust. Corny, but it's true.
61. Kathy has a strong relationship with God. Considering how we met and the kick-ass time we had just partying and costuming during our early dating, there was no way of knowing Kathy would actually have a strong sense of faith and a hunger to learn more. One of the first things we did when she moved down was get more involved in our local church. After twelve years of going there I barely know anyone, but she instantly made friends with everyone there, volunteered to coach the girls' cheerleader squad, joined the Mothers of PresSchoolers group (MOPS), volunteered to be a teacher for the girls in the GA's program, and is a coordinator now for MOPS helping bring in new members. Amazing. We're finding it's important to share our faith and we're committing to praying together on a regular basis. This is so much more than I expected from our relationship and I'm so grateful for someone to help me grow. I am amazed at how strong her faith was throughout our trials and I'm inspired by her thirst for knowledge and service. This is what helps make a marriage last.
62. Kathy has cute feet. I've known women with less than attractive feet. Let's just leave it at that. Like her hands, Kathy's feet are diminutive and cute and just nice to have around. I don't have a fetish or anything, they're just a beautiful part of a woman. Somehow they make it onto my lap when we're watching t.v. and I don't have a problem giving them a good massage. This suits Kathy fine, as she loves foot rubs. It suits me fine too because of reason #42 and because #31 becomes more of a possibility. If Kathy had less than appealing feet the process might seem more like a chore, but I sincerely enjoy rubbing her feet - they're just small enough to be cute and nice to hold. My only problems is on winter nights when those cute feet become blocks of liquid nitrogen and she decides to surprise me with them. That's when reason # 50 appears on the menu.
63. Kathy is weird. She's beautifully weird, odd, strange, and screwy in the best sort of ways. This works well with me, because I'm far from normal myself. Kathy eats the oddest foods as comfort food, she plays Lego video games so much that while driving she sees pylons as ways to make extra points, she swears birds are out to get her and that the ghost of her Abuella turns up the thermostat in our house. I could go on, but her weirdness is nothing next to mine so I can't say anything. She's just the kookiest, cutest girl I know and I'm grateful for every nutty moment with her.
64. Kathy has a sophisticated palate. Coming from New York, she's eaten more food, seen more shows, shopped in more boutiques, and visited more museums than I can imagine. Just when you think she's a regular queen of the blue collar set, she'll identify a rare designer or order up a gourmet dish I've never heard of. Get her in any big city and she'll target where to shop and where to eat before Zagat can get a word in.
65. Kathy loves Eddie Izzard. "Do you have a flag? No flag, no country." I barely knew this comedian before Kathy made me sit down and watch one of his specials on cable during one of my visits. I couldn't stop laughing. "Did I leave the stove on? Oh wait of course not, I'm a f***ing squirrel!" Here's this Brit all made up like a drag queen and riffing on everything about Western Civilization that's absurd but you have to hear a Brit tell you it's okay to say it's stupid. When we were visiting Europe we couldn't stop quoting his Dress to Kill routine. "Oh God, another bloody castle." If you haven't seen his show do yourself a favor and see it. Some great stuff we enjoy as our inside jokes. You have to… that's the rule I…just…made…up.
66. Kathy is my nava-computer. Men are _supposed_ to have a superior sense of direction. I don't know what happened to me, but I think that part of me is on back-order. When we're on a road trip Kathy can get me just about anywhere without a map and on pure memory (and sometimes just instinct). It all started on one of my first driving trips to New York. Kathy knew how to get around every little exit, on-ramp, turnpike, side-street, and downtown-traffic-jam. It's amazing to watch her work. I dubbed her my Kathy Nava-Computer (after the system onboard the Millennium Falcon). When she's hungry on the road, she'll tell me the Nava-Computer needs recharging. When she's asleep on long trips (which is often, no matter what she says) then my Nava-Computer is down. I don't know how I got by without her.
67. Kathy loves sushi. I'd never had sushi when we first met, but before I knew it Kathy had me hooked on the stuff. We'd order from Yummy Yummy, the take-out place near her apartment in Bayonne, and it was our little treat. When I couldn't get up to New York to visit her, I'd arrange for us to have 'virtual dates' - I'd call up Yummy Yummy and surprise her with an order, then call her up while we both ate dinner and enjoyed the next best thing to actually being there. We don't get to eat out much nowadays, but when we do I like to make it a treat and take her to get sushi. We always try something new off the menu, it's always a little adventure.
68. Kathy loves tiaras! Kathy believes that every woman should be able to wear a tiara, to feel like a princess. She actually has a collection of tiaras that she uses for home, on road trips, for conventions. When she and her girlfriends get together they form a scary tiara posse and anyone new to the group is usually presented with her very own tiara. Sometimes if Kathy's having a bad day she might put on her tiara so she can regain her center. If I drive up after work and she's sitting on the front steps with a tiara, cigarette, and a glass of wine in her hand, then it's been a VERY bad day! Time to get flowers…
69. Kathy likes this number. Aside from her having the sense of humor of a teenage boy (which I love about her - she snickers at any double entendre we can make out of dialog off the t.v.), this number has it's own significance. Nuff said.
70. Kathy is younger than me. I've always heard of guys bragging of marrying a much younger woman. Now I see why. It's nice. Very nice. I couldn't believe how nice. Oh sure there are some adjustments to make, everyone has to make them. I mentioned the old Baltimore Colts the other day and she'd never heard of them. Sometimes I have to wear the grown-up hat and sometimes she has to get me to relax a bit. It can get a little Dharma-and-Greg. But the differences can be fun, too, and who wouldn't want a hot little thing like Kathy for a wife? I don't know how I ended up with a trophy wife, but life is good.
71. Kathy is the right height. Kathy complains that at 5'4" she's too short. But as a guy who's only 5'8" I think she's just right. Maybe other guys like super tall women and don't mind staring into a woman's neck when dancing, but I like my girl to fit me. When we hug, she can tuck her head into my neck and I can rest my cheek on her. Everything on this list is a little schmaltzy, so why should this be any different? It just feels… right. And in this world sometimes that's the best compass you can have.
72. Kathy likes to eat. Finally. Get to know Kathy and she'll tell you about her struggles with eating as a teenager. More women have gone through it than is talked about. After my divorce I dropped a lot of weight - I was bummed out and stopped eating. Kathy, too, lost a lot of weight after her divorce, but her intent was to look hot. Mission accomplished. After we got serious it was hard convincing her it was okay to eat again. I didn't have a certain body type in mind, I just wanted her to be happy. Thankfully she's got a good sense of herself and rekindled her love of cooking and enjoying good food. So now she can look good AND enjoy life. Who says you can't have it all?
73. Kathy wants to grow as a person. My first impression of Kathy while we were dating was here is a woman who likes who she is and is content with that. Well I was half-right. Kathy has always had a drive to learn new things and try new challenges. Months after moving here she was enrolled in coursework for nursing. Katie's illness and the babies have delayed that, but she's determined to resume that when we get the chance. Meanwhile, she's active in our church's ongoing bible studies, broadening her culinary repertoire, and pouring herself into being the best home maker and mother she can be. Every day I see Kathy grow and it's a cool thing to share with her.
74. Kathy fills up my bathroom with girly stuff. I spent a year and a half as a bachelor before Kathy and I started dating. I wanted to prove I could make it alone and be a single dad. I think I was pretty successful, but I've always wanted to be in a good marriage. When Kathy was coming down for regular visits there was a moment one weekend when I looked at my bathroom and realized how much girly stuff she'd smuggled in. I also realized how much I missed that soft touch to my life. I like hearing her hair dryer blowing, the smell of scented bubble bath, and the sight of her in a hair-towel. I enjoy watching her put on her makeup and see her fuss over things that women take the time to notice. Now I have my 4th and 5th daughters in the house and I'm realizing I should be careful what I wish for! It's a pink and purple world at my house. But I love it.
75. Kathy looks good in glasses. I called Kathy my Lisa Loeb one day and she got it. There's something nerd-tastic about a good-looking girl in specs. Call it the librarian effect, the receptionist fantasy, the shy-girl-hiding-a-secret. Whatever. Fact is Kathy has gorgeous eyes and glasses frame them well. She sometimes feels self-conscious about having to wear them, but I'd just as soon she wear them even if she didn't need them. With them on, she has the look of 'all this and brains too'. And she's right.
76. Kathy is into bald dudes. It's more and more the thing that dudes shave their heads to look like a bad ass instead of going to the gym. Me, I did it because Katie was going into chemo and I wanted to show my support. But I really did need to do it, because look back at my wedding photos and it's just a sad statement in futility. Thankfully, Kathy thought the bald look was good on me and she loved it. It doesn't hurt that her father is a big figure in her life and he's got the same look. So now I'm doing the Bruce Willis and Kathy's my biggest fan. She even likes to do the shaving duties, at times even taking a razor to do a close cut (which is a very relaxing and sensual experience, I highly recommend it). I wish everything in life were as easy as this!
77. Kathy is quick to forgive. I've had my share of screw-ups. I've found ways to take the easiest things in a relationship make them overly complicated and completely backwards. But Kathy's always been ready to let my mistakes go once we've acknowledged the trouble and decided what to do to fix it. Oh she's not one to just let things slide if there are problems - that's just investing in future problems. But she is quick to put them behind us once we've made up our minds to do something about it. Kathy understands there's no future in worrying about the past. She's a very forward-minded person. It makes for easier travels in life when your partner doesn't believe in extra baggage.
78. Kathy always wanted to be Miss America. When Kathy was just a little girl, her Abuella would sit her down to watch the Miss America pageant with her on t.v. She fondly remembers watching the elegant ladies and wishing she could walk the runway with her tiara and sash, waving and blowing kisses. Even now when the pageant is on Kathy is a hopeless sucker for the drama. I think it's great that as a child Kathy was allowed to have dreams like that. Her family is a very loving and supportive part of her life, and they produced a healthy and optimistic person. If Kathy could see how her children look at her now, she'd probably see that same elegant lady in a tiara and full-length gown, waving and blowing kisses.
79. Kathy reads people's blogs. I've said it before, Kathy is an avid reader. Part of that is reading her friends' blogs and journal entries. Kathy keeps up with all the mommy boards and facebook and myspace and live journal entries for everyone she knows (and some she doesn't know). I know I'm impressed - I have a hard time keeping up with MY facebook account. What it boils down to is 21st century socializing and Kathy shows people she cares by valuing what they have to say about their lives. She's very attentive that way. Before long a bump comes in the road for someone, and Kathy is quick to listen and offer advice if asked. That's what friends are for. It doesn't matter if it's from hundreds of miles away.
80. Kathy can stand up for herself in an argument. And I should know! We've had our fair share of knock-down drag-out 'discussions'. If there's a point to be made and Kathy believes whole-heartedly in it, you can believe she'll make her case for it and demand to be heard. And I respect that. I couldn't live with a woman who shrank from a conflict or was too weak to express her opinion. Some men like that in a woman. I say if you want someone following you around your whole life obeying every command, get a dog. But if you want a partner who's able to offer a fresh perspective and give you new ideas, marry a good woman.
81. Kathy loves flowers. I know this one sounds like I'm just going all Hallmark, but let me explain. A certain someone in my past never liked flowers. She didn't like getting them, she made a big deal about how impractical they were, and every time I tried to celebrate certain holidays with them it seemed to just fall flat. Except for the one Valentine's Day I gave up altogether. Then it really hit the fan! So flowers fell off the radar for me. Then, going through a period of bachelor-hood after that, I came to appreciate a lot of the girly qualities one comes to expect from… well, a girl. When Kathy came along she had no problem expressing her feminine side and she ate up all the attention one expects a woman to want. Suddenly I felt like my instincts were okay to listen to. Now every time I bring her flowers she's all smiles. They're usually the inexpensive ones from the grocer but she doesn't mind. I've come to enjoy having beautiful things around me again, and flowers are just part of that.
82. Kathy can be naughty. You can't underestimate the importance of a woman being in touch with her sexuality. It doesn't have to be overtly sexual behavior. Sometimes Kathy has a way of walking, a breathy voice in the ear, a wink of the eye that makes her a steamy temptress. But a woman who can gain that confidence and put it out there will find a man very grateful for the effort. It shows him she still finds him worth pursuing. Like flowers for women, I guess. Most men understandably want to marry a good woman who they know will take care of the kids, keep a clean house, and be faithful. But if you want to really sweeten the deal, act like the girlfriend on the side and you've got a man who can't even imagine other women walk the planet. For me, there's only Kathy.
83. Kathy is a stay-at-home mom. This is a dying art, so I have to give Kathy a shout-out on this one. My mom was a homemaker until I was in high school. Looking back I can appreciate now what that meant for me growing up. Kathy gave up a lucrative job in Manhattan to move down to South Carolina and her only request was to have babies and stay home raising them. Sure, a single income home is difficult to maintain but how could I deny her such a simple and noble request? And she's so good at it. Every day she's feeding the girls, dressing them, changing diapers, cleaning up toys, kissing boo-boo's, reading books, washing dishes, doing laundry, sweeping and mopping the floors, going 'food shopping' (Southerners still don't know what to make of that phrase), and getting dinner ready. On top of that she's always in touch with Emily and always helping Allie with her everyday needs (which might even include cocoa and an episode of Gilmore Girls). It's a full-time job being mom! The constant she represents in the girls' lives is invaluable. She is safety and love and warmth for all of them. As the country song "Mister Mom" (about a stay-at-home dad learning how tough it can be) goes, "Honey, you're my hero."
84. Kathy loves donut runs. Here's another item on the list that is very specific, but has to be included. It's not like we live for donuts. Ever since Kathy moved down here we've had a tradition of doing late-night donut runs to the Krispy Kreme in West Columbia. It's actually a distribution point with a shop in the front where you can watch the rings of dough roll down the production line as they get turned into donuts. The kids love to lean on the glass and wonder at every detail involved in the machinery and the thousands of donuts being churned out every minute. On a tight budget where we dine in every night and rarely get out for shopping, we've learned to find little ways to break the routine and get out for cheap thrills. Kathy is great about making even little events like this a lot of fun for our family. Yay donuts!
85. Kathy is low-maintenance. She's not one of those women who make you guess how she's feeling or figure out what she wants. She'll tell you. For those of you who think that's too strong, consider the alternative. I've been around women who internalize their feelings, over-think what they want, and construct elaborate tests to see if their man truly 'gets' them. It's childish and stupid. It ends up with the woman feeling let-down and the man confused. Kathy isn't perfect, but she's quick to tell you what's okay and what's not okay. That tells me when I need to work on something and when I can relax and KNOW it's really okay. Now on the other hand, I don't want to say Kathy isn't worth putting in the extra time to make her happy. I'm actually so grateful for the lack of drama on this score that I find myself wanting to do little extras for her. I think if more women knew this they'd have an easier time getting spontaneous gestures of love. Like, I don't know.... this list!
86. Kathy loves to wear perfume. This one can be explained much the same way as #81. I grew up loving the way girls smell, so it was an adjustment when someone else in my past not only hated perfume but claimed anything scented gave her a headache. That's cool, I can adjust. But it's not what I prefer. When I met Kathy and she dripped with the scent of Premier Jour, my head was swimming. I'm not kidding - I couldn't get the scent out of my head. That stuff really worked on me. Kathy isn't afraid to splash a little something on from time to time and she knows it gets my attention. Kathy's scent is nice by itself - she has pheromones to spare - so imagine that times ten and you'll understand why she wears it.
87. Kathy can make anything look sexy. I've never seen a woman pose so seductively and make it work, no matter what she's doing. I've seen her go from one sign to another at Universal Studios work it for the camera. Her dad once told her that she just 'oozes' with her mojo when she's working it. I believe it. Just check out her pics and you'll see the dark-eyed seductive stare, the half-open mouth, the tempting lips, the placement of the hips and hands… Okay, now I'm just getting myself excited. Maybe I should start an adult version of the 100-list…
88. Kathy picked me over all those other guys… including Woody Woodpecker. Damn that bird. Just as I was making time with Kathy down in Florida on one of our first dates, along comes this hyperactive bird putting the moves on my girl. Grabbing her ass, copping a feel, making all kinds of rude gestures - this bird was messing around with my chick. It wasn't like he was alone, though - when we first started dating Kathy was the biggest flirt and enjoyed all the attention at 501st events. There were plenty of guys throwing themselves at her. She just giggled, accepted the free drinks, and treated them to enough of a lap session that the poor sods thought they had a shot. But when the dust settled there was only room for one pecker and his name was not Woody. That's all, folks.
89. Kathy holds onto me during scary parts of movies. Kathy hates anything related to horror, but every once in a while she'll brave a spooky movie and when she does she turns into your stereotypical girlfriend at the drive-in, clinging to me and burying her face whenever it gets too intense. She's not above screaming, either. If something pops up unexpectedly then she's up in my lap and breaking glass with her shriek. Scary things are NOT funny, she would say, and if it gets to be too much she'll disappear to read a book. This is the charm that is Kathy, a woman who can be so strong and self-possessed on one hand but who has no hesitation in embracing her frailties. I think it's cool that she has that kind of range and feels free to be herself. I just wish I could get my hearing back.
90. Kathy knows how to discipline children. You know, there was a time when I thought I was a pretty strict parent. I would play the 'bad cop' and let someone else play 'good cop'. But when I met Kathy I realized for the first time in my life I wasn't taking it nearly as far as I could. Kathy has no problem raising her voice at a child or relentlessly driving home the point she's trying to make until the child acknowledges they understand. Kathy is very 'old school' about laying down an ass-whupping if she has to. And she's known to critique children's tantrums as they're throwing them - something that drives them crazy! Kathy comes from a single mom raising four kids on a small budget and in a big city - mama didn't take any crap from them. It just so happens my mom was a lot the same way, so it makes for some good synergy when we're dealing with the kids. If anything, I have to be the one to tone things down - and that's new for me! I'll never worry if our children are ever confused as to what's right and what's wrong. I may have to fear for their safety if they test it around Kathy, though…
91. Kathy loves squirrels. Okay, another inside joke here. While Kathy lived in Bayonne she used to have these squirrels running around in the crawlspace and wreaking havoc. Somehow the conversation led to Staten Island where her parents live and whether or not there were Squirrels there. I suspected they hitched rides on the hubcaps of passing cars, but then wondered if that made them dizzy. That led to the theory you could spot rogue squirrels as they ran in circles from being so dizzy. After a while the inside joke became a running joke about squirrels and Kathy's fascination with them. Does this really have a point? No. But quantify the funny little things that make you love a person and you'll see a whole tapestry of nuttiness like this. My nut is Kathy.
92. Kathy tells me I'm the man. They say behind every good man is a good woman. There has to be, I just can't imagine not having the support I get from my wife. Not just verbal affirmation, but just the way she acts makes me look good. When we're at a convention, she's sassy and gorgeous and makes me look ten feet tall as she hangs on my arm. When we're at church she's friendly and engaging and always by my side shining as an example of what kind of partner a wife can be. When we're down to business on something she's ready with a frank assessment of what she thinks needs getting done and she's willing to do whatever I need from her. When it's all said and done she's always ready to tell me how much she admires me. ME! I can't believe it sometimes. It's rare a day ends without her telling me how lucky she feels to be my wife. I don't need trophies or awards to make me feel like I'm the man - my wife says I am and that's good enough for me.
93. Kathy is a great driver. It wasn't that long ago that Kathy was a New York girl who relied totally on the transit system to get around. When she moved to South Carolina driving was a new thing and it terrified her. One night I tried to show her how to drive a stick in the church parking lot. Unfortunately, I suck as a driving teacher and she ended up doing donuts (which was pretty cool). But give her a year or two and she had a good handle on the road and how to manage crazy traffic. USA Today listed Columbia SC as THE worst city in the U.S. for drivers - if she can handle these rednecks, she's ready for anything! Now when we're on long road trips I can actually take a quick nap and know she's got it under control. Not everyone can say that about their spouse. I'm very proud of my baby for being a good driver.
94. Kathy can carry babies. I've never felt more relief in my life than after the healthy delivery of my daughters. Each time gave me pause to thank the good Lord for watching over my girls and the mother carrying them. When we found out we were having twins, my worry level went up times ten. Carrying twins is hard enough, but Kathy is so petite I couldn't imagine all that stuff going on in such a small body. Still, she did it like a champ. Each week there was lotion on the skin, measuring of the abdomen, watching her diet and her comfort level. You'd never know she was having twins from talking to her, she sailed through it smiling the whole time she loved it so much. I installed an above-ground pool that summer so Kathy could have a place to float and cool off, I was so worried about her. Come September she was laying in the operating room ready for her c-section and my heart jumped - there she was all ashen and trembling, but peaceful about the procedure. It wasn't long she recovered and was proving she could take care of babies just as well outside the womb as in it. I am in awe of how the woman can do that job and I'm quietly thankful she's a strong enough woman to do it well.
95. Kathy loves clean ears. It's beyond a grooming act and more of a compulsion. She says as a child she was taunted by her sisters that if she had dirty ears the boogie man would get her. She assumed the boogie man was this homeless guy living in the parking lot near their house. So of course this terrified her (Lisa, Tracy, George - I'm billing you all for the therapy sessions). What was a source of intense pre-pubescent terror is now a routine in our household after every bath or shower. We've given up fighting it, Kathy will have clean ears no matter what! And we love her for caring enough to keep the boogie man away.
96. Kathy loves the road. I was practically raised on the road - mom and dad were constantly moving us back and forth from dad's home town in Missouri to Charlotte and places in between to visit relatives in Kentucky. I love the road and the freedom it gives you, the endless adventures as you sail into one town after another. It turns out Kathy's just as much in love with it as I am. Our first memories together were driving between New York and South Carolina - a thirteen-hour stretch that offered a lot of variety and scenery. We still have to do it today on a regular basis, and if it weren't for our love of road trips we'd go insane. It's down to a science for us now - loading up the ipod, filling up a cooler with snacks and drinks, packing up all the kids' toys, and hitting every greasy spoon we can find on the way. Some of our best talks have been over the droning of the tires on the flat-top. Kathy promises when we retire we can buy an RV and do the whole country, parking each night in a new Wal Mart parking lot. That's something I can look forward to, because spending time with Kathy has always been a pleasure.
97. Kathy loves the drive-in. A few years ago we discovered the Big Mo, a drive in located in Monetta, SC. It's primitive, a zillion miles' drive out of town, and you have to wait forever til sundown to watch the movies. But it's cheap, the folks are all friendly sitting out on lawn chairs with boomboxes tuned to the theater station, and there's plenty of junk food to be had. Kathy's always loved drive-ins, from the time her mom would pile her and her siblings into the back of the station wagon in their PJ's. They'd drop the gate and fall asleep watching the movies. Now it's our thing and of course our girls go in their PJ's. Kathy's good about doing fun things with the family and making them our own.
98. Kathy knows how to relax. Okay, I know this one sounds pretty tame, but if you know me then you know sometimes I have a really hard time winding down. I'm either up late at night answering emails or trying to fix something around the house, or worrying about the bills. For years I couldn't even get to sleep easily. Kathy came into my life and instantly called me on my compulsion to worry all the time. She knows how to deal with life's stresses and it's not just to curl up in a ball and ignore them - but once you have fixed a mess then try to reward yourself with a little rest. I actually need to be taught that! More and more people are suffering anxiety-related disorders nowadays, so it's not a small thing for someone to know how to relax. Kathy tells me it's okay to stop worrying about things that can't be fixed at the moment, she makes it acceptable to watch t.v. (something I never did much before), she gives me leave to rest. And I can say quite honestly I've slept better the last four years than I have the rest of my life. That's what happens when the right person is next to you at night.
99. Kathy is not afraid of a little mess. I have a maxim for why boys like girls at a young age: they're soft and smell purty. None of that has changed for me, I still savor the softness and gentility of a woman. But let's get real - the world doesn't function with women living on pedestals. Life requires everyone getting their hands dirty (at least real people) and I wouldn't respect a woman that couldn't handle that. Kathy's no slouch on this point - even when we were engaged she was toiling to get her apartment moved, helping me with cleanup at my old house, and working to care for her daughter and my two girls. Now she's doing yard work, wiping noses, helping me fix the plumbing, killing bugs, dredging kiddy pools, medicating the dog, and dealing with cloth diapers and the toxic soup they create during laundry duty. No sir, this lady ain't afraid of a little mess. Which is good if you know our kids.
100. Kathy is beautiful, inside and out. I have to finish my 100 list with this. I could list 100 more reasons (and maybe I will one day) but this is the essence of what I love about my baby - she's got the goods inside and out. She's physically beautiful and has never let that ruin her, her soul is earnestly good and she has such a big heart for others. When I'm done adoring her face and her body, I can switch gears and know that I won't be disappointed with the person with whom I'm spending my life. She satisfies me as much physically as she does with conversation and simple acts of kindness, she demonstrates every day she loves me on every level, and she keeps me wanting more and topping herself every day so that I'll never want anything but her as my companion. I am a better person for knowing her and I'm honored she is my wife. I love you, Kathy.