by Suzanne Sparrow Watson

I now pronounce you husband and wife.There are few phrases as sobering, with the possible exceptions of ”We have lift-off” and ”This country is at war.”   Erma Bombeck

     Boy, do we look young!

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated 33 years of marriage.  Or as my dad used to say, “Thirty-three years of indentured servitude”.  He was joking, of course.  I think.  In any event, I was thinking about marriage last week as we prepared to observe our special day.  We have remarked several times over the past few months that we are very fortunate that we’re so compatible because it seems like we’ve spent 25 hours a day together since March.  And like many others, there have been a few challenges.  In addition to dealing with soaring COVID numbers in Arizona, I had some minor surgery in May, my husband underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer and even Dash the Wonder Dog joined in with the diagnosis of a heart murmur.  Add in the hottest summer on record and it seemed like the fun just never stopped.


“People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.”   Erma Bombeck

Now that we’re almost to fall with its sub-100 temperatures and the COVID numbers are abating,  I’ve had some time to reflect on how we’ve changed.  At first I mused that the only “growth” we’ve seen is in our girth.  But in fact, we have gained renewed appreciation for each other and our home.  Not necessarily always in that order.  I love our house and am giving it full credit for getting us through this.   A few years ago we contemplated selling our home and moving into one of those slick retirement communities.  I think we have commented 1,000 times this summer that we’re grateful we saved ourselves from that fate.  Our friends who live in said communities have spent months cooped up in their apartments with meals being delivered to them.  It’s like prison only with better food and nicer guards.  The advantage of our house is that we have plenty of room to spread out.  Like fighters between rounds, we are able to go to our separate corners to gain space and sustenance.  In actuality, we seldom even argue.  Still, spending 24/7 together is like the ultimate game of “Survivor”… just hoping one of us doesn’t get voted off.

“Marriage has no guarantees.  If that’s what you’re looking for go live with a car battery.” Erma Bombeck

As I was researching articles about marriage in the time of COVID I found several about the increase in marital discord.  Apparently lots of people are being voted off their marriage island.  All over the world couples are struggling with lockdown, from mental health issues to realizing you’ve married someone who, in fact, is very annoying in a 24/7 world.  The pandemic has caused higher divorce rates and it’s anticipated the rate will only increase once everyone is fully out of lockdown or back to work.  I know that we’ve had it easy and have thought often about families where the parents are working from home AND trying to instruct their children on the higher principles of algebra or the periodic table.  There are many parents who have lost their jobs and are juggling a job search and childcare/home schooling at the same time.  It’s a lot to ask of a marriage to hold up amidst all that stress. On a brighter note, I also read many articles about people reconnecting, both with their spouse and their children.  It seems being locked up together has caused people to talk more about their frustrations, desires and needs.  It’s also caused a boom in real estate and remodeling as people “nest” as they did right after 9/11.

Well heck, I don’t want to be left behind the current trends so I’ve decided to undertake a bit of a home facelift next month.  We’ve been through remodels before so I realize that COVID may be a cakewalk compared to demolishing tile floors.  In fact, under no circumstances should “remodel” and “marital bliss” be uttered in the same sentence.  They start next week so I’ll keep you posted.  We may have to place bets on whether we make it to year 34.








    • Thanks, Marg. Beginning to have second thoughts but all the materials are ordered and in so I guess it’s a “go”. Hope you are doing well…strange times, eh?

  1. And, to think — there are friends who tell me they’re worried about me because I live alone . . . there ARE arguments, but I’ve yet to win one. I think. I SO enjoy reading your posts; you remain one of the “founders” of a career I came to love as much as I had loved teaching, and I always remember you with fondness — well, THAT, and those chocolate-chip cookies!!

    • Yes, there are advantages to living alone but you really should be winning more of those arguments!! Funny you should mention the cookies as I just made a note to myself to ensure I have lots of cookies on hand next week when our remodel starts. Hoping I can bribe some good work with them!

  2. Congrats! Very nice post! Some time I will have to tell you about my COVID upgrade projects! They are pretty funny and I didn’t even murder my husband when he spilled a big bottle of cordovan leather die over himself, me, the slate floors, the solid cherry cabinets and the faux finished walls! 2 hours and bleach got it out of all but John’s shirt but not before a curse at my sister for her lovely redo projects w/o incidents!

    • Well, if I live through this one I’ll take you up on your offer to hear your story!!! Hope you guys are having a great summer – heard that Tahoe is a zoo this year. Still, better than the heat we’ve had!!

  3. I have told people all throughout the pandemic that while I LOVE my husband and child, I am SO HAPPY that I LIKE them alot too!

    • Amen, Del! Glad to hear that you’re doing well. Hopefully when we can travel again we’ll make it up to Breck – we’d love to see you!

  4. First, wishing you a beautiful anniversary – and love your pic!
    Hope all of you came through your medical concerns with flying colors.
    Excited to hear about your remodel!
    And by the way, I love Erma Bombec – she always got it right!
    Love you, too!
    Heard from Fran and we reminisced about celebrating birthdays together!

    • Thanks, as always! Yes, Fran and I also went back and forth about our old birthday celebrations. They were really fun – sure wish she still lived here.

  5. Sounds like what happened to me at age 68. Same cancer had mine out. Sandy and I have 60 years of bliss and spending all this time together has been a cause to clean and downsize all closets and the such. We are now in the process for the third time in each room. No junk left in any room at this point. By the way if you live in AZ. and are thinking of looking for a special senior retirement home please look in Sun City Grand Surprise Az. Four golf courses, two gyms, four pools, walking indoor track, two restaurants. Coco’s and Angelinas. Miles of walking laid out. The best news is that 66 per cent go back to Minnesota every year. Right now no traffic or waits in a restaurant. That was a normal thought not counting this year with the virus. Homes from 180,000 up to 900,000 on the course. Our home in 2005 was 271,000 for 2432 square ft. Prices go up just a little each year. You kind of park your money. This is are16th year. The people who live here are really nice people. Seems that each block looks out for each other. The old name was Del Webb Sun City Grand. We love it here. GaryLarson

    • Hey, Gary, thanks for your comment. Glad to hear of 60 years – wow!!! Our community also clears out in the summer which is good and bad. At this point we’re staying put…but thanks for the recommendation.

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