Happy 10th Anniversary!

Every year I feel compelled to retell the tale of our three wedding anniversaries, but there are only so many ways to talk about it from my perspective. This year, I give you Mark’s perspective, which he wrote and posted elsewhere.

“I’ve told this story a number of times, but I imagine there are a few people here who haven’t heard it… So, gather round the intertubes while I tell the tale…

It was a time long, long, ago… way back when the S&P 500 was below 800 (uh, the first time), the Matrix was still awesome, and there was a new love of my life… a brand new search engine called Google.


Deb and I had been together for almost a year. She had moved in with me less than a month after our second first date (our paths had crossed once before, but we were both distracted at the time.) Her mothers fears, that I was going to murder Deb, were still proving to be unfounded. On the other hand… Her other major concern, expressed when we told her of our decision to move in together: “_Fornication_ is a sin against God! And, Mark is a handsome boy… and…” may have had some merit. Anyway, Deb and I were perfect together. We were inseparable (we were together a few years before we spent our first night apart.) Things were going so smoothly I was really quite nervous. Where were the soaring highs, and the stomach churning lows of previous relationships? Can real love be this easy? How long was I going to have to wait for the crazy? The crazy never came (still hasn’t… 11+ years without a single fight.) All I knew for sure was that everything in my life was better with Deb around. I even loved her cat Greenbean who came along in the move. Since both of us were stable, rational individuals, it was clear that this relationship had legs.

I was working at Frontier Systems (soon to be Optiron) in our development office almost above Fat Head’s in the South Side. To describe the company as unusual would be an understatement. I could write a book about the shenanigans that went on there (oh yeah, I did: (well part of one anyway) Conversations among the development team often went on wild tangents… a recurring theme: the age of consent and its implications… led to some research on the internet later that afternoon. Google quickly led me to the handy reference site. Following the trail of links, also led me to the PA statutes governing marriage. That was when I discovered PA was one of the few states to still permit common-law marriages. Contrary to the “living together for 7 years” crap I guess everyone learned from TV. The legal standard actually was much lower. Basically, all you had to do was agree on it, and make the fact public (rings, joint bank account, introduce yourselves as Mr. and Mrs., etc.)

A few weeks later as I was preparing our taxes, I had a perfect opportunity to see how being married might impact them. A few clicks with TurboTax and it was clear: with Deb in school, full deduction + significant tax credits for her tuition = $$$ I then remembered my common-law research and formulated a plan. If Deb reacted as I expected, it would be proof that I really did know Deb… and if she were crazy (I suppose it’s a matter of how you define it) it certainly wasn’t hidden.

A few hours later, Deb successfully made the final assault on the perilously steep staircase that led to our 3rd floor apartment. Wasting no time I asked her bluntly: “Would you like to get married?” Her eyes briefly scanned my face, knowing something was up… but without much pause she said “Yes.” “Now?” I asked. “OK.” “Well, lets shake on it…” We did, and I proclaimed “Well, thanks to PA’s loose legal code, we’re married.”

The transition from unmarried to married, being so quick and so painless was almost a little unreal. We had to suppress giggles each time we said “this is my wife, Deborah” or “my husband, Mark ” The fact that Deborah was unfazed by my unorthodox proposal, was also a strong indicator that we were made for each other. That despite being as weird as I am, I really could be myself around her. In time, being married seemed as natural as breathing.

Two years later, we took the opportunity to make it a little more official, getting married at a JP, with her folks as witnesses. A few days after that we did it again, this time with my best friend Martin dressed up as a priest, in front of all our friends and family at the North Fork dam’s management club. It was the best/most fun party I ever threw. It was even a joy to plan, and I’d do it every year if only I could convince everyone to show up again.

And here we are… still two peas in a pod. If our formula for success: averaging at least 8% more awesome each year, held true… then thanks to the power of compound interest, we’re more than twice as awesome than when we started.

I love you Deb(s). To the next ten!”