After our week-long honeymoon, we stopped by my parents house to break up the trip back to Michigan as well as pick up a few of my things. It was an odd feeling to return to my childhood home for the first time as a married woman. I felt so….grown up… and yet still like a child all at the same time.
We made that familiar drive back to his parent’s house and began to set up house in our basement apartment. Our plan was to work part time at the pizza restaurant in town and then also travel and do ministry part time with our juggling and magic program. Since we were working with his parent’s ministry, we were renting the basement apartment of their office building.
His parent’s ministry purchased property from a small country church which included about 4 acres, the church building and the parsonage. They had set up their offices in the church building and Ked grew up in the parsonage. In the basement of the old church building now office building is a two bedroom apartment. It actually is a pretty good sized apartment with an open kitchen and living area and a washer and dryer. The only thing missing is a bathroom.
The only bathrooms in the building are located through a narrow hallway and upstairs, by what I am guessing used to the be the front entrance of the church – complete with a set of double glass doors. Two bathrooms sit just inside those doors – one was labeled men and the other women. In preparation for us to move in, Ked took the signs down and remodeled one bathroom putting in a new sink and vanity and a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It was a bit of a hassle going up and down the stairs for the bathroom, but the worst part was how cold it would get in the winter, because that section of the building didn’t get heated. We had a space heater that we turned on to heat up the bathroom, but the porcelain tub always stayed cold. I took showers standing on the sides of my feet because it was too cold to stand flat footed!
When we arrived home from our honeymoon, our kitten Sadie greeted us with a big surprise. She was a beautiful, spunky calico cat and was only a few months old. His parents had deposited all of our wedding gifts in the living room of our apartment. In her week alone, Sadie had ripped all of the bows and cards off the presents and had a big party with them. There were cards and bows from one end of the apartment to the other. A good number of our guests ended up with generic thank you’s. “Thank you so much for sharing in our special day and for the wonderful gift! We appreciate it so much and will put it to good use!”
As wedding season approaches, here’s a tip: When you wrap a wedding present – wrap the card INSIDE the gift, just in case frisky kittens are involved.
The most repeated gift we received were waffle irons and pyrex travel containers. We got four waffle irons! We kept all the pyrex containers and travel cases, because although I wasn’t a very good cook yet, I was determined to learn.
Apparently, the thing to do when you live in my in-law’s small town is to open the gifts you buy for the bride and groom and insert extra goodies in the box with the gift. I had discovered this during the bridal shower his mom and grandma held for me that spring. Every single gift included dishtowels that had been crocheted around, or handmade potholders, or some other extra kitchen item thrown in with the gift. Unfortunately, I did not remember that tip when it came time to return a few wedding gifts. About a year after our wedding, I was at an event and the subject of coffee came up. A lady who had attended our wedding and given us a coffee maker commented, “How did you like that gourmet coffee I stuck in with the coffee maker?” My eyes got wide, and I tried to act suave as I said, “Oh wonderful!” We had received two coffee makers, and upon inspecting the features listed on the box, we had returned the one from her without ever opening the box. Oops. Someone got a nice surprise when they bought their new coffee maker!
On our first evening back in Michigan, we headed down to the pizza restaurant for dinner since we didn’t have much food in the house yet, and my cooking had much to be desired. We walked in and said hello to everyone and sat down to order. The owner came over and sat down next to us for a minute to congratulate us on our wedding and say that he was looking forward to having us both work for him. Then he told us to order whatever we wanted, because it was on him. We loved working for him and his wife. They were good business owners and very community minded. We watched them give and give without thinking of what it was costing them. They valued quality in every area and it showed. People drove for miles to this tiny little town to eat their pizza. It was that good.