26 WEEKS - THE STORY OF MY TWO MARRIAGES

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO! I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to share my secret marriage with everyone, but Anthony and I’s anniversary was last week…and I felt like it was time to finally clear the air. Anthony doesn’t know I’m sharing this, so…hope this isn’t another blog that gets me in trouble like the milking one did. lol

It was May 31, 2009 and I went to Bronson Bar on Sunset Blvd. I was never the “go to a bar type” but it was a friend’s birthday, so I went. Thirty minutes away, Anthony was going through customs at LAX [having just flown half way around the world from Manchester, England.] And in true British fashion he and his band mates, dropped off their luggage and went straight to a bar…Bronson Bar.

A mutual friend introduced us. I remember my first thoughts…”Why is this guy wearing a trench coat? Oh man…are those pointy shoes? Who wears pointy shoes? Why are British people so fashionable?” Throughout the night we spoke, had a couple laughs, shared some cigarettes. Admittedly I was taken with his accent and arrogant attitude. No one thought Anthony was cooler than Anthony did. The way he took a drag of his cigarette with his chin so high in the air…made you wanna slap him in his face. His adorable, yet very slappable face. He was bad news…

The next day was June 1st. [For those of you that don’t know…that was my little brother’s birthday who passed away in 2005] So I, of course, thought it’d be a brilliant idea to drown my sorrows in cranberry/vodkas, crappy music and shallow company. Back to the bar I went. Anthony and gang were there… laughing… dancing…having fun. As it turns out, drinking when you’re sad isn’t a great combo, so after an hour I decided to close out and go home. I headed to the bar. Just so happened Anthony was also headed to the bar…for a refill. We both stood there…our first time apart from the group…I courtesy smiled at him…he smiled back….looked at me....

… and was like…”Hey are you ok? You seem off.” Not sure how he’d know if I was “off” or not since we only just met, but I didn’t care. I needed a sounding board for my thoughts and I’d paid way to much for those “85% ice” drinks to not stay and get my money’s worth. Before he had a chance to take his first sip of beer, I was spilling out my heart. This poor sap never knew what hit him. He sat there silently, undoubtably regretting that he'd asked me that question as soon as I opened my mouth. 

But we talked…all night we talked. One conversation led to another conversation and suddenly it was 2 in the morning and we were going to an after party at a friends house. We talked more…and more ...and for a moment I forgot I was even sad. Anthony has always been a good listener like that. As the night was ending, he asked me if he could come over to my apt to “do laundry” the following day. A classic Anthony attempt to get in my pants for sure, but I invited him over nonetheless. We spent the entire day listening to music, watching movies…and to be honest…he never really left. I mean yes…he left my apt but he kind of moved in that day. I don't remember a night he wasn't there. We were inseparable. This pointy toed shoe Brit and me…

Many of you know the Anthony now, but the Anthony then…the pair of us? Had to make you laugh. I was the girl who wore pajama pants to the grocery store. And Anthony was one pink lightning strike away from glam rock. I was the ultimate type A organized person and Anthony was a hot mess. I was, for lack of a better term, “prude” and Anthony? ...is Man Whore a word? Looking back now…I have no idea how we worked, but I’m certain it’s the exact reason we’ve lasted.

For the next few months we dated in secret. See I was working with a record label who had interest in Anthony’s band…and I’d been given a stern warning against dating any of the clients. I’m fairly certain I was the only one given this warning. Probably due to my chronic affliction for band guys, so…hooray for secret dating lol

After 3 months, his tourist visa was up and flew back to England with the band. We would fb chat, BBM and Skype to pass the time. He and his band were coming back for some showcases with record labels, so I just counted down the days till my torrid love affair could continue.

October I picked him up from LAX…and we picked up right where we left off. By December I invited him to come home with me for Christmas and meet my family in Chicago. He came…met my entire extended Scottish family and survived some hilarious hazing. 

Christmas morning, he surprised ME with a ticket to England. I’d known this man for 7 months and here I was flying around the world to meet his family. It happened so fast. We happened so fast. This was us... https://www.facebook.com/kristenquintrall/videos/10100134819727033/

...Until it stopped. With no tour, no shows, no nothing bringing him back to America for a while…I prepared for things to fizzle out. We Skyped here and there but we were literally a world apart. With an 8 hour time difference and his favorite pastime being “getting laid”…I didn’t trust him. I urged him to pursue his college degree and said things like “maybe in a year…”. He applied to university. It was the beginning of the end.

Until one day I get a call from Anthony. He tells me he sold his car, his prized Gretsch guitar…and would be flying to the states. Not for a show, not for his band, but to spend time with me. I was shocked. He said that he knew if he didn’t come back, things would be over for us and that wasn’t a risk he was willing to take.

So on February 4th, he boarded a plane and headed for Los Angeles. Only this time was different. They stopped him at customs and said he’d been in America more than he’d been in England and that he’d be fine to enter this time, but once he wen’t back April, he’d have to wait 6 months before he returned again. That news put a pit in both of our stomachs. 

I’ll never remember who said what …or where the idea came from, but it was most definitely at the bottom of the 3rd bottle of Merlot up in wine country. There we were hammered in Solvang…[Danish town] and were drunkenly…jokingly…talking about getting married. “Ya I mean…it’d just be paper…who cares?” gulp gulp gulp. We were hopelessly infatuated with each other. That night we romantically searched google for ordained ministers and cracked up at all the insane options out there. One thing led to another and somewhere in between a red zin and an earthy Merlot, we must’ve applied for a marriage license. We laughed, we drank…and forgot all about it. For reference, these are actual photos of us having the conversation.

Welcome to March 3rd. It wasn’t a special day. It was just an ordinary normal day. Slightly overcast. It was 7 in the morning and I woke up to an email from the Beverly Hills Courthouse telling me my marriage license was ready for pick up and would be valid for 8 weeks. I rolled over and told Anthony. We laughed…and after a brief chat, decided to go pick it up. "Oh what the heck? Why not?" I’m certain neither of us remotely understood the concept or magnitude of marriage, but there we were…piling into my shitty Mazda Protege to go pick up this "piece of paper". I was in jeans and a t shirt. Hair in a messy ponytail…no make up….flip flops. We had no idea what was about to happen.

We were 3rd in line. We went to the window, signed some paperwork, paid the fee …when the woman at the window asked us if we had a date we’d like to be married. We said no…and she said, “Well we’re booked up solid for the next month, but would you like us to call you if we ever have any openings? “Sure” I said.

We left….and went to Target. See…getting up that early in the morning had given me a strong case of the shits, so as soon as we got there, I beelined to the bathroom…when…ring ring. Why I picked up my phone on the toilet, I’ll never know, but it was the woman from the courthouse. 

“Judge Richard Stone has a cancellation. If you could make it back in 15 minutes, he could squeeze you in to get married. Do you guys want to get married today?” 

“Ummm hang on” (flush)

I repeat the offer to Anthony. There we were…tired…haggard…dodgy stomachs… and we were deciding if we wanted to get married in 15 minutes. Forget we’d only known each other 8 months…only 5 of which we were in the same country…both of us were too scared to say yes…but also more scared to say no. It became a game of verbal ping pong “I don’t know what do you think? “I don’t know what do YOU think?”  “Hello, Hello? You still there? “Oh ya sorry...um sure we’re gonna head on over.” 

That drive…that 10 minute drive…thinking back, it was the most important 10 minutes of my life. Both of us cramming in cold feet, doubt…and everything else I presume normal people think about during an engagement. In hindsight it had to happen that way. I always knew I’d be a run away bride. I feared commitment more than anyone. This way? I had no time to think.

That car ride was so scary..in my head I thought “What the hell am I doing? Is this my love story? Getting married in flip flops with a dodgy stomach? No dress, no dance, no family, no nothing. Oh god! My family? What would my family think? We got closer to the courthouse...

... If we didn’t get married…we’d likely fade out and Anthony would just be the some guy I dated in 2009. If we did get married, we had a chance to be something great. And just like that...a years worth of a million things to think about before getting married ran through my head. We were here. I turned the car off.

Anthony got out of the car, grabbed my sweaty hand and we walked into the courthouse. The judge was there…asking us all kinds of questions…like was I sure I wanted to get married? was I of sound mind? did I want to change my name? [I kept my last name by the way.]

After the formalities, he took us to his secret chamber and put on his robe. It was just me, Anthony and the judge. Richard knew we in over our heads, but instead of taking bets on how long we’d last, he went the extra mile and decided to do what I’m certain he didn’t do with other people he married. He talked to us about his wife, their marriage, the importance of a wedding ring…he made it real for us. He said, “Its ok if you don’t have rings now, but I urge you to get something whenever you can. It’s not about the jewelry. It’s about…when times are tough…you can look down at your hand and know you have someone who always has your back.” Brought a tear to my eye that my mom wasn’t there to hear his sweet words. For better or worse, this was my wedding.

He then asked if we had vows prepared. “No” we both said. Dick didn’t care. He told us to each take a moment and speak our hearts. He was adamant. It's incredibly awkward saying private things to each other while a strange man is starting at you, but I’m glad we did. 

Anthony said…and I’ll never forget this. “I may mess up and make you angry, but know that I’ll always try my best and never mean to hurt you.” 

I said…”No matter what, I will always fight for us. I’ll never give up.”

We left that courthouse shell shocked, but the next two years…that was something else. That was our first marriage. Our secret marriage. And it wasn’t easy. We were flat broke and stressed most of the time. I was the only one working while Anthony spent 6 months going through immigration and trying to get a work visa. I’d imagine most newlyweds don’t stress over Tuberculosis tests and learning how to drive, but we went through it all. There were all these milestones. His drivers license, first interview, first American job, our first dog! We were in the trenches together…getting a crash course in marriage, realizing no matter how much we tried to fool ourselves, it wasn’t a piece of paper. It was the most real thing in the world. 

We had a lot of laughs, but deep down I was always sad my family wasn’t there with me on that cold rainy day. And knowing I’d never have the story?…the ring..the proposal…the wedding. I felt cheated. And when you have a secret marriage, at what point do you tell people you're not just dating? How many times do you deflect questions like, "Are you guys ever going to get married?" It was weird. 

One year later, Anthony did something I never imagined would happen. He proposed. This might sound weird to all of you since we were already married, but it wasn’t. Did Anthony need a ring? a wedding? or any of the dramatics? No…but cheers to him for knowing that I was the kind of girl that deep down would always yearn for it. So he gave me that….he gave me my moment…and I finally got to share it with the world. I got to plan the wedding of my dreams AND understand the true importance of it. That’s something you learn when you don’t have a wedding like everyone else…you learn why having one matters. It’s not about the cake, the centerpieces or the dress…it’s about sharing your love with all the people you love most. We wouldn’t have to be secretive anymore. My daddy would walk me down the aisle…and my mom would cry…and everyone…for a moment…would get to see how much we loved each other. 

Thanks for letting me have my proposal

Thanks for laying in the middle of the road so we could take pictures for Save the Dates

Thanks for letting me cherish the memories of an engagement party with friends.

Thanks for letting me drink booze out of a penis water bottle at my bachelorette party.

Thanks for getting secret married to me...and putting up with all the wedding planning.

Thanks for letting my dad walk me down the aisle.

So we could finally share our love with everyone.

On our 2 year anniversary, March 3, 2012...we stood under a tree and got married for the second time. This time was different. This time we knew what we were getting into. We understood all the words Richard Stone had said to us those years before. We had rings…and would always know we had each other’s backs. And when we did our vows in front of all our friends and family…we both said words we had repeated in that small back room those years ago. Anthony said, “I may mess up and make you angry, but know that I’ll always try my best.” And I said, “No matter what, I’ll always fight for us.” Both these marriages were different. Both these weddings were different. I’m glad we had both.

So thats our story.  That’s our journey. Thats our long, very complicated yet exciting love story. Happy SIX years Anthony. 3/3/10

WEIGHT LOSS/DIET/EXERCISE:
115 lbs…guess my body wasn’t done dropping lbs and I’m totally ok with that. Do your thang, body. [just let me keep my ass please] 

ME AND MY BODY:
Lethargy begets lethargy. The more I leave the house and do stuff...the more energy I have. It was so refreshing to get back out there and bust out the ole' compound bow. 

BREASTFEEDING/FOOD:
The boob train has been running, but K not been interested. After doing a little research, it’s probably due to the teething [which is a large factor in why there was no blog last week].  This week the teething passed, but I swear he’s not nursing as much as he use to. My boobs are always full AND he hasn’t been doing his normal zombie grunts for them. I’m only giving him the one non-boob meal a day, so I'm not sure what's up. 

He’s had sweet potatoes, squash, peas, carrots, apples, bananas and avocados. No preference whatsoever. When Shelby licks his face, she doesn’t seem have a preference either.

SLEEP:
Last week? I was hanging on by a thread. Teething, mental leap or growth spurt? All I know is… I was tired. So tired, I gave up one night and just put him in the bed next to me for the first time ever. Just took off my shirt, exposed my tit and gave him an all access pass to the McNipple Drive Thru <———— this ended up being one of the worst parental decisions I’ve made. Co sleeping sounds like a super awesome mother/child bonding experience that I’m sure a lot of you get down with, but omg never again. I didn’t sleep. No…I just ended hanging half off the bed, stiff as a board in a super awkward position with my arm going numb. I didn’t exhale…or relax or do anything I normally do when I sleep. Instead I just laid there awake…trying not to wake him…ironically so that I could get sleep. #CribForLife

This week he was back sleeping through the night…and that’s the stuff dreams are made of. [pun accepted] He’s obviously my son…for when he sleeps well...he's an Angel Baby…when he wakes up a lot? Demon Child. 

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: 
Whenever I get really interactive and play with K…the dogs get jealous and decide that they, all of a sudden, want to play with me to. It’s cute…and yet also annoying lol Well I was playing with K, when Shelby decided to bring her toy to….K. Yep. She went and grabbed her toy and plopped it right on his lap like, “lets play”. And K immediately picked it up and she went for it too. Before I knew it they were playing tug of water and K could. not. stop. laughing. It was the most hysterical thing to him. They did this for at least 5 minutes and every time Shelby would growl or make a noise he’d just roar laughing. I will never forget that moment. These two…oh man

LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: 
I’ll tell you what? Crying is one thing…but whining? It’s incredibly grating. You just want to shout, “OMG CAN YOU SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY!” And then you feel bad because…here’s my son in pain from teething…and not knowing what to do about it…and here I am thinking about how annoyed I am by his pain. Is this life now? Constantly feeling like the worst parent in the universe? Well I decided I’d just shove my boob in his mouth, since that’s usually effective at calming him down…or at least muffling the noise. And what should he do? Well he chomped my nip that’s what the little shit did. And not only did he chomp it, he left two little teeth impressions. I screamed…and that scared him so then he cried more….and I couldn’t help but be furious that he’d bit me. So then I felt like the worst parent in the universe again.

KILLIAN: 
Today he is 6 months old. 6 months. As in half a year! How the hell have I survived half a year? Seems like the longest /shortest 6 months of my life. Every day is an eternity, yet the months fly by. Babies are weird like that. The older he gets, the more challenging it is…but also…more fun. Newborns are so boring. Sure they are cute and tiny, but meh…they don’t really do much. They’re cross-eyed parasites who just lay pooping and sleeping. Now he laughs and plays and sits up…and grabs my face…he interacts.

NEW THINGS:

*Well there’s the two teeth …and either the after shock of the two teeth…or a third one because he was definitely teething again last week. He kept putting his fingers in his mouth, chomping down and then crying. I stuck my finger in his mouth to see if I could feel a third tooth and he bit me…so I won’t be doing that again. Feels like God could’ve come up with a better solution to this whole teeth situation. Not sure what it would be….but not this.

*He sits up on his own. I mean I put him in the seated position, but once there he sits in his pack n play and just plays with his toys and talks to his piano and doesn’t topple over. #CoreStrength

*He is crawling. It started off with a super awkward side to side body flailing and blossomed into a fantastic 1990s version of the worm…and has emerged as some strange hybrid. Sometimes he gets up on his knees and figures it out, but usually digresses back into the worm. I don’t blame him. It’s a good move.

*He hair is starting to fill in. I can not wait to style it. 

*He no longer takes baths laying down :/ How he sits up and plays with his toys.

*And due to the teeth...the gummy smile is gone. :/ 

THINGS I DID NOT KNOW, BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW:
If you’ve seen any of my Instagram photos recently you’ve probably noticed the douche necklace I have on my son. Well guess what? I’m never taking it off him again lol It’s a raw Baltic amber necklace that you put on your baby when they’re teething. It has natural anti inflammatory properties blah blah blah. Killian wore his during those first two teeth…and it was a breeze. I took the necklace off and darkness came upon our household. Never take off the necklace. It works. Leave the necklace on. Take douchey photos. #WorthIt

END OF THE WEEK THOUGHTS: 
There’s no shame is saying you met your husband at a bar. Whatever your story is…own it.