Living Happily Ever After


No Refunds, No Exchanges, No Returns

“The good Lord gave me a brain that works so fast that in one moment I can worry as much as it would take others a whole year to achieve.” (Unknown)

As I drove to get a marriage license, I didn’t plan to think. But there I was, in the car, driving down the highway…it’s kind of where most of my thinking has taken place since entering my unexpected life. I just can’t seem to help myself. And wouldn’t you know it? I had some unexpected thoughts. They came, unbidden, to my mind.

First I thought, “This is kind of weird. I am driving to the very office I drove to the last time I married.” Try as I might, as focused as I attempt to be on the future and moving forward, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past experience and everything I remember about it. I remembered what I was wearing that day. I recalled how relieved I was I didn’t have to get poked with any needles (Utah doesn’t require blood tests; one of my roommates, who got married in California, said she had to get a blood test to get a marriage license and in the 1980s, that didn’t thrill me–I still had an aversion to needles back then!) I remembered how hot it was (I married in August the last time.) I recalled how nervous I was about the whole  marriage thing back then. And I remembered that I’d thought I was way too young to get married (I completed my fourth year of college, turned 22 and got married the same month–my parents had married when they were 25; one set of grandparents had married when they were 25; and the other set of grandparents had gotten married when they were in their 30s. So I was a lot younger than my family members had been.)

And then as I drove, I looked at the snow covered mountains, remembered how cold it was outside, and thought, “Everything is different this time. Last time it was hot. This time it is cold. Last time I was nervous. This time I’m not. Last time I was so young, this time I’m not. I have so much life experience behind me now, too. This is a whole different experience. Let’s not think about the past, Andrea, let’s keep pressing forward.”

To save myself from my thoughts, I turned the radio on. I never listen to the radio. But I couldn’t believe what I heard.

First up? A commercial. For…DIVORCE INSURANCE! I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but there I was, heading to get a marriage license, listening to everything I never wanted to know about divorce insurance and how it can help you when wedlock goes awry. The commercial even touted that divorce insurance will pay all of your attorney fees AND the deposit on a new place to live when you’re newly single again!

What are the odds I’d hear a commercial for that on the way to doing what I was going to do? So despite my best efforts, I arrived at my destination, thanks to my thoughts and the commercials I heard, a little…unsettled. But least it didn’t show. Or so I thought.

However, you have to love #5. He took one look at me as I stepped out of my car to greet him and asked me if I was ok. It freaks me out how in tune he is with what I think and feel without me ever having to say a thing. I told him I was fine. He searched my eyes and asked again, “Are you sure?” I assured him I was fine (and attempted to keep breathing and not think about what I was doing) as we rode the elevator up to the third floor.

But instead, I thought, “Am I REALLY doing this? Is this really real? I sure hope I know what I’m doing. Why didn’t I worry about all of this before–the previous 9 months?” Suddenly, I was scared. I considered turning. And running. Yet then I’d look over at #5 and realize I couldn’t do that. I was looking at the only man who has ever made me throw up (and more than once!) I was looking at the only man I’d ever thought I couldn’t live without. And my children loved him, too.

We stepped out of the elevator and walked into the office to obtain a marriage license.

And there it was.

Staring me in the face.

A lovely sign, prominently displayed, and the first thing you see when you walk into the office: “No refunds. No exchanges. No warranties.”

That’s when I  knew I had to get out of there. Maybe the state of Utah finds their sign funny, or maybe it is simply a way to legally protect themselves from frivilous lawsuits, but I wasn’t laughing. I was getting more and more nervous, bordering on terrified, and struggling to breathe.

“I have the right to breathe; everything else is a bonus.” (Unknown)

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