Sitting in bed listening to a Michelle Branch album that I sat in bed and listened to when I was in middle school. Across the room, Kent is on his computer and it’s a quiet end to his birthday weekend. We went out to breakfast, braved an inaugural pedicure, drank beer, ate white pizza and killed two dozen Publix chocolate chip cookies in 24 hours. Ah, teamwork. On Wednesday, KB will turn 24 and I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone.

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A year ago, Kent was fresh into his job and still shaking off the cobwebs of doubt that grew over a year of no job prospects. After he graduated in Spring 2013, he worked here and there while he searched for a career. The year was long, sometimes sweet but mostly a mild form of torture. Nobody is harder on Kent than himself, which is why two job offers in a week’s time made the victory that much sweeter for the rest of us around him. There is nothing better than seeing the people you love be happy.

Kent is a great employee and silently challenges me to be more dedicated, focused and thoughtful in my own career on a daily basis. This Fall, we start grad school together. We’ve both been dragging our feet with it and I’m so proud of him for going to a stressful job, coming home with a smile and now picking up a textbook. It is coming up on a year of sharing our shoebox together and in truth – it has been so easy. This is mainly because Kent is the patron saint of patience and puts up with my mild insanity with grace.

 

One time, he suggested I should clean out the cup that I drank pickle water out of (another story, another day) so he could use it. I ranted back something about expected gender roles and how I wasn’t going to wash a cup if a man expected me to (!!!!). Kent brushed his teeth while I came off my tirade and just smiled at me when I apologized for being “slightly dramatic”.

Every morning, he wakes up singing a song. I’m not exaggerating in the least – some mornings he’s humming the O’Reilly Auto Parts song while he makes a smoothie, usually subbing in inappropriate lyrics. There was a point in time where Bruno Mar’s ‘Treasure’ would send me over the edge in .00001 seconds because he sang it ALL THE TIME.

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I lied about the studio apartment thing being “so easy” – but the key to success is knowing how to tell the other “I really need to be away from you for x amount of time”. Kent’s way of suggesting this comes in a myriad of ways: “Babe, why don’t you walk through Target?” “Isn’t there a sale at World Market, or something?” . I usually stick with “don’t talk to me, look at me, or breathe in my vicinity for at least seventeen minutes”, but Kent is much more tactful and sweet than I.

When we were in Puerto Rico, we went on a caving adventure which included going through some veeeery tiny spaces. I’m veeeery claustrophobic and while the instructor talked to us about this unexpected maneuver, I could feel Kent’s eyes on me. Underground and in the dark, Kent reassured me that it would be just fine as the ceiling got closer to the water we swam through. I snapped at him and demanded he start talking about ANYTHING other than the situation, he tightened his arm around my shoulders and smiled. When I floated on my back with the ceiling a few inches above my face, I just shut my eyes and held my breath. Cort pulled me through and Kent came through right after. In hindsight, there was 0% I could have gotten through that without loosing my marbles had Kent not been there.

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As a victim of chronic bitch face, Kent is always reminding me to smile more at the waiters in restaurants. Mainly because he doesn’t want spit in his food, but I think he’s trying to soften me up ;) He checks my tire pressure to keep my car worries at bay. Listens to Taylor Swift on road trips. Doesn’t bat an eye when I spent four hours lugging everything we own across our apartment into new positions. Tries my new recipes without fear. Does the laundry, dishes and vacuums better than Beaver’s momma. Best of all, he only criticizes my driving about 50% of the time. Baby steps.

He wakes up and asks me what I need to have a “big day” and consequently walks through craft stores, aisles of embroidery floss and when I ask his opinion on fabric – he answers with genuine interest. On the day to day, Kent is my cheerleader, motivator and has mastered the art of gently mentioning that I’ve eaten half a bag of tortilla chips without realizing. He stops to pick me up seltzer water and gets into the characters on Grey’s Anatomy almost as much as I do. When we obsess and binge watch a new show, he comes up with a dance for the theme song and dances to every intro. ‘Bones’ has had the best dance thus far, by far.

End of the day, Kent is the shit. Absolutely the best friend, companion, partner in crime that a girl could ask for. Happy happy birthday, KB. I love you :*

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