Lessons from an Unconventional Honeymoon

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Lessons from an Unconventional Honeymoon

I recently got back from my two-week honeymoon, and I can say with a fair degree of certainty that it wasn’t your typical post-nuptial getaway.

Things my honeymoon did NOT include: exotic beaches, bikinis, room service, fancy outfits, or foreign countries.

Things my honeymoon DID include: travel, coffee (obvi), kisses, crow bars, nail guns, a Home Depot credit card, and lots and lots of love.

Allow me to explain. About six months ago, we decided to make a huge change. In order to be able to craft the kind of life we want for ourselves and our future family, we decided to look into buying a house in a state we’ve never lived in located across the country (like you do, right?).

At the same time, we reasoned that if we were trying to save for a down payment and the costs of moving, spending thousands of dollars on a honeymoon trip just didn’t feel right. Instead, we decided that if we were actually able to buy a home (something that we wanted and that was out of reach for us in LA) that we would use our honeymoon to fly out and fix up our home to start to make it “ours.”

The stars aligned, everything fell into place, and less than a week after tying the knot, we boarded a plane with suitcases full of tools for our home-remodel honeymoon.

I consider my husband pretty handy and knowledgeable about tool-stuff, but it may not surprise you from my use of the word “tool-stuff” that I am not. I’d like to think I’m an intelligent, independent, grown-ass woman, but let’s just say that when we first started dating and he fixed the troublesome light bulb on my apartment stoop, I was thoroughly impressed.

Despite my shortcomings in the home improvement arena, I was very into the idea of crafting this house into our home and doing so together. So, I put my faith in his tool-stuff ability and knew we had the safety net of YouTube how-to videos and a Home Depot down the street. The result was quite educational.

Here are a few things I learned from my unconventional, home-remodel honeymoon:

  1. Physical exertion is powerful. There’s something visceral and calming about ripping the shit out of layers or linoleum or carpet tack sticks (yeah, I learned what those were too). Engaging in physical labor took me out of my mind for a bit, and I admit I liked it. It reminded me how important and rewarding being in my body is--moving it, using my strength, listening to my muscles.

  2. Perfection is a myth. You know this already, right? I thought I did, but that didn’t stop me from being incredibly stubborn about our plan to get ALL the floors done prior to our late summer move. So much so that I might have thrown a big girl hissy fit the day before we left when I was forced to acknowledge that the floors would not be done and that the refrigerator and the stove will still be in the living room when we move in because the tile kitchen is currently 90% cement board and only 10% tile. Sigh. After I went through my blaming and crying phase, my husband hugged me, told me it will all work out in the end, and I accepted it. Yes, it will be a little more chaotic than I planned, but isn’t that life? Yes. And that’s okay.

  3. Strong is sexy. Again, maybe you already know this one, but I will say it caught me off guard. My husband taught me how to use the nail gun, and then looked at me nailing stair risers and told me I was sexy. I understand him thinking boyshort underwear is sexy. Or that he thinks bold lip colors are sexy. But frizzy hair, no makeup, paint-stained yoga pants, and a power tool? Who did I marry? Then it clicked. Using my strength is sexy. Not sitting back and letting him do all the heavy lifting is sexy. Being a chick who can get shit done is sexy. It’s about time we all start owning that.

Despite my sore feet and unfinished kitchen, I’m considering our honeymoon a success. For starters, we stepped up to a new challenge and faced it together. Also, even though we didn’t finish, we got A LOT done. Focusing on what’s missing will never bring joy, so I choose to be grateful for what’s present. But mostly, I’m proud of us for ignoring the raised-eyebrow looks of other people and doing what felt right for us at this moment in our lives. There will (hopefully) be fancy hotels and room service in our future, but right now, we needed to start our lives together at home--sweaty, bare-faced, sexy, imperfect, and figuring it out as we go.


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