I can remember my first anniversary just like it was yesterday.

Actually, by the time you read this, it will have been a year from yesterday.

It was a memorable day, one I can never forget no matter how much I booze, medicate, or thud my head into dense, inanimate objects.

Want to add stress to a marriage barely a year old? Take a new job, haul up stakes, and live apart for three months while trying to buy and sell houses during the worst economic times since the Visigoths sacked Rome.

I can still see my Beloved sitting across the table in a chain restaurant in the middle of the afternoon, a plate of chicken wings between us, toasting me with an oversized glass of diet coke. We had just spent the entire day moving all of our earthly belongings into storage – we had to be out of our house in less than a week. Thank God for good friends and close family.  Our parents, a cousin or two, and a very good family friend had helped my Beloved pack it all up in about the space of a week and a half. A couple of our good friends then helped us load up two trailers about fifteen times and haul it all into two storage bins and my father-in-law’s garage.

There’s nothing that makes one wake up in the night screaming “Oh, Good God, what have I done,” like going to bed 120 miles apart. At least she had the dog to sleep with; all I had was cheap wine and about a million sugar ants. To top it off, once I had started the job here, and we had put the house on the market there, and we had tentatively started to look for a job for her and a new place to call home, the bottom dropped out of the economy.

And yet, it has all worked out. It’s true; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Wonder of wonders, our house sold four days after it hit the market and not too long after that, we found a great house in a nice neighborhood for a pretty unbeatable price. We have worked steadily to turn it into our home and now, nearly a year later, it’s really become ours, from the monkey grass and magnolia we planted out front to our new addition who is happily barking, jumping, and digging up everything we planted in back.

It’s amazing what a little time, faith, and effort will do.

Yeah, I said faith. As Lou Reed once said, “It takes a busload of faith to get by.” I may not be the most religious cat on the planet, but even I can feel the foot of the Almighty in my butt sometimes.

I may not have any money, but I am a rich man – the richest, in fact, who ever lived, as far as I’m concerned.

So yeah, for this, our second anniversary, we have decided to pretty much uncork and go wild. As you read this, there’s a pretty strong chance we’re sitting on a beach, cold beverages in hand, contemplating all manner of sybaritic diversions designed for maximum pleasure and complete amnesia with regard to the real world. I will have turned off both our cell phones and hidden them, possibly going so far as to bury them in the back yard somewhere. I will have left no forwarding address, no planned itinerary, nothing. There will be no possible way, short of surveillance satellites, the FBI, or Dog the Bounty Hunter, to find us.

We are spending this week exactly the way we — and only we — wish to.

We’ve earned it.