Love Is War

Young lovers in a picture frame

Ever notice how there ain’t no rain

Nobody hangs hard times on the wall

You won’t see it in an 8 by 10

But there’s a storm every now and then

A slamming door down the hall

Sometimes love is a white flag

Sometimes love is standing tall

Sometimes love is a feather

Sometimes a cannon ball

But it’s worth fighting for (it’s worth fighting for)

Baby, sometimes love is war

– American Young


Typically, Mr. Big and I spend the weekend in Charlotte for Valentine’s Day. We usually get all dolled up and go to dinner at Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris. Sometimes we’ll go shopping and other times we won’t. Mostly, we just get away. But this year, Big had something better in mind – for himself.

A drag car show.

How fantastic. Not only does this little hobby of his consume 3/4 of the year, including: our anniversary, my birthday, his birthday, Memorial Day, both family vacations, Labor Day, July Fourth, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but now it was taking Valentine’s Day too? I rolled my eyes and gave in. He was going to ditch me regardless, so why try?

But, much to Big’s dismay, Snowpocalypse 20/14 threw a huge wrench in his plans, canceling the entire shoot-n-shebang. Looks like he’d be stuck with me on Valentine’s Day weekend. Aww, poor him.

We decided late on Thursday night to spend Friday (actual Valentine’s Day) cooking dinner at home and watching HBO. I was hesitant about the cooking part, considering we tend to get argumentative in the kitchen together, but agreed to it anyway.

On Friday morning, I woke up wished Mr. Big a Happy Valentine’s Day and then rushed him out of my house. Once I was in the clear, I called Momma and asked if she could swing by and grab Sonny and I. It was the day of Valentines and I hadn’t even gotten Big a card yet. The 10” of snow had really thrown me off. I had to get out of Casa de la Clariss and get the man something!

Momma came to the rescue. We let Sonny hang out with GrandBob and Uncle Bubs while Mace, Momma, and I ran to the mall to get Big a gift. A watch to be exact. Actually, a brand new, Citizen Eco-Drive I found half price at Zales, if we’re being really specific. And if we are telling entire stories here, then technicallyit was the very gift he had asked for just two weeks prior.

I thought I was on the money with this one…

I came home after getting everything I needed in town, showered, and put on the FTF outfit I had suggested you all to wear for your own Valentine’s. When I arrived at Mr. Big’s the food was nearly finished, everything smelled great, and the kitchen had actually been cleaned. Byerley and Charlie decided at the last minute to skip out on their dinner reservations and eat dinner with us so the table was already set for four. We had a fantastic meal. Big did such a great job cooking this chicken dish I had emailed to him and the steaks he made were really good. He even got me my own bottle of wine and hot fudge for our brownie sundaes!

It was such a nice change of scenery – being at home, having the boys clean up, getting to change into our pajamas immediately after stuffing our bellies full. Charlie and I chatted for a bit while the boys picked up. And then Big suggested we exchange our Valentines.

The two of us walked back to his bedroom and sat on the side of his bed. He wanted to open his gift first… probably because he was afraid he was going to get the shorter end of the stick. Whatevs. I let him have his card. The card I chose was a giant Mad Lib. I helped him fill in the blanks, explained to him what an adverb was, and then let him read aloud the finished product. We had a laugh but naturally, he wanted his gift.

When he opened his watch I expected, “Babe, how much did you pay for this?” Not, “Oh. Another watch. I didn’t want this. Uhh, I already have one. Do you, umm, maybe still have the receipt so I could take it back?”

Yes. That happened, my friends. I couldn’t believe it myself. I sat there with my mouth hanging open. All I could say was, “Dude. You literally just said you wanted another watch.” He dismissed my face, my words, my sunken shoulders, and said, “Your turn!”

I couldn’t let it go. My feelings were crushed. And not to mention, I knew what he was giving me for Valentine’s Day. A blush, quilted, Kate Spade bag, with a chain strap, and 14 k. gold name plate on the front. I know he was giving me that bag because I had just sent him an email saying how much I loved it.

When I opened the unwrapped UPS box to find no card and the blush, quilted, Kate Spade bag, with a chain strap, and 14 k. gold name plate on the front… I couldn’t help but give him absolutely no reaction. “But isn’t that the one you wanted?” he asked, hopeful he hadn’t messed the order up. “Yes, it is. Thank you. The receipt to your watch is in my purse.” I changed into my pajamas and walked back into the living room to finish off my bottle of wine.

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The next morning, Big continued to say things that hurt my feelings. Eventually, I just grabbed my things and left. When I got back home, I called Bubba crying. “Well, he’s hit an all-time douche bag high today, hasn’t he?” Bubs said, trying to console me. He had. And he was going to have to figure out how to fix it.

On Tuesday, while at work, I get a message from Big. “Hey, we’re going out of town this weekend. Make sure you have somewhere for Sonny to go.” Naturally, I begin trolling drag racing websites. He claimed we weren’t going anywhere having to do with racing. “Are we going to get a puppy? Are we hiding bodies?” Of course he would run with the hiding bodies bit.

Throughout the week I didn’t think much about it. I would ask a question here or there but got nothing out of him. Sometimes, I would even call Momma B to see if she knew what was up. She would just giggle and plead the fifth. And anytime I mentioned our little surprise getaway to people the conversation would ultimately go to an engagement. Ugh. Nowadays Big can’t shit for too long without someone thinking he’s in there fishing for a ring. My mind was all over the board.

By the time we were in the car going north on I-77 after work though… I was mental.

The lack of control had taken over my body. Not knowing where we were going was driving me insane. I chose to make light of the situation by posting silly Facebook statuses:

“For those of you who would be concerned if anything were to ever happen to me… I am in Virginia now. Still have no clue where we’re going; however, I’m not tied up and stuffed in the trunk yet so no need to panic.”


“Another #surprisegetaway Update – He’s feeding and watering me. Well, sorta. I mean, it is jerky…”  

At least my FB friends seemed to be getting a kick out of it. However, I was using up all of my battery trying to guess where we were going using Google Maps and the elevation listed on the GPS.

When we stopped to get dinner right outside of Roanoke, VA, Big slipped up and mentioned something about war. “Are we going to Gettysburg?” I tried not to let my level of excitement seep through my voice. He tried not to smile. He tried not to laugh. He tried to do all of the things he typically does to keep himself from being caught in a lie and then he gave in, “Damn it. Yes, we’re going to Gettysburg.” “You’ve got to be shitting me right now. Gettysburg. F*”&king Gettysburg?”

Okay, guys, let’s just pause it right here. Now, you may be thinking, “Miss Clariss, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say.” And you are right, it wasn’t. But you have to keep in mind, this is a make-up trip. A “he hurt my feelings, said mean things, and made me cry” redemption trip. Not an effin’ seventh grade history field trip.

“I saw it on Groupon.” I start putting my head in my hands now. “It said they do the reenactment right outside of our bed and breakfast window on Sunday!” My jaw drops. “The reenactment? The f*&king reenactment? Of course they do the reenactment right outside of our bed and breakfast window. Holy shit. I can’t even believe this right now. Wow. Okay. Gettysburg. F*&k.”

We get back in the car and begin driving again. It’s quiet. I begin texting Kristen:

K: “Are y’all like driving across country?”

MC: “Uhh no. Just got word we’re on our way to Gettysburg. This is his Valentine’s Day weekend redemption trip. Gettysburg.”

K: “Well maybe you can go on a run in the fog like they do on “Remember the Titans.” Better yet! A reenactment? But why Gettysburg?”

MC: “One word – Groupon.”

K: “It must be romantic then.”

MC: “Also, apparently a reenactment is fought right outside our bed and breakfast window. Lucky us. Lucky me.”

K: “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

MC: “I may be speaking too soon on this one, but uhh, my bet is there won’t be a ring showing up at any point during this weekend either.” 

K: “Is he acting weird? Or off? Thinking back Dan was acting super weird the day he proposed. I wonder if he is? This could be interesting.”

MC: “Nope. Just super excited about the reenactment.”

K: “Oh God of course he would be. Hahaha how romantic. I’m literally laughing so hard right now.”

MC: “My life is a f*&king sitcom. Seriously, like Groupon has vacations to all kindsa f*&king places and he chooses this one. It was that g*&damn reenactment. Whatevs. It will at least be funny.”

K: “Or it was the cheapest.”

MC: (Sends video of the radio. An all-trumpet version of Yankee Doodle is playing in the background.) “Pretty sure he just started playing this shit… he has a mother f*&king CD, Kristen.”

K: “Hahaha. Did that come with the Groupon?!?!”

MC: “No. Apparently it goes with the tour.”

K: “Oh dear God. Just to let you know, Candace and John are both laughing their asses off.”

MC: “He just informed me there will be no ring on this trip. I asked him if he really thought I would expect him to take a f*&king knee in the middle of the reenactment. He said, ‘Good. ‘Cause I’m just trying to make up for Valentine’s Day.’…..”

K: “Well he should make up for it since he was a jackass.”

MC: “But in Gettysburg?”

K: “Hey, at least he’s trying.”

MC: “Yeah. I’ll keep ya updated. Oh and one other thing… the South will rise again!”

K: “You have to pick a color, just like in the movie. Blue or red. The English are coming! And by English I mean British!”

MC: “Wrong war Kristen.”

I tried to amp myself up about Gettysburg. I tried to Google activities we could do once we got there. I tried to convince myself I was excited to be checking PA off of my states list. But in the end, I just grabbed my pillow and my Pooh from the backseat and fell asleep. When I woke up we were getting off of the interstate and pulling into our hotel.

Big had told me we were staying in a hotel the first night. He said we were staying just 30 or 45 minutes outside of Gettysburg because we only had the B&B for one night. I believed all of this. Why? Because it was too outlandish for me not to… and my phone was dead so I couldn’t double check. After all, the man had a friggin’ CD, for the love of Mary and Joseph.

On Saturday morning Big got up and showered first. It was a quick shower compared to the normal 45-minute “morning meditation” shut-in I’m used to. “I’m gonna go grab some apple juice,” he said, “and watch some YouTube videos of last night’s race.” So-n-so had broken a world record and he seemed pretty antsy about it. Whatevs. I needed to wash my hair and update my peeps anyway.

Another Surprise Getaway Update – I woke up in Pennsylvania. But fear not my friends, I don’t believe any roofies were involved and they claim not to use real guns in the Civil War reenactments. More to come as the day unfolds…

I showered and started to pretty myself up. “What does one wear to Gettysburg,” I thought, “I mean, I brought effin’ leather leggings, for shit’s sake.” As I was brushing my teeth, I wandered over to the window and drew the shades back. The car was gone. That sneaky son of a bitch! I knew we hadn’t just road up to Virginia/Pennsylvania for no good reason. He was doing something with that stupid race car.

I remembered him mentioning a few weeks back needing to get a part to a man in Richmond. Or was it Maryland? Who knows. All I knew, was this wasn’t no redemption trip and if it was, Gettysburg was wayyyy off. I could distinctly hear planes flying right above our hotel and the last sign I remember seeing for an airport was for Dulles. “But Dulles is in DC,” I said out loud.

Confused, and starting to get a little mad, I pulled my cell phone off of the charger and Google Maps’d myself. “Chantilly, VA? We’re literally miles away from Kristen and a full hour and a half away from PA. If we are this close to her, and go to Gettysburg instead of DC, she’ll be pissed… I’ll  be pissed.” Right at that very moment, Mr. Big pulled back into the parking lot. I was standing dead center in the middle of our window staring at him.

The gig was up. He had to tell me the whole story.

According to him, the Gettysburg lie was a complete spur of the moment fabrication. He had Google’d any relevant facts while I was in the bathroom at dinner on Friday night. The CD was merely a fluke (we were in Momma B’s Caddy so he could haul the transmission). Apparently, Momma B enjoys beats by America on her way into work every once in a while. He had talked to Kristen on Tuesday and already planned for us to spend the rest of the weekend with her.

I was so relieved. Woo – no Gettysburg. Woo – no creepy B&Bs. Woo – best friends. Woo – leather leggings. I updated my legion of concerned followers:

Yet another, Surprise Getaway Update – After I got out of the shower and realized Big had taken the car, I Google Maps’d myself… I’m right outside of DC. Note to Self: How many times do I have to tell you this? Never EVER believe a word Mr. Big says. Like EVER.

I immediately threw my crap in my bags and loaded it all back into the car. (“You only need the essentials for tonight,” he said. Pisssh. Shut it. Man.) I was so excited to be visiting Kristen in DC one last time before she moved to San Diego I could barely stand it. We would actually get the chance to see the Jefferson memorial! The only one we hadn’t had the chance to see up close and personal all these years. Woohoo! Sorry Gettysburg, I’m sure you’re great for people over 75 and all, but I’m 25… and you can suck it.

We picked Kristen up and grabbed brunch at Hawk n’ Dove. Despite the fact they use a lot of green onions (and by a lot, I mean truck loads of them), can I just tell you about the best friggin’ biscuits and gravy I’ve had in, like, 25-years? Yeah. The biscuits and gravy were off tha chain. And in DC, no less. Big was even impressed with the food, and he typically isn’t impressed with anything that isn’t free and laced with cash. After food, Kristen took Big on her signature Capitol Building tour. And of course it came complete with all the witty commentary you can’t buy off of Expedia, my friends.

  • bffs
  • cryptluck
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Speaking of my friends, I had to update those guys again on my social medias:

Surprise Getaway Update again – I am NOT, and I repeat, AM NOT getting a ring this weekend people. Gah, stop your friggin’ conspiracy theorizing. We’re in DC. Dropping off motors, hanging with BFFs, seeing monuments, and shit.

Come to find out, I was the one causing all the engagement ring ruckus. Apparently, there is pretty big difference between a motor and a transmission. The difference being – a motor probably wouldn’t be able to fit in the trunk of a Cadillac DeVille.

Anyhow, by 3:00 p.m. Mr. Big’s “transmission” was finished (you know, basically the whole reason why we went to VA in the first place) and he had ditched us to head back to Chantilly to pick it up. No love lost though, Kristen and I decided to join the rest of the American population (and most of Asia, for some reason) in Georgetown for a little shopping and day drinking down by the water. It was the most perfect day. The weather was beautiful. I bought a few things at H&M, we found a bar outside, and snagged a table with a great view.

Life was good.

On Saturday night, the three of us went to dinner at Medium Rare. As you could imagine, the only thing they serve is steak. Actually, they only have these three items on the menu: bread, salad, and steak. However, I don’t eat steak. So this was a huge sacrifice for me right off the bat. But holy sack. This was the best dinner I have had in a long while. The food was spectacular. And did I mention they give you seconds? Yes. Seconds. Of steak. Big nearly fell out of his chair.

Me, on the other hand? Well, when the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, I said, “Uhh, yes.” When he asked if I wanted a hybrid of their hot fudge sundae and chocolate layer cake, I said, “Uhh, yes.” When he asked if I wanted the nuts, homemade whipped cream, and sprinkles on top, I said, “Uhh, hell yes.” And when the lady who brought my hybrid dessert monstrosity out to me asked if it was my birthday, I said, “Uhh no. It’s Saturday.” She laughed and high-five’d me.

That night we ate out on the patio, drank copious amounts of alcohol, laughed until our bellies hurt, and then walked down a block or two to Molly Malone’s to grab some beer with friends. The change of scenery was nice. Being in DC was nice. Having a weekend away from home minus any sort of ruckus was nice.

On Sunday, we had brunch and morning time mimosas at Matchbox. And then afterwards, Kristen made us stop and get homemade pop-tarts from Ted’s Bulletin. I guess her thought process was that we would most likely need something for the road, you know, in case finding out how to get to the Jefferson Memorial proved to be the bitch we thought it was going to be.

It wasn’t. The getting to the Jefferson Memorial part. And not to get all teary-eyed and ironic on you, but uhh, it was actually well worth the wait. Ol’ Tom’s memorial is probably the most breathtaking of all the memorials in the capitol. Honest. Not only do you have a clear view of the MLK, Lincoln, Washington Monument, and White House from across the water but the statue of Jefferson in the center of the building is gorgeous. He looms over you. It’s almost scary, but in a pretty way… a “I’m commanding your respect” kinda way.

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We walked around taking photos for quite some time. However, we didn’t have all that much to say. I mean, aside from the celebratory “We made it!” fist bumps, we just didn’t talk all that much. I guess maybe it was all starting to sink in…

Kristen really is moving.


Okay, so here comes the confession part, Ballas.

In two short weeks, Kristen and I will be setting out on the adventure of a lifetime. We will be marking off an item scribbled down on most every person’s bucket list. Just two weeks from this very day, one of my best friends and I will do something I have never known anyone else to do before. Alright, here it comes…

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, Kristen and I will be packing our bags, hopping in her 4-Runner, and driving all the way across the country!

But wait for it… and we’re stopping where ever the hell we want along the way! That means, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Los Angeles… anywherewe. want. to. go – we’re going! And we’re stopping for key chains, and beer, and food, and the biggest ball of rubber bands in the world, and shenanigans of all kinds, and pictures at state lines. If you think it belongs on an effin’ road trip we’re freakin’ doing it, man. And then some! I’m so amp’d I can’t even deal with myself right now. I just want to scream, “Hey! America! We’re comin’ for you!”

But I digress.

All in all, my surprise getaway to DC was a success. Mr. Big was able to get his car thingy fixed, I was able to hang with the bestie in DC one last time, we ate bangin’ food, got a good laugh at Gettysburg’s expense, and Kristen and I conquered Tom. Granted, I’m not so sure Mr. Big learned anything from this whole situation other than how often people ask me why we aren’t/when we are gonna get engaged. But then again, there’s always our anniversary next month… and I’m sure he’s got something super colorful up his sleeve for that one.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t make me cry… again.




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8 thoughts on “Love Is War

  1. But you know me! I drove cross country, twice! The first time all by myself making all those great stops along the way. It was fantastic.

  2. This is the funniest thing I've read in quite awhile. I know the CD was painful to hear, but hilariously funny. Mother pulled quite the prank when she gave me that thing. Only Tyler could discover it in the car and it played wonderfully in his little game. And, you're the only person in the world that is well educated and can't read road signs. I do believe he has a little bit of his Great Uncle Tom flowing in his veins. I hope you have a blast on your cross country trip.

  3. I was ASLEEP, y'all! And you know your son talks himself in circles so much he confuses himself and everyone else around him. I could've been in Canada and would not have had a clue!

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