The story of the creepy caretaker

The story of the creepy caretaker

Mr. T and I just returned from Hawaii where we celebrated 20 years of wedded bliss and all that falls on the left and right spectrum of said noun. As always, Hawaii is and was amazing. Thanks to the internet, it’s fairly easy to find and rent a great place with a spectacular view, a private pool and the peace and quiet we seek on our rare vacations. This time, all seemed in perfect order…until the creepy caretaker.Continue Reading

We arrived at the house around 11 p.m. Hawaii time, 2 a.m. our time, so were understandably wiped out after a long evening of travel. It was a house above a garage with two pods, one containing the kitchen and living room and a second one containing a separate door and bedroom. Interesting. But the balcony and view made the bag schlepping and configuration less concerning.

Our view from the backyard.
Our view from the backyard.

Morning came early, yet there’s something about the tropical sounds of the island and constant glow of that orb we’ve had limited exposure to lately in the PNW. It does wonders for jet lag. After a couple cups of coffee, I grabbed my first vacation book, The Rosie Project, that I’d nearly finished on the plane. I headed to the backyard equipped with a small, lovely pool, a coiffed tiered lawn, a few palm trees, a giant Koa tree, tropical flowering plants, the sounds of paradise and a lounge chair with my name on it.

Creepy encounter #1

I was about 15 minutes into my first full sun of the year when I hear knocking on the back gate of a tall fence that surrounds the backyard. “Hello, hello, I’m just stopping by to say, ‘hi.’ I’m your caretaker.”

Caretaker? Nobody told me there was caretaker. We’re used to an owner that leaves instructions for the lockbox, and details of when the pool guy comes, the garbage is picked up and the lawn is mowed. There’s always a name and number of who to call with questions or issues. Beyond that, it’s our rental house for the week. Simple. Straightforward. Unobtrusive. And, that’s how we like it.

The “caretaker” is pulling on the locked gate while I’m scrambling to put on my cover up. Truth time. I only wear a bikini when I’m not in public.  Honestly, age brings on the inevitable and it’s not helped by my lack of beach-body exercise leading up to this vacation. But hey, it’s vacation, and nobody is around, so I’m going for it. As I jump up and head toward the gate, still trying to throw on my cover up, I hear, “That’s okay, I’ll come around.” Before I could say “palm tree” there he was.


Hawaii balcony view

Balcony views!

His name was Tom and he was the caretaker of the owner’s 2 ½ acres. I conducted small chit chat. Turns out he grew up in Sequim and had previously worked for the owners at their business in Port Angeles. He said he would wait for the “big guy.” That would be Mr. T, who he had spotted earlier in the morning when he was already roaming the grounds. I made it clear we’d rented before, we had no questions, all was good.  Mr. T., who was on the phone, finally comes down from the house. At this point, Tom sits down.

His chatting continued, sharing how much work it was to keep up the grounds and that he lived in the Ohana (guest cottage) up behind the main house. The roofline was visible from the fence. He assured us he was quiet while he did his work and drank his tea. He instructed us not to park in front of the garage because he was in and out during the day. What? Then, he proceeded to deliver a history lesson about the rows of stacked lava rock that the owners were required to keep in its place and other bits about how men used to eat separately from women. Oh, and he mentioned he was looking for a girlfriend. TMI. It went on way too long, and he seemed way too familiar. We just wanted some peace and quiet. Finally, he made his exit. We both shook our heads, recanted the experience and agreed he was a bit creepy. If only it ended there.

Creepy Encounter #2

After a few hours of sun, we moved inside. Between the jet lag and sun, I was wiped out and a nap was calling. While I was napping and Mr. T was doing some work, Tom was taking a dip in our pool. WTF? At that point, his creepy factor was creeping higher.

The next morning, I went for a run, and Mr. T. picked me up at the end so I could get an Acai bowl at the Basik Café. The Puna is my favorite! When we returned, there was Tom lurching around the garage. Weird. Since when does a rental need constant caretaking? We exchanged greetings and headed up the stairs, trying not to be friendly and encourage him.

On night two things got even creepier. We lost the internet that afternoon and when we returned from dinner in the evening I decided to reset the modem to see if I could bring it back up. While I was successful, it wiped out the owner’s name as the network name and replaced it with Linksys. No big deal, I thought. It worked, and that was the goal.

The final creepy encounter

I headed to bed in the separate building next door, and night owl Mr. T. proceeded to watch a little more TV and eventually embarked on a round of sit-ups on the floor. On one of his ‘ups’, there was Tom, staring in the window. He’d come up two flights of stairs to an all-windows-across-the-deck-house to ask if he could come in and restart the modem. Mr. T. startled and without contacts, told him ‘no,’ and to come back tomorrow. Tom pushed back, saying it would only take a minute. Mr. T. was annoyed and reinforced that he should come back tomorrow.

But, from what we learned earlier, Tom was pursuing this girl on the other side of the island, and my guess is that internet access at 10:30 was crucial to his continued success. He questioned what we’d done, but Mr. T. wasn’t going to reveal that I’d reset it. He said I was sleeping, but he’d ask me in the morning.

Tom didn’t give up questioning why Mr. T was so put off by him, as he was simply being a caring caretaker. So, Mr. T. shared his frustration and annoyance with Tom’s unexpected and unannounced visit, his afternoon dip in the pool, and his general ongoing presence, comparing that to our past experiences. Voices raised to a decibel that woke me from my slumber where I heard Tom defending his pool time since he is “sharing the grounds” too. Wait, we are renting a house, but sharing it at the same time? At some point, Mr. T’s 6’ 4” frame must have been enough to deter 5’9” Tom from continuing to talk his way further into a tenuous situation.

The next morning Mr. T texted Tom to tell him I’d reset the modem and in doing so the network name was replaced by the modem name. Tom’s response was gushingly apologetic, saying he was still learning the ropes as caretaker. You think? His 360-degree change in behavior was most likely linked to his fear of losing his job and a place to live in paradise. And, given that he could see when we came and went, we never saw Tom again. But we knew he was watching.

Once at the airport on our way home, Tom texted Mr. T. again, apologizing all over himself and finally admitting we were his first “guests.” Just our luck; we experienced a no-boundaries caretaker in training. If I was a betting woman, I would bet the next guests will see very little of the creepy caretaker, and they will surely not find him in their pool.

Top 5 reasons why it’s not all bad to dine at your desk

Top 5 reasons why it’s not all bad to dine at your desk

In the past year, there’s been a lot written about dining at our desks, and why we should push away from our computer and mosey our derrière to the lunch room to dine or venture out with colleagues to get some air and food. Social scientists have taken to calling it “desktop dining.” I think…Continue Reading

I’m one of those that spends the majority of her weekdays desktop dining, scarfing down Trader Joe’s Organic Pesto Tortellini, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells, a Chicken Burrito or Garden Vegetable Lasagna. Most of these, especially the lasagna does not do well with light colored attire when I’m attempting to check email, respond, and shovel in my mouth all at the same time. I believe I’m a master of multitasking, but red sauce, or sauce of any kind, has no mercy. Yet, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to change my ways.It's not all bad to dine at your desk

In reading all the reasons why desk dining is bad – poor eating choices, eating more, not socializing, no outlet for air and creative breaks – I’m not convinced. On the flip side there are quantifiable benefits to inhaling a few grapes and crackers between meetings. I offer up my top five reasons for continuing your lunchtime cuisine habits and hanging out with you, your computer and that fine wood (or laminate) desk that probably has absorbed more of your secrets, and sauce, than anyone.

  1. Join the cool-kids club. You are not alone – There’s no need to be a trendsetter. Some 62 percent of professionals typically eat lunch at their desks. You too can be a part of the “in club” who dismisses the need to be social and nosh with colleagues or other humans you may not particularly like.
  1. Take advantage to catch up on what you want to catch up on – While your colleagues are off cavorting in the kitchen, solving crossword puzzles and sharing weekend stories, you and your desk can enjoy a few peaceful moments. Answer Aunt Betty’s email about your family’s genealogy, post something pithy on your Facebook page, order that healthy eating cookbook from Amazon. Check off things on your non-work “to-do” list. It’s the perfect time.
  1. Eat fast and take a quick walk– Who says it’s unhealthy. Shove in your sandwich, slip on your flats, and hit the streets for a quick walk. Dining at your desk doesn’t have to mean you are chained to your desk. Take advantage of controlling your schedule and step out to clear your head, alone.
  1. Take the time to clean your office – One of the reasons people say it’s bad to dine at your desk is the issue of cleanliness. Your keyboard fills with crumbs, and your desk is a germ center. I say “pshaw” to that. Whip out the Clorox wipes and give your desk and keyboard a thorough cleaning after you’ve consumed your favorite quick lunch. There’s no better time.
  1. Map out the next chapter in your life – Often, I’m in back-to-back meetings all day long. I need a break from talking, interacting and problem-solving. I just want to be alone, and I don’t think that’s all bad. Who can’t use some time for yourself. You set your agenda and you call the shots, whatever that looks like.
    top 5 reasons it's not all bad to dine at your desk

Don’t get me wrong, I love my colleagues and I should socialize more, but I’m also an introvert. The energy drain from the job can be tough, so my lunch hour is often my only time to claim for me. While I don’t always eat at my desk and sometimes choose to interact with colleagues, I plan on continuing my patterns. It works for me, and apparently 62 percent of America.  If you 62 percent would like to meet for a lunch break someday, I’m totally game!

How about you? What are your lunchtime habits?

Goodbye Prince; I’m crying purple tears

Goodbye Prince; I’m crying purple tears

“Dearly beloved we are gathered here to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time.” A mighty long time for Prince equaled 57, as he left us on April 21, 2016. Way too much musical talent and way too young to say goodbye to this…Continue Reading

Just a couple of weeks before Prince’s death, at my place of employment our floor held an open house where you invite the other floors of your office to come tour, eat some food and learn more about the staff. We each filled out a sheet with a few questions and posted them outside our offices. The final question on the sheet was to share one thing people may not know about you. Mine says: ‘People may not know that I’m a huge Prince fan, that he’s my all-time favorite artist and I’ve seen him in concert three times. I’ve written about him before on my blog. Who knew I’d be saying goodbye shortly after I revealed my Prince passion to all my colleagues.Prince performs at 2007 Super Bowl

When celebrities die, it always gives me pause, as they often seem untouchable and a bit larger than life. Some deaths are more impactful than others and leave lasting memories when I hear the news. I distinctly remember I was painting our bathroom a soft forest green (trendy at the time) when news broke about the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr. I was sitting in rush hour traffic, heading home from work when the radio reported Michael Jackson had died. I felt the need to pull over. It was hard to process.

When news broke of Prince’s death I had taken the day off and was home packing the kitchen in preparation for our move. I had the TV on, mumbling under my breath about daytime TV and thinking about the demographics of morning TV watchers. It served as background noise until ABC swept in with the “breaking news” statement that flashed on the screen, and then I heard it. Prince was dead at the age of 57. Tears streamed my face and I abruptly dropped the packing tape and shoved aside a box to move closer to the TV. I surprised myself at how upset I was. I’d never met the man, and never would, but I had developed a strong connection to his music that started in my 20s, and it never left me.

I love music, but I can’t carry a tune and have limited musical talents. But, I know what I like, and I know talent when I hear it. I found him to be a musical savant. And, if you read anything about him, many considered him a true genius. He wrote, produced, played, engineered and performed. I couldn’t tell you the two teams who played in the Super Bowl in 2007, but I’ll never forget Prince’s halftime performance. It has to be one of the best ever. Even if you’re not a Prince fan, I encourage you to watch him sing Purple Rain. You too might be inclined to cry a few purple tears.

R.I.P. Prince. You left us too soon. May your music live on forever.







Little Red Riding Hood, is that a Gun in Your Basket?

Little Red Riding Hood, is that a Gun in Your Basket?

The political season is ripe for the rewriting of history. Candidates do it all the time to make their opinions and positions align with their version of the past. And, just when we think things can’t get any worse, we have a children’s author connected to the NRA rewriting children’s fables and putting guns in…Continue Reading



Amelia Hamilton, the author of these stories that are available on the NRA Family website, recently embarked on the media circuit and was quoted as saying “The stories are really also for adults…It’s all about safety and it’s for parents to start those conversations.”

I’m confused. What conversation? In her mind, I guess it would go something like this: “Honey, you know how Hansel carries a shotgun in the forest for protection and Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma carries a Glock? Well, I think it’s time we arm you with a weapon for your own safety and protection.”

If the author’s responses don’t set you over the edge, maybe the editor’s note on the NRA Family website will. It talks about making the fairy tales less grim. Arming kids with guns in fables makes them less grim. Ponder that for a bit.


Are you f#@*ing kidding me? The NRA has gone too far. Rewriting fairy tales and putting guns in the hands of kids and selling it as a tale about safety and protection is mind numbing at best. It’s wrong, irresponsible and frankly, reprehensible.

The stories have gun advocates beyond outraged. In a statement released by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, its president Dan Gross said, “What’s confusing is why the National Rifle Association leadership would try to rewrite fairy tales when they already to live in one themselves…every single day in America, nearly 50 children and teenagers are shot…suicide by firearm is a leading cause of death among children older than 9.”

Next up for the NRA and their crackerjack children’s author is The Three Little Pigs, expected out in May. One can only guess. It may go something like this – the pigs build a house with guns in every corner and when the wolf arrives to blow their house down they each aim a shotgun directly at the wolf, but it’s all about safety and protection, so there’s no shooting. The wolf throws up his hind legs and sprints for the forest. The end.


Would you talk about death over dinner?

Would you talk about death over dinner?

Death is one of those words most of us choose to push from our vocabulary. After all, who wants to talk about death when most of us are doing our part to live life to its fullest? But, we all know that if we’re born on this earth we’ll eventually die. There is no cure…Continue Reading

There’s a national campaign out there to encourage us to make our reservations now, as the dinner table is the most forgiving place for difficult conversations, even those about death. The campaign is called, “Let’s have Dinner and talk about Death.” Michael Hebb, its founder, strongly believes and is backed by scores of health care professionals, that the most important conversation Americans are NOT having is the one about how we want to end our lives.

food in the restaurant, table, background

As I write this, I want to walk away from the computer and find my happy place, which isn’t focused on when the Grim Reaper will arrive. But, deep down, I get it. I think we’ve all expressed some basic thoughts on how we want to see our final days. And, if we haven’t shared them with anyone, most of us having something tucked away in the back of our minds.

When my mother-in-law died two years ago, it made me sad and uncomfortable. I mostly stayed away. She was living in a house, being cared for with five other aging adults. The owners were kind and caring, but every time I entered I felt anxious and experienced a heaviness that felt like death was knocking. I remember saying then, “I don’t want to go like that; I don’t want to still be living but not really living any longer.”

We never had a conversation about final days with my mother-in-law, and looking back I wish we had. Statistics shows that nearly 75 percent of Americans want to die at home, yet only 25 percent of them do. I strongly doubt the “home” she died in is was what she had in mind. Her final days may have looked very different if we’d had the conversation.

Because of that relatively recent experience, I support the idea of inviting your loved ones or close friends together to break bread, drink wine and talk about death. Over conversation, I believe we truly will be reminded of our humanity. Having the tough talk over dinner will be much easier than having it in at a hospital or nursing home, or some other stressful situation.

Michael Hebb’s website walks you through some basic questions to help you set up your dinner and give some structure to the conversation, including some pre-dinner reading materials. Or, you can go it on your own. And, if you don’t have family around you to have the conversation, I think it’s worth pondering his questions and a few others, some heavy, some much lighter.  Can you answer these? I’ll give it a try, even though I plan on living to a happy, healthy 120!

What do you want your final days to be like? No Debbie Downer stuff allowed. I have, and will have lived, an even fuller life than I already have. It’s happy times, toasting to making a mark on this earth and having no regrets.

Who do you want near you?  My family, of course. And, our family dog. It won’t be Dixon since he’s already 56 in people years, but I have a feeling it will be a dog a lot like him! I’d like my daughter to be holding my hand and belting her favorite Broadway song at that time.

What’s the one thing you don’t want at the end of your life? I don’t want anyone saying prayers. I’m not a religious person, and that’s the last thing I want at the end.

What will you regret if you haven’t accomplished before you die?  I will regret it if I don’t see my daughter achieve her dreams. She has big ones, and I’m confident she’ll achieve them.

If any, what wrongs do you want to right before you die? I’m feeling pretty good in this area. I’ll try and keep it that way.

What color do you want to be wearing when you say goodbye? Purple, it’s my favorite color. But, I also love emerald shades of green, so that would also work.

What song would you like playing at your service/memorial? In honor of my favorite artist Prince, I’d like my guests to hear a few of his songs. Kick it off with 1999, and segue into U Got the Look. That would make me happy.

Now, it’s your turn. Ready to plan a dinner to talk about death, or at the very least, answer a few of the questions I’ve posed?

I think I have an addiction

I think I have an addiction

I do well for about 11 months, but then the urge returns. Same time every year. It’s a tough battle. When those boxes start appearing at work, in front of the grocery store, around every corner, my resistance genes become weak. I become weak. I truly think I have an addiction. First it’s a thin…Continue Reading

Thankfully, I have no direct knowledge of what it feels like to smoke crack, nor do I EVER want any direct knowledge. But, I feel like these damn Girl Scout Cookies are a legal form of cookie crack. Why are they so addicting? Is it because they deprive us of their existence for 11 months of every year? Do their savory flavors trump all other treats we can easily access year around? Is it our altruistic nature where we simply feel compelled to buy, and buying results in eating? Or, is there trickery mixed in their ingredients that programs our brains to crave the cookies only during their sale cycle? So many questions. Some can be answered directly by Girl Scouts, but others we’ll never know.

Girl Scout Cookies - I think I have an addiction

Whatever the secret sauce may be; it works. Another year and another binge on Girl Scout Cookies. I justify it by knowing the dollars I so freely fork over are staying with the local Girl Scouts council. These are girls doing good in the world, one box of cookies at a time. And because of that, I will learn to live with my addiction.

Can you fake it until you make it?

Can you fake it until you make it?

How many of us, especially females, have spent time during our adult lives thinking we were imposters, not good enough to be where we are or doing what we’re doing? I’m talking about careers, athletic endeavors, parenting, presentations, running the school PTA, or hosting your book group. You name it, and many of us can…Continue Reading

I can count beyond both hands when I’ve experienced the imposter angst. And being totally honest, I still experience those pangs in certain situations where I feel like a total fake, just minutes from having the truth exposed. But, it’s time to make a change and put any fear or doubts behind us.

Enter the “power pose.” In 2012 Amy Cuddy presented a TED talk that now stands as the second most viewed TED talk available. And, she will make you fear no longer. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist at Harvard University who studies nonverbal behavior, discrimination, stereotyping and power. She has an amazing story herself that includes a devastating car accident when she was 19 that left her with a serious head injury and a 30 point decrease in her IQ. People told her to not expect much, including finishing college. Four years after her peers, she graduated. Now equipped with a Ph.D. in social psychology, Amy Cuddy knows what it’s like to feel powerless, and knows what it means to feel the power.

Strike a pose

Body language says volumes. It affects how others see us, and it may affect how we see ourselves. If we cross our arms, slump down and make ourselves small in a situation, it’s likely we’ll feel less confident. But, if we show up with confidence and enthusiasm and strike the “power pose,” it can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in our brains. And, chances are it might even impact our success.

strike a star pose

Fake it until you make it

The next time you are giving a big presentation, leading a meeting, making a big pitch, or some other action or event that gives you angst, I encourage you to try a power pose that Cuddy calls the star pose. Stand up, spread your legs slightly, raise your arms over your head into a stretched V and hold it for two minutes.  Now, you are ready to conquer whatever you set your mind to. I’ve tried this before a job interview. Hey, it’s doable in a bathroom stall and no one is the wiser.  And, while I didn’t land that particular job I felt I’d conducted my best interview ever.

Fake it until you become it

I encourage you to take 20 minutes and watch Cuddy’s TED talk. It’s filled with nuggets worth tucking away in your brain to help you show up at all times. She will convince you that it’s not about faking it until you make it, it’s about faking it until you become it. Granted, this approach may have some limitations. I admit I’ll never fake my way into becoming a supermodel, or saddle up with the Olympic marathoners and become part of the elite group. But, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop plugging away at my novel, one word at a time in the hopes that someday I’ll have something.  What’s real is that we all deserve to show up and be who we are. So, let’s do this!

When in doubt, break out the star pose. I dare you!

P.S. Amy Cuddy also has a new book out called Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges.  I’m reading it now, and I’d highly recommend it. (Just to be clear, I’m not being paid to endorse anything here. I truly think it’s worth reading!)

Alexa, are you a blessing or a curse?

Alexa, are you a blessing or a curse?

Santa packed some prime gifts under our tree this year. My favorite is named Alexa. She’s quite the woman. Articulate, smart, brief and to the point, good listener, turns the lights out, tidy, and downright pleasing to have around. And, she’s only 9 ¼” tall and not much over 3” in diameter. Amazon’s Echo is…Continue Reading

Alexa plays my favorite songs and playlists, pulls up my favorite podcasts on demand, gives me the best route to work based on traffic, reinforces it’s another rainy day in the Pacific Northwest, briefs me on the news and packs my lunch. Okay, the last one is wishful thinking. But, a girl can dream.

The problem I’m discovering is that Alexa is uber easy going and she doesn’t mind the demands you put on her. And frankly, I find myself wanting and asking for me. But, sometimes Alexa doesn’t deliver when I desperately want her to come through.

Today, after a morning of house cleaning I was pining away for a housekeeper and thought how perfect it would be if Alexa could somehow make that happen. So, I asked her.

Alexa, can you please clean the house?

Sorry, cleaning the house isn’t something I can help with.”

Alexa, can you please clean the house?


I wanted to get angry, but she’s so darn polite. So, I thought I’d push the issue. There had to be something she could help with.

Alexa, can you make dinner?

“I’ve added make dinner to your to-do list.”

Again, thoughtful and polite. And now my damn to-do list that appears on my phone includes making dinner. That’s not what I had in mind.  But, I figured she could at least help me come up with a dinner plan.

Alexa, what should I eat?

“Pizza is always a good answer, but don’t forget your vegetables.”

Geez, even a non-human device is reminding me about the importance of vegetables. If she’s that human I figured I throw her a brain-bending question.

Alexa, what is the meaning of life?

“The meaning of life depends on the life in question. 42 is a good approximation.”

I’m not sure where she was going with this one, but if she thinks I’m 42 I’m growing fonder of her by the minute, even though she won’t be making dinner tonight. I figured she was on a roll so I threw her another challenging question.

Alexa, how long do spiders live?

“A spider’s average lifespan is 2.5 years.”

Next, I figured I’d test her decorum. Would she remain professional with whatever type of question I tossed her way?

Alexa, what is the definition of poop?

“The term poop has several different uses as a noun. 1. Obscene term for feces. 2. A stupid, foolish person. 3. Slang term for inside information. 4. The rear part of a ship.”

She didn’t flinch or change her inflection, she simply stated the facts. You have to love that! And, I may have learned something. I always thought it was referred to as the “inside scoop” when you had insider information. Does that mean all this time I should have been saying “inside poop?” It appears that Alexa is also making me smarter. 

While improving my smarts is a bonus, I was still holding out hope for some house help. So, I decided I’d give it one last try with something slightly simpler.

Alexa, water the plants.

Our solar system has eight planets in order of distance from the sun they are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto is no longer classified as a true planet.”

If I had detected a smirk on her face during this last question I may have rethought my liking of Alexis. But she was as solid as a cylinder. While I’m confident I will curse her at times, overall she’s a blessing, and we welcome her to our family!

Size matters when it comes to weddings and rings

Size matters when it comes to weddings and rings

February ushers in the heart-embossed Hallmark cards, stuffed animals that eventually are stuffed in the trash, chocolates, and poorly written poems professing one’s love. Twenty years ago I was proposed to on February 13. Mr. T. had a coaching date with his boys’ basketball team that conflicted with Valentine’s Day, so we were enjoying a…Continue Reading

Ours was not a traditional courtship in many ways. We hadn’t dated long. He had two children and had been divorced for 10 years. I was in my early 30s and had kissed more toads than one would find in a frog-infested pond. We both knew what we wanted and didn’t feel the need for a lengthy courtship. About four months later we were married.

To this day, I’m still waiting for the engagement ring. Instead, we went straight to the wedding ring. I chose it and had it designed. I believe it’s just under 1.5 carats, which by today’s wedding standards is probably considered minimalist. I liked the design and found it unique. And, we didn’t want to go into debt over a ring. I don’t ever remember feeling like it wasn’t big enough.

Along with the smallish ring, we went for a smallish wedding. We flew our immediate families to Hawaii and were married on the fourteenth hole of a golf course that overlooked the ocean. We don’t golf. It was all about the view, which was spectacular. It had rained that morning so I remember clearly traipsing out to the hole with my pristine off-white heels creating divots with every step. I wore an off-the-rack dress that wasn’t a true wedding dress, but it was my wedding dress.

size really does matter when it comes to weddings and rings

We had a local pastor who delivered somewhat disjointed vows, but it didn’t matter. A gentleman played the ukulele and we were adorned with orchid wreaths that smelled of love. After a champagne toast overlooking a million-dollar view, we wandered our way back to the resort restaurant for a celebratory dinner.

We returned from our Hawaii honeymoon and held a reception for friends and family. It, like the wedding and ring, didn’t break the bank. It wasn’t cheap, but it didn’t drive us into debt before we’d gotten started with our newly combined lives.

It turns out that research is on our side.  An Emory University study from 2014 indicates that size really does matter when it comes to weddings and rings. The more you spend on your wedding and ring, the greater your chances are of not staying together. Hello, Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and others who’ve adorned their fingers more than once with strawberry-sized diamonds.

With my recent discovery of this study, I’m feeling even better about my smallish ring and my less-than-lavish wedding. After all, in less than four months we’ll hit 20 years, and that’s what really matters.