Friday, July 27, 2012

On the first email exchange with my wife

Today, July 27, 2012, is exactly 2696 days (accounting for 2 leap years) from the day that my wife and I first emailed each other. 757 days after that first email, we were married. And 681 days after we were married, Addison was born. So, 1438 days from the day of our first email, Lindsay and I (mostly Lindsay) brought a little squalling creature into this world. The time between our first email and Addison’s birth is still slightly greater than the time from Addison’s birth until now. But in a matter of months, the “Addison” phase of our lives together will have eclipsed the “just the two of us” phase of our lives. To put it another way, it won’t be long before the “changing diapers” phase of our experience together has surpassed the “spontaneous road trip” phase. That’s a little wild to think about.
There’s nothing special about today that made me start crunching these numbers. It’s just that Lindsay and Addison are away for a few days, and I got bored and started going through my old emails. Apparently I have 2310 unread emails. I don’t care.

I realize that the only time I’ve really written something that was really focused on my wife or our relationship was when I won a reader-arbitrated cage-fight with Lindsay regarding bedtime hugs. So here’s something a little different. Because I’ve been missing her. 

Why mark the days from our first email exchange? We met months before the first email, but there was something about exchanging emails that made things click. Neither of us had cell phones, and while I think we may have spoken on the communal landline phone once or twice before exchanging emails, things really picked up once we started sending little bundles of prose back and forth to each other. Over the course of a couple of weeks, the missives we exchanged probably amounted to a year’s worth of letters in an earlier era. It's like we were doing old-timey courting, but using the fast-forwardness of near-instantaneous email replies.

(excerpted from the very first email that Lindsay sent me on 3/10/05)

...good morning.  so i was doing a little investigative work on this saturday's cinematic adventure, trying to check out the price, because as you may have noticed i don't make as much money as you do, richie rich (incidentally, i hope you don't mind that i now think of you totally differently since you told me how much money you make.  before i thought of you as a delightfully quirky, starving artist type, now you're more in the eccentric millionaire category).  anyway, the website told me that there were no tickets available for you have some insider knowledge?  or just piles of money that get you on "the list"?
okay, have a great day!  linds
p.s. i probably should have told you that giving me your email was a huge mistake because my emails are always 85-95% longer than they need to be. (see exhibit a above.)
And excerpts from my reply, sent back the same day:

...i am sadsadsad.  (triple sad).  apparently that showing of the banff mountain film festival has been sold out for several weeks.  However, i'm still going to show up and hope for standby slots.  The man at the ticket office indicated that 6:00 would be a good time to get in line (they'll have 20 fold-out seats available and also the seats of anyone who doesn't show).  I may not quite get there at 6:00. but i'll head over there as soon as i get out of work, hopefully about 6:15.  I understand that you have a prior engagement, so the waiting will probably not be a part of your evening, but i would gladly wait for you.  To the ends of time.  [sappy love song trying to be born] In any event, i am also going to go on friday.  it is true that i am quite wealthy, but unfortunately i am compulsively miserly.  I skimp on food (needlessly) and clothes (maybe a little needfully), and i live in a cave so that i can balance my budget out with multiple trips to the banff mountain film festival.   it is that good.  Been told that there should be enough tickets for friday to just pick them up at the door.
To put some of this in context, here are a few pertinent notes:

1. I made pretty good money working for a tutoring service in Washington D.C. I was able to work merely ten hours per week to pay for my living expenses, and even save a little. It helped that I was living in a tiny little hobbit hole.

2. I ended up going to the Banff Mountain Film Festival with a different girl, a friend of Lindsay's. Having seen it several times before, I paraded the greatness of the festival to everyone I came across. Despite my hammy reference to love songs, I was really just making a joke, not trying to hit on her.

3. We have tried to go to the Banff Mountain Film Festival together almost every year since 2005, but have been foiled every time. Most notable, perhaps, was when I was going to include a date to the Festival as part of an extended proposal in 2007. Lindsay ended up feeling sick, and I ended up proposing to her in the car before taking her home and making soup for her. Someday we'll get there.

Lindsay totally busted me on not being able to do math, and pointed out that most of the numbers I cited above were wrong, except for the biggest one (it's been 2696 days since those e-mails were sent). So I spent like two hours doing some very rudimentary addition and subtraction and came up with this chart to make things a little more transparent. The sentiment expressed above is still accurate, however.


  1. This made me curious so I looked through the archives of my internet exchanges with Peter. Our first IM:

    Peter: what's up?
    me: nm, just got back in my office
    Peter: Got some more data to convert?

    I should have known then that he was the one

    1. ah, the stats euphemism as a "come hither." It so rarely succeeds, so props to Peter for taking the risk and winning!

    2. That's an awesome first exchange! Peter totally gets you :)

  2. Ah, you really do miss me! This was so sweet to revisit.

    I should probably just leave it at that, but the relentless editor in me feels compelled to mention that you've got some fuzzy math in there. For example, we married in 2007 and Addison wasn't born until 2010, which means we were "just the two of us" for much of 2007 (268 days), and all of 2008 (366 days -- leap year) and 2009 (365 days). That's 999 days, not 681. I would love to know what those "lost days" are...maybe that semester you were taking 18 credits, or all the family reunions, or the 7-months pregnant appendectomy that traumatized you (or maybe just the whole 40 weeks of pregnancy?)...

    1. ah, crap. see, there's a reason I was an English Major.

      Okay, so I got the total days right. Right?

      Okay, so let me work this out. Alright, so it's 1804 days between the first e-mail and Addison's birth. Did I just forget what year Addison was born in? Yeah, I did.

      Man, I just screwed those number ALL up. I'm gonna have to make an update.

      Here's what it boils down to. I think.

      *Total days between first e-mail and now: 2696 (CORRECT!)
      *1804 days between first e-mail and Addison's birth.
      *1046 days between our wedding day and Addison's birth.
      *892 days between Addison's birth and now.

    2. Also, I spent like twenty minutes trying to recalculate all this, scribbling on a piece of paper.

    3. I have to admit that I thought you had forgotten when Addison was born, but it seemed rude to point it out on your DADDY blog. Undercut your credibility and all.

    4. I had credibility before?

  3. You inspired me (another English major) to do the math. On my anniversary this year it will be 7304 days of marriage. Wow. Best years of my life. And worst. But if I were to subtract the worst days (estimating about 200) and divide them to determine a percentage that would still be less than 3%. Whoa. Not bad (if I did this right). You made my day. Thanks.

    1. It's funny how numbers can make even us English majors happy. Play with them a little bit, and it can suddenly open up whole new perspectives. Especially if you're like me and you start inadvertently making crap up. Congrats on your 7304 days! 3 percent isn't too shabby.

  4. I just find it heartwarming that you would take the time to work the math out. I married a geek too!
    Good to meet you. Your newest UK follower :-)

    1. YONKS, thanks for visiting! I'm certainly a geek, but a sloppy one. I probably need a fact-checker to follow me around and correct all the wildly improbable things I say.

      Checked out your site, and I think I may follow along. Because you live on a Yacht! Three cheers for alternative living!

  5. This is a great post, but the comments are even greater, I think. :)

    1. Of course they are, now that you've added one. Thanks!