The early-riser gets the squash

Fresh beans

If the early bird catches the worm, the early Meggie . . . buys all the produce?

(I’ll work on that one.)

When I moved in with Spencer last fall, many of his habits became my habits. I guess this is, you know, normal for couples? I don’t know. But if there’s one thing to know about my husband, it’s this: he appreciates time. Time for projects, professional and otherwise; time to maximize and time to waste. My guy works and plays in equal measure, and he accomplishes these things best by getting up early.

I didn’t function that way.

Growing up, my sister and I had an early-riser dad who would accomplish more before 8 a.m. than many folks would all day. He despises “lazy” behavior, and rarely let us sleep past 9 a.m. I admired his up-and-at-’em qualities, but the last thing a teenager wants is a parent busting in to break up their beauty sleep by imitating birdsong and flashing lights.

I once took after my mom, you see: a night owl. I thrived in the wee hours of the morning, staying up to write or read or study. I worked long shifts at the bookstore during my last two years of college, and the dark hours after midnight were sometimes the only ones I had to get stuff done. Especially when I was too busy running around with boyfriends to work on math problems during the day.

Lessons learned.

Now that I’m staring down age 29 (on Friday!), I sense a marked shift in my schedule these days. Spence likes to turn in early and rise with the sun, taking advantage of our weekends for projects and fun. This has increased exponentially since we bought the house, because there is always something to do. Like, always. Never mind that we’re only partly through several major changes, like installing hardwood floor upstairs; the base level of laundry/dishes/vacuuming is enough to keep us moving much of the day.

And we don’t even have children yet.

Somebody hold me.

Peaches

Lately? With my mind churning, a huge to-do list, a new house to nail into and paint? I’m all too happy to oblige Spencer’s go-getter attitude. I’ve started waking up at 6:30 a.m. without an alarm clock, even on Saturdays, and feel most productive before lunchtime. I crank out emails, tear through work projects, make lists upon lists and color code them all. It’s pretty awesome, actually — and only partly attributable to caffeine. Though coffee is awesome.

Last weekend was crazy, and we had more than enough to keep ourselves occupied. We hosted the annual family birthday party for my dad, my sister and me on Sunday (our birthdays are within a week of each other), which meant Saturday had to be spent cleaning, organizing and de-boxing whatever we could de-box in an effort to make the place look somewhat less crazy. We succeeded, I think, and the party was great! So much food, great family, delicious pasta salad.

But before all that, we hit the farmers’ market.

I’m kind of obsessed with vegetables. Since starting Weight Watchers last year and getting serious about healthy eating, I’ve learned all kinds of ways to prepare them that are addictive. Finding fresh, local produce at a reasonable price is fantastic, and we’ve stopped by the local farmers’ market twice in the last few weeks for all kinds of goodies.

And I bought a fruit bowl — a big, white, gorgeous fruit bowl. I keep it overflowing . . . and it is glorious. One of the earliest WW tips we received was to surround yourself with good food — food that’s good for you, food you actually like — and to have it front and center, where your eyes will always gravitate to it. No candy dish, you know?

That’s my fruit bowl.

By 10 a.m. on Saturday, we had met friends for breakfast, gone for produce at the farmers’ market and gotten a full grocery order for party foods and beyond, then gone home to unload it all and start party prep. We did so much before noon (Spencer installed a toilet! I did all the laundry!) that I kind of want to slack off for the rest of the day, but I forced myself to quit the laziness.

Also, I drank a lot of Diet Coke.

In terms of our haul, we came home with squash and zucchini, red onion and sweet peppers, bright red cherry tomatoes and baby varieties in purple, yellow, pink. For less than $10, we had enough veggies to last us the week — though most were chopped for salads and sides before the day was out.

I feel impossibly grown-up when I’m chopping vegetables. On a real cutting board. With an actual knife. It’s very soothing.

And then I nearly cut off the tip of a finger and feel ridiculous again (“Who let me use this knife?!”), but . . . y’know, that’s okay.

I’m learning.

And I have squash — and Spence — to thank for it.


The promise of peach wine

Peaches


I like lazy days.

They don’t happen very often. Especially in light of wedding prep (four months to go! Holy cow), so many weekends brim with schedules and plans and checklist items that must be marked off. I’m not spontaneous, preferring my days to maintain a sort of predictable order that might be off-putting to some, but . . . I don’t know. I like knowing what I’m going to do before I do it.

Sometimes.

On Saturday, Spencer and I left relatively early to go check out a local Amish farmers’ market (photos coming tomorrow). I say “relatively” because, you know, early to my fiance means 5 a.m. and early to me means . . . oh, maybe 8:30-ish? I get the sense that our marriage will be one long negotiation on when and how much to sleep, but I’ll work with it. Relationships are all about compromise, no?

So, we left “early” to check out the local produce and came home with all sorts of goodies. I couldn’t resist the allure of green tomatoes — and can’t remember ever actually seeing them in person before. I sliced one, gave it a healthy dash of pepper and salt and promptly fell in love with its firm texture and fresh taste. Way better than those common ol’ red ones, especially given how mushy they become. Love at first bite.

I took my camera with me because, once upon a time, Spencer and I often spent lazy Saturdays wandering around Southern Maryland just looking for places to stop and snapping pictures. I’ve missed that aspect of our relationship — mostly because, as the years have gone on, we’ve gotten busy and life is chaotic and weekends once spent getting to know each other and wandering around holding hands have morphed into photography club meetings, wedding vendor meetings, scheduled events, family functions.

I love that — and I love our lives, and our life together — but it’s nice to have a down day, too. So this rare Saturday was not one to be missed.

So we looked at pies (but didn’t buy — victory!), bought zucchini, admired bunches of sunflowers with the light hitting them just so. The sky was unusually clear for a late June day around here and the humidity, miraculously, was low. Now that I’m 25 pounds down and fully committed to healthy eating, I was entranced by all the vegetables and fruits just ready to come home in our eco-friendly green bag (what grown-ups we are). I felt . . . at peace. Adult. Happy.

And the cartons of peaches Spencer bought from one of the Amish families will, in a few months, morph into some of his sweet, delicious homemade wine.


Peaches 2


Peach wine. My 28th birthday. A double bridal shower. Finishing three major work projects. A visit from my soon-to-be mother-in-law. My first dress fitting, stamping our invitations, getting ready for my sister’s wedding in three short months . . .

So much to look forward to — and how sweet it will be.