"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

Marriage: Is when a man and woman become as one; the trouble starts when they try to decide which one

By on July 25, 2017 in Columnist with 0 Comments

Lance Stegemann has lived, worked, and recreated in the outdoors throughout his life. He now enjoys sharing that lifestyle with his wife Barb. They currently reside in East Wenatchee where they keep a few backyard chickens, grow a vegetable garden, and dote on their two
Australian Shepherd dogs.

By Lance Stegemann

Ten years ago this summer, Barb and I met through our mutual friend and now sister-in-law Natilyn Stegemann. It was a brief introduction, but like most chance encounters, the stars were aligned.

My brother George had his doubts about the relationship from the very start given his knowledge of my outdoor lifestyle and less than extravagant nature.

My idea of comfort was a little far removed from what Barb considered basic necessities. Barb’s lifestyle included such luxuries as a home with a roof and four walls, a toilet that didn’t involve a shovel or moving every two years, and a vehicle that didn’t double as sleeping quarters.

I had a pretty good reputation for my eccentricities and somewhat frugal behavior. The relationship almost ended before it ever got off the ground when Barb told me of her favorite event at Ohme Gardens in which we could experience a decadent spread of table fare and wine for our first date.

I remember Natilyn warning me not to be cheap, but luckily I had misunderstood that this event was only a mere $7 per person, which was completely within my budget given a six month job of steady wages and the coupon clippings which I had diligently saved for purchases at the local dollar store.

As it turned out, my brother George found himself paying for the entire first date, which — when wine was added to the fare — ended up a bit more than I had stuffed behind the nine point deer head mounted on my living room wall.

It seemed this wasn’t going to be just any Bud Light and buffalo wing event at Kelly’s Bar and Grill. This was something a little more sophisticated, and at the time, unfamiliar to my way of thinking.

Somehow despite the fact that Barb had never experienced the pleasure of mowing her own lawn and it had never occurred to me to pay someone for such menial labor, we found there would be many such compromises over the course of this new-found relationship.

Barb’s introduction into my world involved a long drive through a heavily treed forest, up a bumpy pothole-filled gravel road, that led to a shanty in the woods, complete with intoxicated wild land firefighters and miscellaneous vagabonds.

A much different scene than the lavish poolside service of umbrella drinks and coconut oil she experienced at my brother Lathe’s Las Vegas home only weeks earlier.

Even through the many trials and mishaps over the past 10 years, Barb has somehow left behind her pampered world of manicures, pedicures and facials to find herself cleaning dog hair from the cashmere sweater she didn’t buy at Walmart.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but she now knows the essentials of outdoor life and can spot a riser that leaves a ringlet of ripples when surfacing for insects, or tie a fly to her tippet with an improved clinch knot.

She knows how to dry camp in a trailer that has less than 128 square feet of floor space and what is meant by the pecking order in the hierarchy of the chicken world.

She has become familiar with what is meant by bushwhacking and can imitate the call of a bobwhite quail.

She has learned the language and translation of humor used by the blue-collar comedy tour and frequently finds herself using the catch phrase “Getter Done” when inspiring me to take part in household chores.

I have not been without my own learning and can now distinguish the difference between Bordeaux and Pinot. I know what not to wear and to just say yes to the dress.

My dinner plate is no longer made up of just meat products but is now well balanced with other food groups. I no longer eat with my hands from a paper plate on my lap, but now sit at a dinner table with utensils and linens.

I still forget to put the toilet seat down and sometimes don’t bother to shut the bathroom door but I’m a work in progress and no man has had his manhood eradicated overnight. It requires dedication and persistence so that the process goes unnoticed and I will someday find myself asking whether the jeans I’m wearing make my butt look fat.

Somehow in all this there must be balance between man and woman. It is the laws of nature that keep these things in check.

So with that said, Barb and I have become better individuals in the eternal pursuit of equilibrium.

The world is once again as it should be: Two very different individuals working toward a common goal and each morphing into something much different than either had envisioned, but in the process, becoming better individuals for it.

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