It’s hard to believe the Carpenter and I chose to take our wedding vows in autumn because this season, above all others, is when we realize just how different we are from one another. But the beauty of fall is that the chill in the air is easily made cozy warm if you know how to stoke the fire.

Speaking of stoking, I wish I had a fireplace. I will now officially be cold until next July. I can’t help it. This is a fundamental difference between my consummately hot husband and my frigid self.

Wait. I just realized how that sounds. It’s not what you think. I am alluding to body temperature, not that other often-misused phrase for sexy. The Carpenter’s temperature is always hot, as in warm, and I am never warm enough, (as opposed to being frigid, just to be clear).

When summer humidity turns to near-freezing, warm baths and microwaved hot packs will do nothing to make my warm-blooded body feel any less like a frozen fish stick come bedtime, which I know makes cuddling a potential health hazard for the Carpenter. It’s a good thing “real men don’t cuddle.” They don’t have to. They are never cold. Ever.

There is one positive aspect to my frigid blood chill and that is a nightly ritual I call “polar paws.” Nothing gets a stir out of my spouse faster than the placement of my frozen feet firmly against basically any section of his unnaturally warm body. Timing is everything. I aim for the exact moment the snoring begins and then repeat the action in increments spaced carefully until I am fully thawed and he is too numb to care. It’s kind of a metaphor for marriage, no?

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is one of his least favorite things to do ever: go for a walk. I remember back in our pre-parenthood days when a long walk on a nature trail, holding hands and planning our future was considered a romantic essential to the season. Sigh.

Twenty years later proposing a walk is like proposing we both get our mustaches waxed together. The Carpenter doesn’t go for walks.  Knowing this, I propose it anyway, simply because I find his attempts to get out of the deed so amusing.

My approach begins like this:  “It’s a gorgeous day. Let’s go for walk through the woods.”

The Carpenter’s face is deadpan. “I don’t do walks,” he says with the tone typically reserved for annoying questions like, “can we get a puppy?”

“I stand all day in work boots,” he adds. “You go ahead without me.” Sometimes he even tries, “take time for your self,” before adding, “but take the children.”

Adding fuel to the fire, I say, “But we could hold hands and talk.”

For a minute, I see the fear in his suddenly large black pupils. He thinks I’m serious and is wondering if this means more than cold feet later.

“You want me to walk with you in public and hold hands?” His voice cracks. I can read his mind: she wants me to walk, listen to her talk and show a public display of affection? Seriously? Aren’t we done with that phase?

“I will buy you a coffee from that place I don’t like,” I say sweetly.


And that, my dear friends, is how you stoke the fire. Giggle. I love fall.