The Love Song of P. Ryan Young

Our first rager in Tahoe happened on Friday.

It was kind of an accident. We were planning on attending a birthday celebration for Paul's coworker at the MontBleu casino and predicted a casual night of slots, conversation and excellent people watching, with the occasional drink in hand. As I offered to designate myself as the driver, my drink in hand consisted of comped soda and ice cubes, but the rest of the group partied pretty hard. Okay, really hard.

It was the first time I had ever met anyone Paul has worked with this summer, strange unless you understand the vast difference between south shore and north/west shore. In short, south shore is Vegas and north/west shore is a yoga retreat: you go to south shore if you're ski bumming and want to go to a club above a CVS, you go to north/west shore for less people, more quiet and a ton less intensity.

We don't have much of a night life here. If we want to grab a beer,  it's casual conversation with strangers and watching a baseball game at The Bridge Tender or Mellow Fellow or getting a six-pack downstairs and heading over to Eve and Alex's for excellent conversation, belly laughs and playing with cats. After dinner, home by 10. There's no energy or desire for club life, let alone driving 40 minutes for club life. And it's fantastic for my social awkwardness, bank account and general wellness.

We sucked it up because of Paul's coworker, Jonathan, turning 32 that night. After standing around a craps table awkwardly, I met the man hailing from Georgia, adorning his short stature with a black faded leather cowboy hat, a feather hung from the brim like a rat tail. He smiled warmly and shook my hand, which triggered a fury of hellos and handshakes and lots of social interaction.

Nerves of noodles? No. Every fellow employee was different and strange in their own way, making me feel more than normal. There wasn't anything I could've said or done that would've made me weirder than these strange band of seasonal forestry workers, bringing a Tupperware full of Fritos to the club to snack on, dancing like extremely active cartoon squirrels, skateboarding the perimeter of the dance floor, hugging strangers, looking like they had just walked away from the jobsite with appropriate beards and flannels to match.

And, to my surprise, I didn't have to make small talk once because all they wanted to do was talk about Paul.

All Tanner could say was "Congratulations" which the first time, lead me to ask why?
"Because you get to be married to that guy."
The seventh time, I stopped asking and he started adding, "Congratulations on your happiness," with a weird bow, like he was finishing his yellow belt karate test.

His boss, Ryan, confessed that Paul is "the best worker I've ever had," and then proceeded to ask me where I'm from and added, "I need to go to the Midwest to find a wife. Or Montana."

The birthday boy, Jonathan, gushed over him, telling me how Paul is so smart, so funny, and he's so glad to know him. Then he yelled, "Go Hens!" and high-fived me, sharing that he spent his summers in Maumee growing up. (To be fair, I had to guess "Maumee" because he could only come up with a slurred "It's starts with "MMMM." The world is extremely tiny, friends.)

I hung back a while, watching Paul's new Tahoe friends take pictures with him, buy him drinks, make him really laugh and couldn't help but smile. One of the reasons why I love him so much is how much he positively impacts others in the simplest ways. Paul seems like a quiet, simple man, but in reality, he's so much more.

He opens doors for anyone, always.
He never forgets to say, "thank you" when I make dinner, do the dishes, hold the door for him.
He always tells me I'm beautiful: in a party dress or in my pajamas.
He loves Oatmeal truly and they have many "bro" talks weekly.
He is my biggest cheerleader and supports me whenever for whatever.
He makes amazing things happen in the kitchen.
He has always shared the burden of housework, cooking, laundry and still takes out the trash 98% of the time.
He loves dogs, old people and babies and they ALL love him back.
He legitimately thinks I'm funny, which massages my ego in a very safe way.
He is the hardest worker I've ever met, which is not only attractive, it's inspiring.
He's silly, an amazing dancer and is the best shopping partner.
His presence alone calms me down in my very worst moments.
He's extremely good-looking, so much so that I wonder how I've kept him around this long.
He is beginning to like all my weird vegetarian food and has even tried a black bean (and liked it!).

Our rager on Friday ended at a club above a CVS, affectionately named "The Electric Mushroom," which you had to walk upstairs and down a long office hallway, sharing the bathroom with a sex shop and a Pilates studio. The "club" was illuminated with black lights and there was a DJ playing very terrible house music. When it neared 2:30, I urged Paul to say "goodnight" but with every good bye bro hug given, another friend volleyed for attention and struck up another conversation. It was kind of like leaving your grandma's house on Christmas, where you say goodbye seven times, each time getting closer and closer to the door. Finally, we said all of our goodbyes, thanked them for countless BBQ invites and laughed down the long hallway to the bottom of the CVS entrance. We pulled into Obexer's at 3:00 a.m. and the radio appropriately sung "How Bizarre" into our sleepy ears.

I've always known that Paul can make friends with anyone. His friends are from all walks of life in every age bracket, tax bracket, race, gender, sexual orientation and species. But being in Tahoe has taught me that he can also make friends with people on Mars, or otherwise known as the Tahoe local.

We've known each other for almost 9 years, been dating for almost 8 but tomorrow marks the 3rd anniversary of the Jubilee. Three years ago we got married on my grandmother's farm in front of our favorite people and instead of calling us "lucky" or that it was "meant to be," like we have nothing to do with it, like it just happened and we decided to play along; instead, I'm going to take tomorrow to do what I do everyday.

Being incredibly grateful for finding and keeping this man in my life.

I'm not lucky, I'm blessed. Yes.
(Thank you Nicki Minaj, for something.)