it all started with a bottle of Bacardi and a razor

by Janelle Hanchett

Tomorrow my husband turns 30.

Yes, baby boy. I know. I know.

I robbed the cradle. When I met him he had just turned 19. I was 21. I thought if I got a young one I could mold him into whatever I wanted.

I thought wrong.

Actually that’s not how it happened. I didn’t really choose him. He was sort of chosen for me, by whatever it is that determines that sort of thing. We met and the whole thing felt like “oh, you’re here, okay,” and that was it. We were together. There was no dating or uncomfortableness or discussion. We were just together. I loved him completely and totally, immediately.

And I love him now.

When I met him he was a scrawny fro-headed ranch boy with a giant overgrown untrimmed beard and the warmest brown eyes I’ve ever seen, and eye-lashes that brushed the tops of his cheeks. The first night we met (we were partying at my house) I couldn’t really tell what he looked like due to excessive facial hair, so I got him drunk and shaved his beard off. (Don’t say I’m not classy.) He kept calling my “Jennifer” or some nonsense and I kept shaving. I saw that he was indeed handsome, and confident and a smart-ass, and kind, but it wasn’t all that that made me try to convince him to not leave (incidentally he stayed, passed-out face-down on my futon). Romance is the word you’re looking for. Romance.

It was something else that drew me to him.

Something I can’t really describe.  Something like coming home. Something like settling down next to your best friend, who, incidentally, happens to be the hottest male to ever cross this good planet.

Eleven years later he is no longer scrawny, though pretty much every other feature remains unscathed. He’s a grown man with broad (gorgeous) shoulders and his pants fit (mostly) and his hair is (usually) contained, and I think it’s pretty safe to say the man is strikingly handsome, but all that held me then – all that I can’t quite put my finger on – all that pulled me close to this stranger – holds me now.

You see, Mac comes from the old school. There’s something about him one doesn’t find very often anymore among people in our generation (and younger).

The man works.

He works.

He serves his family with fierce loyalty.

He works all day as an iron-worker, gets home and takes his kids to the park.

He doesn’t stray. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t feel like it’s somebody else’s job (whatever that is). He gets up and helps. In short, he’s a fucking badass who’s got nothin’ to prove and works on behalf of his family because it’s who he is, it’s what he does. He devotes himself to us. For us. Unceasingly.

I have an incredible amount of respect for this man.

By the way, if I hear one more story about the jackass unemployed deadbeat husband who sits around the house all day playing video games and drinking beer while the wife works 2 jobs, picks up the kids then comes home to make him dinner and clean the house…fuck me people…I’m going to lose it…but I digress.

Anyway, I’m not trying to brag or flaunt or claim I know how a “man” should act – all I’m saying is I believe I am damn lucky to have a husband who works with unflinching energy, who sees his wife and children as his whole life, who wakes up with the baby at 5am on his days off no matter what, so the wife can sleep in – who knows how to lift iron beams, fix shit, AND cradle a newborn.

Yeah, his fingers are black from grease. And it’s not rare for him to have chicken blood in his ear (he raises free-range chickens in addition to iron-working and butchering on his dad’s ranch). And he quite often smells a little funky. And he’s gone a lot, working.

And he’s about as neat as a flea market. And he has a startling lack of interest in postcolonial theory.

But I stand in awe of him. Every day I find myself thinking “Wow. Doesn’t he get tired? How does he DO that?”

[Well, that, and “how can somebody look that good in overalls?”]

If we’re all hanging out and somebody realizes they forgot something at the car, he’s the first to volunteer to go get it, even though it’s a ½ mile away. He just jumps up and does it. I look around and think to myself “huh, sucks to be you. Now leave me alone and let me enjoy myself.”

Last weekend in Monterey, he got up with Georgia at 5am (even though we both went to bed at 1am) and proceeded to pack her up in the stroller and walk outside, for TWO hours, around the streets of Monterey, so I could sleep. I didn’t even ask him.

I mean who does that shit? And if they do it, who does it willingly?

Lost art, in my opinion. Most dudes I know are lazy-asses just like me. There’s no way in hell I’d do the things he does without at least a few minutes of whining and then, if I did do it, I’d hold it over your head for, oh, I don’t know, forever.

You would owe me for pretty much the rest of your life.

But he doesn’t even bring it up later – and 15 minutes after he gets back to the hotel room, when I still haven’t had enough sleep and I’m cranky and pissed off he says “Janelle calm the fuck down,” then he hands me the coffee and scone he brought me. Even though he could, he never dangles his efforts over my head, you know…“but I just took the baby for 2 hours on a walk around the cold streets of Monterey, what the hell are you complaining about?”

“Nothin’, honey.”

I’m not complaining about anything.

Thank you, my husband.

Thank you, Mac.

Happy 30th Birthday. I’m glad you’re on this planet. I’m glad we found each other.

You are my heart.



  • Sara

    I really loved this post. Made me smile. We don’t have kids yet but I have high hopes, as Husband is very good about taking the puppy outside in the pouring down rain without complaining.

    • renegademama

      For sure you got a good one. That is EXACTLY the kind of shit I’m talking about. 🙂 Lucky you. 🙂

  • Neenee

    A very touching tribute to a wonderful son-in-law, husband and father. Happy 30th Mac!

  • Mad Woman (@MadWomanDiary)

    Are you taking applications for sisterwives? No conjugal benefits required, just like the sound of the man. And I think you’d be a hoot too.
    Also, those are some darn cute kids!

  • Franki

    Very nice…

  • Amanda

    That’s beautiful Janelle. I’m totally tearing up over here.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    This made me well up a little bit.

    Happy Birthday Mac!!!!

  • Stephanie

    Awwwww. Warms the cockles of my heart.

  • kim

    “Romance is the word you’re looking for.” Perfection.

    Mac is totally hot. Tell ’em I said Happy Birthday. And spank him 30 times for me.

    I wish you’d write a book so I could read you everyday.

    Wheeeeeeeeen can I seeeeeeee youuuuuuuuu?????

    • eringirl

      I agree with Kim. Write a book. But the spanking? You can save that part for TC 😉

  • NovelTeaMommy

    If only we could all have a good ‘un. Glad to know they do still exist though, for the last decade I’ve been thinking they died out with my parents generation.

  • Papa Val

    Happy birthday Mac. — Renegade Mom: a beautiful story of love and hope. I still remember when he asked for your hand in marriage. I didn’t know him very well but for the short time we talked I knew it would be wonderful for both of you if you could appreciate the kind of man he is.
    You have and never forget.

  • Julie

    Great post. Happy birthday to a wonderful man. He sounds amazing. He has a lot of the same traits that my husband Dan has. It is so refreshing to read a post like this. I love to hear about women that value these sort of traits in a man. I will take a hardworking, dirty-handed, badass, never-ending love and energy filled man over a golfplaying, endless sports-watching, metrosexual, Seven jeans wearing, “I don’t change diapers” kind of man ANY DAY! Love your blog! Keep writing.

  • Michael Ann Riley

    Respect. That’s the clincher. You have it for him and he has it for you. And the “coming home” thing. Wow. You both are very lucky!

  • Jo Ellyn Kunz

    Thanks Janelle. My husband is another one of those amazing, hard working men that loves his his family unconditionally. I am so blessed.

  • Geri

    Beautiful, touching birthday tribute to Mac and to your love for each other and your family. You are all very blessed to have and appreciate each other! Hugs, Geri

  • eringirl

    When he shaves, do you feel like you are married to a new man? Because he looks like a new man.

    Happy Birthday Mac. You seem pretty awesome… which Janelle so obviously deserves.

  • Deb


  • Carrera

    Wow…Janelle, I know you don’t me, and I don’t know you, but your writing hits me in the heart every time. That was beautiful!

    I am getting married on Friday, and my fiancé is undoubtedly the love of my life, and probably the reason I’m on this earth. Writing the speech was bloody hard! You make it all seem so natural.

    Happy Birthday to your husband. 🙂

  • Shan

    Happy birthday, Mac, and a happy happy life to you both.

    PS When I met Tom I felt, “this is the guy I was supposed to wait for.” That was over 11 years ago and it is the same, but more.

  • Annie

    Happy birthday to him! I think the last picture is my favorite, he looks like this guy my brother was friends with who I always felt was a good guy. Mac sounds awesome, and I’m glad you found a good ‘un.

  • Lori Dyan

    Ummmm…why have I been following you on Twitter for ages but have only discovered your bad-ass blog today??? You are, as the young kids say, da bomb. Your writing is great and your family sounds delicious (I also lucked out in the fella department, with a dude who worships his family…we are lucky, smug bitches…). Also? I read “poscolonial” as “postcoital theory”. Either one works for this post.

  • Katie Vyktoriah

    Great post. I feel EXACTLY the same way about my boyfriend, and everyone constantly tells me how lucky I am (I agree!), but he simply corrects them and tells them HE’S the lucky one! Bless him. I love the man completely, despite our strange history.

    Your man sounds like a superstar, and I’m sure you’re BOTH lucky to have found one another. 🙂

  • Ondina

    My, my. Janelle, I just got turned on to your blog by Neena and her SIL Lori, and have been enjoying it thoroughly. This post really struck a chord with me, and I wanted you to know it. I am so happy to hear about wuv,Twoo wuv anytime! Thank you for sharing the joy in your life… and the stuff that you can only laugh about later. Love on.

  • L

    LOVE THIS! So many ppl just man bash constantly and bitch about their husbands- glad to see someone actually takes pride in their choice of a spouse:)

  • Peggy

    Lovely…I happen to have one of those too. I am a lucky woman.
    I am hoping and working and praying to raise my sons to be the kind of man their father is.

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