Nurture Your Crazy

Chris Conetzkey is the editor of the Business Record. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, he earned his journalism degree from Iowa State University and married Kaci Kohlhepp, a Florida native, last May. The two moved from Florida to their downtown Des Moines apartment in May 2011 and are praying for a repeat of last winter’s forgivingly warm weather.

But most especially in the bathroom.

Here’s my theory: Man puts seat up. Leaves it up. Woman enters. Puts seat down. Leaves it down. Repeat.

We need it up. You need it down.

Equality.

It’s math. It’s logic. And it’s rejected, seemingly, by all women. A year or so ago, Kaci Kohlhepp, my then-girlfriend of five years, and I were testing out the whole living together thing. This seat up-seat down business became a source of contention.

I’m a pretty stubborn guy, and I had heard of legions of husbands before me who were forced into toilet submission. That wouldn’t be me. Oh, never me.

So I left the seat up.

I’m married now, two months and going strong. But it’s the crazy little fights, tiffs and struggles for power that I already see are an unwanted, yet unavoidable, part of marriage.

A quick sampling from my marriage: toenails, clothes and dishes.

For those of you much wiser than I, you know there is more of this ahead. And it won’t be picking up clothes, but diapers and children instead.

It could get crazy, but crazy doesn’t scare me. That’s because I believe crazy love is the foundation of successful relationships. I mean, think about it. Think back to when you were falling in love. You acted crazy. Or at least I did. Love does that to you. And it’s a good thing.

When you are in crazy love, you’ll do anything for the other person—perhaps even put a toilet seat down.

The danger, I think, is time. As you grow further away from the crazy, early days of your relationship, the thousands of little toilet seat-like debates chew at and erode that crazy love foundation from your memory.

The love part fades, and what remains is just crazy—the stereotypical feuding couple of 40 years burns in my mind. I don’t want to be that.

Yet here I am, naive as can be.

So I’ll put my crazy in print so I never forget:

I was set up on a blind date for my senior prom in Chicago—pretty crazy.

The date lived in Florida—really crazy.

One month into my freshman year at Iowa State University, I flew to Florida to see that same girl again. My dad said, “Son, you’re crazy.”

I was.

We maintained an Iowa-to-Florida long-distance relationship through college for nearly five years. It nearly drove me crazy.

To see each other, we spent about $12,100, on 88 flights, to fly 132,000 miles. When you put it like that, yes, definitely crazy.

I once Dumpster-dove for 320 promotional soft-drink cups at Wendy’s—I stunk like crazy. But those cups earned us five free round-trip AirTran Airways plane tickets—we saved like crazy.

We were forced into 44 painful airport goodbyes. We cried—yes, even she cried—like crazy.

After 1,750 days apart, and never spending more than two weeks together, I finally moved to Florida—to be crazy together.

So, think back to your crazy.

Remember all those times you did something crazy for your wife or husband. Think about your current crazy. Embrace it, nurture it, strive for crazy love.

Then, go do something crazy.

Oh, and as for that toilet seat …

Without consulting me, my wife bought a big fluffy cover for the toilet seat lid. The seat no longer remains up; instead, it immediately crashes down.

This poor newlywed now holds the seat up when he pees.

Yeah, she’s smart. The seat is always down. I’m still crazy in love.

And that’s how I intend to keep it.

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