March, 2005: Mall Coffee Shop

Having just dyed my hair red, I stopped by the mall to show my friend Jess. She was working the opening shift at the coffee shop, so I sat on one of the two bar stools to show off my new mane while she whipped up lattes and handed out free senior coffees. We managed to carry on a conversation in between orders.

Then “he” showed up.

Worn and dirty work boots. Worn and dirty jeans. Worn and dirty vest. Long, curly hair. Full beard. Sky-blue eyes.

I’d heard about Matt from Jess, but I’d never met him. That day, however, he sat on the stool next to me moments before a mob swarmed the coffee shop. For half an hour Jess took care of customers while Matt and I kept each other company. The more we talked, the more obvious it became: Matt was weird. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something different about this man.

That hesitation didn’t stop me from responding to the email he sent me or answering the phone when he called. I went out with him (more than once). Three months later he proposed. Five months after that we got married. Still, it took several years before I fully understood the contradiction that is my husband.

You see, for all of his worn and dirty clothes, despite the fact that he prefers pickup trucks to cars and tents to hotel rooms, there’s another side to my husband. The side that likes pumpkin spice everything and seasonal hand towels. The side that desperately tries to match his clothing (even though he thinks multiple plaid patterns match because they’re both plaid). Even though my husband looks like a mountain man (and sometimes practices personal hygiene like one), he’s also a bit of a softie.

It’s his Martha Stewart side.

He’s actually the one who coined the phrase Yooper Stewart, “Because I’m a little bit redneck, but I’m a little bit Martha Stewart.”

I knew I couldn’t keep that discovery a secret! And since I’m a writer with access to the internet, it only made sense that I’d give him his own website. And every year in November (the month of his birth and our anniversary), I honor him online with more stories and revelations from our marriage (you can read this year’s tribute here).

I figured this November would be a good time to introduce this audience to Yooper Stewart, because he’s my inspiration, my support, my encouragement, and the reason I open the car windows in the middle of winter.

Before I leave you with one final Yooper Stewart story, tell me:

What’s your favorite quirk about your spouse?
(If you’re not married, who’s your favorite fictional hero and what do you love about him?)

Yooper Stewart and the Hand Soap

Last night, after church, Matt and I went to Meijer. We walked past the clearance Halloween section. Matt saw the hand soap. Clearance hand soap. Clearance foaming hand soap. Clearance foaming PUMPKIN SPICE SCENTED hand soap.

Let’s just say there was a “disagreement.” There were some accusations. People around us were laughing. Matt yelled, “This is the Stewart side of Yooper Stewart! You have to feed the Stewart!”

Outcome: other shoppers were amused. Matt’s happy because he got clearance hand soap. I’m satisfied because I managed to talk him down to only seven bottles.