Life Update

16 08 2013

In our last episode, I wrote, in part:

So, it’s been a while since my last update, and I’m happy to report that all is well here. I met the love of my life, she moved in with me (more on that story later), and I got a Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble.

Well, obviously I have been busy, and I am happy to report that all of the quoted things are still happening. I am now engaged to the love of my life, she still lives with me, and I still have a Nook HD+.

Here’s the scoop, people. This entry will most likely shutter this blog forever. I don’t write for any particular audience here (like duh), whereas I do on Facebook, and even then I do it Facebook style and not long-form like I do/did here. So I suppose I will pass this along pour le monde and if anyone finds this edifying, fantastic.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Okay, not that far. How about “just before I met the love of my life”? There, that’s better. Less to type that way. Anyway, I was dating a woman I met on OK Cupid, and things were going “okay” but I wasn’t feeling like we were really going anywhere. I took her to Splash Studio in Milwaukee to do the “painting and drinking” thing that seems to be the rage nationally – but Splash makes you feel like they came up with the idea first – and in the process of making cheap art I let my subconscious rise closer to the surface and made this:

Lyrics by Bent. Cheap art by me.

Lyrics by Bent. Cheap art by me.

Post-divorce, I spent some quality time in my apartment listening to “Swollen” by Bent, that summed up what I wanted out of my next real relationship. And while I can’t say that the song is a 1:1 representation of our present relationship, it was a starting point for me to think about what I did and didn’t want out of a potential life partner.

I think my subconscious spoke for both of us (date and I) that whatever we had wasn’t even close to that. And she ended the relationship shortly thereafter, no harm done.

I went on another date, this time with She Who Shall Not Be Named™ (she really doesn’t want to be talked about) and I’ll take full blame for arguing religion and politics over dinner instead of asking the usual “get to you know you” questions. Oh well, I blame my subconscious, if not my actual consciousness for torpedoing that would-be relationship. It ended poorly on Monday, and I really wondered if online – or any – dating was the right avenue to explore for me. Face it, arguing religion and politics doesn’t exactly scream “ready for a committed relationship” by any objective standard.

Lo and behold, I got a “hello” message on OK Cupid the next day when I was still fuming about the bad date I just um, facilitated, frankly, and wasn’t sure if I should respond. I checked out her profile, and wasn’t quite seeing the connection there, as in, how I’d fit in with her life and vice-versa. For example, she liked (dun dun DUNNNNNN) Disney®. A lot. A real lot. Mucho, mucho mas. Whereas I’d been to Great America a few times and shopped at the Disney® store once or twice. But I saw something in her photo spread that made me go ahead and take a chance, and that was a picture of her holding up a t-shirt that said “judge me by my size, do you?” Star Wars jokes? I’m in.

So we did the instant message thing, and arranged a phone call for the next day. The call went 2 hours, only because we had to save some conversation for later, not because we ran out. I can’t really explain it, but the call wasn’t “work”, you know? If you (whoever you are) have had those pre-date calls, or have been reading up on dating advice there’s all these do’s and don’ts, and coulda-woulda-shouldas when the call ends. Crap, I should have asked about her hobbies. Crap, I should have listened more and talked less. Crap, I shouldn’t have argued religion and politics. With her, it was different. She talked, I listened. I talked, she listened. I asked follow up questions without thinking about it. She asked follow up questions too. And yes we squared away what this Disney® fandom means anyway. I was relieved to learn that Disney® hoarding was not going to be an issue.

So the next evening (Thursday, if you’re keeping track), we texted back and forth for a good long time, to the point that my brother was worried that we were going to peak too soon and be left silent and awkward during our planned dinner date on Friday. But I didn’t feel that way at all. Instead, it felt like we had 40+ years of catching up to do, and 2 hours on the phone and text pong was not going to make much of a dent there.

Friday came around, and I was a nervous mess. Happy nervous. It wasn’t a “oh man don’t screw this up with religion and politics” feeling, it was more like “finally, let’s do this!” We were supposed to meet at 7:30pm (yeah right), and I was screaming down the highway cranking “I Need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler. Hey, if it was good enough for one of the Shrek movies, it works for me. I still get chills just thinking about the song. I was STOKED for this date, more than ever. I was going to be the hero that swept her off of her feet. I was going to be Mister Right.

I pulled up into the parking lot, and so did she… early. We saw each other across the parking lot and she tells me I just beamed. Well, so did she. I can say this now with the benefit of hindsight, but the feeling I got when I saw her was welcome home.

I asked her if she heard my stereo blasting when I pulled in, and she said no because she was blasting Rick Springfield. I told her what I was cranking and she said “oh, so you came here from 1983.” (Well, yeah, hello!)

Dinner was a blur. Something about the specials that night and something about podcasts and Disney® and life as an apartment manager. After dinner, I didn’t have much of a solid itinerary as “we’ll go to Evanston and figure something out.” Well, close. We went to the beach in Wilmette and stood there on what can only be described as a movie set, with perfect weather, perfect slow waves, and she at my side, holding my hand, then holding me close beside the waves, saying “you just ruined the Caribbean for me.” (She was going on a – wait for it – Disney® cruise the following month without me.)

And we kissed.

Saturday, I went to her house to pick her up for a second date but in truth, dating was over. I took her to Kenosha and we went to my favorite bench by the lake, and took this picture:

To infinity and beyond.

To infinity and beyond.

I think it is significant that once we knew – and we knew – that dating was OVER and we were serious and committed and, as we often say, shit just got real, that I started sharing my life with her immediately. Dating, I feel, is about getting to know the other person and deciding in stages if he or she is “the one” or as close to it as possible. No, we knew. So I wanted her in my life now and forever, and she felt the same way about me.

Which is all I ever wanted.

Our life and relationship is much, much more than what I am writing here. There are volumes that I could write, scads of photos to post, and no end to the tale that I could tell. But this has to end somewhere, and I’ll do so now.

I love you, Jaime Walden, now and forever, from this day to the end of my days, to infinity and beyond.

Next month, we will be married.

In the same place that we met, but with many more people that we know joining us for the occasion this time.

One last thing: We did indeed go to Disney World® earlier this year. It was my first time going and I only saw a smidge of it, and yes we are going back, again and again. We found “the shirt” in one of the many gift shops and I had her pose with it once more:

The Love of My Life.

The Love of My Life.

When you know, you know.

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