Meeting My Happily Every After

In honor of our upcoming anniversary, I wanted to write about how Mr. R. and I met.  While it’s true that we met online, we did not meet on FarmersOnly.com.  I just like to tell people that for the priceless reaction before they pull themselves back together.  We actually met on Match.com, a site I would recommend for obvious reasons.  I know what you’re thinking: Why would two such obviously attractive people resort to subscribing to an online dating website to meet someone?  That’s not what you were thinking?  Then stow it.  This is our story.

farmersonlyMr. R. and I had both been to this particular rodeo before, having three failed marriages between us.  I endured a really bad marriage that lasted nearly eighteen years, at least ten years longer than it should have.  But then, divorce is always something that other people do, isn’t it, until you find yourself there.

In one night I went from being Suzy Homemaker to being Suddenly Single (and unemployed) Parent.  Stunned and shell-shocked, I began to try to put together a life, finding a part-time job while I got my teaching credentials updated, depending on the generosity of my folks, finally landing a teaching position, and attempting to guide my kids through the surreal world we shared.

It was a couple of years before I even considered that it might be nice to meet someone.  But I hadn’t dated in twenty years.  It’s a very scary proposition.  Not to mention the fact that I’d been convinced by someone not very nice that I had nothing to offer anyone.

Being a teacher, I was not very likely to meet anyone at work.  So it was very tentatively that I dipped my big toe into the shallow end of online dating.  Initially, I only interacted with guys who lived very far away.  I couldn’t quite work up the nerve to actually meet someone.  When I finally did find someone I was interested in meeting, we agreed to get together at a coffee shop (I don’t drink coffee, whatever).  He was nice and we dated for a little while, but it turned out he was a client of my ex.  Seriously?!

Scrolling through my list of matches one day, I saw a handsome man and read his profile.  It said that he worked for a local television news station, listed various other vitals, and then there was something that caught my eye.  He promised not to hump my leg in public.  And I laughed.  Completely out of character, I sent him a ‘wink’ which is what Match lets you do to let someone know you might be interested in them.  In the next day or so, he replied and we began messaging back and forth.

A week or so later, I was brave enough to agree to a phone call.  In my mind, I had allotted about half an hour to chat.  I’d agreed to a phone call with a far-away guy once and, having figured on about thirty minutes, found I couldn’t stand it for more than about ten.  Seems he was better at the written word.  But I digress.

Mr. R. called and before I knew it, we’d been talking for over two hours.  It’s like that with us.  The call was so successful we made a date to meet in person.  I met him at the local Cheesecake Factory one evening in January, 2006.  I recognized him immediately from his profile picture and he knew me at once as well.  Dinner was fantastic; we talked and laughed the entire time.  Being a man of his word, he did not, in fact, hump my leg in public.

The rest, as they say, is history.  We began dating exclusively not long after that.  Mr. R. made it clear from the beginning that he wasn’t interested in being married ever again.  I had just escaped a bad situation and was in no hurry to do it again, and besides, I was very much enjoying us.  I knew that one day, I did want to be married again, but for the time being I was content to appreciate our limited time together.  For years, we really only saw each other once a week.  He was working weekdays 1:00 am to 9:00 am, sleeping during the days, and I had regular school hours.  Saturdays were ours.

One day a few years ago, we were strolling through a mall and he led me into a jewelry store.  “What do you think about these rings?” he asked.  I was freaked out.  He’d been clear for years.  I had no expectation.  I saw one I liked and tried it on but was so nervous it got stuck and the clerk had to break out the Windex.

Some months later, early one Saturday morning, we went to the beach to take a walk.  Strolling along the water’s edge, he dropped to his knee, proposed, presenting me with that ring.  Of course I said yes.  I heard applause but I never looked around to see who was there.  We’d planned a March wedding, but one day in late September, we both had a day off and he suggested that we go to the courthouse to get our marriage license.  We would have gotten married right then and there (before he changed his mind, right?) but in the state of Florida, there’s a three-day waiting period.  Like it’s a gun or something.

weddingSo three days later, October 2, 2011, we were married in our back yard by a sweet friend of ours, a dotty little Wiccan, in a very strange, completely fabulous little ceremony involving earth, water, a feather, sage smoke, and a tiny bell.  We had another, more traditional ceremony and party the following March 10 with all our closest friends in attendance.

Now we celebrate several anniversaries.  Our actual wedding on Oct. 2, our wedding celebration March 10, and the day I winked at Mr. R., January 7.  Best thing I ever did.

Redefining Date Night

I love Date Night.  I love going out and enjoying great food, cocktails, live music, and just being out in general.  Here’s the problem; Date Night is going through some restructuring due to the fact that I’ve recently received a pay cut.  No wait, you’ve got to hear this story.

I’m a teacher in my real life.  My other blog, I’m Not Miss Beadle, chronicles those adventures.  Anyway, for the last two years, my school had an extra instructional hour because we have traditionally performed poorly on the state standardized tests.  One extra instructional hour turned out to be way more exhausting than you would think, but it also brought extra pay, which was exceedingly welcome.

It turns out that last year, our students did very well on the high-stakes tests, raising our school grade for the second year in a row.  So shortly before school started this year, we were informed that we would no longer have the added hour.  The reality is, they need that money for other schools that performed worse.

“Congratulations!  As a reward for your hard work and success, we’re lowering your salary about $400 a month.”  Of course, we also no longer work the extra hour, and believe it or not, I can feel the difference.  I no longer roll home utterly exhausted.  But Mr. R. and I are seriously missing that $400 a month of disposable income.

wpid-20140920_112527.jpgWhich brings me back around to Date Night.  We had no money to go out this weekend.  We couldn’t even afford the gas it would take to do something free like going to the beach.

We’ve been in our house for almost three and a half years.  I really pushed Mr. R. to think about buying in this area because of its large lots and affordable prices.  The downside is that we are several miles out of town.  We had to consider gas mileage and commute time.

But he has said many times, “Thank you for talking me into this.”  We have peace and quiet out here.  The night time sky is full of stars.  It’s an equestrian community and it’s business as usual for cowboys to go riding past the house.  And designated bird sanctuary or not, we always have tons of birds.  In the past we’ve seen a bald eagle fly over the house.  And two separate times, I’ve seen a pink flamingo flying nearby.

So yesterday we found ourselves sitting on our back patio enjoying the back yard.  Don’t misunderstand.  When I say enjoying, I really mean it.  We sat chatting and laughing about ‘thangs and stuff’ (for him who has ears to hear, let him hear).  I asked Mr. R. to make a fire in the chiminea and he sweetly complied.  Yes, I know, it was eighty-four degrees outside.  But I love the smell of the pinon wood and the peacefulness of watching a wood fire.

We sat there watching two different kinds of woodpeckers snagging berries from the scrub.  We watched bluejays fussing and squawking at others who dared to rest on their trees and mockingbirds as they snagged dragonflies out of the air.  We saw a hawk soar low over the lawn before swooping up into a pine tree.

We laughed hysterically as our eighty-five pound land shark, Jack, tried unsuccessfully to catch the squirrels that taunted him just out of reach.  If German shepherds could climb trees, those squirrels would be toast.

So this was how we spent our Date Night time.  And it was lovely.  We’re saving up, you see.  We have an anniversary in a couple of weeks, and my birthday after that.  More on those things in upcoming posts…

Mr. R. and the Zombie Apocalypse

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-13-17-33-13-1.pngMy love took himself to the dollar store one day a few months ago.  These are the things he came brought home.

Me: Why did you buy face masks and a manual can opener?

Mr. R.: For the zombie apocalypse, of course.

Me: Well of course!

Just last night, we laughed about the whole thing all over again.

Me: Where are those things anyway?

Mr. R.: The can opener broke.  I think there’s a mask left.

Me: You used them?

Mr. R.: Well, I still have one left for me.