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Archive for May, 2008

Once upon a time…

I always like telling people the story of how Whitney and I met. It all started a little more than four years ago in Muncie, Indiana

The first time I met Whitney was a very brief introduction thanks to a mutual friend, Mitch. He was performing in a karaoke-like concert and we both happened to attend. After the show Mitch casually introduced us. I remember thinking to myself: “Man she’s got a perfect face.” Of course, when I mentioned it to Mitch a few days later in class I simply described her as “hot.”

Somehow I figured out she wrote for the school newspaper, The Ball State Daily News. The paper was well read on campus and Whitney had a recurring column in the editorial section. Every time her pieces showed up so would a cute little mugshot of her face. I loved and still love that picture. From then on whenever I roamed around the Journalism building (I was a journalism student myself) I always kept my eyes peeled for the shock of blonde hair. I remember one specific time I was eating lunch in the cafeteria when she came running the down the stairs and for just a moment our eyes met. WHOA! I’ll never forget that rush.

After a year of reading her columns and stalking her around campus I brought up Whitney’s name in a conversation with Mitch, trying to imply some interest in her. After a few weeks he didn’t mention anything…I assumed my time had passed. But, I couldn’t get her out of my head. Weeks went by and the end of the school year was approaching. I remember telling my mom about her at a golf tournament only a few weeks before I’d be heading back home (Michigan) for the summer. My mom’s idea for getting in touch with her was to just send her an e-mail about one of her columns

So, I did. And here’s how I remember it all coming down. At 10:35 am I sent her a simple e-mail about one of her columns (they were all good). Two minutes later she responded to my e-mail to say thanks. Two minutes after that she Facebook’d me. A few minutes later she sent me an IM (getting my screen name from my FB profile, duh) and I saw this all happening right in front of me. Her instant message was on my computer screen staring me in the face. But I couldn’t answer immediately, I had to be a little more suave than that. So I waited a bit and then started up a conversation with her on AIM (the perfect outlet for my shyness).

Whitney made the first move, asking me to lunch. I couldn’t have been more excited…AND nervous. It turns out that some cajoling by said mutual friend, Mitch, had spurred Whitney on to reply to my e-mail and ask me to lunch. She told me later that she had never responded to a stranger e-mail before. Lucky me.

While waiting for our lunch date later that day I remember seeing her walk into the cafeteria wrapped in a giant winter jacket (damned cold Indiana) rocking out to her iPod. My first words to her: “Hi, I’m Patrick.”

Four hours later we were hooked on each other. Now, three years and a few months later I can’t imagine being more in love.

Patrick

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Spark

Our first date was in Patrick’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Living only one hour apart, our first summer was spent frivolously guzzling gas as we made daily commutes one way or the other.

I had been in Michigan for about a week when Patrick was able to finally return home. His golf schedule required that he put his final exams on hold while he competed in the MAC Championship tournament. Having finished my finals, I eagerly returned home and was happy and excited about the over-the-phone relationship I was developing with Patrick.

When I pulled up to his house for the first time, I remember thinking how beautiful it was. Not just the house — which is an old, large colonial-style home — but all of the things surrounding it. From the large trees in the yard to the quiet, peacefulness of the neighborhood, it was easy to understand why he felt so comfortable and happy there. The colors, the overhanging trees, the birds, it was all so beautiful.

Patrick came running down the yard toward my car, and I remember thinking that my mind hadn’t stored an accurate picture of Patrick’s face. His smile was contagious, and he gave me a big hug — a great way to start the day.

We went walking around all over Ann Arbor. We saw the U of M campus, went to (the original) Borders, ate some lunch at Potbelly’s and found ourselves playing all kinds of games at Pinball Pete’s, an arcade Patrick’s been frequenting since his childhood. It’s ok that he kicked my butt in air hockey. I don’t hold a grudge. Ok, fine, I absolutely do.

One of the “games” Patrick insisted on playing was the Adams Family electrocution game. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. “Do you like pain?” Patrick had asked me. I laughed it off, not realizing the point of the game was to tightly squeeze a metal knob and withstand the pain as long as possible. This wasn’t like any arcade games I’d ever played.

We combined our tickets to get a large orange bouncy ball, a treasure we still have, and will probably have forever because I have the crazy hoarding instincts of a pack rat.

Whitney

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With love and ice cream

As a belated anniversary celebration, Patrick and I spent the entire day together on Monday. It was Memorial Day — my day off. I almost forgot how great it felt to spend some time with him, and we really lucked out that his homecoming happened to fall on a three-day weekend.

We spent much of the day tidying up around the apartment; it requires a bit of effort to get things in order whenever Patrick returns from a trip. We went through the office and created a thorough filing system. It takes a certain kind of love to have fun executing such tedious tasks, but we laughed our way through it, as we do most things.

For dinner, we went to a cute little Italian cafe on Park Ave, a quaint little area filled with shops of all sorts. The evening was perfect for an outdoor meal, and we really enjoyed the company of one another. Needless to say, it was much more pleasant to laugh over dinner than to sob out loud while watching “P.S. I Love You” like we’d done the night before. (By the way, if you’re ever in the mood for a good cry, it’s a movie I highly recommend.)

We capped off the evening by heading to Marble Slab — a place we went on one of our first dates more than three years ago. That day was funny, we ordered two big, extravagant bowls of ice cream. One was some birthday party concoction and the other was a mix of everything chocolate that has ever existed in the world. Both were good, but after about two bites of each, we were both ready to hurl. Yes, hurl.

We’ve since learned that dates early in any relationship, while fun and exciting, tend to be completely excessive. While at dinner, we spotted a couple that must have been on a first date. I conjured up some story about how this is their first face-to-face meeting after weeks of Internet chatting. All the signs were there — the way they were dressed (he was wearing dress pants and a sort of fancy shirt that exposed his chest hair, a gold chain and a fake tan; she was wearing jeans, pink stilettos, a red bra and a revealing shirt), the excess of food they ordered (two appetizers, two large meals, side salads and bread) and the amount of wine she consumed throughout the course of the meal. Their body language was awkward, and at one point a water glass tipped over into her lap before falling to the ground with a large, loud and messy shatter.

We’ve come a long way from our first date. We order much less food and our conversations are fun and interesting. I’m never envious of the way new couples have fresh and exciting new feelings, because that’s the way I still feel about Patrick. We’re just in a better place now, a place where we’re completely comfortable to be ourselves. Where he doesn’t get so nervous when we’re out to dinner that he spills a drink in my lap. Well, at least not every time.

Whitney

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Moments to remember

Most photos of Patrick and me were obviously taken by one of us, showing only our faces and an occasional arm blocking out a chunk of one side. It was a breath of fresh air when a coworker of mine approached me and told me about her fiance’s growing photography business, E&G Photography. We were offered a deal we couldn’t turn down, and we knew engagement photos would make the perfect announcements to share the good news with our families.

We began the shoot on our apartment complex property. Patrick wore a cotton shirt and jeans, and I wore a casual little dress and jeweled sandals — both of which I had bought earlier that day. When I bought the dress, I asked one of the store employees whether it was a dress or a shirt. “How do you want to wear it?” she asked. Good tactic, I thought. “Honestly, is it too short to wear as a dress?” I asked. “Well, for me, anything that I can pull off as a dress, I do,” she answered. Sold.

Our earth-tone clothing blended well with our natural scenery — the overhanging trees and the hills overlooking the lake. It was a beautiful day, and while I struggled a bit with the sun in my eyes, Graham, our photographer, did a great job of capturing those special moments. We didn’t feel at all embarrassed or pressured. Elizabeth and Graham worked well as a team of photographer and assistant, both giving us suggestions offering us compliments.

We changed into more casual outfits and headed to a park to get a few more shots. It was a beautiful day and a successful photo session.

Elizabeth also happens to be a graphic designer, so she was able to color correct and process the photos, which turned out amazing. If you’re in the Orlando area and are looking for a photographer, I definitely recommend this company. We are grateful to both Elizabeth and Graham for a pleasant photo shoot experience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the way our photos turned out.

Whitney

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On the road again…

Part of the luxurious life of being a Professional Golfer on the mini-tours is traveling to and fro the small towns buried in America’s southeast paradise.

While navigating my way past antique shops and Mom and Pop B & B’s on countless state highways I often find myself yearning for the sweet familiarity of an interstate freeway and the down-home comfort of the golden arches. I catch myself feeling too comforted by big box commercialism while away from home. Fighting the lingering loneliness is a significant part of the battle in my chosen career path and I’ve accepted that my best friend on the road is usually a foot-long meatball sub…on wheat, please.

A lot of my fellow golfers complain of missing home-cooking or the comfort of their own mattress. For me there are just two things I miss: Whitney and Kya. I dream of the day when I’m making the “big bucks” on the “big tour” and can bring Whitney and Kya along with me in some loaded Super-RV. I’ll be on the road, but I’d be bringing home with me. There’s no mattress or favorite meal or cozy couch that brings me that feeling of home-sweet-home comfort like my two best girls.

I love golf and I’ll pay my dues for a few years until I can work my way up there. But, dammit, don’t you think for a minute that it doesn’t kill me that I have to spend so much as a day away from my fiancée and my dog.

Life on the mini-tours may not be as bad as I’m making it out to be. I don’t exactly get treated like royalty, but I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I spend just about all day every day out in the sun (sometimes the rain and the cold) having fun with my friends and going out to dinner every night. But no matter how well I play on a trip, or how much money I make, the best part about being on the road, is the feeling of coming back home.

Patrick

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Our ring bearer?

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After my engagement surprise, I felt a strange new closeness not only to Patrick, but to his family. I only felt more excited when his father called to congratulate me.

I must preface the following conversation by explaining the relationship I have with my future father in law. He and I could sit on the couch and share some chocolate until, well, until we ran out of chocolate. Then he’d talk to me about investing and saving my money and not buying frivolous things and then we would both be distracted by something on the television. We’d watch for almost an hour before getting bored and going our separate ways to fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon. I admit that a relationship such as this is lacking in complexity, but that’s ok with me. I really enjoy him, even the side of him that seems like a bully because underneath I know how much he loves his wife and his kids and me. And I know that the kind of love he has for all of us is contingent upon our accepting of his sound financial advice, living by it and being forever grateful. Kidding. Mostly.

“Welcome to the family!”

“Thank you! You’ve always made me feel as though I was a part of your family.”

“Well, I treat you as badly as I treat everyone else, and now that you’ve started treating me as mean as everyone else treats me, I guess it’s official.

“HAHA! Well, thank you.”

“Do you like the ring?”

“It’s absolutely perfect. I love it so much. It makes me feel like even more of a part of the family that the stones are family diamonds.”

“Well, don’t lose it. And don’t lose any more crock pots.”

Whitney

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