How I Met Your Father…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 15-12-2011

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I’ve told the kids how Tom and I met before, but I guess they just don’t pay attention. But I mentioned that we were going out this weekend to celebrate 20 years since our first date and they asked, so I thought I would share. This Saturday marks exactly 20 years since Tom and I had our first date. We are going out to a nice local restaurant (Wink) and then going to see Beauty & The Beast at Bass. This is actually very significant. When I heard it was coming and I heard the dates, I called Tom immediately and we both laughed and knew right away where we were going…

In October of 1991, I was heavy in to the Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). Back in the day, before the internet, us geeks used something called a BBS. We would dial in to another computer and use the forums, download freeware/shareware and play games and stuff like that. There was even a fancy one or two that could have multiple “nodes” and you could chat live with one or two other users. It was all very fancy. My own first connection was with an old computer that had two 5.25 floppy disks (one to run the computer and the other to house the program) and was at 300 BAUD. What’s a BAUD, you ask? Yeah, just don’t ask. It was slow. Watching one line of text scroll across, then the next line…. etc etc. This new guy showed up on the scene, named DayStar (I went by the witty name of Candie) and he was EVERYWHERE. And he replied to almost all of my messages. It was a little weird, but whatever, right? He sent me a private message  and we talked back and forth and eventually he got my phone number out of me. I cannot recall why, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.

… and then he wouldn’t stop calling me. It wasn’t really stalkerish, but almost. I would talk to him, but he wanted to meet. I had a LOT of good reasons. Like my sister’s birthday party. Then my other sister’s birthday party (he totally didn’t believe me, but they really do have birthdays just two days apart). Let’s see, I was washing my hair. I had homework. I managed to NOT meet this guy for nearly two months. It’s not that I was being mean, but he was 3 years older than me. He was in the military. I was 16, he was 19. Eventually, my mother asked what was going on. I told her and she said, “He sounds like a nice guy just looking for a new friend. He is in a new city. Give him a break. What’s the big deal?”. Le Sigh. Mothers just don’t get it?

So… I hatched a plan. He was almost 20, so what did he want with a 16-year-old anyway? I decided that I would make him go away by making him realize that I was just a kid. Beauty & The Beast had just hit movie theaters. So, I would agree, but to make him think I was just a kid and make him go away, I’d insist he take me to see that movie. So, I set my plan in place. He called. He asked if we could meet again. I was pretty bratty and told him that yes, I would, but only if he’d take me to see that movie… I waited, with odd glee, as he surely was trying to back out…

… and then he said “Oh, wow, yes, of course… I love Disney stuff”. I think I may have threw up a little in my mouth. WHAT? Okay, surely, he is kidding. Maybe I could just shake him? So, we agreed to meet at the mall (on December 17th). I would be wearing a red Christmas teddy bear sweater and jeans. Ha! Do you KNOW how many people were at the mall in a red sweater? Okay, so I was kind of mean to him. He couldn’t find me, but I saw the Metallica hat and figured it was him. I followed him around for a few minutes, noticed he had a cute rear end (hey, he does!) and walked back to our meeting place to see if he actually figured out who I was. It was kind of funny, in a mean twisted way…

So, off we go to the movie. I’m thinking that surely we’ll watch it, I’ll go home and he won’t call again. Then he started singing the Disney songs. What the heck? I figured I would just change my phone number. Obviously, he was crazy. At least he paid for the movie… so, after the movie he asked if I wanted to go grab something to drink. We ended up at McDonald’s and split some fries where, once not singing Disney songs, I realized he was actually a good guy. So… he called the next day and asked if I wanted to go out on a real date. He was willing to come get me and take me somewhere.

Let me explain… this is not a small thing. I lived in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. It was a good hour for him to get there if he hit any traffic at all. So, I gave him directions. He would be there at 6pm. By 7pm, I was pretty sure I had gotten rid of him and really felt bad because he was a nice guy. Dammit. I was pretty resigned to putting on my PJs and going to bed when the phone rang. This was before cell phones and he was lost. He was also out of our area so he had to talk some small itty bitty store into letting him make a long distance call. So, yeah. He was late. He was VERY late. I have no idea what I told my parents we were doing, but by the time we got back to civilization it was later. We ended up going back to his apartment where his weird roommate was watching a movie (Backdraft, I think?) and talked for a while. I think we grabbed take out from somewhere. Not very exciting, but hey, it worked.

While I’m telling this story, I’ll take the opportunity to embarrass my husband by telling you that we went back to the car, he opened my door and leaned over a little (cuz apparently it was time to kiss) and said “I hate this part”. I think I snorted with laughter and said “Thanks”, which totally ruined my 16-year-old “moment” so I told him to just get in the car. I think later he said we should try that again and he managed to not make a really stupid comment.

And that was pretty much that. We were pretty inseparable at that point. We both have a really weird sense of humor and we have enough inside jokes (like I randomly tell him “I hate this part” when he tries to give me a kiss) to confuse all of our friends. By Valentine’s Day, I was in lurve… he asked me to marry him in March (WTF was kind of my response). We found out in June that he was being moved to Hawaii in December. At that point (I mean, I was a kid, but I was smart enough to know that THAT long distance wasn’t going to work), we decided that I would finish school, get married and move to Hawaii in a year. We had a plan. We got engaged. He left and within a week things changed in my home life and I ended up moving in with friends in December. It was tough all around. Tom found out he wouldn’t be able to get leave until September. I graduated in June, so I was kind of in flux with the whole living situation. He could, however, get leave in early March… which is why my wedding date is 1 day after the day I turned 18 – and moved to Honolulu. I graduated with my class (I only needed 1 English credit to graduate, they let me write a few papers and mail them to the school).

Yeah. I was 18. He was 21. It could have been a disaster for sure! But, we made it work. And we still make it work.

So, that my friends, is why we knew we HAD to go see Beauty & The Beast on the 17th. Exactly 20 years from our first date when we saw it in the movie theater. Can we all get a big “awwww”. Thanks :)

18 years of marriage so far :)

Why, yes, I am still putting up with him….

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 03-03-2010

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So today, Tom and I celebrate 17 years of marriage and look at how far we’ve come. It’s hard to believe we are 18 and 21 in that photo (and no cracks about the hair – that was high fashion in 1993!).

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been through the best and the worst of times, but we’ve always managed to do it together. Someone asked me last month how we manage to stay happy together and it’s not an easy question to answer. I think the big thing is that we laugh together – a lot. We laugh at ourselves, each other and at our own inside stupid jokes. If we are angry, we usually say what we have to say and move on – agreeing to disagree. We argue, but usually about stupid stuff.

More importantly, he lets me win a good bit. Hey, he’s not stupid, right? ;)

Happy anniversary, Tom. Love you, babe!

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Sappy, move along, nothing to see here)

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 14-02-2010

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So, today is Valentine’s Day. Tom and I’s first date was in December of 1991 and we got married in 1993. It’s 2010. No, really. It is. I checked. Cuz… yeah.

I won’t tell the whole sorted story (no, I wasn’t pregnant, that came 7 years later) but we got married the day after I turned 18 and a few days later got on a plane and moved from South Carolina to Hawaii. How my mother didn’t smack me and tell me I was the stupidest child on the face of the planet… well… I don’t know. Obviously, it wasn’t a mistake, but I think back to how badly it could have turned out. I mean, I was a kid, he is just a few years older than me. WHAT were we thinking? Oh yeah, we were in looovvvveeee… *laugh* And yes, we were. Yes, we are. But still… I wonder…

I am the luckiest woman I know though. All these years later, and we’re still together, still in love – moreso I think, still write silly little notes (although instead of paging 143, I text it to him now and then), we still argue (never about big stuff like, always little stuff – like brands of mustard – you’d think we would have figured this out by now, right?), we still laugh, we still cry…

But I also look back over the past 17 years in awe. How much our lives have changed, how things morphed several times over the years. We went from being nearly dirt poor living in Hawaii, to being pretty well DINKs living in Hawaii, to being happily living DINKs living in Austin, to having two of the most beautiful and wonderful children in the entire world, to… well, where we are today. And everything in between. I remember his face when I told him I was pregnant (no screaming “but you were on the pill!”) the first time. I remember supporting him through the closure of his business and him supporting me through the treacherous growth of mine.

I remember my mom telling me when I was kid that I am so darn independent. She’s right, but I’m also very dependent on my husband, who really has been through everything with me. In some weird way, we kind of grew up together. I mean, I was 18, he was 21 when we got hitched. We made some really stupid mistakes, but we managed to get out of them together. We made some really wise decisions (and let me take credit for them) *laughing*

My point? I do look back all those years ago and wonder… what would be different if I hadn’t decided to get married? Would we still be together? Would we have grown apart? Can you even have a relationship that spans 6000 miles? I honestly don’t know. We were probably too immature to have made it work, if I’m being honest. I don’t regret even a second of it though. Tom is the love of my life and I don’t know what I’d do without him.

To you, Tom, thank you. Thank you for being persistent (3 months just to get a date!). Thank you for making me feel special, for making me feel like I am the most important thing in your world, and for making me laugh (gosh, I hate this part!). Thank you for sharing in our own little weird private jokes, for always being there when I need a shoulder, for always chipping in when I think I may be on my last ounce of sanity, and for always supporting my weird “yeah, let’s do this!” ideas. Thank you for picking up the slack when I drop it, for fixing things when I break them, and for laughing with me when we both screw up. Thank you for being you, for who you were, for who you are and for who you will become. I promise I’ll be right there with you for the rest of our lives.

(okay and to make a sappy post even more sappy, I thought about tacking on Have I Told You Lately That I Love You by Rod Stewart since that was closer to 1993, but Stand By Me… well, always makes me think of my hubby)

(Oh, and this is a good version of Stand By Me too. Love John Lennon’s version and this video is so well put together, check it out)