1. The running date. While dating, October 1997, I believe, we had set a date for an early morning run. It would be our first run together and our second(ish) actual date. If you want to call it that. Spouse had run cross country in college and even though I was in decent shape – having just run my (very!) first marathon – I was nervous. Can I keep up? Will he run me into the ground? I like this one. What if I say something stupid, as I'm apt to do while running? As I'm apt to do all the time.
The plan was to meet at his place and early. Something like 6:00. He's not a morning person at all, so when I jogged up to his front door and knocked, I was surprised to see the door open immediately. Evidently he slept on the floor by the door to make sure he didn't miss me. That's when I realized that he likes me too.
2. Motorcycles. Also while dating, he taught me to ride a motorcycle. He had this Honda CBR F-something-er-other. I could barely touch the ground when mounted and saddled. What I thought, was that I'd sit up front and he in back, you know, to make sure I don't do anything stupid. Nope. That wasn't the plan. When I asked, "Aren't you going to ride in the back to make sure I don't do anything stupid?" He said, "Nope. I'm not crazy."
That was when I realized that he didn't like me enough to die with me. Later we bought Harleys and morphed into pretend biker geeks long enough to road-trip a few times. We traded his Harley for a fence and mine for a fireplace.
3. Proposal. Every year we have this Christmas party with our Novell friends. The tradition started in 1997 and we have yet to miss a year. At the party of 1999, Spouse put an engagement ring in his white elephant gift and staged it so I'd be "forced" to choose it. Thing is, I actually picked the gift without having to go through above mentioned staging.
When I opened the white elephant "gift," I found this shiny, expensive thing that resembled a diamond ring. Imagine my shock! Imagine my horror! Imagine my confusion! Imagine my happiness! He knows I like surprises. I said yes.
Aside, this is going to take forever! I better condense some.
4. Bowling. One time Spouse took me bowling. I was grouchy, ornery, and hated everything that day. He took me screaming and kicking (inside) and I ended up having a great time. He's done that a bunch since.
5. Anniversary Pizza. One year on the anniversary, we sent the kids to a neighbor and had pizza in the tub. I brought this up a few days ago and Spouse drew a blank. "I don't remember that." Evidently the pizza wasn't good enough to remember? Better get a different pizza next time.
6. Jobless Baby-Daddy. Two weeks before Yahoo #1 was born, Spouse's place of employment went belly-up. And by belly-up, I mean all employees, save three, were brought into a room. "We can't make payroll and we're going under. But you can take your computers if you want."
The next day I went to the hospital to register. (They like you to do that, I guess, so that you can just roll into the hospital and labor without the hassle of paperwork.) During the interview, the registrar asked "Are you married?" Yes. "Where does your husband work." Blank stare. More blank stares.... Even more blank stares... Why the blank stares? I just became that girl – that knocked-up girl with a jobless baby-daddy.
7. Showered with Trust. After Yahoo #1 was born and I was still in the hospital, I left the baby with Spouse to take a shower. It was the best shower of my life, and for two reasons. First, we all know how good it is to shower after calving. Second, I was overwhelmed with relief. I have this awesome dude outside my door, one I trust completely, someone I can leave my children with always. That was the day I realized the true meaning of trust.
8. Brats around the Block. I went into labor with Yahoo #2, ironically, on our fourth anniversary. After six patient hours of "working," it was time to go to the hospital. The last baby took something like forever, so we figured this on would be no different.
Six hours wasn't enough, though, and they sent me home. Told me to eat something and walk around the block. So Spouse grilled-up some Bratwurst and we walked around the block. That was the longest walk of my life, but a Brat I'll never forget.
9. Vans in the Grand Canyon. One time Spouse and I hiked the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We had dropped my dad Mikey and his cronies at the North Rim the drove the cars to the South. Once we arrived at the South Rim we hiked down to meet them. Spouse was wearing Vans because he's a Vans kind of man.
At the bottom near the river, we found Mikey with a to-the-bone gash in his knee. Flies were hovering, dirt abounded and it didn't help that he tripped again and landed in a pool of donkey piss. We hauled the ol' torn-up bugger out and took him to Flagstaff for stitches. The doc on duty said, "Sir, this wound is grossly contaminated." We returned to the South Rim somewhere around 2:00am and Mikey spent the next six weeks on antibiotics. Spouse continued to hike in his Vans.
10. The Thumbs Speak. At movies, we have this tradition with the previews and it goes like this: the preview will play, with its barks and bursts and brilliance, and when the preview finishes, we all look at each other and "present thumbs." A thumb up means "It's a good one! Let's go see it!" A thumbs down means "Absolutely not!" And a thumb to the side means, "Maybe, but only if one of you has a thumb up." Even at the most epic of flicks, this Thumb Thing is my favorite part of the movie.
11. St. George, 2002. Spouse has been at the finish for most of my marathons. The most memorable was St. George, 2002. I was running along the last mile-straight-away, that being the old course mile-straight-away that's been since changed to a zig-zag.
I was running along, with less than a half mile to go. And out of the corner of my ear, I hear "GO RABID! GO RABID! GO RABID GO!" I turned and waved. And there he was. Cheering me on with a video camera and a fussy 'n angry 18-month-old in a backpack. I declare his wrestling with the crabby baby was more work than my marathon.
12. Moth 'til you Drop. We drove to Arizona once, and listed to Moth Podcasts the entire way. That was a great time.
13. Darth CodeWarrior Vader. During one of Yahoo #1's birthday parties, Spouse came out dressed as Vader. Never was he more attractive.
And finally, the memory to trump all memories...
14. I'm yours if you'll have me. Our dating situation was a complicated one. Mostly it was because I was a mess. I had chips on my shoulder, I had trust issues, I had all sorts of things to work though. You might recall that I have been married before, and said marriage left me broken, battered and betrayed.
Spouse and I dated for a year, and when things became serious, I freaked and ran. Ran far away. He was very nice. He treated me well. Surely it was too good to be true. I was sure that if we were to get married, the whole thing would be a repeat of the experience I had just finished. (There was also a religious commitment that had me freaked, but I won't go into that here.)
We broke up. He went his way. I went mine. We both worked a lot, we both dated. Somehow I had the presence to establish a no-dude-can-be-dated-twice-in-a-row rule, which was successful in keeping me from getting serious. I also had a no-chick-can-be-dated-twice-in-a-row rule, which was easy to follow because I wasn't into chicks. For a whole year I kept myself at arms length from any and all. It was a really weird year.
Then I found this motorcycle and needed to see if I could still ride one. So I called him and said, "Hey. Can I borrow your bike to see if I can still ride a motorcycle because I found this little orange Sportster that I want really bad?" And that was all it took. He rode to my assistance and boy did I still love him a bunch.
We spent the next few weeks together, nonstop. Eventually, we had to have "the talk" because it wasn't fair for either of us to be yanking the chain of the other. So I sat him down and I said, "I'm yours if you'll have me."
I'll never forget the look on his face.
*** Check back later. I might have more photos. Not now though, 'cause I'm going running.