Tim the Firefighter

January 21, 2008

I can’t believe I haven’t told you this story yet.  It’s one of the more amusing ones from my many years on the dating scene.  You may remember that I met M through a popular dating website (the one that matches you up to compatible matches based on 29 dimensions of your personality, if you were curious).  He was the first I was extremely interested in, but I knew it was best to play the odds.  Before “meeting” him online, I’d communicated with any matches that I found remotely interesting.  You never know when your first impression could be wrong, right?

One of my most memorable matches was Tim.  He was a firefighter–as his picture in front of a fire truck would attest–from a suburb on the other side of the city from where I lived.  Coincidentally enough, now I live in that suburb.  I was hesitant about setting my hopes on this one because of how far away he was.  Still, from what I could see of him in his picture, he wasn’t bad-looking, and his values were very similar to my own.

I suspected our relationship would never get off the ground, though, when I got my first message from him.  Now, it’s important for you to realize that I taught English at the time and highlighted that fact on my profile several times.  I don’t expect perfect grammar from anyone, including myself, but I would at least hope that someone trying to impress me would at least make an effort.  Not so much with Tim the Firefighter.  The most careless of my freshmen students put him to shame.  I think my favorite word was his attempt to spell “principal;” it came out more like “prencipiale.”  I could barely interpret what he was trying to say.  Talk about distracting from forming a meaningful relationship.

Before you say it, yes, I have considered that he was dyslexic or had some other kind of disability that prevented him from being able to spell appropriately.  If he had mentioned that up front, I might have given him more of a chance than I did.  But it was the fact that it came across like he didn’t care that bothered me most.  M, when he saw I taught English, made sure he typed up his messages in Word first so that he could spell- and grammar-check them first.  (Impressive, no?)  If Tim the Firefighter had done so, I may be married to him now and have two of his children instead.  The way things happened, though, I ended communication with him after four or five messages.  We never communicated outside the site at all.

Oh, but that’s not where the story ends.  A good friend of mine decided to sign up for the same site the week I met M after she saw our immediate connection.  One day we were hanging out, chatting about how things were going for her on the site, when she mentioned one match she thought was particularly funny.  “He has the worst grammar.  I can barely figure out what he’s trying to say!”  She has pretty bad grammar herself, so it’s saying something that even she noticed how horrendous his was.  Immediately I had to ask: “No way!  Is it Tim the Firefighter?”  We both laughed hilariously when we realized we’d both been paired with the same guy–and that he obviously hadn’t found the love of his life yet.

By the way, the friend did indeed meet the love of hers through the site, and they’ve been together for two-and-a-half years now and are talking marriage.

But the point is that first impressions are important.  I’m sure Tim the Firefighter is a nice guy, but nobody will ever get to know him because of how his spelling and grammar make him look.  It’s hard to overlook something like that.  So even more than trying to live up to my own standards, I attempt to write grammatically correctly so that all of you who read me will be able to make an opinion of me based on my words, not my failings in the English language.

Time to Re-tile the Kitchen Floor

November 30, 2007

Thank you to those of you who commented on yesterday’s post.  I feel a little better about favoring my sweet baby over my disobedient toddler over the last couple of weeks.  I’m sure it will change eventually, and I’ll like PJ more again.  At least I know I’m not the only one; thanks to those of you who were courageous enough to admit you sometimes have favorites too.

And now I just have to tell you the story of M’s boss’s daughter’s birth the other day.  He finally got back to work for a few minutes today, so M got to hear the story firsthand at last.  Now keep in mind that this is a true story and not one I’ve ever seen on TV.  Because it sounds like it could be.

On Tuesday night, the mom was about a week overdue with the doctor finally starting to consider an induction.  She’d had one for her second daughter a few years ago, so it was totally expected to be needed again.  They were tentatively considering Thursday, depending on how crazy things were at the hospital.  But then at about 11:15, she mentioned that she was feeling some pretty severe back pain, and they decided it was probably worth heading to the hospital because it was likely the start of labor.  The husband gathered her bags and put them in the car while calling the baby-sitter who lived two doors down from them.  She left her house immediately.  By the time the husband got back to the kitchen where the wife was, she was a bit panicked, telling him that the baby was coming really soon.

He didn’t really believe her, but he checked her to be sure.  He has a history as an EMT, so he had an idea what he was looking at.  He saw her bag of waters but no baby, so they continued with the plan to head right to the hospital.  But before they could get out of the kitchen, she had a serious contraction and bear hugged him to hold herself up during it.  He could tell by the way she hugged him that it was serious pain.  To be sure, he laid her down on the kitchen floor again to check her one more time.  He could see the baby’s head crowning this time.

He grabbed the phone to call 911 just as she had another contraction and couldn’t help pushing.  He barely got his hands out in time to catch his daughter.  This is when the baby-sitter walked in, a mere five minutes after he’d called her–a mere five minutes after labor started.  He had to clear the baby’s throat of meconium and tie off the cord, both of which were taken care of before the paramedics got there about three minutes later.

They got home from the hospital yesterday, both mother and baby doing remarkably well.  And because we had to ask, yes, the baby-sitter had cleaned up the kitchen as well as all the towels, etc., that were used during the birth before the older two daughters woke up the next morning.  Now that’s a great friend!

Can you imagine?  Honestly, I’m jealous.  That’s a story nobody will ever forget, even those of us who don’t personally know anyone involved.  My own birth stories are forgettable and textbook compared to that (BabyN’s in particular).  And I’m terribly annoyed that I had to push through incredible pain (despite an epidural) for two hours with BabyN while she had five minutes total of pain.

But on the other hand, it would be awfully scary to realize you’re going to give birth on your kitchen floor without any medical personnel present, especially when you’d gotten yourself prepared for a long, drawn-out induction.  I guess PJ’s birth was close enough to the made-for-TV version for me.

Speaking of Pain…

June 7, 2007

Hoo-boy, do those progesterone shots sting!  Why didn’t any of you pros with these shots warn me?

 Okay, here’s what happened.  M did come with me to the appointment as planned and even managed to stick around all the way through the shots tutorial.  We’d forgotten to throw PJ’s stroller back in the car after we took it out for whatever reason some time ago, so he got to entertain PJ on his lap the whole time we were there also.  That means he was holding a fragile child (okay, a not-so-fragile toddler) the whole time he was dealing with the needle business.  Can I just take a moment to brag about how strong husband I have?  He’s a bit needle-phobic, so this is huge for him.

Oh, yeah, and when I walked in there, I was handed that wonderful orange drink because it seems I was due for my glucose test today too.  Love that warning I got!  I’m glad M was already there to handle PJ because waiting that full hour until my blood draw would have been much worse if I’d had to handle the impatient, squirmy, sleepy toddler on my own.  Anyway, what is truly significant about the glucose test is that I was high on sugar for the first half of the appointment and starting my sugar crash right about the time I was getting my progesterone shot.

Did I mention that shot hurt?  Bad?  I was completely unprepared for that.  I handled it like a pro, though, not jumping when I was stuck or letting tears come to my eyes as that needle lingered in my arm for much longer than I could possibly see was necessary.  Well, I handled it like a pro until I got up to go visit my friendly phlebotomist for my glucose blood draw, and suddenly I felt weak, overheated, and dizzy.  I sat in the chair by the door as the nurse gave us last-minute instructions on giving the progesterone shots at home.  It didn’t fool the nurse, though, and she quickly asked if I was okay.  Fast forward to a minute later when I’m lying back on the examination table with wet paper towels cooling my forehead and I’m wishing for something to cool my cheeks flushed from embarrassment.

For the record, I didn’t actually pass out, just gave us all a scare.  A few minutes later I was fine, even though my arm was still stinging from the stupid shot (still is, actually).  M says anytime he’s had a particularly bad shot, the exact same thing has happened to him.  Then throw in the glucose crash that was happening at the exact same time, and it turns out I’m actually impressively strong to have managed not to pass out after all.  Still, when M gives me that shot next week, I think I’ll let it happen when I’m already lying down.

I was expecting today’s visit to the doctor to be somewhat more interesting than normal, what with the first progesterone shot and all, but I had no idea it would turn into such an adventure.  I’m just glad that I’m already on this side of it, when I can laugh at what happened instead of feeling the embarrassment I felt at the time.


March 23, 2007

The other day Whitney told the stories of some of the most unbelievable moments that have happened to her. Not being too proud not to steal, I thought I’d share some of my own unbelievable, straight-out-of-a-movie moments. (Is it stealing if I give her the credit?)

I think I may have told this first one before, but it’s good enough that it’s worth a retelling. It was near the beginning of one of my many college relationships, late in the spring. The guy and I had gone to one of our town’s many parks to hang out and talk at the end of one of our dates. Night came, and with the night, so did the cooler air. Ever thoughtful–or trying to buy some points–the guy ran (literally) back to his car to grab a blanket for me. When he came back, we cuddled together under the blanket to stay warm. Being forced to huddle so close obviously created a romantic mood. Suddenly the conversation dwindled, leaving an awkward silence. In that awkward silence, the guy slowly leaned in, very clearly going for that first kiss. Our lips were nearly touching when we suddenly heard a new, unusual noise. And then we felt the drops hitting us, just as we recognized the new noise as the park’s sprinkler system clicking on. Instead of that perfect first kiss, we found ourselves running to the car, dodging water drops as we ran. The whole situation was so unreal, absolutely perfect for a romantic comedy.

Another time, I was living the wonderful single life in my cute little apartment. It was that magical time of year when it was time to renew my car’s registration. Anal about those things that could potentially get me into legal trouble, I’d renewed the registration weeks early. Unfortunately, I had been lazy about replacing that little sticker on my car. The day the previous sticker expired, I needed to go somewhere for an outing. I was too rushed to change the sticker before I left, so I decided to chance it. No cop would be rude enough to ticket me for one lousy day, right?

I had a quick errand at the apartment’s office on my way out. I was crestfallen when shortly after I entered the office, a cop followed me in. He hadn’t been in the parking lot when I pulled in, so I tried not to worry. Then he singled me out of the four or five people in the office to ask if I owned a particular car in the lot. Hoping the conversation wasn’t headed where I thought it might be, I slowly admitted that gay looking car was mine. Immediately he launched into a lecture about keeping your car’s registration up to date and how it supports the government, blah, blah, blah. I was too stunned this was actually happening to keep listening very long. I mean, I hadn’t even driven on real roads yet with the expired registration! Was it even legal for him to ticket me for it yet?

I guess he sensed my repentance for letting my registration slide, and he decided to let me off without a ticket. It didn’t matter, though; I was just as humiliated by being chastised in front of all those people. After meekly thanking the cop for not ticketing me, I slinked out of the office without completing my business there, just to avoid the eyes of anyone who had witnessed the event. As much as I wanted to shout the real circumstances to all of them–that it was only one day overdue and the new sticker was sitting on the counter in my apartment–I knew that would only attract more attention to my grievous mistake.

Then I drove my car right back to my apartment, grabbed that new registration sticker, and slapped it on my windshield with an extra “That’ll show him” oomph. Within minutes, I was driving by the apartment’s office again. The cop was already gone. It was like he had only gone into the office to yell at me. I ended up late for wherever I was headed, without doing my errand at the office on the way, but at least I got the all-important registration sticker updated on time.

Seriously, could that have been any more weird? I am one of the most law-abiding citizens you’ll ever meet. I don’t even speed (which makes the one speeding ticket a little suspicious–another story for another day). So why, on the one day I decided to bend the rules just a bit for a short outing, do I end up in some sort of trouble with the law? Do you think the FBI or someone wonders if I’m really as good as I seem, so they’re tracking me to watch for any slip-up I make? How else would that cop know to be at that specific place right then? I don’t know; it’s just too weird to explain.

And the Award for Best Kiss Goes To…

November 6, 2006

I’m out of anything interesting to write about tonight. How about I delve into my archive of memories for interesting subject matter instead?

I have three nominees for the best kisses I’ve ever had, not as much for the quality of the kisses as the situation in which they occurred.

1. Wedding kiss: This one has to be included, without a doubt. I wish now I could remember more details of the kiss itself, but it was oh-so-romantic simply because it was the first kiss I ever had as a married woman, and it was with the man I had just committed my life to so willingly.

2. Kiss in the “Rain”: I was on a date with a new guy. We’d been going out a couple of weeks and had yet to kiss. After our date when we were reluctant to head home so early, we went to a park to sit and talk instead. It was getting to be late at night and we were pretty much the only people left there. Although it was early summer, it still got chilly after dark. When Mr. Wonderful saw me shivering, he decided to run back to his car to retrieve a blanket from the back. (Smooth move, huh?) Of course the one blanket wasn’t quite large enough to cover both of us easily, so he pulled me close to him so we could snuggle–totally innocently, I might add. Finally our conversation drew to an awkward halt as he slowly leaned in for a kiss. The second before our lips could meet, though, the timer on the park’s sprinklers went off. Instead of that long-awaited kiss, we found ourselves dashing towards the car and dry land. For the record, later that night he got the nerve to try again in an almost as romantic setting, and we still had our first kiss.

3. Kiss in the Snow: I grew up in a very warm climate and had only seen snow once or twice before my college years. Most of the people I met there were from the “north,” at least compared to where I grew up, and they were always astonished at my childish glee at any snowfall, no matter how little it was. One boyfriend in particular took advantage of my awe. During one well-timed Friday evening snowfall, he walked me around the campus, encouraging me to participate in all the traditional snow activities I’d never experienced growing up. We built a snowman, had a snowball fight, and made snow angels. As he very slowly walked me back across campus to my dorm at the end of the evening, he stopped in the center of campus. The powers-that-be had recently had the center point turned into a mini-park, complete with old-fashioned benches and street lights. In the abandoned campus in the snowfall, the spot was so romantic, it took my breath away. Mr. Romance held me by the shoulders, looked deep into my eyes, and then leaned in for the most perfect, most pure kiss I can ever remember. The snow gently falling around us, illuminated only by the glow of the street lights, provided the perfect setting for the perfect kiss, even if it wasn’t with the perfect guy.

I wish I could say that my wedding kiss wins the award for best kiss, but the stress of the day and the fact that it happened in front of so many people unfortunately crosses it off the list early. I think the award has to go to the Snow Kiss. It is without the most memorable and would fit well into any romantic movie. If they ever make a movie of my life, I will have to make sure they include this scene.

So what was your most perfect kiss ever?

Now-That-You-Mention-It Guy

November 2, 2006

I thought it might be time to resume my long-since-abandoned series of crazy boyfriend stories. At the time I was planning to save this one for last, as my piece de resistance, but what the heck. It’s likely the last one I’ll bother typing up, so I’d better do the good story first while I still care to.

I call this boyfriend Now-That-You-Mention-It Guy. We’ll call him NTYMI for short, because I hate typing that many hyphens in a row.

Flashback to my young and foolish early college years. I was obsessed with the need to have a boyfriend at all times and was first understanding what the excitement was about the concept of sex. My first few clumsy pre-sexual experiences had somehow given me the idea that I was no longer a naive, good Christian girl. Guys, however, saw me much differently. My virginal demeanor seemed to be an obstacle to conquer for many of the guys I encountered.

NTYMI was no different. We had met at work, at my summer job. I’d just started my period and was cramping up a storm. I was in a foul mood and grateful I was working the deserted lingerie section for once. He worked in the receiving bay and was responsible for delivering the boxes off the most recent truck to their respective departments before the store’s closing.

When he kept dropping by the lingerie department on his way to and from delivering boxes to the other departments in the area, I began to wonder if he was a creepy guy with a thing for bras or if he had a crush on me. Pretty soon we were having the “what do you like to do after work” discussion, and I knew what was coming up next.

For the record, I was anything but attracted to him. When he asked me out, however, I was unable to tell him no. I hated disappointing someone even more than going out with a guy I didn’t like who I had just met. I won’t go into the details of that first date, but it was most certainly a failed attempt. I went home and confessed everything to my ex through e-mail, and his immediate reaction was to get back together, even if it was long-distance.

The reconciliation with the ex kept anything else from happening with NTYMI for a long time. That didn’t keep him away, though. He kept inviting me places, and still unable to tell him no, I went with him, as long as he understood he would never be more than a friend.

Then the ex quite suddenly broke up with me again. I was absolutely devastated. NTYMI happened to call shortly after the break-up and was a willing confidant for me. He let me cry on his shoulder and offered to take me out on a date, to get my mind off things supposedly. Right.

I ended up dating him, of course. I was fully aware he was a rebound guy, and assuming that because he was older, he was also wiser, I thought he understood his status as well. He didn’t.

We kept the relationship going after I returned to college. We would talk on the phone late into the night–on his bill, of course; that was the closest I came to phone sex. I didn’t understand what the big deal was at the time, or why he was so excited about talking dirty to me. He also told me ludicrous stories about his sexual exploits before me. I was duly impressed then, but I know now he was telling tall tales (or should I call them long tales?). He, like every other guy, saw me as naive and was using that to his advantage. It’s kind of flattering now to realize, though, that he felt the need to impress me so, especially with exaggerations about his manhood.

After a few months of that long-distance relationship, he started asking me to marry him every time he called. I successfully dodged answering that question repeatedly. I sort of hoped he was kidding, but deep down I knew he wasn’t. He was really that smitten with me.

I finally gave in–for about a week. Then I got scared off and called off our engagement. I backed away from him so far, so fast that he thought he had lost me. Eventually I agreed to keep dating him, as long as we stopped being so serious. Yup, that lasted. Right.

I made a point to keep backing away from him a little at a time, hoping to ease the eventual break-up that I saw coming. Somehow he didn’t see it coming, though.

(I still hate myself for the way things finally ended. I had no idea I could be this cruel, but it certainly makes for a hilarious story, if you don’t stop to think about his feelings. So don’t stop to think about his feelings.)

I took the initiative to call him one afternoon on my phone card. I’d been debating doing the deed of the break-up any day then, but decided against it that day because I wouldn’t have long to talk. He noticed my avoidance of him during the conversation and outright asked me, “Are you planning to break up with me?”

“Well, now that you mention it…” I hesitantly answered.

Just then, the nice lady’s voice broke in to tell me I only had one minute left on my phone card. I hurriedly told him I needed to go because I was out of minutes, but that if he wanted to discuss it further to please call me back.

He didn’t call back. My last words to him, the words that permanently severed that tie between us, will forever remain, “Now that you mention it…”

October 24th

October 25, 2006

It appears that October 24th is safely over for yet another year. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the day passes and nothing life-changing has happened.

The crazy superstition started nine years ago. I started dating my first serious boyfriend on Oct. 24. The date was forever ingrained in my memory because I fully expected to be celebrating it as the anniversary of our first date for years to come. Instead, the relationship turned into a borderline abusive relationship that I was hesitant to end because I feared he would kill himself over it. (Thankfully he broke up with me first. He is now married–although just how happily is up for debate.)

Two years later to the day, my most promising relationship yet ended quite suddenly. It’s quite a long story, but two days earlier we were happy as clams, tentatively dreaming up our perfect wedding. The break-up killed me emotionally, and ever since I’ve dreaded the anniversary of that date. (We, too, still keep in touch. He is married as well, just months after I finally got hitched.)

The years following that break-up I spent October 24 holding my breath. One year I went out of town with a friend of mine to meet many of her college friends. I still remember that anxious feeling all day with a potentially life-changing situation coinciding with a life-changing day. It’s probably the “magic” of the day that compelled me to believe I felt a connection with one of those college friends. I’m still embarrassed when I think back to the days and weeks follwing that weekend when I shamelessly pursued my perceived soulmate. I wonder if I would have found myself in such an embarrassing situation if I had met the guy on any other day. I suppose the event was somewhat life-changing, but certainly not in the way I’d anticipated.

Then last year, my dear son spent the day in the NICU, just one more day in a string of days filled with fear and anticipation. I was terrified to go the the hospital to visit him, afraid that we would be greeted with bad news. I was just as terrified not to go; hearing the bad news over the phone would be twice as devastating. Of course, a part of me also recognized the possibility of wonderful news, maybe that first mention of his homecoming. I was relieved when the day was just another false alarm of an October 24. The news was typical, pretty much what we had heard every other day and what we expected to hear that day.

And this year passed quietly as well. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t earth-shattering. Perhaps the day has lost some of its power. Perhaps the only power it ever had was in my expectations. Now that I feel comfortable and satisfied with my life the way it is, expecting nothing earth-shattering ever, I have no reason to expect any day to hold such surprise, even October 24.