Monday, February 28, 2011

I Swear She Isn't Drunk

It's a horrible picture - her hair was in beautiful ringlet curls at the start of the evening, but this was taken after they have danced, and in the cold of the evening- it's my gansta boy and his beautiful girl.
And yes, she did ask him to wear his hat to the dance.
(Before he left to go to the dance, I talked with Flash about dancing with her - and suggested he take his hat off when he slow danced. He was baffled by the thought and asked where on earth I thought he would put his hat if he took it off. I suggested he hold his hat in the hand that was on her back when they danced. When he was back home afterwards, he put his hat on the coffee table and I commented that it looked like it had been stepped on. He said, "No, it's crinkled from when I held it against her back." Apparently he needed a demonstration as to how to hold a hat BY THE BRIM and not just crush it against your date's back. But I think it is safe to say he would crush the hat all over again to dance with her once more.)

I have seen him every single day since our second date. Which is more than two weeks now. There is nothing glamorous about dating a single mom and yet he's more than content to hang out with us each evening, just talking about our days over dinner together. He has included Flash in his planning, consideration and actions since the start - a trait rare in someone without children of his own. He's happy just staying in and watching a movie, but he'll take me out to dinner, or make plans to go dancing as well.

He has stepped gingerly around my need for independence, while maintaining his need to help and provide. (He snowblowed my driveway and then sheepishly came into my kitchen waiting to be scolded.)

He is quiet and reserved, funny and very kind. He is open and vulnerable with me, withholding no secrets, but letting go of past remorse as well. We've been down similar roads - had our share of the not-so-greats and are both cautious and nervous about what we have found together.

He is careful with me, and I with him.

We talk about everything and nothing, but not about the road ahead. Tomorrow brings what tomorrow brings. Making plans for the weekend is as far as we will discuss. There is some feeling, however unspoken, that this is different. There is a hope, there is a guarded optimism, there is something there that hasn't been. If brought to a vulnerable moment, however unintentionally, he will simply say, "I'm just so glad I went to the pub that night." Me too. He is real and genuine and normal. His life is as simple and down-to-earth as mine. His goals and dreams are realistic and honorable.

And so I will see him again. For dinner, here tomorrow. He will come in the back door and will help where I will let him and will sit and listen when I won't. He will laugh about the drama of our days and laugh at Flash and his antics. He will pray with us over dinner and will be the first to clear dishes when it is done. He will sit with me in his arms for an hour or so afterwards, enjoing the quiet, enjoying Flash, feeling at peace.

He will leave before either of us want him to, but he works so early it is greedy to keep him late. He will text me when he is home safely, just a few miles up the road, and again a few minutes later to wish me goodnight.

If I think too hard about it all, I am terrified. But laying back against his shoulder on the couch after dinner, laughing at Flash and Eli and my crazy little family, I feel nothing but peace.

He brings me nothing but peace.

Friday, February 18, 2011

He Said What?

Yeah, so um, I'm sitting with WG (Wrangler Guy) in my living room the other night as we're trying to figure out if we're going to go suffer through the basketball game that Jacob's pep band will be playing at or if we will just drop him off and go do something else, when WG leans over to me and whispers in my ear, "We could just ditch him and go home to bed instead!"

At which point I give him the nastiest look EVER, and I'm quite offended that this guy that I've been seeing quite a bit of has suddenly shown a side of him I wasn't quite ready for.

To which he responds, "Or we can go somewhere else if you don't like Panera Bread...."

OOOOhhhh Panera Bread.....go home to bed.....

Luckily we both got quite the chuckle out of that one.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I cannot remember a single Valentine's Day that didn't suck. It sucked when I was young, it sucked when I was married (don't ask), it has sucked every year since as I have always been single. It just is a sucky day, much like NYE that as a single person, you just hope passes quickly and we move the calendar right over to the 15th without delay.

Being a first-year third grade teacher of 25 9 year olds, I was prepared for this year to suck more than ever. And while it certainly had it's exhausting never-do-that-again moments, I will say this, my 25 9 year olds were pretty awesome today. If for no other reason that the call by little Mike at the end of the day for a GROUP HUG!!!!!! (it always makes me laugh from my gut when they decide we need to do this!)

I came home to an unappreciative teenager (what's new there?) and pulled out the lasagne I had secretly prepared yesterday and got dinner in the works. "Wrangler Guy" as many of you have dubbed him came over to join us for dinner and we had fun conversation while we ate.

He brought me two sweet gifts: a miniature rosebush plant and seedling kits and seeds to get my vegetable garden started. For a man who has only known me for little more than a week, he sure knows me well already. He was sweet and helpful and funny.

So for today, for this moment, for this year, V-day did not suck. And that is refreshing indeed.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Without Holding My Breath

I'm trying to remain optimistic. We've chatted, Wrangler guy and me. He asked if I wanted to do something this week, and much to the dismay of both of us, we can't find much else to do in 10 degree weather in Michigan than to go see a movie. So we shall. And we have another date already set for this weekend as well.

Which is providing much fodder for my teenager. Because he, too, has a date for this weekend. Let me take a moment to tell THAT story.

Flash has been "going out" with this remarkably sweet, smart girl since they returned to school from Christmas break. A couple weekends ago, she invitedhim over to her house to meet her parents. Only, the parents could never really decide on a time and I said it was rude to show up "just anytime" for the first time. He said it would be better if her parents just officially invited him. They eventually just decided to skip it.

But the gf had other ideas.

When I arrived home on Friday from school, Flash handed me this piece of paper. He was laughing still as he handed it over. It was a piece of computer paper, but tea-stained, burned around the edges and sealed with wax. It read:

And then I looked at Flash and said, "She's perfect for you."

And if we had any doubt, she and Flash have been sharing their collection of zombie books this week. It's true love, I tell you.

So, in any case, by Saturday evening, Flash will have "met the parents" for the first time in his dating career and I will have tried to have a successful second date with a remarkably sweet, eligible man.

Wish us both luck.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

For the Singles (Why Sometimes It's Good to be Me)

Following the Lunch Date From Hell, I came home and crawled back into bed and hid under my covers. I wondered what signs had I missed that good, intelligent conversations could turn into such a disasterous lunch conversation. I finally drug myself back out of bed and made myself go out with friends on an attempt to redeem my weekend.

We were having a great time, just hanging out at the pub, laughing and having good conversation. A guy I had sort of met once before, who just moved back to the area a couple of months ago sat next to me. He was very nice and we talked for most of the evening. We share interests in everything from sports to gardening. He talked about the house he had just bought and the projects he had on his to-do list. I talked about my house and the things I would do if I were made of money.

At some point, he mentioned his move and I inquired where he had moved from. He off-handedly mentioned Pennsylvania with the same sweeping tone that I've given knowing if you're from here, you don't know much of anything about out there. I, of course, asked a follow-up question, "Where in PA?" He looked at me, again with that tone that I've often given that says, "If I don't say Pittsburgh or Philly, you have no idea, so what difference does it matter?" But, sweetly enough, he replied, "From north of Philadelphia." Really? Of course, being from there, I have to again, ask a follow-up question, much to his chagrin. "Where north of Philly exactly?" This time he turns to me, looks at me squarely and says with emphasis meant to point out the absurdity of him getting more specific and says, "Quakertown."


I say, "I'm from there, too."

He doesn't believe me.

I tell him the zip code, the highways and roughly where my condo was in relation to the WalMart. I mention restaurants and shops and awesome places to hang out and he starts laughing straight from his gut with this incredulous laugh. Neither of us can believe it.

Turns out he moved there the year I moved to MI. And he hung out at many of the same places I did. And he lived just down the road from where I did. And so we talk and laugh some more about the weird coincidence.

Eventually we get talking about how much dating sucks and I share my afternoon's story with him. We talk about how difficult it is to meet people and how awkward it is to do it at the grocery store or Lowe's although we both admit we've been tempted to do it at both of those locations. By the time the evening is winding down for me, I have mentioned that I think one of the best places to go on a first date is a minor league baseball game. To which he smiles at me and says, "So I have to wait until summer?"

And I think for a moment that he's actually hinting at a date. And after the day I've had, I decide to just go for it and I jot my number down on a piece of the receipt and slide it over to him.

To which he makes this dreadful face and very reluctantly writes his name and number on a piece of the receipt, tears it off and hands it back.

And I feel so stupid.

I leave kicking myself six ways from Sunday for taking the wrong message from his question. I sit in the parking lot waiting for my car to warm a little when I see him leave. I want to say something to save my dignity, but I don't know what. He gets into his Jeep Wrangler (sigh) and drives off.

I get home and I finally decide I have to text him. I will surely run into him again at the pub and I don't want to put off an awkward moment. Let's bite the bullet and get it overwith.

"I realize from the look on your face that my number wasn't what you were after. I will feel no offense if you crumple it up and throw it away. :) "

His response? "No, not at all. I was kicking myself because I was just about to ask you for it when you handed it to me."


"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to steal your thunder."

"It's okay. Would you maybe like to go out sometime?"


"I think that would be great! Are you planning on watching the SuperBowl up at the pub at all?"

"If you're going to be there, I will definitely be there, too."


I don't know that it's anything and it can just as easily be nothing, but it sure salvaged an otherwise wretched dating week.

For the Marrieds Part 2 (Why It's REALLY Good to Be You)

I went on a lunch date with another guy yesterday. I had really been impressed with this guy. He was intelligent, articulate and hard-working. I was only hesitant about the lunch date because of the events of the week had made me leary of dating again, but I psyched myself up, donned a positive attitude and went.

The lunch conversation included the following:

- his expulsion from two high schools
- his only recent decision to stop sleeping with women on the first date
- his time working in an adult bookstore
- the one long-term relationship he had ended because of his drug and alcohol issues
- how he handled an issue with his mother's adopted daughter by belting her so hard it left welts
- his two arrests for battery (of gay men)

On and on he talked. He was a confident man, only had a woman break up with him the one time and always felt certain he would get a second date.

Except this time.


For The Marrieds (Why It's Good to Be You)

I had a date last weekend. It went well enough that I actually accepted the offer for a second date. I wasn't smitten by any stretch, but it hadn't been a complete disaster and so I figured, why not?

The second date wasn't horrible either, but I still wasn't really feeling any chemistry. He was, this much I knew, but I have been told I'm quick to judge and I'm too picky, so I accepted an offer for a third date.

By the third date, however, all the little nudgings in the back of my mind during the first two, came to the forefront pretty quickly. We had decided to shoot some pool and he was talking on the phone to his kids when I arrived. I got some quarters and was picking out my cue stick when he finished his call and came over to say hello. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked how he was doing. He said, "Good, but could be better." I thought something was wrong with his kids. Before I could ask, he took hold of the cue stick I was choosing and held it in place so I couldn't take it. He looked me square in the eye and said, "I'd be great if I could get a kiss." Um, yeah. NO.

That pretty much typified the entire evening. While he wasn't pushy, he was certainly physically flirtatious in a way that made me uncomfortable in a public place.

After we went our separate ways that night he called to apologize, having finally picked up on all the negative vibes I had been sending out, he said he hadn't meant to be so pushy and felt badly for it. We talked and I explained that I just wasn't really feeling the same chemistry between us, and we left it at the "let's stay friends" line.

On Friday evening, he called to ask if I had any plans. I stalled, not knowing what offer was going to be put on the table, but he very politely asked if maybe I wanted to just grab a pizza and watch a movie together - just as friends, no pressure, no dating. Flash had just received some sci-fi dvd's from his dad that he was geeked about watching, so staying in and watching those seemed a worse option than his offer, so after confirming and reiterating, just friends, I agreed.

When I got there, he almost immediately wanted to order pizza. He asked if I had any preferences and I stated my few dislikes and he jumped on the phone. He had a coupon for DOMINOES and so that seemed to be the fate of my dinner. (I have to say, I haven't eaten Dominoes since college. I just have never been that desperate for crap pizza again.) The coupon was for a $13 deal, so I went to pull out my share. I had $7 or a $20 bill. I put a $20 on the counter figuring my half with tax and delivery tip would be more than $7.

Perhaps needless to say, I was the only contributor to the crappy pizza. He gave the delivery girl the $20, did not get any change and made no contribution of his own. I was appalled. We watched a movie and he tried to flirt and even at one point tried to TICKLE me. I moved to a completely different couch. (As a note: I never felt like he was going to do anything drastic or truly offensive, he just nudged in a direction I wasn't going.)

He kept pausing the movie to tell me about these other women he had gone out with and how crazy they were. Except that he had agreed to go out with them again - including a date to watch the SuperBowl. He said he had a problem saying no to women and he joked about it with me about how he even caved when his mom asked him to bring the kids and spend the night there. I stared at him. I felt like saying, "So you're cheap and spineless and this is supposed to make me want to date you?"

I left as soon as I politely could (and very nearly before it was even polite). He called the next morning to say he meant to pay for part of the pizza but I'll be honest, it was a weak apology and I'm not buying it. He has called and emailed since and I've responded with an "I'm moving on" email.