Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's a Love Story, Baby Just Say Yes.

I'm talking about us. The husband and I. We have officially been dating/together for 5 whole years. I know most of you out there in internet-land probably think that's chump change.

But unfortunately, I didn't meet prince charming right away and we didn't go to high school or college together. Our story is pretty entertaining, however. I shall tell it.

There once was a naive boy and sassy girl who were dating separate people. We both attended the same small group (though small being about 100 peeps) at a church in the area. It's a Baptist church. Neither of us claim to be Baptists.

Back it up even further. I lived in this apartment complex, Peppertree, about 5 blocks from the water in Hermosa Beach, Cali. I'd consider it equivalent to Melrose Place. It was standard to leave your door wide open if you were home and weren't sleeping... and sometimes if you were sleeping but taking a nap. I had a Scottish roommate who (is still) a rocket scientist.

Here she is and that is me dressed as Joe Dirt. It was Halloween. I'm not a regular cross-dresser.
I often walked through the complex to get to the pool or head west to the beach. A guy saw me walking one Sunday afternoon in the complex and asked if I wanted to visit this church group with him. I said I'd check it out the following Sunday with him. And so we did.

I continued going and he ended up moving. I met some incredible people at this group. One is still a really good friend of ours and stood in our wedding.

This girl, Jen.

I met another aerospace engineer and we started dating. (In this part of LA, you're likely in aerospace or in the Air Force). We dated for awhile but knew things would end eventually as he was moving to France for grad school.

At the same time but unbeknownst to me, Ray began dating some other girl in our group who I had been casual friends with. Ray and I had not met yet, but my boyfriend at the time often brought him up in conversation. He liked Ray. We were both dating two conservative Baptists. Ray's girlfriend was more conservative than my boyfriend, but nonetheless, divisions were evident. Here's where it all starts to get interesting.

Said boyfriend and I walk into Fatburger for some lunch one day. They make a mean grilled cheese in case you wanted to question my interest to eat at a burger joint. As we walked in, I was introduced to Ray by my current boyfriend.

I thought he was kind of a jerk. He seemed arrogant. Cute. Pompous. Attractive.

After he asked me a few questions about myself (in front of my boyfriend), I asked him what on earth he was wearing on his feet. These:
To which he replied, "They're my birth control shoes. I wear them to keep the girls away."

Okay, so the jerk was pretty funny, too. And he had some nerve saying that to a girl who goes to a Baptist church.

Fast forward to a March Madness game at a friend's house. Many people were invited but only four showed up. The host, our mutual friend Jen, Ray, and myself. That was it. We ended up flirting quite a bit, but I knew he was taken. He was still dating that girl and I was sort of still dating that guy. I definitely had interest at this point. I still remember how nervous I was around him.

After the basketball game, the four of us called more people and headed to a bar in Manhattan Beach, Patti O's. I sang Bon Jovi on stage and drank too much. We danced a lot as a group and his girlfriend showed up. Major buzzkill.

Shortly after, I sent a very important email to my friend Jen about Ray. I wanted to have a reason to get in touch with him beyond face-to-face. I asked her to ask him about this recipe he made for sweet corn cakes. Lame, I know. But it worked! {and what's really funny is that he doesn't even cook! He made that from a package and has yet to make anything happen in the kitchen ever since.) She forwarded the email and from then on, email "game" continued. We wrote back and forth a few times/week and sometimes a few per day. He went on business trips (while in the Air Force) and would continue to write. My relationship with the boyfriend fizzled. His relationship with the girlfriend was going no where. It was on the verge of ending.

Out of interest to see him, I helped volunteer at a party he and Jen were throwing for their Young Life students. They worked with inner-city high school youth in LA and were throwing an 80's party. I bought Ray a pair of 80's Hammer pants to wear for the event. I searched high and low for those pants.

Those pants.
They were expensive and my frugal self didn't care. I offered to come over and help with the party in an effort to spend more time with him. I told my friend Jen that I had a crush on him but that he was obviously already taken... and she said to me, "Brandy, you really never know. Anything's possible."

We all headed back to Ray's house that night after stopping off for some mojito mixers (dressed in 80's gear) and drank the night away. Somewhere mixed in there we all decided that taking a dip in the ocean at midnight and after quite a few minty, adult beverages, was a good idea. Ray threw me in the water... probably not so smart now that he knows I'm a terrible swimmer. Add that to the amounts of rum I consumed, and it makes for a bad situation. Luckily no one was hurt in this experiment.

Le hair crimp. I wrote about that here, too.
 Post freeeezing Pacific Ocean adventure.
He let me borrow a pair of his sweat pants to take home after our shenanigans. And I wore them everysingleday until I had to return them-- but no problem to me... just another reason to see him!

These sweatpants.

Back to the emails and business trips. I was teaching, he was traveling. I showed up to events and he was often there with girlfriend. I was teaching by day and working at a restaurant by night. One evening I finished work and ran back to my car-- but since the restaurant was located ON the water, I had to park far away. Since it was dark out, I always ran to my car so I would not run the risk of anything bad happening to me. On this particular evening, Ray, girlfriend, and some of her friends were walking by on the pier as I ran by them! Haha. I was quite embarrassed.

Somewhere in the mix I expressed interest. I told him that I was interested. But, he told me that he was currently pursuing someone else-- girlfriend. I was shot down.We call that a FAIL.

 He went to Spain a few weeks later (though emails never ceased) and brought back some Manchego cheese and wine. Manchego is still a favorite of ours. It's delicious and has such fun memories attached. We threw a cheese/wine/crazy pants party since we had recently learned that we both owned linen pants--stupid, but again...whatever it took!

At said party.
We invited a few other people and also went dancing that night at Patti O's again! This time, I lost my credit card before even making it through the door. We walked back to Ray's house (solo) and I had to deal with this credit card situation. Finally, it was all figured out and we headed back to the bar. We (each) secretly didn't mind the detour and I surely didn't mind the card inconvenience as it gave us more time to hang out.

At this point, the girlfriend was out of the picture and the boyfriend was too. We held hands back to his place and I went home. Mother, don't worry. This story is PG. I then received a text message that night when I got home and it read: "You will be mine."  Like I said, arrogant. It followed with a date request for the following night.

The next evening, I was picked up for our first date. In true gentleman style and class, he pulled into the driveway and called me when he was out front. In his defense, I lived on PCH and there was no parking within blocks. I let that one slide. But then, then he told me that he didn't have any reservations or plans for our date. Oh, and he was wearing flip flops. I was wearing heels.He left me the decision as to where we ate. There was some excuse about me living there my whole life and knowing the best places to eat. We ended up at this restaurant:

(Post engagement, we chose the same restaurant to introduce our families at!)

I had a martini and was in better shape. I was on a date with a guy I had been talking to via email for months! After our dinner, I made him take me back to my house to change into flip flops. We then headed to a party that Ray wanted to visit since some of his Air Force friends were throwing it. We showed up and not a soul was there. I think that calls for another one of these:
Plan B, my turn. Again. We headed to a serious dive bar called Pats II.

Big nights at this place. It's one of the biggest holes on earth, but I celebrated my graduation from college there, my best friend met her husband there as we were drinking Coors Lights at the bar one night, and we went there on our first date. My bff and her boyfriend were there. She was wearing a formal dress and I don't remember why. Like to-the-ground, full length, prom-style. In a dive bar. We played darts and awkwardly made conversation in the smoke-filled room.

The night ended but our relationship never did. I'm sad the emails weren't saved. Those were some seriously fantastic emails of banter over the course of 3-4 months!

But that night, on the night of our first date, I wrote this and saved it in a wooden keepsake box.

It was true. It is true. It will forever be true. Because if anything is going to break you, it's going to be something monumental. We've had some of those game changers recently and the boat hasn't even been rocked an inch.

Five years means...
  • dating for 1 glorious year
  • engaged for 13 months
  • married for almost 3 years
  • a rockin' wedding and even better honeymoon
  • a month-long road trip across the US and Canada
  • moving to Germany
  • traveling the world
  • moving to the Midwest
  • buying a home together
  • new jobs
  • becoming pregnant
  • losing our first baby
  • and CELEBRATING all that we have in one another. 
If anything was going to break us, it would've been losing our son. Instead, I love my husband more fiercely and cannot foresee the future without him in every single moment with me.

Tonight, we CELEBRATE. Holding with tradition, we're having dinner at a local Asian-fusion restaurant just like W's China Bistro... if it can't be the real thing, pretend. Since the real thing is a couple thousand miles away, we improvise.

So excited to spend forever with this man.
Lacrosse game at the LA Riptide stadium. Ray played Division 1 Lacrosse for the Air Force Academy. This was my first real experience with the game.
Second date, June 2006.


ASP said... [Reply to comment]

You and Ray are so incredibly adorable and major congratulations on meeting *the one* on 5.28.06! You have quite the love story together and I loved all the back and forth between you two. So incredibly sweet. I totally believe in knowing when you've met the one too! After my first date with my husband, I told my dad, when I got home, that "I was going to marry him!" and here we are almost 9 years later! It makes such a huge difference having someone you love standing by your side, through the good and bad times. I'm praying for lots more good times for you and Ray. I don't know anyone who deserves them more than you two. ♥ Congrats on this milestone!

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I have so many things to say and I don't think they can all be contained within this comment box.

1) Joe Dirt? You make a hot man- hahah
2) "You will be mine", I love that. :)
3) Birth control Crocs- AMAZING.
4) The note you wrote to yourself, so precious.

I still have e-mails saved from Scott that he wrote me 9 years ago. He couldn't (and still can't) spell for shit and they kill me every time I look at them.

Finally, you're absolutely right. If this shit doesn't break you, nothing will. :)

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy, I love this story. Dave and I have been together since 2006 too (October for us). I love that you wrote that note to yourself and kept it. I never wrote myself a note, but I remember whispering to myself in my room that night after our first date. I also love your various 80s tributes--the crimp, the hot pink nails, the leggings under the miniskirt. Love!

Shae said... [Reply to comment]

Great story! Glad you got your man.
Happy 5 years together.
Y'all have fun tonight!

Alli (and Tommy too!) said... [Reply to comment]

I cried!

Olaina.PhotosAndArt said... [Reply to comment]

So cute. And, as I lived in Redondo Beach I recognize the places you mentioned. Which is fun, for me. Having a supportive husband really makes all the difference in the world--I'm glad ya'll are together.

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Love this whole story! Especially his crocs = birth control line, his text message, and the note you wrote yourself on your first date. So cute!

boo and stacy said... [Reply to comment]

You two are SO cute! Love your love story! And I remember you as Joe Dirt. I took a picture of you and I that Halloween night b/c I thought Joe Dirt was the best costume EVER!!! I voted for you, did you win?

Glad you have all of that documented and especially the wooden note!! Happy Anniversary!!

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

Yay!!!! I remember us sitting in my new little apartment right when you guys started dating and telling you that you were going to marry him and you were like, pshh...ya, right. LOL! love the love story :)
I'm still sad he didn't come to my wedding. It would have saved you the drunken pick-me-up phone call!!!!

Nic G. said... [Reply to comment]

Ha! I had forgotten about the ridiculous prom clothes. Could never forget the night though... 6 years for us now :)

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Oh my goodness did I ever laugh over this post! I got about half way, got up to get some coffee, got cozy and then finished it up!
It was so fun to read and I was literally sitting in my cozy spot laughing out loud!
Thank you for sharing your story!!

Dianna said... [Reply to comment]

Great story and post! Thanks for sharing!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

You guys are so freaking adorable. Congratulations on landing "the one" and knowing him when you saw him. If you can lose a baby and save your marriage, you know that you'll be together forever.

Newlywed Next Door said... [Reply to comment]

I LOVED reading this! So cute.

I know some of your South Bay dives. :)

What church did you guys go to?

d.a.r. said... [Reply to comment]

I loved reading this!! So precious!