Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I met your Father

Eight years ago today, Patrick and I were married. The week before and after our wedding was such a crazy time in our lives, as were our first few years of marriage. On the anniversary of our wedding, it can be hard for me to not think about all the craziness that happened during that time. That thought train can easily take me to sad crazy town which is a real shame since I do love my husband and am overjoyed to be sharing my life with him. It is not him, our love, and our marriage that can make me sad but what we had to deal with at a time that should have been nothing but joy. So this year I wanted to focus on the time before we were actually married and think about how I met my husband and how we fell in love.

I met Patrick in March of 2004 in Brigantine, NJ. I had been living in Philadelphia with my dear old friend and this super awesome Aquarius fashion student for a few months.  I had moved there in January after a nasty break up with a live-in breakdancer boyfriend.  The location of my new place was awesome enabling me to walk to my new job in Center City, some cool bars, and friend’s houses. This was great since I no longer had a car but also because I was looking for a fresh start. I was meeting lots of new people and living the single city life. One of the new people I met was a guy we will call Grrrr who was a friend of my roommate.  That March, Grrrr invited me to his friend’s beach house in Brigantine, NJ.

My memory kind of sucks and I wasn’t keeping up with my journaling at the time but what I clearly remember from that trip down the shore was meeting a man, sitting at a table, wearing a Massive Attack shirt. I think he was playing cards and smoking a cigar. I saw him and thought to myself “Heyyyyyyy, who are you?” My attraction was immediate and I knew I wanted to get to know this person more. He was, of course, Patrick. One of my fondest memories (aside from meeting Patrick) from that weekend was a group sing along in the kitchen to Fugazi's Waiting Room. The next morning, Patrick went for a bike ride. I remember when he came back, we were alone (or maybe it just felt that way) in the living room, and he took off his bike jersey in such a way as to intentionally show me the big ass tattoo covering his back.  I also remember flying a kite on the beach with Patrick, he always had a kite and Frisbees in the trunk of his car.  Always ready for fun!

Right before we told my parents about our engagement
Soon after that beach weekend, I started going to a bar around the corner from my house called Tritone. Grrrr’s friend with the beach house played washboard in a blues band Monday nights and I would usually head straight there after work. The band was so much fun, I loved the male singer’s voice and when the guitarist busted out his steel guitar.  Often, Patrick was there and it soon came to feel like my bar.  I knew Rick the bartender who always wore his black leather vest (rest in peace) and Tuesday the waitress.  We would usually order dinner and have a few drinks.

We were there one Monday, had enjoyed dinner and drinks when the place started to fill up for whoever it was that would be playing later that night. A friend of mine came in who was in major need of my bathroom. My place was right around the corner, so we quickly left. When we got to my place and upstairs, I realized that hadn’t paid my bar tab. Once my friend was done dumping out, I went back to the bar and told Tuesday that I was so sorry that I forgot to pay my bill. She informed me that Patrick had paid assuming that was the way it was supposed to go down.

I was mortified! I had no intention of getting a free meal that way and felt awful for leaving so abruptly and sticking him with the bill. I did not have Patrick’s number or email, so I found him on MySpace (this was a time before Facebook). I apologized for my faux pas and asked him if he would like to go out to dinner so I could repay him. It was decided we would have dinner at Doobie’s, a bar similar to Tritone. We enjoyed a decent meal (stuffed pork chops?) and afterwards I invited him back to my place to watch Fraggle Rock. Such a great pick up line, right? And we totally made out that night.  My roommate’s friend was sleeping on the couch and when I walked Patrick out, I slipped down the stairs causing my skirt to fly up. I was so embarrassed and got a nice bruise on my ass. But that did not stop Patrick from returning my calls. I think our next date was a First Friday art gallery crawl followed by food shopping and Patrick cooking dinner at his place (he definitely cooked pork chops which is funny because I didn’t really like pork chops but I do remember this meal being very delicious).

That May I moved into a place with 2 girlfriends and Patrick helped me move. He also helped assemble my Ikea bed with the aid of another one of my girlfriends. I did not have the right tools and suggested they use what I had, a pair of toe nail clippers. I totally suck at assembling furniture but Patrick loves it and does it well. Somehow they got the tools they needed and put my tiny bed together. This bed was a full sized bed with shelving underneath. It was narrow and tall, you had to climb up to get into it.

I can remember sharing that bed with Patrick and waking up in the night to find him pacing around the room because he couldn’t sleep in such a tiny bed and hot room (I had the middle room, the only window was a skylight so there wasn’t much air circulation).  To avoid sleeping in my bed, Patrick spent a lot of time driving from Temple to his place in Lansdowne, to my place in South Philly to pick me up and take me back to his place.  The traffic getting out to Lansdowne was often hellacious. We were both seeing other people and not looking for anything serious but he really went out of his way to spend time with me.

In August, Patrick went to Michigan for a friend’s wedding. He was to come back Friday and then we were spending the weekend at my friend’s cabin in the Poconos. During our time apart, I realized that I really wanted to only be with Patrick and had fallen in love with him. I’ll never forget that Friday, I had to go out to the distribution center in Gap, PA to help move some orders along (I was an internet correspondent for Urban Outfitters) and rode up with a coworker and two of our big bosses. I talked to them about Patrick and how we weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend and then came into work on Monday engaged. 

Patrick picked me up from work that Friday and we drove up to the Poconos in his little blue Tiburon. I really wanted to tell him that I loved him that weekend but we were in a cabin with 6 other people and sharing a room so it was hard to find any privacy. We managed to get some alone time in our room and out of nowhere, as if it was a total surprise even to Patrick, he said “Marry Me”. We had never talked about marriage and I honestly never thought I would get married (or have kids). But, marrying him made so much sense so I said yes without hesitation and professed my love.

We did not tell our friends that weekend. When we got back to Philly, I went to see Cirque de Soleil with a coworker and said to her “I think I am engaged”. I was in such a state of disbelief that I had to call Patrick to make sure we were really doing this.  When we told our cabin owning friend that we were engaged, he did the most incredible dance of joy, screaming and jumping up and down. He was (and still is) a drag queen and prone to a bit of drama but it was the best reaction we received. We asked him to be our flower girl and he was so excited to be involved in our big day. (Seeing a drag queen with a 6 foot beehive walk down the aisle on my crazy wedding day added a touch of desperately needed comic relief. My mom was so surprised and happy when she saw our flower girl!)

Patrick and I went ring shopping at Henri David’s which is the most amazing jewelry store I have ever visited. Once the rings were ready, Patrick was ready to propose again. He told me we were going back to Brigantine to visit our friends at the beach house where we met. We drove down the shore and when we were near Patrick got a “phone call” that our friends were running late. Patrick figured we could go to the beach (it must have been September) and wait for them at the wooden fort. While we were there, and I had no clue anything was fishy, Patrick pulled out a small felt pumpkin who was sporting a mustache and opened it to reveal my engagement ring. He asked me to marry him, I said yes, we had lunch nearby, then headed back to Philly.

That Halloween weekend we moved in together to a super cute place on Iseminger St. It was right around the corner from my old place, which I was going to miss terribly and felt bad for leaving. I had never imagined when I signed that two year lease back in May that I would soon be getting engaged. I hate moving and that was my 5th move in 15 months.  Also, moving is not really something you want to do Halloween weekend anyway.  A friend of mine, who lived the next street over, was hosting a Halloween party and we went totally exhausted. I wore a cardboard sign around my neck that said Lame and Patrick wore his Canada track jacket and went as “that famous Canadian athlete, you know the one”.

When we announced our engagement to my extended family at my Grandmother's birthday August 2004
It was kind of amazing when we first moved in together because all of our stuff seemed to merge together without much friction. We both had a passion for music and had very few repeating albums in our collection. I owned some Tom Waits he did not have and he had a few Ani DiFranco albums I did not have. Since Patrick had been living on his own for so long, he had all the necessities and I was able to add a touch of color and whimsy (cause everyone needs a 5 foot inflatable Screamer from Edvard Munch’s painting).    
That first place was really nice, exposed brick wall, nice grey carpets, a decent kitchen, and we really made it our home. We set up a tree for Christmas (but I think we may have opened our presents in bed). New Year’s Day we hosted an open house. We lived right off Broad St., so anyone checking out the Mummer’s parade was welcome to stop in for food and drinks.  Patrick and I really enjoyed having friends over at that house. Patrick was (and still is) a great cook and I was (and still am) a great dishwasher.

I have a random happy memory of Patrick from our time before getting married (at least I think we weren’t married yet) when I visited him on campus at Temple University. Patrick handed me an inter-office envelope which had another envelope with a fake postage stamp and mice drawn on the outside. Inside it was stuffed with white chocolate Reese's Big Cups. They were a limited edition and he must have bought out the store because they were my favorite (I wish I could still find them!).  One of the things that made me fall for Patrick was the fact that he was really one of the good guys, nice, smart, caring, patient, and thoughtful.

Patrick would read me bedtime stories, he read me the entire Harry Potter series or he would make up stories about the adventures of Sir Prancealot who was a Pomeranian with a heart of gold. I always joke that Patrick is the nice Midwestern man and I am the Philadelphia bitch. Patrick got to know the names of the shopkeepers in our neighborhood while I never bothered. I married a man with great intelligence who never makes me feel dumb even when I tell him I have no clue what the hell he is talking about. Patrick also has a great sense of humor and understands my twisted sense of humor. Making him laugh is one of my favorite things. There have been nights in bed spent giggling that have brought me to the point of laughing and crying.

I love my husband, our marriage, our family, our son. I feel so lucky to have him and Orion in my life.  Everything in my life lead to me meeting and marrying Patrick and for that I am grateful and everything that happened after we got married lead me to Orion. Patrick and I are often amazed at this life we created. The feeling of love we share for our son is truly amazing. I am sorry that our wedding day and honeymoon did not happen as we had planned them and that our first couple of years were so hard. But those experiences brought us closer in the end and strengthen our love.  Together we can face whatever comes our way and it is you, Patrick, (and Orion) that I always want by my side.   

Bridal Shower August 2005

1 comment:

  1. I heart this so much. Thanks for sharing the lovely ooey, gooey parts of your love!