The year was 2002, I was a senior in college at the University of Arizona and not-so-much on the prowl for my true love, but living it up with whomever asked me out and I thought was cute. Having recently gotten out of a relationship with a man (also named Jason) who had a 3-year-old daughter (whom I think I fell in love with instead of the man), I just wanted to have fun before reality of the real world hit. J and I met in January, a couple days before his birthday - January 28th. Actually, we met at a bar. Doesn't that sound awful?! But truth be told, we had met before that. First off, J worked at the Safeway where my parents shopped while he was in high school and while I don't remember him from there, we are sure our paths crossed at least a couple times. Second, he also worked at another bar that I frequented in college due to one of my BFFs working there called Maloney's. And thirdly, at the time we met, J was very good friends with a guy who I happened to work at Outback Steakhouse with his wife. (He was actually in their wedding, but sadly we have drifted from them since). They were our age so all of us would go out sometimes together. Therefore, I had seen J before and knew of him...however, at the time they all called him Rowe because there were 2 Jason's in the crowd and it made things easier to keep track of.
Anyhow, back to the bar. So it's January 2002 and all of us had headed out to this bar in Tucson called Gentle Ben's. Kinda cool place...restaurant below, open-air bar up-top with lots of dancing (coincidentally, before the bar was there it was an apartment and my Dad lived there in college for a bit...random!). The crowd that I knew was there, including J and we were all chatting as we usually did. We had both just returned from getting drinks at the bar, and the entire crowd disappeared to go dance. Having just gotten fresh drinks, we weren't ready to go do that yet so we started chatting and flirting. Mind you, in the back of my head and as I had thought previously, I am thinking "this guy is way to hot to be into me!" (Only later to learn that he had thought I was too hot to be into him...funny!). We ended up chatting for quite some time, when his ex shows up and kinda elbowed her way into our conversation. I gave him my number, thinking he would never use it, and headed out with my girlfriends for another bar. End of story...?
The next day was Sunday and despite my better judgment, I was in search of him. So knowing a friend was dating his roommate, I called her for his roommate's number. His roommate was excited that I was calling because he thought I was hunting him down, and sounded a little forlorn that I was looking for J. He gave me J's cell number and I called it, having been told he was at a BBQ with friends. No answer. Hung up. Tried a couple hours later. Left a message that I would love to meet him at Maloney's (the bar he worked at) that evening. All in all, I think I called him 15 times, but only left 1 message. He finally called back and agreed to meet me there. I might have had to work that afternoon, but I can't recall exactly. Anyway, met him there with his roommate and it was fun. He asked me to dinner for later that week. I agreed. YAY for me!
Wednesday, our dinner date. He came to pick me up. At the time, he was driving a HUGE orange pick-up truck that he had re-built and I was driving an ES300 Lexus that I had "bought" from my Mom. Quite the difference! So when he drove up and saw my car, he got a little nervous about where I wanted to go to dinner. I'm not huge on the expensive restaurants with little food, so I recommended this place called Oregano's in Tucson that I love. Fun atmosphere, lots of food and not expensive. Think, little Italian pizza joint. Anyway, we had a wonderful time at dinner and then headed to the movies. Classic, dinner and a movie. Beforehand, stopped somewhere to get a drink while waiting for the movie to start. We were supposed to see Kate and Leopold (classic date movie right?) but it was sold out, so we saw....Black Hawk Down! It was the only other thing playing! Good God! Talk about a bloodbath. Not the ultimate date movie. But we made it through and because there were lots of tense moments, there was plenty of time for hand holding and squeezing! We survived! He drove me home, and kissed me goodnight and I swear in that moment I knew. When he left and Melslaw (my BFF and roomie) came home, I told her I was going to marry him. She, of course being of sound mind, didn't believe me.
We continued to talk and go out. A couple days later, we were set to go out and I came down with food poisoning. He actually came over and watched movies with me. Very sweet and very odd to such a new relationship. Then his birthday showed up. So I cooked him dinner and he was excited when he came over. It was good, and then we went out to meet up with his friends. Melslaw had told him that he wasn't allowed to drink too much, because the bathroom was by her room and she wasn't prepared to hear the aftermath. Off we went. At the bar with the people that had introduced us, they were buying him all kinds of drinks and unbeknownst to him, doubling up on him. So when he thought he was getting 7 and 7s, he was really getting 14 and 14s! Needless to say, about 2/3rds into the night, he was hammered. I took him back to my place, as I had class the next day, and I swear he was in the bathroom all night getting sick. Poor J and poor Melslaw! I stayed up and tried to help with water and bread where I could, but he kept telling me to go to sleep. I think we finally went to sleep about 3 am, and I had classes the next day. When we woke, he was better but in no way 100%. He drove me to class in my car, and then took it while I was away and washed it, then picked me back up after class. Again, very sweet.
This whole story has taken place in about 2 weeks! We have both seen each other sick and are still sticking around. However, I still am calling him Rowe and not Jason. So we go to dinner at Old Chicago one night and after he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes, he also asks me to call him Jason, and not Rowe. (Let me explain something here....I had this thing in college about names and karma. I refused to date someone who had the same name as someone I had previously dated. So at this point, I didn't even KNOW his first name! Were you paying attention...at the beginning I said that the guy before him that I dated was named Jason! My heart dropped when he told me this! But, since I was so far in already and falling hard and fast, there wasn't much to do, but stick with it. Theory went out the window!) So now we are together.
Fast forward a few months. He asked me what I was doing after college and I told him, point-blank, "moving to Colorado" for an advertising job. Without missing a beat, he told me he would go with me. End of story there. He was the one who wanted to meet my parents first. He was the one that made ME go up to see them almost every Sunday for lunch, at one point even cooking for them! Oh man, am I falling fast now.
Now we are in March. At this point, school is getting close to being over and I am hardly sleeping at my place anymore. J would wake up and go to working (having to be there about 7 am) and when I woke up I would get up, make the bed, leave him a note, and let myself out - with my key to his apartment! One morning, as I was driving home, it started to snow. Now snow in Arizona is a big deal. Time literally stands still because it doesn't happen often. Snow in March in Arizona is a M-I-R-A-C-L-E! My cell phone rings and it is J and he wanted to know if it was snowing where I was. I said yes and we chatted for a moment. He said, "I love you, bye." And hung up. He had NEVER said that before. I immediately called him back and said,"did you say what I think you just said?" He answered yes and I repeated it back to him. I knew that I loved him, but didn't want to be the first to say it. Let's just say I floated on air that day.
So then I went on Spring Break with my girl friends on a cruise through the Mediterranean and had a blast, leaving him at home to work. I was in bed early every night while they partied hard and the cruise was great. Then comes graduation and of course J is there. I have met his parents by this point. They like me, I like them but am intimidated by them. But they are way nice.
After graduation, my parents, some of their friends, and I went on a trip to the Grand Cayman Islands (if you haven't been, add it to your list...it is awesome!). We are gone for about 10 days, maybe 2 weeks. I called J a couple times, and it was pricey so keep the phone calls short. But 1 I remember in particular. I had seen a tanzanite ring that was pretty inexpensive as far as tanzanite goes and wanted to buy it. My parents were funding a trip for my Dad and myself to fly to CO for an interview I had and to find a place for J and I to live. My Mom told me that if I purchased the ring, it would show them that I had plenty of money to fund the trip myself. I didn't buy it and was upset with her. So I called J to vent and told him about the situation and he said the strangest thing to me..."you'll run out of fingers." I didn't get it at the time, but looking back it makes sense.
Anyway, the night before we left Grand Cayman, I had this dream that I was meeting all of J's family and everyone I met kept telling me I was late. I would ask, "late for what?" and they would say for my wedding and give the day. The last person that told me I was late and the day before I woke up, happened to be the day we flew home. We got home around 11 pm, so after I told the crowd we were with the story, we joked that J wouldn't have much time to pop the question because we would only be home an hour before midnight. We get home and J had been watching my parents' house, so he picked us up from the airport and drove them back there, then I followed him back to his place in my car that was at my folks house. I'm dog tired. I change clothes and crawl into bed, and say goodnight. I slide my hand under my pillow and run into a velvet box! I'm awake immediately! I pop up with the box in my hand and now J is sitting there with a huge smile on his face. I open the box to see the sparkliest ring ever (he says I closed it then and reopened it, but I don't remember that) and said, "is this what I think it is?" He then asked me to marry him and I recall screaming "yes!" Looked at the clock and it was 11:50 pm. He made the deadline of my dream. How crazy is that! I called Melslaw and told her. She was excited. I called the friend who had introduced us, and she already knew because J had called her for ring advice, but picked it out on his own...having picked it out because it looked like a flower and was the sparkliest ring out there. (My nickname at Outback in college was "Sparkles" because I always had glitter on my eyes when I worked). I don't think I slept that night.
He got up the next day to go to work and I (still having not slept very much) was up at well. Hit Starbucks on the way to my parents' house. Who were very surprised to see me at 8 am! My Mom asked me what I was doing their that early, and all I could say was, "I'm engaged!" and show off my ring. Both of them went ballistic having loved J. It was a pretty crazy moment! I don't think I ate much that week. I was so excited! I even remember dressing up a lot because with this beautiful ring on my finger, I felt the need to be decked out! Craziness, craziness!
We still had to tell his parents. Went to his sister's house for July 4th celebration and decided to tell them there. His sister was happy, as was her husband, I guess. Mid-party, we took his parents outside alone and J told them he had proposed and was moving to CO to be with me. They weren't all that excited. They tried to be, but he was moving away and that didn't make them happy. We tried to see them as much as possible before we left, but it was hard because they don't live in Tucson, they are about 2 hours away. They got used to the idea.
Beginning of August, we got a Uhaul and a trailer and with the help of my parents, moved to Colorado where I had found an apartment with my Dad's help and some friends of my parents that already lived there. It worked out almost perfectly...there were some slips, but we all survived. They left, and we were alone. J immediately got a job because he is a mechanic and at the time it was very easy to do that. I started searching for a "real" job, and after about a month, went into the Outback up there and was quickly hired. I finally got a real job and started to be a growed up. Yada yada, life went well. We fought a bit and I questioned whether we were going to make it, but being that neither one of us knew anyone else, we had to get through it. I think it made our relationship 10 times stronger and I wouldn't change it for the world.
After "living in sin" (we were engaged, but not married and living together) for a while, we started to think about planning the wedding which would be in Tucson of course since that was where we had both grown up mostly. In that, we also decided that if we were going to get all these presents, it was better to have a house that we could make them work in, rather than a rental townhouse. So the house hunt began. I think it truly only lasted a month or so and pretty soon (after a couple different realtors) we found one and put an offer down. We got it. We closed on a Wednesday and on that Friday, my boss called me into her office and laid me off. It was horrid! We had literally just signed the papers and I freaked. Thankfully, I got the remainder of the month in severance (which was about 3 weeks) and looked for another job.
We moved into the house and the day we moved in, each one of our new neighbors came to say hello and bring us cookies or a plant, or something. After the 4th neighbor, I looked at J and said, "where did we move....Mayberry?" But those neighbors became some of our best friends and allies. They taught us how to care for our house. They taught us so much compassion. And they taught us parenting skills...that I will someday use! They all had kids ranging from 6-13. (We will get to see them when we go to CO and I can't wait!) I got another job rather quickly and everything was working.
Wedding planning, wedding planning and more wedding planning. Do you know how "fun" it is to plan a wedding in a different state?! OY! We did it. Took
The week I was supposed to leave for Tucson, I had an awful time at work. My boss went off the deep end. I had been corresponding with another agency at the time and I emailed them to ask if they now had any openings. Turns out, the assistant had just quit THAT DAY and they wanted an interview. So 2 days before we are leaving for AZ to get hitched, I had an interview. I loved the job and the ladies and prayed it worked. They told me they would probably call me while we were in AZ with an answer. Bummer, I wanted to know before I left. Strike that, the next day I got a call that they wanted to hire me. I gladly accepted and the following day, the day I am leaving for my wedding, I handed my boss my resignation letter - giving the 2 weeks I was to be gone as my 2 week notice since they already had a temp lined up. It was awesome. I got to leave for my wedding, knowing that I had a job I was looking forward to coming back to. Was I happy girl!
We drove down to AZ. Got through everything and had a lovely time. The one hitch was one of my bridesmaids had to have emergency surgery in Denver and couldn't make it. I took it in amazing stride and we continued to go forward, not worrying about replacing her as it just wasn't worth the hassle. Everything else went off without a hitch and it was great. That day was 6 years ago today. There are a ton of pictures and I have a couple posted here. One of the things that made me laugh was when they "dressed up" my truck (Yellow Xterra), they also found my Dad's truck and on the back window wrote "My daughter just got married." It was classic!
We drove back to CO a couple days later and our lovely neighbors, had done a treasure hunt in our house with champagne and glasses waiting in the fridge and fun decorations all around. So very sweet and awesome. Now you know why I love these folks so! Well, partly...that is just a taste of how great they are. In our few days off after the wedding, we adopted Sierra as our wedding present to ourselves, so this day rings special for her too. Well, maybe next Tuesday is the day we got her...but you get the picture.
Obviously there is more to the story because we moved back to AZ, but I think this post has gotten long enough. Another day...hopefully this weekend or before we leave at least.