The Back-Up

Most first dates don’t last 48 hours. Most second don’t, either.

On our first date the subject of flowers came up. As in, what was my favorite kind. Which, is a tricky thing, because I am mostly allergic to them.

Carnations. Daisies. A limited list, I joked, perhaps, plants were a better choice for me.

The scene of our second date: an opening door, a smiling Jeff, overnight bag at his feet and hands behind his back.

“I hope I got this right. I brought you these,” he said, pulling around pink and white carnations.

My first. No date had ever brought me flowers, so I was excited and happy and thought it was super cute that he remembered (or tried to remember) which flowers I could tolerate.

I grabbed them, flung myself into his arms and stayed there so long, he finally said, “Should we go in, maybe?”

He turned for his bag; I went hunting for a vase. I didn’t have one because… flowers, right?

We ended up putting them into a spaghetti pot. As I was still beaming, Jeff said, again, “I wasn’t sure, so just in case, I brought you this…”

Now, an important part of the impact of the back-up gift was the way it was presented.

Held out as an extra offering, in one cow-milking, super-sized hand an … also unusually large… squash.

We cooked it for dinner. No. Jeff cooked it. I’d never cooked a squash before. I thought squash came in cans.

But, he stuffed it with sausage and peppers and onions, using croutons as bread crumbs, and a little maple syrup and  it was divine.

For Jeff’s funeral my mother prepared a speech, and had a poem she wanted to read.

The poem ended up being the one printed on the back of the funeral service leaflet. I didn’t request that; neither did she.

She read it aloud, anyway, and went on to tell the packed church of family, friends, coworkers and business associates that following our second, I had called her to tell her all about it.

My mom said she heard something in my voice that made her ask, “What’s so special about this guy?”

“He makes me happy every second I am with him,” I answered without hesitation. “ He makes me laugh.”

“… and Mom,” I said, “ He brought me flowers! … and a squash!”

If I had to pinpoint ‘the’ moment, even though at the time, I didn’t know it was ‘the’ moment,  that would be it.

He brought me a squash.

 Quote for the Week:

2015 11 24 the thought that counts gift of squash jakorte

Enjoy This Weeks Discovery Links:

Stuffed: http://emerils.com/124512/baked-butternut-squash-italian-sausage-stuffing

Sweet: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robin-miller/roasted-butternut-squash-recipe.html

Simple: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/learn-cook-roasted-butternut-squash

Tangle 46

I should mention, Jeff had optimistically come prepared with a one-night overnight bag. Staying another evening required a quick load of laundry.

As he hunkered down on my orange and brown plaid, second-hand couch for a second night, my phone rang, again.

“Still going,” I reported before she could ask. “I take it that’s good,” she replied. “Yeah,” I giggled, “Oh, yeah.”

The click just happened, pretty much passing unnoticed because it was so easy and fun.
I didn’t realize it was bells and whistles and lightning striking, until late Sunday afternoon, when Jeff mentioned he probably should be going.

I’ve never been a 100% of the time person. I inherited this trait from my father, who wouldn’t hesitate to stand up at a party in his own home and announce, “I’m going to bed.”  I don’t think he actually ever went to bed, but it absolutely signaled the start of the end of the party. He would, though, actually leave someone else’s house promptly following his announcement that he would. I have to give him props on that, though. Many times, I’ve had enough and quietly slip away. I’m sure it’s rude, but I’m never up for the fuss.

My temperament followed suit. At some point, dates and friends, sorority sisters and school work groups would be told it’s time to go. Wouldn’t matter which of us had to do the going, I’d just hit the “enough” togetherness point. Without saying exactly so, I’d indicate by standing, starting to straighten my abode or gather my things to leave, indicating, “we’re done here” or “I’m done here.”

Jeff was my “here-and-now.” I  hadn’t given much thought that it would end, that he would be leaving, going back to his life and away from mine. bringing up something I’d never imagined; tears. I did not want this to end. I did not want him to go. I was truly scared I might not see him again. It seemed I too easily wrangled a promise that we would see each other next weekend. I wasn’t sure I believed him. I felt ridiculously silly when I wasn’t able to stop the tears.

But, that’s when he kissed me, wiping my wet cheeks with his thumbs, saying we would see other again. And, I believed him.

So much so, that at just 46 hours after our first date had begun, we got a bit… tangled up; um, horizontally.

At almost exactly 48 hours after our first date began, I walked with him to the apartment building door, kissed him, and announced “I miss you already.” He gave me a big belly laugh, a tight pick-me-up hug, and the sweetest kiss, and said he’d be back, for sure.

At a few minutes past 48 hours since our first date began, I knocked on my neighbor’s door.

Quote for the Week:

2015 11 17 ok to say im done better not to feel i want to jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Needing Alone; http://introvertdear.com/2015/07/14/introverts-alone-time-science-marti-olsen-laney/

What Dad Knew, in slides: http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/advice/g134/how-to-end-a-party-0109/?

A Relatively Recent Phenomenon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating

Couch Point

Our meal was done, but weren’t, so we decided to go somewhere else. At one of those popular Friday night chain restaurants, we ordered whiskey sours and a piece of chocolate cake with ice cream. I think we invented the dessert and drinks dating experience. We liked it so much, we ended up doing it a lot; almost every weekend from then on.

I decided to pay for this part of our date, and when I pulled up my miniscule cross-shoulder zip-bag, Jeff practically jumped in his seat. I laughed because his expression was somewhere between quizzical and comical as he blurted out how unusually small my purse was, and enthusiastically revealed he was quite fond of paisley.

He was also quite fond of plaid and if he wasn’t wearing a Dale Earnhardt shirt, he would most likely be wearing plaid.

When our first institution of drinks and dessert was over, we still weren’t done talking or smiling or laughing. It was getting late, and Jeff lived an hour and a half away. So, I agreed he could sleep on my couch, and only my couch, and that he shouldn’t be expecting anything else, and that my neighbor knew about our date.

As soon as she’d heard my door close, my neighbor called to ask how my date went. I told her it was still going and that I’d talk to her in the morning.

Saturday morning, we went to breakfast, did a little antique shopping, and went back to my apartment to make tuna sandwiches for lunch. A soon as she heard my door close, my neighbor called to ask how my date had gone, and I told her it was still going and that I’d catch her later.

Later, we went out to a movie, had dinner at one spot, and dessert and drinks at another.

30-ish hours into our first date, we were back at the couch point, again.

Quote for the Week:

2015 11 10 New relationships require invested time spent learning about jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Persian Pickles: http://www.paisleypower.com/#!history-of-paisley/c9ar

Dessert & Drinks in Columbus (road-trip?): http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/blog/index.php/2015/09/02/great-spots-for-after-dinner-drinks-and-dessert/

Purse-onally: http://365tests.com/style-tests/purse-onality-which-bag-should-you-tote/

The Red Truck Clueless

Ok, so I was throwing my anti-shine powder into my paisley purse, unbuckling my belt and sitting back thinking I’d go in a few, talk to the hostess, and provide my normal this-is-weird-but-I’m-on-an-internet-date spiel.

Only, as previously mentioned, I never got the chance.

A red truck pulled in and parked, and I thought, “Ok. Here we go…”

A man got out.

I got out.

A woman got out.

And, there I was, standing with a nice-to-meet-you smile plastered on my face wondering if I should stop that or not, and how weird it would look if I did, or didn’t. Or how much weirder it would look if I just got back in my car, as opposed to following them in with a smile, or without.

I hadn’t completely run through all the possibilities, which I’m sure I could have spun around in my mind until I was so dizzy with un-decision I would just have to get back in my car and sit down.

But, I was saved from that scenario. Another red truck pulled in, coming to rest one car and two empty spaces away.

Awkward paralyzation was a thing, even before things were things.

So was gravitational pull, or first-sight familiarity, or whatever made me head straight toward the man who got of out that truck.

We met just a little past the middle, closer to his ride than mine.

“Jeff?” I asked.

“Jodi?” he asked.

We broke out in nods and smiles.

I’m here to swear, he said it.

If he was here, he’d swear I said it.

He might be right, but truly, it was so uncharacteristically not me that perhaps I’m still just too amazed to concede.

However, since we both heard it, and both thought it was a good idea, it happened.

“Do you believe in hugs at first sight?”

So, that’s what we did. And I tell people, “I still don’t know what happened, but he took my hand never let go.”

As we walked into the pub, as we walked to a booth, as we sat down across from each other and tried to talk over the Friday night din and loud, musical pumping noise, he held on.

Rather than leaning halfway in across the table to hear each other, still holding my hand Jeff swung around to my side of the booth.

Our waitress came around and took our arrangement in stride. She also took our identical drink orders, left menus and had to come back around a few times until we ordered two appetizers.

I can’t tell you what we talked about. I can tell you, we never stopped talking.

And that Jeff complimented me on the one thing I never would have expected him to.

Quote for the Week:

Sometimes, the sheer delight of unexpected draws 11 2 15

Enjoy the Week’s Discovery Links:

The Color Chart: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/14/ford-reveals-which-colors-engines-are-popular-and-where/

How You Hold: http://national.deseretnews.com/article/3352/The-way-you-hold-hands-with-your-partner-says-something-about-your-relationship.html

The Opposite Advantage: http://elitedaily.com/dating/attract-8-reasons-date-polar-opposite/918218/