Thursday, May 24, 2012

Retracing My Steps......

            As the big day approaches, we’re into single digits now. It brings me back to habit that I have in regards to figuring out just when my moment changed to put me into the spot where I am at right now.  

            I suppose you could start back in February 2011 when I came across this photo on E-harmony. The minute I saw that smile, I was lost. I distinctly remembering left-clicking the mouse only to think to myself,” She’s out of my league but it let’s give it a shot.” By some miracle, Kim responded and here we are. In two days, we about to become husband and wife.
Isn;t she adorable?

            But, in retrospect, it actually goes back farther than this.

            This is my roommate, Dan. He just moved out and even though I am so excited about my new life with Kim and the kids, I am a little sad to see Dan go. He was the best roommate I’ve ever had and I’ve had some great roommates.

Not only is Dan the most charming individual, I have ever met; he is also one of the kindest. In our three years living as roommates, Dan was an amazing friend.   A few months prior to meeting Kim, Dan set me straight.

            I had dated a few times but without much luck so I just gave up. I was pretty much content with just trying to get my life back after being sick for so long. Translation: I stuck around my bedroom in pajamas while watching reruns of Scrubs. Dan came up to me one evening and talked with me about my current state.

            When you are sick for a long time, it’s easy to get content with just laying around the house all the time and not keeping your social life in motion. Dan pointed out just how well I was doing and it was time to get back into the real world. Basically, I was hiding from the real world. I was.

The effects of kidney disease had made me drop about 6o pounds but that was the only positive after-effect. People used to joke how I walked just like the Big Guy with big meandering strides. That had been replaced by a slow, shuffling limp. My energy levels were also pretty low and the combination forced me to be embarrassed in front of the ladies. Between Dan pushing me and a few others making jokes about my constant wearing of sweats plus an addiction to Tosh 2.0, I realized a change was needed.

            My first few years here, I was always on the move. Between Master’s work and ghost touring, downtown was my place. Yet, here I was sitting on my bed and I couldn’t remember a single name of all the people I used to run around with. I also couldn’t remember the last time I went out on a date.

            Meeting people has never been an issue for me but dating had become a more difficult subject to broach. I had run into the 40s Single Wall, I had heard spoken of in hushed whispers. I had several friends that knew many ladies but...say it with me, folks. Everyone was married or in a relationship or gay.

            I had tried some of those free online dating sites. Well, you get what you pay for. No luck there though I did make a really good friend out of it.

            Part of my problem was the romantic in me kept waiting for someone to drop in my lap and it wasn’t happening. Dan had suggested during our talk to try a paid dating site and I was hesitant.

            A few years before I was married to Satan’s step-daughter, I had tried with some glorious mistakes. After meeting the coked out, bi-sexual, hair metal keyboardist, I was paired with a dwarf. Yes, I said dwarf.

            We met at a coffee shop somewhere in downtown Atlanta. It was the worst date of my life. Oddly, it had nothing to do with size or appearance. She just was a mean, chain-smoking dwarf. At one point, I even tried to talk about our pets because everyone loves chatting about their dogs, right? Nope. My attempts to foster conversation were met with another lit cigarette under some low muttering about her”goddamned dog.” To say that I was not solid on the idea on online dating would be an understatement.

So I began to consider online dating again (but not under any certain terms). Then I remembered my old buddy from YHC, Stuart Ivie. Stu is a neat guy and great friend. He went to Young Harris right after me and was very involved in Quantrek and the honor society that the Big Guy was advisor to. Stu had also lost his dad early on so he understood what our family was going through and was right there beside us.
Stuart Ivie, the Original Dirty Jobs Guy

Stuart had also seemed to hit that Single’s Wall I speak of shortly after my divorce. I remembered how Stuart had talked about using E-Harmony for an online dating resource. He was very pleased with it and even found his soon-to-be-wife. Tiffany is great and I can see how the two make a great team. As I type this, I am happy to share that not only they are married but they have a lovely son, John.

It’s funny because looking back; I had no plans on trying to settle down. My plan was got out with several people and get used to the idea of dating again. I figured a few years into this I might find a not crazy girl to date monogamously. Funny how life happens. I met a few very nice people but then I saw Kim's picture and I was done for.  Here I am about to head down the aisle, not just as a groom but also a father. Didn’t see it coming but I love every moment of it.

But where Saturday began goes back even farther. Our upcoming wedding goes back farther the Dan pushing me and Stuart meeting Tiffany. I now realize it goes back to my parents.
Halloween 1987: GI Joe take Punk Rock Jan to Lunch at YHC Dining Hall

No matter how great my sister and I remember Bob and Jan together, I realize it was not a perfect relationship yet I learned so much from both of them. They went through a lot and were able to keep it all together. Mom and Dad always displayed genuine love between them. . I know that I would be in another bad relationship or stuck in my previous one had it not been for the Big Guy and Mom to show me how a relationship is not just about love but also friendship.

As Mary and I grew up in that house that is now a parking lot next to the Young Harris Dining hall, we unconsciously watched our parent interact on a daily basis. How my father could turn from serious to silly in under three seconds at the dinner table has popped up more times that it should at a certain Ms. Wade’s House in Richmond Hill. Over breakfast, my parents could sit at the kitchen table to plan out their weekly work and social obligations/responsibilities with the same precision Hannibal stormed the Alps. They were in-synch with each other.

It was late summer of 1989, Mom, Dad, and I went to Sapelo Island to scout it out as a possible Quantrek destination. They were ahead of me as we walked off the ferry. To this day, I clearly visualize watching them stroll hand-in-hand off the dock only to slide up next to each. At that point, Mom and Dad walked arms around each other with their hands in the other’s back pockets. I t may have been the sweetest thing I have ever seen. I remember saying to myself, “I want that.”

And thanks to listening to the people who are in my life, I got it.

Come out to Forsyth Park at 10 am on Saturday to see for yourself. I’ll be the one with big grin next to the really beautiful girl by the fountain.

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