Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Half a lifetime.

^This guy turns 32 today! 32. How did that happen? It's oh so cliche, but it really does feel like we were just 16...like yesterday. But NO. That was 16 years ago! Not yesterday.

This birthday makes it official. Joe and I have spent HALF of our lives together as a couple (as long as you don't count those heart wrenching 24 hours during which we were "broken up" our junior year of high school;-). From this point forward we will have spent more of our lives together as a couple than we did single. I can hardly wrap my mind around that fact. Plus it makes me feel OLD. And who wants to be old?! Not I. 

But let's not dwell on that. Instead I want to take this opportunity to share a little bit about us. Mostly how we becames us. Our history. Because history is important. And fun! And sometimes even a little funny looking...

Technically Joe and I first met in elementary school. We went to the same school for the third through fifth grades. However we were never in the same class and have no recollection of each other. (This is the same school Isaiah now attends. Talk about crazy!) But there is proof. School year books don't lie folks! 

Fast forward a few years - specifically to the end of ninth grade - and our paths would once again cross. On a school field trip to a local amusement park. Joe and I attended different junior high schools BUT both our schools were on this field trip. I very distinctly remember the first time I saw Joe...in front of the carousel in a white tank top and jeans with his hair slicked back taking a picture with his girlfriend. He was cool! (I was NOT.) And I thought he was really cute! He doesn't remember me from that day at all. But I suppose he was a bit distracted by his girlfriend and all. Clearly it wasn't love at first sight. 

Starting in tenth grade we once again attended the same school. And we were in the same crowd of friends...his girlfriend was one of my friends. At the end of that school year my friend/Joe's girlfriend had a "Sweet 16" birthday party at her house. Joe and I both attended. At the end of the party I called my mom to pick me up and waited in the driveway. After a half hour of waiting and a no show by my mom I decided I better call her again. And since this was back in the day before cell phones that meant I had to go into Joe's girlfriend's house and use the phone. I was hesitant to go back because I knew Joe was the only one left at the party...and I didn't want to interrupt them. As I was walking around the house to the back door, I saw Joe and his girlfriend through a window. And yes, I totally stopped and spied on them. Just call me TOM. Peeping Tom! 

And this is what I saw. Joe was cleaning up after the party. Throwing away paper plates and cups. Clearing the party debris. Amongst the mess Joe found a birthday card. He stopped his cleaning efforts and read her the card! And it was in that moment that my crush on Joe began. I remember thinking "he's cute and sweet and he cleans! I want a boyfriend like that." (Yep, I was attracted to his ability to clean!) 

I never told anyone about my crush on Joe. After all he was my friend's boyfriend! And I assumed nothing would come of it. (Wrong) Plus I spent the summer after tenth grade in Montana working at (one of my) favorite summer camps. I was gone for 8 weeks during which time I had NO contact with Joe (or his girlfriend). THE day I returned home Joe called me to invite me to an end of summer party at his house. It was at this party that I learned that Joe had broken up with his girlfriend. He was SINGLE! Woohoo! Of course I was to timid to actually do anything except dream of becoming Joe's girlfriend. Until...

A couple weeks after the party I received my second ever phone call from Joe!!!! (<-- that is how excited/nervous I was)  This time he asked me out on a date...to a Twins baseball game. I said "maybe" even though what I meant was "YES! Absolutely yes!"  What can I say?! I was nervous. He then convinced me to go with him (though I didn't actually need any convincing).  So there you have it it. The very beginning of us. 

For the record our first date, half a lifetime ago, consisted of a "pasta party" (ie a spaghetti dinner the night before a cross country meet with the ENTIRE team...he was a runner and I was a team manager. Cute. And dorky, eh?), the Twins game and then we went to his house to watch a movie...and eat candy. Lots of candy! 

^The high school version of Joe & Bear! 

And the poor guy has been cleaning up after me ever since that fateful fall day in 1999! And I still think he's cute...especially while cleaning.

Updated to add: The bottom right picture in the collage makes me laugh...for many reasons. But mainly because one of the reasons Joe was first attracted to me was my "curly" hair. HA! It was a perm. A very bad perm at that. My hair is THE definition of stick straight.

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