Thursday, December 31, 2009

Catching Up...

The holidays are soooo crazy - I just realized that I haven't posted anything since the middle of November! And because it has been so long since I've updated anything, you just know this is going to be a l-o-n-g, I know there are a bunch of people who check in every once in awhile, and want to know how things are going. So this is the catch-up post. Not like ketchup - catch up. As in getting caught up. So here goes:

First, I have to share the coolest message KirKo sent me for Thanksgiving (I was sick, and it was pretty uneventful, other than his text). I woke up, and the light on my phone was blinking to tell me I had a message. I turned it on, and like always, got that little smile in my heart when I saw it was from my guy. Then I read it. It about brought tears to my eyes. This is what it said:

"I am thankful for timing and ditto and me dos. I am thankful for hand holding and kissing and countdowns. I am thankful for the feeling in my stomach when I first see you. I am thankful that I have found someone that I used to only dream about. I am thankful that we are the people in the story that we love to tell so much. I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU! I LOVE YOU SWEETHEART! Happy Thanksgiving. KirKo."

How awesome is he? Answer: Way.

We were supposed to wait until Christmas for him to come back out, but 37 days was just too long to wait, so he ended up coming out the weekend of December 7. It was, like always, wonderful. We went to Christmas Village, among other things, and that's where this picture was taken:

I love this photo because we both look so dang happy - probably because we were! Well, Kirk looks a little cold - probably because it was - but he was such a trooper! He hung out with the kids and the family and on Sunday, before he left, we spent the Best. Hour. Ever. together, just talking and stuff. I just can't say enough good things about him.

Anyway, that brings me to Christmas. It was great - best ever, in fact - just very busy. Kirko got in around 4:30 PM on Christmas Eve, and from there we went straight to a family party in North Ogden. Well, we swung by home first and picked up my girls, and THEN headed for North Ogden! Kirk just hung out and made himself at home there - he seemed really comfortable, which was cool, because don'tcha just hate it when you have to worry about somebody and whether or not they're OK and stuff? I mean, you do it, anyway, when it's someone you care about, but it's nice to know that you don't have to do it, if something else should come up....

We came home around 8:00-ish, and played a couple of board games (even Bretten, who was only *mildly* sullen, played!) while we waited for my mom and dad to swing by - they always give us Christmas jammies the night before, so even Kirk got a pair this year. I think he was a little surprised to be included with that! After that, we sent the girls to bed, and Kirk helped me play Santa Claus - a first for him. He was so cute! We set out all the kids' gifts and stuffed stockings, etc., and then we went to bed, too.

Morning came all too quickly...I won't go into any of the gifts except to say that Santa was very good to all of us and that Kirk has exceptional taste. :)

After doing gifts at my house, we went to my Grandpa Bob's (Kirk keeps pretending to forget he's my grandpa, and calls him Uncle Bob, Field Marshall Bob, and even Sideshow Bob...) and had breakfast and more gifts. Then the girls went with the Ex's parents, and Kirk and I went back to my place.

While we were at my Grandpa's, though, and I was helping make OJ and stuff, Kirk held my 10-month-old niece on his lap and BS'd with my cousins, etc., like he's been a part of us forever. When I had a bit of a break, I tried to go get my niece to come see me for a minute, but she didn't want any part of me. She was just happy being Kirko's girl!! Hmmm....maybe it runs in the family?? HA!

Well, I said I wasn't going to go into detail about the gifts, but I have to tell this story so I have to give you at least this much background: Kirk did give me an absolutely gorgeous bracelet, presented very creatively around the neck of a stuffed bear, wrapped in a Crown whiskey bag (he is still a guy, after all!!).

I'd had a hard time getting the bracelet's clasp undone to get it off the bear, and then I couldn't get it done up right when I put it on when I was getting ready to go that morning...and we traditionally have champagne with breakfast on Christmas morning, anyway (I am saying that in my defense NOW...). So when we got home from Grandpa's around noon, I was tired from going to bed late, getting up early, helping in the kitchen, chasing kids, etc., so I took a nap. Of course I took off all my jewelry first, to get comfy, and stretched out....

Later that afternoon, Kirk said, "It's OK if you don't like your bracelet enough to wear it..." and I was like "OMG - what the @#$%! did I do with it?!?!" because I honestly couldn't remember what I had done with it!

So my first thought was, "Well, it's got to be with my watch and ring and stuff!" I went up to my room to look, but it wasn't there. I seriously thought I was going to puke as the panic set in! (Vomit is too polite of a word for the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach!!) I called my mom to see if anybody had seen it at Grandpa's house, and I looked everywhere in the house and car, and in all the gifts that we'd brought home from Grandpa's, etc. - and couldn't find it. I was about in tears - just absolutely *sick.*

And then Kirk said, "Did you look in your purse?" And I had already, but I figured I'd look one more I pretty much dumped my purse out on the floor, and there was the bracelet, in the bottom of my purse, thankfully. I about bawled in relief. Actually, a tear or two actually did escape....not so much for the dollar value or anything, but just because of the sentimental value, you know?

That evening, after my girls got home, we went down to my brother's house in Clinton and did more gifts and ate *again.* My mom and dad and little brothers found some gifts that Kirk really liked and I think it surprised him that they kind of spoiled him the way they did. My youngest brother gave him one of those vinyl stickers of the Peeing Calvin, with Calvin peeing on a Broncos logo (Kirk is a major Broncos fan), and my mom gave him a little Broncos snowman Christmas ornament and a Broncos nutcracker, along with some other things. My other brother gave him a Christmas beer glass filled with pistachios, I think - to tell you the truth, it was so chaotic with all the kids simultaneously ripping into their gifts, I'm really not positive!

The next day (Saturday) we took the twins to see "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" - *excellent* movie with surprisingly adult humor, even though it is a kids' show - and then went to see some old friends who were in town for the holidays that night. We went to another friend's party for a bit, and then just hung out at a dive bar in Layton for a couple of hours, just BS'ing and playing everything from Patsy Cline to Megadeth on the jukebox, so that was fun, too. Then the next day, he watched football and I pretty much napped all day, until it was time to take him to the airport.

When it came time to leave, Kirk left the nutcracker at my place, because he said he didn't want it to break in his bag on the way home, and it would just "be coming back to stay soon enough, anyway." I have quite a collection of nutcrackers that I call my Nutcracker Army, so I told him it couldn't join the army at my place until he joined the family, and he said, "That's fine. It'll happen soon enough!" BIG smiles from me at that one!!

So that's all the factual stuff. Here's the sappy stuff:

It is absolutely *great* when he is here. He fits in my house and my life so smoothly...I can't even describe just how...meant, I guess, it feels. Just so absolutely comfortable and right and...I don't know. I don't know how to describe it; it seems I lack sufficient or appropriate vocabulary to do it justice. And every time I have to send him back, it hurts worse. Seriously, like my heart has been ripped from my body and is no longer my own to do with as I will - it goes, instead, where he goes.

I have honestly never felt like this with anyone ever before. I have heard a few people describe it with their significant other, but I kind of think a lot - maybe even most? - people "settle" for something less. Something pretty good, maybe, but certainly less than this. I know I did before. I never felt about the Ex the way, over time, I came to realize I wanted to feel about somebody, and the Ex never felt the way I wanted someone to feel about me - at least that he was capable of demonstrating. Which isn't to say we had a bad marriage or whatever - in many ways, it was better than a lot of them. It was just never this, is all.

And he is such an absolutely good man - I just feel like I couldn't have chosen a better person to give my heart - or my love - to. He is respectful to me and my parents, down-to-earth with my extended family, and most importantly, good with my girls: patient and understanding with each of them in the ways they need. He listens to Cyd and lets her talk Pokemon with him, comments on her drawings, asks her questions, etc. He tries to draw Bretten out of her shell, tries to find things to compliment her on, and puts up with her cold shoulder. It's so funny - Bretten actually has to TRY to be ornery to him. It's like she catches herself warming up and being semi-nice and likable, and then is like, "Wait a minute!! What's this?!? Must....Remain....Crabby...."

And Mychael seems to quite like him and feel really comfortable with him. She layed in bed with us Sunday morning/afternoon and looked at a book with me, while Kirk lay next to me watching football on TV. Mychael and I laughed and took turns showing Kirk pictures we thought were funny, and it didn't feel awkward or weird at all. In fact, it felt so natural to me that I didn't even think twice about it until Kirk said something about it later!

In fact, she is so comfortable with him, that on the way into the movie Saturday afternoon, when Kirk just remarked casually, to no one in particular, "Geez, it's so much warmer here during the day than at night...." Mychael said to him, kind of sarcastically, "Uh, yeah. That might have a little something to do with the sun being out."

Kirk was such a good sport about it, Mychael and I just laughed! So on the way out of the theater, Kirk says the same thing back to her, sarcastically, "Gee, it's so much warmer during the day!" Mychael just went along with it and teased him back, saying, "I thought we cleared this up earlier - you know, the sun and all?" It was really cute.

Even the dog likes him. The morning after he left, Sarah came running into the bedroom, jumped up on the bed, sniffed his spot, then jumped down and ran around both sides of the bed, looking back at the bed all the while. Then she jumped back up and sniffed the bed again, then hopped off the bed, ran downstairs, and then came back up, again. Then, she sat in the doorway between the bathroom and bedroom and just stared at me like, "What'd you do with him?!"

What did I do with him? Sent him back to Phoenix, for now. What am I gonna do with him, though? Keep him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Was It ALWAYS Supposed To Be Like This?

First, a little business to get out of the way: the answer to last post's quiz was (trumpet blast) The Greater Evil!! A.K.A. Bretten. I know, I know, y'all are quite surprised. Not! Now for the real post:

I have been rolling this blog topic around in my head for several weeks now, and I hope I can do it justice. It’s about expectations, and not missing what you never knew you didn’t have, and stuff like that.

Let me just start by saying that I hate to always rag about my marriage. It seems like a lifetime ago, and I am in such a better place now, emotionally, mentally, physically – just about every "ly" you can think of! – that it seems a shame to keep bitching about it. However, it does make for an easy target...LOL!! In all reality, though, I have learned so much in the last year and a half or so, that I almost, almost feel like I owe the Ex a debt of gratitude. I look back now and I can't believe I stayed married for as long as I did. Not that it was all bad, all the time, because it wasn't...well, horrible, I guess...and if I hadn't, I wouldn't have my kids (although there are days when that’s not exactly working in its favor!). But the point I am trying to make is that the more I get to know Kirk, the more I begin to realize that the way my marriage was, wasn't necessarily the way a marriage should've - or could've - been, anyway.

Some examples:

Number 1: I had to go to an Army “family conference” meeting in LA over the weekend a few weeks ago. The only time I ever liked the Army was when I worked there, 23 years ago. I do like many individual soldiers, and support and appreciate them, 100%. After all, there is a definite need they fulfill, and I am glad somebody is willing to step up and do it. But the Army as an institution leaves something – a great, big, steaming pile of something! – to be desired, at least by me, personally. I just don't have the type of personality that can do the military scene without seriously chafing at not only the restrictions, but also the “jump first and ask questions later” mentality.

So here I am at this meeting, not only seething at the whole military structure of the thing, but also just gagging on all the flag-waving and self-congratulating that was going on. I honestly thought some arms were going to break from the contortions people were going through, just to pat themselves on the back for being such “heroes.” I’m sorry – I thought you actually had to do something to earn the title of hero, not marry it or claim it because it came with your beret or something.

I listened to Army spouse after Army spouse talk about the honesty and commitment and integrity of “their” soldiers, and contrasted it in my mind with the experiences I had with “my” soldier over the years. It was tough – and more than once I just wanted to stand up and scream that they were wrong – they had no idea how many of these so-called heroes just played the game to get out of it whatever they could for their own personal gain, how many of them spouted integrity in one direction and turned around and cheated every other way, and so on. And more than once I was brought to tears with the frustration of not being able to correct what felt like a horribly biased and one-sided portrayal.

I had done plenty of bitching and moaning about having to attend the conference before I went, and had even vented to Kirk periodically throughout the day. The conference was supposed to be finished about 5:00 PM, and I was doing some serious clock-watching and fidgeting, watching that last hour just d-r-a-g. At about 4:10 or so, I received a text from Kirk, unbidden and totally unexpected. “Almost done, baby,” it said. “Hang in there. I love you.”

How thoughtful is that? How sweet, how utterly charming? I was blown away by the consideration. Is that what it’s supposed to be like? Forgive me for not knowing the answer – stuff like that never happened to me before.

Number 2: I’ve blogged before about my inability to sleep with any type of predictability or regularity, and my need to attend remedial sleep training or something. I’ve been this way, off and on, for about the last ten to twelve years or so. I’ve followed all the things conventional wisdom recommends, as best as I am able: no TV or computers or other light sources right before bed, develop a routine and stick to it, no caffeine, etc. I have also tried the not so conventional remedies: valerian, lavender, melatonin. And the medical remedies: Ambien, Lunesta, Trazadone. Basically, everything but the prescriptions are good for about two to four hours of sleep – but at least they don’t give me a hangover! The prescriptions are good for more like eight hours of sleep, but then I have the wicked drags the next seems you cannot have your cake, and eat it, too, as they say.

Anyway, right now I am in a period of not sleeping very well. My mom has suggested that I go down to the sleep clinic at the U, but I have been dragging my feet. I don’t want to take the leave from work, I don’t want to do the driving back and forth, I don’t want to add yet another doctor to my arsenal of health care providers I’ve been racking up over the years, etc. I may eventually do it, I don’t know.

But almost every night, as we finish our nightly telephone conversation, Kirk says to me, “And please, get some sleep, baby.” Which makes me feel very...cared for. And the other night, he said, “I’m gonna have to get with your mom and get you into one of those programs at the U....”

I joked and, kind of smart-assedly, said, “OK...Dad,” because whenever I tell him something like that, that is good for him, he teasingly tells me, “Whatever, Mother!” So I was being flippant, too.

But then he said, with all seriousness, “I’m just looking out for you. You know I just have your welfare at heart.”

Again, how sweet is that? How caring and thoughtful? Once again, I was...amazed, for lack of a better word, by Kirk’s consideration and...I don’t know...protectiveness? So again I ask, is that what it’s supposed to be like, what it’s supposed to have been like, all along? Because obviously it wasn’t, and the fact that it is now – with Kirk – often just leaves me shaking my head in wonder. Who knew? Not me!!

Number 3: Kirk came to visit last weekend. It was the first time he met my parents, and the first time he met my kids. I really could not have asked for anything to go better – it was all very low-key - and Kirk seemed to fit right in. It was all just perfect. My kids like him (even the Greater Evil confessed that the only reason she was trying not to like him was because she is mad at me!) and my parents like him, too. I even remembered to take some pictures this time!!

I have said before that I am a “word girl.” I love words, and I absolutely thrive on them. Actions are nice, too, of course, but I think I could go longer without the actions if I have the words, than I could go with the actions if I didn't have the words, if that makes sense. I just need the words. And Kirk can give them to me like no one ever has before. The sweet ones, the serious ones, and the funny ones, too. And when I comment on his ability to do that, he just says, "That's my job!" like it's no big deal, when it's everything to me.

Sunday, we were going to go watch football with some friends, and then he decided he’d just rather hang at the house and do nothing – which was fine by me. And he said, “When you enjoy doing absolutely nothing with someone 24/7, you’ve found your ‘one’ – and I have!” Stuff like that just makes me melt...

And later, when I had to take him to the airport, I bawled all the way home. I know I’m going to see him again at Christmas, and it’s really not that far away – only 37 days (that’s no longer apart than between when I went there in October and he came up here in November...), so I don’t know why it hurt so bad. But it did – I felt like my heart was literally breaking in two, even though at the same time I was feeling so good about the weekend and him and us and that everything was so truly worth it – and will be so truly worth it – in the long run.

But this is what The Sweetheart (yes, it absolutely deserves capitalization)sent me before he boarded his plane: “I have never felt so right about anything as I do about US. I cannot wait to see you again and am reliving every second I just spent with you. I feel like you complete me in so many ways. I love you with every fiber of my being. YOU are the absolute love of my life.”

I have asked this over and over again, I know, but how sweet is that? How thoughtful, how caring, how romantic? When he knows what I need, he gives it to me, unselfishly and with such amazing generosity. And one of the truly awe-inspiring aspects of this whole thing is that I feel like his openness and honesty and willingness to give so generously and genuinely, from his heart, have inspired some of the same things in me. Stated simply, being with him makes me a better version of me.

Was it supposed to be like this, all along? I don’t know. To tell you the truth, at this point, I really don’t care. I guess you cannot expect to have what you never really knew existed, after all. But I am so beyond happy that I know it exists now. Whether it’s always like this for everyone or not, I still don't know. But it is finally like this, for me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Easiest Quiz Ever

Here's a little quiz for you. It is very easy, as it only consists of one problem. I will present you with a scenario, and then, based on that scenario, you get to answer a single question. Anybody who misses this needs to go back to remedial "Beneath My Placid Exterior" and re-read old "My Seething Cauldron" posts!!

So, I've got the twins, a.k.a. the Greater Evil and the Lesser Evil. Based on my summary of a recent conversation, see if you can guess which one (i.e., GE or LE) I was, um, "speaking" with:

The other day, we were arguing over something stupid. I remembered something happening one way, and she remembered it happening another way. We went back and forth and back and forth.

Me: "It was when we were standing right there, and you said blah, blah, blah..."

Her: "I would never say that! I never said that!"

Me: "Why would I remember you saying that, if you didn't say it?"

Her: "I don't know! I just know I never said what you said I said!"

Etc., etc., etc.

After about 20 minutes of this, I finally conceded that neither of us was willing to give in and admit that the other person was right. In an effort to model problem-solving skills and conciliatory behavior, I therefore decided to offer a truce, of sorts. I wanted to put an end to the yelling (on both our parts, but mainly because I was getting hoarse!) and the eye-rolling (on her part, as I was half-way afraid if she rolled her eyes any harder, they would pop out of her head and roll down the stairs, collecting carpet fuzzies as they bounced down each step....).

"Well," I said, "People often remember the same situation a little bit differently from one another, according to their own perspectives. So, I can see how your memory of blah-blah-blah would be different than my memory, and I am willing to admit that your version of events is at least as valid is mine is. Can you, then, also be willing to admit that my version of events also has some validity, too?"

"NOOOOooooOOOOOooooo!" she wailed.

Totally surprised and taken aback (for I thought I had made a pretty fair offer!), I barked, "Why not?!?!"

She fairly spat her response: "Because! Your version is just based on your opinion!! My version is based on fact!!"

So yeah - guess which one said that?

Answer tomorrow, as if you were really in any doubt....

Monday, October 26, 2009

It Never Gets Old...

Last Thursday we went to my daughter’s orchestra concert. It was their annual fund-raising dinner first, followed by the fall concert. The dinner was only “meh” (cold spaghetti with Ragu sauce from a jar...), but the concert was very good and Grandma and Grandpa came to watch, too. It was a fairly low-key evening, but a fun one, nevertheless.

It has become somewhat of a tradition that, whenever we have an “event” such as a dance review or an orchestra concert, we end the evening with some sort of a treat, like an ice cream cone or something. This evening's event was no different, and as soon as the concert was over, we went to a little burger shop nearby to get some milkshakes.

For some reason known only to the owners of the burger shop and, perhaps, God, it has never occurred to said owners of this little drive-in to go to the school administration and request a calendar of events scheduled to be held at the school. With said calendar, said owners might actually be able to correlate the likelihood of their having extra staffing needs with the dates of the school’s extracurricular activities. Perhaps all this will click with them, someday...I wouldn't count on it, but it might.

Anyhow, that is how the little burger shop came to find itself crowded full of people on a Thursday evening, with only three employees to run the entire restaurant – including taking orders, preparing food, running the drive-thru, and cleaning up the lobby, plus who-knows-what-all other miscellaneous tasks are involved with the day-to-day running of a burger shop. We – meaning me, the Evils (Cyd stayed home), and the Grands – placed our orders and then settled in to wait, knowing it might be awhile.

As soon as we had settled into the booth, with my parents on one side and me and my girls on the other, my mother immediately narrowed her eyes and pointed at me across the table. “You’re going to vote, aren’t you?”

You know there’s only one right way to answer a question like that, right?

“Of course!” I replied.

“Because KSL says our mayoral election is the tightest race in the entire state!!” Mom exclaimed. “Do you know you’re going to vote for?”

“Yes,” I said. “Curtis.”

I usually vote anti-whoever is in power, which means I usually vote “throw the rascals out,” or anti-incumbent. In this case, though, I am deviating somewhat from my usual rule. Curtis is the incumbent – but the challenger is a member of a family with a long history of insider politics and "string-pulling" in our little town. So, in the grand scheme of things, even though he isn’t technically the incumbent, the challenger in this race is definitely the one with the power. So I’m anti-challenger this time around, and instead of voting to throw the rascal out, I’m voting to keep him out.

So, again, I agreed I was voting for Curtis.

“Well, good!” said my mother. “That race is tight, and I’m trying to get as many people to get out and vote for Curtis as I can. We can’t have that Stevenson in there. He’s just a whiney, old....”

She paused while she searched for an appropriate word to express her displeasure with Stevenson. Meanwhile, my father, who was sitting next to her on the molded plastic bench seat, filled the gap in conversation by shifting his weight and lifting one gluteus maximus cheek to let out a gigantic fart.

Of course my girls thought this was hilarious! And I have to admit – as much as I can - and do! - sometimes put on the air of sophistication, and pretend that such things just totally gross me out, I totally thought it was funny, too.

So my girls and I are all laughing so hard tears are rolling down our faces, and my mom and dad start to get the giggles, too. My mom tries to pretend she is thoroughly disgusted with our lack of manners and refinement and manages to choke out, “Geez, Lynn! Just because you can’t hear it, doesn’t mean nobody else can, either! I swear, I am the only cultured one in this entire family!!”

We are still laughing so hard, we can barely talk. But then Mychael caps it by summarizing what we have all just witnessed:

“Gosh, Grandma!! You guys have been married for so long, Grandpa finishes your sentences for you!”

And we all giggled some more.

I just don’t know. Maybe I am uncouth, or uncultured, or whatever. But a good fart story will make me laugh every time. It just never gets old!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Best. Trip. Ever. Part Four. Or, The Last Day....

I don’t know how many of you know this, but I am sleep-challenged, and have been, off and on, for years. Since I have a special-needs daughter, I try to stay away from the word “retarded,” but saying I am sleep-special-needs sounds stupid, so let’s just say, I don’t sleep well. I have trouble falling asleep, and I have trouble staying asleep once I get there. I really need remedial sleep training. If I can sleep more than four hours at a stretch, I am happy. Every once in awhile, I will actually sleep seven hours or so, and I’m downright ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong – I am not one of those people who are all perky on only four or five hours of sleep a night. I really need a full eight. Every night. I just can’t figure out how to get it.

But for some unknown reason, when I was sleeping next to Kirk...I slept juuuuuuust fine. There is probably some scientific explanation involving endorphins and oxytocin and neurotransmitters and stuff, but I think it has something to do with the peace that comes when you can be yourself with the one you love, and you know you are loved in return. That, and physical exercise. ;)

Anyway, I’d been sleeping uncharacteristically well, until the last night, in Kirk’s sister’s guest house. The bed was great, and couldn’t have been more comfortable. The temperature was fine, and I was definitely plenty tired. Everything was absolutely conducive to a very good night’s sleep. But at 3:00 AM, I was wide awake, and immediately stricken with an almost unbearable sadness with the knowledge that I’d be leaving today. Kirk had been able to get the day before off, but would have to work for a little bit this morning, so I knew I couldn’t wake him up. Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be very nice if I did. So I just laid there, feeling the tears begin to well, and my nose start to burn the way it does when you know the crying is about to commence. I kept trying to talk myself out of it. “Don’t cry ‘cause you’re leaving,” I told myself. “Be happy because you were able to come in the first place!”

I just wanted so badly to drink him in, to stash away memories that I would be able to pull out and savor later, when Kirk would be far away. I was getting mad at myself for being so pathetically sappy, so I went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and sat on the floor and tried to read for a bit to distract myself, not entirely successfully. After a bit, I gave up and went back to bed, but kept looking at the clock, still just so restless. Finally, I leaned up on one elbow, and just...watched. Watched him sleep. Because I could.

It's the best way to wake up - just to be in the arms of the one you love, and feel that absolute safety and warmth and security and contentedness and acceptance It still makes me bawl just thinking about it. I can't tell if they're tears of happiness for even ever having been able to experience it at all, even if only for a little bit, or tears of sadness for not having it now and missing him, or a little bit of both..... Even now, more than a week later, that pain feels so fresh that I have to swallow the lump in my throat that comes with the memory of it.

It almost feels like I love him too much for my heart and soul to be able to contain, and whenever I try to quantify or explain or whatever, it wells up and starts leaking out my eyes in the form of tears. How weird is that?!?! I hope I will kind of get accustomed to feeling so much someday, so that I don't cry every time I think about how much I love him.... Just believe it when I say I have never loved like this before, and never knew it was even possible. So I think I was just feeling a little overwhelmed that morning, too.

I woke him up by tickling his back, and with his voice still groggy with sleep, he said, "What are you doing?"

"Watching you," I said.


"Because I can..." was all I choked out, before the torrent of tears just came. He held me while I sobbed, but eventually I got it back together. We talked and, I think, both cried a little bit - I told him I knew that I needed to be happy we’d been able to have the time together in the first place instead of sad it was coming to an end, and he said that we needed to remember that if it wasn't as good as it is between us, it wouldn't hurt so much to part, so it was just proof of how good it is, how right we are together, etc. And I really appreciated his spin on things. He is so good about giving me the words I need to hear!

Anyway, he went to work, and I finally went back to sleep. I got up about four hours later and took my time in the shower and getting ready, etc. And then when he got back, we ate some chips and salsa and yogurt (a surprisingly tasty combination!) at his sister's before leaving, and then just bummed around for a little bit. We went to a local brew pub so I could get a "Kiltlifter Ale" T-shirt – absolutely perrrrfect for me!!

Then we just drove and talked and kind of took our time on our way to the airport. I was doing a pretty good job holding it all together, I thought. I didn't want his last memory of me to be of red-rimmed, mascara-ringed eyes and a red, runny nose, so I was chewing on the insides of my lip something fierce to keep it all under control. We were joking that throughout the whole entire trip, I did not take one single picture!! I was too busy making memories to think to take any pictures of them – I guess that girl gene must have skipped me somehow, because I am lousy at taking pictures and always have been. So we were talking about trying to stop and ask a Skycap or even some stranger to take one of us for us, just so we'd have one, but the closer we got to the airport, the more tenuous the control on our emotions was getting.

By the time we got to the curb at the airport (turns out there’s a reason those are called the “kiss and cry” lanes!!), and he stopped and got my bags out, I was really having a hard time. I felt like if anyone so much as said “Boo!” to me, I would lose it. So we didn’t even try for a picture. We stood there and kissed good-bye and exchanged our "I love you's," and I just kept telling myself "Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't CRY!! DON'TCRYDON'TCRYDON'TCRY!!!!" And I could tell Kirk had a little tic in his jaw and his voice was a little wavery, too. So I went into the airport and he left, and I didn't look back (bad luck to look back....).

As I was walking through the airport up to security, my eyes were leaking and every time I'd wipe a tear, a new one would magically spring up to take it's place. I kept dabbing at the corners of my eyes with a tissue that, by this time, was pretty much a soggy, wadded-up, mascara’ed mess – definitely the worse for wear. I got to the security gate, and the TSA guy looked at my ID, looked at my boarding pass, scribbled something, and waived me on, but I could tell he was thinking, "What's the deal with her?"

I was still dabbing at my eyes as I put my bags on the conveyor belt and my shoes, sweater, and belt in the tub to go through the x-ray machine, and I was still chewing, chewing, chewing on my lip trying to keep from disintegrating into a full-on bawl. Just then, the X-ray guy stops the conveyor belt, backs it up, and calls, "Bag check on Lane 1!" and a TSA guy comes over and gets my bag and says to me, "Ma'am, is this your bag?" And I. Just. Lost it.

"Yeeeeesssssss!" I wail.

He looks at me, panick-stricken. "It's OK, Ma'am. There's no problem - your number just came up, that's all. We're just going to have a quick look and we'll get you on your way!"

I'm all, "I - I - I kn-n-noooow. I'm s-s-s-orry!!"

He unpacked my bag and put everything in a tub, so he could run it and the bag back through the x-ray machine separately. Meanwhile, I'm standing there, bawling my head off in great big, heaving sobs. There is another lady, about 10 to 15 years older than me, on the other end of the table where the TSA guy had unpacked everything, and she is going through the same ordeal. "It's OK," she says to me. "This happens to me all the time. It's no big deal!"

She is being so nice - I don't know what to say. I know it's not the TSA people's fault, I know it's not my fault, but I hardly want to tell them all the real reason I am bawling in the middle of the Phoenix airport!!

My poor little tissue is as good as useless now, and I try to reach into my bag for another one, but the TSA guy holds up his rubber-gloved hand to stop me and says, "Uh, Ma'am, please don't try to reach into your bags until I'm finished with my search."

I'm still blubbering, and I apologize again. "I - I - I'm s-s-s-sorry-y-y-y!!!!" I wail.

By this time, there is the one TSA guy helping the nice lady on the other end of the table, the one TSA guy on the x-ray machine, the one TSA guy helping me on my end of the table, and then about six TSA people standing around my guy with their arms folded, watching me. I can tell they think I am a certifiable lunatic.

My TSA guy gets everything done, and brings it all back over from the x-ray machine, of course giving me the all-clear. "Would you like to put your bag back together, Ma'am, or would you like me to do it?" he asks, oh-so-politely. And I'm hiccupping now, I've been crying so hard this whole time, but I said I'd do I put my bag back together, face red and blotchy, nose running, mascara completely gone....stomach was awful.

Crying in the airport = embarrassing. Crying so hard when the TSA guy pulls your bag that they apparently think you're going to go off the deep end on them so they call in reinforcements = embarrassing x2!!

But then, just as I was boarding the airplane, I got a text from Kirk. "You are my world. I absolutely love you. Let the next countdown begin!" And he sent me a picture of his hand that just said, "Mine misses yours already." So how stinkin' sweet is that? How stinkin' sweet is he?

And by the time I landed in SLC, I had a message waiting for me from him that said, “This says it all...I love you!!! ‘Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.’” Honestly, could he be any better?

Suffice it to say that it was a grrrrrrrreat trip. He is every bit as wonderful as I remembered. We are as absolutely right together as I thought.

So, I guess I probably either need to figure out how to move my ass to Phoenix, or get his moved up here. And I need to figure out how to get my girls to be OK with having him in their lives. He's gonna be in their lives one way or another, but I'd rather them like him and be OK with it, than not. But it's the weirdest thing - I just feel so strongly somehow that Kirk and I were meant to be together, and that things will ultimately work out, that I just have a certain sense of...oh, I don't know, peace and "rightness," almost...that everything will fall into place when and where it is meant to do so. I just have to try to make myself be patient and wait for it to unfold, instead of push to make it happen on my own timeframe, as I am wont to do. Damn this Type A personality tendency of mine - it can be very difficult to manage, at times!!

But that's all down the road a piece. For now, it really was the Best. Trip. Ever.

As always, comments, advice, etc., welcome and appreciated... :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Best. Trip. Ever. Part Three. Or, My Favorite Day.

Monday was my favorite day.

Once again we took our time waking up that morning, and then when we finally decided to get up and get going, I had what was perhaps the best shower of my entire life. Man, Kirk can kiss like none other!! ‘Nuff said. Other than I am one verrrrry lucky girl. :)

Anyway, he was giving me a hard time about taking so long to get ready, and the more he teased me, the more time I took. I’m contrary like that, sometimes (!). Besides, girls always take longer. If my hair was a fraction of an inch long and I didn’t have to put make-up or anything on, it wouldn’t take me so long to get ready, either!

We couldn't decide if we wanted to go for a late breakfast or an early lunch. Kirk kept saying I had to decide, and I kept saying it was his town and he should choose, and I would choose when something was really important to me one way or another. He eventually settled it by writing a “B” (for breakfast) on one hand, and “L” (for lunch) on the other, and telling me to choose right or left. I chose left, which ended up being breakfast.

We left the house and started out for the breakfast place. I couldn’t tell where we were going – in Utah, you always have the mountains to kind of orient yourself with, but in Phoenix, it all seems very flat and relatively the same, no matter which direction you look. Long story short, it ended up not mattering because we couldn't find the breakfast place and when Kirk finally broke down and called first his brother, then his sister, and finally his mom for directions (apparently this happens a lot, which I think is hilarious – I couldn’t help but giggle, and his mom thought it was pretty amusing, too! Good thing Kirk is a good sport about it...), it ended up being closed that day, anyway. So we went for the early lunch, instead. It was this really cool salad place where you get to watch them make it pretty much to your specifications. Kirk had the standard Caesar and I had a Cobb with some yummy pork tenderloin. They were both huge, and absolutely dee-lish!

Then we went to a really upscale mall, which was really interesting to see and experience but was almost overwhelming for what I am used to. I definitely felt like the proverbial country mouse. It was about four times the size of the Layton Hills Mall, easy, and had Nieman Marcus, and Nordstrom, and Dillard’s, and Macy's in it, plus a Barney’s “coming soon,” a Cartier's, and a Tiffany's and maybe even another jewelry store where entry is by invitation only (i.e., you have to buzz to be let in - you can't just wander in and out at will....). And that doesn't even begin to cover all the little boutique shops and your mall standards like Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret, Sephora, etc. We window-shopped and played with the puppies in the pet store and sampled hand lotions and basically acted pretty much the way my younger brother has repeatedly accused me of: like a 40-year-old going on 16. Sigh….

After that, we went to Old Town Scottsdale, which was a lot of fun, as well. We went to this ice cream parlor called "The Sugar Bowl" (here’s a link: It has been there since 1958, and is still owned and operated by the same people who opened it up way back then. And, it looks like it hasn't changed a bit in the 51 years since. It looks like a 50’s poodle skirt - all pink and white. Pink vinyl upholstery on the booths, pink Formica with gold flecks in it on all the table tops, black and white checkered floor, pink and white stained glass light fixtures, etc. Bil Keane, the guy who draws The Family Circus comic, apparently lives near the area and is a frequent patron. His comic panels are featured decor, and are included as part of the menu, etc.

The menu itself is kind of hard to figure out, like what columns are flavors of sauces, and which ones are ice creams, and how many of these make one of those and what of this goes with that, and so on. And some of their standard menu items are, there would be vanilla and orange ice creams with strawberry sauce and you'd think, "Oh, that sounds good..." and then you'd read, "...with Turkish coffee sauce," so you'd be going, "Oh,, not the Turkish coffee...." So we had a really hard time deciding what we wanted. The waitress must have come by to take our order four or five times.

Finally, we decided to get the Spectacular Banana Bowl, which is basically an "everything on it” banana split, and a small caramel sundae, because that was the one thing the banana split thing was missing, and we'd just share 'em both. So when the waitress finally came back, and took our order, she says, "It took you all that time, just to decide on that?" Then, as she was walking off, Kirk goes under his breath, "Well, there goes your 15%!!!" That made me laugh!

We sat across the aisle from this old couple who were probably in their 80's. The old guy was just bitchin' up a storm. I couldn't understand a word he was saying because it seemed like his dentures were loose or maybe he had hearing loss or some other speech impediment or something, but I could tell he was just bitch, bitch, bitch. The little old lady sitting across from him didn't even bat an eye or even, from what I could tell, acknowledge or respond. Kirk commented a couple of times that he loved people watching, and that old people were great - he could watch/listen to them all day, and he wondered what Grandpa was bitching about, etc. When the waitress finally brought the old guy his sundae, he just tucked into it and didn't even make a peep after that. It was funny! Kirk was all, "Well, there's the secret to keeping him quiet, right there! Bring the man his ice cream!!" I can relate. Ice cream keeps me quiet, too.

Some other couples came in after that and sat near us, and had difficulty ordering, too, so it wasn't just us. We talked about redesigning The Sugar Bowl’s menu for them, and we watched the same waitress - whose nametag said she had worked there since 1964 or something like that - be bitchy to them, too. So Kirk says to me, "I want to order something that's not on the menu and totally mess her up - just blow her out of the water. I'll say, ‘Yeah, I'd like a mayonnaise malt, please!’" And I just lost it - totally got the giggles!!

So then both he and I were just laughing to the point where all we had to do was look at each other and we’d start laughing again!! These two teenage skater chicks had been seated in the booth directly across from ours – and who you'd think we, being the adults, would normally be looking down upon - instead looked down upon us and said, "Hmph!! Apparently, something over there is *awfully* funny!!" And that, of course, made us laugh even harder!

Afterwards, I made Kirk go into a Christmas ornament shop with me, and he said, "See? This is how you know its true love, right here: I am voluntarily going into this store with you!" When we went in, there was some awful glockenspiel muzak playing, and there were these two little old ladies in there with more money than sense. Everywhere you look, there are signs that say, "Please do not touch," and "Please ask for assistance," and these two women (they had a slight accent - I couldn't tell if it was slightly German or what....) were running the sole salesclerk ragged. One would lean over and grab something and the clerk would run over and try to help her, and the other one would start talking from the other side of the store about something else, so the clerk would leave the first one and run over that way. Then the first one would start messing with something, and knock something over...more than once, we'd hear a “crash!” or “thud!” and then one of the old lady's voices would say something like, "Sweet Jesus!!" Then we'd see the sales clerk roll her eyes....and Kirk and I would giggle over that, too!

We went and did a little more souvenir hunting in Old Town, and then we went and met his family (mom, brother and sister-in-law and kids and sister and kids) for pizza. It was some of the best pizza I've ever had. We had wings and some chips and salsa for appetizers - the salsa had shrimp in it, and I know it has a special name, but I can't think of it - and it was scrumptious, too. The pizzas are small - maybe 13"-14" is all, about enough for two people to share, so his sister-in-law and I shared one that had sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh sweet corn, and goat cheese on it. OMG, it was good!!!

And Kirk’s family – I know I already said this, but they really are, to a person, the most down-to-earth, sincere, warm, genuine, and gracious people I have ever met. I didn’t once feel awkward or out of place or uncomfortable, one bit. From my perspective, at least, it felt totally effortless to be around them. And there aren't very many people I can say that about - hell, some of my friends take effort, y'know?

His brother is as funny as he is, his sister-in-law is pretty and warm and friendly and out-going, and their kids are cute and well-mannered and charming. His sister is attractive and polished and generous, and her kids are well-behaved, precious and affectionate and cute as can be, too. I was especially struck by how well-mannered and yet, out-going, *all* of the kids were – the oldest nephew is only 8 or 9, I think, and then there is another nephew who is around 5 or so, and two little nieces who will be turning 4 in a couple of months, a boy and a girl each for his sister and his brother. Compared to all the little monkeys I am accustomed to associating with, no one was swinging from the chandeliers, no one flung themselves on the floor to bawl, no one attempted to run away, there were no fights….it was actually really nice.

And his sister’s little girl was just precious. She must have asked her mom a dozen times through the course of the evening, what my name was. When it was finally time to go, she whispered to her mom that she wanted to give me both a goodbye hug AND a kiss, but she was too embarrassed! So I leaned down and gave her a hug, and told her that that was very nice and I would be happy to give her a hug anytime. So stinkin’ cute!!

After that, we went to see his sister's house. Her hubby is Phil Mickelsen's caddy, so they are comfortably well-off, and live in a gated community where all visitors have to sign in, etc. Their home has a pool and a hot tub and a guest house, etc., and everything in their home is, of course, very nice, with the 15' ceilings and 10' doors, the Viking refrigerator and range and the granite-topped island in the kitchen, and the hand-scraped hardwood plank floors, etc. Absolutely gorgeous! And oddly enough, decorated very much the way I might do it, if I lived there....

She very graciously invited us to stay in the guest house that night. I was a little torn – part of me wanted to go back to Kirk’s and just hang out in his space for some purely emotional need, but the desire for creature comforts ultimately prevailed and we decided to take her up on her offer. We had to run back to Kirk’s, anyway, to get his stuff for work the next day, and while we were there, he opened the birthday present I brought him. It was just a picture of us together, taken the night we met at the barbecue, but I think he liked it OK. I have one just like it. Once my kids actually get to meet him (which I hope will be soon), I will put mine up in my room, too....

Anyway, long story short, I did not sleep in the same bed twice the entire time I was in Phoenix.

Tales of my last day in Phoenix, coming soon.... I promise – you will laugh and cry. But maybe not in that order. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best. Weekend. Ever. Part Two. Or, It's Not The What, It's The Who.

Continuing from where I left off on my last post....

Sunday morning, we woke up early but just laid around in bed for a couple of hours. Now, before you start giggling, Beavis, remember, it’s not so much the what, it’s the who. And I am NOT talking about the band!! It was just so nice to just lay there and talk, or laugh, or snuggle and cuddle, or some combination thereof. As much as I like “the deed,” I like that, more. Because really, when you look back at your life, there are a few big milestone moments, but when you put those together, they comprise only a fraction of the time you’ve spent here on earth. The vast majority of your lifetime is made up of the little things, those small, everyday moments that, strung together, are the hours and days and years and decades of life. If you don’t enjoy those little moments when they happen, you’re not enjoying your life when it happens, either.

Enough preaching!

So, even though we were up early, we got going kind of late and were supposed to be at this sports bar that Kirk hangs out at to watch the Denver/Dallas football game before too long. Kirk’s best friend, Shawn, came over first, so I met him – he is a super nice guy. We had just time enough to enjoy a red beer (I’d never had one made with spicy V-8 before – yummy!) and watch a little TV, then we headed for the bar.

I’ve traveled before so of course I know this, but it never ceases to amaze me when I go into a bar in a state where they treat you like grown-ups. Not all bars are dives! This one, in fact, was really nice. It actually looked more like a restaurant than the average bar in the Beehive State does. It was decorated in very muted, neutral tones of caramel, pumpkin, and gray, and was very clean, as well. There were a multitude of flat-panel TV’s hung everywhere, with a large bow-front pass-through into a stainless steel kitchen in the rear left corner. Other than the giant horseshoe-shaped bar in the middle of the place, it could’ve been any mid-to-upper range restaurant. The whole place felt very...classy.

We arranged to watch the game in one of the bar’s private rooms. There was a leather love seat that Kirk and I claimed (natch!), and four or so matching leather club chairs, plus a 6-top table and chairs and some other smaller cocktail tables. His brother and sister-in-law soon arrived, and though I had already met Eric (Kirk's brother) when they were here in Utah, I’d never met his brother’s wife, Cari, before. I was a little bit nervous, but they are both as down-to-earth and genuine as Kirk – truly fun people.

Kirk likes Denver and his brother likes Dallas, so they were giving each other a hard time the whole afternoon. And whenever either team would do anything good, they would clap so long and loud and hard, their hands would be bright red and my ears would ring!! We ate there - it was really good food; not your typical "bar" food at all. On Kirk’s advice, I ordered the chipolte chicken pasta. It was a little spicy, but really good - like pasta alfredo except with mostacolli, and the addition of tomatoes (which – hang on to something – I am beginning to develop a slight taste for!), and the creamy alfredo-like sauce had that smoky/spicy chipolte flavor. It was dee-lish.

A little while later, Kirk and Eric’s mom showed up. She was the one I was most nervous about meeting. I really wanted her to like me – you know how boys are about their mothers, and how moms can be about their sons’ choices for female companionship. Plus, my former, mother-in-law was never very warm or companionable or affectionate at all. So I was more than a little scared.

I shouldn’t have been. Mom is awesome – a nicer lady, you could not ask for. She is gorgeous; an accomplished realtor, but warm and sincere and easy to talk to and just fun. As totally opposite from my former mother-in-law as night is from day. I guess that must be where Kirk gets some (if not most, or maybe even all) of his charm!

So, for most of the rest of the game, Kirk’s sister-in-law and his mom and I just sat and only half-paid attention to the game, and talked the rest of the time. Eric and Cari and Mom all left right after the game got over – Denver won, by the way, which made Kirk really happy. And that, of course, made me really happy. That's love - when you are just as happy when something happens to make the person you love happy, as you would be if that happy event had actually happened to you, instead.

After the game, we hung out in the main part of the bar for a little while longer and I met a bunch of his friends, and they kept buying him/us drinks - partly because "his" team won, and partly 'cause "his girl" was finally there, and so they were all just happy for him. Kinda hard to tell which event made them happier, but I’m just going with a 50/50 split 'cause I probably don't really want to know – HA!

A couple of Kirk’s friends had invited us to stay at their place for the night because they were going to be out of town for the weekend, taking their little boy to Disneyland for his birthday. It would give us a chance to be away from everybody/everything – including the elusive roommate that allegedly exists but whom I never actually met (however, I did see some evidence of his passage so I’m assuming he’s just shy...). It was really nice of them to offer, not only because their house was really nice (they had a gorgeous master bath – all chocolate browns and baby blues and antiqued silver and coppers and creams), but also because it is definitely more comfortable to not have to worry about disturbing anyone or who might be lurking in the halls if you have to make a midnight potty run or something. So we took them up on their offer and ended up going to their place for the night afterwards, instead of back to Kirk's.

And all I’m saying about that, was that it was another w-a-y fun evening. And, you are never too old to learn new things, as I learned a few new things, myself. I believe I may have taught Kirk a few, too. Tee hee!

But the important part, the best part, is just being together. ‘Cause it’s not the what, it’s the who.

More to come...