Tuesday, February 9, 2010

She's Finally 18!

If you have not read the previous posts in the Valentine's Day series, please be sure to start here and read them all before this one.

After leaving Rachael in the hospital and giving her brother a rose, Rachael and I made an interesting discovery.  We liked each other.  Quite a lot.  Now, we'd only just started dating, so it would be premature to label it 'True Love' or anything quite that extreme, but looking back, I believe the first seeds of love were planted and they later grew into a beautiful relationship that has continued to grow and has sustained us all these years.

The next few months went by quickly, with more and more time spent together.  Our dates were frequent, our conversations were no longer stilted, and I was falling more and more for Rachael each day.  I was fairly confident that her feelings matched my own, and this served as a great foundation for what was actually a fairly cruel practical joke.  Looking back, I somewhat regret what I gave Rachael for her 18th birthday.

Diamond Earrings.

No, it's not that I regret giving her the diamond earrings.  They looked gorgeous on her.  In fact, she still has them, and she still looks gorgeous with them on.

I regret the way I gave them to her.  By this time, I was starting to feel somewhat confident that this was it.  That Rachael was The One.  While I thought she felt the same, I was not quite sure.  I was still plagued with a fair measure of uncertainty and I think this was the genesis of my plan.....

The day started beautifully.

I picked Rachael up and we were heading to Apple Hill to spend a romantic day together, celebrating her 18th birthday.

We talked, and held hands, and might have even kissed a time or two.  And no adverse reactions this time.  We were hospital-free without a care in the world.  Except for some manufactured ones, on my part.

On the way to Apple Hill, we decided to stop in Tahoe.  Oh, you don't go through Tahoe when driving from Sacramento to Apple Hill?  Well, you probably just need to get a better navigator.  Rachael can show you the way.

Now Tahoe is a very nice city, romantic in its own rite, but was definitely not where we had planned to go.  It turns out that we had taken the wrong Interstate heading East out of Sacramento.  An easy mistake to be sure, but somewhat inconvenient.

After driving almost to Reno on I-80, we took the Highway that runs from I-80 to Hwy. 50- I think it's Hwy. 89 or 87, or something like that.  We eventually made our way towards Apple Hill.

All day long, I had successfully attempted to act nervous and had made several leading comments, like how I loved our life together, etc.

All the world's a stage and the men and women simply players.

I was setting the stage. 

Rachael and I had our parts to play.

When I purchased the diamond earrings for Rachael, I had made sure that they came in a very distinct box.  A box that could easily be mistaken for one that contained a ring.  Maybe an engagement ring.

We pulled into an apple orchard and drove into seclusion.  I acted more and more nervous with each passing minute. 

I'm not sure if I'm a good actor, or if Rachael is just a great audience, but the ploy was working.

I nervously and abruptly began my planned-for conversation while trying to make sure it appeared that I was FINALLY going to come clean with what was making me so nervous all day.

'Rachael, I know we haven't been dating for that long.'

I take her hand in mine and gaze into her eyes.

She has already gone still, not quite sure where this is heading.

'But I know my feelings for you are real.'

Did I just see her stiffen?  Is that concern I see in her eyes?

I get down on one knee, still holding one of her hands in mine.

'I believe we are meant for each other.  I am looking forward to our future together.'

I know, I know.  I'm really tempting fate, us being out in the middle of a desolate apple orchard with no Emergency Room close.

'I just have one question I need to ask you.....'

I believe she is breathing somewhat erratically now.

'Rachael, will you.........

Long pause.  Time has stopped for Rachael.  I can see the indecision on her face.  I can tell she wants to say yes and wants to say no, all at the same time.  But I also can tell that she will someday be my wife.

Pause Continues.....

I slowly open the box.

'Accept these diamond earrings for your 18th birthday?'

I truly do not think there is a woman in the world that has ever been happier to get a pair of diamond earrings. 

At this point, I think I knew that our destiny was to be together.

Looking back, I actually feel embarrassed about doing this.  And I'm worried about what you will think of me for doing it.  And I agree it was a cruel thing to do.  My only plea is that you'll consider I did not do it out of cruelty, but out of insecurity, and maybe a slightly evil sense of humor.  But not cruelty.

I could not be cruel to the girl I loved.

And I WAS in love.

For Rachael's side of the story, please check out her post, The First Proposal.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So, I gave a guy a rose!

This is part 4 of our Valentine Day Series.  If you have not read the previous posts, click here for an index and read the other 3 first.

The incessant hospital noise never stops.

The accusing eyes seem to look my way.

It's my first date with Rachael and instead of enjoying our somewhat stilted conversation, all I hear are the overhead speakers paging various doctors to assorted areas of the hospital.

When I picked up Rachael, I was sure she'd be home safely by midnight.

Unfortunately, it was midnight, and she was still several hours away from her home.  And her mom and brother and I were all together in the hospital with her.  Kind of a 'let's all take a family trip to the hospital for Travis and Rachael's first date' kind of thing.

As the night wore on, it did not look like Rachael was going to be released anytime soon.  Not that it appeared anything was really wrong, it's just that if you've ever been in an emergency room on a Friday night, you know you tend to sit around waiting a lot unless you are actually bleeding all over the floor.  In which case they'll try to get you in before the sun rises.

Rachael's mom wanted to stay and take Rachael home when she was released.  I agreed to take Rachael's younger brother Matt home so he could get some rest and then Linda would bring Rachael home when all was well.

When Rachael and I were dating, she lived in the outskirts of Sacramento in a place called Elverta.  Not far from her home was a nice park called Gibson Ranch.  Prior to picking Rachael up for our first date, I had taken a short walk in Gibson Ranch and left a surprise for later.

I figured that on a first date, almost everyone brings a rose to give the girl at her door when they arrive.  I wanted to be different.  Memorable.  Dare I say, even romantic?  So I hid the rose in a place that would be easily accessible on a short walk after a fantastic first date.  I had it all planned out in my head.

'We have some time.  Why don't we take a short walk, get some fresh air, enjoy the moonlight?' 

I don't actually even remember if there was moonlight that night, or if the air was fresh, but it sounds good, so that's kind of how I remember planning it. 

'I've really enjoyed our time tonight.' 

Slowly steering the walk in the direction of the rose.

'Hey, what's that up there?  Wow!  Look at that!  There's a rose!  I wonder who left it?  Oh my goodness!  It has your name on it!'

At this point, I'd hand the rose to Rachael who would just now have realized that I had actually planted the rose and that it had been intended for her all along.  And she'd feel so special.  And she'd think this was the most romantic thing a guy had ever done for her.  And she'd like me.

That's really what I was hoping for.  I may have tried a little too hard, I don't know.  But, whatever.  It seemed to work.

Oh, wait. 

Never mind.

I got so carried away thinking about how it was supposed to go, that I forgot about what actually happened.  It didn't really work that way at all.

In reality, I was now driving back from the hospital, trying to think of something to say to Matt, who was 14 at the time, and probably had at least a few questions about what had happened to his older sister, who was still waiting to be released.

And I wasn't really in too much of a hurry to tell him.  I mean, should I tell him what happened?  That I kissed his sister?  That I was able to catch her when she passed out because I had my hands on her hips?  I wasn't sure how any of this would sound, and I didn't want it to sound worse than it actually was. 

I wasn't really sure what to talk about, but one thing I knew.  I knew I had to get the rose.  I mean, it couldn't just be left to rot out in the field, a symbolic picture of unrequited love.  No, it still had a mission.  A purpose.  A role left to play.

Besides, now it could serve a dual purpose and double as a romantic gesture and get well soon token all in a small little fragrant package.

'Umm, Matt, I need to stop at Gibson Ranch for just a minute.'

I don't actually remember the exact words, but I'm sure this is at least close.  At this point, poor Matt must be wondering about me.  'Ok, Travis has always seemed like an OK guy, but my sister's in the hospital, and now he wants to stop at Gibson Ranch in the middle of the night?  What is it with this guy?'

'This will just take a minute.  But I need to pick up a rose.'

'Umm, Travis, I don't know about you, but I don't see any rose stores open here in Gibson Ranch.'

'See, I had wanted to give Rachael a rose on our way back to your house, but now I'm going to have to give it to you.'

'Gee, thanks.  Just what I always wanted.  A rose from my sister's date.'

'It'll just be a minute.  It's not too far away.'

'What the heck?  Why is the rose way over there?  What's up with this?'

'Ok, there you go.  Do you mind making sure Rachael gets it?'

'Sure buddy, whatever you say.  Just take me home and let me out of your car.  I can guarantee this will probably be the first and LAST date you ever have with my sister.'

So, I'm making up what Matt was thinking, but in my mind I was sure it was something close to this.  I took Matt the rest of the way home, gave him the rose and made sure he got safely into the house.

The first and only time I've ever given a guy a rose.

But it really was a nice rose.  I was just hoping that it made it's way to Rachael and not down the closest garbage disposal.

Driving home, I was wondering if I'd ever have a chance for a second date.  And, if so, could we possibly keep away from fainting, family bonding in the emergency room, and giving various relatives flowers.

If you've not yet read Rachael's posts about our quest for true love, be sure to check out her posts. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hospitals, Doctors, and Mom, Oh My!

If you have not read the previous posts, please be sure to start with The Adventure Begins.  For the index to all posts in this series, please click here.

Lights were flying past.  Signs were blurring by.  I was zig-zagging in and out of traffic, driving much faster than was safe.

Beside me in the car was the limp form of a listless body.

"Is she dying?"

"Is it possible to kill a girl with just one kiss?  Was my breath that bad?"

I looked over at Rachael's prone form.

How did this happen?  I had just been standing at her door talking to her, looking into her eyes.  I had eventually put my hands on her waist as we talked.  She started to sound unintelligible, and her eyes became somewhat glossy.  The next thing I knew, she had just crumpled.  If I would not have caught her, she literally would have bounced off of the ground.  I lifted her up and placed her in the seat, ran to my side of the car, jumped in and sped off, making an Indy-500 drive to the hospital.

"Do NOT die on me!"

I began to pray in earnest.  "Dear God, please let her be OK.  Please let her be OK.  Please let her be OK."  It probably sounded more like a chant than a prayer, but that's about all I could manage.  I was in a bit of a panic.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a minute or two, Rachael began to slightly stir in the seat beside me.

Signs of life!

I still had no idea what was going on or what was wrong.  I just knew I needed to get her to the hospital as soon as possible.

She slowly came around.  She began to talk, or at least to make semi-recognizable mumbling sounds.  By the time we got to the hospital she was apparently fully recovered.  We went in so she could be examined. 

I had to make THE call.

The call you hope you never have to make.

How many guys have ever had to call their date's mom on their first date to let her know that her daughter was now in the emergency room at the hospital?

"Hi, Linda.  This is Travis.  I needed to let you know that I had to bring Rachael to the hospital and we're here now."

While I would never ever joke about something like this, I did have a practical-joke side to me, and her mom thought that this was a really bad joke.

"Travis, do not joke with me about something like this."

"I would not.  I am serious.  We are here at the hospital.  Rachael passed out and I brought her here as fast as I could and I thought you'd want to know."

Rachael's mom and younger brother, Matt made it to the hospital in record time.  I really didn't know if this was all my fault or not, but every time I looked at Rachael's mom, I felt like she was looking at me with very accusing eyes.  And that was before she knew that it was the kiss that caused it.

OK, OK, I don't know for sure if it was the kiss, and Rachael still denies it to this day, but how many guys do you know that can put a girl in the hospital with just one kiss? 

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

For Rachael's side of the story, be sure to click here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Adventure Continues At Chevy's On The River

If you have not already read 'The Adventure Begins', please be sure to do so before you read this post.

Part 2- The Adventure Continues

The big day was finally here. 

I had asked the most gorgeous girl I'd ever seen out on a date, she'd somehow actually said yes, and now I was on my way to pick her up.

Most guys would probably be nervous about what the parents would think when he came over to pick up their only daughter to take her out on a date.

I was not.

Don't get me wrong.  I WAS nervous, just not about what the parents would think.  I was one of those rare and unlucky guys that practically all parents loved, and all girls wanted to be best friends with.  I once had one of my girl-friends (not be confused with girlfriends) practically puke when she even considered the idea of dating me.  At least that was the look on her face.  On the other hand, I once had a parent offer me a dream car if I'd marry his daughter.  I'm still not sure if he was totally serious, but it makes me feel good to think he was.

My entire life, I'd somehow managed to get all the ladies dreaming........

of the day their daughters would marry me.

Unfortunately, in todays new and modern world, the daughters all seemed to have something to say about this.  And that something never bode well for my dating opportunities.  You have to admit, there's something to be said for arranged marriages.

My nerves were on edge, because I really wanted to impress this girl.  I'd spent a great deal of time cleaning my car.  Because, of course, that will really impress a girl.  I tried to wear the best probably-out-of-style clothes I owned.  Because, of course, that will really impress a girl. 

I finally arrived at her house.  I honestly don't even hardly remember what I said to her parents, other than where we were going and what time we would be home.  At this time in our dating relationship, Rachael did not even have a curfew, but I figured we'd safely be able to go to dinner and miniature golf and she'd be safely home by midnight. 

Oh, how wrong I was.

Little did I know that at midnight that night, Rachael, her mom, her brother, and I would all be in the hospital together.

With absolutely no thoughts of hospitals, I had decided that we would go to Chevy's on the River.  At this point in my life, I don't think I even knew that Chevy's was a chain restaurant.  And this Chevy's didn't look like most of the others I have ever been to since.  It was built over-looking the American River just outside of Sacramento.

It was romantic.  Because, of course, that will really impress a girl.

I had thought of everything I knew about how to impress a girl.

Except for one thing.

How do you maintain the calm, cool, collected persona you have worked so hard to foster when you can't even keep a conversation going?

It appeared that Rachael was as nervous as I.  And her nervousness seemed to manifest itself by an inability to speak.  Or eat. 

We somehow managed to get through the meal without our nervousness growing.  Looking back, there was definitely a mutual attraction taking place.  Though at the time, I was too ignorant to realize that.  All I knew then is that this girl seemed to be the sweetest thing ever. 

And don't forget the gorgeous part.

We finished dinner and headed to our next destination.  There used to be a miniature golf course on Fair Oaks Blvd. in Sacramento.  I'm not sure if it's even still there, but as we were driving towards it, Rachael commented on the fact that this was where she used to go to school.  Possibly because these were some of the first words I'd heard all night, and probably because I was quite eager to please this lovely lady, I asked her if she wanted to stop and check it out.

Probably because she was so nervous, and because she was probably also trying to please, she said yes.

We parked the car, and went for a short walk. 

We ended up standing under a beautiful tree in a fairy-tale like perfect setting that seemed conducive to standing and staring in each other's eyes.

We did this for about 1/2 a second before I was pretty sure I wanted to kiss her.  Not a big old wet and sloppy kiss, just a nice gentlemanly peck on the lips. 

I leaned in.

My heart was beating so fast.  My nerves were on edge.  I was worried about trying to kiss her on the first date, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

She didn't scream, or slap me, or run away. 

I took this for a good sign.

Our first kiss probably lasted about 3/4 of a second.

But it was a wonderful 3/4 of a second.  A life-changing 3/4 of a second.

We stood there for a short time and then walked back to my car.  Being the perfect gentleman, I went around to open Rachael's door for her.  We stood there talking for a few minutes.  As we were talking, I noticed her eyes start to look funny.  She looked like she was no longer there.

And a minute later, she wasn't.

Check back soon to find out what happens next.  It's no wonder we fell in love.

Be sure to check out Rachael's post for her side of the story.

For an index to The Valentine's Day Series Posts, please click here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Valentine's Day Series

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Rachael and I will be telling our tale of true love.  Ours is a love that has seen it's share of trials and tests, but has managed to grow stronger with the passing years.  Rachael truly is an amazing lady, an incredible person, and the best friend anyone could ever hope for.  As well as being an awesome wife.

This is the story of how two soul-mates somehow found each other.


The Adventure Begins here.  (Part 1)
The Adventure Continues At Chevy's On The River.  (Part 2)
Hospitals, Doctors, and Mom, Oh My!  (Part 3)
So, I Gave A Guy A Rose!  (Part 4)
She's Finally 18!  (Part 5)

You will have to check back regularly as the adventure unfolds from one post to the next.  Be sure to check out Rachael's blog for her side of the story.  http://www.mypoorhusband.blogspot.com/

-The Poor Husband.

The Adventure Begins

It was a Friday afternoon in July, 1993.  I was preparing for my first date with the lady that would become my wife.  Of course, I did not know that at the time, although if I was to be honest with myself, I just had a feeling that this was something special.  That this girl was someone special.  That I was a very lucky guy to be going on a date with her.

I found out later that she wasn't even sure we were going on a date.  I'm not quite sure how that could have happened.  I asked her out with all the suave confidence of a 15 year old pimple-faced boy trying to score a date with the prom queen.  When she said yes, I worked hard on controlling my excitement and relief and I'm pretty sure she could see nothing other than a cool, calm, and collected individual.  A cool, calm, collected individual that felt like he'd just won the lottery.

Although I was 23 years old, my experience with dating was actually quite limited.  I had grown up with a confidence problem and a lot of low self-esteem.  I did not have my first date or even kiss a girl until I was already out of high school.  Prior to my first date with Rachael, I had really only had one serious relationship.  And that had just ended about 3 weeks prior with a dissolution of our engagement.

Thanks to the help of a good friend of mine (Thanks Joan) that had noticed how bummed I had been since the breakup, and who was actually quite good at helping Cupid out once in awhile, Rachael had helped cheer me up by singing 'He'll Do It Again' as a special at the church we both attended.  I'm pretty sure there were tears in my eye as I thought about the words of the song as Rachael sang it.  I also absolutely know that she caught my eye.

Her singing was beautiful, I had always admired her sweet disposition, and she was gorgeous.  Of course, she was also 17, though I did not realize it at the time.  She had just graduated high school a month prior, and so I just assumed she was 18.  That was not the case, and as it turned out, she was 17 for almost 4 months of our dating.

Anyway, back to the important stuff.

She sang beautifully.

She was sweet.

Oh, and she was absolutely gorgeous.

She had (and has) incredible blue eyes, perfectly highlighted by dazzling blonde hair.

My eye was definitely caught.

A few days later, I worked up the nerve to ask her out.  I think what actually came out of my mouth was something along the lines of, "So, umm, maybe sometime, umm, we could, umm, go out together and do something, or something, maybe.  Sometime." 

But then the strangest thing happened.

She said yes.

The adventure was just beginning.

Little did I know that one of the first stops on our little adventure would be the emergency room of the local hospital.......

(Click here for the next portion of this story.  Also, be sure to check out Rachael's blog for her side of the story.)  http://www.mypoorhusband.blogspot.com/

For an index to the Valentine's Day Posts Series, please click here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adam and Eve

Give Me Eyes, So I Can See

Kids say the darndest things!

Anyone that is a parent knows this to be true.  There is nothing like the honesty of a child to keep you humble.  They will talk in complete innocence and total candor about your weight, gray hair, or other maladies you would like to keep hidden and might have fooled yourself into believing you had. 

They also see the world through a brand new set of eyes.  Eyes that have not yet been trained to only see what has been programmed for them.  Eyes that still search out the details and try to make honest sense of them.  Eyes that are beautiful to sometimes look through.  One of the greatest joys of parenting is to be able to vicariously re-live experiences and to look at things from a fresh perspective.

Sometimes, though, it's just plain funny what they come up with.

Tonight was one of those times. 

Rebecca came in and asked me where the Garden of Eden was.  I told her of the three theories I knew about and then told her we could search online to see if there were other theories I did not know about.  We found a website that had a picture of Adam and Eve on it.

As the picture came on the screen, Rebecca exclaimed, "Dad, they're naked!"

I knew she had seen plenty of Sunday School stories with pictures of Adam and Even that closely resembled this one, so I didn't know what the big deal was.  As I started to tell her that it was Adam and Eve, she then said, "Oh, it's Adam and Eve", like that settled everything.  I guess Adam and Eve get a free pass. 

With her next words I understood her original consternation.

"I thought that was Paul and Jesus at first."  While Adam and Eve get a free pass for being naked, Jesus and Paul definitely do not.

I couldn't help but laugh out loud when she said that.  But more was to come.

"But then I saw the long blond hair, and realized it was probably Eve."

While I was sitting here wondering if Eve really would have had blond hair (probably so, since she WAS created perfect), she went right on with her thoughts.

"It still kind of looks like two guys though.  You have to admit it looks like the guys on Guitar Hero."

Well, now that you mention it, it kind of does.  Although thankfully the guys on Guitar Hero are at least wearing clothes.  Some, anyway.

So, Adam and Eve, Jesus and Paul, or two guys from Guitar Hero.  I guess it's all how you look at the picture.