A lot of inquiring minds have asked me how Captain Laser Pants (my husband has asked that this be his alias on my blog) and I met, especially since our relationship/ marriage/ conception/ becoming a family all moved at a rapid pace (exception- pregnancy. That was a five year miserable test of endurance.). When I tell said inquiring minds that we “met at the dog park”, the most common response is something along the lines of, “Wow, that is so you/him/ you two! Cute!” Yes, that is true. It is totally cute, romantic comedy- esque, and very,very us. When the brave and few ask for the full story, it tells even more like a movie, starring a bizarrely quirky, sarcastic Zooey Deschanel and dashingly passionate, super hot weirdo Leonardo DiCaprio to play as us (those personality traits are mine and Captain Laser Pants, not the actress and actor, I assume. Also, I know I look nothing like her. ). I have often equated our relationship to magnets – try as we might to fight the attraction, which I assure you we did, we ended up stuck together and failed miserably at staying away from one another. This is our story.
Around Thanksgiving 2009 I was faced with a dilemma. I lived in Minneapolis (as most of you know, and LOVED it), and had the option of staying, moving into a town home with a brand new, wonderful job, OR moving to Atlanta in an unhappy relationship and being closer to family. I prayed a lot about which to do, and cried a lot over the idea of leaving my precious MN friends and family. In the end, I really felt like I was supposed to move to Atlanta. I remember sitting in the Kowalski’s parking lot (the one on Chicago Avenue) talking to my mom on the phone and telling her, “God wants me to move to Atlanta. I think I am supposed to meet my husband there.” She was cautious, but I know she was VERY happy that I was choosing to move two hours from my hometown rather than staying across the country from Tennessee. The move was heart breaking- I was miserable as I packed, devastated when I told everyone goodbye, and numb by the time I made the 17 hour drive. By the time we arrived at our new apartment, every cell of my body wanted to go back to the snow.
The whole reason I selected that particular apartment complex was because of a singular amenity- the dog park. With two hyperactive puppies and no clue about where to go in a new city, I felt like having a park close to “home” was a great idea. During the month of December I was supposed to spend my days looking for work in Atlanta, playing house keeper and taking the dogs to the park. In reality, I took the dogs to the park and kept the apartment clean, but I was working out a deal with the office in Minneapolis to return in January. The townhouse was still mine if I wanted it, the job was still mine, and I missed my friends. I booked a U-Haul and planned for Christmas to be the last time I would see my family for a while. During that month I met Captain Laser Pants for the first time- he walked out from his apartment to the dog park, wearing sweat pants and old man slippers, and walking two little dogs. He was gorgeous, elusive, and kept to himself. He briefly smiled at me, but said nothing. Although I was used to people at least making small talk with me, I assumed “my goods” weren’t as hot in the Atlanta market as I had hoped. Sure, I was in a relationship, but it was miserable, and I was miserable. Looking never hurt anyone, right? We started to talk by the middle of the month; I found out the Jeep Wrangler I had been drooling over was his. Hot, loved dogs, and drove one of my dream cars. He didn’t seem real.
I was set to move back to Minnesota on January 2nd and begin work on January 4th. The night after Christmas I was driving back to Atlanta from my parents’ home in Tennessee and was in a car wreck- sandwich between two SUVs. The girl that hit me was texting and pushed me 20 feet into an Expedition. My car was totaled. My parents told me to take it as a sign that God wanted me to stay in Atlanta; I couldn’t disagree. I found a job working as a teacher at Gymboree on December 29th.
Over the course of a few months we met one another’s significant others, began talking more, and I discovered what a jewel this man truly was. He was passionate. He was incredibly intelligent. He was kind. He was GENUINE. The more time we spent together, the more I realized how unhappy I was and wished we were both single. My friends knew him as “hot dog park guy.”
Eventually half of my wish came true. He confided in me and while I appeared sympathetic and listened, my little selfish insides were rejoicing. Win for me! Maybe, just maybe, I had a chance. Or, not. Through the summer we spent plenty of time together walking the dogs, spending time at the park, blah blah blah, but he never hinted at any sort of attraction. I played it cool, and acted like we were just friends. I told people we were just friends. Heck, I told myself that, and repressed any sort of feeling that I thought I had for him that wasn’t platonic. My anthem that summer was “Funny Girl” and I would belt it in the car when no one could hear me. He told me I was funny, fun, entertaining, but… that was it.
Until the end of August.
I had started a new job to make more money so I could leave, move, be single. Captain Laser Pants and I would talk throughout the day, walk our dogs together in the evenings, and I dreamed about him at night. At the very end of August he asked if we could meet for lunch- a first. In the Sidney Marcus Parkway parking lot of Chick- Fil- A he told me he had feelings that were more than platonic, and feared that I felt the same way. He was worried about pushing things too far. We hugged, looked at one another longingly, and drove back to work. Rather than being deterred, I was more determined than ever. He went with me and my best friend to a girlfriend’s wedding in Gatlinburg. We held hands amidst the tacky t-shirt and taffy shops, and at the wedding, I prayed to God to not take him from me. I couldn’t bear the idea of losing him. By the end of September I signed my new lease and was free to call him mine.
You would think that the happy ending, the beautiful sunset, the chorus of birds and bells and all things beautiful would happen about now, right? Wrong. Apparently I had stored four years worth of painful emotional baggage and pushed away the very man I had dreamed about for so long. Most men, lesser men, would have been infuriated, pushed me away, and pushed me aside. I would have never heard from a lesser man. Captain Laser Pants was patient, but he was persistent. He fought for us when I wasn’t emotionally capable of fighting for what I had wanted since I had met him. By Thanksgiving of 2010, we had weathered the storm of my “crazy”; by Christmas of 2010 I knew I was going to marry him (he claims he knew on September 19th, 2010).
The week before Valentine’s Day 2011 we talked about marriage- my time line was between 3 and 4 years. Logically, it made sense- a year to be together, a year to pay off debt, a year to plan the wedding. He laughed at me and esoterically told me that wasn’t really his time line. The next week he proposed.
We found out we were expecting a baby mid-March. The wedding planning ceased, and the rest is history (and for future blog postings).
Some people bring out the worst in one another, some people make us better, and very few bring out the best. Thank you to my rock, my center, my love, for making me better every day.