Hoo boy. I remembered last night that I got a summons to Federal jury duty in the mail about a month ago, and never mailed it. The thing says mail it within five days. I lost it. But then I found it, although not without some ransacking and a little freaking out!
Lord o’ Mercy, I was having visions of getting arrested by the FBI and all sorts of crazy stuff. I hope they won’t hold me in contempt for mailing the form back a month late. My ‘term’ is for the whole month of March, which means I have to call their automated phone number and find out if I have to show up the next morning [and drive about 60 miles].
Plus I have three kids at home that I’ll have to stick somewhere. Maybe I’ll get excused when they find out what Steve does for a living. I certainly hope so. I mean, on the one hand, jury duty could be cool, but mostly I’m freaking because I’ll have to drive through the middle of the downtown of a Very Large City, which I hate. I’ve never driven in a big city before, and I’m practically having an anxiety attack just writing about it.
Egads! Change the subject fast.
Last night I was thinking about my first impression of Steve, and that made me remember the circumstances of how we met and all the stuff that was going on at that time of my life. So I thought I’d share.
I met Steve in April, 1994, when I was 20. I was in nursing school, and had been working in a nursing home in my home town [population was a whopping 819 people].
My brother Jeremi [remember, he has cerebral palsy?] had moved out of our house and into what was called an ISL [Independent Supported Living]. He and another guy lived in a house together, and they had 24 hour staff, one of whom lived with the guys and was their primary care giver. When the position opened up, I decided to apply since the job included neat perks like free food and rent along with getting paid hourly for working with the guys.
The application process started, and after two or three interviews, it was down to me and another guy. In the end, they were worried that my living with my brother would be a conflict of interest. But they were impressed with me, so they offered me a job working in the Center, but in different homes [and not as a live-in].
The guy who beat me out of my food and rent-paid live-in position was the man I would one day marry. I didn’t stay mad long, because I realized that the job would have required me to lift two grown men several times a day without the aid of a lift. I’m 5 feet 6 inches, and at the time, I weighed in at 105 pounds. I would have died the first week hauling those guys around.
And Steve was just a nice guy. I wasn’t really all that impressed with him the first time I met him, though. I remember looking at him and thinking he had potential to be cute, but he had his hair pulled back on the top and sides into a pony tail. It was all slicked back, and for some reason, I didn’t the slicking back. I dunno, it was too smooth or something.
He was 22 and couldn’t grow a full mustache if his life depended on it, but didn’t let that fact keep him from trying. And he was all dressed up in a silk shirt and dress pants. Later, he brought out the cut up heavy metal t-shirts, and my opinion improved, but right there in the beginning, I remember thinking he looked like either a door-to-door salesman, or a Jehovah’s Witness.
I had also heard that he was a Christian, and that just made me want to puke. I figured we’d all end up hearing about what sinners we were and how we were going to hell, and I wasn’t interested. He had a fiancee who I had heard was a holier-than-thou type, and I figured he would be too.
Turned out, he was just a really, really nice guy [which, in my eyes at the time, translated to boring. I was recovering from that stupid Bad Boy obsession thing so many girls fall into, and I still wasn’t convinced that a Nice Guy was for me].
I don’t remember him ever preaching to anyone in all the twelve years I’ve known him. He’s one of those people who just lives his life and lets that be the witness, which I still think is way cool.
He did make me a little nauseated when I was first getting to know him, though. He was too nice, somehow. And he made goo-goo eyes at his girlfriend [gag] and got this lovey dovey look when he talked about her [double gag, cause she was a psycho]. Sounds a little like jealousy, and it probably was, but not because I wanted Steve for myself. That didn’t come until much later.
I hung out a lot at Jeremi and Dwayne’s house [we called it ‘Tenth Street’] and made my first group of really strong friendships. There was my best friend Becky [who is still one of my best friends even though we live a couple of hours apart now] and the rest of a gang of us who were all about the same age, and worked for the Center. Tenth Street was kind of the Headquarters.
Which meant that I got to know Steve pretty well. Aside from his freaky girlfriend, he actually ended up being pretty cool. He didn’t cuss [I could give Eddie Murphy a run for his money, and did, regardless of who was around] but he did smoke [we all did] and he wasn’t judgmental.
I had only one issue with Steve at that time, and that was when his girlfriend was around, he wouldn’t talk to any of the girls very much. When she was gone, we were all good friends. And it wasn’t that he was in any way inappropriate when she wasn’t around, either, but she was a jealous type [ick] and he didn’t want to give her a reason to accuse him of anything.
I can’t tell you what a relief it was when she broke up with him. She came from a dysfunctional family, so she had major issues that weren’t totally her fault, but she still irritated me. For the first couple of weeks after she dumped him, I was kinda the shoulder he cried on. We eventually became best friends, and were going along fine, keeping it platonic [with no intent for anything more on either side] until my friend Bec told me, “You two are gonna end up together, you do realize that, don’t you Shel?”
“No way, we’re just friends,” I told her, but the seeds were planted. Within two months [November 30, 1994, to be exact], we were making out like crazy. By the time New Year’s rolled around, I was pretty sure he was ‘the one’ [okay, I knew it without a doubt… I’m weird like that, though. Sometimes I just know things, and that was one of ’em].
Some time in April or May, 1995, I proposed to Steve. You have to understand, though, I’m impatient as hell, and if I’d waited for Steve to get around to proposing, we might still not be married. The boy is sloooowww sometimes. So I proposed, and he said yes. We were going to set a date in December [It seems like Steve wanted to give his family some time to get used to the idea of him getting married again. He got married when he was 19, and it was a nightmare, so they were understandably gun shy.]
But again, I got impatient. I wanted to go to a judge and just do it, but Steve wanted to be married by a pastor. I didn’t really care that much, so I agreed, but we moved the date up to August 19, 1995, chosen strictly because it fell on a Saturday, and you have to get married on a Saturday, right?
Steve had been raised a Nazarene, and it turned out that the Nazarene church in our town had a brand new pastor [I think he had come in April or June of 1995] so we went there, did the premarital counselling, and got married.
We’ve had loads of ups and downs since then [perhaps I’ll tell you about our first year together some time. Hoo boy, it’s a wonder he survived!] but every year, we’ve grown closer, and this marriage thing just keeps getting better.
But don’t misunderstand me, it’s freaking hard work to stay vigilant, and make sure that there are no walls building up between us. I’m probably paranoid about the health of our relationship and our communication, but I’d rather err on the side of caution in this area. If anything feels even a little off [and even if it ends up being my imagination] I’ll stay up talking it out until I figure out what’s going on. Enough about that for now.
I was right about one thing, though. Steve is a really, really nice guy, but he’s not the least bit boring. And…
*embarrassing admission here*
I kinda like it when he makes goo goo eyes at me! 😉