Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ve haf vays uf making you talk!

So, I'm texting with my colleague-friend the other day. After actually talking about work, the conversation turned to what might happen when my mother meets Jacob.

"I'm a little nervous," I said. My mother tends to be very judgemental, on first sight."

"What's there to judge?" she asked.

"Well, she hates tattoos."

"Then she'd hate me! I'm tattooed and not done with it!"

"He has an obvious one. In the middle of his forehead."

"Why would he do that?"

"Don't know, but there you have it."

"My latest one is on my back."

"He has one there, too," I said, blissfully unaware that I was about to contract foot-in-mouth disease. "It's large. It's actually in four parts."

A pause in the texting.

"Uhm," she said. "And what was the occasion you had to study the construction of the tattoo on his back?!?!"


I'd be sooo good under interrogation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dinner and a movie, small town style

Last night was a big night for all of us: the first time we had an outing all together - Jacob, me, and our daughters.

Once a week, the old historic theater downtown has "Dinner and a Movie" night.  They show a film that's not in current release (like "The Wizard of Oz," "Gone With the Wind," "Giant," "The Jerk," "Serenity"), and admissions are $5.  If you have dinner at a downtown restaurant, then you get two free admissions with every dinner receipt.  Our downtown area is literally Main Street USA, nicely restored and maintained, with a variety of shops and eateries.  This is where my beloved Farmer's Market happens in the summer.

So, we headed out to this week's movie and a pizzeria for dinner. There, I spotted a friend of Daughter's from marching band at a table, and she started to chat with him. The boy's father walked up and said, "Hi there! Long time, no see!"

I thought he was talking to us, as fellow marching band people.  No, he was talking to Jacob.  Who looked really surprised.

"Hello," he said.  "I don't think you've met my oldest daughter."

"No, just the younger one," he said.  Jacob introduced his daughter, then the man turned to my daughter and me.  He kind of had to.  His son was hanging over his shoulder, pointing across him at Daughter, excitedly saying, "She marches!  She marches!  She marches!" and making drum motions.

He shook Daughter's hand and mine.  His son said the drum thing again, and he responded, "Then all is right with the world!" And we found our table.

"Wow, it's been years since I've seen him," he said, a little awkward.  "His son is big now."

"His son is a senior," I said.  "He's a friend of Daughter's."

Jacob laughed.  "Small world."

At the table, the girls had some whispered conversations.  "You can't tell those two," Jacob's oldest said to Daughter.

Of course, she told me.

The little one had asked my daughter, "So, do you think we'll really become sisters?"

From the mouths of babes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Accepting my "hotness"

Apparently, I do things in my daily life that are "hot."  Either I've been oblivious, or they're only hot to Jacob.

I make pot roast.

I wear toe socks, with skulls and crossbones on them.

I put Louisiana Hot Sauce on my fries.

My mother likes to say we met online.  We got to know each other through Twitter.  We talked awhile before saying we should meet.

"You'll be disappointed," he said.

"I seriously doubt that," I said.  "But what are you afraid of?"

"I'm a social pariah," he said.  "Pierced. Tattooed. Eccentric."

"And?" I said. "What I see is someone taking responsibility for his own.  Intelligent.  Good priorities.  Lots in common.  Makes me laugh and smile.  If it's all true, how could that be disappointing?"

I paused.  "Perhaps you're the one who will be disappointed...."

"I won't be," he said.

"How do you know?" I asked.  "I'm not exactly the popular idea of attractive.  I'm not...small.  Never will be.  My body is 42, scarred and blemished, ravaged by a bad recovery from pregnancy."  Okay, so I'm self-conscious about my body.  What can I say?

"Confession time?" he said.  I let that sit for a moment.  A confession?  What could he have to confess?  Of course, my curiosity went berserk.  Holy crap, is he married?  Gay?

"Ok...," was all I responded.

"I've already seen you."

"How's that??"

"At Wal-mart. A couple of weeks ago," he said.  "You used Foursquare to check-in there and posted it to Twitter, while I was there.  I hope that doesn't alarm you.  It's nothing creepy-stalker-ish.  We were both already there...."

I got a tingle in my spine.  It's a small town.  I knew this kind of thing was inevitable.  I've already had people I know find me using my check-ins.

"I spotted you in the store," he said.  "Our shopping lists had us crossing paths several times.  I thought that was lucky."

"Oh wow," was all I could say.  My mind was reeling, thinking back to shopping a couple of weeks ago.  Who was I with?  Was it one of the trips where I was annoyed with Ranger?  What was I wearing?  Or saying?  Did I do anything embarrassing? 

"You're gorgeous," he said.  "I've never seen a woman move with such confidence and grace. You're very attractive."

And I blushed.  And worried less.  Since then, he's taught me a lot about worrying less.  I'm unlearning a lot.  I've been conditioned to worry about hidden things, about nasty surprises.  He understands that, and he's completely open to me.  His serene manner is contagious.

Daughter and I went to Jacob's house for another evening of dinner and movies, the other night.  As he and I stood in the kitchen, chatting over the dinner preparation and listening to the happy sounds of our girls, he said, "What are you thinking, Love?"  It's his favorite question.

"I'm glad to be here," I said, with complete honesty.  Being all together like that is very comfortable, for all of us.

He put his arms around me and said, earnestly, "It's good to have you home."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Something new

So, there we stood, in the low light of the lamp, surveying the damage.


Then, the laughter started.

We'd broken the bed.

A first for me, I might point out.

And so, with the exception of a crashing bed, things with Jacob are nothing short of blissful, at the moment.

I'm still around Ranger now and again.  Our lives are still entwined with things like a shared storage unit. But I get little confirmations that I've done the right thing.  For instance, he got a great lead on a job, but what did he do about it?  Nothing.  All he had to do was make the call.  And he didn't.  All right.  Makes me sad to see him go that way, but it's his own choice.

For the last few weeks, Daughter and I have been spending a couple of evenings a week at Jacob's house.  Well, more than a couple.  We help each other's children with homework.  We make dinner.  We watch movies.  We play board games.  My daughter has infected his oldest with her YouTube obsessions.  Watching the younger ones with my daughter is nothing short of witnessing idol worship.  She has a fan club.  His girls go to bed promptly at 8:00, and we get goodnight kisses before going to our own home.

I remember, a few weeks ago, when Jacob went to the kitchen for a moment and came back to find his youngest curled up in my lap.  The look on his face was of such happiness, seeing her cuddled to me. 

After one of my first visits there, Jacob's oldest came to him and said, "It's all right with me."

"What is?"

"Come on," she said.  "I know."

What she "knew" was that Jacob and I "liked" each other very much.  And she was saying it was okay with her.  She'd liked the idea of having a single parent, after being through a nightmare of a stepfather with her mother.  But she was telling Jacob that she was cool with me, and with he and I being together.

Jacob and I have much in common, including our love of literature.  And we're techno-geeks.  We text a lot.

One day, he asked me, "So what comes next?"

"What do you mean," I asked.  "What do you see coming next?"

"Speaking of hypothetical possibilities, of course," he said.  Then, he quoted Shakespeare to me:
"If that thy bent of love be honourable, Thy purpose marriage...."

From Romeo and Juliet, which was the first movie we watched together.  In that moment, he took my breath away.

He actually does that quite often, more than he knows.  Simply watching him is a study in masculine grace.  The lines of his anatomy are thrilling to me, in every cut and angle.  He is not tall, but he's muscular.  He has a physically demanding job, and it shows.  He wears his long, blond hair pulled back.  There's a gesture he does to sweep it from his face that I've told him is "terminally sexy."

One day, I got to the house earlier than expected.  He's given me his security code for that very reason. (By the way, the code has two numbers. The difference between them is 13.)  He was just stepping out of the shower, and I learned something new.  Jacob has curly hair.

It was almost more than I could stand.  Jacob in a towel, with disheveled curls falling on his neck.  Oh good lord, can a man really be that beautiful?

Jacob's manner is serene, almost a Zen-like quality.  His sense of humor is sharp, and he can move in an alarmingly silent way.  He refers to himself and his girls as Leprechauns (yup, he's Irish!).  He has a keen intelligence and refers to himself as a nerd.  He often thinks this is a bad thing, asking me if I mind. 

Hello?  Have you met me?

Leprechaun Love.  Nerd Love.  Any way you look at it just now, it's blissful.

"What happened to your bed?" the girls asked him, the morning after the crash.

He thought for a split second and said, "This is why you should never jump on your bed!"

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Present...and Future?

It's crappy to break up with someone at Christmas time, but it's been obvious for the last several weeks that my relationship with Ranger is ending.  A friend read this blog and dropped me an email, speaking bluntly to me: Ranger knows he's fucked things up, but don't be taken in by gestures that are salvage attempts.  Keep your eye on the big picture.

Sometimes I know things, but need to hear them from someone else.

So, here's where I'm coming from now.  I love Ranger and care about him very much.  But not romantically.  I had planned to make a life with him, but those plans became one-sided.  It's time for him to stand on his own because he seems to expect me to support him indefinitely.  Two things in particular were in the way of us getting married, and I gave him all the tools he needed to solve them.  Not picking up those tools and doing the work himself shows me that resolving those things isn't a big priority to him - and neither is being with me in any permanent fashion.

It's either important to him to move under his own power, or it's not.  I won't be the nag who needles him into accomplishing things.  It's also time to be honest with me about a few things.  I need a partner, not someone I'm dragging along.  And he's expecting to be dragged.

In the meantime, I'm not willing to put the blinders on, sit around, and wring my hands.  If someone else comes along who offers me the relationship I want with the stability I need, then so be it.

If I can love them and be loved by them in the way that I've always thought it should be, I'd be a fool to pass it up.  For my sake, and my kids' sakes. Especially my daughter, who looks to me to model how a healthy relationship should be.

I've spent more time with Jacob, who is proving to be a very good companion.  He has a peacefulness about him that is soothing to me. He has a clarity of thought that puts my own in perspective.  And he is fiercely devoted, once committed to someone.  How long have I wanted that, and never seem to quite get there?  Do I dare think that this could be the one who won't let the bottom drop out of my world?

I've spent some time with his daughters, too.  And he's been around mine a little.  Mine thinks he's great fun, with great taste in books.  He recommended some steampunk that she's loving.  His daughters are very sharp, and apparently enjoy being around me.  He told me that his oldest daughter has been very attached to the idea of having a single parent, because of a bad step-parent situation with her mother.  However, she's let him know several times that it's quite all right with her if I stick around.

We talk via text messages off and on all day, every day.  I've started a routine of stopping by his house on my way home, for a sip of tea and a "How was your day?" chat.  On Christmas Eve, after the kids and I had gone looking at lights, and I delivered the last guest to their own home, I sent Jacob a message.

"Driving past your house in a few.  Still up?  Want a Christmas hug?"

His answer was emphatic.  "Yes, please!"

His oldest daughter was already asleep upstairs, while he was hanging stockings.  His younger daughter was at her mother's house, which caused him great sorrow on Christmas morning.  He met me at the door so I wouldn't have to knock.  We tiptoed into the living room, hugged, wished a Merry Christmas, and chatted in whispers. And we kissed a little. His kiss is sweet, gentle, but communicates enough "I want you" to make me weak in the knees.

Then, his phone goes off.  He looks puzzled and picks it up. And starts laughing.

He turns the screen to me.  I see his oldest's name, with the message: "I don't want to come out and see any presents, but was that Blogget at the door?"

It was like a texted little hug.  "She really likes you," he said.

He handed me a little present in a gift bag.  I started to peel the tissue paper back, but he stopped me.  "No,'s for Christmas. You have to wait!"

For the record, I behaved. Christmas morning, I unwrapped a cute little R2D2 Lego watch set.  It made sense now.  A few days before, he'd asked who my favorite Star Wars character was.

The day after Christmas, he invited me to join them on an excursion to a model train show.  We made French bread pizza at his house, then drove to the show.  It was set up by the local model train club and charged a small admission.  Jacob smiled almost bashfully at me when the man charged us the "family" rate.

The towns that the trains chugged through were models of our hometown and Glenwood Springs, which is up the road a bit.  I've written about visiting there with Ranger, a couple of times.

The model of our town included a tiny replica of the mercantile owned by the people who built Jacob's house, around 1900.  Between the towns was a row of tiny little houses.  Jacob's daughter pointed out the tiny people, coming and going from the little houses.  Jacob leaned in and looked closer, then shot a look to me.  I checked it out.

The women on the porches of the tiny houses were scantily, if brightly, dressed...waving to men who were leaving their houses.  Or rather, establishments.

She'd found the model train town's red light district.

The Glenwood model included a replica of the Hotel Denver, which I dearly love.  I told Jacob about the lovely stained glass windows inside.  He couldn't place the location.  As I described the block, I said, "There's this great steak place down the street...."

His eyes lit up.  "Juicy Lucy's!"

"Yes!  I love that place!"

"Me too!  It's the best ever."  And it is.

After the train show, we went back to his house, made cocoa, and watched the Doctor Who version of "A Christmas Carol."  His oldest is really into Doctor Who, both the show and the books. Jacob and I sat cuddled together, as I rested back against his chest.  As I absently drew circles on his ankle with my fingers, I apparently found a previously undiscovered erogenous zone.

It was a completely delightful, warm afternoon, in a virtual cocoon of near-domesticity.

So, I'm left to wonder, what will Christmas future look like for us now?