Friday, March 18, 2011

Remover of Obstacles

Today I'm going to start 30 days of telling our story, Kim and I. It's not for a blog challenge or anything like that. It's just that I've freed up some time by dropping my classes, and I need to write -- and I want to tell you all about her. She's like no one I've ever met. So here is post one.
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This is a picture of a little figurine I'm considering buying for our house. He is the Hindu god Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. What do you think? Pyramid Collection has this very nice one that I think would look great on the bookshelf.

Kim and I have had our share of personal obstacles. She didn't have the same obstacles as me growing up, because her family was well off and lived among the similarly well off. My family was well off for as long as my dad was going great guns with his construction business, but later, when he got sick, we dropped well below the poverty level. It was humbling, and it changed my life. For Kim, it happened later, when she entered medical school; the playing field was leveled. She was a woman trying to make it in a man's world, and to this day, she seeks out other female physicians for her own healthcare, because in her words, "They had to be twice as good as 'the boys' to make it through med school." Like her, I worked my way up in a man's world, too. I turned my love of computers into a career - without a degree - and was soon the only female on Camp Lejeune who could program OSPF and BGP on the Cisco routers. I love a challenge, and so does Kim. Though I did finally get my degree, most of the hard work I did was the real education and brought the real payoff.

Maybe that is part of what attracted us to each other. We're intelligent, capable, busy, workaholic women who happened to be looking for love at the same time.

I may have written this, but I'll start again at the beginning.

She was on Match.com, and so was I. I had had several dates from November to late January, but none of them panned out. NONE of them. I was beginning to think that there was something wrong with me. I was too picky. I would go out on these dates with a smile, looking my best, with the best intentions, and Sean would watch for me to come home. He would just shake his head and laugh as soon as he saw me. "My mom. So picky!"

So when Kim contacted me on a Thursday and suggested that we go out sometime (and she had read my entire profile, including the parts about having lost my daughter and about having some health challenges - hey, I'm honest!), I said, "Sure!" I had already decided to cancel my subscription, so she was going to be my swan song date, my last try at that particular online site. My friend Beth told me that she thought I'd be better off meeting women through social activities. That way I could decide if I was attracted to them at all before striking up a conversation or more. I thought she was right, so Match and I were parting ways.

Obstacles intervened, however. Kim was healing from an abdominal surgery but wanted to go out for coffee that Saturday. We were all set, and then she contacted me and said she had the flu. Not a good thing when healing from surgery! We postponed the date, but we were both very interested. We emailed "novels" to each other and talked on the phone. I liked how she sounded. I liked her pictures. But I knew that a million things could go wrong. For instance, I might not like the way she smelled. LOL - true! It happened on at least one of my ill-fated dates.

Well, the next day she was feeling a little better, but I got a kidney infection and had to go to the hospital. We had a miscommunication, and she thought I was meeting her for dinner after I went to the ER. (Only a doctor would think that dinner after an ER visit was appropriate, right?) She even offered to pick me up there -- I thought she was joking.

When I got in the door from the hospital, my phone was ringing. It was Kim. She had been at the restaurant for "50 minutes" (not that she was counting!). I was horrified that she thought I had stood her up. Oh my gosh, it was like a comedy of errors. She should have been home in bed tending to herself, but I have since learned a lot more about just how much doctors have to ignore their own bodies in their line of work. She offered to bring me something, but I didn't want her to see me looking like I did - with bandages from the IVs, bags under my eyes, and hair a mess. Ugh! No way! So I said, "Let's just try another time, ok?"

This was January 30th, and she managed to contract strep throat, too, because she was back working at the clinic. We were a mess! But on February 2, Groundhog Day, we both just said, "Let's do it. Let's go get a bite to eat." We agreed to meet for dinner at 6 p.m. at a new local restaurant.

Well, I was 4 minutes late (unlike me) because I was unfamiliar with this restaurant. I finally found it and walked in, windblown, to see her sitting there looking at her cell phone (probably thinking I was standing her up again). She looked up at me and time stood still. I smiled. She smiled. She looked very smart in her black slacks and boots, green shirt (which really showed off her eyes) and black leather jacket. When she stood up, she was slightly taller than me (unusual and nice for a change!). We hugged and she smelled wonderful. Her soft brown curls hung gently around her face, and she had a welcoming smile that said she liked me, too. (She now tells me, "I looked at you and thought, 'SHE'S here to see ME?? Wow!'")

I think the sentence that entered my mind was something simple, like, "Damn!" I found her incredibly attractive and - well - HOT!

We went into the restaurant and had a lovely meal that I couldn't tell you a thing about. I know exactly where we sat, exactly who the server was, and exactly how close we ended up sitting to each other. But I don't remember what I ate. I suddenly lost my appetite because I was hanging on her every word. I was so enamored of her.

When we got tired of the interruptions by the waitress, we stepped outside, and she said, "Want to come over and meet the boys?" I figured I had passed the first test, so I said, "Sure!"

We decided that since the roads were icy out her way, and since I was unfamiliar with that part of town, she would drive. We got into her Lincoln Navigator and rode about 15 minutes out of town to her place, which is a nice spread on a cul-de-sac. I admit that I was a little nervous at first. I barely knew her, and I'd been hurt and lied to by people before. But I figured I couldn't live my life being afraid all the time, so I tried to relax and go with it.

We walked into the house past toys and big dogs, into a kitchen buzzing with the activity of two little boys and all that goes with them. The nanny (the one I spoke of in my last two posts) quickly disappeared with barely a hello or goodbye, leaving us with the boys. We made our way over to the couch, and I was surrounded by a little bit of chaos. Thomas curled up next to me and quickly turned on the charm. Justin was running about, full of energy, but clearly more interested in his mommy.

It was soon approaching 9:30, and I was exhausted. She had to get the boys to bed, too, because they all had to be up at 7 the next morning. Truthfully, I could have curled up right there with her and would have been fine, but I had to work the next day, too.

She reached down and took my hand. Electricity ran through me. Her hand felt so right in mine.

"Well," she asked, "What do you think?"

I had to laugh. "So you want my decision right now?? Sorry, doc', it may work that way in your world, but this is the rest of the world!"

Without committing or showing my hand, I let her know that I knew she'd tried to see if I scared easily. Anyone who wasn't that interested or who wasn't that mature might have been scared off by the chaos of Kim's life, but I just thought, "Wow, here's a single mom who's been trying to do it all. I respect that." That's really what I thought. But I wasn't ready to tell her how far I thought we'd go. It was, after all, simply a first date. But I said, "Ask me out again and I'll say yes."

She smiled and asked the nanny to please put the boys to bed while she drove me home.

We were soon back in the parking lot of the restaurant, which had emptied considerably. I found myself wishing the date didn't have to end. I really felt comfortable with Kim, and it was the first really decent date I'd had. There was that tense moment when you're both not quite sure what is going to happen next, but I knew what I wanted.

I took off my seat belt and my glasses. I leaned over to her side of the truck and kissed her. It felt really, really good, so I did it again.

She was hard to read. She sat back for a minute, blinking.

"Um, I ... uh ... think I'm speechless. That almost never happens to me."

We laughed. I knew she felt the same way I did. "Let's get together again really soon, ok?"

I got out of the truck and got in my Saturn. I hated to go home! I really wanted the night to go on, but I had to be responsible. As she pulled away, I waved. She waved. And so our life began.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the next day. For now, just know that maybe Lord Ganesha was intervening for us. Surgery, flu, strep throat, and a kidney infection - plus a miscommunication about the real first date - did not stop us from having our eventual first date, which has led to a kind of happiness I've never known.

When I walked in the door that night at home, Sean took one look at me and said, "What?? My picky mom is SMILING??"

Yes, I was.

Peace - D

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