June 21, 1999
Best friend, Michele, challenged me to pray with her that I will meet the man I am going to marry within 3 months. Did I think she was crazy? Yes. Did I do it? Not right away...it was awkward...but I finally allowed myself to start praying. A couple of weeks into the praying, Michele said she wanted to set me up with this guy from Ohio. I was traveling out there for an archery tournament and he agreed to meet me for lunch on the last day.
July 15, 1999
Day before I was to meet Eric - we talked on the phone finalizing plans and I tried to talk him out of coming up to meet me.
July 16, 1999
Woke up to get ready for the competition. Did my hair, did my make-up and stood back to look in the mirror. Realized that on any other tournament day - I wouldn't look like this. So I washed my face, threw my hair in a ponytail under a hat and walked out the door.
I remember sitting on the bleacher and seeing him walking up. He didn't know me or what I looked like. I thought about toying with him for a couple of minutes and letting him wander around trying to figure out which girl I was. But I didn't. We spent a couple of minutes chatting and then headed out for lunch.
I was instantly impressed with the black Ford Explorer that he drove...but even more so that he opened my door!!
He took me out for coneys at Skyline Chili (A totally Cincinnati thing!). Then he took me to a driving range to hit golf balls. All I remember is thinking, "Wow...I'm really stepping out of my comfort zone...I've never even swung a golf club before and now I'm doing this with a guy I just met!?" But it was fun. OH!...did I mentioned he paid for lunch and golf?!
He met my dad that day since I had traveled with my dad. They bonded instantly with their dislike of cats. He gave me a hug good-bye and said he'd be in touch.
July 17, 1999 - September 3, 1999
Many, many hours of talking on the phone. Early in August we made it known that we didn't want to date other people. Then we set up regular "date nights". Scheduled phone calls on Wednesday and Sunday nights. He always sent me calling cards so I didn't have to pay to talk to him...this was before unlimited calling plans!
It was so nice to get to know him on a true heart-level. No physical complications, no head games...just honest-to-goodness get-to-know-you time.
September 3, 1999
He flew out to Colorado for the Labor Day weekend. His parents lived in Estes Park, so he invited me up for the weekend. I remember picking him up at the airport. My roommates and I had gone shopping to find the perfect dress and shoes and I had practiced doing my hair just right. I remember waiting at the gate wondering if I'd recognize him since I'd only seen him once. I was so excited and so nervous all at the same time.
I met his family briefly, then he decided to drive me to Grand Lake. On the way there he asked if he could hold my hand. No guy had ever been thoughtful enough to ask me that before. I remember the awkwardness of trying to figure out the right hand-holding position that would work while driving in a car. heehee.
We sat by the lake and shared some wine in red plastic cups. Later that night we went with his family out to dinner. We went to the Bald Pate Inn, a homemade soup & salad place in Estes Park. I had to excuse myself to the restroom just after dessert where I proceeded to throw up everything I just ate. THAT'S how nervous I was!!..I just didn't realize it! It was the joke of the weekend. We still laugh about it.
That first night we sat on the couch watching Tommy Boy, and in what would become a true habit of mine...I started falling asleep on the couch. So instead of letting me him see me drool and hear me snore when we were still in the "impression" stage, I chose to say good night and go upstairs. He stopped me before I reached the stairs and gave me our first kiss. I could hardly believe it. I didn't really sleep much that night!
The next day we went hiking and had a picnic in the freezing cold wind and flurries, but it was fabulous. Later that night while sitting on the couch I remember asking, "So, does this mean I can call you my boyfriend?"
October 15-17, 1999
He flew me out to Cincinnati to visit. It was by far the best "date" I had ever had. I arrived during "Light Up Cincinnati"...where all the city turns on all their lights....very impressive!He took me shopping and bought me a beautiful outfit from Anne Taylor...blouse, pants, socks, shoes, perfume! Then...he had made me an appointment at a very high-end salon to get my hair done. Then he took me out for ribs (another Cincinnati thing), where I was too "Cool" for a bib, and I spilled BBQ sauce on my new blouse!
That Sunday he wanted to take me to the Bengals game but it was sold out....bummer! :O) Instead we drove to Bloomington, IN to Oliver Winery and did wine tasting and gourmet snacking. It was a blast. In fact, that is still our favorite winery.
By the time I left Cincinnati that weekend, I "knew". I knew he was the one for me.
November 26, 1999
Eric was back in Colorado for Thanksgiving and told me "I love you" for the first time. I was in such shock that I didn't say anything at first - just stared at him for what seemed like 5 minutes. But of course I told him I loved him too.
He was in Colorado until after New Years and I saw him on weekends and Wednesday nights...date night at Bennigans! The night before he left to fly back to Ohio he accepted a job in Boulder, CO!! Later that night I remember sitting on his lap and him telling me, "You know I want to marry you, right?" I, in classic romantic response, told him I wanted to throw up. In a good way of course!
At the end of January I flew out to Cincinnati and helped him pack up and drive back to Colorado. Little did I know "the rings" were in his coat pocket the whole time...I wondered why he was so attached to that coat!
We were in Casper, WY visiting my parents. He remembers standing in the freezing cold Wyoming wind, no coat, with my dad...who kept him outside for 20 minutes...asking if he could marry me! We all "knew" what was going on, but Eric never told me, nor was it openly talked about that weekend, so the surprise "congratulations" cake that my sister made had to stay hidden!
On February 20th
After practically begging me to skiing with him, we ditched church and went to Breckenridge, CO to go skiing. I suspected it would happen that day, but I didn't know when or how. On the first run of the day, we had just started down the mountain. The sun was out, the clouds were few, the sky was Colorado blue. He pulled off the side of the run and asked me to come over...told me his foot hurt. hmmmm.... He popped off his skis, got down on one knee and said something sweet and sappy and perfect...then asked me to marry him.
Now - here's where this story is a bit unclear. His version is that "this" happened before I said "yes"...I swear it happened after I said "yes". Either way girls....refrain from asking how big the diamond is until LATER!!!...not when he's still down on one knee!
We were married almost 8 months later - October 21, 2000. Eric said he would always remember our anniversary because 21 is also Sammy Sosa's jersey number....whatever it takes!!
2 dogs and 3 children later....not necessarily in that order...I love him more than I ever thought I could and appreciate the friendship and relationship we share.