Hi, I’m Lisa and I like to blog about my present and past life in minute detail. Is another “Our Story” installment overkill? Probably. BUT, I have to admit it is fun to reminisce about and recount the early days of our “love story”. I also feel the necessity to bridge the gap between our first date and wedding since the story is out there on the ‘net.
So, quick summation before I hit story mode.
The night after our first date, Kathleen, Tim, and I took an overnight bus ride from Kusadasi, Turkey to Istanbul (not Constantinople). Tim and I sat next to each other (now that we were official), and that’s where we had our/ I had my first kiss. On a stifling hot bus somewhere in Turkey. I think I bumped his nose, too.
Our globe-trotting adventure ended a few days after our first date. After touching down in LA, we went to our respective parts of California (San Francisco- Tim and Orange County- me). It was about a month until we saw each other again- he flew down to see me over Labor Day weekend and unexpectedly arrived a couple of hours before my night-shift started, so we grabbed dinner by the hospital (Greek food!). We did the long-distance thing for about 10 months. Like most long-distancers would (might?) say, it was hard but good. We talked every day on the phone, exchanged lots of letters and some packages, AND since we both lived away from each other and our families we racked up enough flights on Southwest (each) to eventually get free flights!
During his first year teaching Theology Tim wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to keep educating youngsters for a career, and that spring when he found out his hours were going to be cut back, he took that to be the writing on the wall. That June he packed up his little pick-up and moseyed on down to Newport Beach to move in with his Grandpa. We were finally living in close proximity to each other and it was all kinds of wonderful.
Tim started work at a temp agency while he applied for job after job, but nothing really looked promising. We both knew we wanted to get married- we’d talked about it indirectly and knew marriage was where our relationship was headed. But we didn’t know when (in a year? three years? wait for the sake of waiting?), and do we stay in California? Neither of us felt strong ties to CA. I mean, I loved it there, but I was feeling strangely unsettled. It was hard being away from family- always having to take a long flight when I wanted to visit, and a lot of the friends I’d made out in CA didn’t seem to be deeply rooted in the area either. My night-shift co-workers were a great bunch of people, and I am still so grateful I got to work with all of them, but I knew I didn’t want to stay long-term working on a Medical-Surgical floor. I was feeling the burn-out.
From coast to coast. We like to take dramatic couple shots with the wind blowing.
Hence, our decision to move to Virginia. Tim knew I wanted to live close to my family, plus we each wanted a good community to raise a family in down the road, and he had a couple of job prospects out there. Our ETD was for early December- I was absolutely not too keen on working another Christmas or New Years! I figured I’d live with my parents for a bit then find an apartment near my (potential) job, and one of my brothers was in the process of buying a house, so Tim was going to rent a room from him. I had it all planned out.
SO, December rolled around, and it was bittersweet to say good-bye to my co-workers and friends, espesh my awesome roommate. It was surreal to hand in my badge after my last night of work, and walk past the chapel, which had been a place of solace during some insanity shifts, one last time.
My car and Tim’s truck (with a trailer) were
packed bogged down with belongings and Tim’s books. He has a plethora of books (and he’s the first to admit it). And that trailer…I need to tell you about the trailer. Ahem.
Tim and I have some differences (Ha). Often he’s very frugal- find the best deal, save those pennies, DIY, and I am the opposite- be practical but make it easy on yourself and find the way that is the most painless. Sometimes we DO reverse rolls, but that was not this time. We knew we needed a trailer of sorts to haul our belongings across the vast country, and after some discussion I left it up to Tim to find one.
Here’s the best picture I could find of it:
Plywood? Check. Duck tape? Check. Possibility of leakage with any sort of precipitation? Double check.
To be honest I almost cried when he first showed me. But like any good girlfriend, I tried to be supportive. So early December we packed our belongings, said thanks for the memories, and began our trek. Arizona was our first stop, and we were able to have a short but great breakfast visit with several priest friends of Tim’s.
We then continued on our way and were making good time until one of the tires on the trailer blew out somewhere along the highway in New Mexico.
After tracking down and buying a new tire, and shuffling around our belongings, we were on our way again the next morning. Let me just say it is a long, lonely drive when you are cruising cross country in a car by yourself.
I was very thankful for books on tape, loud music, and stops. We took time to stop in Texas to visit a family member’s grave site, two stops in Loo-siana to visit friends, and then had a several day stay with my sister and her fam in Alabama (Hi, Mich!).
I can’t find a good place to mention the following, so I’ll just put it here. Back in November before we left on this escapade, I was looking for a picture or something in Tim’s wallet when he told me I shouldn’t look in there since part of my birthday present was inside (my birthday is December 19th). I figured it was a receipt for a gift.
Well, we made it to Virginia by December 14th with all sides of the trailer intact. Some of our things had suffered water damage, but nothing too major. We were both staying at my parent’s house for the time being, and as it so happened so were 3 of my other siblings + my SIL and baby nephew. We were all in housing transitions, and it was fun to have a full house! Anyway, one night after dinner Tim kind of wandered off and I could hear him going into my dad’s study. My heart began pounding. “Guy goes to talk to girl’s father alone” usually means serious business. Previously I was certain with a capital ‘C’ that we wouldn’t be getting engaged any time soon. I thought Tim would wait until we both had jobs and had been working several months. But after that event, I knew it was coming sooner than soon!
Tim and I had made plans a couple of months prior to see Handel’s Messiah at the Kennedy Center in D.C. on the 17th. We decided to celebrate my birthday then, as one of Tim’s good friends was getting ordained to the priesthood on the 19th, and Tim was going to fly out to northern CA for the ordination.
On the morning of the 17th, I woke up, went to brush my teeth, came back to my room, and found a rose on my pillow- from Tim (Sly, that one). We spent the day together- ran errands, went to mass at noon, and then brought my older sister lunch at her work. Throughout the day he unexpectedly gave me single roses several times. That evening we got gussied up, had a few photos taken, and went on our way to dinner at a nice place where Tim had made a reservation. He kept a large box with him throughout the evening, saying my gift was inside (I was so tempted to try and peek, but I held back! Principles and all…).
Dinner was quite palatable, but we ate hurriedly so we’d make the performance on time. When we got to the Kennedy Center Tim seemed a little preoccupied. The Kennedy Center has a rooftop terrace, and Tim said he wanted to go up there to give me my gift. On the way up he stopped to use the bathroom, leaving me outside with the box and strict instructions NOT to open it. Once we made it out onto the terrace, we found we had the whole place to ourselves. He led me to one of the corners overlooking the Potomac River, and asked me to turn around while he got my gift ready. After a few moments he said I could turn back around.
He told me the first part of my gift was something he wrote, and began reciting a sonnet. After each stanza he handed me another rose, and the final stanza ended with, “I love you Lisa, will you marry me?”. He then got down on one knee and held out a ring. I couldn’t help the tears that fell as he spoke, and of course said, “Yes!” (more than once, I think).
Now, I know I mentioned he also wrote a poem before we started dating, but poems and rhymes are not the norm for him. What I mean is- he’s not a brooding poet roaming around, always reciting or penning verses, so this was a big surprise.
Anyways, after several minutes basking in the moment we headed inside for the performance. It was wonderful to have the next couple of hours to enjoy our news ourselves, and incredible to soak in the beautiful music giving glory to God. I loved celebrating our engagement that way. If you’ve ever heard Handel’s Messiah, you know it is such a choral work of rejoicing!
Afterwards we headed to my parent’s house where my family was gathered waiting to celebrate with us. Once we arrived we recounted the tale:
And toasted to our love:
Good stuff. The next morning I drove Tim to the airport bright and early, and none too soon as we got a hefty snow that weekend!
We each found jobs within a month or so, and 8 months later we were married.
Oh! Three more things. 1. The reason Tim didn’t want me looking in his wallet was because the ring was inside- during the WHOLE trip too! 2. I was turning 25, so there were 24 roses total, with the ring being the 25th “rose”. 3. Kathleen and I had talked to each other (back before Tim and I were a “thing”) about what kind of engagement rings we’d like (you know, typical girl talk) and even sent each other links of photos. Wouldn’t you know it if the ring I’d sent Kathleen photos of (never, ever expecting to see it in person) he went and purchased! Apparently months prior he’d emailed or talked to Kathleen fishing for info and she delivered. ;)
Thanks for reading!