Just a Cup of Coffee – Part Two

Just a Cup of Coffee…the true love story of Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man.

Click to read Part One HERE

(This might take a while, grab your hankies, it could have been broken up into three parts, but I didn’t want to prolong the happy ending.)

Fast forward to a year later, the following September 1991.

Yes, I kept my promise; no dates and no mistakes. There was the excruciating lure of nubile and suntanned young surfers but I stood firm in my resolve in spite of the half naked, salty-skinned–oh crap. Living in Southern California is sooo like opening up a fresh box of candy. It wasn’t fair, but a deal’s a deal.

box of chocolatesIf only I could have had just a teensy-weensy bite here, a bite there–oh, SO yummy–that one has a caramel center, or that other one’s coconut-filled, or a tart juicy cherry embraced by dark chocolate, or full of Baileys Irish Creamer–you get what I’m sayin’?  I’ll just bet you do. On my towel, surveying the beach, I wanted to take a little bite out of each one, so to speak.

But….I had to go cold turkey and avoid them all. Not one lick, not one taste.

I had a goal, I had a vision; I had my list–clenched tightly in my hand–WILLPOWER–it’s all about the willpower.

Here’s where serendipity might have had a hand in the convergence of our lifepaths.

In the beginning, I THOUGHT I first laid eyes on the captain when I was hired for the marketing department of a local cruise line.

Aside…because the whole idea of me and boats is a joke. I’m not what you’d consider sea-worthy. I’d only been on a couple of boats previously and became violently seasick on both of those trips.

OK, now read this – could it be the hand of fate that brought us together? Was our eventual connection forged a decade before ?
_________________________________________________

Was it luck or serendipity? 

On a romantic evening In front of the fire with a couple snifters of Courvoisier, my tugboat man and I concluded that our paths did cross, not in a prior life, but…

In the 1980s he captained a charter vessel in our local harbor–tours of the bay, dinner cruises; that kind of thing.  

In between going out to sea for four to six months, he’d come back to SoCal for a break and to surf-and worked locally.

Around that same time, my mom and I took my then five-year-old son on his first boat ride, a tour of San Diego Bay.

At that time, there was really only one boat company that offered daily excursions.

It wasn’t until we had been married for probably ten years or so– looking through an old photo album–when he saw a pic of my mom and me on “his” boat — that the subject came up.

(That’s part of me and the Coronado Bridge. Obviously, my mom couldn’t take a decent pic.)

Since there were only two captains, and the time of day we were there was during his (remembered) shift, it’s highly possible that we spoke–or made eye contact. As captain, he always greets and counts the passengers while he collects boarding passes; especially because we had a child with us. Always concerned with safety, my captain.

Our ships DID, most likely, PASS in the night (day).  

What would have happened if we had talked? I was married with a little boy–the timing was absolutely not right.  

Did we each hold on to a momentary glance or imprint on our subconscious so that our path to romance was pre-determined? 

Why did I become employed at a cruise line when I don’t even like boats?

I still have no idea.

That we met in 1991 and felt an instant connection might be interpreted as luck or serendipity. 

Which do you think it is?
_______________________________________________________________

Back to the story:  Was it merely coincidence–meaninglessly simultaneous occurance–or  synchronicity?  We agree that it was meant to be. We’re two peas in a pod, me and him.

We mirror each other.

One of my first marketing duties was to attend a downtown trade show. I vividly recall my ensemble–and before you get all judge-y and everything, let’s take the year into consideration–1991–please be kind.

You know you looked exactly the same.

You KNOW you did.

I wore a short split skirt (dare I say skort) of silky polyester-type material (I know, I know) imprinted with brightly colored parrots (cringe), a turquoise blazer, and four-inch-high red heels. Oh, and they were LARGE parrots.  I’m five-feet-tall with very curly dark brown hair. You can imagine the style when I tell you it added five inches to my height. Nuff said–stop laughing, I have nothing to apologize for; it was the decade of big hair.

The owner of the company walked by our booth and introduced me to his senior captain. I played it cool; I’m good at that–just a quick handshake and then I turned my attention to the marketing materials like I was very, very busy.

I only allowed myself a passing glance his way, committed as I was to making a good impression on my boss. Plus, I was fully dedicated to my promise to celibacy and just because he was ADORABLE was no excuse to give in to temptation. Not even with those green-gray eyes. Not even.

Since I was on a “man diet, I transformed him (in my mind) into a rich chocolaty truffle chocolate truffleand successfully used my powers to resist–at least on that particular day. During the next few weeks, our paths crossed many times; at the office with brief hellos in the hallway, and with overt scrutiny during cruises when I accompanied some of the charters. (When I wasn’t stuck with my head in the toilet. I told you the truth, I’m not a natural seawoman.)

As much as I tried to deny it–I can’t lie–there were those familiar little tingles, goose bumps even, delicious frissons of attraction. On one hand I was fighting it with all I had, yet on the other hand I spent more time in the office than I really needed to.  A little extra makeup, perfume, a few new outfits–you know how it is. OK OK, I admit it! A smile from him did something to my insides, that fluttery butterfly sensation I willed myself to ignore.

I carried The List in my handbag and referred to it in moments of weakness, and for a while I was able to avoid temptation.

Here comes the good part, y’all.

In mid-November, I met with a client at one of the boats to plan a large corporate event. As we walked up the gangway, I discovered the captain was on board in the wheelhouse. I had no idea he would be there, and resolved to ignore him, except that everyone always wants to meet a captain, (too much Love Boat) so I was forced to be polite and make the introductions.

Here’s where it all went wrong-or right-depending on your point of view.

After my meeting ended, I did not immediately leave. I stalled, meandering around the small area of shops located near the harbor. I was so mad at ME; I tried to talk myself into leaving by going over The List and telling myself that I should be writing up the event details.

Just GO, I said to myself! But guess who didn’t listen? I found myself furtively looking around to see if the captain was still there. Since the whole chocolate visualization thing didn’t seem to be working anymore, I turned him into as a gooey, cheesy, spicy pizza and I used all my willpower to stand firm–to stay focused–recounting all the reasons why that delicious piece of heaven is not worth the calories.

I swear to you, I had every good intention of leaving and driving to the corporate office, I really did, but cosmic forces had grabbed hold of my good sense.

I was powerless. The hand of fate had me in her grip–and that chicka had been working out with the heavy weights.

Finally, I could find no further excuse to drag my feet and delay the inevitable departure.

I very reluctantly and slowly walked to my car, parked in front of a coffee shop, and as if by magic, the captain appeared.

I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in spite of the fact that my heart was racing.

“Where are you going? Why didn’t you say goodbye? “What’s up?” “How about buying a co-worker a cup of coffee?”

I demurred, saying I had to go, I had another appointment (not true); uh, I don’t buy guys coffee, and he kept badgering me,

“C’mon, don’t be stuck up, don’t you have fifty cents for a cup of coffee?”

(That was before six-dollar lattes and Starbucks on every corner.)

“You don’t want me to think you’re a snob, do you?”

[pause]

That did it.

Of course you understand why I wouldn’t want him to think any of those things, right? RIGHT? It was a matter of pride; once he turned on his charm, I was hooked. I unearthed a few quarters from the bottom of my handbag.

Yes, I bought the coffee. It’s something I can’t believe myself.

My other credo had always been, “Princesses don’t pay. Men pay.” But buy the coffee I did.

Honestly, I was borderline pathetic. Not even borderline. I was hanging on to the cliff with my fingertips.

It’s like sparks were flying off his body. I made every excuse in the book to lean over and oops, accidentally brush his arm and cop a sniff. He smelled heavenly.

It’s that damn pheromone thing. I was–still am-hopelessly–magically attracted. He’s irresistible. And he knows it.

We took our coffee outside and sat at a cement patio table. It was one of those perfect SoCal November days–balmy even. For a few moments we said nothing as we sipped from our coffee and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Red lights flashed on and off in my head.

DANGER AHEAD! STOP THE MISSION! RUN!

Less than a foot away from me he straddled the half-moon shaped concrete bench. His thighs were encased in soft worn jeans and my thoughts were heading into hazardous waters.

His hair was wet and looked like he just had showered.

“What are you doing here? Did you know I was going to be here?”

“No, I didn’t, I had to update the logs, and I surfed a bit earlier.”

Ah, that’s where the wet hair came from.

“So…you’re a surfer?”

That is most definitely NOT on my list.

“I like to think I am.”

Scintillating conversation, huh? I thought that was a bit arrogant, a bit–AHEM–cocky.

Later I learned that he had spent much of his youth in Kauai and he really was/is a great surfer, but I didn’t know much about him — only what I was feeling.

As the conversation unfolded and we chatted–he told me where he lived and where he had gone to college, and–those thighs, oh wait–no, not that–of course I meant what kind of music he liked and that he loves animals–I found myself listening to his voice but not hearing the words.

This is where it gets weird.

And pinky-swear, it’s all true, it all happened exactly like this. It was REAL.

He looked at me and smiled.

I felt lit from within.

My heart melted. (Even now, his smiles affect me the same way.)

I sighed. He sighed. I sighed again.

That was IT.

Everything became quiet and a calm-before-the-storm sensation enveloped me. I placed my hands on the bench because I was suddenly lightheaded–I needed support because I felt like the ground beneath shifted;  waves that triggered that falling phenomenon just before you completely succumb to sleep–like a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch.

Faintly, I sensed the planets tumble into position, the clickclickclick… of stars aligning in the heavens; the sun, moon, Venus, and Mars at that moment were singing in the universe.

Did we just have an earthquake? I jumped off the bench like it was on fire. I ran to my car, unable to deal with the intensity of the moment. He was right behind me. He was so annoying!

“Where ya  goin’? We  should go out sometime.”

I was having a hard time breathing and fumbled with my keys as I unlocked the car. I leaned against the door for support and turned to him,

“When? Tonight?”

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not known for being subtle.

“I have to work a charter later, I’ll give you a call.”

And with that, I drove off.

Of course, I never went back to work. Who could blame me?

I raced home and power-called all my girlfriends.

I was in panic mode.

I reported every detail to one friend after another. I needed advice, I needed explanations. I needed to be talked down. But no one had experienced anything comparable. No one knew what to do.

I was on this voyage alone; no rules to follow. I was in uncharted waters.

That evening I did what we are warned not to do, what mothers counsel daughters against.

I was nervous and jumping out of my skin, but also determined to be 100% honest (also on my list). How else would I know if he was “the one”? I called and left a message on his voicemail. Remember way back when we used voicemail?

“Hi, can you give me a call when you hear this message? There’s something I need to ask you.”

He called a couple hours later. I was  on my bed, reading a magazine, pretending I was not waiting for the call…dreading the call.

“Hi there, it’s me. I got your message, but I was planning to call you anyway. What’s up?”

I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never–I needed to go for it…take that chance. DO it.

”Uhh, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what happened at the harbor…I never felt anything like that EVER, and I think… I think…”

I took a deep breath and the words tumbled out,

“IthinkIamfallinginlovewithyou
andwonderifyoufeelthesame
way–orifitisjustme.”

“I mean, I really need to know.”

[Pause]   [More pause]

Oh boy. In that single, painful, heartstopping moment I wished I could hit delete and erase the last five minutes.

Palms sweaty, heart pounding, OMG, I am a total f-ing idiot–what have I just said–I’m insane, he’ll think I’m a freak or I’m exhibiting psycho pre-stalker tendencies–and then, finally, it seemed like hours of silence had gone by–I was gonna hang up and hide under my bed if he didn’t say something–he said,

“Umm, no, it’s not just you. I’m feeling the same exact way. Something happened to me today too,  and I can’t explain it either.  How about us going on a real date and let’s talk about it?”

I released the breath I hadn’t been aware I was still holding. That last planet locked into position.

I discovered my soul mate, my tugboat man.

There’s lots more to this story; some twists and turns and ups and downs, but the thread that ties it all together is how we found each other and fell in love.

Today: I wait for him to come home. And wait. And wait. And remind myself, “Don’t count the miles, count the I-love-yous”

Christina Perri, “Miles”

Just a Cup of Coffee – The Love Story of Princess Rosebud and her Captain – Part One

Today:  Sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not. That’s the life of a tugboat captain’s wife. Right now he’s not..

weddingpicture

Yup, the secret’s out. I’m married to Johnny Depp

The Wedding: February 21, 1994

Our song, our first dance as husband and wife. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
http://youtu.be/wkVuQGgx7d8

The Beginning…This is the love story of me, Princess Rosebud, and the tugboat captain.

We met when I was a year into my deal with myself to stay celibate until I met someone, uh, worthy…

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010… At 3:40 this afternoon, I was in the threshold of our garage door that leads into the living room where I had dragged in a ladder to help with my latest project–painting the living room walls a divine shade of seafoam green–to stay busy when the captain’s out to sea. I mean, I can’t shop ALL the time. A girl has to take a break now and again, right? I set the ladder down and went back to close the garage door. At that precise moment, the glass vases on the shelves surrounding our fireplace began to vibrate and wobble. Here in SoCal, I’ve endured a handful of quakes, but never such intense shaking.

Through the open garage door I saw the bicycles that hang from the ceiling sway back and forth. As I attempted to process THAT information, the crystal lustres on my grandmother’s antique porcelain candelabras clashed and clinked. Terracotta tile flooring in the foyer seemed to roll back and forth as if I was on a sailboat in San Diego Bay, and I had a difficult time standing.

Feeling dizzy and unbalanced, I grasped the doorway for support.  My poor kitty gave me a dirty look like I had interrupted her nap on purpose. So much for the concept that animals can sense an earthquake–not this spoiled little brat.

I ran up our oak-planked steps into the family room and through the patio doors onto the deck and shouted out to the neighbors.

“Look at your pool!”

“I know, this is crazy! Are you OK? Any damage?”

“I don’t think so. A couple seashells fell off the shelf in the family room, but I was so freaked, I didn’t want to stay inside, so I ran out back. I don’t know if we should stay in the house or what we should do!”

“Us either! Let’s see what’s on the news.”

This quake was so violent that it caused the water in their pool to slosh over the sides like a mini-tsunami. We each went back in our respective homes and turned on CNN. We discovered that there had been a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico. The first reports that came in revealed a lot of damage near the epicenter in Mexicali, but no major problems in San Diego; only broken glass and falling cans at grocery stores, which seemed pretty miraculous considering the earthquake’s size.

Still spooked by the shaking and some pretty strong aftershocks, I surveyed the house, removing anything unsecured and potentially dangerous.

This is as good a time as any to confess something.

I’m a shell-aholic.

seashell mirrorI’ve got shelves and shelves of seashells in every room–including the bathroom. Everyone collects seashells, right? One here, one there, as a memory of a great beach or a fun vacation, right? Well…I’m a seashell hoarder. I want ALL seashells–there are never enough seashells to collect or buy. I make things out of some of them–picture frames, mirrors, boxes–they line the walls in our two bathrooms and even our front door, but mostly they just hang out–in bowls, on shelves, anywhere and everywhere. There is no empty space in our house, and if there is, it’s quickly filled with a shell–or a rock.

After a couple decades, we have come to an understanding, the captain and I. He thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with shells and rocks and driftwood, and I don’t destroy his surfboards if he doesn’t give me a hard time about it.

I anxiously emailed the captain who’s half a world away in the middle of an ocean. I figured that if anything would cause him to cut his four month assignment short, this might be it. The way that emailing works in deep ocean situations is through a pretty inefficient satellite; sometimes it takes hours to complete the process. If there’s a real emergency, I have a phone number to call, but this didn’t really fit the definition. I wasn’t hurt and the house wasn’t damaged or anything. When he finally read the email and wrote back, he told me to “standby” at the house phone because he would try to make a call from the boat’s sat phone. When he called, I used all my powers of persuasion to convince him to come home, but to no avail. He simply wasn’t going to call the United States Coast Guard to fly a rescue mission a thousand miles from land to bring  him home because the kitty and I were scared.

Well, I know where I stand in his list of priorities. Hmmm, I wonder if this is when I hatched my plot to get that Chanel. Hmmm, I wonder.

After that stressful event, and many aftershocks later, some pampering was definitely well deserved. That evening, I drew a bath in the upstairs bathroom we call the spa because it’s decorated in earthy tones with seashells and beach glass surrounding the mirrors and along the walls.

(I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.)

I lit a fragrant and calming lavender candle, eased my body into the almost too-hot-to-stand-it water, and trickled in ginger and lemongrass aromatherapy oils. Sipping from a glass of merlot, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and my thoughts wandered.

Experiencing an earthquake; the dizziness, the weightless feeling in a tub of warm water; it all reminded me of falling in love. It all felt the same… and it all started with a fifty cent cup of coffee.

Newly divorced in 1990, I speed dated a few guys, including one totally boring and slightly scary man who immediately wanted me to meet his parents after the first (and last) date, along with a couple of total idiots whose combined IQs prolly didn’t equal my Border Collie‘s. Those unsavory experiences became flashing red lights–STOP! NO! THINK!–impossible to ignore–that I seriously needed to take some time off the dating circuit.

It was the perfect time for a list.

I’m an inveterate list maker; I prioritize my errands and even list groceries in the order of where they’re located in the store– like my own custom board game–where I start at the entrance and finish at the cash register.

I wrote this particular list with the hope that if I documented the qualities desired in a significant other, the universe would deliver the right one when all the planets were aligned. Or so I dreamed.

At midnight on August 7th, 1990, with a bottle of wine to seal the deal, I made a promise to myself–I would not date (or do anything else) for a very long time, and the next one would be “the one”.

The List
1. Must call when he says he will. This is non-negotiable.
2. Must show up on time for dates.
3. Must love pets. Also non-negotiable.
4. No cigarettes. No smoking, and of course, no drugs.
5. Likes to exercise, work out, eat healthy, etc.
6. Must have gainful employment.
7. Must be nice and polite and honest and trustworthy.
8. Fidelity is of paramount importance.
9. When the time is right and he meets my son, my son has to like him. Also non-negotiable.

Fast forward to a year later, the following September 1991.

Tomorrow:
Part Two…Just a cup of coffee, the love story of Princess Rosebud and the tugboat captain

What We Do Is Who We Are. I Think. Well, Maybe.

What We Do Is Who We Are. I Think. Well, Maybe.

Maybe not, ‘cos if that were true, I’d be Eleanor Powell or Ella Fitzgerald and hub’d be Frank Sinatra or Fred Astaire or Sammy D.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Long relationships possess an ebb and flow; that we know.

On any given day, either one of us is the frustrating one to be married to (most often me ha ha). Sometimes we’re on the same path– in sync and cosmically aligned — sometimes we misunderstand cues and hurt feelings ensue.

My tugboat man and I have experienced it all — mostly we’re sailing along on the same course (nautical reference) —  but this past Sunday was a nice and easy day, kind of a quirky series of activities that pretty much defines our relationship in a good way, I think.

After a few days on antibiotics, hub’s up and about, almost recovered from an upper respiratory infection except for a nasty cough that’s stubbornly refusing to disappear.

My recovering invalid requested French toast for breakfast with fruit and yogurt — as much as I throw a certain amount of snark his way, I’m a dedicated caregiver — I learned it all from my RN mom.

Hmm, thought to self: next time he’s sick, I’ll need to remember to wear my mom’s old nurse uniform and that cool hat she wore along with the thick white support stockings and shoes — I love to play dress up. Yes, I never grew up, I know that…

In appreciation for the yummy breakfast, Tugboat Man declared that he would learn to play one of my favorite songs on his ukelele, Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine”.

Kala Concert Ukelele

He brings his Kala Concert Uke when he goes out to sea; it’s the perfect size for traveling.

(BTW, a beguine is a dance.)

That led each of us down a parallel path on You Tube to search for all the different versions we could find.

Sitting side by side on the sofa with our individual laptops, we shared our discoveries, both of us mirroring jaw-hanging-open awe of Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire dancing in Broadway Melody of 1940:

While this may not seem like an overwhelming good time to everyone, when you’re a mariner’s wife, these simple slices of an everyday life  — things you might take for granted under different circumstances —  become more precious and more poignant — and more appreciated.

(Look at me!  A deep thought! Did you think it wasn’t possible? Did you doubt that I could be more than a one-dimensional shopaholic?)

We both agreed that our all-time favorite was performed by Ella Fitzgerald. I can (and do) listen to her over and over:

But Frank Sinatra’s is awesome, too. Throughout the years of his career, he sang it many different ways, and we listened to them all:

And then there’s Sammy Davis, Jr. He’s amazing:

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning.

I guess for us today, what we do IS who we are, and the reaffirmation of us; together, enjoying different interpretations of “Begin the Beguine”, eyes closed, side by side, each of us feeling the haunting lyrics and exotic melody.

Sometimes, just being together is enough.

Whose version do you like?

Begin the Beguine

When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender
It brings back a night of tropical splendor
It brings back a memory ever green

I’m with you once more under the stars
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine

To live it again is past all endeavor
Except when that tune clutches my heart
And there we are swearing to love forever
And promising never, never to part

What moments divine, what rapture serene
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted
I know but too well what they mean

So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine

Oh yes, let them begin the beguine make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you
Till you whisper to me once more, darling I love you
And we suddenly know what heaven we’re in
When they begin the beguine

When they begin the beguine.

#Ella Fitzgerald, #Frank Sinatra, or #Sammy Davis Jr.

 

All About Love: The Engagement, The Wedding, The Anniversary

wedding

Today is our 20th anniversary. We were supposed to be camping at Zion, but my tugboat guy had to leave sooner than planned. This should be a short assignment and we’ll celebrate when he returns — but he’s out of cell phone range already so I’ll only get a short call on the sat phone…such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife.

More to the point, appropriate gifts for the 20th include china and platinum.

Hmmm…good to know for my shopping trip today. Deets later.

The Engagement…

“Don’t ask any questions, but get all dressed up and be ready to walk out the door at exactly eight o’clock.”

“Why?”

“What part of don’t ask any questions don’t you understand?” “Just be ready to go.”

I had no idea what was going on, I really didn’t.

My twelve-year-old son already had plans to stay over at a friends house, and while my tugboat man drove him there, I tried on dress after dress, littering the bed with pretty much the entire contents of my closet.

Without knowing WHERE we were going nor having any idea WHY my tugboat guy was acting so mysterious, I figured the solution was to get as dressed up as I could because, in my experience, you can never be overdressed. And I HATE being underdressed. I like to shine, always have, always the princess.

I chose a pretty silk floral dress with a wide belt (1990s ha ha), a wide skirt that fell mid-calf (1990s calling again) and a pair of really high red heels. I have always been passionate about a pop of color.

“ARE YOU READY?? IT’S ALMOST EIGHT 0’CLOCK!”

I’ve never been one of those females who makes her guy late; if you tell me I need to be ready at a certain time, I’m usually ready a few minutes early, so yes, I was fully dressed, made up, perfumed, and really curious.

I wasn’t used to being surprised by my tugboat man; mostly we planned everything together after a lot of discussion.

I mentally ticked off the possibilities. It wasn’t my birthday, it wasn’t Valentine’s Day — the only thing I could think of was that this was somewhere around the time of year that we had our first real date in 1991 and we were going to go out for dinner to celebrate, especially since I learned early in our relationship that my mariner NEVER misses a meal.

I love to cook and bake — he loves to eat — a perfect match, right?

My boyfriend (ha ha, it’s funny to think of my hub as my BF) told me it was time to go NOW.

I opened the front door.

Parked in front of my house was the longest, shiniest stretchiest black limousine I’ve ever seen.

I looked at my tugboat man who was grinning from ear to ear.

WTF?

“This is just the beginning”, he said.

All the neighbors were outside pointing and waving to us.

I felt like I was in a dream. My first limousine!

After getting settled in with a glass of champs, we drove away, taking a detour to show my son and his friend the limo. My sweet tugboat man had obviously thought of everything.

The boys thought it was totally cool.

I found out later that my son was in on the surprise and had totally kept the secret  — in fact, my amazing guy had asked HIS PERMISSION to marry his mom. A lesson to all you guys out there…this is how to do it RIGHT.

I kept asking where we were going and what was going on and my sneaky mariner kept deflecting my interrogation with more champs.

I bet you can tell where this is going, but I was totally clueless. TOTALLY.

We took a drive up and down the coast. I was feeling like a real princess in the back of a limo with my handsome guy.

After a bit of kissing (details are intentionally fuzzy here ‘cos you know how tugboat man hates it when I spill too much on my blog), we were holding hands when he slid away from me and dropped to one knee.

He really did, I swear,  just like in the movies.

My mouth dropped open.

It’s like you’ve always daydreamed about something and played the scene over and over in your mind, but you’re still not prepared for the actual feelings that go along with it when it’s REAL and not a DREAM.

That’s what I was feeling.

He was so nervous and took my hand and was saying all these amazingly loving things and I was having a hard time breathing and I was all shaky and couldn’t even hear anything very clearly except when he said, “I love you. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?”

I. DIED.

Oh, of course I said YES, a huge YES, and in case you’re wondering, he didn’t have the engagement ring yet, ‘cos he knew I’d want to be a part of the selection process. See how well he knew me even back then? Hee hee.

We ended up at a romantic restaurant on the beach in Encinitas. When we were seated, the maitre d’ brought me a dozen long stemmed red roses that my now fiancé had delivered. I guess he knew I’d say yes, right?

(I don’t remember what we ate except dessert was my very first ever Chcolate Lava Cake, which is now one of my faves to bake for my tugboat guy.)

My guy thought of every single detail to create an unforgettable moment in time.

We drove around a bit more after dinner. When the limousine dropped us off, I was literally walking on a cloud.

We didn’t want the magic to end, so we stayed up the entire night and went for a walk on the beach at 5:00 a.m. to watch the sunrise.

We walked miles that morning. On the way home, we stopped at a little restaurant in Carlsbad and had breakfast.

[Fast forward]

The Wedding…

February 20, 1994
After the ceremony, me In a vintage gown, my tugboat man in a tux, we danced to our song, Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable.

Here we are in 2014, twenty years later, and I’m still the luckiest girl in the world.

Even though my tugboat man is out to sea and I’m alone for our anniversary, I know we are as connected by our hearts now as we were in 1994.

And that’s all that matters.

P.S. Along with the prezzy I’m getting. Just keepin’ it real, y’all!

Top Ten Things My Husband Hates About Me

On a whim, for no real reason, I sent my tugboat captain husband-in-absentia an email asking him to come up with ten things I do that piss him off, airing our dirty laundry, so to speak.

He wrote back that he….

  • …was too busy, didn’t have time to play my “little game”.
  • …is smart enough to know he should NEVER put anything in writing that could be used agaist him in a court of law.
  • …was sure I didn’t need him to tell me what I already knew.
  • …knows that I answer for him everywhere we go, so I could respond to my own query.
  • …was sure that I only asked or cared because I want to write a snarky post about it.

What a smart ass jerky jerk he is, right?

But he does know his little Princess Rosebud, that’s for sure.

Pretending for a moment that I’m a tugboat captain married to me (lucky guy), I walked a couple of steps in his shoes and compiled a list of my annoying traits…and no, I don’t plan to make any changes to my behavior because it amuses me to piss him off.

The List

organic-red-apple_3001. Hub HATES it when I hand him an apple to eat (or a peach or a pear) and I don’t remove the sticker first. I’ll wash it, of course, but the fact that this annoys him just means that I’ll ALWAYS remember to NEVER remove the sticker, ‘cos it’s so much fun to hear him rant about it.

2. I routinely let my car run out of gas when he’s out to sea, park it in the garage, and then I use HIS car until it’s also out of gas and then I call or email him to find out how many miles I have left in the reserve tank before I have to refuel or call AAA. Uh, I HATE going to the gas station. Duh.

3. As compulsively clean as I am, I leave open every single cabinet in the kitchen; and no matter where I am in the house, I laugh to myself as I hear him close each and every one when I leave the room. Hee hee.

4. We used to go out swing dancing and to Lindy Hop events, and he HATED that I would fight him for the lead. I’m not a very subservient follower; even while dancing, I like to be in control. He would say, “In most things in life, Rosebud, you can tell me what to do, but when we’re dancing, the MAN LEADS!” It’s a tough concept for me to grasp. So…we don’t do too much dancing anymore.

5. He hates that I love to watch Real Housewives of Orange County and once made him drive me to Laguna Beach and walk around pretending to be one of them. (For reals.)

6. He hates that I bug him to play Scrabble because I think I’m so smart and then when I see that I’m going to lose, I upset the board and ruin the game. Yes, I’m a sore loser.

7.  More than anything, he’s frustrated with me because my mouth has a mind of its own and it will yell out VERY RUDE things to people who are either texting/talking on their cell, or if I witness abuse/mistreatment of  children/animals…and then he has to step in and be my reluctant knight-in-shining-armor, but on the other hand, he tells me he loves me for my passions. He’s sending mixed messages, right? So it’s all his fault, right?

8. This is more of a thing that he’s perplexed by, rather than pissed off by…I’ll drive across town to either get the lowest price on a–let’s say for example, a ball of twine (READ ABOUT IT HERE), or I’ll take back a fifty cent item because I am SO CHEAP, yet I have no problem at all slapping down the plastique for a Chanel handbag or designer dress or a pair of Kate Spade specs. Drives him totes cray! I say it also keeps him on his toes.

9. He gets really incensed when I don’t wear safety goggles to mow the lawn. REALLY. Professional mariners are VERY safety-conscious. VERY. Since I mow the lawn mainly when he’s out to sea, he can’t enforce his safety rules. He is so not the boss of me!

{I checked Chicago Manual of Style online to determine whether it’s “safety conscious” or hyphenated “safety-conscious” but it didn’t give me a clear-cut answer and then I got bored with the research.}

10. Mostly, without  a doubt, the NUMBER ONE thing he hates is when I write about him in any context. And a picture of him? Forget about it. He refuses to let me post a photo of him, of us together, or any personal info.

For all that you guys know, he’s a figment of my imagination, but he really exists, I promise! See? Here’s my tugboat man shoveling mushroom compost ‘cos that’s what hubs are good for! 

Smooth sailing? Not always.

The Continuing Saga of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man

Day 30…thirty days and thirty long nights since my tugboat man has been away.

He’s on the move–closer to land–and his cell works! He called last night. Other than the five minute satellite telephone call on our anniversary a couple weeks ago, this was the only time we’ve spoken. It was so unexpected. What a surprise to see his name pop up on my screen!

I always ask the same thing, “When are you coming home?” The answer this time was the answer he usually gives me; he doesn’t know, it could be now or in a month. “…you’ll be the first to know.” Dry humor.

The unpredictable life of a mariner

Some mariners have a regular schedule: three weeks on, three weeks off or two weeks on and two weeks off or even a month on and a month off. In the world of ocean-going tugs, there is no such certainty. One of my captain’s recent assignments was estimated to last  two months and it dragged on for a full four months due to several factors–including weather related issues.

Weather

There’s always weather. Right now, the project he’s on has had a lot of weather delays. If there are storms, high winds, and high seas, it’s neither prudent nor safe for a tug to proceed, and that entails a wait or what they call “on standby” until it clears.

What do you think about that? Do you think that uncertainty is a relationship hardship?

Things weren’t always so idyllic for us.

Did you think it was?

Before we met (at the company where we both worked), the captain had plotted a career move to Hawaii. His goal; good surf and work, probably in that order. Our company was setting up operations in Hawaii and he was tapped to head up that division.

Guess what? A year later, he left. He did. He really did.

I do kinda still hate him for that sometimes…wouldn’t you?

I took him to the dock and had to say goodbye. I mean a real goodbye, maybe a forever goodbye; he had packed up all his belongings and they were on the boat with him.

It was horrible at the time and it makes me sad now thinking about how I felt that day…so alone and bereft.

Us–we–it didn’t end. Over the course of several months, we visited back and forth a half dozen times. I was unhappy with the whole situation–I had done my work, made my list, and he was IT. Hawaii’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love paradise–but that wasn’t part of MY plan.

Oh yes, he was IT for me but I couldn’t figure out how to persuade him to move back and allow our relationship to blossom. I was running out of options.

What if he met someone else?

One day I had just had enough. I was sick and tired of having a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not boyfriend. It wasn’t what I wanted. And do you know what I did?

I changed my telephone number.

That’s just the way I roll. My home number was a landline and I called the telephone company and changed it. I figured that when he called, he’d get the recorded voice saying, “The number has been disconnected and there is no forwarding number” and he’d become so distraught when he couldn’t reach me that it would be the catalyst he needed to come running back to me!

MotorolaPager

I didn’t have a cell phone. I had a beeper, a pager–remember those things? Now I think only drug dealers use them LOL. He had one, too.

I waited for him to beep me. I waited all day. I was DYING to know if he had TRIED to call. This was 1992-ish; email was in its infancy–I don’t believe we even had a home computer, and the computers at work didn’t have internet access.

This is the funny part.

I started power paging him; over and over again. I mean, like twenty times, thirty times.

WITH MY NEW NUMBER.

I went to so much trouble to change my phone number and I couldn’t wait twenty-four hours. When he called, I asked him if he had tried to call the old number and he said he had (still not sure of that) and asked why I did something crazy like that. I can’t remember my response–I WAS crazy at that point.

[The quick end to that story is that I flew to Hawaii the following weekend and from there we went to Kauai and he said that I had wasted my time changing my number because he had already come to the conclusion that he couldn't live without me and he didn't want to live without me and he proposed and came home for good two months later and we were married nine months after that.]

Fast forward to yesterday’s phone call.

After we said our initial hellos and all that, I asked him,  “Do you ever get worried that I”ll change the number again and you won’t be able to reach me? Like when you’ve been gone a really long time and I’m getting tired of it? Like NOW?”

Him: (Laughing) “Not really, or if you did, you’d just call me right away to give me the new number like you did before.”

HA HA.

Now he’s turned into a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not HUSBAND. The difference is that he always comes home–to me. Oh, and his paychecks come here even when he’s not. Hee Hee.

Final Words

It cracks me up when I hear “Somebody That I Used to Know“.  Gotye sings, “No you didn’t have to stoop so low. Have your friends collect your records and then change your number“…

He who tugs at my heart

Our first Valentine’s Day…a sweet moment in time

10:00 a.m. Pre-boarding routine on a 350 passenger charter vessel.

On the dock, the ramp is placed snugly against the vessel’s port side; a deckhand wipes it down to avoid any mishaps.

The captain checks with his crew to confirm that they’re stationed in the designated safety zones.

In the bathroom, the marketing coordinator fluffs out her hair and re-applies lipstick, grabs the clipboard, reviews any late changes for this corporate charter, scribbles a couple of notes, but her mind isn’t really on her work.

10:30 a.m. Two hundred men, women, and children gather at the foot of the dock awaiting the OK to board.

The captain straightens the gold stripes on his shoulders and counts the people clicker down to zero.

I take my place on his left where I’ll greet everyone with a “Welcome Aboard” after they’re counted.

The captain nods to the deckhand to unhook the velvet rope blocking the gangway.

It’s time to begin the boarding procedure.

He turns to me and whispers in my right ear, “My heart is melting.”

WTF. That is just so HIM, to say something so monumental and amazing and unexpected–and it took my breath away. Literally.  My mouth dropped open. (It really did, I remember it like it happened yesterday.) I had no sense of what went on for the next three hours. I was a zombie.

When all the guests were escorted to their seats and listened to the safety speech and lines were untied and we were underway, and after I had answered a million questions about our destination and passed out a few barf bags, I opened the door to the wheelhouse and handed my captain a cup of coffee.

I was suddenly shy. “Hi.”

“Thanks for the coffee.”

“Why did you say that, you know, back there?”

“Because it’s true.”

“You can’t just say something like that and expect me to just go on and act all normal.”

“I just did.”

Well, tugboat man, it’s our twenty-third Valentine’s Day, and you still make MY heart melt every time I look in your amazing grayish blue eyes.

I love you.

Come Rain or Come Shine

It’s a misty, rainy, foggy Saturday in Southern California. My tugboat man only has about ten days left before he leaves again for a deep ocean assignment. We’re working as an effective team organizing a lot of year-end paperwork. We’ve got some reggae music on while we slice open envelopes, creating piles to save and piles for the recycle bin.  We’re drinking tea with ginger cookies. He’s having a ginseng tea; the last of his stash from Korea. My Yogi Anti-oxident Green Tea bag is memorable and prophetic today:

You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.

So true, tea bag, so true. I’m not a very good swimmer, but I can count on my tugboat man to help keep me afloat just as he once told me I was his anchor.

Happy Saturday, y’all!
Sinatra sings, “Come Rain or Come Shine”

Grudge match: the pissed off surf widow versus the good wife (guess who won)

That wily vixen beeyotch was in rare form today.

Madame Beeyotch has been elegantly restrained lately except for an errant episode or two. Today, however, she wielded the POWER…

The day started out in an innocuous fashion. We woke up, had coffee–hubs had his portion controlled breakfast of homemade granola and low carb high protein flakes of some sort.

We went to the gym to take a Boot Camp/weight training class. So far, so good. On the way home, we ran a few errands–Trader Joe’s, Target, and stopped to get my glasses adjusted.

Still serene–planets in alignment–all is good. Madame Beeyotch, still restrained,  is singing a sweet, calming, and repetitive tune in her head.

Then…Captain Dorko decided we he needed to do a surf check. Stupid ocean. Obviously the waves were looking pretty good as evidenced by the grunts and snorts and exhalations of pleasure that emanated from the driver’s side.

Standup Paddleboard

Standup Paddleboard

Hubs just got a standup paddleboard (SUP) and now that there’s no wave small enough to keep him out of the water, he’s gone ALL THE TIME, and right about now it’s kind of getting on my last nerve.

I know what you might be thinking–cut the poor guy some slack; he’s out to sea a lot and he deserves a little r & r. Blah, blah, blah. That’s what I think!

My inner beeyotch can be held back no longer.

lastnervecatI’m thinking of all kinds of painful tortures to inflict upon the surf-obsessed hubs when I realized that he had been talking for quite a while. I only picked up the last part of it.

Him: “… and it’s so cool, I paddled all the way from the power plant past Old Mans and Warm Waters past the jetty to Tamarack. The waves weren’t big, but with that SUP I can have a lot of fun anyway.”

Crickets-Silence-More crlckets.

I’m thinking to myself. He can’t be talking to me. He just couldn’t be sharing all that stupid surf stuff with me.

Him again: “Look” he said, pointing west as we were stopped at a light, “I caught a wave there, and there, and there and…”

lastnerveyourcardPicture this. I’m sitting in the passenger seat. He’s driving. As he’s droning on and on and on AND on about the fun waves he’s been catching every damn day since he got that hateful SUP, I twist all the way around to look in the back seat. I look to the left-I look to the right– I stretch my body as far as it will go and look down with exaggerated movements to see the floor on the back seat.

Him: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I was looking for whoever you were talking to that must give a shit–‘cos I don’t!”
(Whom/who–at that point I didn’t care to be correct.)

Him: {Laughing} “You’re really funny, you know that?”

(He honestly thinks I’m funny, he wasn’t kidding.)

Me: “I mean, I heard your lips flapping, waves, blah blah blah—fun, blah, blah, blah– and I thought to myself, he couldn’t possibly be talking to me because he should know that I don’t give a shit about his stupid surfing experiences!”

“You’re lucky I’m so agreeable to all the time you spend playing in the water and ignoring me.”

“But now that you mention it, you’re really getting on my last nerve, so you should prolly think about cutting back on your playtime in the water or I might just have to run up to South Coast Plaza and see what’s new for Spring. Chanel says tweed and feathers are trending right now.”

“Do we understand each other?”

Him: “Are you threatening me with shopping?”

Me: “How perceptive of you. You didn’t need a crystal ball to see where that was going…do we have a deal?”

Him: Arms folded, giving me that look of having tasted defeat…”Where do you want me to install those shelves?. Muttering half to himself as he walks in the garage, “I know when I’ve lost.”

surfwidowHowever, it is now almost 5pm and he ran off to the beach with a surfboard this time for an evening glass off session.

He will pay. Oh yes. He will pay. The beeyotch has spoken. Meow.

So the question remains. Who won? Who lost? Surf widow or nice wife? I think you know the answer…

Where was your first “I love you”?

Aside

Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 1991

This was our first holiday together after I figuratively walked to the edge of the cliff and jumped off by telling my tugboat man I loved him the first time we shared a cup of coffee.

I was positive he was going to break up with me.

My son was with his dad for the day. The captain and I went to the gym in the morning for a little holiday workout before they closed at noon. The house was freezing when we got home. I remember going to the thermostat to turn on our central heating.  It’s rare that we need the heat on continuously here in SoCal; we use it briefly to take the chill out of the air.

It was (like it still is) a sad home when my son’s not here.

On the way home from the gym we stopped at a liquor store and bought a small bottle of Jagermeister250px-Jagermeister_bottle and a bottle of Rumpelmintz.rumplemintz

I was in the bathroom when I heard him. He very quietly said, “Rosebud, will you come into the family room? We need to talk.”

Oh NO, NOT the dreaded we need to talk. This did not sound good. Not good at all.

That’s breakup speak, I just knew it. But on Christmas DAY??? Who would do that? I know we had kind of fast tracked our relationship after that first cup of coffee–he even had been introduced to my son during a  work-related event or two and things were moving along great-or so I thought. Maybe things were moving too fast and he was getting cold feet. All kinds of doomsday scenarios were floating around in my head. All I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to come out of the bathroom; I stayed there, heart pounding, tears welling up in my eyes. I looked at myself in the mirror.

Why today of all days? What did I do wrong?woman_crying_m

I was still wearing my workout gear with an oversized plaid shirt. Nineties grunge, ya know?

At some point I steeled my nerves and came out of the bathroom to get it over with and figure out how to endure a breaking heart.

He was sitting at the small dining table we have in our family room where we eat informal meals. There were a couple of shot glasses filled with Rumplemintz (peppermint schnapps). He looked very serious. I mean, like he planned to deliver really bad news. He pulled out a chair and said, “Have a seat.”

tablechair

I said, “No. I don’t want to.”
Nice guy. He was going to get me drunk, break up with me, and run out the front door. This could be the worst day of my life. Seriously. He was going to do this before I could get a Christmas present from him? Seriously?

“Oh, come on. I need to tell you something. Come and sit down right here.”

Oh. Shit.

I forced my sad little plaid covered self over to the chair and looked down. I looked anywhere but at HIM. I didn’t want to see him for the very last time.

He wasn’t saying anything. I could feel him looking at me. At that point, I was thinking to myself, oh hell–just get it over with already! I gotta get myself a gallon of ice cream and start on it asap.

Finally, he reached over, took my hand and said, ” I need you to know that I love you.”

WHAT? You set me up for a break up scenario and you were planning to tell me that you loved me? WTF? 

I had anticipated the worst possible outcome. Instead, once again–he surprised me.

Crap. I can’t go any further with this story! He just told me that I can’t write the rest of what he said ‘cos it’s private–not for anyone to hear but me is what he said–but I can tell you it was lovely and sweet, and I’m so glad he’s here now–home for Christmas–because I’m always reminded of that first year.

If you don’t have to drive anywhere, try our special holiday tradition cocktail, the Reindeer: mix equal parts Jagermeister and Rumplemintz. Very potent!

Where did your most memorable “I love you” take place?