Monday, August 15, 2011

Celebrating 13 Years of Marital Bliss

Thirteen years ago today, I married the love of my life.  

Little did I know that, when I arrived in the Los Angeles area for a "vacation" after graduating from college, I would meet the man of my dreams; Although, when we first met, it was hate at first sight.

Three days after my 24th birthday, I made the trek from my mother's house in New Mexico to visit a girlfriend who was living in Redondo Beach, Calif.  The day after I arrived, she took me down to 16th Street beach in Hermosa.  Her boyfriend -- who had lived in Southern California before moving back to Jersey -- had introduced her to a group of volleyball players. 

I was blown away by the vast beauty of Hermosa Beach (aka Beautiful Beach in Spanish).  It had a very different vibe than I was used to and the people that I met that day were very friendly.  Almost a little too friendly.

While laying out on my beach towel, a guy named Jason laid down in front of me close enough that the V of his legs surround the V of my legs.  It was too close for comfort.  Someone asked if anyone wanted to go swimming and I jumped up and said I was in.  Anything to get away from that guy.

T & J on Halloween
Now, I have never been all that good with just jumping right in the ocean or pool.  I always need to work my way in and get acclimated to the cold water.  Yes, I am a super big baby.  On this day, I did exactly that same routine.  Taking my time, holding my arms up over head, basically torturing myself as the freezing Pacific waters slapped against my belly. 

Next thing I know, some of the guys we were hanging with on the beach starting splashing me.  I was pissed.  It was a small group of them but, when I looked up, I saw "that" guy Jason.  I looked at him and just gave him the evil eye.

Back up on the sand, our group of guys and gals spread out on blankets waiting for the sun to warm us up.  I began to strike up a conversation with some of the women.  Being in our early 20s, we started talking about guys.  Since we were at a beach where all the guys were volleyball players -- mostly pros -- they were all tall.  I mentioned to one of the girls that a lot of the guys in New Jersey were short.  "That" guy Jason said, "You won't have any trouble meeting a tall guy out here."  I replied in the most venomous voice, "I'm not here to meet a guy."

 At that point, he walked away.

When my girlfriend and I had arrived at the beach that morning, parking had been brutal.  We found a spot about a mile away.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a pair of flip flops, only my platform Na Na's so, of course, I had a blister.  My girlfriend was taking a long time getting herself ready to leave, so I began to walk by myself back toward the car.  Since I had the nastiest blister, I was limping along when Jason pulled up to me on his long board skate board.  He asked if I wanted a ride.

I was so torn.  I did not like this guy and did not really want to encourage him by saying yes but, at the same time, my dogs were barking.  So, I said gave in.

Now, as a kid, I had been a skateboard aficionado.  I rode my plastic yellow banana skateboard all over town - even doing the superman down the steepest hill in the Grove along Wesley Lake.

As soon as I got on the board, we were like one person.  Jason skateboarded along the Strand with me on the front of his long board for about a mile until I told him this is where the car was parked.  As we stopped, there was an older gentleman sitting on a wall.  He said, "The two of you make a striking couple."  Jason grumbled that we weren't a couple. "How rude," I thought in my head.

My friend and I left the beach that day and I didn't think too much about Jason until a group of us went to the movies.  Jason met up with us at the theater and, to this day, I can remember what he was wearing.  He had on Levi jeans, a vintage knit shirt in an Ikat print that was named Martin Ponder, and Bass shoes.  With his hair slicked back with gel, he was very handsome and I starting hating him a lot less.  

The movie was "Forest Gump" and somehow Jason and I ended up sitting next to one another.  Mid-way through the movie, I started trying to will him to hold my hand.  I went from freezing cold to boiling hot, but I never said a word to him.

After the movie, my girlfriend dropped him off at home.  We all said good bye and that was it.  I confessed to my friend that I was forming a crush on Jason.  She said she wasn't surprised.  She told me that she could tell that he was "totally into me."

A few days later, I begged my girlfriend to call Jason -- because I was too chicken to do it myself -- and ask him to meet us out.  She did and he did.  

This time, we all ended up going to a dance bar.  I had had a few drinks and was definitely being nicer to Jason than I had in the past.  Then we went on to an Irish Pub.  The place was packed and people kept banging into me and, in turn, I would bang into Jason.  After one incredibly forceful push, I found myself in Jason's arms.  I looked up at him and actually said, "I can't stop thinking about you."

T, J & Shane on Halloween

Well, the rest was history.

All this time, he was dating a woman who lived in Australia (which he had been very open about) and had plans to visit her in September.  By the end of August, Jason told me that he was going to cancel his trip because he wanted to stay with me.  I was very flattered and relieved.

He also clarified that, after the day at the beach, he thought I was a total bitch; the night after the movies he was NOT into me (due to the aforementioned comment); and on our first date I kept saying how lame L.A. was compared to New York City so he almost decided to never see me again.

I am a lucky girl.

By the time he told me he wanted to continue to date me, I had already planned to return to New Jersey when he left for Australia.  Since we weren't serious yet, I had already accepted that Jason would be moving on and it was just a summer romance.  Instead, I was making arrangements to go home, have a garage sale and move to Los Angeles for good. 

Also, one of my best friends from growing up, had allowed me to store some things in her basement.  A very generous deed that I most certainly took advantage of for a while.  (Thank you Tracey and Greg!)

Staying in Los Angeles and growing my relationship with Jason has been the best decision I ever made in my life.

Throughout those four years that we dated, we always had the best time together.  We were always having fun with our friends in the South Bay and another group down in San Diego.  We spent a lot of time at the beach in both places, camping in Mexico, backpacking through Greece, or just chilling at home. 

About this time, we started our tradition of going to Disneyland on Christmas day which we still do to this day.  Our relationship has always been about fun which, according to Jason, is the best thing to have.

Over the past seventeen years, there are too many memories to account for but they have all been excellent. I believe our son Shane is a true testament of our loving relationship and most certainly the highlight of our lives.  As a family, we continue to strive to have nothing but fun even if we are just home together.

Today, my life is richer than I ever thought possible.  I married my best friend, who is also the funnest and most romantic person.  Together we have created and nurtured a sweet and smart little boy who is an absolute mixture of both of us.  I am wont for nothing in my life.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

So a big shout out to my sweetie!

Happy Anniversary J!

Tracy & Jason today!

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