Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Valentines Day adventure.

I would like to preface this with a disclaimer: Each man is an entity unto himself. As such, he should never be held to some standard that is perceivably set by his wife, girlfriend, or significant other after she has read something such as this. Ladies, please do not take this to your husband, boyfriend, or significant other and use it as an example, this is what I did for my wife and, as you will see, it took the help of a lot of people to pull it off. This is my story and each person should be allowed the opportunity to write their own. That being said, here is a brief account of what I, Tracy, did in honor of the love I have for my wife Sarah on Valentines Day, February 14, 2009. It must also be said that it has taken 18 years of trying for me to get to a place where this was possible, and a host of friends and family have also lent their support.

This idea was started in my head around a month ago. I truly believe that there was a higher power involved and I’ll try to explain at the appropriate time in the story…

This all started out as just dinner and a show. Not just a movie, as in whatever just happened to be playing at the local movie theater, but an honest to goodness show. Something I had researched, with her in mind, and setup in conjunction with a nice meal.

I first secured a babysitter, thanks Becky and Aunt Bonnie. I am told the kids had a surprise waiting for them that morning as well and I can’t wait to hear about their adventures. Next, while I had my sister’s attention, I inquired as to whether or not she knew of a restaurant that would still take reservations. She did and so I began looking into The Black Swan ( ). This seemed perfect, an elegant restaurant in a quiet setting overlooking a lake, and they’d take a reservation. A reservation was therefore obtained for 5:15. Next I needed a show, and not just some run of the mill play. I remembered taking her to Cats at Miller Auditorium ( ) and so I looked at their website and saw that they were showing Rain ( ) which I learned was a tribute to the Beatles. After 18 Valentines Days with Sarah, and nearly (like less then two months shy) as many years having been married to her, I have learned a thing or two. One being that she is a HUGE Beatles fan. (Side note, this would the part where I believe a higher power was involved, Divine Intervention if you will) I also noticed that there was a showing on Valentines Day at 8pm, which would leave me plenty of time to get us to the auditorium from the restaurant after dinner.

Now for the little things that would truly make this MY treat to her. I started thinking of ways to make this a special night. We have been to the movies rather recently and in fact, did also have a nice dinner along with said trip to the movies, but… it wasn’t a proper date. It should also be noted that at just about this time, I was having some rather interesting conversations via Facebook with some friends from my high school days regarding my senior prom which didn’t really go all that well. I will spare you the gory details, but it did lend a certain flare to my creative process in preparing for this special evening. I should also then say thanks to Mena and Ame for helping me work through those memories and turning something bad into something spectacular, so thanks ladies, I owe ya one. Bearing that in mind, I thought of setting this up as a genuine bona fide date. Here's what I mean by that. I made some calls to a couple of friends and set it up like this, I would leave the house and go to their house to “get ready” and so thanks are in order to the Jeff and Desiree (she plays another important part in the story in a bit).

Afterwards I would proceed to “her house” (in reality just as much my own as hers as we live here together, but for the sake of the “date”, we’ll pretend) and pick her up at a predetermined time. This also gave her something else she likes, quiet time… A very precious commodity in our house! I also consulted my fashion adviser, Erin who is perhaps Sarah’s oldest and dearest friend to ask what I should tell her to wear for the occasion. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that all of the details were a complete surprise to her? All I told Sarah was "I'll pick you up at 4:30 for dinner and a show." No specific details were divulged. Well, Erin knows Sarah better than I do and knows fashion, which is completely alien to me (I still have a hard time coordinating my belt with my shoes with… OI). So I knew I was in good hands and the advice was spot on, thanks Erin, you’re swell. I owe you one too, probably more.

Along the way, I also planned a few other stops. I stopped at the local florist several days before and ordered a corsage and matching boutonnière. I picked them up on the way to get ready and they were lovely, thanks Ridgeway Floral ( ). I then needed a card and some sweets so a quick stop at Kirlin’s Hallmark ( ) was in order. So with the final piece of the puzzle in hand, I was all set. Now to just put the wheels into motion.

I arrived at Jeff and Desiree’s house around 3:30 with my suit, the card and candy, and the flowers all in hand. Then got ready and Desiree helped pin the boutonnière onto the lapel of my coat, my hands were way too shaky for such a delicate operation! I actually had butterflies in the pit of my stomach! After I had done all I could to make myself presentable, I drove back to the house, gifts in hand, and rang the doorbell. It must also be said that Desiree followed me home with camera in hand to snap a few photos of the occasion, thanks again Des. Sarah answered the door in her brand spanking new black dress with white polka dots and I must say, it does a man good to see his wife dressed up for a night out on the town. There are words to describe just how beautiful she was, but that would take a lot of typing. Suffice it to say, she nearly took my breath away! Des and I came in and I delivered the swag. I think she was impressed, but there was more in store. After a few quick photos, we were off.

We arrived just a few minutes late for our reservation but the restaurant was magnificent. A lovely setting both inside and out. Valet parking (an option I did not avail myself of), a coat check (a first for me) and a staff that is second to none. The food was exquisite, from the salads to the dessert. After dining, we retrieved our coats and were off to the show. I still hadn't told her what we were going to see but once inside the auditorium , we walked past a souvenir table and she saw the goods. The smile on her precious face was reward enough for me and she hadn’t even heard them play yet! I picked up a program and a rose from another vendor and we were off to our seats. Shortly after, the show began and all I could do was watch her as she enjoyed the show. She was smiling from ear to ear and singing right along with the band. As for myself, I also enjoyed the show and even got a little choked up when they sang Yesterday. It seems as though yesterday, all MY troubles seemed so far away, but for me, love is still an easy game to play… if you are truly, deeply, and unconditionally in love.

After the show was over, I stood in the lobby waiting for her to use the facilities and a younger couple (I guessed college age) strolled by and the fellow says to me “I like your style”. I thought it a bit odd, but thanked him nonetheless. A few minutes later, after she was done and we were outside walking to the car we passed them again and I heard this same fellow remark to his date “This guy knows how to do it right!” Buddy, if only you knew, if only you knew…

So thanks to all my friends and family without whom, much of this would not have been possible. You’re the greatest and I am blessed to have you all in my life. Most importantly, I am blessed to have Sarah in my life. I love you baby, Happy Valentines Day…

Monday, February 2, 2009

Look to tomorrow.

So, there are good days and bad days. Mostly the bad days consist of emotional downs. That is to say, days when I feel like I don't have it in me to take another step, when I simply can't see what tomorrow could possibly bring. Today turned out to be one of those days. While talking to my sister this evening, she mentioned what a hard time Dad is having trying to cope with not being a farmer and looking for employment in an economy that has little if any suited to him, and in a state that offers little hope of finding any employment suited to you or not. He had been a farmer for over thirty five years and finally decided that he was no longer physically able to perform the tasks necessary to raise cattle. The cattle are what kept him going through all the pain, cold rainy miserable days, the flu, the blistering heat... through it all, even his two divorces, they remained his constant. And now they're gone, and by his own choosing! I know he is in emotional pain and struggling with what to do next. One friend of his told him "This is your chance to do what you've always wanted to do", she obviously doesn't know him very well. He was doing the one thing he wanted to do...

I see that he has a hard time communicating his emotions, and I think that is what led to my day ending so bad. It brought out all the negative emotions that have been hiding out in the deepest recesses of my mind. Trying to gather strength for my moment of weakness. My wife and I are planning to move to California where her family lives and the weather is much more... pleasant let's say. The biggest hurdle we face is finding insurance that will take me with the blood disorder. We are trying to find suitable coverage but are on a limited income. It hasn't been easy thus far. Thinking about my Dad and his troubles made me start thinking "What if we can't find coverage out there?" Are we then stuck here? Our minds are already in Cali., our hearts are already saying goodbye to all the things we love here in Michigan. What if this doesn't work out? Where before I couldn't see through all this to five years from now, to next year even, now I can't even see past tonight. What does tomorrow have in store for me? Now I am truly worried about the future. I guess maybe because my Dad has always been my rock. One of a very few constants by which I could navigate through life and that would help me find my way. Now, if he is adrift with the tide, how will I fond my way?

I will wake up tomorrow and see where the night has taken me. I will get my bearings as best I can, and I'll adjust my sails to make best use of the available winds and I shall sail on. I have a plan. It may not be a very good plan, but I can refine it as I go to meet the obstacles that are placed in my path. I vow to move ever forward toward my destination and should I be blessed enough to reach it, I'll set me eyes on another destination and continue on. I know no other way. Some will surely be left behind, but who's to say I might not just sail back this way again, maybe take them for a little ride and enjoy life's wondrous joys together. I know that through it all, my Sarah will be by my side to take the wheel should I need to rest a spell. Her course is my course and mine, hers. Together we shall see just what this world has in store for two star crossed lovers...

I truly hope you have such a first class mate to journey along with you. And may you be blessed with fair weather and a stiff breeze at your back.

Blessed be,