Monday, June 14, 2010

As I sit here watching the OKC Great Flood of 2010 on the news, I’m thinking about what to write for a blog about meeting my husband Charlie and our first date to post on McLinky Monday. (Has anyone else ever noticed how all these major storms occur on Mondays?)

In April 2004, I had been divorced about 6 months after a two-year separation that involved an ugly custody battle. The kids and I lived in a small all-bills paid apartment in downtown Tulsa near the Arkansas River so I would be close to work in case the car broke down and I could walk to work.

I spent a lot of time playing on the computer and typing in an AOL chatroom because I was broke, didn’t have any friends, and had no idea how to meet people. Plus, for someone with my type of hearing loss, a chatroom was a great way to keep up with a conversation.

One day, I noticed a new name in my regular chatroom and the posts were cracking me up. I hadn’t laughed in a long time like I did when I talked to “Wranglrm”. Over the next six weeks, we would chat in the room and occasionally in a private message. He was never inappropriate, but would use the private message to tell me more about himself and his life. He was unhappily married at the time and would occasionally dump on me about his marital problems. My response to everything was, “You need to sit down and talk to your wife about what you’ve told me.” At the time, she was visiting her mother in Georgia, who was recuperating from surgery.

After six weeks of chatting, he told me he would like to visit Tulsa because he’d never been there before. I suggested we meet up and attend Mayfest. I’d never even seen a picture of him before, so it probably wasn’t the smartest move on my part to meet some strange man, but several people I knew in person had met him before and said he was ok. (We’re not even going to get into the part that he was married to someone else at the time…yet.) Charlie had admitted to me he was 21 years older than me (old enough to be my daddy.) What he didn’t tell me was that he LOOKED old enough to be my daddy. So, I opened the door to this balding, grey haired little man who oddly enough, reminded me of Ernest P. Worrell from the Braum’s commercials.

My babysitter was running late, so he sat on my love seat while my daughter and I sat on the couch and watched Law & Order together. Meagan and I looked over and noticed that Charlie was SOUND ASLEEP on my love seat and started giggling. The poor guy had worked a full eight-hour shift at the post office in OKC and then drove 2 hours to my place after work. He was pooped.

When the babysitter arrived, Charlie and I left for Mayfest and walked around for a little while looking at the booths. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone we knew from the chatroom and pointed them out to him, while we stayed out of their line of sight. (Ok, I admit it. We HID so they wouldn’t see us and we could kind of spy on them. And I was laughing because this girl was supposed to be “engaged” to a guy Charlie knew in OKC, but she was at Mayfest with her husband.)

After spying on mutual acquaintances walking around Mayfest for about an hour or so, we decided to find something to eat and stopped by Bourbon Street on 15th. I love to eat and by then I was STARVING. Remember, I was a poor, broke-ass single mother and didn’t get to go out to eat at nice restaurants sans children too often. I ordered the Chicken Alfredo and must have eaten at least half of it in between laughing my ass off while Charlie told me stories about his life. Charlie took me home at 11:00 and I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek then went inside while he headed back to OKC.

I couldn’t believe how much fun I had hanging out with some guy 20 years older than me. And he was a perfect gentleman too, unlike the men my age who were all trying to jump in bed with me on the first date. I felt bad for him because he was in a bad situation with his marriage. Over the next few months, I encouraged him to be honest with his wife and seek counseling. I dated other men during that time, but I never had as much fun with them as I had with Charlie.

Charlie filed for divorce that fall and it was finalized at the end of May 2005, a year after we met in person. We were married June 6, 2005 in Fort Smith, AR. We had a long-distance relationship for the previous six months and were tired of not being together. We enjoyed each other’s company and we had been best of friends for the past year too.

So that’s the story of “how I met my husband”. It wasn’t the best of situations, and several people we knew called me a gold-digging home wrecker because we married so quickly after his divorce was finalized. But, five years later, we are still together and still enjoying being a family.

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