Archive for May, 2013

A Ronulian Story: RonJeff

Ron is a real person.  A Ronulian is someone who acts like Ron.  A Ronduh puts up with him.  Happy Ronday!

Jeff and I met in college. We were in the same performance group, and often got paired together on stage – so we struck up a camaraderie that went from a light-hearted friendship to an off-and-on dating relationship. No commitments, we just accompanied each other to some on-campus events and had occasional meals together at the campus dining common.

I took a job in town after my junior year, and Jeff went to Nova Scotia for the summer. When Jeff returned for his senior year, he met some of my summertime friends, including someone I had gone on a few dates with.

Strangely, each meeting the other brought out their competitive nature, and the two of them were suddenly asking me on dates every weekend. It was slightly flattering, until you realized it was just one-upmanship vs. actual ardor. This went on for several months until I decided to move back home to help out my mother.

I talked to Jeff occasionally on the phone, and we would sometimes write, but we both moved on with our lives and returned to our friendship status.

Then, almost 7 months after I had moved away, Jeff called and announced he was coming to visit me. He was making a road trip with 2 other stops on the way, and would be at my house in a week. I hung up the phone and went down to tell my mother.

“Why is he coming?” my mother asked.

“I have no idea,” I admitted.

When Jeff arrived, there were hugs and smiles. We chatted about our lives and I introduced him to my mother. He told me about his trip so far, and the people he had stopped to visit along the way: a girl from college whom he had dated off-and-on but had broken his heart, and another girl he had met through the first girl, and with whom he had started a long distance friendship. And now he was here.

My mom and I looked wordlessly at each other across the table, and then went back to eating our meal. The three of us played a few board games after dinner before calling it a night.

The next morning after breakfast, I took Jeff for a walk around my town. Once we were about a half a mile down the road, I asked him, “Why are you here? Not that I’m not happy to see you – but what’s up?”

Jeff smiled and said, “Well, now that I’ve graduated from college I feel like it’s time to start my life. Y’know – find a wife, get a job, settle down. So I figured I would take a trip, visit my three top choices and see which one I should marry.”

I thanked Jeff for including me as one of his “three top choices” but informed him kindly that I was disqualifying myself because I just didn’t care for him that way.

“Okay,” he accepted graciously. “I was a little worried because of your weight anyway. But I was willing to overlook that if everything else seemed workable.”

Girls, can you believe I let him get away?

Good Knight

I admit it, I gave up.  I found myself blasé about the whole dating thing.  Other than “please trample my face” dude, nothing exciting was happening.  I even agreed on a second date with the “I Win” guy – my first First After from back in November.  I was chatting with a few guys, but nothing exciting and I found myself letting days pass between emails.

And then I got a message. 

Someone on OKCupid had contacted me.  Someone who actually read my profile and noted my MacGyver/duct tape reference and commented on it.  The more we chatted, the more we realized we had in common.  People, places, dreams, laughter.

So we met.

Our first date lasted 6 hours.  We met for lunch and by the time we left the dinner crowd was in full swing.  We talked and laughed through several nearby half-hearted renditions of “Happy Birthday” and countless refills of soda.  I even forgot to go the bathroom – a fact that became relevant the moment I unlocked my door and my bladder went on red alert.

But maybe he was just being kind. 

He assured me this wasn’t the case, and reinforced it by asking me out again, not just for one, but three dates.   A picnic in the park – filled with gentle breezes, teenage shyness, and more laughter.   The next included being there for me as I transported my foster dog to his new home, followed by a quiet and comfortable dinner at my place. 

Each time we met, the time flew by.  Each time we were apart again, it felt like ages since we had seen each other.  We kept marveling at how wibbly wobbly timey wimey the whole thing was.

And then the big event – he invited me to join him for a weekend of heraldry and historical anachronisms – my first SCA event.  We’d be going with a friend, sleeping in dorm-style cabins, and dressing in historical garb.  I was nervous – people I didn’t know, worrying about looking cute in primitive conditions, fearful my snoring would bring the wild beasts to bear down on us in protest.

And then came the snag – his babysitter had gone MIA.  (Did I mention he has kids? He has kids. ) Would I mind if they came along?

I’ll admit it, I panicked.  I love children, but I had long ago accepted that they would most likely not be in the cards for me.  I had chosen people that couldn’t or wouldn’t have them. And now to meet them and so soon. What if they hated me?  What if they didn’t?  I cry at commercials, I take in stray dogs and lodging-challenged friends.  This could break me.

But then I took a deep breath and gave myself a shake.  Better to know than not, right?  It’s not like it was planned, these things happen.  Bye bye, Joey – have fun storming the castle!  So I went, I anachronized, and things went very well.  Better than I could imagine.

We are moving forward – trying not to move too fast.  But it’s hard when things seem so natural.  We’ve both got things to work on, and we know that the past, the present, and the future all have to be dealt with.

But for now?  I’m having a good knight.

Ron is real and the inspiration for the Rondays.  A Ronulian is someone who is Ronlike. Happy Ronday!

My intern was going back to college the last week in August, and my new assistant wasn’t starting until the 2nd week of September. So I had a one-week gap where I wouldn’t have extra help, and it was during the launch one of our bigger marketing campaigns. So I asked HR to provide me with a temp.

Wally had just finished up an assignment in another department. I had him for 3 weeks to overlap the intern /new assistant.

On Wally’s first day, I explained that we had a 3-piece mailer that had to get distributed internally to 500 employees. I was going to be in and out of meetings all day, but the intern understood the project and could answer any questions Wally had.

There were 3 parts to the mailer:
· An internal memo
· A copy of the newspaper ad
· The sample postcard

Each part was coming from different places and at different times, and it would be his job to make sure to make/grab 500 copies of each and put them in the pre-labeled interoffice envelopes.

I knew it was confusing, but as I explained, Michael the intern understood the entire project and could answer any questions.

The first piece of the 3-piece mailer was the memo. I needed it copied on to letterhead once, and then 500 copies of the letterhead memo made (trying to save the letterhead, but still get the logo)

I came out of the meeting to find 500 copies of the memo all made, but no logo.

“Oops, Wally. Looks like we forgot to copy it on to letterhead. That’s okay, I know it was a little confusing. Michael can show you how to copy the logo on them.”

Wally looked confused. “It is on letterhead.”

It was clearly not on letterhead.

“No, I mean, the letterhead with the company logo on it. See the space at the top? That’s where the logo is supposed to go.”

“The logo is on the memo,” he insisted.

I double-checked then looked curiously at Wally. Maybe it was like the emperor’s new clothes, because I didn’t see diddley or squat of a logo. Michael (my angelic intern) swept in and handled it while I rushed off to the next meeting.

As I left meeting #2, I saw that the newspaper ad had been faxed over.

“Here’s the second part to that 3-piece mailer, Wally,” I said as I handed it to him. “We still need the postcards, those will come from the printer later today. But in the meantime, just make 500 copies of this and put them in the interoffice mailer with the memos. We’ll add the third part to the envelopes this afternoon.”

Michael swooped in again to make sure the fax was copied correctly and I went off to my 3rd meeting.

Then it was lunchtime. My whole department liked to eat together – and we invited Wally along. He was finishing up a few things, but he’d been working at our location for a while, so I assumed he would just catch up with us in the downstairs cafeteria. We headed down the hall when I heard this panicked cry of my name.

I turned to see Wally running at us. Expecting to find out that we’d hit an iceberg or something, it became obvious that he just didn’t want us to leave him behind.

As we headed down the stairs, he asked me: “On the interoffice envelopes, do you prefer that the string be wrapped in a loop around the 2 red circles, criss-crossed in a figure eight pattern, or just all around the bottom loop?”

I looked up with a laugh, assuming he was making a joke to lighten up after his struggles this morning. But he was dead serious. I swallowed carefully and then answered, “Whatever works best for you, Wally, is fine with me.”

At lunch, we were all talking about the horrendous traffic that morning and other problems with the local highways. Wally joined in with, “Yeah, like last night? My girlfriend and I went out for dinner and when we got home the cat was sick all over the place.”


(because we were waiting to figure out what that had to do with traffic.)

Wally went back to eating and so did we, trying to cautiously sneak glances at him for signs of alien matter when he wasn’t looking. On our way back to the department, I decided to check in the mailroom to see if the sample postcards had arrived from the printer yet.

I sent Wally up with Michael and walked past the reception desk. One of my co-workers stopped me. “I see you got our Wally.”

“Omg,” I said. “Is he always like this?”

“Oh yes,” she said. “We didn’t want to hurt his feelings though, so we just told HR that his assignment was finished so that we could get rid of him.”

(pause because I don’t want to talk about the tears I wept then.)

I decided to shake it off and head on to the mail room. I mean, really, how bad could it be? And hurray! The postcards had arrived for the 3-piece mailer! I grabbed a few samples and headed back to my department.

“Wally, the postcards are finally here for that 3-piece mailer. Michael will go down to the mailroom with you so you guys can grab the boxes and start putting them in the envelopes. I’ve got one more meeting and then I’m headed off-site for the rest of the day.”

Wally nodded his head slowly, and then waited for Michael to return from the bathroom so they could head down. I went in to my office to check emails and faxes for a few minutes. I heard a knock at my door and turned around to see Wally standing in the doorway.

“Umm, other than these 3 pieces, are there any other pieces for this 3-piece mailer?”

I looked Wally in the eye. “Nope. Other than those 3 pieces, those are the only 3 pieces for the 3 piece mailer.”

Wally sighed. “Okay then. Because I chose the figure-eight pattern to seal the envelopes and now I have to undo them all.”

That was Wally’s first and last day working for me.

Ron-side Seats

Ron is real.  That fact alone should scare you.  Happy Ronday!

As you may recall, Ron and my sister had bought Garth Brooks tickets using the money from when his car payment had bounced.

That was the final straw for me as far as helping my sister out financially. I would buy her groceries, I would give her rides, I would help her look for jobs and apartments and help in other ways. But I just wasn’t going to give her any more money, even as short-term loans.

My father and stepmom felt the same way and felt like it was time they learned a little truth and consequence. So when they got the inevitable call from my sister that she and Ron were broke again and they really needed money, my father proposed a plan. My father would buy the concert tickets from them, enabling them to get the money they so “desperately” needed.

Of course, this was not fair to either Ron or my sister. Give up concert tickets so they could have food and gas? Eschew luxury for practicality? Heresy! But after a few days, they took the offer and the exchange was made.

Now, my father & step mom had no interest in seeing Garth Brooks in concert –but now they had tickets to go see him. They couldn’t give the tickets back to my sister, because they would not be proving their point.

So one day, my father hands me the tickets. My husband at the time and I lived in the town where the concert was being given, and liked a few of his songs well enough. What was I to do? We went to the concert, never saying a word of it to my sister. The man put on a great show, even from our nosebleed seats.

A few weeks later, Ron and Sis came to dinner. Ron being Ron, he thought nothing of poking about our bookshelf and found the concert program.

“Aw man, you guys got to go? We had tickets y’know.”

I tried to maintain my best oblivious face. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, and they were primo seats too. As close to floor seats as you can get without actually being down on the floor.”

“Wow – those sound like great seats.” And nothing like the seats we sat in.

“Yeah,” he says, growing confident. “Y’know, I have connections with the [local arena].” (my translation – Burger King evidently must serve there . . .)

I nod, trying hard to maintain. My husband at this point excuses himself to attend to “something important.”

“Yeah, well, your dad and mum really wanted them so we gave them the tickets instead.
“But,” he added, leaning forward in his Ron-on-the-prowl way. “Had I realized you guys wanted them, I would have given them to you.”

If you only knew, Ron, if you only knew.

Here’s another post I found on my old OKCupid journal that I thought you might like to see.  I had an eHarmony profile back in those days – and I’m not sure if the process has changed or not – but back then you had to choose a reason whenever you wanted to delete a match from your account. This was originally written in December 2007.

I have been having fun on eHarmony today. Well, not really “fun” but going through and closing out all the recent matches they have sent me.”Closing” a match means that you are no longer interested in the candidate. eHarmony doesn’t allow you to close the match without selecting a reason – here are your options and my interpretation of the actual reason one might pick. 
I think our family backgrounds are too different.
You are redneck, and I am above the likes of you.I have too much happening in my life at the moment.
You look like drama. I already have drama. Thank you, please move on.

I don’t feel that the chemistry is there.
There are not enough drugs in the world that would make you look good to me.

I don’t think our Must Haves and Can’t Stands fit. (This is a list of 10 things you want and don’t want in a mate)
You are way too demanding.

I think the physical distance between us is too great.
This is the default answer for almost everyone, I think. “Physical distance” can mean a lot of things including: ‘you are too short’, ‘i don’t want to hurt your feelings so I’ll blame gas prices’ or ‘i don’t think you are worth the drive.’

I want to pursue other matches at eHarmony.
There’s got to be SOMEBODY better than you out there for me.

I am pursuing another relationship.
Totally legit answer – but it can sometimes make you feel like – I found somebody else, you missed your chance with me, too late! and I found someone – you never will.

I’m just not ready for the next step.
You live too close for the “physical distance” answer – but I just can’t stand the thought of being with you.

I am taking a break from dating.
Thanks, I’ll pass on dating YOU – my break will be over when someone hot comes along.

I would rather not say.
Mom says, if you can’t say anything nice . . .

This match never responded to my request to communicate.
I reached out to you, you ignored me, and now I’m telling!

I think the difference in age between us is too great.
Go hit on someone from the nursing home, grandpa!

I think the difference in our values is too great.
Like I have some, and you don’t . . .

Based on statements in their profile, I’m not interested in this match.
Their profile contains the babblings of a psycho alien or unibomber.

Because there are no photos posted/I couldn’t see any photos.
Cause you could be ugly, and I don’t date ugly.

Because I was put on Hold.
Think you can put me on the backburner so you’ll have a fallback when Miss America dumps you? Homey don’t think so.

Because we are communicating outside of eHarmony
I’ve got his digits, I don’t want him holding up my chances for someone else . . .

There is something so wrong with you, I can’t even put it in to words.

Please Excuse The Mess

I was going through some old journal entries on my OKCupid profile, and came across this poem I had written back in 2007.  This would have been a few months after having broken up from a second, long-distance attempt with Sully.  I was also living with my mom after escaping from crazy psycho roommate and feeling like that cliche – 30-something divorced chick living with mom and trying to put the pieces back together.

Please Excuse The Mess

Please excuse me if I appear to be leaking –
I promise the tears are only matters of time.
My heart and my soul can’t find what they’re seeking.
And yet in my sorrow I’m starting to rhyme.

I can’t tell my mother, she’s in her room sleeping.
The friends I call out to don’t answer their phone.
I sit at my desk and I ponder my options.
And yet all I know is that I shouldn’t be alone.

I curse at the things that send hormones raging
That send the blood pumping in pain in my head
The brain that won’t stop me from constantly thinking
When all that I want is to curl up in bed.

I think through too much, no one could survive it,
The marathon madness that pushes on through
The decisions so random to like it or hate it
I wish it would stop or I knew what to do.

This now is when I wish I had bondage
To tie up the twitches that run through my veins
The darkness that seeks me is just an illusion
The sorrow I feel is all in my brain.

Others can freely embrace love around them
Others can freely express how they feel
Others can feed when their souls become hungry
Others can do it, but what is my deal?

I who seek pleasure and comfort, eluded
Confused and too eager, desperately try
To squelch down the madness I see myself reaking
To take the insanity and cause it to die.

Wildly I quiver, to share now so freely
The crazed bizarre thoughts that go running past
I cover my face in hopes I can stop it
But nothing I do can catch them so fast.

So here I linger, waiting for rescue
Knowing I’m only now giving the cue.
Will someone save me? Is there a knight present?
What good it would do me, I haven’t a clue.

And so I now sadly slink back to my chamber
Hoping to deafen the songs that I hear
Thank you for reading, please don’t reject me
Don’t run away, but please don’t come too near.

Give precious moments before you abandon
Whatever odd kindness you muster for me.
And as you now search for a cure for my ailment
I hope that time will soon set me free.

–cjp 10.26.07

A Boy Like Bryan

Being dumped hurts.  Being dumped a few minutes before your prom is just devastating.   But sometimes, when you dejectedly go to the local hamburger joint in your prom dress, a boy named Bryan happens.

I first heard this story this morning on the radio as I drove back to my office. Bryan Hayes is a server at Jim’s Hamburgers & Hotdogs near Greensboro, NC.   He heard about the 15-year old being dumped before her prom, and came out from behind the counter and asked her to dance.  At first there was no music, than a customer appeared with their iPod and “Kiss Me” by Faith Hill was playing.

Bryan Hayes with the unnamed Prom Girl

Bryan, a senior, said it was “cheesy” but he hoped it made the girl’s night a little better.  When the gushing dj asked if Bryan thought they might start dating, Bryan politely said he didn’t think so.  He pointed out that he was a senior in high school and going off to college next year, and this girl was only a freshman in high school.  And, as he noted, “15-year old girls are emotionally fragile and it wouldn’t do.”

This doesn’t have to be a love story, although I’m sure some moviemaker will try to make it in to one. All that matters is that this boy, at 17, understood that sometimes, even when you can’t fix everything, you can still ask the girl to dance.

Ron-duh Rememberers

Ron is a real person, and the inspiration for Rondays. Ronulians are people are Ronlike. Ron-duhs are people who put up with them.   Happy Ronday! 

My sister, God rest her soul, was one of the messiest, most disorganized people I know. Every place she ever lived in always looked like a tornado hit it – her cars were always full of trash. It’s just the way she was.

There was a period of time when I would go weeks & months without hearing from her and then when she did call it would be something quick like, “What’s Curt’s phone number? Ok – thanks, bye!” or “When’s Alycia’s birthday again? Okay, thanks!”

I used to yell at her that I was NOT just her address book/calendar. I was her sister and an occasional, “Hi, Joey, how are you?” would be nice.

Anyway, she made this big deal about me emailing her all the birthdays/anniversaries/addresses for our family. And with 24 of us, that wasn’t just a quick thing. But I put it all together and emailed it to her. And then she lost it. And so I sent it to her again, to a different email address. And she lost it again. So I printed it out and handed it to her and she said not to worry because she had a new electronic organizer and she was entering everything in to it and would never lose it again.

Until she lost her organizer.

So I sent it to her again, and this time her fiancee swore that he had it now and it would never be lost. And then a few weeks later I got the call. You guessed it, they had lost it again.

So I had it.

Getting an evil streak, I printed out the list and addresses and had my assistant make 25 copies of it on a variety of colored sheets of paper. And I instructed her to mail one copy of the list to my sister every day for the next 5 weeks.

My sister didn’t say a word about it and neither did I. We happened to see each other again at a barbecue at my Dad’s house. She still didn’t mention it. But her fiancee finally broke down and asked me how many more of them they were going to receive. I just smiled.

It was at least a year before she asked me for that list again . . .

On Dating: Going Organic

I know I had mentioned having someone new and special in my life, but that was fairly short-lived.  In reality, I think of him now as my shock absorber.  He was newly in my life when I found out about my ex’s engagement, and his presence certainly cushioned the blow. 

In hindsight (which is always 20/20) – there were definitely some red flags (maybe pink flags? Orange flags?  Flags of a different color?) which I saw but thought I could decide on later.  Maybe I was just tired of searching.

Whatever the case, he left my life as suddenly as he came in, just like the tide I talked about.  And that’s just fine. 

When are you going to stop looking online and realize that everyone on there (except you of course) is single for a reason – because they are broken?”

Rocker said this to me as we were driving to lunch one day.  I didn’t point out to him that we had, in fact, met online.   It didn’t seem appropriate somehow.

Radio had a different idea.  He’s now in a relationship with a girl he met on OKCupid.

I decided to just chuck out all my pre-conceived notions of what makes a good match for me and just go for it.  There was a girl who had sent me a 1-sentence message, and I had previously ignored her because I’m big on communication.  But I decided to answer back one day and found out that she actually talks a lot.

I read through my online profiles again, and thought about revamping them – but I feel like they still hold true and so I just left them as they were. I still proactively message someone if I’m interested, but nothing major has occurred. 

So, I’ve decided to go a bit organic for a while.  This is hard for me.  I was never much for waiting around for a guy to ask me out.  I’m still not.  But the con season is fast approaching, and it is really the first con season I’ve been through where I’m single vs. attending solo but being in a relationship.  So we’ll see what happens.  Go all zen and stuff.

Don’t be so laid back that people don’t think you are interested,” Radio warned me. 

Aargh.  That’s my quandary.  I can either shut off my brain and say, “I’m not looking at all” which institutes the Whoosh Factor that I’ve already discussed.  If someone hits on me when I’m in that mode – I just don’t see it.  Or, I can become the huntress on the prowl and seek out my prey like an Amazon on a mission.  Cause that’s not intimidating.  Nope not at all.  Plus, it tends to attract guys who like to be pursued and dominated, which isn’t really what I’m looking for either.

So how does one go organic and still show that you are available and interested?  I have no clue.  But I’ll try to figure it out and get back to you.