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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

“…go crazy and hire Def Leppard…”

People often wonder why I’m so frugal, or “tightfisted” as it’s been eloquently put, and this is how I can describe it. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent recently stating it simply and metaphorically.

“…I was talking with people at a bloggers dinner last night and the one thing I came to realize, and more accurately put into words, is this. Women think their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives. Well up to that point it is, but the numerous best days of their lives are yet to come. So why not leave some water in the well for the future. I mean first, second, third baby, first house, and several other firsts will mean just as much as committing yourself to your beloved. Plus the fact that you will be sharing new firsts with that person makes it that much sweeter. Not spending loads of money on that one day doesn’t make it any less special or romantic. It just makes you realize there’s a whole life ahead of you to plan for.”

To embellish on that further I’m not knocking huge weddings if you can afford it. Hell, go crazy and hire Def Leppard if that tickles your fancy, but remember this. Sometimes a big wedding might be compensation for a little relationship.

I’ll confess something that most people don’t know. I’ve obviously dated other people in the past and as a normal healthy woman I’ve thought about marriage a time or two. Matter of fact I’ve pictured my big day since I was 12 when my sister got married. What kind of flowers, limos, and of course the dress. I’ve pictured everything including a faceless man standing at the alter waiting for me. Funny thing about that is “he” has always had dark brown hair. Hmmm! Premonition? Anyway, back to the point.

My last serious boyfriend of 2 years was, on paper, a great catch. He had money, a great job, was a gym buff and in excellent shape, and I even got along famously with his mother. Now for the minus, the big minus, he replaced love and affection with gifts. I never wanted for anything because I knew when the guilt of ignoring me got too heavy, I’d have a new gadget. Home stereo system for my birthday, ipod for Christmas, and jewelry occasionally just because. The gifts were wonderful and eased the pain of emotional distance for a period of time, but nothing that could sustain me permanently.

One day we decided to go ring shopping.  We hit every jewelry store in the mall. I found myself leaning more towards the higher end rings. Larger 2 carat 3 stone princess cut rings and matching band loaded with diamonds. Why was I looking to get the most expensive ring when everything else in my life was so frugal? Because of who was giving it to me. I wanted the big ring to compensate for the little love.

“…It was almost too perfect…”

When Anton proposed to me he had nothing to put on my hand. He had a heart full of love and the words on his lips. He got down on one knee, held my hand, and pledged his love to me while asking for my hand in marriage. There was no time for an extravagant scene planned out or absorbanent amounts of money spent to sweeten the deal. It was just him and me in my house having a great conversation when it hit him. He wanted to be with me forever and couldn’t wait another moment to ask, so he did.

The next words out of his mouth were. “We need to go shopping!” I suggested getting a ring from a bubble gum machine. Just a plastic one to remind me of him. A PLASTIC engagement ring!  And why did I want such a cheap ring? Because of what it meant. It meant that I was going to be with the love of my life forever and all I needed was that promise and nothing else. No 3 stone 2 carat princess cut diamond ring with matching band loaded with more diamonds. He would have loved to buy me those rings but I told him I would hear nothing of the sort.

So one afternoon we went to Wal-mart to get a few odds and ends, not even thinking about the ring, and there it was. The jewelry counter right at the front entrance to the store.  We looked over the giant fake rings but decided against it for the pure fact that it looked really fake and would most likely fall apart. Then we decided on a “place holder” (his term) of cubic zirconia in white gold. Strong enough not to fall apart but so beautiful it looked like the real deal.

It was almost too perfect that we didn’t spend loads of money on a ring since my mother recently decided to bequeath my grandmothers wedding set to me. I would marry Anton barefoot on a beach in a sundress with flowers in my hair and a few close friend and family to celebrate with us over a buffet style reception. It’s our day and the best way to celebrate it is an expression of our love and personalities. There isn’t one specific set of criteria for having weddings, much as planners try to convince you otherwise. So why commit yourself to ‘traditions’ that don’t properly reflect who you are. We get away from the true meaning of a wedding and make it into some extravagant affair and feel guilty if we don’t pull out all the stops. Well I’m here to say that thought process has got to stop. Take control of your day because in all fairness it is YOUR day. Don’t let anyone pressure you into thinking differently.

Dance all night, celebrate til dawn, and most importantly have a blast!!

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Hello Gorgeous!

Standing there like Price Valiant armed with a smile, he saw me immediately and rushed over. We didn’t fumble nor did we speak. We just kissed and held each other for what felt like an eternity. It was I who broke the silence with just three words. “Take me home.” He whisked me up and carried me to the car and we lived happily ever after.  

Yea as if! And now what really happened.

 ”…it was more a plea than a romantic whisper.” 

I came out of the security area pushing my impossibly heavy luggage cart and tripping over my garment bag. Anton was looking at his phone, presumably checking the time. He finally looked up at his blushing, because I was so embarrassed for not being able to control the damn cart, bride.  He ran up to me and took the cart from me only to push it to the side. Taking me into his arms for the longest sweetest kiss I’d ever had. I did say ‘take me home’ but it was more a plea than a romantic whisper.  

We went home to Limerick where we shared a flat with his cousin and brother. Four people in a 3 bedroom apartment meant for 2 got a little cramped at times. Luckily his brother moved out shortly after me moving in so we were able to take the 10 boxes, 4 pieces of luggage, and half of my clothes into the spare bedroom. I had no idea I sent that much stuff over. Anton and I came home one day only to discover his cousin had fecked everything into the spare room and cleaned and tidied the entire place. I almost broke down into tears at the beauty of it.  

One thing you should know about me is I make Monica on ‘Friend’s’ look mild tempered. I don’t number coffee cups or anything but I like a clean and tidy place. I have a tendency to get snippy if it’s not kept up.  So coming home to no messy boxes, luggage, or clothes everywhere was like walking into a dream. We managed to keep the place orderly until we all moved out a couple months later.  

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Limerick was an amazing experience for me. The gorgeous view from our flat, walking distance from everything, and the Saturday morning farmer’s market was just bliss. On the flip side construction outside at 8am when you don’t have to get up until 9, scummy mold on the walls and drunks yelling in the middle of the night wasn’t so much my cup of tea. It was another bittersweet move but one that had to happen nonetheless.  

“…and could have knocked her ignorant ass over. 

Now we’re in Ennis. It’s a quaint little town with adorable windy roads through the center of it. There’s one huge problem with Ennis though.  They insist on allowing people to drive though the center of town even though it’s constantly going at a snail’s pace and people are trying to walk to shops without getting hit. But that’s not even the problem I speak of. The biggest problem I have with that quaint little town is the women who have absolutely no common courtesy whatsoever.  I can’t tell you how many times I walked down O’Connell Street and had a pram clip me in the Achilles’ tendon. Or an umbrella open up a millimeter from my face just to have the woman stand right in my path ignoring the fact that I was just walking at a good clip and could have knocked her ignorant ass over. What the hell is that about? That never happened to me in Limerick. Those women knew to keep the pram off my ankles and not to stop dead in front of me whilst I’m walking. What is up with these women? Anyway, I digress. 

Now back to my love story.  We finally have our own place.  It’s a 3 bedroom semi-detached house with a huge green in the front and a good sized garden in the back.  It’s what I’d been dreaming of ever since I met him.  Now we have our new house to go along with our new lives together. And this is where the wedding plans began…
  
     

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“Sold to the only bidder” 

The three months Anton and I spent apart were heartbreaking, to say the least. I guess there really aren’t any words to describe what I felt on a daily basis. I can only describe what happened to illustrate my despair. I’d added, to the list of feelings, guilt for not focusing on my houseguest enough. I would talk to Anton as much as humanly possible either on the computer or when he would bless me with a phone call. Leaving Mom to watch TV or putter around the house. On the flip side I thought she might have valued some alone time considering we were together 24/7 for 8 weeks, but my guilt didn’t see it that way. Mom’s not one for expressing herself verbally either so I really don’t know how she was feeling. All I knew is my heart ached for him. Every cell in my body missed having him next to me. And I couldn’t help but show it. The summer crept by.

Normally I would’ve loved the long hot summer days of New York, but this year it was a test of my patience.  It was the perfect amount of time to sell all of my things though. I sold my car on my birthday which was one hell of a present. In just one weekend had the rest of my stuff sold in a ‘household sale’ or had taken it to the Salvation Army. I know they are just things, but when you’re lying in bed late at night staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, you start thinking of all the things you used to have. Things that made your house feel like a home lived in. Things you had for years and grew attached to seeing sitting on a shelf or hanging nicely on the wall. All of that was one. Sold to the bidder.

 Empty House 

Looking around my empty apartment and hearing the hollowed halls put another ache in my heart. I missed my gorgeous extremely under-priced apartment with the coolest landlord a girl could ask for and I hadn’t even left yet. I remembered the girls’ night out parties I’d had where the remaining crew crashed on my couch or living room floor. And the times Anton and I had spent together there. Memories of our first few weeks of getting to know and love one another etched themselves into the walls. That chapter of my life was coming to a close and it was bittersweet.  

“So here’s where the fun begins” 

Now mind you those three months weren’t a completely depressing. Mom and I had a blast going to the casinos in Niagara Falls, cruising the beach in New Hampshire, visiting family and friends I hadn’t seen in years, and hitting the gym on a regular basis. Mom’s a health nut like me. Then my last 2 weeks in the States we went to Florida where Mom lives and I visited my family there too. It was the longest vacation of my life and the only thing that didn’t make it perfect was Anton wasn’t there to enjoy it with me. He was in Ireland working his arse off trying to get our new business venture off the ground. God Bless ‘em. 

 Bemus Point, NY       Mom and I Niagara Falls      Some Of My Family

OK the three months are up and I’m on my way to greener pastures. My family all brought me to the airport because, let’s face it, who knows when I’ll see them again. That was a fiasco in itself because Mom wanted to drop me at the curb but Sis wanted nothing to do with that idea. She made it very clear that she was going to spend every last second with me before I left. So here’s where the fun begins.Sis tells Mom to go with her friend, who was nice enough to drive my whole family to the airport, and park the car. Then meet us inside where we’ll get lunch together. Well I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Orlando International Airport but you can get lost going to the bathroom in your own terminal. So long story short we send my Niece on a hunt for Mom and friend and almost lose her in the process.

Finally after about 20 minutes, I board the plane in 45, we find each other. There was a bout of finger pointing and accusations of miscommunication thrown back and forth but the grin on my face remained. I was beyond the point of caring about anything else but who I was going to see after over half a day of traveling. Nothing could get me down anymore. I had my wedding dress in a plastic garment bag draped over my arm causing it to sweat profusely and 3 heavy suit cases to lug around until I checked in, but it was all worth it.  Lunch is over, I kissed everyone goodbye 3 times, and then I was off to my terminal.

Flight departed on time and made it to New Jersey an hour early. No biggie right, wrong! We had to sit on the tarmac for that hour. If you know anyone from Jersey you know they aren’t a quiet bunch. So kids were screaming, parents were joining in, and single childless people like me could only roll our eyes to the back of our heads so much before it became a migraine. Did I mention I was in the 5 row from the back of the plane? Claustrophobia anyone?  We finally taxi in and shuffle off the plane. Now I only have one large and one small suitcase to carry as well as my wedding dress which, by the way, is still making my arm sweat. I get to my connecting flight and notice the sign over the desk is flashing ‘Dublin’ ‘Shannon’ ‘Dublin’ ‘Shannon’. Wait a sec. Does that mean I have to fly to Dublin first? I got in line and asked the first person who made eye contact what that meant. He assured me I had to go through Dublin first, wait an hour, then fly to Shannon. Could this suck any more? Three months apart and now another hour tacked on? I decided at that point I was already too exhausted to care. Apparently the family feud at the Orlando airport and all the excitement of seeing Anton again stressed me out when I wasn’t looking.

 “…and doesn’t so much as smile as she spits in my cornflakes.” 

Dublin wasn’t eventful. Just sat on the plane and chatted with the flight crew for a bit. Flash forward to arriving in Shannon. I get off the plane and go to the security checkpoint. I get my passport stamped and pick up my luggage. I’m just about to walk out to see my love, the man I’d been longing to see for months and out of no where this woman, this ginger, stops me.  She asks me what’s in the garment bag. I reply that it’s my wedding dress. She then asks me if I’m getting married. Trying as hard as possible not to sound sarcastic I smile and say yes. Then she asks if I’m getting married in Ireland. Another smile and yes from me. Then, get this, she says, “Well make sure you take it with you when you leave Ireland.” THAT BITCH!!! If Anton hadn’t been right on the other side of that depressingly gray door I would have slapped the scowl off her face. Way to shit on my parade.  I understand that they have a job to do, making sure I didn’t bring that one dress in from America on my sweaty arm to sell and make a profit, God forbid. It’s the attitude that gets me. Someone who sees how obviously excited I am in my reply and doesn’t so much as smile as she spits in my cornflakes. I just grunted and walked past her through the abysmal gray doors to my new life. 

And there he was.  

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The Big Move

“She’s American? Is she a typical American, you know FAT?”  

I must be crazy. I can’t believe I committed myself to moving to a country I’d never been to. If you recall by this time I hadn’t even taken my trip to Ireland yet. Anton was scheduled to stay for 2 weeks but because of weather delays he would have missed his connecting flight out of New Jerseyso they cancelled it. This meant I got to be with my brand new fiancé for another 5 days. Oh darn, what’s a girl to do. So I peeled out of my driveway, drove an hour back up to the airport, collected the boy, and whisked him back to my love pad. The next 5 days were a gift from the gods.

We just took that time to relax and inform friends and family of our engagement. The reactions were anywhere from “He sounded nice on the phone” (my mom) to “Jessi, that’s a guys name.” and “She’s American? Is she a typical American, you know FAT?” (Anton’s dad). That was hilarious because he had no idea he was on speaker phone or that I was listening in so I had fun with him. I simply took the microphone (we called from the pc) and said, “Um I’m thin cause uh I workout?” in my best western New York accent where every statement sounds like a question. 

It was Anton’s turn to turn 5 shades of red. The poor thing was sweating bullets with the idea of telling his folks, who I’d never even met, that he was marrying a Yank.  I had no problem telling my family because they knew so much about him already. Ever since we booked his trip over I’d been talking about him. So we all got a chance to informally meet over the internet but to this day he hasn’t met one of my family members in person. Funds are tight you see. I on the other hand have met many of his family members, which is no easy task considering he’s got over 50+ first cousins. When Anton finally did leave it broke my heart. I was a pathetic puddle of tears on the floor. I missed him, so much in fact that I pushed my flight up almost 2 weeks. That way I had a full 4 weeks in Ireland.

“…didn’t hit home until I gave him one last kiss at the security checkpoint…The tears began to fall again…”  

When I arrived it was raining. I’d never been so happy to see rain. All of my research about Ireland, and even Europe, was that it rains A LOT! So I figured that if it wasn’t raining I wasn’t getting the full effect. An effect, I might add, that I don’t necessarily need to experience daily anymore. Bygones. Getting through the security checkpoint was a very new experience for me. I’d never needed a passport other then when I moved to the States from the Philippines, where I was born, when I was 18 months old.  And that I definitely don’t remember it. So I got up to the desk and was asked if I was here for business or pleasure. I then did 3 things: blushed, giggled, and said ‘pleasure’ in a tone that was trying to be funny/flirty, but the guard didn’t seem impressed. He stamped my passport and I was on my way to the moment I’d been waiting for for 4 weeks. My love.

Bunratty Castle 

He spent the next 4 weeks returning the favor of tour-guide. I saw Limerick, Tipperary, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Dublin, Donegal, and even took a trip to Parma, Italy for his niece’s christening. It was the most amazing vacation of my life. I instantly fell in love with Ireland and dreaded having to go back to the States. By the end of the trip I had more pictures than I could count and a head full of great times to tell everyone back home about. The last day came and he took me to the airport. It really didn’t hit home until I gave him one last kiss at the security checkpoint that I wouldn’t see him for another 3 months.  The tears began to fall again and all I could do was pray that something would stop the plane from departing. But nothing did. The plane left on time and carried me back home safely.

Hi. I’d like an order of anxiety with a side of guilt please?

Coming right up!

Over the next 3 months I packed, shipped, sold, or gave away all of my belongings. My mother came to visit for what would be my last 6 weeks as a resident in the United States. She made it very clear that she would miss visiting the town I lived in. The fact was she wanted to move up to that town with me but had no reason to if I wasn’t there. So I had the guilt of leaving friends that I loved, a shop I made a success out of nothing, and now to top it all off my mother saying she would move 1500 miles to live near me again after 6 years of living apart. Aces!   

All Packed!

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How It All Began…

I was 29, single, and a sole trader of a successful pet wellness center in western New York. My friend Stacey, knowing I’m out of the techno loop, says “You should get a myspace.” After looking at her like she had 3 heads she realized I had no idea what she was talking about. Long story short she got me set up with an account. A few months later I find out that myspace is also used in Ireland. So I start browsing people to see if they had pictures of the most beautiful country I only dreamed I could visit. I came across quite a few and decided to email ten of them to get information on taking a vacation there the following year. Knowing I would have to go alone I thought it best to make a few friends over there before I went.  I’d started researching places to see in Ireland a few years back and decided 2007 was the year to make that trip happen.

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From the ten emails I sent, four responded.  All giving excellent advice on places to stay, sites to see, car rentals, and even voltage converters.  One person in particular, Anton Mannering, was extremely helpful. He told me I “didn’t have to be so formal” with my emails either. Thank God he couldn’t see me blushing from 4000 miles away. So I relaxed and he and I became myspace buddies. We kept in casual contact for a few weeks and then I decided to be bold and give him my phone number (mainly to hear his accent).

One night around 11:30 my phone rings and a distant man’s voice came on the line. In an accent I couldn’t recognize while being half asleep I heard, “Is Jessi there?” I replied, “This is” and asked who was calling. He must have said his name about 5 times before the penny finally dropped.  Again with the blushing and my many emphatic apologies for being so daft, we finally started our first chat. He kept me up until 1am (6am GMT)  and then let me go just to toss and turn all night because of the amazing conversation I’d had with an hot Irishman. Come to find out it took a couple pints for him to get the nerve to call in the first place. So adorable.

So the emails turned to phone calls and the phone calls advanced to web cams. We became the best of friends talking about anything and everything. We really confided in each other about our deepest secrets. I felt instantly comfortable talking to him and knew no matter what I said he would understand.

I finally decided to buy my ticket to the Emerald Isle in October 2006 for the following May. I hated having to wait 7 months to go on a trip I’d been fantasizing about for 5 years but I figured what’s another few extra months. A few of my friends thought I was crazy for booking a trip alone to a country 5 time zones away and suggested he come visit me first. I posed this to him and he graciously accepted my invitation as a tour-guide to western New York. He said he’d never been to the States and that this would be an excellent excuse to go.  So we booked it. He was to arrive in February of 2007.

Well with western New York weather being as it is his trip had to be postponed for a month. He finally arrived on March 2. We’d agreed prior to him coming that we would only be friends so we wouldn’t ruin what we’d been building for so long. I told him moving to Ireland wasn’t an option because my business was really taking off and I couldn’t leave it.

Day 1

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So the day comes that Anton is arriving. I’m so excited that I got ready 5 hours before I had to be at the airport and arrived at the airport 2 hours before his flight is scheduled to land.  And again with the weather not cooperating his flight was delayed another few hours. So a flight that was supposed to land at 5pm didn’t get in until 9pm. By this time the excitement was turning to impatience and I was about to kill someone if he didn’t arrive soon. Well, let’s just say that all melted away when he finally showed.

He called me as he got off the plane and told me he was walking toward baggage claim. Not realizing the baggage claim was downstairs outside the terminal, he walked right by me. I watched this happen and practically jumped him trying to get his attention. I get clumsy when I’m nervous. The second he turned around and was only a breath away from me, I melted. I couldn’t believe how blue his eyes were. Web cams do no justice. He was gorgeous, charming, and HERE!

 Just friends? Yea right.

We hugged and fumbled over each other for a few minutes giggling like idiots and blushing ten shades of red (me). We finally got sorted and walked to baggage. I just about cut off the circulation in his arm because I was holding on so tight. I kept repeating, ‘I can’t believe you’re really here.’ The bags took their time showing up and I couldn’t have cared less. Normally I would be cussing up a storm at this point but considering I couldn’t take my eyes off this gorgeous Irishman, it wasn’t a concern.Our first kiss was at the airport. A voice in my head kept saying, ‘What are you doing? Keep your head on straight,’ but my heart wasn’t hearing a word of it.

We finally got back to my place around 11pm.  I offered Anton a glass of wine and full rights to take a shower and relax. After 15 hours of travel I guessed he was a bit tired. We spent most of the night chatting (and kissing) and me trying to convince myself that this wasn’t the most amazing man I’d ever met. ‘Trying’ being the operative word.

Day 5

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By this time we were smitten and decided to take the relationship to the next level. We were boyfriend/girlfriend. I was head over heels in love with him but hadn’t said it yet. All week long Anton went to work with me, met my friends, and saw what America was really like. He liked it fine, but I think his mind was on something else. That night we decided to rent a few movies. When we got back to the house I showed him a short story I had been writing. It was about an American girl who goes to Ireland, meets the man of her dreams, and lives happily ever after. He read it and when I saw the look on his face, I asked him what was wrong. He replied, ‘It’s good, but Irish guys don’t fall that fast.’ In which I replied,’that’s why it’s fiction.’ He then laughed and said,’you’re funny, but I love you.’ Realizing what he had just said, he took a deep breath, let out a gasp and looked around the room for a way to change the subject. I couldn’t help but laugh at how awkward he felt, so to make him feel better I suggested watching one of the movies.  Irish guys don’t fall that fast? Ha! 

Day 8

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This was the best day of the whole week. This was the day we decided to go to Canada and go gambling. We walked around Ontario hitting the shops, casinos, and seeing Niagara Falls almost frozen solid. It was a great day. We decided not to make it an overnight trip so we could hit the bars in my home town. Living walking distance from the center of town had it’s perks. Well we bar hopped and finally got home around 2am. We sat on the kitchen floor talking about love, relationships, heartache, and the future. Then it happened. Anton paused and stared at me for a few seconds. I asked him what was wrong and he just smiled and said, ‘Jessica Lynn Roy, will you marry me?’.  The only thing I could do, my only reply to this irrational, unexpected question was, ‘Yes’.

                            On March 10th 2007 at 2:35am my life changed forever.

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