Ladies, leave the men who need tweaking aloneNovember 8, 2006 at 3:06 pm | Posted in country living, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, humor, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, love, yarn | 48 Comments
It is drizzling rain outside, but not very cold. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, leaving much more of the river visible than on previous days. Fog mist lifts up from the river because the river water is warmer than the air … very different from the ocean fogs that blanket Los Angeles and push along through canyons and valleys in a mad rush some mornings. Thick foggy mornings observed from my hillside home in the foothills north of Los Angeles are something I do miss from my time there.
The wet sound of cars as they go by occasionally, the gray misty air, and the quiet of this morning combine to create a sleepy, contemplative mood in the house. I hear the furnace run every now and then; long for coffee as I drink my tea. Homemade biscuits or bread would be comforting right about now, but I choose to pass on the calories and write instead.
On Valentine’s Day of this year, my sister’s husband was out of town on business so she and I planned to have dinner and a movie together. It was a sweet way to spend Valentine’s Day … a Valentine’s Day that was happy rather than melancholy. No matter how tough I was and no matter how prepared I had been in earlier years to accept the fact that I might be destined to be alone in life, no matter how much I embraced that concept and even looked forward to it in many ways … no matter, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day often left me feeling melancholy.
Both holidays are marketed and romanticized so thoroughly I could not help but feel acutely alone each time either rolled around. My first New Year’s Eve completely alone, when both of my children were out for the evening and I had no plans of my own, had been only three years earlier. Of course, having children meant I was always loved and hugged and kissed every New Year’s and every Valentine’s Day by my two dearest loves. Still, even the self-reliant, willful mighty me could admit it was not the same as if there were a man to love and be loved by.
This year was different though. I had too many men to count … virtually. There was the high school pal who intended to win my heart even though I had turned him down, the Internet Viking who wrote me poetry and drove several hundred miles to meet me in a small town in Nebraska, there were the ninety or so men who had contacted me from the online dating site, and there was the one in particular who had written to me on January 29th and each day afterward.
When I received his email on the 29th, I was still certain the Viking was the man for me … he just needed tweaking. Hey, I’m a woman, and we tweak when we can. When the writer of the January 29th email caught my attention, I was surprised. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
His email was well crafted, thoughtful and had a touch of humor in places. I knew right away he couldn’t be right for me, because he owned a farm in upstate New York and there was no way I would even consider moving all the way across the country. I was willing to move somewhere in the West, but that was it: I had to remain close to my son and daughter and my parents.
Nonetheless, I had this thing about writing back to each gentleman who contacted me, and so I did. Plus, there was something about this particular man…
I sent an email to him, answering his questions and posing some of my own as well as sharing a few viewpoints in response to viewpoints he had shared. The next morning, there was another email from him. It was even better, and it was long. We wrote to each other every day, and found more and more strange and not so strange things we had in common. His favorite author is Mark Twain … mine as well. He keeps a Mark Twain anthology on the nightstand by his bed … me too. I remember writing back when I found that one out and saying, “How cool is that?”
We both have a thing for pirates and sailing ships, love being on the water. He eats Morning Star veggie patties, and prefers to find one thing he likes to eat and eat that every day rather than having a different meal every day. Me too, on all of that. The Morning Star veggies and rut eating? Strange things to have in common indeed.
He loves photography and has since he was a child. Me too. I have a thing about the weather, and in fact longed to be in a place where there were seasons and lots of rain and snow and thunder. He actually copied and pasted his weather report in an email one day, just because he thought it would be interesting. When I got that weather report, I couldn’t believe it. It might sound strange to anyone who isn’t me but I am a weather freak … in a good way. I check the weather more than once a day. Of course, in Los Angeles it tended to be a bit boring, but still. The fact that he would be interested enough in the weather to cut and paste a weather report gave me a peculiar kind of thrill.
He volunteers for Habitat for Humanity; I had always wanted to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Though he owned and lived on a farm, he is not a farmer. He is good at taking things out of a pile of junk and making them into something useful; he is able to fix things that are broken rather than buying replacements. It is in my blood to be able to make things out of whatever you have on hand, and to fix things yourself rather than going out and buying new stuff all the time.
Okay, okay, okay. He was interesting and we were writing loooonnnggg emails to each other every day. I told my daughter I had finally found a man who could give me a run for my money in terms of writing long and satisfying emails.
On Valentine’s Day, I sent him a friendly, humorous eValentine and that meant quite a lot to him.
The Viking? I hadn’t heard from him for about three weeks.
When my sister and I were at our favorite Thai restaurant on Valentine’s Day, she asked about how things were going with Man Hives and the Viking. I told her the hives were clearing up and that the Viking seemed to be lost at sea … but, that was fine because there were so many other good men to choose from. I was sort of glowing I do believe.
I told her there was this one man in upstate New York who seemed quite special and filled her in on some of the details of the things he and I had in common. Plus, he had travelled to Europe twelve times and was a pilot (as a hobby, not a profession). She said she thought I should marry him, but I said it wasn’t possible because there was no way I would even consider moving to New York. I remember telling her it was too bad he was so cool, yet so far away. But still…
A couple of days later I gave him my phone number and the following Sunday we spoke on the phone for the first time. I was outside working on an oil painting at a nearby park when he called. (Although it was February, we were having ninety-degree weather in Los Angeles so it was very comfortable for me to be outside painting.) We chatted easily for two and a half hours before ending off. Neither of us could believe so much time had passed. It was so smooth and easy speaking with him, it seemed time didn’t exist.
The next morning he sent an email thanking me warmly for the phone call. Even more emails flew between us the week following that first phone call. Our communication flowed as easily as a river on a warm spring day.
In spite of the distance, I went with the flow to see where it was taking us. The following Sunday, we spoke again, and again time flew by. We never ran out of things to say. It was like magic.
Again, he sent an email thanking me for the phone call. How sweet was that? How cool was this interesting man whose wonderful voice I felt I could listen to forever. Hmm.
Viking? What Viking?
Gratitude … that’s what it all gets back to. Things happen in life and we resist them, thinking our river is flowing in the wrong direction. Fight, fight. Fret, fret. Cry, cry. When, in truth, things have the strangest way of working themselves out if you just relax and go with the flow, leaving worries and the futility of resistance behind.
Was I willing to trade a non-communicative poetry writing Viking who I was fond of for a man who lived more than a thousand miles further East, who was full of interesting communication he was willing to share, and whose voice I longed for?
Ummm … yes.
Do I regret my adventure with the Viking? No, not at all. I am grateful for it. He was a good man, but not my man. It was fun getting to know him, exciting driving to Nebraska to meet him, and awfully painful when he eventually disappeared. That adventure, every part of it, was instrumental in leading me to where I am today. And I am unspeakably grateful for where I am today.
I hope the Viking found someone to love and be loved by.
By February 27th, less than one month after our email introduction, the dearest man in the world and I were talking on the phone for four or five hours every evening without fail and continuing to send long emails to each other more than once a day. We both felt we were being swept along in a current graced by a power equal to and beyond the two of us.
There is much more to this story but now you know How I Met My Husband. He’s a very good man, and I love him dearly.
And now, I live on a farm … in upstate western New York. And my husband drives a tractor. How weird is this?
Oh, and the now complete Mystery Project … it’s a knitted Biscuit Blanket. Directions and more photos (with biscuits in the blanket) on Friday.
Hope you have a wonderful day. Enjoy your weather wherever you are, whatever the weather may be.
P.S. Both my husband and I do volunteer work for our local Habitat for Humanity, which he helped found. I would like to collect 7″ knitted squares from readers of my blog in order to put together some blankets for some of the families they have helped. If you would be interested in and willing to knit one or more 7″ squares for my project, please leave a comment to this post. I want to get an idea as to whether or not I could collect enough squares to pull this off before Christmas. (The aim would be ten completed blankets, each blanket requires forty-nine squares … but just one 7″ square from one reader would be very welcome and helpful.) Let me know. Thanks. 😉