Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chronicles of an Online Dater

There was something a bit surreal horrifying about having to return to the dating world after a 12.5 year hiatus. Prior to my divorce, my last first date was way back in summer 2001, and it's safe to say a lot has changed since then... went from having to ask parents for a ride to the movies to being a single parent trying to squeeze in a date before 8:00 pick-up. There were some things, however, that didn't really change at all.

I went from being an awkward teenager to an awkward adult, living in a town where I only knew a couple people, now with a baby, dog and house to take care of and still a die-hard homebody that embraced the mindset of once the bra is off and the sweatpants are on... no way in hell I'm leaving the house. 

So once I was ready to move on from the divorce, I figured that, realistically, online dating was my only hope. I know there's still this stigma even though pretty much every other aspect of life is filtered through the Internet. Kinda mind boggling if you really think about it.

So there I was... on reading through dozens of profiles, shuddering at some, "winking" at others. One minute you're giddy over the possibilities of actually meeting these potential suitors and the next you're sobbing into a glass of wine wondering if this is really what life has come to. However, knowing the bar scene wasn't for me and the chance of me meeting Mr. Right while grocery shopping in my sweatpants covered in baby urp was probably pretty slim, I pressed on.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Date #1: Went well enough to warrant a second date, but ultimately, the tramp stamp and crying uncontrollably through Love Actually weirded me out.

"Date" #2: This DB waited until 15 minutes before our date to cancel on me because he didn't feel like going out in the cold weather and then had the balls to drunk text me two other times in the wee hours of the night. Excuse me, but I think you were looking for the Tinder app.

"Date" #3: We texted for awhile... seemed like a relatively nice guy... but he worked or went to school all the time. Between his schedule and my responsibilities as a mom, we just never found the time to actually meet.

Date #4: Guys... this date was like a comedy gone wrong... I cannot make this shit up. He texted me a list of options for our first date, but they included dinner OR drinks, not both. All these places were restaurants that he had coupons for. We get to dinner and he tells me to keep my portion of the bill under $10, but then proceeds to tell the waiter that we're going to split a medium pizza and waters for the both of us. A comment was made about how cold he keeps his house and told me if I ever came over and wanted him to turn the heat up, I'd better throw a $20 on the table. No, not shitting you at all. The ONLY positive thing about that evening was I found Petey on my way home. So even though the date was a hysterical disaster, I reunited a lost doggy with his owner... so I'm glad I went for that reason alone.

Date #5: I'd consider this a decent date, but unfortunately I didn't feel like we had a whole lot in common. And nothing is a bigger turn off than when guys who are shorter than me (he was 5'9") do nothing but comment on the height difference. Be thankful I wore flats, buddy.

"Date" #6: I'm so glad this date didn't actually happen. We had plans to go out one night, but I called to ask if we could reschedule after some really bad things happened that day in divorceland. He said no problem, but later that night, I started getting texts from him calling me a liar and a stupid bitch for backing out on him. When I didn't respond right away because, oh I don't know, I was busy being a mom, his texts became super aggressive. So of course I politely told him to go eff himself. That's when the voicemails started pouring in with him crying and asking for my forgiveness. Again, not shitting you. Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeper.

So why I am I sharing this, you might ask? Well, today, date #7 and I are celebrating a year together. The fear of starting over, of having to step outside my comfort zone, not to mention that stellar lineup of suitors... it was all worth it. My heart is full and I am beyond blessed to have such an incredible man in my life.

Since the divorce, it has been an honor to hear so many stories of how sharing my experience with divorce and dating have empowered others to put themselves out there. You will find love and happiness again, I promise.

I did.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nanananana Batman!

I knew this year was going to be very hit or miss with getting Brody into a costume. I took a hand-me-down Batman costume and made a few alterations... took the "ears" off the mask and attached them to a black winter hat and added ties to the back to give the costume more room to accommodate a winter coat. The lil turd fought me on the hat most of the time and refused to wear the cape, but for the most part, he was a trooper. 

I was sitting at work one day when I came up with the idea to make myself a Robin costume since this would be my first year trick-or-treating with Brody. I ran over to Goodwill on my lunch and found 90% of what I needed to piece together a costume. For someone who knows very little about sewing, I was super pumped about how it turned out. 

I mentioned to my sister what I was doing and both she and her husband jumped on the bandwagon with homemade Catwoman and Joker costumes. 

Brody and I ran into Gentex Friday afternoon to show off our costumes before heading to Muskegon. We met up with Ashley, Adam and Ryan at my parent's house before trick-or-treating. Since it was super cold, Brody was bundled head to toe in winter clothes. He did conquer one whole block before we called it a night. It was a ton of fun... he ran from house to house and just thought he was the cat's meow.

Post-trick-or-treating candy coma...

I put Brody down for bed at my parent's house while Ashley made Ryan my fill-in Batman. The four of us headed out to a Halloween party that just so happened to be superhero themed. The costumes, decorations and food were fantastic. 

I am super glad Ryan was home this weekend and was able to go out with us. I was really looking forward to Halloween, mostly because of Brody, and was glad he got to share that with us.

And on a side note... a huge round of applause to my fellow peers this year. A few years ago, I wrote a post about how ridiculous people were when it came to their costumes.  I was beyond pleased to see my Facebook and Instagram flooded with a plethora of pictures of adorable children all dressed up AND my fellow people in creative, homemade costumes that didn't include their lady bits and ta-tas hanging out everywhere. It seems like superheroes were a huge thing this year and not the typical slutty adult costumes. Bravo, folks... bravo. We're all so grown-up now. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ohio is for Lovers: Meeting the Family Pt. II

After an incredibly busy last few months with work (for both Ryan and myself), we decided to take advantage of some time off and spend a long weekend in Ohio with his family. There were still several family members I hadn't had a chance to meet prior to this weekend, so I was especially looking forward to this trip. 

We hit the road Thursday afternoon. I love road trips. Especially when it's just the two of us. I feel like some of the best conversations are had in the car and that quality time is just priceless. Plus it was a perfect Fall day. 

Friday morning, a few of us went golfing. And by golfing, I mean, they guys golfed and I drove the golf cart and yelled at them to "do better." :) The view, the weather and the company were perfect. The golfing... not so much.

After golf, the four of us went and grabbed pizza and then some drinks. Couldn't have asked for a better evening. I love Ryan's family. Spending time with and getting to know them is effortless. 

...especially Sadie who is the best cuddler ever! Why can't Zora spoon like this?! Such a sweet girl.

Saturday, we went and toured the Victoria's Secret Distribution Center. It was really awesome to see what Ryan does for a living and really understand what it is about his job that requires so much travel and such long days. 

It was funny to observe the office "decor" there. Only at Victoria's Secret is it employee handbook acceptable to have posters of half naked women in their bras and panties plastered all over your office walls. I'm sure it has no effect on productivity and the attention span of the male species... 

Saturday was a lazy day of football. When you're in Ohio, no one seems to give a shit about the Michigan - Michigan State game. But holy cow look out when Penn State takes OSU into double OT. Goodness.

I also got my baby fix in. :) Ryan's step-sister brought over her 6-month-old lil bug. Gaaaaah. ♥  And nothing makes the boyfriend turn pale quite like when you mention having baby fever. Oops. ;)

Overall, phenomenal weekend. Looking forward to spending some quality time with my babies tonight, but I'm so glad I got to finally meet the rest of Ryan's family and have a relaxing weekend.

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SLHitched: Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Demetrious

I know, I'm about a week off on life right now, but I'm finally getting around to the Demetrious wedding! Congratulations to my cousin Laura and her hubby Steve! They were married last Saturday and the whole thing turned out beautifully. God blessed them with a little good luck rain during the ceremony and the weather was perfect the rest of the evening. 

The bridal party entrance was the best one I've ever seen. My sister walked with our cousin Ray and the two of them switched outfits. Absolutely hilarious! 

Each time guests clinked on the glasses, the DJ drew the names of a couple to kiss first, and then Laura and Steve would copy the kiss. Well, Mama and Papa Z were called first and everyone got to watch my dad squeeze mom's ass. You're welcome everyone. I grew up with this sort of thing... it won't scar you too bad.

The decorations tied together perfectly. A lot of time and effort (and wine) were clearly put into the centerpieces and I think they turned out great! The wooden platforms were a great touch and I loved the tree theme.

It was another fantastic day spent with family... and this stud. :) I'm so glad he didn't have to work last weekend. In an effort to catch the bouquet (and make Ryan squirm), I ended up with quite the battle wound. My crappy eyesight and I had a tough time seeing the toss bouquet in the dark and it hit me in the forehead just slightly. However, some floral wire was sticking out the bottom of it and the next thing I knew, I had blood running down my face and a bump the size of a marble right between my eyes.

Buuuuuuuut I caught it so, win?

Again, congratulations Steve and Laura! We wish you guys a lifetime of love, happiness and adventures!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bears, Otters and Winos

I know I'm about a week off on my updates, but last week was pretty rough and my brain didn't feel like doing much of anything. Let's backup to Friday, September 5... I took the day off from work and went to John Ball Park Zoo with my parents, sister and Lil Man. We've had this on our "can't wait to do this with Brody" list for awhile and with summer drawing to a close, it worked out perfectly that we could all go.

A napless Lil Man was pretty touch and go at times, but for the most part, he enjoyed himself. His favorite animals were the otters, bears, penguins and monkeys. I was the most excited for the petting zoo area, but not two shits were given by Brody. He wouldn't even touch the goats... just clung to Aunt Z. Sadness. 

I'm not sure if he actually loved the otters or just the ability to stand on the ledge and bang on the glass. After our third trip to the otter exhibit, I had to drag him away screaming. Sigh...

One of the bears was pretty active and Brody loved watching him up close and personal. Thankfully he already knew how to make monster sounds, so he sat there "rawr-ing" at the bear. Whatever. Close enough.

Overall, it was a great day. The rain held off and it was really nice to have some time together, just the five of us. I think Lil Man's favorite part of the day was the drive back and getting to see all the big trucks. Kid sure does love semis.

On Saturday, Ashley and I drove down to Baroda to celebrate my cousin's bachelorette party... with wine... lots and lots of wine. I've never been wine tasting, so that was an experience in itself. I have like 3 go-to, cheap wines so clearly I'm not one to expand my horizons.

The day can pretty much be summed up by a series of semi-drunk selfies of Ash and I. Whatever. We made it to four wineries (Hickory Creek, The Round Barn, Gravity and Lemon Creek), were escorted around in a wagon and had beautiful weather. Can't complain. For more pics of the rest of the party (rather than just these two idiots), check out Relatively Offbeat.

Sunday was spent detoxing and hanging out with my two favorite boys and fur baby. I hadn't seen Ryan for 3 weeks because of work travel, so there was some much needed R&R time together. We rendezvoused with a friend her family at the Quincy Dog Park to soak in our last bit of sunshine and allow the kids to burn off some energy. 

Since my children clearly don't like to be followers, they both took off in opposite directions from the rest of the group. So Ryan chased after Zora and I sat and played in the dirt with Brody. 

I love watching these two interact with each other. Ryan, having zero experience with children, does a wonderful job with Brody and embraces the "learn as you go" logic head on. 

This makes my heart smile. 

We squeezed in one last splash pad adventure on Tuesday with Grandpa and Grandma Z and Aunt Cindy. There is nothing that makes me smile harder than watching Brody absolutely lose his mind at this place. He is nothing but smiles, giggles and weird noises the entire time we're there. Next summer, if anyone needs a pick-me-up, join us. Guaranteed happiness. 

On a much less happy note, I had to say goodbye to a friend and co-worker this past week. Pete passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday night from a massive heart attack at the young age of 42. Our department has been just four of us for a couple years now, so to lose Pete was very tough... he was a member of my little work family and I will miss him dearly.

Pete... our crazy department meetings and Mexican lunches won't be the same without you. Rest easy, friend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day: Dirt, Dungeons and Dancing

Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend! I know mine was much needed between tackling my to do list and soaking up the last bit of summer. 

With Ryan still traveling (16 consecutive days and counting...) and Brody at his dad's, my number one goal was to get my landscaping blocks down. I've had a pallet of them sitting in my driveway since Memorial Day. No judging. My parents called me up Saturday morning and offered to come give me a hand. Aren't they wonderful? :)

Mama Z mowed my lawn and cleaned my house while Papa Z and I got all the edgers in place and declared war on quite a few trees. You're welcome grass... the sunshine will see you now. Next phase with landscaping includes removing all the sod/weeds from the sectioned off areas. Adding more plants and rocks will happen in the Spring.

Sunday morning was spent downing a pot of coffee and catching up on freelance and Etsy orders. After I picked up Lil Man, we took Zora for a walk, went for a bike ride, built Lego castles and played in the water table out on the deck. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Monday morning during our Meijer run for more milk (and to see the fishes, of course), we stumbled across these cute popsicle molds for $.99. Yes please! So Brody and I whipped together some peach and orange juice popsicles (with some carrot thrown in there... shhhhhh). He enjoyed drinking the leftovers too, even though he can't grasp the concept of not tipping the cup when he's using a straw. 

I'm sure Zora can't wait for Brody to go back to daycare. Lil Man antagonized that poor dog all weekend. Thank God she's a patient girl and just tries to avoid him rather than be aggressive. Brody's new thing is to try and sit on Zora's back... which makes her jump and fling him off. Heart attack every single time. 

Then there was this dance party that happened in my kitchen. In addition to learning new words and working on his manners, our new daycare must also encourage lots of dancing because any sort of music/sound made Lil Man dance this weekend. 

I'm also trying to break Zora of her furniture habit. Sadness, but she no longer understands or accepts boundaries. So the couch cushions have been up all weekend. Brody decided to try to climb over them, so we made them into a little fort. Entertainment for hours many minutes. He loved to crawl through the hole and make his monster noises. What a ham!

After his afternoon nap, we made a quick run to the West Olive Nursery for a couple more blueberry plants. Brody loved cruising around in his wagon and was so excited to see the train that runs alongside US31. We've been working on choo-choo noises in addition to monkeys, cows, fans and monsters.

The three of us spent the remainder of the day playing outside. It was a beautiful evening and Lil Man sure does love swinging and digging in the rocks. I can't wait to upgrade his playset next summer. Plans are to box it in, fill with pea gravel, replace current limestone with sand and wash/stain all the wood. 

The little daredevil also figured out how to climb up the slide. Excellent. Mama loves more grey hair. 

Of course, one last trip through the cave before bedtime.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend as well and your Tuesday isn't too rough. :)

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