Imagine an absurdly tight green T-shirt on a guy you've never met, emblazoned with a leprechaun, several four leaf clovers, and the words GET LUCKY. It's St. Patrick's Day and this man has just waltzed into your house with a six pack of beer in hand, sporting what I can only describe as a green plaid cabbie's cap. As he approaches the friendly faces around the kitchen, the first words out of his mouth are, "Hey guys. Note to self...when buying a T-shirt, you might want to try it on first." His eyes are kind, emanating a mischievous sparkle as he lets out this wonderfully contagious laugh. Little did I know that this stranger, this self-proclaimed tight T-shirt wearer would one day be my husband.
This is the story of how Rich and I met.
In 2008, I purchased a beautiful, fully restored Queen Anne Victorian in the diverse (meaning sometimes hip, sometimes scary) neighborhood of East Nashville. I'd been living in a townhouse my ex-husband and I purchased in 2004 in the coveted 12th South neighborhood, but I felt it was time for a change. I wanted a place where I could entertain, that was open and inviting, had character, but was still modern. After looking at several possibilities with no spark, the minute I walked into this house, I knew it was the one. Amazingly tall ceilings, crown molding, white oak floors throughout, a coffered ceiling in the kitchen, three brick fireplaces, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a huge backyard with a lot of possibility....wow.
Two hard working gentleman about my age, Shane and Chris, had taken the property on as a real estate investment, looking to renovate it with the thought that Shane and his wife would move in. Because of this, the house wasn't your typical flip. They took great care with the details and there was obvious pride in their work. They were extremely smart and resourceful-- in fact, they came into some perfectly good granite that a snooty high-rise development downtown wouldn't use due to some silly, barely noticeable imperfections. These guys took that granite off their hands for FREE.
During the months the guys worked on the house, they befriended the guy across the street. That guy, Dave, is Rich's best friend from college. When the guys came into this granite, they were looking for someone that could help them cut and install it. In talking to Dave about it, he immediately thought of Rich. Although he was currently in the depths of running his own steel fabrication business, he was in the granite business for about three months years earlier....hmmmm....would Rich be willing to help?
Although open minded and ever willing to lend a hand, Rich wouldn't agree to help until he saw the project-- would it be worth his time? Upon stepping through the front door, he was so impressed that he wished he could buy the house. Of course he would help! So, Rich showed the guys how to cut the granite and helped them install it. He also engineered several other items in the house and became friends with Shane and Chris.
Flash forward to March 17th, 2008. Closing day. Upon signing the 100th piece of paper and promising my first born to Countrywide (ha! joke's on them!), Shane shared with me that they were having a St. Patty's Day party at my house and asked if I would like to come. (I know this sounds strange, but since I wasn't ready to move out of my townhouse right away and Shane and his wife needed someplace to rent, we brilliantly decided to switch places, with a move in date in April.) People that worked on the house and neighbors would be in attendance. I happily accepted, looking forward to meeting new faces.
Of course, I had to have my wing women, so I asked my two best friends to join me. Looking back, I love that two of my nearest and dearest were there to witness me meeting my future husband!
After flirting a little at the house party, I rolled with Rich and some other folks to 3 Crow Bar in Five Points. It was there that Rich talked of WWII (thus learning that he had his private pilot's license...very sexy) and bought us Irish car bombs. He wasn't the kind of guy I usually went out with (not a musician or starving artist which was my preference for years after my divorce), but there was just something about him I couldn't ignore.
After years of fielding the singles scene, I had sworn off accepting a date invitation by text. I mean, who texts to ask a girl out?! If you're really into me, pick up the phone and call me damnit. But rules were made to be broken right? The very next day, Rich texted, asking me if I wanted to go to dinner. We made plans for the following night. Thank goodness I made an exception to the "do not ask me out by text" rule!
We closed the restaurant down on that first date talking, laughing and really connecting. Rich felt so comfortable to me, like I could breathe in and let my shoulders relax for the first time in years. I left to go on a hard-earned President Club's Trip to Mexico that Sunday and we talked on the phone every single day. My friend Jessica laughed and said, "He must be really into you because guys don't like to talk on the phone that much." She was right. He really did like me. And I really liked him. Our conversations were worth every penny of that subsequent $400 cell phone bill. He's been an integral part of my life ever since.
We now live in the house the brought us together. We have a beautiful son, two cats, a dog, wonderful neighbors, an ever-expanding circle of friends, and a whole lot of love for each other. He is my best friend and soul mate. I am so thankful for the convergence of forces that brought us together.
This Saturday marks four years of that fateful meeting. We celebrate every year by hosting friends at our house with a traditional Irish meal, libations, music and a lot of laughs. This year will be no exception. In fact, we're looking forward to getting Ray into his celebratory green onesie.
Rich, I love you. Happy 4th Anniversary, babe.