The Story *Warning!* this is another long one…

I grew up in North Dakota and my entire immediate family still lives in North Dakota – my dad would never live anywhere else. If you know anything about ND (which a lot of people don’t; I’ve met people who think it’s part of Canada…), then you know people population is sparse and spread out. Also, we don’t get very diverse in ND – you mainly have your white people of Norwegian heritage or your white people of German heritage with a sprinkling of Native Americans and perhaps one or two African Americans. My family is of the white German variety which that, plus my disposition, earned me the nickname ‘Hitler’ at some point during my late grade school years – but that my snarky readers is not part of this story.

One of the questions I frequently get when people learn I am from ND is, “How did you end up here?” The short answer is M. and that, readers, is what this story is about.

I graduated from high school in a class of 42 people, most of which I had known since kindergarten. This means I never learned how to properly socialize and meet people because I never had to do that. Dating was also a big unknown (and really, still is) because I had a guy start flirting with me in my freshman algebra class and ended up dating him for the next 4 years.

My parents hated this guy. Every time they saw him they probably thought, “Bleck,” and a whole lot of other not-nice things, so we will call him Bleck. Of course, my parents were right about Bleck, but I really did not start seeing that until my junior year of high school and by that time I was already wearing an engagement ring from him (but not in sight of my parents). Bleck was a year older than me, so he was not in school my senior year. I really didn’t like Bleck much by this time, but we were one of the longest standing relationships at the school and in my 17 year old mind, that was pretty cool. Plus, I didn’t have to see Bleck all day, so that was pretty cool too.

When I went to college I decided on a school 5 hours away from my hometown (still in ND). My parents weren’t too happy about this. I am their oldest and they’d never had a child leave the nest. Plus, I’ve always harbored the feeling that I am my dad’s favorite even though he would never say that. So it was hard on my parents, but I later found out that they had agreed to the 5 hour away school in the hopes that the separation would lead me to break up with Bleck. Since I was already not liking him so much, being out of my high school really broke the only string holding me to Bleck – the length of our relationship being ‘cool.’ I broke up with Bleck about 2 months into my first year of college. Bleck really didn’t get it for another 2 or 3 months, but that’s not central to this story.

Now I was left 5 hours away from home and the only person I knew was my roommate who was my on and off again best friend from home. Since I wasn’t big on the social scene, I spent a good amount of time in my dorm room. And I had a computer in my dorm room and that computer was connected to the internet! The internet was still a baby when I first entered college. It was especially new to me. I didn’t have time to sit at a computer when I was in high school – I was out with friends and Bleck. My sister, though, she was at home learning all about the internet and joining chat rooms.

I decided to check out these chat rooms and the easiest way to do that was to join ones my sister was a member of. She had joined a group called ‘Teenchat’ which was created by none other than M. and some of his online friends. This is where I met M. – in a virtual world of text.

I met a lot of people, well, guys, in these chat rooms. In fact, it is even how I met a guy right on the same college campus I was living on! Now this virtual world was very new to me and just didn’t seem quite real. These people typing things onto my screen weren’t real people – I couldn’t see them, we couldn’t go out for a nice dinner and a movie… Well, that was true of all of them except Campus Guy.

Now while I was ‘meeting’ all these people online, M. and I both had significant others. Well, to be truthful, I had several people in that short time frame I sort of called ‘significant others.’ There was Bleck for awhile, then some guy in Washington state who told me he was 19 but turned out to be more like 35, there was a guy in Texas, and there was Campus Guy. Now the most serious out of the herd at the time I was starting to really chat with M. were Texas and Campus Guy. Texas was good looking, nice, but not real. Campus Guy was kind of dorky, but he was real and I could go out on actual dates with him. He even took me to a Prince concert!

Now M. knew about Texas because we were all part of the same chat room, but Texas and M. didn’t know about the others and certainly didn’t know about Campus Guy whom I had met in a ND-based chat room. When my ‘relationship’ with Texas started falling apart M. was there for me. At the same time his ‘relationship’ with whoever he was ‘dating’ also started falling apart and I was there for him. By the end of my first year of college M. and I were ‘together.’ (But for me, some guy living thousands of miles away in another state was not real.)

Unfortunately, Campus Guy was also lurking around and one day decided to check out the other chat rooms I was visiting.Bad idea, Campus Guy. He found out about M. who I was online dating and M. found out about Campus Guy who I was in-real life dating (even though I liked M. much more than Campus Guy, he was still thousands of miles away and not a real person). Within minutes of them talking and finding out all my insipid hideousness, I had a call from M. and while I was on the phone trying to explain myself, Campus Guy showed up at my dorm room door.

Now there was a dose of reality for me. While I may not have seen M. as a totally real person, he certainly saw me as a real person whom he expected to meet in real life and who he thought was his exclusive girlfriend. I stayed on the phone with M., sitting on my bean bag with a blanket over my head and sent my roommate out to deal with Campus Guy. Campus Guy was crying and roommate really didn’t want to go out in the hall with him, but I insisted (after all, I was once Hitler, right?).

I don’t remember all the sordid details, but I ended up breaking up with Campus Guy and pledging myself to this not real guy thousands of miles away. M. and I chatted online and on the phone many more times before we got to January of my first year of college when he and buddy drove those thousands of miles so M. could meet me in person.

They arrived very, very early on a Saturday morning. My first real date with M. was breakfast at Denny’s and his driving buddy was there too. We spent the day together after ditching driving buddy with my roommate and that evening M. presented me with a ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes.

And if you have been following my very vague timeline throughout this story, you will know M. and I knew each other all of 4 months (and all that ‘knowing’ was via the internet) before he popped the question. But when you only have words between two people they actually get to know each other very well – given they are telling each other the truth, which we were (minus my little Campus Guy episode). Somehow we knew this was right – and we must have been correct because that was over 10 years ago.

M. and his buddy had to leave again on Sunday – it was just a weekend trip, they both had to get back to their own college courses. They pushed M.’s little Chevy S-10 to it’s limits that weekend, driving up to see me and then high-tailing it home again.

I told my parents I was engaged to M. via email. I knew they had hated Bleck, I didn’t know how they would feel about some guy I met on the internet. In March we decided to use our spring breaks to travel and meet each other’s parents. M. came to ND first, traveling by train this time and getting mugged to boot. He met me in my college town and we drove the 5 hours to my hometown in my orange Ford Pinto. I don’t remember much about the visit except that it was cold, M. hated the weather, and we had to drive back to my college town to catch the train to M.’s home state in a blizzard. I had to do all the driving in ND because my Pinto was a manual shift and M. couldn’t drive it. But then again, I grew up in ND. This was not my first time driving in a blizzard.

I don’t remember much about the train ride or meeting M.’s parents either, except the very vaguest details. I remember how green everything was when we arrived. I remember M.’s mom giving me a hug which was strange for me since I rarely hugged my own parents. I remember when we got to M.’s parents house it was late at night and on our way up to the bedrooms, I remember hearing M.’s dad whisper to M. that we were not sharing a bed.

In May as we both ended our college courses, M. moved to ND. We got a very, very small apartment together near campus. The original plan was we would be married in July of the following year, finish our college degrees in ND, then decide what to do from there. Well, in that year M. lived in ND before we got married it became very apparent his parents could not stand being so separated from their youngest child and only son. M.’s dad told us he would help us get a house if we moved to M.’s home state once we were married.

We were living in an apartment not much bigger than the office I am currently working in, so of course a house was very appealing to me. Also, I was only 20 years old, separation from my family didn’t seem like a big deal. So, about a year and a half after meeting online, M. and I were married and had moved back to his home state to live in a small house owned by M.’s grandmother.

And that my readers, is the long answer to “How did you end up here?”
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And, just because this was probably the most personal post I’ve written to date, I’m going to finish with just a little current day snarky – a situation that earned the ‘Big Eye Roll.’

Yesterday as I was walking down the office hall I was stopped by a coworker. Now, I do like the people I currently work with, but definitely like some less than others. This was a ‘I like you pretty much least of all’ person. She stops me and says, “I have a personal computer questions for you.” Now when my mind heard the word ‘personal’ in there it started screaming “DO NOT ASK ME A PERSONAL QUESTION!!” even before the word ‘computer’ came out of her mouth. She told me her Facebook page wouldn’t load at home but everything else works just fine. She also went on about some Java script not working or some such thing.

Now, I know a little about computers (mostly knowledge self-taught or picked up from M.), however I do not know much about scripts, Java, the inner workings of the internet, and I certainly cannot diagnose a computer problem while standing in the hall at work. Plus, I have heard of Facebook, but not once have I ventured to that website or even seen a screenshot of it. For goodness sake, that is a social website – what purpose would I have there?!

I tried to be nice and told coworker I could not help her, that I know nothing about Facebook or why it’s not working on her home computer. At the same time I really wanted to yell at her and tell her while we work together and are cordial most of the time, we’re really not friends, and I really don’t like talking to you, so there. I thought telling her I didn’t know the solution would send her on her way down the hall, but no. She then wanted to know what I thought she should do. I don’t know – Google it? I directed her to another coworker (sorry other coworker) who I thought might have some kind of help for her. And that finally ended it. I waited until she was ahead of me in the hall, but she most definitely got a big eye roll for that little interaction!

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Some Snark and Recent Reads

I’m not feeling the snark lately, but some things have happened today that set off a slight reading on my snark meter. For instance:

  • It’s Wednesday. Wednesdays mean meetings day at the good ‘ole office. Meetings mean at least one good eye roll and several snarky moments. Today featured such memorable moments as bossman and another ‘higher up’ having a slightly argumentative discussion in front of the entire staff because this particular ‘higher up’ enjoys talking over bossman much to his irritation (and the irritation of those having to watch the spectacle). Also, I noticed my name was down on one of the meeting agendas to help out with a large task – but guess what? I had not been informed of my promised help. I love it when I am volunteered without my knowledge!
  • It’s Wednesday and because it’s Wednesday and meeting day at the good ‘ole office, that means not only do I get to spend at least an hour and a half sitting in meetings, I also get to type up all the minutes from the meetings! Yay! My question is this: why do I have to type up the darn minutes when a particular ‘higher up’ takes her own notes and mushes up my notes anyway?
  • Why do people insist on sitting by me at lunch when the whole eatery is empty save for me and my book? Not only do they sit right near me, they talk loudly to the talk 5 feet away from them. I know I put off the super duper vibes, but please peoples – can’t you see I am reading?!
  • Can we please stop asking me to do things, then when I get them done, decide it should have been done a different way? So sorry I get things done on time and you didn’t have time to rethink what you wanted done!

Okay, that’s the snark for today thus far. I know, not terribly snarky, but it’s the best I can do for now. I am quickly getting through my current book bag. I just finished up The Abstinence Teacher. Can’t say I found a point to this book. It was an easy read, but when I got to the end today (despite the noisy neighbors at the local eatery), my only thought was, “And?” The main characters were 1) Tim the ex-drunk and addict, a born-again Christian, and 2) Ruth the sex ed teacher at a junior high who is being forced to teacher her students abstinence despite the fact she doesn’t believe in the concept. Well, Tim is Ruth’s daughter’s soccer coach, so of course they have some run ins. Ruth gets particularly snarky when Tim decides to lead his soccer team in a group prayer after a game. But Tim and Ruth have a mutual attraction for one another. Throughout the course of the book Tim is doubting whether he can keep up the whole ‘I live for Jesus’ mentality while Ruth bemoans she has no man and the best prospect seems to be Tim who is married (albeit not happily) and who has religious beliefs she doesn’t agree with. At the end of the book Tim is staying at Ruth’s house on the couch because he can’t decide what to do with his life and he can’t go home to his wife and that’s about it. It just ends.

So did Tim decide to stay on the Christian path? Did he sleep with Ruth? Did Ruth ever find any satisfaction in her employment or love life? Who knows. This was totally not my kind of book, but I picked it up because it was on some recommended reading list or had a high rating on Amazon.com, or something. I don’t remember. But I would not recommend this book if you don’t like at least a point to reading 350 pages… On to something I am a little more familiar with – Blaze by Richard Bachman (better known as Stephen King for those of you who didn’t know).

Mother Day Woes

I have no idea what to get my mother or my mother-in-law for the upcoming holiday. This is a reoccurring theme each yet – What do we get mom?

I got a funny email today from an online clothing store. The subject was “Mother’s Day is May 11th – shop for the super diva in your life.” My mom and the word “diva” not synonymous! Just for kicks, I clicked the link in the email to see what kind of clothing this site was suggesting I buy mom for mother’s day. Boy, my mom would love to receive this as a gift – and she would be sure to wear it. In fact, it would probably become her favorite piece of clothing. Um, NOT!

Mom would probably really appreciate opening up a mother’s day package to find this slinky number waiting for her. She would probably make dad take her out every weekend so she could wear the hell out of the thing!

Now this email got the extreme big eye roll! Back to real life, anyone have any good ideas for mother’s day?

Oh my luck, it does suck!

You know about my dreadful car experiences over the past couple weeks, what I forgot to tell you is that when the service center shuttle picked me up last night: he first forgot to call me when he was on his way. He called me right when he was here which made me rush out and I forgot my returns for the dreaded mega store and had to come back to the office to pick them up after getting the loaner PT Cruiser. Not too bad, right? But then the shuttle driver decided to pass someone waiting to make a left turn on our way back to the service center. So what you might think. Well, he passed the left turner on the left side!! There is a turn lane at this particular area; however it is hard to determine if it’s a turn lane to get into the gas station on the left side of the road or a turn lane for left turners at the light – they are very close together. This particular left turner decided the turn lane was only for the light and didn’t get into the turn lane. So Mr. Shuttle Driver, brilliant man that he was, uses the turn lane to pass the person waiting to make the left turn. Arrrggg! That was a “smash me to bits” moment that almost happened.

Okay, you’ve probably had enough about the car to last your entire lifetime. So now on to this afternoon. I had a haircut scheduled for 12:15. I only get my hair cut about twice a year because it’s a hassle to go over and do it, plus it’s expensive. Anyway, I get to the salon and tell them I have a 12:15 appointment with Carrie. The receptionist looks all confused and says, “Carrie? Are you sure?” I tell her I am and she starts putting info into her computer and finds that yes, I have a 12:15 appointment with Carrie, but so does some Marsha person. Well, skippy for Marsha, but I was there early, so there! I got my hair cut by Carrie, but had to switch stations for the blow dry.

I know, I know, not horrendous, but it just adds to my bad luck streak lately. I’m ready to go home and sit in my recliner and not move until this black cloud moves on to someone else.

Oh, and what is up with Google today? My email logs me off, it won’t save or spell check my blog posts and reader is always ‘loading.’ Google gets my first ‘Big Eye Roll’ in a long time!!

Not Snarky Enough?

Apparently I have not been snarky enough for some readers (RR I am staring at you through the office walls!) I have a bit of the seasonal affect disorder, so as the weather gets nicer, my mood is prone to improvements as well and we’ve had some very nice springy weather here the past couple days. Of course, there was an earthquake and aftershock in there, but that was my first ever earthquake and it hit around 4:30am – I didn’t quite know what was going on. Neither did my cats who had fits and furiously ran for wherever they like to hide. I couldn’t even find Luigi after the rumbling stopped, but he showed up for his breakfast, so I guess he’s okay, brains weren’t shook too much. It is starting to cloud up outside my office window and is supposed to be rainy and cooler this weekend, so the snark may be back in full force soon, we’ll have to wait and see…

I am in a spring-cleaning, purgey kind of mood this afternoon, so my office has become more minimalist and the office supply closet has been getting overloaded as well as the recycling bins. Also, I decided to give up on the NaBloPoMo thing. Most days I have at least one post in me (sometimes two or three), but this every day thing is not for me. I do intend to work more on my creative side, so look for more posts like the one the other day featuring my furry felines – and when I post stuff like that feel free to tell me how much you love, love, love it. 😉

I guess since this is a snarky blog, I could snark about an incident from this morning. I was quietly working on some work when RR came and exclaimed, “What happened to your eye?! You don’t have pink eye, do you?” I told her nothing was wrong with it, it was fine, didn’t even hurt. A crowd of coworkers then appeared to gawk at my eye and RR insisted on taking a picture of the eye. My eye is a little irritated from the new contacts I got yesterday, but truthfully, it doesn’t hurt and no conjunctive-whatever-it-is, so not pink eye.

Oh, and if you’re going to turn and there is a turn lane, please maneuver your entire vehicle into the turn lane. Sticking half in and half out of the turn lane does not help me – you get the ‘big eye roll’. Thank you.

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