couples who met through the YWBB


rob and i the night before our wedding

Five years ago today I was home from work with yet another sinus infection, checking my work email and taking care of a bit of business virtually when I received an email from Rob proposing that we take our friendship in another direction, a romantic one.

He confessed that the thing uppermost on his mind anymore was me, and though it took him by surprise, and couldn’t have been less timely, he saw no reason to let a good opportunity pass him by. Oh, and by the way, did I feel the same? He kind of thought I did, but if I didn’t, please don’t be creeped out.

In typical Virgo fashion, he went on to outline a plan for us to virtually date and eventually meet up over my Spring Break to take a trip together to the West Coast. What did I think?

I was stunned. I had to call my BFF, who simply said, “I told you so.”

She had been convinced weeks earlier that Rob saw me as more than a friend. In fact, she’d spent a good deal of our lunch date the day before extolling his virtues and trying to convince me to overcome my hesitancy and simply pursue him, which was something I wouldn’t do because Rob was quite vocal about wanting to wait until after the first anniversary of Shelley’s death before dating again. He also frowned vigorously at the behind (and not so behind) the scenes meat market on Ye Olde Widda board. Some of his disgust was just the hypocrisy. Dating was routinely trashed and daters harshly hung up for public flaming, but the reality is that it was more common than the board matrons cared to acknowledge. And partly, it was due to the fact that he’d been a victim of widda stalking and he shied away from being seen in that light himself.

His closing line included a bit about not been able to breathe properly until he’d received my reply, so I wrote “breathe” and “yes”.

And that’s not quite all there was to that but it was the beginning of what is now.

Hollywood marriages are measured in dog years, so at five together ourselves, Rob and I are particularly old married folk. Sometimes it seems as though I have known Rob forever and in a spiritual sense, I think that is true, but it catches me by surprise a bit remembering that I have not known him always.

He’s had his desktop screen saver off for some time but switched it on again this past weekend, and all these old photos popped up. Pictures of Mick and Edie when they were small. Family pictures of long ago. One picture of Shelley came up from their time in San Diego. It was an impromptu goofy shot with her in her pajamas and Rob blushed to his toes, looked sheepish and said, “I didn’t know that was on there.”

All roads lead to where you are standing right now, don’t they? A good thing to remember.

Happier anniversaries are a better place to put one’s energy. Today is certainly in my top five and probably the most fortunate day of this life of mine.


city in clouds

I “celebrated” the official end of the first year of widowhood, mourning or whatever one chooses to call it with lunch. I took a sick day and met my BFF for lunch at our favorite Mongolian grill.

It was a girly thing. The kind I don’t do anymore as my few girlfriends are scattered all over North America making lunch and window shopping dates a  bit hard to arrange. And being girly, all manner of girly things were discussed once she took my emotional temp for the day.

“How are you doing?” she’s a home health care nurse. Temp taking is second nature to her.

“Surprisingly fine, ” I said, though in retrospect it probably shouldn’t have been. The power of suggestion is strong and stronger when emotions are amped to the stratosphere, as mine were because I was an active member on a message board for widowed folk at the time. People in the first year or so were constantly bombarded with messages that probably led their emotions more than it helped them sort emotions out.

Being a nurse, the talk turned to the sinus infection I suspected I had and she applauded me for making an appointment for after our lunch with my doctor. I had a habit of trying to ride them out because they would supposedly peak and resolve themselves with OTC care – mine never did but I chalk that up to a run down immune system, among other things. I seldom run to the doctor for sinus now that I have discovered a few home remedies that I wish I’d had in my arsenal back then.

We talked kids and her husband, who was not stellar at the time until she turned the table and brought up Rob.

At that point, Rob and I had known each other a bit over a month. We were email pals and IM buddies. It was nice and though I recognized that he and I were quite compatible and scarily alike in more and more ways, I wasn’t inclined to pursue him. Mostly because he’d indicated that he was going to wait out his first year of widowhood before attempting to date and in some part because another widow at the message board where he and I had met stalked him for a while despite his point-blank refusal of her attentions. I liked Rob and didn’t want him to lump me into the same category with her.*

“I had a short note from him this morning,” I said.

“And?”

“And what? We’re friends.” I said, and not for the first time. BFF suspected he had feelings for me from nearly the get-go.

“I like him and sure, I could go there, but it would have to be his idea. I won’t spoil our friendship by introducing romantic intentions. He’s too sweet and he wants to wait until after August to start dating. I respect that,” I said. “Besides, he lives in Canada and I live here. Logistically difficult at best.”

“He’s going to make a move, ” she said with that sage look of hers.

“I doubt it.”

I was home on the 24th too. Sinus infection. My new lease on work included taking sick days when I felt like crap and I did. I taught too many years with the idea that I had to drag myself in because I owed it to my students and employer, but as a 20 year veteran, I was finally over that. The only reward for dedication in education is nothing. Truly.

Dee was at preschool. She attended an all day Montessori school run by my school district and I was damn lucky to have gotten her a spot. Her teacher saw them for a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon. The rest of the time she was in the daycare that she’d been attending since she was seven weeks old. An awesome set-up that made the whole single mom thing far less of a hassle for me than it was for most.

After I’d dropped her off, I hit the Starbucks at the grocery near home. The young man had my drink started even as I walked in. He smiled and inquired after me, and I admitted I was playing a bit of hooky that day. He just laughed as I paid him. I stopped at the Chinese deli in the store for egg drop soup and rice. I lived off that because in spite of the removal of my gall bladder a couple of months earlier, I still couldn’t eat much. In fact, it’s only just recently that my ability to eat has started to return to normal.

Sipping chai and scanning my work email – because even sick there was work I could do and I could never completely shake my keener ways – I noted that my personal email had a new note from Rob.

It was long – even for him. And rambling. Even for him.

And it radiated with “I have something important to say”, so I began skimming until I hit a paragraph many paragraphs in that proved to be the big reveal.

He admitted having feelings for me that were more than friendly and proposed exploring them if I felt the same way.

That was four years ago today and though I write about this every year, it never loses its awesomeness. Nor its wonder. If I were ever to come to a point where I believed the universe had no meaning or that destiny was a fiction – I have only to remember this one day to set me right in my thinking again.

Rob’s modest proposal kicked off a whirlwind of long distance courtship that culminated with our meeting in Idaho Falls a month later and the rest, as they say, is history. One that we are still working on and is destined for the books, in my humble opinion.

*Every new widower who posted on the widow board was subject to her “attention”. It wasn’t the good natured banter that occurs in co-ed groups. It was predatory Gone with the Wind style. She fancied herself a southern belle and I always pictured her a cross between Suzanne Sugarbaker and Dolly Parton. In reality, she sported the biker chick look complete with a mullet on top.


When Rob and I were first corresponding via email, I didn’t know what he looked like or he me. It wasn’t important. We were friends although looking back we both realize that the intent changed sooner than either of us realized until much later.

Rob had taken a long road trip through the U.S. just before he and I “met” courtesy of my rather flip/flirty reply to a post of his on the widow board. At the time I was just being cute. One of the social aspects of the board allowed for kidding that bordered (or completely crossed the line at times) on that kind of adult banter.

On his journey, he had sent periodic updates of his progress to the board and posted pictures of the places he’d stopped along the way. Many of the pictures featured him and he acquired quite the widda fan club. Women emailed/pm’d him with invitations to lunch or for coffee or dinner if he should happen to be “in their neighborhood”.

I hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t read about his travels or see the photos until after we’d started to write/IM.

He never knew what I looked like until after he told me that he had feelings for me.

Today’s tee is one that Rob was wearing in one of the first photos I saw of him that were not from the widow board collection. It was one that MidKid took of the two of them in the kitchen here in our home. She had it posted on her MySpace and Rob directed me to it.

Yes, I saw both MidKid and ElderD’s MySpace pages. Rob shared them with me because he is proud of them and wanted me to know them.

I still love this particular photo. It is one of my favorites Rob looks good in tight tee’s.