I Love You Too Mommy

All about Shelly. Our adventures and experiences, my love, my Shelly.

pirate shelly, my wife

When my wife does annoying things

When my wife does annoying things I think about one moment early in our dating relationship:

“Hey Shelly, do you want to play a game?” I asked as I drove.
“Sure.” She replied.
“First you have to think about something that I do ALL THE TIME,” Pause. “Got it?”
“Okay, I got something.” She giggles.
“What is it?”
“How you bounce your eyebrows.” She says with her usual captivating smile.
“Okay.  Now think about something that I don’t do.”
“Got it.  Put your pinky finger on the corner of your mouth and stick your bottom lip out, like Dr. Evil does in Austin Powers.”
“Like this?” I made the face.
“Yes.  Like that.”
“So here’s the game.  For one week, instead of bouncing my eyebrows I’m going to make the Dr. Evil face, and you have to do something else.”
Shelly bursts out laughing, “What?! Hahaha, okay.”
I thought of how she bursts out in laughter as a natural response to things and said, “You know how you always laugh when someone says something?”
“Uh, huh…”
“Well, now you have to bounce your eyebrows.” I said slyly as I squint my eyes and bounce my eyebrows at her.  “And we can’t tell anyone why we do it until the end of the week.”
“Okay.” She giggled.  We did a couple of practice runs during the car ride and then the game was afoot.

We played the game for the next seven days and I noticed that my dance team, who I spend at least 3 hours – 6 days a week with, who had caught on to my eyebrow bouncing from before, all started making the Dr. Evil face after the first couple of days.  Shelly and I saw each other several times during that week and giggled and smiled when we would catch each other “playing the game”.

Two years later after we were married and started living together, there were clothes on the floor, empty ice trays, clutter piled up on the work desk, and other everyday annoying things that she or I did.  I was either annoyed at what she was doing or annoyed that she called me out for what I was doing.  These things simmered in my mind while driving to work one day, and as I look to the far side view mirror, I glanced at the empty passenger seat where my wife sat when we started that game not that long ago.  The pressure left my mind as the cloud of complaints went away and a smile crept on my face.  I was laughing at myself more than anything because at that moment, I KNEW that I could change something so ingrained in me for her.  I knew I could change something like my eyebrow bouncing, my disregard for putting dirty clothes away, my habits… …my pride, for the woman I love.  I reminisced at the seven days spent denying my instinctive behaviors for a request made by a beautiful girl, who was now the woman I had made my wife.

ME and Shelly

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I Miss Shelly

Shelly as Jessie

One week with the shingles and I’ve still been getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night.  I am supposed to be relieving stress, resting and recovering.  But I find myself with so much energy when I place my head on my pillow at night, or when I wake up to pee at 4 or 5 in the morning; at least I know I’m well hydrated.  I needed to do some kind of exercise to burn off my excess energy.  I went from a fast daddy lifestyle trying to do all the daily grind while trying to get fit and chasing my dream, to becoming a couch bum.

I am not supposed to expose my shingles to the sun, so Alan and I took a walk to get some exercise just when the sun had hidden low enough in the sky.  I expected to be bed/couch ridden through my whole quarantine so I didn’t bring any exercise clothes.  I just wore some surf shorts that I packed in case it got warm.  We ran through South Pasadena, which is partly wooded; I considered myself running, Alan looked like he was jogging.  The jog actually reminded me of where we used to live in Beverly Hills just after Trystan was born.  We were house sitting for Shelly’s boss while she was overseas shooting The Life of Pi.  The house was a beautiful rustic cottage in the middle of Beverly Glen Blvd surrounded by foliage.  This area of South Pasadena is kind of like that, except less expensive and less of a canyon road.  There were a lot of old houses and a jogging trail that went by the golf course, under the highway and through some greenery.

It wasn’t even a mile before my lungs started hurting, and I remembered how my nurse friend, Jenn had mentioned I could have lesions in my lungs and since it was a wet environment, I wouldn’t be able to feel them.  Stride, stride, inhale, stride, stride exhale… my lungs were opening up and filling with air, and I don’t know what that pain is but I have to take this exercise a notch down.  I’ve been athletic my whole life, from extra curricular activities in high school, to crew (rowing) in college, to competitive dancing which did into my 30’s when my body started complaining.  I saw dancing as fun, and never saw it as a sport until I got injured and I showed my physical therapist what I was doing.  She said I was pounding my body more than some of the athletes that she was maintaining, but by then I didn’t see myself as an athlete so I never stretched or warmed up.  We just hit the dance floor full bore.  So here I am now, almost 38 with plantar fasciitis, tight muscles, shingles and burning lungs trying to keep up with Alan who is older, heavier and healthier than me.

Our 2 mile jog turned into a 4 mile walk.  My mind was full trying to think of something spiritual or inspiring to blog for a Sunday.  Alan and I walked up the steps to his second story apartment.  “That was a pretty good walk,” said Alan, “almost four miles.”

“Nice! So let’s eat dinner then, I’ll show you how to use Microsoft Project.” I got in the shower and started the water, “It’s really easy to use because you input information the way that you would…” I realized that I was alone in the bathroom talking to myself.  That may sound weird to any normal person, sure, and that was the moment that I realized how beautiful my normal was.  I realized that on a normal late workday, Shelly would get home from work just when I am finishing my normal day and we would spend our last hours of the day getting ready for bed together.  I’d finish cooking dinner when she’d get home and then we’d eat together.  Normally I’d eat with the kids beforehand and just sit with her and chat.  We’d talk about our day and about everything else while washing dishes, wiping the table down, gathering bedclothes, using the toilet, brushing our teeth, and yes, taking a shower.  At that moment I missed Shelly. At this moment, I miss her even more.

I have been making the most out of my time away from Shelly: working on my prioritization skills, and doing some behavioral modification so that when we’re together she will get a better man than when I left.

***

It had been a week since Andy left Woody at the toy shop for the old man to fix his torn arm.  “Andy’s getting in the car to pick up Woody!!!” Buzz yelled from the window sill.  All the other toys cheered, “Woody’s coming back!!!  Woody’s coming back.”  They waited patiently.  They had all missed Woody so much since he had been away on the mend.  But as much as they missed him, little did they know that he missed them one hundred times more and can’t wait to go back home.

Happy Daddy

I never asked Shelly to be my girlfriend

Snug In a Little Tea Pot

Snug In a Little Tea Pot

 

4:30 am, February 13, 2014

It is past four o’clock in the morning and I am wide awake.   I’ve been away from my family for two days, not counting the two days I was actually at home but not able to hug or kiss them because of my quarantine.  It was stress and lack of sleep that triggered the shingles and I find myself unable to sleep again.  I didn’t even nap this afternoon hoping that I would be tired enough to fall asleep last night.  I was tired at 9pm and started getting ready for bed.  Down by ten and I was sleepy.  It didn’t take long before my mind starts racing with the things that I want to do, things I want to write… alright, stop thinking about the future and think about something that brings you peace.

I attached the speakers on to my iPhone and turned on white noise app that we use to put the kids to sleep.  I set it to urban rain.  The steady hum of the rain and the inconsistent droplets on the roof and ground reminded me of our little apartment in the Lower East Side last spring when the rain was hardest.  That distant thunder seemed to pound my being deeper into the couch.  I held my body pillow and pretended it was Zoey on my chest and started singing her to sleep.  I imagined our little bedroom.  It had barely enough room for the furnishings.  The light blue curtains on the windows and an insulating blanket placed over the window on the steel patio door kept most of the light out.  I imagined it was late afternoon and Trystan was sleeping out in the living room and Zoey had woken up so I was putting her back down.  I looked around our apartment.

Instantly, this peaceful scene turned into an empty room, the way we left it when we moved out.  Dust, dirt and random litter on the ground.  No furniture.  The whole stressful move out of our apartment replayed itself in my head and I was wide awake again.  Not just my mind, but my body.  I felt it.  I still feel it.  Which brings us to almost 4:30am.  Now.

I’m an insomniac and usually staying up becomes a vicious cycle which consists of worrying that I won’t get enough sleep, getting less sleepy, frustration about not being able to sleep, and getting even less sleepy.  But I do remember one time when I was up all the way past 6am and didn’t mind it one bit.  And even only slept an hour, if not a few minutes afterward.

It was early Saturday morning, June 13, 2009.  Shelly and I had been close friends for a over a year and she came with me to my brother Paul’s two-weekend birthday party.  This weekend was a party with the family and the second weekend was spent with the friends.  There were six kids in our family and we pretty much have a “Samson friend-share”.  If you were a friend to one of us, you were a friend to all of us.  It’s the Samson way.   When we had parties, it didn’t matter who it was for, everyone was invited.  Naturally I invited Shelly, I had already developed a pretty deep attraction to her by then and I accepted the fact that I really wanted to take our relationship further.  We had been hanging out a lot as friends and after a couple of weeks of not seeing each other, it seemed longer than normal, so we planned on going to brunch that Saturday morning.  We were very busy at the time, and Saturday was no exception.  My schedule had brunch with Shelly in the morning, competition dance rehearsal with the One2Swing Jitterbugs in Pasadena in the afternoon then my brother’s birthday party in Seal Beach in the late afternoon into the rest of the weekend.

My other brother, Alfred who lived in Palmdale called me on Thursday morning and asked if I wanted to have brunch with him and his kids.  Hmm, how can I make this work?  I gave Shelly a call. “Hey, wanna come with me to Palmdale on Friday night and have brunch with my brother, Alfred and his kids in the morning?”  “Sure.”  That’s how she always answered when I asked her if she wanted to hang out.  She never asked to check her calendar, she never said maybe, she would just say yes.

Breakfast after dancing

Breakfast after dancing

So we went to Palmdale and she met my sister Anna who played video games with us until we all went to bed.  The next morning we had breakfast at Crazy Otto’s and sure enough, I started running late for practice.  I wouldn’t be able to take Shelly home to Miracle Mile then make it back to Pasadena in time without a helicopter.  Alfred offered to take her to Paul’s party and we’ll just meet up later in the afternoon.  Now, let me tell you, this is the first time Shelly is meeting my family.  Any of my family.  Little did she know that she had already been assimilated into the Samson friend-share.

By the time I saw her that evening, she looked like she had known everyone forever.  We became more comfortable with each other as we spent time with my family.  We laughed, watched “scary” movies, played games, hung out at the beach, ate tons of food which was never put away all weekend, it just stayed out and you ate when you got hungry.  Saturday night, Shelly and I shared an inflatable mattress in the middle of the living room surrounded by the other party flops.  Flop is a term used to describe people who usually get too drunk or wasted to leave a party, we just have really big sleep overs.  We laid there, my arm around her waist, both facing the window which stood between us and the ocean.  We talked until almost 6am.  My heart was bursting by this point.  I could not hold it in anymore.  I had to let her know how I felt.

But how?  Early in our friendship, she had told me that she didn’t want to date anyone.  She had gotten out of  a really abusive relationship a couple of years back and was in single-mode.  She was enjoying her life, and made it clear to every guy she met that she was not interested in a relationship.  So how do I tell her?

The next morning I had to drop her off at home before I had to go to another dance rehearsal.  I drove slow to buy myself time to get my nerve up to tell her.  Then I told her my carefully thought out, and well rehearsed (so my nerves don’t betray my intent) words,

“Shelly, I hate confusion and I hate the ambiguity of body language.  So I want  to let you know that I am totally falling for you, and if you have no objections I’m going to try to win you over.”

Her face went bright red as the soles of her shoes pressed flat on the ceiling  of the Millennium Chicken (my VW Golf’s name, which is a story for another Throwback Thursday).  She was folded in half in the passenger seat, arms around her legs , and with a high pitched squeal she replied, “I have no objections.”

I continued, “I want to let you know my intentions in trying to win you over.  There are two things I want to preserve: number one, your heart; number two, our friendship.  If at anytime you feel either of them are threatened, just let me know and I will stop.”  She continued to listen and I continued to talk.

The next weekend we hung out at Paul’s again, and this time I asked her if she wanted to go out on a date that Wednesday.  She said yes.  And yes, this date was our first date that you read about in yesterday’s post.

A couple of weeks later, we went to meet some friends at La Luna in Los Angeles and walked up to the table holding hands.  One of her friends, Izzy looked inspectingly (I made that word up) at us and said as she pointed, “wait, did I miss something? Are you two dating?”  I didn’t say anything, since I was still trying to win her over.  The ball was in her court.
Shelly: “Yes.”
Izzy: “Is this a recent development?”
Shelly: “Yes.”
Izzy: “How recent?”
Shelly: “About a couple of hours ago.”

So you see, I never asked her to be my girlfriend… …I asked her to go on a date, then asked her to be my wife, which we’ll save for another Throwback Thursday.

It’s just past 6am now, how appropriate.  I have another beautiful memory to go to sleep to.

Me and Shelly at National Jitterbug Championships

Me and Shelly at National Jitterbug Championships

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Celebrate éros with a whole lot of fun and respect and you will get philía, agape, and storgé for the rest of your life.

Throwback Thursday: Our First Date

When I drove up to Shelly’s door there was an envelope on the passenger seat.  She opened it up and it read, “Dear Shelly, these are the rules of our game.  Throughout the night you will find riddles written in cards in envelopes just like this one.  The answers all have to do with your favorite things.  If you guess them correctly, you get a prize.”

Thus the game was afoot.

***

The First Clue

We went to the Century City Mall and sat down at a Brazilian restaurant for dinner.  The server brought our menus and Shelly and I talked about what we wanted to get.  It was our first real date and I was kind of nervous.  The game would keep my mind off my nerves and in being slick.  I waited for her to lift her menu to look at the food choices for the last time and then slid the envelope under then menu as she closed it and set it down on the table.  “So what movie do you want to see?”  I asked,
“Let’s see Up!  I heard it was very good.”
“That’s what I heard too, sounds like a good plan.”
The waiter returned and we placed our order.
“Thank you.  Let me take your menus… and your food will be here shortly.”
Shelly thanked the waiter as he walked away, then looked at me.
“Did you have a good day?” I asked her.  “Yes.”  Our conversation continued for a little while until she reached for her napkin.  She looked at me and smiled.  She opened the envelope:

“The king of the Sea likes his weapon, it is red and hot, if you make him angry he won’t kill you but he might just chew you out.”

“Hmmm, I don’t know what it is,” said Shelly, “give me a clue?”
“Nope.  The clue is in the riddle.”
“Hmmm. King of the Sea is Neptune… his weapon is that big fork… A Trident!  Trident Gum!”
“What flavor?”
“Cinnamon!!!!”

I reach into my pocket and handed her a pack of cinnamon Trident gum, complete with Xylitol (which is the reason she chewses it).

***

Now if you think I’m going to tell you in detail how the rest of the game went, you will be disappointed.  I posted this to give some of you procrastinators a last minute date idea for your honeys.  And I did make it up at the last minute.  I scrambled to different stores and shops for all her little favorite things, it cost me no more than $10 for all the prizes.  The most expensive prize was a glass of bubble tea drink which I saved for last so she could enjoy it during the movie along with all her other favorite snacks.  Well, since I mentioned it, I’ll tell you about that one.

Shelly and I got to the movie theater with a pocketful of prizes, we didn’t need to go to the snack bar.  We walked up the stairs to our seats, I got her attention and pointed to some obviously saved seats down the row we were standing next to, “How about here?” I asked.  “No, they look saved.”  Before she could turn back to look where she was walking, I reached around behind her and flicked the next envelope up the stairs.  Years of ultimate frisbee in college finally paid off, who knew that it would help me win over the heart of my future wife?  She picked up the clue.

“ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS _____, what comes next is the last clue, it’s amber, not blue, and in chinese it means ‘boobs’.”

“No way!  Honey green tea boba?!”

I pulled the drink out of my dress coat pocket.  I bought it last, just before picking her up.  I ordered it extra strong, with extra ice so it would last two to three hours before being consumed.  Throughout the night, I was very careful to keep the bulge in my pocket out of her sight: I took my jacket off and hung it on the back of my chair, I kept her on the opposite side of the pocket containing the cold drink, or I would move it to the other pocket if needed.  I’m just glad she didn’t get cold, or my plan would have been foiled.

The main idea is this.  It’s a game of speed, wits and strength (a nod to Fezzik, Inigo and Vizzini).  Speed, sleight of hand to be able to hide, and present the envelopes.  Wit to come up with the riddles so that your date will not only get the answers, they will also be entertained by the wording.  Then strength, yes, strength; the strength of will to be patient and not give things away, keeping a game face; strength to be able to hold a icy icy cold drink by your hip for 3 hours without flinching.  You’ll need more strength if you plan on giving her a puppy.

You need to know some of your date’s favorite things, for example: candy bar, flavor of gum, snack, flower, drink, food.  Personalize it!  Use your environment, use your friends.  If you know the waiters and want them to get in on your game, do it.  If you don’t know them, tip them extra.  Waiters, ushers, valet, her mom, let them give her an envelope when she least expects it.  Imagine a long time relationship, you go to her parents’ house for a get together after your date.  A night of playing the game, she thinks it’s over, then you walk up to her parents’ door and ring the bell.  Her parents open the door and her mom hands her an envelope.  She reads the riddle, turns around and you are on one knee…

Me and Shelly at Marytown

Me and Shelly at Marytown

Happy day before Valentine’s Day everyone!  Celebrate éros with a whole lot of fun and respect and you will get philía, agápe, and storgé for the rest of your life.

A Constant Gift

“Every gift I will ever have to give to my children will be wholly or partly dependent on my situation. The only gift that will be 100% my choice is who their mother is.”Roy Samson

When I met Shelly, I had already learned so many things about myself and about love.  I had determined what were yellow flags and red flags for me, when choosing a spouse.  I had learned self-control (eh, well enough), and had gotten really selective about who I dated/courted however you want to look at it.  I gave myself these 3 dating rules:

Roy’s Dating Rules

  1. I don’t ask for a phone number until after seeing the girl 3 times.  I figure if we didn’t see each other out in public that many times without trying, then we don’t have enough in common.
  2. Mind the red flags.  They’re called red flags for a reason.  If you get red flagged during a sailboat race, it doesn’t matter if you come in first or last, you are out of the race.  From my past relationships, I’ve learned that dating a red flagged girl always ends messy.
  3. Treat every girl with respect.  A respectful man IS God’s greatest gift to women.  You raise the bar for your dating pool.  You also never know who you will end up with, which will minimize the embarrassment later on in life.

Dating is preparation for marriage.   Just like any preparation, there are things that you rehearse and things that you do to form your inner disposition so that when the time comes you will be ready.  In short, winning over Shelly’s heart when we were dating was only preparation to winning her heart over and over again while we are married.  Everyday I keep in the forefront of my mind that she is a gift to my children.  My first gift.  The only gift that comes completely from me, and of course her acceptance of me.   One of my roles as a dad is to let my children know with no doubt what she is.  What this woman is in our lives.  As a stay-home dad, I get the opportunity to do that while Shelly is at work.  We make crafts for Mommy, phone calls to Mommy, and little videos to let her know that we love her.