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July 1st was the 20th anniversary of my first date with Jeff. Generally, I don't make a big deal of dating anniversaries, but since we were still "just dating" on the 10th anniversary of our first date (my wedding anniversary in September will be #9), I decided we should mark the occasion since it will be awhile before I get any other kind of 20th anniversary.

Only July 2nd I took the day off and we split a pizza for lunch. This might not sound like much of a celebration, but keep in mind we were both kind of broke when we met so the occasion we were celebrating involved going to a dollar movie together and drinking coffee at Denny's afterward for several hours. We went Dutch, each paying our own way. Getting dressed up to commemorate something like that seemed far fetched, so 20 years later we went Dutch on the celebratory pizza, as well. It would have been nice to catch a movie, but we needed to be home that afternoon to wait for the air-conditioner repairman (a week later, our parts are still on order and we haven't seen him again).

When Jeff and I met I was just about to turn 20 and in college. He had just turned 30, was still reeling from the demise of his first marriage and his business, and was waiting tables in an Italian restaurant to make ends meet (still, they weren't meeting very well). He had an infant son from a previous short-term girlfriend who broke up with him only to turn up on his porch a few months later saying, "We need to talk."

"I don't have anything to say to you," he says he told her. It had been an ugly breakup.

"I'm 3 months pregnant."

He said that stopped him in his tracks, and as soon as he started breathing again he agreed that, yes indeed, they needed to talk. The only thing they agreed on during that conversation (or ever, it turns out) was that they didn't like each other enough to get married or even get back together, but they wanted to do what was best for the baby. I keep track of how long Jeff and I have been together by how old his firstborn son is; he was 3 months old when we met, so when he has a birthday ending in a zero Jeff and I will soon have an anniversary ending in one, as well.

My father hated everything about Jeff; he wanted me to meet a nice young engineering student at college. Engineering students didn't like me, though, because I looked like a liberal arts student from a mile away and at Texas A&M liberal arts students are considered Trouble (note the capital T on that word). To my father, a 30-year-old waiter with a newborn out-of-wedlock child to support was not his idea of a good match for his little girl.

There have been ups and downs in the past 2 decades, but we hung in there and eventually made it legal. After our wedding, my dad started smiling at Jeff when he showed up at the house and shaking his hand. For those first 11 years, he mostly just scowled at him whenever he saw him.

"So, what do you think?" I asked over the pizza, "You want to call it quits, or give it another 20 years?"

"Hmmm," Jeff mused as he munched, "the idea of being back in the dating pool doesn't have much appeal. Let's give it another 20 years and see how it goes."

"Okay, but I'm holding you to it. No backing out. I'll check back with you when you're 70 and see if you've changed your mind."

"It's a deal," he said, and we shook on it.

So we're committed to this relationship until July 1st, 2028 at the minimum. If we change our minds then, I'll let everyone know.



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * # * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Date: 2009-07-10 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magsmom.livejournal.com
sweet. Cheap dates are the best dates.

Happy anniversary!

Date: 2009-07-10 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
I think our whole first date came to less than $10, including the tip to the waitress at Denny's. We spent a bit more on the pizza last week; we even sprung for appetizers and deserts. It's good not to be so poor anymore. :)

Date: 2009-07-10 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skipperja.livejournal.com
Good for you! I don't think you could have had a better 20th Anniversary celebration.

Congratulations!

Date: 2009-07-10 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2009-07-10 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplecity2htwn.livejournal.com
Wow! You really stepped off your dad's planned path. Don't worry, if you'd have picked a nice engineer from A&M, you probably would have had one of those picture-perfect relationships that hid all sorts of ugly secrets. It may have even blown up in spectacular fashion and provided fodder for all the neighbor's to say, "see, I knew they were just a it too perfect".

And..........

You've got one more anniversary. Won't it soon be the 20th anniversary of your 20th birthday?
Edited Date: 2009-07-10 04:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-07-10 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skipperja.livejournal.com
You're probably right abut marrying an engineer. I'm a Razorback engineer and my wife has had difficulty with me. We've made it past 47 years though and hope to make 50.

Date: 2009-07-10 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
There's nothing wrong with engineers; they are stable, reliable sorts of people. The problem was that the student engineers all looked at me and decided that I wasn't a stable reliable sort, and might even be a Democrat. *sigh*

Date: 2009-07-11 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poetlady.livejournal.com
I am SOOOO not a stable reliable sort...trying to be when it matters but no, I am NOT a good bet LOL

Date: 2009-07-11 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
I am stable, and even reliable in my own way (it all depends on what you are relying on me for). I'm just quirkly. To a lot of people, the whole quirky thing looks unstable. :)

Date: 2009-07-10 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
Seriously, the campus was crawling with engineers in training and the only time they ever looked at me was to eyeball me up and down and ask, "Liberals arts major, huh?"

Yeah, I have something like that other anniversary coming up this month. I've been ignoring it. :P

Date: 2009-07-10 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplecity2htwn.livejournal.com
You could continue the theme and throw a birthday party that was just like the one you had when you turned 20.

Date: 2009-07-10 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
Lemme see. My friend Farhana and I went to LaBare's (yeah, the strip club) that year, I think. I don't recall what Jeff and I did to celebrate, though I'm sure he did something sweet and inexpensive.

Definitely inexpensive.

Date: 2009-07-10 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millysdaughter.livejournal.com
That was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG courtship. I was expecting you to say the first date you guys had was in the 5th grade!

Date: 2009-07-10 07:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
That would have been creepy and illegal, since he was 20 when I was in the 5th grade. ~_^

Date: 2009-07-11 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poetlady.livejournal.com
Ah, you two have an age gap too:) cool.

Congrats on 20 years. We will reach 12 of being married in Dec, 13 of knowing each other in Jan.

Wow, 20 years. It..I think it's great, you knew each other forever (really well) and still wanted to marry after all that time. If Ron had known me 10 yrs, not sure he would have made the same choice, LOL:)

Date: 2009-07-11 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
By the time we bothered to get married, we were already the "most married couple" that anyone knew, in all but name.

One of these days I'll write about what all the hold up was (even beyond the tendency to procrastinate that is one of our shared traits). It's a long story, and would have to be in several parts. I'm looking for a week when I have the time and inclination to tell it.

Date: 2009-07-12 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mugglemomjsw.livejournal.com
Funny! Brian and I will have been dating 10 years this October, but we just had our 8th wedding anniversary last week. My dad was hoping for me to marry and engineer, too. I think we both made good choices, right? (and our first date was watching a movie on his couch...)

Date: 2009-07-13 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
Wow, your date was even cheaper than mine!

Personally, I think I would have driven an engineer nuts. I'm sure of it. It was out of kindness that I didn't marry one. :)

Date: 2009-07-13 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenelycam.livejournal.com
It doesn't matter what you spend on the date...it's the company you have!! ^^

Date: 2009-07-13 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
True, but then I think of what Mae West said: "It's just as easy to love a poor man as a rich man...but who would want to?"

Ms. West would have thought I am an idiot.

Date: 2009-07-13 08:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenelycam.livejournal.com
I don't love a rich man either...and I'm just fine with that!! ^^ eff Ms. West. :P

Date: 2009-07-13 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] woohag.livejournal.com
Cute. And I'm glad your dad came around. :)

Date: 2009-07-13 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neanahe.livejournal.com
After the 11 year courtship and the wedding he did. After more than a decade, I think his face just got tired from all the scowling. :)

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